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Posts tagged: education reform

SR: Idaho GOP Tramples Voters

  • Action: Tired of waiting for the Legislature to act, six Idaho cities have passed ordinances that prohibit discrimination against citizens in housing, hiring and public accommodations based on sexual orientation.
  • Reaction: Idaho Republican Party leaders have called on the Legislature to void those ordinances and prevent other municipalities from passing similar ones.
  • Action: Last fall, Idaho voters – via three referendums – successfully overturned education-related laws adopted by the Legislature.
  • Reaction: The Legislature passed a law making it more difficult – some say impossible – to gather enough signatures to place an initiative or referendum on the ballot. Then lawmakers ignored the will of the voters and passed some of the education items anyway.

That’s life in Idaho, where about four out of five lawmakers are Republican, the right to petition the government is trampled and local rule is overruled. More here.

Question: Now repeat after me, fellow Republican: “It's time to quit voting straight-ticket Republican until the Idaho Republican Party begins listening to Idahoans instead of extreme activists.” Got it?

Goedde Ripped For Ed Reform Hubris

Former Sen. Tim Corder, R-Mountain Home, is criticizing Senate Education Committee Chairman John Goedde, R-Coeur d’Alene, saying he displayed “wanton disregard for the public will” in helping reenact some of the anti-union measures in “Students Come First.” Though 57 percent of voters rejected Proposition 1 in November, the 2013 Legislature revived four provisions at the urging of the Idaho School Boards Association. The four bills signed by Gov. Butch Otter:  restore board authority to cut teacher pay without declaring a financial emergency; eliminate ongoing “evergreen” contract provisions; require 50 percent teacher membership to qualify a union to collectively bargain; and eliminate an early retirement program/Dan Popkey, Idaho Statesman. More here.

Question: Will Coeur d'Alene voters remember Goedde's role in education “reform” if he seeks re-election in 2014?

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CdA Press: Yes On Proposition 3

Take it from an industry that has struggled to adjust and adapt: The world has changed, and those who resist that change risk becoming irrelevant. The newspaper business has finally stopped fighting the dramatic shift in the way information is communicated; its very survival depends upon creating excellent products and delivering them in ways consumers not only desire, but now demand. Public education faces many of the same challenges - and the same opportunities. Proposition 3 on Idaho ballots opens unlimited possibilities for public school students to learn with help from technology that they neither fear nor misunderstand, which cannot be said of some adults. Education reform adopted by the Idaho Legislature in 2011 includes a mandate for every high school to have wireless Internet access and every high school teacher and student a wireless computing device/Coeur d'Alene Press Editorial Board. More here.


Gem State Tea Party Backs Props 1-3

The new group that consolidates Tea Party branches across Idaho, urges “yes” votes on the three 2011 education laws authored by Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna. “FACTS and LOVE of Idaho's kids caused us to endorse Yes Yes Yes to keep Education Modernization Laws!” says the group in an email announcing a special edition newsletter. The newsletter reprints content provided by the Idaho Freedom Foundation, including an editorial by Executive Director Wayne Hoffman. Also includes a dissent from Bob Compton, a veterinarian, who questions the laptop mandate and says “Luna is encouraging implementation of a federal/UNESCO (United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization) program for our students that will move Idaho's education system even further away from local control”/Dan Popkey, Idaho Statesman. More here. (AP file photo)


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School Board To Discuss Luna Laws

Update: Christa Hazel is covering School Board meeting live for HucksOnline,

The Coeur d'Alene School Board is now meeting to discuss taking a position on the three ballot propositions associated with the Luna Laws.

