Teachers, supporters line up around Idaho Capitol to protest Luna education reforms, lawmakers' actions

By Brian Murphy
bmurphy@idahostatesman.com

Several hundred teachers and supporters formed a ring around the Idaho Capitol on Wednesday afternoon to protest school superintendent Tom Luna's eduction reforms. Idaho lawmakers have passed two bills that are part of Luna's "Students Come First" package — one that reforms labor contracts and another that implements a pay-for-performance bonus plan for teachers.

The bills are headed to Gov. Butch Otter's desk for his signature.

Protesters wore red scarves, many over their mouths, to signify having their voices silenced by lawmakers. There was music playing and the crowded chanted refrains of "Respect. Fairness. Voices."

Several hundred protesters were at the statehouse, many carrying signs with their message of respect for teachers and against Luna. "Recall Luna. Idaho can do better," one sign read.

The protesters plan a rally at Capitol Park at 5:30 p.m.

At the rally, Rep. Brian Cronin, D-Boise, urged the protesters to "stand by us and we'll stand by you."

"I thank you for your dedication to the world's most important profession," Cronin said.

When Cronin ended his remarks, the crowd chanted "Cronin for Governor."

Maria Greeley, a parent and organizer, said she is tired after two months of fighting.

"I'm tired of being told labeled as misinformed or misguided by the teachers' union," Greeley told the crowd. "... (Luna's plan) in no way benefits our students."

"In two years from now and four years from now, we will remember," she said. The crowd then chanted "We will remember. We will remember."

1299719200 Teachers, supporters line up around Idaho Capitol to protest Luna education reforms, lawmakers' actions Idaho Statesman Copyright 2014 Idaho Statesman . All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Thank you Protestors!

Thank you for representing me as I couldn't be there today.

Ditto!

Thanks to everyone who showed up.
I would have had to leave school early to make it on time.
I'm not willing to do that to make my statement.

The Best Educated Union in the State

Too bad our legislature is so poorly educated in economics. Ppassing legislation without knowing how to pay for it is simply irresponsible. And by gutting education and increasing the budget for the privately run jail system makes you the laughing stock of the state!

Facts?

The budget for education has not been set by JFAC so how can you assert education funding has been gutted. The budget for S1110 will need to be in place by 2013 budget year-- in 18 months so will not be set by JFAC until next legislative session.

WHEE! They budget like I DO! (But I want a Pioneer)

----------

You must be lucky to be in the state I was born in!

Glad You Pointed This Out

Why not invest in education BEFORE they end up in jail? And isn't there something worth investigating about those private contracts?

Private contracts=Mafia hits. As If.

----------

You must be lucky to be in the state I was born in!

Education vs. Corrections

Are there any inmates in our prisons who did not spend somewhere between nine and twelve years in our public school system? At least if they are natural born citizens of the U.S., education was mandatory for all of them up to some point.

If education was the answer for every social problem there should not be any former school teachers serving time in prison or on probation for crimes ranging from sex offenses to felony DUI. Unfortunately that is not the case.

Corrections in Idaho falls under the rubric of Public Safety and includes ISP, juvenile offenders, adult offenders, probation and parole services. Juvenile offenders are provided basic educational services while in detention, and some teachers benefit from the Correction's budget.

IDOC spends 88 cents a day on meals for adult inmates, which IMO couldn't get much closer to starvation. If nothing else, think about the teachers behind bars before you bash the budget for Corrections.

All education in Idaho received 65.5% of the General Fund for 2011. Public Safety received 9.5% - juvenile and adult corrections received 7.6%.

Didn't help Michael Milken and Bernie Madoff, so true.

----------

You must be lucky to be in the state I was born in!

The primary reason general fund money has increased for

schools is because the legislature granted welfare to ag producers in the form of property tax breaks, and then Risch granted welfare to all property owners via decreased taxes during his special session while gov. Both shifted responsibilty from local funding to the state general fund and increased reliance on sales tax and income tax revenue. Reverse those two actions and the reliance on general funding is back at the local level. Of course that means cutting welfare programs for farmers and large property owners, so don't count on it.

"No his mind is not for rent, to any god or government." Neil Peart

Funny you don't have the

Funny you don't have the same problems when it comes to Pres Obama and the Dems spending on the Federal level. But why be consistent. Your Libs and if you say it, it should just be.

As I recall...

Republicans weren't going to pass anything until the uber rich got their continuation of tax breaks which increases the debt. So which way is it going to be? Can't have it both ways and blame one side about spending. Selective memory on your part.

