Should reform remain? - Coeur d'Alene Press: Local News

Should reform remain?

Voters to decide whether to repeal laws on Nov. 6

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Posted: Saturday, October 6, 2012 12:00 am

POST FALLS - Tom Luna wants "Students Come First" to stay on track.

The Idaho Education Association teachers' union wants to repeal those sweeping education changes passed by the Legislature last year.

Voters will decide the fate of the laws on Nov. 6.

Luna, Idaho's public schools chief, said going back to the old ways of teacher contracts and compensation and not requiring online courses to graduate would be taking a step backward for students, teachers and taxpayers.

"It's a path we can't go back on," Luna told the Panhandle Pachyderm Club at Templin's Red Lion Hotel on Friday.

But teachers unions believe the package spends money on unproven technology, silences teachers' voices and compromises education due to more emphasis on standardized tests.

The three referendums on whether to approve or reject education reform laws include:

• Proposition 1, limiting teacher collective bargaining;

• Proposition 2, providing teacher merit pay based on test scores, hard-to-fill positions and leadership; and

• Proposition 3, phasing in laptops and making two online courses a graduation requirement.

Luna and Gov. Butch Otter encourage voters to vote 'yes' on all three proposals, while the Idaho Education Association teachers' union argues for a 'no' vote on all three.

A simple majority (50 percent plus one) is required for the laws to remain in effect.

When asked by a meeting attendee what he believes are the chances that the laws will stay put, Luna said 50-50.

"That's why I'm here," said Luna, adding that funding for advertising from state and national union groups will make it a challenge to keep the laws.

Prop 1 phases out tenure, eliminates the practice of "last hired, first fired" and requires teacher contract meetings to be open.

"We want to let the local school boards manage the affairs of the districts, including with labor issues," Luna said, adding that allows teachers, parents and patrons to provide more input.

But Penni Cyr, IEA president, said Prop 1 takes away teachers' voices.

"Prop 1 prohibits teachers from negotiating important issues like class sizes and funding for school supplies with their school board," she said.

Prop 2 on teacher compensation makes student achievement and hard-to-fill positions - not just longevity and education - among the factors with salaries.

"It's fair and long overdue," Luna said, adding that eight out of 10 teachers are receiving a bonus of an average of more than $2,000 after the first year of the program.

Cyr said the IEA believes rewarding excellence in teaching, but Prop 2 isn't the way to do it.

"We believe that for incentives to work, Idaho teacher salaries first need to be restored to the levels they were at before the Legislature began slashing budgets, well before the Luna bills were passed," she said. "Once teacher salaries are restored, ways to further reward exceptional teachers should be explored collaboratively."

Luna said Prop 3 on laptops and online learning is critical because it better prepares students for the future.

"We're not plowing new ground (with laptops and requiring online courses)," Luna said. "We're just bringing Idaho up on what's happening around the U.S."

Luna said when the state asked districts if they wanted to be among the first third of districts to receive laptops, 85 percent of them responded that they did.

"Don't let anybody tell you that schools don't want these," Luna said.

Cyr said the IEA embraces technology in the classroom, but not as a replacement for the classroom

"Kids need and deserve caring, professional teachers to teach and guide them through their lessons with their peers - not impersonal, isolated online classes," she said.

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  • Rationale posted at 11:00 am on Mon, Oct 8, 2012.

    Rationale Posts: 1976


    Why do universities offer online classes? One word: R-E-V-E-N-U-E. They offer classes online because they reach a population that they may not otherwise reach. It has nothing to do with learning.

    First, define "learning." Usually this entails a definition that encompasses long-term memory and retaining of information.

    Most students who take online classes do not retain the information long-term. This statement is not conjecture; it is fact. For example, a Math program called Math XL, which is used frequently in online and hybrid classes(and yes, NIC uses it as well), shows a big difference in the achievement of students in their online homework using the program and student success on exams.

    So how can so many students get an "A" on their homework fail their tests? Because they are not learning!

    This is not to say that this doesn't also happen in the classroom. But it is much more frequent in online classes.

  • local res posted at 9:27 pm on Sun, Oct 7, 2012.

    local res Posts: 1165

    If online class is a farce, why does NIC offer online class as does all universities? Why is there students who perform poorly in the class room environment but excel taking an online class? Why are the teachers making this argument all about them instead of what is the best practices for the student?

  • local res posted at 9:23 pm on Sun, Oct 7, 2012.

    local res Posts: 1165

    Why not it is the same language the teachers use when talking about Luna.

  • Rationale posted at 6:58 pm on Sun, Oct 7, 2012.

    Rationale Posts: 1976

    I can pretty much guarantee I've never been labeled or accused of being "liberal." And I've never joined a union.