  • 6 p.m. You can follow the rest of Christa's coverge in the comments section.
  • 5:36 p.m. Superintendent Bauman reports that our district received an AA2 rating from Moody's for our bonds.  This is the highest bond rating for any school district in Idaho but for 1, which was AA1 for a charter school in Boise that didn't require an election..  Third party Moody's, gives our district this high rating because our financials are strong.
  • 5:29 p.m. Noticeably absent from tonight's meeting audience.
  • 5:28 p.m. Public comment on non-agenda items has concluded. The Superintendent's report plus Trustee comments are coming up soon. Estimated around 7:20 will be Props 1,2&3 discussion.  Public comment regarding this agenda item will take place at that time.
  • 5:24 p.m. A few Hayden Meadow parents signed up to speak during public comment of non-agenda items. Quite a few teachers are in attendance. Jim Purtee is absent from the meeting.
  • 5:23 p.m. Angie Phillips asks the Board if the school board took into account the June 2010 IB/PYP Ad-Hoc Committe that addressed 7 in-depth questions resulting in 50-ish pages of analysis per question studying the impact of IB/PYP.  She requested a personal reply from each board member on how this report played into their decision. Full statement here.
  • 5:13 p.m. Tony Perka speaks to the Luna Laws.  He asks if the school board has looked to the Boise School Board, who has a reasoned statement against the Luna Laws.  He refers to “poli-tricks” involved with the Luna Laws.  Claims Rep. Hammond stated nothing would change but Mr. Perka believes that this was a lie.

Question: Do you think the Coeur d'Alene School Board will take a position on the Luna Laws? Which way will the trustees come down, if they do?

Hoffman Decries Anti-Luna Reform Ad

The education labor union has reached a new milestone in lowness, attempting to turn Idaho voters into Luddites and depict kids as klutzes in order to satisfy a selfish agenda. Witness its first ad against Propositions 1, 2 and 3. Says the ad: “Prop 3 replaces teachers with computers by requiring that taxpayers fund laptops for high school students.” Not true. The law requires schools start using technology, and that mobile computing devices — which covers more than laptops, by the way, be part of the regular curriculum. It does not replace teacher with computers, robots, androids or holograms. The ad also claims that “the Legislature failed to fully fund the laptops required by Prop 3.” Also not true, which makes the further allegation, that the law will cause property taxes to go up, also erroneous/Wayne Hoffman, Idaho Freedom Foundation. More here.

Question: Have you seen the ad? What do you think of it?

SR: Is Luna Afraid Of Democracy?

Idaho Superintendent of Schools Tom Luna complains that a possible voter overturn of his Students Come First reform plan will be a “disruption.” For a definition, check for synonyms under “democracy” in the household dictionary. Or online. Americans have been disruptive since the original Tea Party. That colonists might object to a tax on their beverage seems not to have occurred to the British Parliament. So too, apparently, with the reforms enacted by the Idaho Legislature in 2011 that prompted a drive that collected the requisite signatures on three repeal measures in just a little more time than it took the founders to ink the Declaration of Independence/Spokesman-Review Editorial Board. More here.


Idaho Call For Laptop Bids Fizzles

Citing insufficient competition, Idaho officials have abandoned their original bidding process meant to equip public school teachers with laptop computers starting this fall. Instead, the state will negotiate directly with providers of computers and services, in hopes of keeping this five-year estimated $60 million piece of public schools chief Tom Luna’s “Students Come First” reforms on track even as he tries to fend off repeal measures on November’s ballot. State purchasing officials say only three private groups submitted bids following a request for proposals, or “RFP,” earlier this year. One missed the June 11 deadline and was excluded. Another was on time, but failed to meet state requirements. Only one actually met the qualifications/AP. More here.

Question: Why do you suppose there was so little interest in Idaho's call for bids for laptops?

Luna: Son Of Scott Walker — McGurn

It's on. On the Idaho ballot, that is. Come November, Idahoans will vote on three referenda aimed at repealing what may be the nation's most sweeping education reform, including new limits on collective bargaining for teachers. Think of it as the sequel to Wisconsin, where similar reforms led to a similar effort—the attempted recall of Gov. Scott Walker. At the heart of the political drama in Idaho is the state's superintendent of public instruction, Tom Luna. A glance at Mr. Luna's résumé shows a career businessman who became involved in his local school board and went on to serve in the Bush Education Department before returning to Idaho to run for his present office in 2006. Most refreshing is what's not on Mr. Luna's résumé: a degree in education/William McGurn, Wall Street Journal Main Street. More here.

Question: Do you see Idaho Superintendent Tom Luna as the ideological son of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker?

Luna Reform Foes Kick Off Drive

More than 100 people gathered on the steps outside Boise High School today to kick off a statewide campaign against the “Students Come First” school reform laws, which are up for possible repeal in three referendum measures on the November ballot. “We urge Idahoans to vote 'No' on all three propositions,” said Mike Lanza, a Boise father of two and campaign chairman. “These laws take us backward, not forward. They make it harder for teachers to do their jobs effectively. They are bad for children, bad for teachers and bad for Idaho.” Gov. Butch Otter already has formed a PAC to fight to preserve the laws, and state Superintendent of Schools Tom Luna, the laws' author, pushed hard for them at last weekend's state Republican Party convention/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here.

