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Posts tagged: education reforms

EOB: 1st Referendum Ad Is Suspect

The hottest election issue of the season in Idaho - possible repeal of the state's controversial new school reform laws - has yielded the first statewide TV campaign commercial, and it makes some questionable claims. “Proposition 3 replaces teachers with computers by requiring that taxpayers fund laptops for high school students,” the ad says. “The Legislature failed to fully fund the laptops required by Proposition 3, so our property taxes could increase.” Actually, one of the main things the reform laws did was write formulas into state law guaranteeing funding for the laptops into future years. The laws made the laptop program a new “statutory requirement” within Idaho's public schools budget, just like busing, border contracts or salaries and benefits/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here.


Luna: No Plan B If Reforms Rejected

There’s a what-if question being debated in Idaho politics that matters quite a bit: What if voters in November reject Propositions 1, 2 and 3, repealing state Superintendent Tom Luna’s Students Come First school reform laws? The laws, passed in 2011, already are being phased in. If voters opt to repeal them in the referendum vote, that would stop. The laws rolled back teachers’ collective bargaining rights, imposed a new merit-pay bonus system, and called for providing a laptop computer for every Idaho high school student and a new focus on online learning, among other changes. The first laptops are to be distributed this fall to teachers, with the first third of high school students getting them next fall. This year’s public school budget includes $38.8 million for the merit-pay bonuses for teachers, $13.6 million for technology and more than $2.5 million for laptops. Luna, who unveiled his budget request for the 2013-’14 school year last week, said he had no alternative proposal if the measures are voted down and decried the push as posing a major midyear disruption for schools/Betsy Russell, SR. More here. (AP file photo)

Question: Are you going to join me in voting to reject Superintendent Tom Luna's radical education “reforms” in November?

Luna Installed Extra Panic Button

Item: Tom Luna's safety in question? Superintendent's staff installs panic button/Ben Botkin, Twin Falls Times-News

More Info: Idaho public schools chief Tom Luna’s staff ordered an additional panic button for their office while emotions ran high and state lawmakers weighed his proposed education overhaul in late March. Public expense records show that the state paid $868.31 on March 31 to Allied General Fire and Security Inc. for installation of a third panic button in the State Department of Education office in Boise.

Question: Do you have adequate security in your workplace?

Hucks: Ed Reforms Claim Teacher

The education “reform” package sprung unexpectedly on Idaho by schools super Tom Luna has claimed its first victim. Meghan Ridley, a special-ed teacher and teacher of the year recipient in the Lakeland School District, has had enough. She quit her job last week after being accepted into a Gonzaga University doctoral program. Meghan, whose battle with anonymous Coeur d’Alene Press online commenters has been chronicled here, said the teacher rallies, letters to the editor, speeches before uncaring legislators, and unwanted “troll” attention over the “hot photo” took a toll. She told Huckleberries she had an epiphany after she got more attention over a newspaper photo that showed a hint of cleavage than she had attracted during her years as a teacher. So she said she embraced her “sexy teacher” alter ego and launched a Facebook page under the pseudonym “Ima HotTeacher,” where she plans to continue fighting the Luna-tic legislation to overhaul Idaho education/DFO, SR. More Huckleberries print here.

Question: Have you ever quit a job over a matter of principle?

Luna Claims Vandalism IEA ‘Thuggery’

A pick-up truck that belongs to to Idaho Department of Education Superintendent Tom Luna is shown outside his Nampa home Tuesday. Vandals slashed two tires and spray-painted the truck of Luna, as the furor over his proposed education reforms appeared to grow uglier. Hearings on the education reforms were expected to continue Tuesday in the Idaho Senate, where the legislation was introduced earlier this month and is now being reworked amid opposition from teachers, parents and some lawmakers. Story by Patrick Orr/Statesman here. (AP Photo/Idaho Press-Tribune, Greg Kreller)

Question: Luna blames the attack on “union thuggery” (Idaho Education Association), despite the clear condemnation of this event by IEA representatives. Should he have made that claim without evidence?

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About this blog

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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