    That being said, merit pay is a stupid, moronic, and completely worthless idea. Gee, let's teach to a test! How many of you are willing to base your pay on the performance of a third party on a moronic multiple-guess test? If you don't want your pay based on your co-worker's performance, then please be quiet. Either put up, or shut up.

    And multiple guess tests do not measure learning. Since when do you automatically have a minimum 25% chance at guessing a right answer in life? Fill in the blank questions are a far better assessment of true learning. So are essay questions. But guaranteeing a student a 1 in 4 chance at guessing? Apparently, most people do not understand true learning.

    Same with online classes...not hybrids, where they also meet in person, but 100% online. What possible problems could arise from 100% online classes? Gee, everything is open book; anybody can take the test or do the assignments and drop them in the drop box....that is not learning!

    Education is being ruined because the inmates are running the asylum. People who have no background in Education are telling teachers how to do their jobs! Many are parents who probably failed out of school in the first place. The others don't have the first clue how to teach and have never stepped into a teacher's shoes.

    The three REAL problems with education: people who have no background in Education, federal money and politics!

  • concernedcitizen posted at 8:23 am on Sun, Oct 7, 2012.

    concernedcitizen Posts: 2530


    He must have gone to school in CDA then because this is how ALL of the students and a LOT of the teachers talk and act.

    Luna was probably relating to those the way they relate to others. When in Rome my friend.

  • local res posted at 10:31 pm on Sat, Oct 6, 2012.

    local res Posts: 1165

    Would the graduation rate really be 78% if the student was not able to complete high school math prior to entrance in to college programs?

  • local res posted at 10:29 pm on Sat, Oct 6, 2012.

    local res Posts: 1165

    Ten years for a textbook? Are you dreaming? Textbooks change each year. Why is there students passed onto the college level who are not able to complete fourth grade Math and English? When was the last time you(teachers union) dismissed a poor teacher? Other states have continued on the same previous past of throwing more money at teachers expecting change. (definition of insanity)
    It appears as if the teacher's and their union are not happy with the loss of power. When did the teachers or their Union ever come up with true change that was beneficial to the students? So I am sorry to say you have loss my and other parents support and confidence. That is why we are willing to try something new because the old ways have not worked!

  • local res posted at 10:20 pm on Sat, Oct 6, 2012.

    local res Posts: 1165

    Would you keep a doctor who made a correct diagnosis only 78% of the time?

  • hooper posted at 9:27 pm on Sat, Oct 6, 2012.

    hooper Posts: 89

    Casting aside the pros and cons of the referendum for a moment, consider that Tom Luna has proven himself to be a foul-mouthed bully with no tolerance for opinions other than his own. This week at the Boise City Club forum to debate the merits of the reforms, Luna jerked Representative Brian Cronin by the arm, shoved his face to Cronin's ear, and told Rep. Cronin that his opening remarks were "the biggest bunch of bullsh*t" he'd ever heard. See the video here:

    Near the end of his speech, Mr. Luna uses a quote to indirectly call supporters of the referendums "jack*sses."

    Is this the kind of language and behavior we should expect from the man elected to lead the education of Idaho's schoolchildren?

  • lone wolf posted at 7:08 pm on Sat, Oct 6, 2012.

    lone wolf Posts: 246

    January 3, 2012
    Teachers Resist High-Tech Push in Idaho Schools
    POST FALLS, Idaho — Ann Rosenbaum, a former military police officer in the Marines, does not shrink from a fight, having even survived a close encounter with a car bomb in Iraq. Her latest conflict is quite different: she is now a high school teacher, and she and many of her peers in Idaho are resisting a statewide plan that dictates how computers should be used in classrooms.

    Last year, the state legislature overwhelmingly passed a law that requires all high school students to take some online classes to graduate, and that the students and their teachers be given laptops or tablets. The idea was to establish Idaho’s schools as a high-tech vanguard.

    To help pay for these programs, the state may have to shift tens of millions of dollars away from salaries for teachers and administrators. And the plan envisions a fundamental change in the role of teachers, making them less a lecturer at the front of the room and more of a guide helping students through lessons delivered on computers.

    This change is part of a broader shift that is creating tension — a tension that is especially visible in Idaho but is playing out across the country. Some teachers, even though they may embrace classroom technology, feel policy makers are thrusting computers into classrooms without their input or proper training. And some say they are opposed to shifting money to online classes and other teaching methods whose benefits remain unproved.

    “Teachers don’t object to the use of technology,” said Sabrina Laine, vice president of the American Institutes for Research, which has studied the views of the nation’s teachers using grants from organizations like the Gates and Ford Foundations. “They object to being given a resource with strings attached, and without the needed support to use it effectively to improve student learning.”

    In Idaho, teachers have been in open revolt. They marched on the capital last spring, when the legislation was under consideration. They complain that lawmakers listened less to them than to heavy lobbying by technology companies, including Intel and Apple. Teacher and parent groups gathered 75,000 verified signatures, more than was needed, to put a referendum on the ballot next November that could overturn the law.

