Letter: Politics in education

(Rick Bowmer | AP file photo) House Speaker Brad Wilson, R-Kaysville, looks on during the Utah Legislature’s special session Thursday, June 18, 2020, at the Utah state Capitol, in Salt Lake City.

That was a clever move. It has me wondering, what is the purpose of your amendment to withhold bonuses from teachers in districts that haven’t held in-person classes? And that led me to wonder, what is the purpose of this bonus anyway?

I thought the bonus was for hazard pay, but that can’t be it. If that were the case, we’d be sending money to front-line health care workers. Or, perhaps that would suggest that Utah should have closed schools all together. A plan the governor had made, before his leadership made his plan inconvenient.

No, this must be a bonus for working extra hours, right? But the Legislature is aware of the time required to rewrite an entire curriculum for a new medium. Of course, if Rep. Wilson knew that, he’d write an amendment that didn’t force schools back a week before the end of a grading term.

You can’t blame me for considering whether this amendment is punitive. But it can’t be because Rep. Wilson is a conservative who believes in local control, and he wouldn’t punish teachers for the decision of a locally elected school board.

The last and most cynical reason might be the most likely — that he benefits politically from pitting his own voters against the teachers of Salt Lake City. His move has zero effect on his own constituents. It angers those of other districts, whose representatives sit across the aisle. This is a fight that he can start, doesn’t have to end, and from which he can only benefit. Clever indeed.

Ultimately, Brad Wilson, the Utah Legislature, and what will be two governors will be judged on the management of this pandemic. Wilson can deflect to my colleagues and me all he wants.

As for us, we will teach.

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