During the last Coeur d’Alene School Board meeting we decided not to take an official stand on Proposition 1, 2 and 3, but we took personal stands as did the other board members. It is now our intent to express our views as community members.
We fully support Proposition 3. Technology has become essential in 21st century schools. The proposed computing devices are a tool and not a replacement for teachers any more than textbooks replace teachers. It is a rare student who can obtain a college or technical degree without taking an online class. Students need this skill. Classes can also be taken through interactive computer classes with a real teacher instructing the class. Most teachers would treasure the ability to individualize instruction with computer applications.
Additionally, computer devices can save taxpayers money as they will replace numerous expensive textbooks. Providing computers will not raise local school taxes as the monies for technology are covered in the state budget. The devices can be confined to school grounds until it is determined students will handle them respectively.
Proposition 2 is not a radical idea. More than 15 years ago Ann Seddon was delighted to receive merit pay as a teacher in Arizona. Her district structured it much like the Idaho Reform Law in that all teachers in her school received merit pay if the whole school qualified. This created great cooperation among teachers and the students benefited. Here in Idaho the union representatives were heavily involved in formulating the Idaho merit pay structure and at that time expressed that this was the best approach.
Overturning Proposition 1 would be a mistake. The Idaho State Board Association came out in favor of it because of the expressed success of union negotiations for the past couple of years. Few seem to know that Idaho school districts have been functioning under this law for two years. Negotiations are now open to the public and are not behind closed doors as in the past. Local school districts can make local decisions based on what is best for the students while treating teachers fairly. We are confident the union will promptly point out any unpopular decisions and express them to the administration, the board and to the public. Rightfully, the unions will still have the role of being an advocate for teachers.
As private citizens we recommend you vote “Yes” on all three Propositions.