Eye On Boise

Idaho school reformers cancel visit to Microsoft in advance of big computer buy

You can read my full story here at spokesman.com on how Idaho officials on a task force planning for the state's purchase of computers for every high school student have had to cancel a trip to Redmond, Wash. to meet with Microsoft officials, after concerns were raised that the trip would violate state purchasing rules. A state purchasing officer told the task force members, "Don't discuss this procurement with vendors."


State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna persuaded lawmakers this year to pass his "Students Come First" school reform legislation, which shifts state school funding from salaries to technology boosts, limits collective bargaining rights for teachers, imposes a new merit-pay bonus system and calls for new emphasis on online learning. The plan includes phasing in the purchase of a "mobile computing device" - a laptop computer, tablet, or similar device - for every Idaho high school student and teacher, using funds that now go to salaries. The entire plan is up for a referendum vote in November of 2012 to ask if voters want to dump it, after opponents gathered thousands of signatures to qualify the measure for the ballot.


In the meantime, Luna is continuing with starting up the program. The task force meets through tomorrow; it has additional two-day meetings scheduled each month through December.

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Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Russell covers Idaho news from the state capitol in Boise and writes the Eye on Boise blog.

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