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Posts tagged: Luna laws

Trib: A Tale Of 2 Elections

Idaho is a one-party state caught between two elections. One election overwhelmingly repealed the Luna laws - the 2011 school overhaul package championed by state Superintendent Tom Luna that targeted teacher employment rights, imposed a clunky merit pay program and substituted technology for teaching. But the other election retained the same legislators who enacted the Luna laws in the first place. Is it any wonder that, when lawmakers got back to work this year, they reversed the voters by re-enacting some of the Luna law's features?/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. More here.

Question: How can Huckleberries do a better job reminding voters which legislators bucked them and helped restore Luna Laws, prior to the 2014 GOP primaries and general elections?

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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Trib: To Goedde, ‘No’ Means ‘Not Yet’

Five months ago, the people of Idaho said no. No to overturning teachers' employment rights — 57 percent. No to imposing a top-down merit pay system rewarding teachers more for whether they work in a wealthy school than what they do — 58 percent. No to pulling money meant for teacher salaries to pay for an untested technology initiative — 66.7 percent. When state school Superintendent Tom Luna was cramming this 2011 overhaul package down the throats of Idaho parents, students, teachers, and taxpayers, Sen. John Goedde, R-Coeur d'Alene, was helping him every step of the way. Since November's referendum campaign, Goedde, chairman of the Senate Education Committee, has taken any opportunity to get even with the voters for repudiating his handiwork. If there's a bill to continue weakening teacher collective bargaining rights, he's on board/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. More here.

Question: What do you make of state Sen. John Goedde, R-Coeur d'Alene, still ignoring the will of the people to push the voter-rejected Luna Laws at every opportunity?

Bloomberg Backs Obama, Luna Laws

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s endorsement of President Obama is prompting many to analyze the billionaire’s move. Is this a sign that business isn’t as anti-Obama as it seems? (Bloomberg is, after all, a highly successful entrepreneur—and business bible The Economist endorsed the president the same day.) How many independent voters might actually be swayed by the mayor’s lukewarm praise? And what does this mean about the man’s own presidential aspirations, and his post-mayoral life?/Jena McGregor, Washington Post. More here. (AP file photo)

Question: So billionaire Bloomberg endorses Obama after quietly giving $200,000 to Education Voters of Idaho to fight for so-called education reform promoted by the Idaho GOP establishment? What gives?

Trib: Cheers For Judge Wetherell

In his weekly Cheers & Jeers column, opinionator Marty Trillhaase of the Lewiston Tribune offers “cheers … to Fourth District Judge Mike Wetherell of Boise. Wetherell's ruling Monday compelled Education Voters of Idaho to cough up where it got $641,000 to promote the Luna laws. It also went a long way toward discouraging similar impropriety in the future.Before EVI disclosed it had collected $200,000 from New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and $250,000 from Albertsons heir Joe Scott, EVI was thumbing its nose at the 1974 voter-passed Sunshine Initiative.EVI's leaders — former state Rep. Debbie Field, R-Boise, and former congressional staffer John Foster — argued their status as a 501(c)(4) trumped any obligation to disclose. Even if Idaho Secretary of State Ben Ysursa's lawsuit ultimately prevailed, it looked as if EVI might run out the clock — and delay disclosure until after the election/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. More here.

Question: Supporters of the Luna Laws propositions have made a big deal in flyers re: a $1M contribution from the National Education Association in direct-mail flyers. Yet they have received $1.3M from Frank Vandersloot & tried their darndest to hide financial contributions to Education Voters of Idaho. Hypocrites?

Otter: First Lady Asked For Donation

Idaho Gov. Butch Otter says it wasn't him who asked New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg to donate to Idaho's school-reform fight — it was First Lady Lori Otter. “The first lady was the one that talked to Mike's organization,” Otter said today, before judging a children's Halloween costume contest on the state Capitol steps. “You know, we got to know Mike pretty well, going up to the, Herb Allen has his gathering up in Sun Valley, and so every year we've gone up, we've ran into Mike, and had an opportunity to kind of get to know each other. He's been interested in education, and Lori I think was telling him about it while we were up there, and he said, 'Give me a call, I'll see if I can help you.'”/Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise. More here. (AP file photo of Lori Otter & governor snuggling at a Republican victory party)

Question: Did Butch throw Lori under the bus?

