Yes on Prop 3 - Coeur d'Alene Press: Editorial

Yes on Prop 3

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Posted: Sunday, October 28, 2012 12:56 am


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. Further, by 2016, high school students will be required to take two credits of blended or digital learning as part of their minimum of 46 credits required for graduation.

Some see this transition to greater technology use as a threat to teachers' jobs. We see it as a vital tool that, with extensive teacher training included in the mandate, will only improve the quality of Idaho students' education.

As much as many of us love the printed page and the spoken word, the ability to combine multi-dimensional experiences with virtually unlimited resources takes learning to a new level. In that aging text book or even yesterday's newspaper page, a tiny amount of dated information can be imparted. Instead of reading a chapter on presidential elections or a story on a presidential debate, technology allows students access to reams of history and rare resources almost instantly. And instead of telling students about a presidential debate, the kids can actually experience it - with analysis from multiple sources and perspectives.

Critics of Prop 3 are correct that all this technology isn't cheap, and that enormous pressure is put on legislators to ensure adequate funding is procured. But we believe the overall cost is minimal compared to what's being lost if we don't help our students better compete in the classroom and in the real world. A yes vote on Proposition 3 is your approval for ensuring all Idaho students are given the basic tools they need to succeed.


The Press urges your "yes" vote for all three propositions on the ballot. Put as simply and clearly as we can, all three advance Idaho public education; repealing this progress would return students to a system that underserved everyone except the handful of those who benefited from clinging to the status quo.

By every comparative study we have seen, public education in the U.S. has assumed almost a Third World position in international rankings. And Idaho is far behind many other states despite social, cultural and demographic attributes that should give us an advantage.

What we did before was overdue for change. We acknowledge that change is hard. But we hope you agree: These children are worth the effort and the investment. Their future depends upon it.

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  • Jullee posted at 1:44 pm on Thu, Nov 1, 2012.

    Jullee Posts: 566

    NO !! Are you aware of the fact that it will cost $ 292.00 Per student Per year for each computer and that If #1 the computer is Lost #2 Stolen or #3 Broken we (the taxpayer) will replace it !
    The Governor and Luna have already signed a contract with Hewlet Packard for 8 years for $182 Million to lease Not buy these. All before you have even voted.
    Please read

  • apple123 posted at 8:37 pm on Mon, Oct 29, 2012.

    apple123 Posts: 17

    Brent, Not sure where you get your numbers on what is spent per student. Idaho is at the bottom spending $7,106 per student .I believe we are at 49th or 50th way below California which spent $8,852.

  • Brent Regan posted at 7:35 pm on Mon, Oct 29, 2012.

    Brent Regan Posts: 740


    You should give those kids free subscriptions to the online Press. It costs you nothing, builds your subscriber numbers for advertisers, gives people the impression you are a nice guy (gasp), and promotes loyalty. That strategy worked for Apple.

  • posted at 1:38 pm on Mon, Oct 29, 2012.


    Great discussion here; thanks to both sides. Jeffrey, The Press has supported these reforms since they were forwarded during the 2011 legislative session. We still believe there's room for improvement, but tweaking, rather than eradicating, is needed.
    - Mike

  • AnnoTater posted at 9:40 am on Mon, Oct 29, 2012.

    AnnoTater Posts: 178

    We can all agree that the status quo is not good enough, the system has been under performing for decades.. Dems/unions wanna propose something else? Well it hasn't happened. The education system is broken and it needs to be fixed for our kids futures and for the nations future. Tenure is no longer accepted by the masses, it's counter-intuitive to the kids best interests, more forward moving education in the way of internet and hi tech availability is the future. Props 1,2,3 deserve to be passed and if it is proved to be bad legislation we can address the issues and correct them, the current system has had MORE than enough time to improve and it has not. In the profound words of the Obama campaign FORWARD!!! You dems outta embrace that notion!

  • AnnoTater posted at 9:33 am on Mon, Oct 29, 2012.

    AnnoTater Posts: 178

    Wow, if this was a democratic backed proposal you would be singing a different tune. You know that.

  • AnnoTater posted at 9:32 am on Mon, Oct 29, 2012.

    AnnoTater Posts: 178

    Does anyone really think that these unions have our kids best interests in mind? Really.

  • AnnoTater posted at 9:31 am on Mon, Oct 29, 2012.

    AnnoTater Posts: 178

    Yes, when the alternative is outside union money messing with our local legislation.

  • AnnoTater posted at 9:29 am on Mon, Oct 29, 2012.

    AnnoTater Posts: 178

    Conversely, would you, cdanative have opposed the proposal to bring Idaho schools further into the future if a Dem had proposed it? I doubt it, you would have cheered the forward thinking. Repubs would have been castigated as neanderthals and ignorant hicks favoring a chisel and stone tablet for each kid.

