Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
(Chris Detrick | Tribune file photo) A classroom at West Jordan Middle School. The Utah Senate has OK'd a bill that would allow school districts to change up to six school days a year from classroom instruction to teacher professional development or preparation days.
Utah Senate OKs changing six classroom days to teacher prep time
SB103 » Senate advances bill to allow local school boards to decide.
First Published Feb 06 2014 10:58 am • Last Updated Feb 07 2014 01:35 pm

The Senate endorsed a bill Thursday that could allow school districts to convert up to 60 hours, or six school days, a year into professional development or preparation days for teachers.

It voted 21-6 to pass SB103 by Sen. Aaron Osmond, R-South Jordan, and sent it to the House.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

"Many of our teachers spend a lot of time on their own dime preparing for class because we don’t pay for them to be able to prepare for class," he said. The bill would allow school boards to decide whether to make the change.

Sen. Jim Dabakis, D-Salt Lake City, called it a "draconian" way to provide preparation time for teachers by cutting into the 181 classroom school days a year in Utah and putting students at a disadvantage.

"China has 260 days of children in the classroom. Japan, 243. Germany, 240. South Korea, 220," he said in debate. "It seems clear to me that the more days our youngsters are in classrooms, the better education they are going to receive."

Dabakis added, "If we need to increase professional development, we ought to face the bullet. We ought to pay for that, but we ought not diminish the number of days our children are in the classroom."

But Sen. Mark Madsen, R-Eagle Mountain, countered that "teacher quality is much more important than seat time. I think this bill weighs it appropriately."

Sen. Stuart Reid, R-Ogden, also said, "One of the most important factors in a classroom is quality teaching. Whatever we can do to help in that regard … will help our students to be successful."

Sen. Wayne Harper, R-Taylorsville, said budget cuts in recent years removed additional money for teacher professional development and the bill would help provide some of what was lost.

"The purpose and the intent are good. I’m not sure the execution laid out in this bill is the proper thing," Harper said, adding he worries about the lost class time.

story continues below
story continues below

Sen. Pat Jones, D-Holladay, called it "a Band-Aid approach" to providing more professional time.

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment

About Reader Comments

Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.