Passing legislation without paying

I don't think the passing of this legislation is as irresponsible as you suggest. I suspect the legislature knows exactly what they are doing because the merit pay idea for K-12 teachers has been in place for university professors for years. And every year there is a budget cut or even budget neutral, there is no money available to fund any merit pay for university faculty. We do without. This is the plan for K-12 as well. Because salaries for Idaho K-12 are already comparatively low for Idaho K-12 teachers, they will fall further behind as the years go on. But hey, it will be easier to balance the budget for the legislators.

Are you listening?

Luna, are you listening yet or are you shutting yourself off from society because only you know best?

Education Reform

These are some of the facts that concern me:

· That only 32% of ID eight graders were at grade level in reading when No Child Left Behind was set up. That means two thirds were below grade level and may never catch up.

·That 65% of our 4th graders were not at the National proficiency levels per testing scores in 2010. That means only 35% at grade level.

· On the national level that of the top 30 developed countries in the world the US ranked 25th in math and 21st in science.

· That of the top 5% of our best students in the US they ranked 23rd out of the 29 most developed countries in the world.

· Of the following world leaders the US ranked 9th : in order Korea, Japan, Canada, Australia, France, Germany, Spain and then the US.

Our education system in Idaho and in our country is failing our kids - we need to do something different and we need to do it now. At least Luna is taking steps to make a change to help our kids to get a better education - better than what they are getting now.

Watch "The Cartel" and "Waitnig for Superman" and you will know why.

Facts?

Watching those two movies to gain knowledge about public education is like me telling you to watch Bowling for Columbine to learn about gun control or Fahrenheit 9/11 to get the facts on September 11th. All of these films are created by people with an agenda and present only the information that promotes that agenda. Trying to use them as some sort of valid research is just irresponsible. I noticed you didn't mention Finland. Maybe we should model their system. They have 100% union membership, invest 6% of their GDP in education, have very few private schools, 3% poverty rate, high income tax rates, free healthcare, and are ranked very high in the world with regards to education.

Why Not?

I'm with you. Let's use Finland as a model and while we are at it, Denmark ranks up there also. I'm serious...For once I'd like to get some bang for my buck.

Plastic explosives are not your answer though.

----------

You must be lucky to be in the state I was born in!

Finland schools

The points you make about Finland are quite true, and you left out that the national school system has small class sizes within pretty small schools of around 600 students grades 1-9. They also don't spend money on transportation, so I'm guessing they have lots of neighborhood schools if their elementary children have to walk or bike to school.

Some other facts you omitted: Teachers in Finland are the creme de la creme of college graduates. The majority of education majors in the U.S. rank in the bottom third of college graduates, and as a result could never be hired to work in Finnish schools. According to most sources I have checked, teacher salaries in Finland are comparable to "average" teacher salaries in the U.S., but I did find one 2002 article on the internet that contradicts those sources.

"Finland's Teacher Trap: Low Pay, Low Prestige"

The article was translated from a Finnish newspaper described as "centrist" and republished by www.worldpress.org. and left a lot of questions in my mind. How about yours?

Finland spends $7,500 per pupil. The U.S. averages $8,700 per pupil.

Education is only mandatory for nine years in Finland, ages 7-16. Students have to pass a comprehensive written exam to enter high school. Students who do not pass the written exam (47%) are provided with optional vocational education, which nearly all of them complete.

Unlike the U.S., Finland (pop.5 million) enjoys a common culture, common language, common religion, common values, common race/ethnicity.

So? They suck as bad as us. EGALITE for pete's sake.

----------

You must be lucky to be in the state I was born in!

Scary Indeed

Scary numbers but the scariest is the fact that the superintendent with his so-called reforms has never been in a classroom. How does he know what really goes on? Here I thought the teachers were always putting Students First. There is no incentive in his reforms for college students to go into teaching and that is sad. And pay-for-performance? I would want that student 24/7 and control his learning environment totally before I would consider being paid for his performance.

Waiting for Luna (Superman!)

After watching the movie which follows the amazing stories of five kids and their charter schools, I was truly moved.
After reflection, however, it was a polemic against all things unions without recognizing that in most of the countries cited having better education are those whose teachers are highly unionized, and paid relatively much better, and have a special place in their society, not having become a punching bag .... like the movie makes them here.
The magnetic headmaster Geoffery Canada is a inspirational leader worthy of honor and appreciation.
If you're interested in heart wrenching stories, see this film. But if you are interested in changing education make sure you peer behind the veil of what the filmmakers are advocating and that is that unions are menace.
H. L. Mencken said, "For every complex problem there is a solution that is simple, neat, and wrong." There is no silver bullet, and, in fact demonizing 13,000 of 15,500 of Idaho's teachers is poisonous.
What might even be worse is placing Idaho's 275,000 students on an experimental on-line education flight without a testing the emerging technique.

