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Senator receives accolades for unique approach to education reform



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SALT LAKE CITY — One unprecedented thing to emerge from the 2012 Legislature centers on education reform. Not so much the bill, but the way freshman Sen. Aaron Osmond proposed it.

Aaron Osmond has signed, sealed and delivered his first Legislative hit. He's following in the footsteps, of Donny and Marie Osmond, winning over fans and gaining a following.

"The first question they ask me is, ‘Are you related to Donny?'" the senator said.


It shouldn't be unprecedented that we go out and listen to and interact with our educators when we're trying to figure out how to fix public education.

–Sen. Aaron Osmond, R-South Jordan


#osmond_q

The answer is yes — and that doesn't hurt his fan base. Aaron Osmond has become a superstar among teachers, an innovator. It's an interesting concept, since his efforts to reform education include issues like performance pay and teacher termination — issues teachers usually oppose.

"I think that he is the teacher's godsend," said Jo Egelund, a local teacher.

"It's so nice to see a senator come out of the legislature and actually talk to teachers," added teacher Mallory Meyer.

Aaron Osmond recently went on tour — a listening tour. He visited a more than a dozen schools, met with 1,000 teachers and responded to more than 500 emails before the 2012 legislative session began.

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"It shouldn't be unprecedented that we go out and listen to and interact with our educators when we're trying to figure out how to fix public education," the senator said.

He wowed his "critics" by not only listening to, but adopting their feedback and changing his legislation.

"This truly does represent a step forward in ensuring that we have quality teachers in every classroom," said Larry Shumway, Utah's state superintendent.

Will Sen. Osmond be a one-hit wonder? Not likely, he's running again to fill another term in the Legislature.

Aaron Osmond said the No. 1 thing he learned is that to improve education we need to focus more in principals, not just teachers.

Nadine Wimmer

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