High Desert Hoofbeats
A call for collaboration...
by Sena Taylor Hauer
Oct 24, 2013 | 1564 views | 0 0 comments | 19 19 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Like Jeeps leaving Moab after spring safari, the bicycle-laden Suburbans, Subarus and similar SUVs have eased out of town following the UEA holiday. For decades, this four-day weekend has heralded perhaps the last summer-ish vacation time for Utahns whose children are enrolled in public schools and whose teachers are members of the Utah Education Association.

Students throughout the state had last Thursday and Friday off from school while a scant percentage of educators attended their convention in Salt Lake City. The larger numbers of faculty were presumably recreating just as their students were doing, while their union representatives hammered out the same old saws about funding woes and calls for unity.

I think it’s kind of funny that so few teachers attend their own convention, instead utilizing the long weekend for personal time. Who wouldn’t rather be out enjoying the autumn weather instead of listening to their counterparts drone on from microphones in convention halls about the challenges in education?

So for those teachers who were doing just what I was doing the past few days – that is having fun in the Moab sand – the gist of last weekend’s shebang held in Salt Lake City was a call for teachers to collaborate with administrators and the communities in which they work.

UEA President Sharon Gallagher-Fishbaugh urged those in attendance to cultivate partnerships with fellow teachers, parents and policy makers. She was quoted by the Deseret News as saying, “It’s time to stand up. It’s time to be candid about the power of working together.”

Profound words. Certainly worth canceling a couple of days of school. And it’s a boon to our local economy.

There. Now you’re all caught up on the challenges facing Utah public education and the role our educators play in it. Following last week’s days out of the classroom, I’m guessing the teachers are fully charged to face another year before the next holiday, er... I mean convention. Until then, it’s back to the chalkboard!

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