NY Mayor Gave $200K For Luna Laws

Education Voters of Idaho, acting under a judge's order, filed its campaign finance disclosure report this afternoon, revealing the until-now anonymous donors to the group's statewide TV ad campaign in favor of Propositions 1, 2 and 3, the school reform measures. Among them: $200,000 from New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg (pictured), and $250,000 from Boise's Joseph B. Scott. Michael Bloomberg is the third-term mayor of New York, an independent, a former Republican and former Democrat, and one of the nation's richest men. He is pro-choice, pro-gun control, and made national waves this year with his move to ban the sale of sugary soft drinks in servings bigger than 16 ounces on public health grounds. He's clashed with the city's public employee unions, including during a transit workers strike in 2005, and as mayor took direct control over the city's public schools, where he's pushed for reforms/Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise. More here. (AP photo)

Question: What the heck is a New York mayor doing by doughnating $200K to an Idaho education fight?

Study: IEA ‘Thugs’ Relatively Weak

While Idaho's teachers union has been accused of union thuggery during the intense campaign on Propositions 1, 2 and 3, the state ranks just 36th in union strength nationwide, according to a study released Monday by the Thomas B. Fordham Institute and Education Reform Now. The report says Idaho has the seventh-highest rate of teachers laid off annually due to poor performance, with 3.5 percent let go every year. Union membership ranks 35th, with 62 percent of teachers in unions, and union revenue ranks 29th, at $444 annually per teacher. The Ohio-based Fordham Institute's board includes former U.S. Education Secretary Rod Paige, who was Idaho Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna's boss during the George W. Bush administration/Dan Popkey, Idaho Statesman. More here. (IEA photo of President Penni Cyr)

Question: Izzit just me, or do you also think that the real motivation behind the Luna-Law propositions is to drive the last nail into the coffin of the teachers union while giving Republican legislators cover to further underfund education?

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.


Trib: Vote No On All 3 Luna Laws

Only once have Idaho voters repudiated any law passed by the Legislature and enacted by their governor and that was nearly 80 years ago. Now is the time for Idahoans to take that step again.On the Nov. 6 ballot are the three Luna laws — measures schools Superintendent Tom Luna steamrollered through a compliant Idaho Legislature in 2011 over the objections of teachers, administrators and many parents. By waging political war on Idaho's teachers, the Luna laws would add to the burdens of a public school structure already buckling under the weight of budget cuts and a neglectful political elite/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. More here.


Poll: Reform Prompts Teacher Exodus

  • Thursday Poll: A large majority of Hucks Nation believes the Luna Laws are causing educators to quit Idaho teaching jobs. 105 of 168 respondents (62.5%) hold that position. 49 of 168 respondents (29.17%) say the Luna Laws aren't causing the unusual exodus. 14 (8.33%) were undecided.
  • Weekend Poll: Rep. Vito Barbieri is telling Evangelicals to pull their kids from “godless” public schools. Have your kids ever attended a private or alternative school (charter, virtual, etc.)?

Press: Yes On Props 1, 2

Proposition 1 has been derided by opponents as a mean-spirited attempt to wrest control away from teachers and the teachers union and instead put too much authority in the state's hands. We agree that regretfully, some teachers have perceived it as mean-spirited, and we further agree that it absolutely takes authority away from the teachers union. But we support Prop 1 because we believe it has placed much more control in local hands - the hands of parents and school boards. And we also believe it has opened the window to a level of transparency that never existed here before, not even in this right-to-work state that has long rejected the mentality behind secretive collective bargaining sessions. We prize individual accomplishment and responsibility, and Prop 1 underscores those values/Coeur d'Alene Press Editorial Board. More here.


Betsy Analyzes H-P Pact Numbers

Idaho Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna, center, along with Gov. Butch Otter, right, and executives from Hewlett-Packard Co., announced on Tuesday in Boise that HP was awarded a multi-year contract to provided laptops and technology support to Idaho students as part of  Luna's “Students Comes First” initiative. (AP Photo/The Idaho Statesman, Katherine Jones)

At Eye on Boise, Betsy Russell writes: “I still have not received a copy of the $180 million contract the state of Idaho signed yesterday with Hewlett-Packard Corp. and partners for laptop computers for Idaho high schools, but the State Department of Education just sent me this cost breakdown. It shows that the total amount of the contract is $181,935,125. Their figure for the total number of laptops matches the one from the RFP, at 90,376. But with the phase-in over the eight years, the total number of laptop-years in the contract comes to 554,251, because smaller numbers are included for the first, second and third years. The contract includes $292.77 for each of the 554,251 laptop-years, which adds up to $162,268,065.” More here.

Also by Betsy:

Popkey: Don’t Mess With ‘Big Ben’

At the Idaho Statesman, Dan Popkey writes about Secretary of State Ben Ysursa's attempt to protect Idaho's sunshine law by seeking disclosure of financial donors to Luna Law propositions:

On top of ignoring popular will, EVI, led by Gov. Butch Otter’s two-time campaign manager, Debbie Field, is attacking Ysursa, Idaho’s top vote-getter. In 2002 and 2010, Ysursa outpolled every other contested candidate, averaging 76 percent of the vote in those two contests. In 2006, he was unopposed. In what appears a desperate attempt to keep secret embarrassing information about the contributions, Field is linking Ysursa, a lifelong Republican, with teachers unions the campaign calls “thugs.” “Although efforts by the Secretary of State, the union and its allies have temporarily chilled our ability to fulfill our mission, we won’t back down,” wrote Field and EVI spokesman John Foster in an op-ed Monday. More here.

