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Teachers lend their voices for change on Utah's Capitol Hill

By Nadine Wimmer  |  Posted Mar 26th, 2012 @ 11:32pm


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SALT LAKE CITY -- More than ever before, teachers -- not their union leaders, but actual teachers -- had a presence at the capitol during the state legislative session. Advocates say, without a doubt, they made a difference.

Teachers are sharing their stories on Facebook and on Capitol Hill in an effort to take their frontline concerns about education to those who cast the votes.

"Bringing down class size so we can have more individual time with each student For me, that's as good as I've seen," said Mike Dennis of Woods Cross Elementary.

"In my classroom, I would like to have a set of books, at least a classroom set of books," said Jo Egland from Freemont High School.

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With public requests such as these, the voice of teachers did help secure wins during the session.

"The biggest thing with public education is, it needs to be funded 100 percent, fully with all the growth funded," said Mallory Meyer with Sunset Ridge Middle School.

That bill passed. Lawmakers approved $41 million to fund student growth for the nearly 12,000 students entering Utah schools next year.

Kevin Ball from Rosemont Elementary said, "We can always use more money for supplies."

"We don't have consumables," said Cyndee Bowser with Southland Elementary.

That bill also passed -- $5 million will help teachers buy classroom supplies.

"We certainly don't have enough technology in our schools to do all of the computer-assisted testing that is being mandated," said Susen Zobel of Bonneville Junior High.

Passed. Teachers will also get funding for online testing.

Aside from individual bills and bigger budgets, teachers' voices have helped set a tone about the importance of education throughout the state.

Their campaign doesn't end here. The teachers' goal is to get parents and business leaders to lend their voices to raising the status of education.

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