The Utah Education Association claims its 18,000 members “believe in opportunity for all students” and seek to help “all students—of all colors and backgrounds—learn, grow, and fulfill their potential.” Unfortunately, the union’s definition of “all students” excludes the 10,000 children enrolled in the state’s new Utah Fits All Scholarship program. Last week, the union filed a lawsuit to kill the K-12 scholarship program. 

Demand for the K-12 scholarship program far exceeded available funding; 15,900 families applied for Utah Fits All scholarships on behalf of 27,270 students last spring. The scholarship program provides state-funded education savings accounts (ESA) of up to $8,000 that parents can use for approved K-12 educational services—such as private school tuition and fees, tutoring, testing, curriculum, and contracted services. Students whose family income is 200% of the Federal Poverty Level or less received priority when scholarships were awarded.

Rather than celebrate expanded student opportunities, the Utah Education Association wants to lock the public schoolhouse doors and block families from escaping. 

“The timing is suspicious,” observed Jon England of the Libertas Institute, as the lawsuit was filed a few weeks before families could begin using the funds for the 2024-25 school year. The law creating the Utah Fits All program passed the state legislature in January 2023 and Governor Spencer Cox signed it into law in March 2023. In response to high parental demand, the legislature doubled the program’s funding in March 2024. Why didn’t the union sue at any of those points? Perhaps union leaders want to punish Utah parents eager for freedom to direct their child’s educational path. 

Utah legislators aren’t intimidated by the union’s callous legal tactics. In response to the lawsuit, Utah Senate President Stuart Adams stated, “We learned during COVID that parents needed more options for their kids. The Utah Fits All Scholarship expands education opportunities to include additional educational paths for parents to use their taxpayer money to select what is best for their kids.” State Representative Candice Pierucci, chair of the Utah House Education Committee, pointed out, “The UEA’s scarcity mentality, and unwillingness to prioritize Utah children, shows just how out of touch they are with Utah parents and students.”

To learn more about how teachers unions block children from escaping schools that fail to meet their needs, listen to “Corey DeAngelis: Funding Students And Exposing Radical Teachers Unions” and “Derrell Bradford: Should We Be Hostile to Teachers Unions?.”

For more information about teachers unions, check out the IWF Education Freedom Center’s Teachers Union Resource Center.