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Utah's largest unions will join with political advocates this weekend to stage a march in downtown Salt Lake City in support of public education.
The demonstration is in response to the school-related policies and budget proposals of President Donald Trump and his Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, according to Brad Asay, president of the Utah chapter of the American Federation of Teachers.
"Our purpose for the march is to invite the public to rally in support of our public schools," Asay said in a statement. "Budget cuts from the current administration will drastically impact our kids. Furthermore, Secretary DeVos has a clear agenda of dismantling public education in pursuit of supporting private schools, for-profit charter schools and vouchers, which Utahns clearly voted against."
The critique of the Trump administration's education agenda was given additional urgency last week, Asay said, by DeVos' remarks at the annual meeting of the American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC, which prepares and promotes draft legislation on behalf of conservative state lawmakers.
In her remarks, DeVos accused teacher union leaders of caring more about supporting the U.S. public education system than about helping individual students.
Asay said Tuesday that organizers, including representatives of the Utah Education Association, the Utah AFL-CIO labor union, Utah Women Unite and progressive-leaning Alliance for a Better Utah, are in the process of obtaining permits for the event and determining a march route.
Several pro-public education rallies were held throughout the country last weekend, including a Saturday demonstration on the National Mall in Washington, D.C..
Asay said Utah's march is meant as a companion to those events, but was delayed for a week to avoid an overlap with activities related to the July 24 Pioneer Day holiday.
The event is scheduled to begin at the downtown City Library, 210 E. 400 South, at 10 a.m. before moving across the street to City Hall. After a series of remarks, Asay said, participants will march in the area.
Asay said organizers are working with other education-related community groups to promote Saturday's event.