    “This technology is being thrown on us. It’s being thrown on parents and thrown on kids,” said Ms. Rosenbaum, 32, who has written letters to the governor and schools superintendent. In her letters she tells them she is a Republican and a Marine, because, she says, it has become fashionable around the country to dismiss complaining teachers as union-happy liberals.

    “I fought for my country,” she said. “Now I’m fighting for my kids.”

    Gov. C. L. Otter, known as Butch, and Tom Luna, the schools superintendent, who have championed the plan, said teachers had been misled by their union into believing the changes were a step toward replacing them with computers. Mr. Luna said the teachers’ anger was intensified by other legislation, also passed last spring, that eliminated protections for teachers with seniority and replaced it with a pay-for-performance system.

    Some teachers have also expressed concern that teaching positions could be eliminated and their raises reduced to help offset the cost of the technology.

    Mr. Luna acknowledged that many teachers in the state were conservative Republicans like him — making Idaho’s politics less black and white than in states like Wisconsin and New Jersey, where union-backed teachers have been at odds with politicians.

    Mr. Luna said he understood that technological change could be scary, particularly because teachers would need to adapt to new ways of working.

    “The role of the teacher definitely does change in the 21st century. There’s no doubt,” Mr. Luna said. “The teacher does become the guide and the coach and the educator in the room helping students to move at their own pace.”

    Many details about how students would use their laptop or tablet are still being debated. But under the state’s plan, that teacher will not always be in the room. The plan requires high school students to take online courses for two of their 47 graduation credits.

    Mr. Luna said this would allow students to take subjects that were not otherwise available at their schools and familiarize them with learning online, something he said was increasingly common in college.

    The computer, he added, “becomes the textbook for every class, the research device, the advanced math calculator, the word processor and the portal to a world of information.”

    Idaho is going beyond what other states have done in decreeing what hardware students and teachers should use and how they should use it. But such requirements are increasingly common at the district level, where most decisions about buying technology for schools are made.

    Teachers are resisting, saying that they prefer to employ technology as it suits their own teaching methods and styles. Some feel they are judged on how much they make use of technology, regardless of whether it improves learning. Some teachers in the Los Angeles public schools, for example, complain that the form that supervisors use to evaluate teachers has a check box on whether they use technology, suggesting that they must use it for its own sake.

    That is a concern shared by Ms. Rosenbaum, who teaches at Post Falls High School in this town in northern Idaho, near Coeur d’Alene. Rather than relying on technology, she seeks to engage students with questions — the Socratic method — as she did recently as she was taking her sophomore English class through “The Book Thief,” a novel about a girl in a foster family in Germany during World War II.

    Ms. Rosenbaum, tall with an easy smile but also a commanding presence, stood in the center of the room with rows of desks on each side, pacing, peppering the students with questions and using each answer to prompt the next. What is an example of foreshadowing in this chapter? Why did the character say that? How would you feel in that situation?

    Her room mostly lacks high-tech amenities. Homework assignments are handwritten on whiteboards. Students write journal entries in spiral notebooks. On the walls are two American flags and posters paying tribute to the Marines, and on the ceiling a panel painted by a student thanks Ms. Rosenbaum for her service. Ms. Rosenbaum did use a computer and projector to show a YouTube video of the devastation caused by bombing in World War II. She said that while technology had a role to play, her method of teaching was timeless. “I’m teaching them to think deeply, to think. A computer can’t do that.”

    She said she was mystified by the requirement that students take online courses. She is taking some classes online as she works toward her master’s degree, and said they left her uninspired and less informed than in-person classes. Ms. Rosenbaum said she could not fathom how students would have the discipline to sit in front of their computers and follow along when she had to work each minute to keep them engaged in person.

    Some of her views are echoed by other teachers, like Doug StanWiens, 44, a popular teacher of advanced history and economics at Boise High School. He is a heavy technology user, relying on an interactive whiteboard and working with his students to build a Web site that documents local architecture, a project he says will create a resource for the community.

    “I firmly believe that technology is a tool for teachers to use,” he said. “It’s time for teachers to get moving on it.” But he also spoke last year on the capital steps in opposition to the state’s program, which he said he saw as a poorly thought-out, one-size-fits-all approach.

    Half of teachers, he suspects, will not use the new computers. And the online learning requirement seems to him to be a step toward cutting back on in-person teaching and, perhaps eventually, on not having students congregate in schools at all.

    “We can just get rid of sports and band and just give everyone a laptop and call it good,” he said.

    Stefani Cook, who teaches accounting and business at Rigby High School in southeast Idaho and was the state’s 2011 Teacher of the Year, also teaches a modernized typing course to 32 online students after-hours. A contractor for the state pays her to teach the course and also to help other teachers shape and present their online lessons.

