EDUCATION

UEA President criticizes proposed bill, lawmakers are making ‘continued attacks’ on public education

Feb 2, 2022, 7:50 PM
(Inside the Utah Capitol Rotunda, February 2, 2022.  Photo: Paul Nelson)...
(Inside the Utah Capitol Rotunda, February 2, 2022. Photo: Paul Nelson)
(Inside the Utah Capitol Rotunda, February 2, 2022. Photo: Paul Nelson)

SALT LAKE CITY — The state’s largest teachers union is calling out lawmakers for what they’re describing as “continued attacks” on public education this legislative session.  For instance, educators say a new bill aimed at giving parents more authority over their child’s education would cause unnecessary problems.

Public education bill

Senate Bill 157 is designed to give the state total sovereignty to decide how Utah’s children should be educated, but it would also grant parents “primary authority and responsibility for the education of the parents’ children.”

A portion of the bill states, “The role of state and local government is to support and assist, rather than to interfere or conflict with, the primary authority of parents for the education of the parents’ children.”

If the bill were to pass, parents would be allowed to opt their children out of “objectionable matters and materials.”  However, Utah Education Association President Heidi Matthews says parents already have ability to do that.

She said, “I know our educators are always flexible when there are circumstances that arise to work with individual students.”

State would have final say

Under SB 157, the state would be allowed to reject any effort by the federal government or a national organization to “direct or interfere with state sovereignty with respect to public education.”  Meaning, the state would have final say over curriculum, textbooks, courses of study and teacher training.  Matthews says lawmakers across the country are introducing bills that appear to undermine teachers’ integrity.

“What we have seen is, over and over in this legislative session, are just continued attacks on our public education system and on our educators,” Matthews said.

Parents have stronger standing

Plus, one section of the bill would give parents a stronger standing to take educators to court, in some cases.  It reads, “A parent has legal standing to seek and obtain judicial and other legal relief, as needed, to exercise and secure the parental rights described in this action.”  Matthews believes this will just place barriers between teachers and families.

“Our people in our schools, especially our teachers who are working day-to-day with our students, are feeling pretty beat up,” she said.

Matthews admits she needs more time to look over every detail set out in SB 157. However, she doesn’t believe it will improve education, in any way.

She said, “Is this bill going to help our students succeed?  I would say, ‘no.’”

Read more:

Today’s Top Stories

Education

After six years leading USU, and an overall 32 year career with the school, President Noelle E. Coc...
Simone Seikaly

USU President Noelle E. Cockett will step down

USU President Noelle E. Cockett has been part of the college's community for 32 years.
2 months ago
BYU...
Mark Jackson

BYU wellness students return from Blue zone with healthy lifestyle tips

Some BYU students are learning how to live healthy and happier lives from a trip to Ikaria, Greece.
2 months ago
Brig. Gen. Richard W. Gibbs, center, speaks with University of Utah students before a press confere...
Mark Jones

U of U announces partnership with U.S. Air Force

The University of Utah School of Engineering and the U.S. Air Force have agreed to a partnership that is expected to last five years.
2 months ago
Shortages in daycares across the country and in Utah are keeping thousands of parents home, intead ...
Becky Bruce and Kira Hoffelmeyer

School and daycare facilities haven’t “bounced back” to normalcy

Along with the rest of the nation, a shortage of daycare workers and teachers in Utah means parents are staying home from work.
2 months ago
The public school district in Uvalde, Texas, has a police chief for the first time since firing the...
Andy Rose, CNN

Uvalde school district names new interim police chief

The public school district in Uvalde, Texas, has a police chief for the first time since firing the previous leader who was on duty during the deadly Robb Elementary School shooting.
2 months ago
Teen Centers...
Elizabeth Weiler

Advocacy group asking Utah Legislature to help fund teen centers across the state

The Policy Project is hoping to implement teen centers across all Utah schools. The organization is calling on the Utah Legislature to help.
2 months ago

Sponsored Articles

Happy joyful smiling casual satisfied woman learning and communicates in sign language online using...
Sorenson

The best tools for Deaf and hard-of-hearing workplace success

Here are some of the best resources to make your workplace work better for Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees.
Team supporters celebrating at a tailgate party...
Macey's

8 Delicious Tailgate Foods That Require Zero Prep Work

In a hurry? These 8 tailgate foods take zero prep work, so you can fuel up and get back to what matters most: getting hyped for your favorite
christmas decorations candles in glass jars with fir on a old wooden table...
Western Nut Company

12 Mason Jar Gift Ideas for the 12 Days of Christmas [with recipes!]

There are so many clever mason jar gift ideas to give something thoughtful to your neighbors or friends. Read our 12 ideas to make your own!
wide shot of Bear Lake with a person on a stand up paddle board...

Pack your bags! Extended stays at Bear Lake await you

Work from here! Read our tips to prepare for your extended stay, whether at Bear Lake or somewhere else nearby.
young boy with hearing aid...
Sorenson

Accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing

These different types of accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing can help them succeed in school.
Young woman receiving laser treatment...
Form Derm Spa

How facial plastic surgery and skincare are joining forces

Facial plastic surgery is not only about looking good but about feeling good too. The medical team at Form Spa are trained to help you reach your aesthetic outcomes through surgery and through skincare and dermatology, too.
UEA President criticizes proposed bill, lawmakers are making ‘continued attacks’ on public education