When Gov. Butch Otter opened his signing ceremony this morning on SB 1184, the school technology and online learning bill, he began by recalling consulting with the Idaho Business Coalition for Education Excellence, a group of business leaders, when he first became governor. “I think we will have fulfilled the vision of the IBCEE,” Otter declared. However, when asked if that group has endorsed SB 1184, Otter said, “I don't know.”
In fact, asked that same question, Christine Donnell, IBCEE executive director, said, “No, they didn't.” She said, “It came along pretty quickly after the first two of Tom Luna's reform bills went through. we had not had a meeting, we didn't feel like we had vetted the changes very well in terms of explaining it to our members and getting their feedback, so we just didn't take a position on it at all.”
The business group testified in favor of the first two reform bills in the Otter/Luna package, but not SB 1184. “IBCEE's membership just said we strongly support reform,” Donnell said. “They did not want to get into the details of it, did not want to take a positon on how many online courses, or the whole issue about the technology, class sizes, none of it. They just said they strongly supported the Students Come First plan, but just not into the details.”
Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.
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