    Ms. Cook is a believer in classroom technology and generally supports the state’s plan. She is on a 38-member task force that is working out the logistics of deploying computers to teachers next fall and, eventually, to 80,000 high schoolers. The group will also organize training for teachers. Ms. Cook said she did worry about how teachers would be trained when some already work long hours and take second jobs to make ends meet.

    “I’m excited about it,” she said. But some teachers, she said, “think it’s just another thing that they’ve got to do.”

    Mr. Luna, the superintendent, said training was the most essential part of the plan. He said millions of dollars would be set aside for this but that the details were still being worked out. Teachers will need to learn how to use the new devices and how to incorporate them into their lesson plans, which could involve rethinking longstanding routines.

    For his part, Governor Otter said that putting technology into students’ hands was the only way to prepare them for the work force. Giving them easy access to a wealth of facts and resources online allows them to develop critical thinking skills, he said, which is what employers want the most.

    When asked about the quantity of unreliable information on the Internet, he said this also worked in favor of better learning. “There may be a lot of misinformation,” he said, “but that information, whether right or wrong, will generate critical thinking for them as they find the truth.”

    Mr. Otter said of a teacher like Ms. Rosenbaum, “If she only has an abacus in her classroom, she’s missing the boat.”

    Some of the state’s politicians disagree with that message. State Senator Dean L. Cameron, a Republican who is a co-chairman of the senate budget committee, said there was no proof that the technology improved learning. He said he felt the legislature was “dazzled” by presentations given by lobbyists for high-tech companies — who also gave generously to Mr. Luna’s re-election campaign.

    (Mr. Luna said that $44,000 of his $300,000 in donations to his last campaign came directly or indirectly from technology companies, but he said that was because they supported his agenda, not because they shaped it.)

    Mr. Cameron said of the law: “It’s almost as if it was written by the top technology providers in the nation.” He added: “And you’d think students would be excited about getting a mobile device, but they’re saying: not at the expense of teachers.”

    Last year at Post Falls High School, 600 students — about half of the school — staged a lunchtime walkout to protest the new rules. Some carried signs that read: “We need teachers, not computers.”

    Having a new laptop “is not my favorite idea,” said Sam Hunts, a sophomore in Ms. Rosenbaum’s English class who has a blond mohawk. “I’d rather learn from a teacher.”

    This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:

    Correction: January 9, 2012

    An article on Wednesday about Idaho teachers’ resistance to a statewide plan for technology in the classroom misstated an element of the plot of “The Book Thief,” a novel being taught by one teacher. The book, set in Germany during World War II, centers on a girl living with a foster family; she is not being hidden as a Jew. (The family does shelter a Jewish man.)

  • inclined posted at 5:18 pm on Sat, Oct 6, 2012.

    inclined Posts: 681

    Mr.gob Goaf above. Should you not be working in one of those ten year old textbooks, and seeing the universe of research and information available on, yes, even all aspects of this reform, with pros and cons, you might yourself be relevant. I guarantee Mary Souza has a laptop and knows how to use it.

    What is being considered and implemented, on many fronts, has never been done, so we are braving a new world, leaving one that has failed, with new ships, better technology, better sails, better crew, better maps, better health, better prospect of the best teachers, better goals and destinations.

  • inclined posted at 5:08 pm on Sat, Oct 6, 2012.

    inclined Posts: 681

    Hey Old Hayden. Stick your neck out there about what a State Sec. of Education is and was... What was your President but a community agitator, a no history of birth, college grades, no Afican-American but Arabic-American(imagine the disgrace of not being able to identify his race, let alone his father). Arabic bowing, Koran loving, creative lying doctrinaire, and no opponent of stem cell research, abortion, gun control, school vouchers, and tax cuts, pledge of allegiance, the Constituion--- should I go on? A great many people in this country go from a low station to high, but they don't have to lie to the world about where they came from, their work, their god.

    We know a great deal what Obama is not, but there is still a great deal this country doen't know. At least we know more about Mr. Luna than we do about Obama's dog, that he flies on separate planes because as a Muslim you don't want him in that plane, on your last ride.

    "The aim of education is the knowledge not of fact, but of values." Dean William R. Inge

    "Children have never been very good at listening to their elders, but they have never failed to imitate them." James Baldwin

    Why would we want our children to emulate failed systems, and failed philosophies and the lesser gods of trafficking in labor disputes, and arbitration, over against tending the treasures of learning minds?

  • inclined posted at 4:14 pm on Sat, Oct 6, 2012.

    inclined Posts: 681

    haydenguy. "The media has done a great job of making this a union issue. It is not a union issue". O, kid me not.

    Again, guy. Do your research. Find out how much money is coming from Washington, DC, and Unions.

    Find out of workers being brought in. Find out of phone calling from Ohio, and Wisconsin, PA, and how many other states?

