First grade teacher Jamie Greenwood looks at a large sheet of clear plastic that hangs from the ceiling in her classroom at Westvale Elementary School in West Jordan on Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2020. A new survey finds that education and the teacher shortage are top priorities for Utahns. | Steve Griffin, Deseret News
Nine out of 10 surveyed said it’s important to provide better support for teachers, up from 76% in 2016
SALT LAKE CITY — The 2020 presidential election notwithstanding, a recent statewide survey of Utahns says education and the teacher shortage are their top priorities.
And a growing number of Utahns are willing to invest more in education to support teachers, according to the results of a new survey commissioned by Envision Utah.
Nine out of 10 surveyed said it’s important to provide better support for teachers, up from 76% in 2016.
Meanwhile, 78% of Utahns surveyed recently said they were willing to pay more to support education, compared to 71% a year ago and 51% in 2016.
pandemic schools funding risks
Utah Education Association President Heidi Matthews said the survey results are heartening because Utahns continue to consider education as a top priority and those surveyed indicate that they’re willing to pay more in taxes to boost education funding.
“That support has really grown. As we go into our next legislative session, recognizing that our taxpayers are willing to support that increased investments, our state Legislature also must recognize that,” she said.
Matthews said it is imperative that the teacher shortage receive more attention and more resources.
“The teacher shortage, or exodus as we call it, it was a major concern prior to the pandemic. I really fear that it might soon reach some crisis levels unless there’s more done to support teachers. We’ve got to be looking out for our teachers and our adults in our schools with things like addressing health and safety concerns and reducing class sizes,” she said.
Moreover, teachers need more autonomy and the education system needs to de-emphasize high-stakes testing.
“Of course, it’s really looking at increased salaries. It’s no wonder that people are going to other areas when when the demands have so increased and the salaries have not,” Matthews said.
Lighthouse Research surveyed 403 Utahns statewide for Envision Utah, a nonprofit organization “that engages Utahns in collaborative, bottom-up decision-making,” according to its website.
The survey, conducted by telephone and online the last half of …read more
Source:: Deseret News – Utah News