Question: Do you want to know who's funding the pro-Luna Law side?

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Trib: Troupis Opens Little Black Bag

Whenever the legal equivalent of a black bag job is required, Christ Troupis is the lawyer hired to deliver it. When the ultra-partisan fringe of the Idaho Republican Party chose to evict independent and Democratic voters from the GOP's primary election, leaders such as former Chairman Norm Semanko and former state Sen. Rod Beck relied upon Troupis to take the matter to court. When he prevailed, Idaho's traditionally open primary - the make-or-break election in a one-party state - was sealed off from anyone unwilling to register as a Republican. For the privilege of resisting that effort, Idaho taxpayers were forced to hand over $100,000 to Troupis to cover his costs. Earlier this year, Troupis struck again/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. More here.

Question: Had you heard of Christ Troupis before now?

Press: Yes To Luna Laws, Teachers

On Friday and Sunday, The Press will publish editorials explaining the editorial board's support for the three education propositions on the Nov. 6 ballot. But before we tell you why we believe these are important steps in elevating public education in Idaho, we want to state unequivocally our support for all the great teachers in our state and particularly in North Idaho. The public education structure has fallen far behind what's needed for Idaho's students to compete in tomorrow's work world. Education isn't alone in having fallen behind; in the blink of an eye the world has changed faster and more dramatically than ever before, and few have adjusted sufficiently. Yet public education will flourish again because it continues to attract some of the finest, most dedicated professionals. Within a more effective structure, those individuals will be public education's salvation/Coeur d'Alene Press Editorial Board. More here.

Question: Agree/disagree?

Laptop Deal Dead Sans Voter OK

Item: HP wins Idaho laptop contract: $180 million computer deal for students null if Prop 3 fails/Betsy Russell, SR

On her Facebook wall, Kristi Nivette Milan post: “Luna just signed a contract with HP to spend $180 MILLION in the next 8 years to give $250 computers, made in China, to 14 year olds. They have budgeted $2.5 million for this year only. Do the math, they need $22.5 million per year to pay for these computers. WHO'S GOING TO PAY FOR THIS???? You guessed it, educators! Larger class sizes, less professional development, less benefits, cut sports, arts, music and electives to name a few options. But every high school student will have a computer to lose, destroy, leave at home, forget to charge or pawn. JUST VOTE NO on Prop 1,2,3.”

Question: Do you plan to vote for Proposition 3 — the measure that would provide laptops for Idaho high school students?


Teacher: CdA School Vibe ‘Toxic’

Idaho is considering whether to keep three education laws that overhaul everything from how teachers are paid to how kids learn in the classroom. Voters in several states across the country will decide on education measures this November. Washington votes on whether to allow charter schools and Idaho is considering whether to keep not one but three brand new laws. They overhaul everything from how teachers are paid to how kids learn in the classroom. The vote is a test for some controversial ideas in education and for the man behind them. Idaho classrooms are political battlegrounds this fall. Many teachers, like Coeur d’Alene band instructor Tim Sandford, strongly oppose the Idaho education laws. That’s creating discord with administrators who are trying to implement the changes even as the election looms. Sandford describes the atmosphere in his school this way: “Toxic, it’s toxic”/Jessica Robinson, NPR. More here. (Northwest Public Radio photo: Jessica Robinson)

Question: Tim Sandford's a good teacher and man. I'm concerned that he would describe the atmosphere in our schools as “toxic.” What do you think?

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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Trustees Take No Stand On Props 1-3

After hearing testimony Monday from several teachers, Coeur d'Alene school board members decided against taking a united stand in support of the education reform referendums, Propositions 1, 2 and 3 on the Nov. 6 ballot. A discussion of the referendums was placed on the meeting agenda at the request of Trustee Terri Seymour. “I would like to at least discuss and hear what people have to say, including myself,” Seymour said. She said she would like to ask the board to endorse a yes vote on Proposition 1, at the very least. But first, they heard from the teachers, who waited through several hours of other board business for their chance to speak on the agenda item, slated late in the meeting/Maureen Dolan, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here. (Jerome A. Pollos/Coeur d'Alene Press photo: Mamie Geib, right, and Bette Price, show their support for voting no against the proposed “Luna Laws” near the MidTown Center in Coeur d'Alene Monday)

Question: Do you think the School Board made the right move by personally supporting Propositions 1-3 but not  taking a united stand?

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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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