  • Brent Regan posted at 7:32 pm on Sun, Oct 28, 2012.

    Brent Regan Posts: 740

    You misstate what I wrote. What I think it costs is not important. The facts are in the contract which specifies $300 dollars per student per year.

    We currently tax everyone to provide students with books, facilities, teachers, teacher benefits, administrators, administrator benefits, and on and on to a total of half the state’s total budget. We spend $8,800 per student (more than California does) so the laptops are 3.4%. Do you honestly believe there isn’t twice that much in waste that can be cut?

    I am a conservative and an entrepreneur, not a partisan ideology. I evaluate proposals on their merits. However, your question is moot as a democratic state superintendent and a democratic state governor would never have proposed this legislation. The unions would never allow it.

  • Brent Regan posted at 7:10 pm on Sun, Oct 28, 2012.

    Brent Regan Posts: 740

    The funds were appropriated by the legislature. No miracles were required.

    “This state has been taken over by extremists who are failing to represent all of Idaho.”

    Your statement is self-contradictory. You cannot simultaneously have “extremists” and “all of Idaho”. To be the set of “all of Idaho” it must include all groups. Furthermore, “extremist” is a question of perspective. As you point out, extreme liberals look extreme to conservatives while other conservatives look normal.

    The process by which the State has been “taken over” is called an election. It seems your view (to the extent you have represented it) is now in the minority.

  • Fralphgob posted at 7:00 pm on Sun, Oct 28, 2012.

    Fralphgob Posts: 54

    The cost over 8 years is $180,000,000.00. Luna signed the contract without securing funding for the plan from the legislature leaving them to figure it out. That left the legislature to come up with over $15 million next year to fund the laptops for the students. If the state opts out we still have to pay $14.5 million to HP in a buyout clause. Vote no, no and no.

  • Shocked posted at 6:17 pm on Sun, Oct 28, 2012.

    Shocked Posts: 98

    Brent: Even you must admit that the way Luna and Friends miraculously came up with the first phase of funding... I wonder if the next phases will be equally simple.

    No I'm not a racist... actually, I don't care what political affiliation people have; as long as their decisions don't affect me or my family. Imagine how you would feel if Rachel Maddow was the chair of our school board and Michael Moore was the Superintendent of Education here in Idaho... wouldn't you feel violated by their radical views being forced upon you? This state has been taken over by extremists who are failing to represent all of Idaho.

  • cdanative33 posted at 5:38 pm on Sun, Oct 28, 2012.

    cdanative33 Posts: 386

    You seem like a smart guy you really think that providing a laptop and maintaining it over the course of a teenager's school years will cost $300 dollars per student? As a conservative, can you honestly make an argument for taxing everyone to buy and maintain a computer for every kid in idaho? If a democratic state superintendent and a democratic state governor would have proposed the same legislation, honestly, would you have supported it?

  • Brent Regan posted at 5:14 pm on Sun, Oct 28, 2012.

    Brent Regan Posts: 740

    “Excuse me”
    You are excused.

    “Prop 3 is not properly funded.”
    Phase 1 is already fully funded. (see above)

    “since when is a Tea Party activist worried about rural schools?”
    Since about 1987. The year I realized our public schools were failing our children. Your penchant to assign a set of characteristics not in evidence to a group of individuals is telling. It is a defining characteristic of a racist. Are you also a racist?

    “Sounds like socialism to me.”
    You are right, but not in the way you think.

  • Brent Regan posted at 5:12 pm on Sun, Oct 28, 2012.

    Brent Regan Posts: 740

    In the first phase the laptops go to the teachers and more than enough money is already appropriated.

    The contract provides laptops with repair, service and replacement with a new model in 4 years for only $300 per student per year.

    From the Idaho Statesman:
    "If approved by voters next month, Luna hopes to distribute laptops early next year to more than 6,500 teachers at a cost of $1.9 million. Earlier this year, lawmakers appropriated $2.5 million to cover that phase of the program."

  • Shocked posted at 4:28 pm on Sun, Oct 28, 2012.

    Shocked Posts: 98

    Excuse me Mr. Regan but as i stated earlier, teachers embrace technology and the students in CDA currently use them every day in classes. Teachers (and concerned citizens) are worried that Prop 3 is not properly funded. By the way, since when is a Tea Party activist worried about rural schools? Sounds like socialism to me.

  • Brent Regan posted at 4:07 pm on Sun, Oct 28, 2012.

    Brent Regan Posts: 740

    Shocked, do you fully appreciate the irony in the fact that the medium you are using to convey your argument against having computers available to our children is…….. a computer?

    What is next? Having a cocktail party to promote sobriety?