    Find out what monies they are designating to out publicize, out advertise, out slogan, out TV ad their
    failed Wisconsin message.

    That it failed, their positions, their dogma, their spin, in Wisconsin, after a huge, huge fight to the very soul of the issues, the very dregs of their complaints, their imaginations, their accusations... is the very evidence to know how to vote. Yes, Yes, Yes!

  • inclined posted at 4:05 pm on Sat, Oct 6, 2012.

    inclined Posts: 681

    haydenguy above. Your argument is archaic. There are states that have been doing the laptop venue and you can Google this. Do your research. Do the research on your other points. Don't try snookering people that do diligence and find out what is and what is not bilge.

  • inclined posted at 3:49 pm on Sat, Oct 6, 2012.

    inclined Posts: 681

    O, wisdom beyond your hounding years. Stay on the track, in the race, and consider running for office.

  • inclined posted at 3:46 pm on Sat, Oct 6, 2012.

    inclined Posts: 681

    Voxvoice above. Some years ago I spoke with a teacher getting out, going back to school, going into Xray tech. He was taking classes at three different two year schools, chemistry from an Oxford guy who bailed on the system to be affecting people in two year schools. Physiology , at another with the highest rated instructor in the area, and another math course taught by a woman with a huge waiting list to get it. That was several years ago. Now, courses, with the best instructors in even High School subjects are being taught via several venues, throughout the country. We are lagging in this.

    If you, minorityPop, were an instructor, I'd want my child to be hearing from any one of a standard of the best teachers in the country, rather than suffering your "talents". You couldn't compete. You are too very useless in this field because your are not a venue in a search for anything. You are used. You are like an old, out of date text book, whose sheets might have some practical "application", but certainly not influencing teachers, parents or students.

  • LTRLTR posted at 2:53 pm on Sat, Oct 6, 2012.

    LTRLTR Posts: 1171

    The argument against Propositive Three, as written in the Idaho Voters Guide published by the Sec. of State, claims that Prop. 3 is largely unfunded as it forces education to spend millions on technology.

    We all hear about classrooms continue to be overcrowded, teachers continue to spend their own paycheck for supplies, school can not keep up with maintenance, transportation fuel costs continue to rise and so on. The school districts are financially strapped. Why spend additional taxpayer money on computers when the State of Idaho continues to reduce funding to the schools for routine items?

    I have not seen any estimated costs for equipment purchase or regular maintenance/replacement. Why would the State ask taxpayers to sign a blank check? Show me the savings if any?

  • Wolfeyes posted at 2:23 pm on Sat, Oct 6, 2012.

    Wolfeyes Posts: 89

    Check the statistics on the web. Idaho has a 78% high school graduation rate, not the 92% quoted. The state numbers are well above two other reporting agencies. If we are doing so well, why the three questions on the ballot. If our rate is that high, we should be seeing companies breaking down the doors to move here.

  • Mary Souza posted at 2:04 pm on Sat, Oct 6, 2012.

    Mary Souza Posts: 814

    Fralphgob, thank you for your one good correction. I should have said that 8 out of 10 teachers in Idaho EARNED a bonus last year in 2011. Because of legislative language, they will not actually get the money until this November, according to Governing Newsletter, Sept. 2012, which summarizes by stating, "Idaho teachers who earned merit-pay bonuses last year under a controversial school-reform law will get those payments this fall, regardless of the outcome of a Nov. 6 vote on whether to repeal the law."

    Other than that, your message is empty. I know many teachers who don't agree with the union's actions but they can't say anything or they will be shunned. And if this reform is a "disaster", as you claim, why did 85 % of the districts want to be in the first group to get the technology upgrades?

    You offer no suggestions for improvement or reform, Fralphgob. Sounds like you care more about protecting the power structure of the union than you do about the classroom teachers, students and the quality of Idaho education.

  • Fralphgob posted at 12:45 pm on Sat, Oct 6, 2012.

    Fralphgob Posts: 54

    Mary, you display your lack of knowledge. In order for teachers to get a bonus the school they work in must have success on the ISAT. If they don't do well then it does not matter what else they do or how good they are individually they will not receive a bonus. Get you facts straight and quit reading from Tom Luna's propaganda. NO teacher received a bonus last year because they haven't been awarded yet! They haven't even announced which schools are eligible. If Mr. Luna told you that teachers received a bonus then he lied.

    As for more of the same, Mr. Luna won re-election on the success of the Idaho education system and then unveiled his "reform" after the election. He did not say one word about the need for reform before the election. What he did say was how much Idaho had improved and how excellent our teachers are. After the election he comes out with a plan to replace 700 of them with laptops and then he reduces the money available for salaries and offers it back as a possible "bonus".

    As for textbooks, a good textbook can last as long as 10 years. How long does a laptop last? Especially the kind Mr. Luna is getting. He budgeted so little for it that no one would bid! Where are they? When will they be distribute? No one knows because he hasn't found a supplier.

