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Teachers At UEA Convention Call for More Say in Education Policy

This year’s Utah Education Association convention gave teachers an opportunity to learn new skills, improve their practice and compare notes with other educators. It also gave teachers a venue to speak up about their lack of voice in education policy.

Sharon Gallagher-Fishbaugh is president of the Utah Education Assocation. She says public education is too often micromanaged by policy makers, adding there has been too much emphasis on assessments as a means of labeling schools, teachers and students.

“What we’re trying to get folks to realize is that teachers are the experts and if we want to improve education, public education, we need to start listening to the folks who are actually on the ground doing the work,” Fishbaugh says.

The convention took place Thursday and Friday at the South Towne Exposition Center in Sandy. In previous years, teachers were paid to go to the convention. But Fishbaugh says since that’s no longer the case, attendance at the annual event has gone from about 10,000 teachers to about 4,000.

“It’s unfortunate that attendance has dropped off because of that and I really lay that at the foot of policy makers who are more interested in doing away with UEA than they were really holding on to the fact that this is an opportunity for teachers to learn and grow,” she says.

Lily Eskelsen Garcia, the new National Education Assocation President and Utah native was a key note speaker at the event as well as Utah State Senate President Wayne Neiderhauser. 

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