    If Crime Fighters fight crime and Fire Fighters fight fire, what do Freedom Fighters fight?

  • Brent Regan posted at 3:59 pm on Sun, Oct 28, 2012.

    Brent Regan Posts: 740

    “my kids are in the local public schools and the schools are full of computers”
    Here perhaps, but what about the rural schools?

    Ask yourself this: Is it better to buy a child a stack of textbooks, many of which are obsolete the day they are printed or a laptop that has access to EVERY textbook and virtually all human knowledge and can facilitate any child to take any class from any teacher located anywhere in the world?

  • cdanative33 posted at 3:11 pm on Sun, Oct 28, 2012.

    cdanative33 Posts: 386

    I think your smart enough to realize that your talking out of the place where the sun doesn't shine on this one...or else your making assumptions based on very little working knowledge of what our public schools currently look like. Kids are exposed to and using technology frequently each day in our public schools. The way you talk about our schools reminds me of the schoolhouse in Little House on the Prairie...very far from the current reality.

  • Shocked posted at 2:56 pm on Sun, Oct 28, 2012.

    Shocked Posts: 98

    Oh sorry... I just saw that Mr. Regan replied that our tax dollars will go towards paying for Luna's laptop plan. Won't that mean a major increase in our taxes to fund such a huge project? I thought the Tea Party was against taxation of any kind. When are Butch and Luna planning to let us know how our taxes will be affected by this stroke of genius? I'm sure Idaho citizens will be excited to open up their checkbooks more for public education!

  • cdanative33 posted at 2:52 pm on Sun, Oct 28, 2012.

    cdanative33 Posts: 386

    Is that how you think legislation should be passed?

  • cdanative33 posted at 2:49 pm on Sun, Oct 28, 2012.

    cdanative33 Posts: 386

    I have to side with shocked kids are in the local public schools and the schools are full of computers, LCD projectors, wireless Internet, etc., that my kids use or are exposed to everyday.

    What I find fascinating is that in one of the most conservative states in the union that the citizens would support using tax dollars to buy laptops for every about a hand out. I have to think that the majority of people intuitively know that this isn't the best use of tax dollars. Imagine if a Democratic state superintendent and a Democratic governor had pushed through legislation to use tax dollars to buy every kid in the state a computer...what would the backlash look like from that?

    I encourage you all to take a walk through the local mall...or drive by the middle schools and high schools around 2:30...look at those kids and decide if the best use of your tax dollars is to buy all of them a laptop to do with what they wish.

  • Shocked posted at 2:22 pm on Sun, Oct 28, 2012.

    Shocked Posts: 98

    "Old school schools"? Have you visited one of CDA's public schools lately? Students are on computers often and are taught how to effectively research using the internet... you sould see what's going on before you assume the students are not using technology. PLEASE... somebody explain how Prop 3 will be funded!
    Isn't it interesting that Luna admitted the legislation was rushed through to avoid any opposition? It reminds of our school board's PYP decision with no parent/stakeholder input.

  • Brent Regan posted at 1:22 pm on Sun, Oct 28, 2012.

    Brent Regan Posts: 740

    Our children swim in technology and yet the place they are least likely to encounter the internet is in the classroom. What exactly are we preparing them for with old school schools?

  • Brent Regan posted at 1:17 pm on Sun, Oct 28, 2012.

    Brent Regan Posts: 740

    Our children swim in technology and yet the place they are least likely to encounter the internet is in the classroom. What exactly are we preparing them for with old school schools?

  • Brent Regan posted at 1:14 pm on Sun, Oct 28, 2012.

    Brent Regan Posts: 740

    If it is capital equipment it likely comes out of the general fund. But ultimately, like all government spending, it is tax dollars. Don’t be Shocked that you are funding the laptops.

  • Brent Regan posted at 1:10 pm on Sun, Oct 28, 2012.

    Brent Regan Posts: 740

    I asked Tom Luna why the Governor seemed to rush through the legislation. He said he believed it was so that the out of state union forces would not have time to mobilize, as they have now done after the fact. Some teachers say that pay for performance is not fair to them, and they may be right. However, who gets how much for what can be worked out easily in the coming months and those good teachers have a reasonable chance of seeing pay commensurate to their ability. If the props are defeated then it will be many years, if ever, they have a chance to be treated fairly.

    Several times in the last few weeks I have visited a national news site only to have an ad to vote no on 123 pop up. There is a huge amount (>$1M) of out of state union money pouring into the opposition. If you are going to ask who put up $200K for the YES side, you should be 5 times more interested in who is putting up $1,000K on the NO side.

  • Sheeken Hunter posted at 10:46 am on Sun, Oct 28, 2012.

