- Posted June 27, 2012 by
Idaho teachers rally to overturn "Luna-cy" laws
Approximately 100 teachers and parents gathered at Boise High School on Tuesday to kick off the “Vote No to Proposition 1, 2, and 3” campaign.
According to the Vote No website, Votenoprop123.com , three laws proposed by Idaho State School Superintendent Tom Luna, are to be challenged in a public referendum in November.
The first proposition, Proposition 1, takes away teachers’ freedom to speak up on behalf of Idaho’s students.
Proposition 2 forces teachers to teach to the test instead of allowing them to inspire more creative thinking in students.
Prop 3 imposes a largely unfunded mandate that takes away local control and dictates how and what students are taught.
A petition drive netted over 72,000 signatures calling for placement of the propositions on the November ballot. A minimum of 48,000 signatures was needed.
Luna told Republicans gathered for the annual state convention that Idaho Education Association (IEA) was not telling members that the average pay will rise by $2,000 when his plan goes into effect.
A sticking point for teachers is the issue of Luna’s goal to put a laptop in the hand of every Idaho high school student. His plan would require each student to take two online courses per year; a move which the teachers and IEA see as being a step towards cutting more teacher funding.
Luna’s reform package carved funds for implementation of online learning out of teacher salaries, which have been frozen for four years. The glimmer of an economic upturn was enough to prompt a unanimous state Senate to eliminate further cuts, with the state assuming whatever costs computer learning caused.
Adrienne Evans, Executive Director of United Vision for Idaho said,
“There was a day where even as imperfect as the system might have been and still is, there was Chance. Everybody had access to a QUALITY, PUBLIC education to make of our lives what we are capable and for the opportunity most believed they could and should. And now, in this is moment here in Idaho and across the nation we stand at a pentacle moment…We will soon be a country where only those who can afford an education can get one, Where class trumps brilliance. determination and will power are not enough.
Among those attending the rally was Betty Richardson, who is running for the Idaho State Senate in District 15. Richardson said,
“We should not be sending our tax dollars out of state to reward those who funded Tom Luna’s re-election campaign. The “Luna Laws” gamble with our childrens’ future. It is encouraging to see Idaho’s parents and teachers join forces to put the brakes on this unproven and risky scheme.”
While not willing to be quoted for this article, Rep. Bob Nonini, Rep-Coeur d’Alene sees established priorities “…for future education funding that put[s] computers ahead of teachers.
Until the state starts receiving bids for computers and related teaching materials, the potential cost is unknown to Luna or anybody else.
On Wednesday, June 27, 2012, The Idaho Statesman reported that 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.”
The Statesman goes on to say, "Any time you go beyond just an RFP, it's more complicated, it takes a little more time," said Bill Burns, Administration’s Division of Purchasing head. "But I think we're going to get through it and we're going to find the best solution for the state."
According to The Statesman, “Burns declined to identify companies or con