New parents group to rally Monday at Capitol in opposition to Luna K-12 reform

The rally is set from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. on the Statehouse steps.

The idea sprung from several parents who helped organize a meeting that drew 350 people to Borah High School Wednesday to hear about the Boise School District trustees reasons for opposing the plan authored by Idaho Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna. Gov. Butch Otter backs Luna's "Students Come First" proposal.

The new group is called Idaho Parents and Teachers Together, spokesman Mike Lanza said Thursday.

"All across Idaho, parents are learning details," said Lanza, who has two children at Longfellow Elementary School in Boise. "This is very much a citizen movement. Our hope is to increase public awareness."

Lanza said parents are concerned about larger class sizes, cutting teachers' jobs, expanding state control over local districts and new mandates for laptops and online coursework.

Luna unveiled his reform ideas Jan. 12, which were not part of his 2010 re-election campaign.

City Club of Boise announced Thursday afternoon that Luna will appear at a Feb. 18 forum titled, "Education Reform—Stretching Dollars in Tough Times."

He proposes saving money by increasing class sizes, eliminating about 1,000 jobs of teachers and other professionals and mandating online education in high school. Luna would shift funds to buy laptops for all high school students and a pay-for-performance plan for teachers. He also seeks to end continuing contracts for new teachers, commonly called tenure.

"Our great fear is it will move too quickly through the Legislature without serious consideration of the consequences of a major overhaul of public education," Lanza said.

The Senate Education Committee was expected to print Luna's two bills Thursday afternoon and has scheduled hearings at 3 p.m. Monday through Thursday of next week.

The rally is scheduled to follow the first day's hearing, which will feature Luna presenting his bills.

For information, e-mail Lanza at

Take the next step: Contact your legislator

Who to Contact

The bills implementing these changes will be introduced in the Senate Education Committee.

Public testimony is first scheduled for Monday, February 7 at 3 p.m. in the Senate Education Committee (the committee meets in the West end of the new below-ground section of the Idaho Capitol building). The testimony will continue for 4 days. Individuals can sign-up to speak and will be given 3 minutes to testify.

E-mailing representatives is also an effective way to communicate. Although every e-mail may not be read personally, staff members do tally comments both for and against. Providing e-mail testimony in support of some parts of the measure and against others is acceptable and is accounted for. You may contact legislators by visiting

In particular, the members of the Senate Education Committee need input first. The members and contact information follows:

John Goedde, Chairman

Monty Pearce

Chuck Winder

John Andreason

Mitch Toryanski

Nicole LeFavour

Edgar Malepeai

Russell Fulcher

Dean Mortimer, Vice Chairman

Weigh in

Good advice, theone. I'm in agreement.

You say, "Staff members do tally comments both for and against."

I'd add one more suggestion... if you're against Luna's plan, I'm sure they would welcome alternative ideas.

Hopefully EVERYONE can agree that the reality is... there's a huge revenue shortfall due to the poor economy. Unlike the Feds, and apparently many states, Idaho has a constitutional mandate (thank goodness!) to balance the books. Our lawmakers can't spend more money than they have. Most revenue is spent on 1) education and 2) welfare.

To say you are against a plan is valid... but it's not productive unless you can help formulate an alternative.

(Personally, I think some aspects of Luna's plan have merit. I'd propose a "test case" - give it a try at a school or two, or maybe even in a district. See how it pans out, say, between now and the next time Luna is up for reelection.)

Test Case

I like your idea of a test case. Better yet, test out certain aspects of the plan. Also, this plan is not going to save money. The money saved by reducing the number of teachers is going to be spent on purchasing a variety of technology.

No proof

The problem is that this is not a solution to budget shortfalls it is the creation of a new annual spending "money pit". Not to mention the fact that it eliminates 1000+ jobs state wide and limits available jobs for future college grads in our state. Just like other district that have tried laptop programs we will foot the bill for an expensive experiment and learn to regret it within the next few years. Where will we be then?
As for a tests case, just one is New York. They tried the one to one laptop program and recalled it in 1997. Stating that there were no significant gains as well a citing a laundry list of problems. A recession year is not the time to propose expensive risky reforms. Schools already have programs that offer refurbished, donated computers at a subsidized price for low income families. Give every student a flash drive. Give classrooms sets of laptops but not every child. Do not let them leave the classroom with a taxpayer bought, webcam equipped laptop.
Online courses are great, but they are not for everyone. Online learning requires dedication, motivation, time management skills and resources. Not every high school student has these. What will happen to students with special needs, limited English proficiency, or learning disabilities? The passing of these bills will hurt the admissions status of graduating students as well. Many colleges do not accept all online high school credits. One mother at the JFAC meeting reported that her son's online foreign language credit disqualified him from his desired college. Idaho is already last in the number of students that go on to higher education. We cannot afford to risk this gamble. cost a lot of money on laptops that will not increase student learning.
We are talking about our children. There is a reason that they are not considered adults. These are the years that they are supposed to be receiving guidance and learning how to behave. This plan outsources Idaho jobs. How is that a solution to our economic problems? The current programs in our schools are working. Schools are making greater and greater achievements despite budget cuts and unfunded mandates. Tighten the belt a bit. Cut peripherals but do not disadvantage our children by implementing a plan with absolutely no research driven methodology! Just because it involves computers does not mean it’s the wave of the future

