Democratic state lawmakers are entering this year's legislative session with a package of bills they say will raise Utah from the bottom of national public education rankings.
Democratic supporters say the collection of bills, known as the Best Schools Initiative, would increase per-pupil funding, make teachers more prepared and accountable, reduce class sizes and help students move on to higher education.
"The Best Schools Initiative has the potential to change the future of our neighborhood schools," said state Rep. Carol Spackman Moss, D-Holladay, one of the lawmakers sponsoring the bills. "No less than the future of Utah depends on our willingness to take the appropriate steps now in our schools to ensure the economic strength and prosperity of tomorrow."
State Sen. Ben McAdams, D-Salt Lake City, who is spearheading the initiative, said the current state of public education in Utah must change. A new annual report from Education Week has Utah ranked 42nd in the nation for education quality, and last in the nation in per-pupil spending.