Improve education by supporting Family School Partnerships! (HB 235)

HB 235: Family School Partnership by Rep. Bruce Cutler (R-Murray) proposes funding a home visiting program for Utah public schools, which would reduce chronic absenteeism and boost academic achievement. The NEA reports that “home visiting is an inexpensive and and easily replicated model of family engagement that ends the cycle of blame between families and school staff by building trust and respect, instilling cultural competency, and increasing personal and professional capacity for all involved.”
On January 31, HB 235 was held in the House Education Committee, with arguments against — not about programmatic efficacy — but about the role of educators and the cost. This good bill will get a chance to be heard again, but it needs YOUR support to move forward. You can help in two ways:

CALL TO ACTION

1) Email the House Education Standing Committee about why home visiting is a great idea for Utah public schools. Click here to take action now!
2) Email your State School Board Representative and ask them to encourage the State Board to support the bill. Find your State School Board representative by going to vote.utah.gov, entering your home address and clicking on “Elected Officials”.

Talking Points

Here are some common arguments against HB235 and responses you can use to advocate for Family School Partnerships.
Argument #1: Home-visiting is government intrusion
Response:
  • HB235 proposes an opt-in for both families and educators.  Anyone who feels that it’s intrusive is not required to participate.
Argument #2: Funding another education program is too expensive
Responses:
  • Cost is a meaningful issue, but the cost of this program is worthwhile considering the proven benefits to students.
  • The legislature is constantly looking for ways to improve student outcomes, and home-visiting is proven to do this.
  • HB 235 has the potential to reduce costs in other education program areas that have shown less effectiveness.
Argument #3: Why can’t School Districts do this on their own?
Responses:
  • The reason we know this program works is because some Schools Districts already do this on their own. In fact, educators and administrators from Salt Lake and Midvale both testified in favor of the program’s efficacy.
  • HB 235 can help school districts who already struggle to find funding for programs to implement a program like this to achieve a proven benefit to their schools.
  • Although it can appear on the surface that no schools in certain districts would benefit from a family school partnership program, in reality all school districts have a range of socioeconomic backgrounds and have at least some schools who would benefit from this proven model.
Argument #4: I don’t see what Home Visiting has to do with education
Responses:
  • As the NEA reports, the debates over education outcomes often toss blame between schools and families. This family school partnership bridges that divide and gets to the root of why many Utah children are not having successful school experiences.

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