say, I have an idea

Perhaps Tom Luna could ask teachers and administrators for suggestions and they could work on something together.

Nail on the Head!

slfisher I stand and applaud you! The best idea yet!! Let administrators, teachers, AND parents help decide what happens in the classrooms!! Luna has never been a teacher. It seems impossible that he could possibly understand what students and teachers need to succeed without that experience.

The problem is

That on that list many could careless what a parent has to say and if they don't agree with you they will either not take your calls or hang up on you if they disagree. I had that experience when dealing with the chairman in the past.

SDE "here to serve" - now's your chance

Superintendent Luna is famous for saying his department is "here to serve." Well, Supt. Luna, now's your chance to serve Idahoans. Idahoans - Share your thoughts with Supt. Luna's office and his fellow bureaucrats. Call Luna directly at 332-6815. I know he'd love to hear from you!

Laptops not the greatest insidiousness

The 2nd bill will gut Idaho classrooms of good teachers. Or should I say, any teacher that firmly believes that they should have a voice in helping students learn will leave the state or the profession. Teacher burn out will accelerate as it is a fair percentage leave before 5 years because of the stresses and etc of the job.
Teaching isn't like having a sales job. Under the new plan they can walk in your classroom anytime during the year and let you go. Ok, in October they cut your position due to funding. Unlike most other jobs teachers can't just go find another one. Hiring only happens at the end of the school year and around the start of it. So now a teacher would have to wait MONTHS before any measurable opportunity to regain employment. The salesman or whatever just goes from business to business the next day.
Yesterday someone I know said that he's changed his major from education to another field.
To put it simply, intrinsic rewards only last so long until the extrinsic detractors like this latest attack on the profession drive good teachers away.
You can't run a school like a business, it's a service at the very core. Those serving are not first, the kids are, but they are second, this will make them last.

can them both

Luna is just taking orders from Otter, both need to be recalled, as it seems as though neither ever read a copy of the state constitution they both swore an oath to defend and support.


Perhaps Luna should be thinking more about saving his job than taking teachers' jobs.


He just won reelection by a landslide. Nice try, but we have the right person for the job. Not lacky for Big Union. Someone thinking of new ways to teach.


I think he may have not won reelection running on the current platform he is pitching....


He won because of the great sheeple of idaho do not know their @@@ from their head and only vote by party and name. I knew this was going to happen and warned people on here plenty of times: THIS MAN IS AN IDIOT!




You must be talking obout the Prez, not the gov....LOL
Obama isn't qualified to run a lemonade stand... Look at Tunisia, Egypt, Jobs, etc...
LOL total loser....

What has Obama got to do w/Tunisia and Egypt?

Is this like FDR let the Japs bomb Pearl?

Or is it the 'he's a Kenyan so he should run Africa' theory?



It's Chinese New Year now. Unfortunately it's been recalled.


Luna didn't tell everyone he planned to wreck public education when he was running for re-election. In fact, his plan was to look for additional revenue sources. HA...the joke is on ANYONE who voted for him.

Because of the strangle hold the ultra right wingers have on Idaho's current legislature, this plan will sail through. If you don't like it folks...remember it in two years when you vote again.

Let's get some balance of power in Idaho's statehouse. Don't blindly vote republican next go around. Vote for a democrat...who in Idaho...are really nothing more than republicans without an agenda to destroy government services.

Keep This in Mind

UNIONS are behind all this. They represent teachers not kids. UNIONS are about teacher jobs even if it means kids go without the necessities. When was the last time you ever heard of UNIONS volunteering to give up any benefit teachers demanded?


Teachers give up their free time for students.
Teachers spend hundreds of their own dollars on supplies for kids.
Teachers care for your children 60% of their waking hours.
Teachers know who your kids are talking to, when they are stressed, when they are struggling and usually before parents do.
Teachers take their work home with them every night.
Teachers go to school year after year to perfect their trade.
Teachers are education.

