(Molly Bruns, Headline USA) Gov. Spencer Cox, R-Utah, signed legislation making school choice an option for families within his state on Saturday.
Eligible families in Utah will now be able to receive funding up to $8,000 from the state for increased educational options. The bill will also give licensed teachers a significant pay raise.
Today we signed HB 215, Funding for Teacher Salaries and Optional Education. pic.twitter.com/pt6QIPLrxd
— Utah Gov. Spencer J. Cox (@GovCox) January 28, 2023
According to the Daily Caller, Cox planned to veto a similar bill in 2022. The bill failed in the state’s House before it could move forward. There is no indication as to what made Cox change his mind.
The bill garnered a significant amount of support within the state, with over 1500 students and parents rallying in support at the capitol in Salt Lake City on Jan. 24.
Over 1500 parents and students there supporting this bill. One of the Capitol staff told me it was the largest group he had seen in his 20 years working there. https://t.co/tlJPwYg16b
— Jon England (@jengland1226) January 25, 2023
An opposition rally took place the day before.
The Utah Education Association, the Parent Teacher association and the Utah Eagle Forum fought the legislation. The state school board also opposed the bill, despite the fact that the majority of sitting members are Republicans.
Utah is the first state in the nation to pass a school choice education savings account.
“This is a historic day! The Utah Fits All Scholarship program puts students first and will soon enable thousands of families to choose the education option that is best for their children.” State Policy Network Senior Policy Advisor and Utah resident, Katherine Bathgate said.
Public school teachers and staff within the state were upset at the new legislation, despite the significant raises that will be passed on to them.
“School choice is a myth and now you’re diverting $35 million dollars of money that could’ve been used to raise teacher salaries instead of funding a political money grab,” Twitter user precious little diamond said. “As a future educator in Utah, I cannot wait to vote you out of office.”
“Unfortunately [Gov. Cox], you have shown your true colors,” another frustrated user wrote. “You have signed two bills today that will hurt the marginalized kids of Utah. Is it time to start knocking doors for a replacement yet?”
Over the past few years, public schools moved towards priorities such as teaching anti-American ideals like Critical Race Theory, gender ideology and activism training.
That, combined with the effects of the COVID lockdowns, continually push families to seek other options to educate their children, resulting in a mass exodus from the public school system.