Utah Democrats responded today to a statement made by Representative Greg Hughes, R—Draper, who in response to the House and Senate Democrat’s unveiling of their “Best Schools Initiative” called it “fiction” for Utah to have both small class sizes and great teachers.
In an AP newswire quote, Hughes called the two proposals “diametrically opposed,” and said it would be a “lie” to claim that Utah could have better paid teachers and smaller class sizes with more individualized attention.
Utah Democratic Party Chair Jim Dabakis called Hughes’ comments “an insult to the greatest teachers in America. I am appalled that GOP leadership continues its relentless attack on Utah’s underpaid, overloaded, and under appreciated teachers,” said Dabakis.
“Representative Hughes and others in the Republican caucus do not seem to want Utah’s school children have great teachers, or be in an environment where learning can thrive,” he said. “They want to starve the system so that they can advance their own ideology and dismantle neighborhood schools altogether. Quite frankly, Republican domination has failed Utah's school system, failed Utah teachers, and most importantly, failed Utah's children. Our schools continue to rank 30th in the nation in student achievement and we're dead last in per student funding. Representative Hughes and the negative Republican legislators continue to say 'we can't fix this" but Utah Democrats say 'we can, and we will bring a great education, using neighborhood schools, to every child in the State.' Utah's teachers are not the problem. Representative Hughes, Republican leadership and their defeatist rhetoric is the problem. Until we have 'real' leadership who will make Utah's public schools the top priority, we will continue to fail Utah's children. Utah Democrats will not accept this defeat."