Unions are made up of teachers. Teachers who need to know that they will get the same paycheck next year. Teachers who need good health insurance for their own children. Teachers who need to know that that one overbearing parent can't get them fired.

Read the bills and do the research. This is about our kids having the best chances possible and keeping Idaho jobs in our state. It is about Idaho dropping further down the ladder. It is about a program with absolutely no research behind it, outsourcing jobs, and taking teachers out of the learning process.


I'm not a Teacher....but I would love everything you said in my occupation....Now I'm dep[ressed....In my job, I can get fired summers pension....dang it....

You may want to reread the

You may want to reread the post you replied sums up what teachers do every year. You seem to think teachers can never be laid off or're wrong. You seem to think that teachers have tenure....they don't. Summers off? Wrong again; that's when teachers have time to take courses and earn credits to advance along the pay scale, and improve their knowledge which comes out in the classroom. Oh, yeah...they get to see their families too. Did you know that a lot of teachers usually end up working six days a week...yep, many of them go in on the weekend when time permits so they can write lesson plans and grade papers or projects and generally get ahead because there isn't enough time during the day? Pension? Yeah, they get a pension, but it wouldn't be enough to live on after retirement, so investments are made from their pay, which is tough to do considering how dismal the paycheck can be.

In many places teachers get the smallest amount of respect, yet have the most important job in the world. Think about where we would be without teachers. Don't criticize what little they do get. They deserve a lot more. Teachers are the true heroes!


Teachers are great!!! I'm not knocking them....I just get tired of the whining when really their chosen profession isn't that bad after 10-20 years of teaching....I know of several retired teachers and they are not doing too bad. Hey, my job is tough too and I also went to college....But I like my job...What else is there?


Do teachers get unemployment during the summer? If so, do they have to look for other work? Or are they allowed to go to school while drawing unemployment?

I believe the way it works....

is that they get their salary through the year. Certainly they're not considered unemployed if they've got a contract for the next year.


Please note that k-12 teachers do not have tenure. Some have renewable contracts, which just means that they have a job year to year without having to reapply or renegotiate a new contract. Unless of course they are laid off or fired. Big difference. You and Luna might what to look up the definition. Since Luna has limited experience with higher education, I suppose it shouldn't be a surprise that he is confused by the term.

Oh, another

Oh, another union-buster...the state superintendent must be a real hero for you then? Teachers don't have the right to protection from the whims of some administrator who doesn't like a teacher because they are a different religion?....have a difference of opinion?...gave some influential community member's kid a failing grade even though that's what the kid earned?

Unions do that for teachers; they get such things through bargaining and compromise. Demands don't work in something like this.

I Rest My Case...

The two commenters above presented my case very well. This is all about teachers and their jobs and NOTHING about kids. Thanks you very much. I told you so.

actually, JLF

...I think you got owned.

Nullify LunaSchools

Nullify this Lunacy!!!!


like true blue UNION member. Not a word about kids.


what benefits are kids doing without in Idaho - those benefits going to "union bosses"? And I am still waiting for the specifics on the "Commie, socialist pinko Red Chinese inspired" subjects you contended on another thread are being taught in Idaho schools. (Jeopardy theme song here)

The kids think he's nuts but are more polite than WE ARE.



It's Chinese New Year now. Unfortunately it's been recalled.

Suggesstions to Luna....

on Monday, February 7 2011, announce that you have switched parties and become a Democrat....then they (dems) will start loving you....they will insist that every kid gets a free laptop....


Problem is that independents and Republicans hate it too. This is equal opportunity Luna-cy.

Intresting thought...but

I'm a lifelong republican and I find Luna and his ideas sorely lacking. My question to you is simple do you have a 14 year old? Do you have any idea how well they take care of things? How often will they replace these computers? Will they have a major service contract for the repair and upkeep on them. Will there be protection to keep the kids from going to web sites they shouldn't be going to. Will the state be libel should some kid use the laptop in an inappropriate manner then lets say get raped? How many thousands of these laptops will need to be purchased? Have you taken the time to look at studies that show that when doing online "class's" spelled wrong do to bad programing preventing swearing students are more prone to cheating? I see that you have swallowed the extreme rights views regarding education. As a parent and a conservative I know that an educated public is required to keep America strong and competitive in the world economy.


Luna does need to reach to educated dems that have a good education background....It would behoove him to do this....It does not show weakness to cross party lines....It shows strength, leadership, and the American spirit....I wish the Prez, Pelosi, and Reid would do so.....


