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Teachers aren’t demons

A full page ad, “Unions Declare War on Idaho Kids!” charges that teacher unions “fought Governor Scott Walker’s educational reforms in Wisconsin. The kids won. The unions lost.” This conclusion is a tad premature.

On Sept. 14, Judge Juan Colas ruled that Walker’s bill deprives teachers their “rights of free speech, association, and equal protection.” Walker has appealed.

The ad wants us to believe that teachers have been duped by union “bosses” in Washington, D.C. A national survey of teachers found that 81 percent believed that they “would be vulnerable to administrators who abuse their power” without union contracts.

In 1983, I went on a statewide speaking tour and committed my union to education reform. We offered a Master Teacher Plan as a way to award merit pay.

Master teachers would be responsible for curriculum development and mentoring new teachers, and would receive substantial salary increments for that work.

The Idaho Board of Education failed to respond to our plan, even though we introduced the concept of Master Teacher 29 years before Superintendent Tom Luna did.

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I urge Idaho voters to vote no on Propositions 1, 2, and 3.

Nick Gier

President, Idaho Federation of Teachers


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Editorial: Washington state lawmakers scramble to keep public in the dark

State lawmakers want to create a legislative loophole in Washington’s Public Records Act. While it’s nice to see Democrats and Republicans working together for once, it’s just too bad that their agreement is that the public is the enemy. As The Spokesman-Review’s Olympia reporter Jim Camden explained Feb. 22, lawmakers could vote on a bill today responding to a court order that the people of Washington are entitled to review legislative records.