    Of course the old system had problems and reforms were needed. However, Idaho has never "thrown money at it" in the history of the state. I challenge to find one time in the history of this state has "thrown money" at the problem of education. What a tired cliche' that phrase is. This isn't a reform, its a disaster and the 3100 teachers who have Idaho in the last two years might agree.

    As for the Unions. The teachers are the Union so don't presume to speak for them and please in the future have the discipline and intelligence to do your research before you speak.

  • local res posted at 12:33 pm on Sat, Oct 6, 2012.

    local res Posts: 1165

    Teachers have an option of accepting the change and working within the new system or leaving.

  • Mary Souza posted at 12:14 pm on Sat, Oct 6, 2012.

    Mary Souza Posts: 814

    Luna specifically described the three different methods of getting merit pay: 1. taking on leadership roles 2. taking hard-to-fill positions 3. student achievement scores, which he stated are calculated for the whole school, not an individual class, so as to encourage teaching teamwork. He said that last year, 8 out of 10 teachers in the state received a $2000. bonus. They can get up to $8000. in a year.

    Right now, 92% of all Idaho high school students graduate but only 46% go on to any further schooling. And here's the BIG problem, in my opinion: Of that 46% who go on, 41% need remedial classes before they can even take community college courses!

    Gee, the current system seems to have serious problems. Do you want more of the same? Do you want to keep throwing money at it or shake up the methods and try what has been working very well in other states for many years?

    Please vote YES, YES and YES.

    PS: LTR, yes many families have laptops, but the school's would be loaded with the right books, programs and software to work with the networking systems between the teachers and students and the statewide interactive classes available. This method saves the cost of "computer labs" in each school--they won't need them--and will be a huge savings for textbooks, which are much cheaper as digital downloads and the districts can choose to buy only the sections and chapters of the books they need. Local school boards will decide whether the students can even bring the laptops home. And teacher's voices? The unions are drowning them out right now, and have been for a long time.

  • hayden_guy posted at 10:25 am on Sat, Oct 6, 2012.

    hayden_guy Posts: 400

    If they don't have the money for a laptop, I can almost promise you that they don't have money for a deposit.

  • LTRLTR posted at 10:16 am on Sat, Oct 6, 2012.

    LTRLTR Posts: 1171

    I am opposed to State funding of labtops. Most families already have laptops for their children. However, there can be an exception for low income families with a security deposit.

    I am opposed to limiting teacher's voices.

    I am opposed to awarding merit pay based on performance because of the possibility of fraudulent test scores to gain more pay.

  • local res posted at 9:34 am on Sat, Oct 6, 2012.

    local res Posts: 1165

    If the anti Luna movement was "all about the children" I would be saying change it back. But going back has not worked either? The teachers and their union say we are preparing students for the future, I say the future in college is online classes. I remind all that there are students who complete a degree with never stepping foot into the traditional class room. No teachers and their union is simply looking to keep control. When we hear that the teachers union has pushed to remove poor performing teachers then will I believe they put children first.

    Sorry I have lost faith in teachers and no longer trust them. It is time to change from a system that simply ask for more money without improvement.

  • Fralphgob posted at 9:31 am on Sat, Oct 6, 2012.

    Fralphgob Posts: 54

    Luna said that these laws would attract teachers to Idaho. The truth is we have lost 3100 teachers in 2 years. This is over twice average rate. This "reform" is driving teachers out of our state.

    Mary your comment concerning laptops not replacing teachers is completely wrong according to Luna himself. Luna said that he wanted to replace 700 teachers with laptops and online education.

    We now know that K-12 education has a 50% graduation rate or shall we say a 50% failure rate and that students involved in that system fall behind their counterparts in traditional public schools in math and english. The system will send millions of Idaho tax dollars out of state. Further, we will be providing computers to children who already have them. There is no plan to find out if a student has a computer. Our tax dollars will be giving a poor, cheap computer to many students who have macbook pros or high end PC's already. The District's will be saddled with the job of upkeep, replacement, and repair. Money that would have gone to supplies, programs, and curriculum will be diverted to pay for computers. To those of you who say that the state will pay for this: Where do you think that money will come from?

    Mary and Brent, your statements concerning merit pay are misinformed. The entire merit pay system is dependent on the state measure which is a single ISAT test. If the school doesn't do well on the ISAT then they cannot get any merit pay at all regardless of their individual effort, leadership or filling a hard to fill position. In addition, it was funded, as well as the laptops, with money taken from the teachers salary apportionment. Giving a bonus to teachers out of their own salaries is not a bonus. Further, the merit pay system was only funded for one year so there is no security for the future of the system.

    Bad for students, bad for teachers, and bad for Idaho. Vote NO, NO, and NO.