    Sheeken Hunter Posts: 183

    Mr. Regan, you make good points, and I don't discount your stated positions at all. The litmus test for me has been the failure of Luna/Otter to include teachers in the discussion and development of the proposed changes. I believe that those persons/entities that put $200,000 into Education Voters of Idaho should be identified so that their agenda can be evaluated and I would like to learn what your position is on whether or not these persons/entities should be revealed and if not why?

  • apple123 posted at 10:15 am on Sun, Oct 28, 2012.

    apple123 Posts: 17

    Prop 3, is not blended learning in which the individual districts have any control. It is a trade for teachers in Idaho to online education that is from outsource providers that are out of state.

  • Shocked posted at 10:14 am on Sun, Oct 28, 2012.

    Shocked Posts: 98

    No one responding to the question as to how the laptops will be funded? That's what I thought... don't feel alone... Luna doesn't know how it's going to work either. This is what happens when you elect an incompetent person to an important position. The mere fact that these props are back on the ballot in one of the most conservative states should tell people there is something very wrong with the Luna laws. Even many of the Republican legislators in the state have spoken out against the laws.

  • Shocked posted at 9:46 am on Sun, Oct 28, 2012.

    Shocked Posts: 98

    @Brent Regan: your article still has no info on how your boy Butch and his sidekick Luna are planning to fund these HP laptops over the coming years...

  • WhitePine posted at 9:14 am on Sun, Oct 28, 2012.

    WhitePine Posts: 155

    Prop.1 places strict limits on local school boards. It is top down government at its worse.
    Prop.2 has no data to support the misguided notion that pay-for-performance improves student achievement. The only 3 studies to test this theory have shown it to not be true.
    Prop. 3 There is a great deal of evidence to show that for-profit online programs have students scoring lower than state averages on tests such as the ISAT.
    Stop believing the big, loud lies.
    Vote No,No, No.

  • Brent Regan posted at 8:43 am on Sun, Oct 28, 2012.

    Brent Regan Posts: 740

    You need to read the news.

  • Brent Regan posted at 8:28 am on Sun, Oct 28, 2012.

    Brent Regan Posts: 740

    I spoke at the opening of the Rathdrum STEM Charter School. This is a brand new school with NO track record. They are at capacity with 265 students and another 260 on a waiting list to get in. We can deduce from this that public schools are perceived as being so bad that parents would rather enroll their children in an unproven school with just the idea, the promise of a better education.

    Education is changing because the information resources of the planet can now be held in the palm of your hand. The focus must shift from learning information to processing information.

    If you want to save public schools from obsolescence then you must vote YES on 1, 2 & 3. Extinction is the destiny for those that fail to adapt.

    I am pleased to see that Mr. Patrick has come to the realization that the core and future of the newspaper business is in news and not paper.

  • Shocked posted at 8:23 am on Sun, Oct 28, 2012.

    Shocked Posts: 98

    Nobody knows how Prop 3 will be funded. That is the main problem... Teachers don't fear technology at all. Could someone please tell me how these laptops will be funded? I bet no one who endorses this prop has an answer to that.

  • Sheeken Hunter posted at 8:21 am on Sun, Oct 28, 2012.

    Sheeken Hunter Posts: 183

    Vote 'No'.

  • Fralphgob posted at 7:20 am on Sun, Oct 28, 2012.

    Fralphgob Posts: 54

    Prop 1 silences our teachers voice and leaves good teachers without job security and protection. 3100 teachers have fled the state in 2 years since it was adopted. That is twice the normal attrition rate. Tom Luna said that teachers would be attracted here because of his "reform". He was completely wrong. Apparently this paper believes that teachers should be seen but not heard.

    Prop 2 robbed teacher pay in order to provide a merit pay "bonus". What a farce. It places all the burden for receiving any merit pay at all on one single test. If kids don't do well on that the ISAT then no teachers in that building can receive any merit pay at all. This forces teaching to the test and that is not good education.

    Prop 3 makes online education compulsary and allows kids to choose those course without approval of the local district. Tom Luna's original stated aim with this law was to replace 700 teachers with computers. He projected that the cost would be $70 million over 5 years. That has now ballooned to $180 million over 8 years. It will out source Idaho jobs, send $180 million Idaho tax dollars our of state, subject our students to education of questionable quality and reduce local control.

    Mike Patrick's editorials seem intelligent, but he is not an educator and neither was the person that crafted these laws. No teachers were involved in the process. The question for Idaho is,will we believe Tom Luna or teachers? When we are sick we go to a Doctor, when our cars need work we go to a mechanic, when my teeth need work I go to Dentist, when we need legal advice we get it from a Lawyer, and when Idaho needs educational advice we go to who?. We go to a man who got his online degree in weights and measures, has never been a teacher and was re-elected with out of state online dollars. Some reforms are needed but "Students Come First" is not it. Vote no, no and no.

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