Utah Governor Gary Herbert has signed two education bills promising programs that will benefit students. The ceremonial copies he signed into law are Senate Bill 101, the High Quality Preschool Readiness Expansion Program, and Senate Bill 67 the Partnerships for Student Success.
The education bills are aiming to “increase funding for early childhood programs and enhance community partnerships to improve student outcomes,” Good4Utah reported. For this year, the legislature has approved around $454 million towards improving the state’s quality of education.
“By signing these bills and saying we believe in you, and we’re gonna put some money behind that belief to make sure these education programs continue, and I’m honored to have that opportunity to celebrate with you,” Herbert said in an auditorium packed with students at the Lincoln Elementary School, as reported by Good4Utah.
Spending Money for Education Not an Issue
The Republican governor stressed that his office deeply cares about education and they are willing to put a great amount of money to improve it. The first bill’s expansion of early childhood programs will provide multiple sources and tools for parents to improve their child’s early education.
The second bill will increase community partnerships and involvement so children will have more resources that will help them succeed in their endeavors, the news outlet noted. Herbert said he appreciates “working with the legislature who’ve along with me have made education our number one budget priority,” Good4Utah added.
Among the significant investments passed by the legislature is providing more funds to each student in schools in the state. An investment of $90 million has been given to Utah schools.
Senator Ann Millner, who is the former president of Weber State University, sponsored the education bills. For her, providing early education programs for children and parents will give them better outcomes in life.
Millner said that after children have learned to read in third grade, they should be able to read to learn. Early education can make that development happen.
While the senator is proud of Utah’s achievements in its education sector, she acknowledges that there’s still plenty of work to be done. According to Millner, teachers should have more resources, “learning to integrate new technologies into the classrooms, and improving that technology,” Good4Utah noted.
Equity is Needed
Sharon Gallagher-Fishbaugh, president of the Utah Education Association, said lawmakers should not just focus on budget equality. Equity and the diverse needs of Utah students should be taken into account as well.
Gallagher-Fishbaugh said both charter and traditional schools need more money. However, prioritizing charters only benefits students who are whiter, wealthier, and enrolled in smaller classes than their district counterparts, Salt Lake Tribune reported.