  • mister d posted at 9:17 am on Sat, Oct 6, 2012.

    mister d Posts: 1531

    Vote NO on the backward, Luna laws that are using our kids as an experiment and sending our money to out of state companies and decreasing employment opportunities in Idaho. Idaho is a disgrace in the way they fund education and this is just another way to take away from our future - the kids. Class sizes weren't limited until the teachers fought for it, sometimes negotiating personal pay and benefits to get this - to help students. I want teachers to have the say in how kids are educated, not some big government organization that only looks at cutting education costs so the money can be shifted elsewhere, not what is best for kids. Watch your home values and job opportunities go down if these ignornat attempts to curb education remain. People that value education will leave as some have already.

  • Old Hayden posted at 9:07 am on Sat, Oct 6, 2012.

    Old Hayden Posts: 33

    Beware Luna's rhetoric. He says "Children First" but he's in the pocket of his major campaign contributors who stand to profit hugely from his computer/online education initiative (K-12 Inc., Scantron and Apollo Group.) Luna said he had a degree in "Measurement Science," but backtracked when it was discovered that he has a "BA in Liberal Arts" from Thomas Edison State College, an online "fast track" degree school that offers credit for bogus courses and "alternatives to course work." Luna has no experience in education or educational reform, but rather owns a truck scale company.

    Luna is robbing Idaho taxpayers, schools and students to benefit out-of-state rich businesses. Vote NO, NO, NO!

  • hayden_guy posted at 8:51 am on Sat, Oct 6, 2012.

    hayden_guy Posts: 400

    A couple of comments,
    First thing wrong with the merit pay is that it does not work.
    Please refer to this-
    Second thing wrong with it, is that it only gives a bonus to the certified employees. School are filled with classified employees that work just as hard if not harder in some cases to get the test scores up, and they get nothing.
    Another thing that is wrong is that this implies teachers are not working as hard as they can in the first place. This implies that throwing a few more bucks at teachers will get them to work harder. That is a slap in the face to each of my children's teachers.

    Prop 1- Teachers have always been able to be removed/fired at any time. This is the job of the administrator. If a bad teacher is in the classroom, that is up to the admin and school board to remove them, it has nothing to do with teachers and the NEA. The NEA/IEA does not want bad teachers in the classroom. Why would they? Why would they, and teachers in the building, want bad teachers? It gives them all a bad name. No one wants bad teachers, and there has always been the way to remove them.

    With the technology- just about every teacher that I have talked to wants more technology. They would love to have technology that they know they can use and will use.

    We all know that for years there have been cuts after cuts to education. Schools have lost teaching positions either through actually firing teachers or through attrition. Now that there is some money coming back, instead of replacing these teachers AND replacing the salary schedule, the state has opted to buy laptops. This is replacing teachers with laptops, leads to continuing larger class sizes, and is not good for the students. Next year the CDA School District faces another 2 million dollar short fall, how are they going to deal with this? Most likely more loss of certified/classified positions, yet there will be laptops rolling in. How is this not replacing teachers with laptops?

    More on the laptops- the state is supposed to roll out the laptops to all teachers next month. Has the state even made a contract yet with a company? No. A month away from the roll out of thousands of laptops and have not even made a contract yet? Obviously this is going to work out well.

  • Brent Regan posted at 8:39 am on Sat, Oct 6, 2012.

    Brent Regan Posts: 740

    I wonder if teachers will ever wake up to the fact that they are being used as political pawns by their union bosses. Good teachers should have a higher status and pay than poor teachers. This will incentivize poor teachers to be more like the good teachers.

    We need to change “last hired – first fired” to “Best hired – worst fired” and then give the teachers and students the tools they need.

    Vote YES, YES and YES!!!

  • Mary Souza posted at 8:38 am on Sat, Oct 6, 2012.

    Mary Souza Posts: 814

    Please vote YES, YES, YES on Propositions 1, 2 , 3.

  • hayden_guy posted at 8:36 am on Sat, Oct 6, 2012.

    hayden_guy Posts: 400

    concernedcitizen- teachers have not legal right to police themselves. Teachers can not remove other teachers from teaching positions, that right is given 100% to the administrators and school boards. If there are bad teachers in the classroom, it is completely the fault of admin not doing their job to remove the bad teacher.

    Prop 1- Gives teachers the right to ONLY negotiate salary and benefits. Nothing else. There is the accusation that teachers only care about money, well, legally now that is all they can negotiate. Prior to these laws teachers could negotiate working and learning conditions, things that actually affected the students. Not any more, now legally all they can care about (in negotiations) is money. Please tell me of another job where you negotiate your salary and literally have no idea what your working conditions will be. With these laws, after the contract has been agreed to (or not, more on that in a bit) the school board could then come in and say that the working day is 9 hours long, teachers have no prep time during the day, have to work with students during the lunch time, have to stay after and mop floors, ... or anything. The full power is in the school board.

