Rep. Brian Cronin said national scientific studies have shown no link between merit pay for teachers and improved student achievement. State schools Supt. Tom Luna countered that it's working in New Plymouth. “If you really are interested in the truth, take a look at New Plymouth … they've been doing it for 10 years,” he said.
Asked why the campaign commercials against the reforms haven't focused as much on Prop. 1, the teacher contract bill, Cronin said he thinks it will be addressed. He said the measure removed teachers' ability to talk with districts about issues ranging from curriculum to scheduling as part of annual negotiations; Luna countered that they can still talk about those things in other settings.
Luna said when textbooks first were printed, no one said they were replacing teachers - they were a new tool. Cronin responded, “I don't know a single CEO, a single small business owner who has said you know what the problem is? The problem with kids these days is that they don't understand technology. … Technology's not the challenge.”
Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.
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