Question: Who do you trust more with public education — Tom Luna/Idaho Legislature or teachers?

Otter Begs IACI To Help Save Reform

Dredging my notebook from Monday's meeting of the Idaho Association of Commerce and Industry I find this: Gov. Butch Otter asked the state's biggest business lobby to sustain the victory won by Otter and Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna in passing what Luna calls “Students Come First.” The three measures passed by the Legislature in 2001 are subject to voter approval or rejection in November, after petitioners gathered over 200,000 signatures on three referendum petitions. “There are a lot of things that we have accomplished and those things can not be pushed aside,” Otter told the group in Sun Valley. “Idaho became one of the first states to reform its education”/Dan Popkey, Idaho Statesman. More here.

Question: Do you still think Otter didn't have a hand in helping Tom Luna foist his public education experiment on Idaho?

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Genesee To Be Luna Guinea Pig

It looks like a local school district will be a guinea pig this fall for the Students Come First initiative put forward by Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna. The Idaho Department of Education named Genesee School District among 32 others across the state to receive the laptops, after 170 high schools applied and were blindly rated by a committee. That gives Latah County a decided advantage in the implementation process of the 1:1 initiative, because it allows for some technical questions to be answered. Giving taxpayer-funded, expensive electronics to teenagers shouldn't happen without shedding light on some details.“The Genesee School District is excited to be one of the first districts to receive the 1:1 laptop devices,” Superintendent Wendy Moore said in a prepared statement. “We believe this initiative will help bring greater educational opportunities for our students and help raise academic achievement. … That sounds great, but how will it help raise academic achievement?/Kelsie Moseley, Moscow-Pullman Daily News. More here.

Question: How will Tom Luna's free computers raise academic achievement in Idaho?

IFF: Ed Reform Draws Attention Here

The failed multimillion dollar campaign to boot Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker from office is on its way to Idaho. We don’t know what form it will take, but you can imagine that some of the messages tried in Wisconsin will also be attempted here, all in an effort to return Idaho’s education system to a status quo that empowers labor unions and puts their interests ahead of schoolchildren. The labor unions don’t like that Idaho’s education reforms are allowing excellent teachers to be recognized and rewarded for their great work, are creating heightened transparency in the union negotiation process, have restored the power of elected school boards and now provide a means for school districts and their students to take advantage of technological innovation/Wayne Hoffman, Idaho Freedom Foundation. More here.

Question: Is Hoffman and other Hard Right Republicans producing a straw man by trying to tie attempts to overthrown Superintendent Tom Luna's education reforms to the Wisconsin recall vote?

Foster Quits Ed Reform Work, Dems

John Foster, a former executive director of the Idaho Democratic party and former Democratic Congressman Walt Minnick's 2010 campaign manager, said Monday that he has ended his volunteer affiliation with the campaign by GOP Gov. Butch Otter and GOP Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna to preserve their 2011 education reforms. Foster said he told aides to Otter and Luna “about 10 days ago” that he needs to focus on building a new business with his partner, Kate Haas, Minnick’s former chief of staff. Foster and Haas were fired by Seattle-based Strategies 360 on Feb. 3 after Foster attempted to make the campaign a client for the company. Strategies 360 fired the pair in February and sued them. Foster and Haas counter-sued. Their new company is called Kestrel West/Dan Popkey, Idaho Statesman. More here.

Question: Is John Foster a man without a cause or party now?

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Trillhaase: Luna Foes Win 1st Round

In an editorial in the Lewiston Tribune this morning, opinionator Marty Trillhaase writes that individuals opposed to Superintendent Tom Luna's education reforms already have won the first round. Whether or not referendums against those reforms pass this November, Trillhaase writes that the 2012 Idaho Legislature gave opponents most of what they wanted. “Instead of raiding the teacher salary account to advance LunaTech's aims, lawmakers agreed to steer any additional money they receive each year toward those programs. All of which is fine if the state is in clover. But the guaranteed future flow of state funds into online instruction has been stripped away. When Idaho hits another rough patch, how will lawmakers find money to continue LunaTech? Do they cut something else? Ignore demands from rising Medicaid or prison case loads? Raise taxes? Raid the teacher salary account once again?” More here.

