It was the largest group in twenty years. That is what one capitol worker told me about the education choice rally that took place on Tuesday, January 24, 2023.
Over 1,500 parents, students, teachers, and other concerned citizens filled the capitol building chanting and urging the senate to vote yes on House Bill 215.
And Tuesday wasn’t the only time that education choice advocates have filled the capitol. During both the House Education Committee and the Senate Education Committee meetings, multiple overflow rooms were required to accommodate those interested in the bill. Most were there in support.
Representative Candice Pierucci’s bill will do two very impactful things for Utah. First, it doubles the state-guaranteed portion of their income adding $6,000 in salary and benefits for every public and charter school teacher in the state.
Second, the bill creates the Utah Fits All Scholarship, a universal education spending account similar to West Virginia and Arizona. Universal education spending accounts (ESA) are amazing education choice options that allow parents to be in the driver’s seat of their child’s education. The program is universal because all Utah students are eligible.
Does the student want to take a math class from an online expert and a dance class from the local university or community college? The ESA will fund that.
Does the student need a reading coach while also taking a certification course through the local applied technology college? The ESA will fund that too.
Can the student stay enrolled in the local public school and then take advanced computer coding classes? Yes, yes they can.
The ESA is as flexible as the student needs it to be. Parents can help their students find the right fit for their education.
Parents, students, and teachers are clamoring for more options in education. Yes, most parents will continue to choose their public school, but when public education isn’t a good fit for a student, parents will be able to find an education that does.