    Back to the agreeing to contract. The way the law is written, the district side has everything in their power. They could make an offer that way undercuts the other side, gives pay cuts to every employee of the district, eliminates benefits, and they can hold fast to that. If a decision is reached by June 15th (I think is the day) then the last best offer from the district goes into law. Does that sound like fair negotiations? Tell me, what other profession has something like this in place?

    These are just one of the MANY reasons that I will be voting NO, NO, NO. My children's teachers deserve better, they deserve respect, and they deserve to have a say in what the new laws are, if there are going to be new laws.

    One last thing. The media has done a great job of making this a union issue. It is not a union issue, it is an Idaho issue. There are parents, grandparents, and many other citizens against this. Mike Lanza, head of the Vote NO campaign is not a teacher, he is not a union member, but a concerned parent who sees how bad these laws are.

    Are there some good things in the laws? Sure, but there are many more bad things.
    Please Vote No on Props 1,2,3.

  • Mary Souza posted at 8:34 am on Sat, Oct 6, 2012.

    Mary Souza Posts: 814

    The first two comments here, from LMYCDA and voxpop, are wrong. Luna assured everyone that this program is funded by the state and does NOT raise property taxes. The laptops are paid for by the state as well, as is their replacement, maintenance and repair costs.

    The national teacher's union (NEA) is throwing big money (over $1 million) to run TV ads in Idaho to defeat these programs because they phase out the automatic retention (tenure) for teachers, take away the seniority method of "last in, first out", instead keeping the best teachers, and gives merit pay to all good teachers. The merit pay bonuses are offered in three ways, two of which have nothing directly to do with student scores. Those are for leadership efforts and taking jobs no one else wants. When student scores are used for merit bonuses, they are based on the whole school's performance, not just one group of students, so all the teachers in that school then qualify for the bonus.

    Oh, and one last thing: The laptops do not replace teachers anymore than textbooks replaced teachers!

  • JustMyOpinion67 posted at 8:30 am on Sat, Oct 6, 2012.

    JustMyOpinion67 Posts: 43

    I always find it fascinating to hear about holding teachers accountable, and having bad teachers in a classroom, but nobody is talking about holding the administrators accountable. There is a process for getting rid of a teacher who is not effective. Unfortunately those teachers are usually moved to a different school because the principal doesn't want to be the bad guy and ruin a career. The hook is that if an administrator gives a teacher a bad evaluation, then they are stuck with them. There is a process to get rid of a bad teacher, it requiures documentation, and proof that the teacher was given an opportunity to improve. Not even a fast food joint can just fire someone without cause.

  • greyhound2 posted at 8:07 am on Sat, Oct 6, 2012.

    greyhound2 Posts: 897

    If the teachers union is opposed to it, it must be good for taxpayers.

  • concernedcitizen posted at 7:58 am on Sat, Oct 6, 2012.

    concernedcitizen Posts: 2530


    I agree whole heartily with your post.

    Teachers need to police themselves as well. You KNOW the teachers that are bad apples yet you say NOTHING to have them removed.

    I TOO will be voting yes on 1, 2, & 3.

  • Publius posted at 7:47 am on Sat, Oct 6, 2012.

    Publius Posts: 17

    LMCDA there you go again. The computers are paid for in existing funds and they do not raise taxes. That said I don’t remember the last time the teachers unions were opposed to a tax hike. It just shows the political tactic and talking point as the means to their preferred end; mainly union power and control. The national teacher union spending over $1 million in advertising against Props 1,2, and 3 just highlights their concern for power.
    It is up to local districts to decide if the laptops or other devises go home. Just remember we didn’t replace teachers with textbooks or overhead projectors we enhanced their teaching tools. That’s what Proposition 3 does.
    I am voting Yes on Proposition 1, Yes on Proposition 2, and Yes in Proposition 3. So are all my friends and family.

  • LMYCDA posted at 5:43 am on Sat, Oct 6, 2012.

    LMYCDA Posts: 2288

    Well said. Another point is that this new program does not have enough funds. Guess what is next. Higher property taxes. Who is going to pay for replacement computers when the children lose or break their computers. Luna is a lunatic. Vote NO, NO, AND NO.

  • voxpop posted at 5:14 am on Sat, Oct 6, 2012.

    voxpop Posts: 738

    A state govt which supports public education at the lowest level of any state in the country has no business telling districts that they have to use their limited funds to buy laptops for students. Laptops which likely will have a life expectancy of less than 2 years. Should the teacher's union have a say in class size and curriculum? No. That's what you have administration for. Should teachers be evaluated based on test scores alone? Not when parents have at least as much impact on such things as teachers. Luna is an uneducated buffoon who would be fortunate to get a job sweeping floors in any school in the country. His ideas are patently worthless.

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