UEA panel: boost teacher pay, cut class sizes, upgrade tech
Published: February 1, 2014 05:13PM
Updated: February 1, 2014 05:38PM

Boosting teachers’ starting salaries to $50,000, reducing class sizes and improving technology in schools are among recommendations unveiled Friday by a task force of educators organized by the Utah Education Association.

The Educational Excellence Task Force spent 18 months studying ways to improve education. The group presented its nearly 50-page report Friday to the UEA and policymakers at the Capitol.

“We are committed to a bold new vision where teachers have the time, support and resources needed to meet the demand of a diverse learning population,” Anna Williams, a Park City teacher and chairwoman of the task force, said in a statement. “We envision schools rich in learning, where educators and students excel.”

The task force consisted of 13 educators from across the state. They were charged with analyzing research to identify priorities for education in Utah; developing recommendations on teacher quality and effectiveness; and creating a report to engage policymakers, the public and UEA leadership.

Other report recommendations included taking factors such as resources, student socioeconomics and attendance rates into account when evaluating teachers; not tying teacher pay primarily to test scores; and hiring more paraprofessionals.

“Teachers are trained education experts and are in the best position to make policy recommendations that impact their individual classrooms and students,” UEA President Sharon Gallagher-Fishbaugh said in a statement. “I look forward to working with all our education stakeholders in using these recommendations to champion a long-term, student-centered, fully funded plan for Utah public education.”