By Christine Cooke

Testimony written by Christine Cooke and presented by Stan Rasmussen on March 2, 2017, in support of HB 212 2nd Sub. (Incentive for Effective Teachers in High Poverty Schools) before the Senate Education Committee of the Utah Legislature.

Thank you, Mr. Chair Pro Tem, and good morning, senators. Stan Rasmussen with Sutherland Institute, speaking on behalf of my colleague, Christine Cooke, education policy analyst at Sutherland.

We believe HB 212 2nd Sub. is sound policy because it causes education leaders to rethink some important issues in the teaching profession – both pay and morale – and fills a resource gap for Utah’s most at-risk children.

We believe that good teachers deserve to be rewarded, and this bill advances that value while sending the message that it is not how long you last in the classroom, but how well you perform that defines good teaching. This legislation also ensures that we are connecting our best teachers to the children who need them the most – children living in poverty.

The result of this program can inform how we choose to pursue other changes in the teaching profession so we can hire and retain the very best teachers.

For these reasons, we encourage you to support this bill.

Thank you.

Christine Cooke works as a policy analyst for Sutherland Institute’s Center for Educational Progress. Christine has a bachelor’s degree from Brigham Young University in English Teaching and graduated from Arizona State University with a law degree. Prior to joining Sutherland Institute, Christine was an English teacher at a public junior high school and a residential treatment center. As a student attorney in the Arizona State University Juvenile Advocacy Clinic, Christine represented clients in juvenile law proceedings and taught community legal education to high school students. She worked in legal and policy research with the legal counsel for the Arizona Office of the Governor, legal counsel for Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake, the Goldwater Institute, and The Heritage Foundation. Christine has made appearances on Fox-13 News and KSL’s Sunday Edition and is regularly featured in regional publications and radio shows. She currently sits on a state committee that advises the Utah State Board of Education on specific education issues. When in her home state of Arizona, she loves to spend time with her family. She also loves music, hiking, and making cookies.

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