I'm feeling gratitude this season for something I didn't expect. As a teacher, it is natural to walk away from an unsuccessful lesson greatly disappointed when the outcome isn't met. But there are also times when not meeting an outcome brings wisdom and a deep appreciation for what was learned.
This season I am filled with gratitude for the courageous Utahns who collaborated on Our Schools Now, what could be considered a failed attempt to dramatically increase funding for Utah's schools. As a veteran of reflective practice, I do not regard this as a completely failed endeavor. I see this instead as a successful beginning to a long-needed conversation regarding our inefficiently funded public school system. In my 30 years as a Utah educator, I cannot remember a time when a group of such powerful business leaders, philanthropists and policy makers joined forces to share their concerns and support for the success of Utah's students and teachers.
This season I offer my genuine and deepest thanks to Scott Anderson, President & CEO of Zion's Bank, Ron Jibson, retired Chairman & CEO of Questar, and Gail Miller, owner of Larry H. Miller Group of Companies. Not educators by trade, each one of these successful business leaders recognizes the tremendous impact well-prepared graduates can have on Utah's economy. They courageously stepped into the spotlight and voiced their support for the need to dramatically increase funding for Utah's schools.
|Gail Miller, Owner, Larry H. Miller Group|
I am grateful for the work of Bob Marquardt, President of Management & Training Corporation, whose tireless efforts to connect with other business owners garnered great support for the Our Schools Now proposal and began a critical conversation among community members of all walks of life.
I offer my sincere thanks to Governor Gary Herbert. So many educators in other states feel constant resistance from the governor's office in both policy and voice. But Governor Herbert and Lieutenant Governor Spencer Cox, with the advisement of Tami Pyfer, have demonstrated a genuine and very public concern for the immediate need to increase school funding.
Behind-the-scenes credit belongs to Austin Cox, Campaign Manager, whose relentless determination to widen the path of this subject bolstered the pride and sense of worth for thousands of Utah's teachers. Austin's efforts focused on our teachers' dedication and the varied challenges met in every classroom - something most Utahns are unaware of and find uncomfortable to discuss.
My gratitude extends to the OSN Steering Committee, including many business owners, policy makers, local and state school board members, community members, and both current and retired educators who unselfishly volunteered their time and funds to gain support for this initiative. I appreciate as well the passionate support of my fellow Utah State Teachers of the Year, Utah Hope Street Fellows, and members of the Utah Education Association. Your efforts have deepened my pride as an educator and given me hope for the future of Utah's schools.
Although the Our Schools Now proposal may be perceived as a failed outcome, my disappointment is overshadowed by a deep gratitude for those influential and unselfish individuals who courageously spoke up for Utah's students and teachers. I challenge Utah Legislators and community leaders to rewrite the lesson plan and differentiate our efforts to get the outcome Utah's students deserve.