Question: Did Luna “reforms” die quietly while we weren't watching?

Idaho Teachers Leaving In Droves

Nearly 1,300 Idaho teachers left the profession in 2011, up from about 700 the year before. More than half of the educators who abandoned teaching last year left for “personal reasons,” according to data from the state Department of Education. School districts reported another 96 teachers were fired and 85 were laid off in 2011, which is about the same as the previous year. The remaining 579 educators left to continue their education or because of military and family obligations. Other reasons included death, leave of absences or a spousal transfer. But the number of teachers leaving the profession for person reasons more than doubled to 697 in 2011, up from 314 in 2010, according records that the Idaho Education Association requested from the state's education department/Jessie L. Bonner, AP. More here.

Question: What part or the education reforms pushed by Superintendent Tom Luna, Gov. Butch Otter, and the Idaho Legislature playing in the loss of so many Idaho teachers?

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Carlson: Luna Steamrolled Teachers

Those supporting repeal of the Luna/Otter Educational “Reform” package in general, and the Idaho Education Association, in particular, might want to take note of comments and attitudes gleaned from a recent sit down with three teachers at St. Maries High School.  The comments not surprisingly reflected a similar earlier sit down with a teacher in the Challis School District. All four said without hesitation they intended to vote to repeal the three items on the ballot in November.  Like many they are offended by the lack of due process alone.  In their eyes it was a betrayal of trust for Governor Otter and State Superintendent Luna to have campaigned for re-election in 2010 and not to have said word one to any involved in education about what they were planning to introduce a scant seven weeks later when the 2011 Legislature convened/Chris Carlson, The Carlson Chronicles. More here.

Question: Have you made up your mind re: how to vote on the anti-Luna referendums this fall?

Luna Claim: I Discussed Ed Reforms

Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna came under fire during the debate over his education reform package because some critics of the plan say he didn’t mention it during his run for re-election just months prior. Luna says he has been talking about reforms for years and that his record shows as much. The Republican superintendent also talked about his plans to fight three referenda that could overturn the laws in his reform packages. Over the course of the hearings dedicated to Luna’s legislation, several critics and detractors expressed dismay that the superintendent didn’t talk about his plan to reshape Idaho’s public school system in his 2010 re-election run/Dustin Hurst, Idaho Reporter. More here.

Question: Can anyone out there recall Superintendent Tom Luna mentioned his radical education reforms prior to the 2010 general election? Anyone?

Vestal: Idaho Ignores Its Teachers

If you want to “fix schools,” apparently, there’s one group of people you should ignore. Teachers. And when, in the course of fixing schools, you ignore this group of people, you should make it clear that you are not really ignoring “the people.” They’re just teachers. If you want to fix schools and put students first – well, first after taxpayers and “customers” and federal standards and ideological opponents of unions – what you should do about this group of people is remove them from the equation altogether. Make ’em leave the room while kids learn on computers. Teachers. If only we could have schools – very cheap, very effective schools – without them/Shawn Vestal, SR. More here. (AP file photo of Superintendent Tom Luna)

Question: Why do Idaho political leaders have such disdain for teachers?

Ed Board Sets Online Tech Hearings

Idaho’s State Board of Education has set seven public hearings around the state on a proposed new online learning requirement for high school graduation, which would require two online credits to graduate. One of the two must be an “asynchronous” course, defined as one in which the teacher is not in the classroom with the student during instructional periods and both students and teachers participate in the course on their own schedules, rather than at a fixed time. The hearings start today in Idaho Falls; they include one Monday in Coeur d’Alene from 4-8 p.m. at North Idaho College, in Room 102 of the Meyer Health Building; and one in Moscow Aug. 16. Additional hearings are scheduled over the next two weeks in Pocatello, Fruitland, Nampa and Twin Falls/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here.

Question: Do you plan to participate in these Board of Education hearing re: proposed new online learning requirement?

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D.F. Oliveria is a columnist and blogger for The Spokesman-Review. Print Huckleberries is a past winner of the Herb Caen Memorial Column contest by the National Association of Newspaper Columnists. The Readership Institute of Northwestern University cited this blog as a good example of online community journalism.

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