Utah has a chance to lead the way in 2023 with education choice.
The work put in by parents, lawmakers, and groups like Education Opportunity for Every Child, Utah Fits All, Libertas, and AFP Utah is coming together.
Last year, Governor Cox gave us a path to get an education spending account passed. He said, “When teachers are making $60,000 a year to start, I will fully support vouchers. I’m all in on vouchers.” We call this education choice, but we know what he meant.
Representative Pierucci sponsored the bill last year and has been working hard this year to garner support. That work has resulted in the UT-Fits Scholarship.
Senate President Adams is on board. During a press conference in December 2022, he said, “We want to prioritize funding for our most precious resource: our kids…That means doing what we can to retain and attract the best teachers through increased pay. For other students, that may mean funding to pursue education options that meet their unique needs.”
Just a few weeks ago, the Republican House Leadership added their support to the effort. Representative Schultz, the House Majority Leader stated, “Every child is different, and the parent needs to be able to have the opportunity to take the kids where they best see fit.”
And Governor Cox is on board. During a press conference in December 2022, he announced his desire to increase teacher pay and support choice for parents. “We have the ability to do all of these things, to help families wherever they are, to help families who want to take a different path.”
The efforts over the past year are lining up, but the work isn’t finished yet.
There are rumblings that the teachers’ unions will put together a referendum trying to repeal this law when it gets passed. They would take $6,000 out of every public school teacher’s pocket to prevent families from having a choice in education. This seems absurd to me.
The work that has been put into this bill to make it a win-win for both teachers and families has been monumental. The governor, senate leadership, and house leadership have worked hard to make things work for the two people who have the biggest impact on students in Utah: parents and teachers.
Legislators can be finicky. They want to know that what they are doing is aligned with the people of Utah. You can help. Contact your legislators in both the House and the Senate. Let them know that you support the UT-Fits Scholarship.
By placing both an increase in teacher pay and choice in education together, it is a recognition of the hard work and dedication of Utah’s teachers since the pandemic. But critically, it is an acknowledgement of the fact that the public school system doesn’t fit every Utah child. The agreement reached to support both parents and teachers is the Utah way.
Utah has a chance to lead the way in education choice in 2023. Let’s do this by showing overwhelming support.