POLITICS + GOVERNMENT

Lawmakers denounce activist’s comments about ‘destroying public education’

Jan 23, 2023, 7:00 PM | Updated: Jan 24, 2023, 1:15 pm
Utah 2022 legislative session...
Aerial view of the Utah State Capitol. A bill in the Utah legislature would redefine home schools and micro schools under Utah law. Photo: Ravell Call, Deseret News, KSL-TV Chopper 5

SALT LAKE CITY — Multiple state lawmakers disavowed comments made in a recording that circulated online Monday, by a prominent backer of the school choice bill saying she wanted to “destroy public education.”

The recording is of Allison Sorensen, the executive director of Education Opportunity 4 Every Child, a major player in the push for school vouchers. She apologized late Monday, calling her comments “thoughtless and inappropriate.” Sorensen is registered as a lobbyist for the state of Utah. 

“She’s the executive director of the group promoting the voucher program,” said Sen. Mike McKell (R-Spanish Fork).

Destroy public education 

In the recording Sorensen can be heard saying that she wants to “destroy public education” and insinuates that lawmakers do too.

“I can’t say this is a recall of the public education even though I want to destroy public education, the legislators can’t say that because they’ll just be reamed over the coals,” she said.

Prior to those comments, Sorensen is asked if teachers’ unions are going to argue that teachers will lose their jobs if the bill passes.

“Of course, they will,” she said. “They’re just going to say that no matter what I do, even though I’m giving them a pay raise. They’re still going to put a gun to your head and take your taxes, and the UEA is still going to come to them and say give me the damn money. And so, until you take your money back, they don’t care.”

The sponsor of the bill, Sen. Kirk Cullimore (R-Sandy) acknowledge that Sorensen’s group is one of the “many” stakeholders he’s been working with. But said her views are “not reflective of me or the legislature.”

Sen. President Stuart Adams (R-Layton) also told reporters, “That group doesn’t speak for the legislature.”

Sen. McKell is calling for Sorensen to step down.

“I think she should resign. If your stated purpose is to destroy public education then you should not have a seat at the table, period.” McKell spoke with KSL NewsRadio’s Dave and Dujanovic, and you can hear the entire podcast below:


 

In an email to KSL, Sorensen apologized for her comments.

“I apologize for my thoughtless and inappropriate comments. I should not have made them. My remarks as an individual should not be interpreted to represent any organization, the legislature, or the tens of thousands of Utahns who are asking for more education opportunities for their families and communities. Like any other mom, I want every child in Utah to have access to an education that helps them thrive.”
 

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Lawmakers denounce activist’s comments about ‘destroying public education’