Posts tagged: Mike Lanza
Buoyed by the results of a private poll commissioned by Education Voters of Idaho, some backers of the failed “Students Come First” school reform laws – including Gov. Butch Otter – are calling for reviving “parts and pieces” of the voter-rejected laws. But the leaders of the successful referendum campaign against the laws say they shouldn’t be the starting point for new school reform discussions. “We just had the ultimate poll,” said Mike Lanza, referring to the overwhelming rejection of the laws by voters on Nov. 6. You can read my full story here at spokesman.com.
The co-chairs of the successful campaign to defeat Propositions 1, 2 and 3 on the November ballot, the “Students Come First” or Luna laws, today released a statement applauding Gov. Butch Otter for looking into forming a broad stakeholder task force to look into future school reforms, but urged against enacting any new reform laws in the upcoming legislative session. “It’s entirely feasible that this group could issue recommendations by the end of 2013, in time for the 2014 Legislature,” the two said in their two-page statement; you can read it here.
Lanza said, “Let’s go back to ground zero – we should not be talking about bringing back laws that were overwhelmingly rejected.” He and Greeley called for the 2013 Legislature to address school funding issues brought about by the laws’ repeal, to keep school districts “whole” in their funding for the current school year. “This money should go to the schools, and it shouldn’t be used for other agendas,” Lanza said. “The Legislature voted to allocate that money and they shouldn’t pull the plug on schools now. … This is budgetary housekeeping that the Legislature could do quickly.” Greeley said the state funds that this year’s school budget allocated for specific items under the reform laws should be turned over to local school districts. Said Lanza, “I think for the most part, those districts know exactly what they need it for.”
The two said they’ve had many conversations and meetings with others on all sides of the education reform issue since the election, including the governor’s office, and have felt a broad sense of agreement that future school reforms in Idaho should be aimed directly at improving student achievement. “We’re very encouraged by both the commitment of a lot of frankly influential people, and the caliber of ideas that they are bringing to the table,” Lanza said.
Last week, Gov. Butch Otter told an audience of 400 at the Associated Taxpayers of Idaho convention that he’s looking into naming a 33-member stakeholder group, to be overseen by the State Board of Education, to examine school reform issues in the wake of the laws’ defeat.
Mike Lanza, chairman of the campaign that successfully overturned controversial “Students Come First” school reform laws, reacted with suspicion today to state schools Superintendent Tom Luna's call for collaboration on new reform laws. “His entire track record is not one of collaboration, and we believe his credibility is what it is because of that,” Lanza said, noting that as the referendum campaign was gathering signatures, Luna and lawmakers added “clearly unnecessary” emergency clauses to the controversial laws. “He's not the person to lead this time. He should endorse a process that is run from outside of his department.”
Lanza said, “I would urge the Legislature and Superintendent Luna to refrain from trying to pass anything quickly this year, because if they do, I think they will again raise the ire of the public.” He said Idaho must “de-politicize this process and have it driven from the ground up. I'm talking about parents, teachers, administrators, members of school boards, business leaders, the very coalition of people that we've already begun to build. We believe that that's the way to really give credibility to this process and get buy-in from the public, not by having it driven by the superintendent whose plan has been discredited by the voters.”
Meanwhile, Luna, the first non-educator to head Idaho's public schools, said, “There's many good things that have come from these laws even though they were overturned - in the way we're looking at technology, the way we're looking at teacher evaluations, the way we're looking at parental input, the way we're looking at advanced opportunities for students. Those are all good things that came from this law, and those don't go away.” You can read my full story here at spokesman.com. Also, click below for a report from AP reporter John Miller on Luna's determination to push for merit pay in 2013.