Most of the people on this board are either pathetic or clueless...

This is how I score it -- Luna 1 - Opposition 0

Zero as in clueless. The number of ideas to do anything different - 0. Luna's plan, with its pros and it cons - 1.

The number of people on this board that think defendening status quo is a good idea is crazy. The US education system today is failing misserably. And Idaho is finishing in the back of the pack in the US states.

I know, we all know, it is easy as h3ll to take shots at this plan. I am 100% on board with an alternative plan... which is what??? status quo? Really?

You are not smart, educated, or whitty to take shots at this plan, with the only plan to stay status quo. That is lazy and ill thought out.

So if the plan sucks... lets see the plans to increase the quality of educaiton in the state, and do it with 10% less money..

(if you refuse to accept those pre conditions, you are living in la la land)


Unions are in favor of preserving teacher jobs and NOTHING about innovation and trying new things if they challenge the unionist-teacher cabal. ONLY if teachers can have the final say are they willing to move off dead center. We know from our sad experience that the IEA, NEA and the socialist unions will not go quietly and let new thinking penetrate their tired useless rhetoric. The assumption has been that teachers know best and that gave us "Heather Has Two Mommies", taking God out of the class room, ejecting 1st graders for drawing pictures of guns, ejecting children from class for wearing religious jewelry, humiliating kids who write about religion in their class room assignments and so forth. They gave us political correctness and attacks on religious patriotic kids and their families. Teachers and unions have lost our faith in them. They no longer represent us. They represent the politically correct world of the leftists. Teachers who are patriotic, God fearing people tell of horror stories of how the PTA, administrators and unions have abused and mistreated those who speak up. It is past time for the Idaho legislature to make teachers pay their own unions dues if they choose to belong. It is time to make teachers work under the same employment standards as every other government employee, that is, do away with tenure, annual contracts and pay GOOD teachers more and fire poor ones. It is past time to tell teachers that if they want the job they will do things OUR way and to heck with the NEA and the socialist unions. It is past time to debunk the myth that teachers know best because they do not.


You have got to be Luna's personal friend. Those are almost his exact words. Plus you made sure to use the words he has instructed his friends to use, even though they are not applicable. Union, Tenure, Socialist.


Our school system is lousy so we should make it worse? Quote me one study that shows replacing classroom teachers with online courses brings about better quality education. And not all of the education in Idaho is "lousy" - Boise has 4 of the best high schools in the nation.

And Luan's plan isn't doing anything for 10% less, it's not saving taxpayers a dime.

Yes... You Are

Even if the current system was "failing miserably" instituting a costly plan that is not backed by any solid research is a mistake. Ignorantly advocating for a plan just because it is different, when in fact Idaho schools have been making steady progress over the past several years (and affirmed by Luna during his campaign), just makes you sound like one of Luna's friends who has been told to parrot the same phrases over and over. Tenure, Union, Alternative. Parents and professionals pointing out the flaws of such a plan on a message board is not pathetic and doesn't require an alternative plan laid out in such a forum. If Luna was truly willing to listen and work together towards improving our current system, he would have to beat the parents and education professionals away with a stick.


a lot of us have a better clue than you think. This isn't Luna's plan, it M. Rhee's and it's [dagnabit] near word for word. You would at least think your hero might change a few of the words when he plagiarized some other person's work. Disqus is so weird tonight.

I see no reason willfully DECREASE the quality of education in this state either, which is what this proposal will do.

Sell advertising on school buses, get rid of some tax exemptions and generate more funds, do anything but screw things up like this proposal will.

Actually, I think the majority of the plan is a smokescreen. Luna is on the GOP anti union bandwagon, and that is his only goal. After the dust settles and various parts of the plan are given up on the pretense of "compromise," I'm betting the parts of the plan still standing will be those parts that curtail due process for educators' jobs.


You know it's funny, but, when I went to public school in Idaho, before the teachers all went union, I cannot recall a single teacher being fired....I never heard the whining about, that's all you hear about... mine, mine, me, me, me... perhaps a child would do better with a laptop, provided it didn't whine all the time....

Funding: Why not implement a tax for schools? Only those with students have to pay! Even the illegals! If you can't pay, work it off cleaning toilets....

Whining Started in 1992.....

during the Clinton era....Unions took over and they have been whining ever since...

"Education Reform—Stretching Dollars in Tough Times."

Popkey actually is telling it like it is. Luna's plan is about saving money. Not bettering the education of our children. Where in Luna's plan does it talk about the quality, method and delivery of education?