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Legislature considers stipends for future educators 

Salt Lake City—The House Education Committee will consider H.B. 221 Stipends for Future Educators, sponsored by Rep. Karen Peterson and Sen. Chris Wilson. Utah has long valued the work of classroom teachers, but with 42% of new teachers leaving the profession within the first 5 years, efforts need to be made in both recruitment and retention of Utah teachers. 

H.B. 221 focuses on supporting new educators as they fulfill their full-time student teaching requirement. The bill proposes a stipend of $6,000 for an educator to apply for during their semester of full-time student teaching. Student teachers learn how to manage a classroom, create lesson plans, coordinate with parents, and differentiate learning for students’ varied abilities. Currently, student teachers are not paid, often forcing them to work additional jobs or take on additional debt to complete this requirement. 

“By creating a stipend program for future educators, we allow them to focus on preparing to be excellent teachers, gaining mentorship and real-life classroom experience,” said Rep. Peterson. “We are seeing too many students defer their student teaching experience until they can afford it, and too often this results in it taking longer for them to become fully licensed educators or not completing their programs at all.” 

“This bill would be a very beneficial way to assist students,” said Dr. Brenda Sabey, Utah Tech University Dean of Education. “The final semester of student teaching is a critical piece of their preparation to become a teacher. They have a dedicated master teacher to coach and support them as they put all they have learned into practice. It requires teacher candidates to, in essence, be a full-time teacher for about 12 weeks, without pay.”   

“Ensuring teachers start on the right foot by supporting them their final semester will increase the likelihood they stay in the profession,” said Sen. Wilson. “Helping student teachers with a stipend during their semester of student teaching will allow them a smooth transition into their full-time teaching career. Utah has a long history of supporting its educators, and this bill shows we appreciate them and all they do for our state.”  

“The inability to financially provide either for themselves or for their families has left many student teachers feeling helpless, anxious, and overwhelmed,” said Chandler Allen, an education student attending Weber State University. “Providing financial compensation for student teachers in the future will magnify their experience in the classroom, allowing them to fully focus on their requirements to complete their degree, then they can improve not only their own circumstances, but those of students as well, who desperately need good, quality teachers.” 

This proposal is widely supported by Utah College of Education Deans, including: Dr. Al Smith (Utah State University), Dr, Kristin Hadley (Weber State University), Dr. Frankie Santos Lanaan (University of Utah), Matt Neves (Westminster), Dr. Vessela Ilieva (Utah Valley University), and Dr. Brenda Sabey (Utah Tech University). 

The House Education Committee will consider H.B. 221 Stipends for Future Educators on Friday, January 26 at 2:00 p.m. in Senate 120. Funding for the program will be contingent on appropriation in the final budget. 

Contacts: 

Representative K. Peterson 

Utah House of Representatives 

385-285-6790 | [email protected] 

Chandler Allen  

Education Student at Weber State University 

385-368-4480 | [email protected] 

Alexa Musselman 

Director of Strategic Communications 

801-865-5882 | [email protected]

Senator C. Wilson 

Utah Senate 

435-770-2861 | [email protected] 

Dr. Brenda Sabey 

Utah Tech University Dean of Education 

435-652-7841 | [email protected]