Waiting for Luna (Superman!)

After watching the movie which follows the amazing stories of five kids and their charter schools, I was truly moved.
After reflection, however, it was a polemic against all things unions without recognizing that in most of the countries cited having better education are those whose teachers are highly unionized, and paid relatively much better, and have a special place in their society, not having become a punching bag .... like the movie makes them here.
The magnetic headmaster Geoffery Canada is a inspirational leader worthy of honor and appreciation.
If you're interested in heart wrenching stories, see this film. But if you are interested in changing education make sure you peer behind the veil of what the filmmakers are advocating and that is that unions are menace.
H. L. Mencken said, "For every complex problem there is a solution that is simple, neat, and wrong." There is no silver bullet, and, in fact demonizing 13,000 of 15,500 of Idaho's teachers is poisonous.
What might even be worse is placing Idaho's 275,000 students on an experimental on-line education flight without a testing the emerging technique.

Michael Moore needs to grow a cerebellum.

----------

You must be lucky to be in the state I was born in!

Education Reform

We KNOW how to make Idaho education better - require better trained and educated teachers in their subject matter. Increase standards for teachers - to at least match neighboring states - and teachers will be more comfortable teaching their students and they will set higher standards for learning with their students.

But today, Idaho cannot set high content standards for their teachers in most schools because Idaho does not pay a wage that will attract those well-trained teachers. We cannot blame the teachers for this problem - we should admire them for their willingness to teach in areas where they have not been fully trained. But we can demand that our state Department of Education improve standards. Right now, a high school teacher of a science like chemistry is certified as a "Highly Qualified Teacher" of chemistry with as few as 4 semester hours of college chemistry. The majority of high school teachers have at best, 8 college hours in a field of science. Right next door in our neighboring state of Washington, a high school teacher is required to have 30 hours in chemistry. That level of training requires a starting salary greater than $28K but that level of training produces students eager and willing to go on to college. Again, we cannot blame the teachers in Idaho for this. They do what they can but we must make the difficult and costly changes required to really improve K-12 education in Idaho.

Luna says the most important factor in a student's education is the quality of teacher in the classroom. So why doesn't he do something that requires teachers to be better? His proposed reforms suggest he is more concerned with saving money than really improving education.

I was there . . .

and it was more than impressive. Very well played out, and very respectful. I was proud to be a part of it - and proud of Idaho's teachers.

We are the world...NEXT

----------

You must be lucky to be in the state I was born in!

voices silenced?

Your voices were not silenced. You had the opportunity to debate and give feedback. I would say hundreds of people represent a very small number of people who are dis-satisfied with these two bills. Speaking with some teachers, there are parts they don't like, there are parts they do like. Some are very frustrated that bad teachers are still teaching and there is nothing anyone can do.

The bills are not perfect...but they are not ALL bad either. Why should a teacher have the ability to keep their job, when they are not doing their job?

I would have changed some things myself, with how the bills are written, but there are parts of these that are good. If you put down your IEA purchased red scarves and look at the entire picture. Not just from a teachers POV, from a citizen, bill payer, budget writer, administration, etc...POV.

You would all have something else to complain about if it were not this. Too bad people cannot just go DO...without asking/wanting MORE.

Red scarves

Like red flags are symbolic of Socialism. As is the IEA and the NEA.

Or?

Or communist China? Where the people are silenced. Maybe you are on to something though. China (communist) is out performing us. Finland (practically socialist) is out performing us. Are you you thinking we need to go that direction? By the way, when you control for poverty and racially separated areas, American students are very competitive with the rest of the world. Which is part of the reason our universities are the best in the world. But wait, aren't our universities just socialist propaganda machines?

Heh heh !

Great point's ! Oh yeah did any one see Butcher's head ? Looks like he got kicked by a horse.
Now I'm starting to understand the Cowboy way of running the State. You get kicked in the head a
few times and you have it all figured out. At least you think you do. Seem's Karma has got
Bedke and Otter so far, who's next ?

Typical snark by you,

This is Ash Wednesday for Catholics, and Otter is a Catholic. I saw several foreheads like that today. Hope you're proud of yourself. BTW, I'm not Catholic or any other denomination....Sunny...

HUH!!!

What does Ash Wednesday have to do with anything??? So what if Otter is Catholic. Luna is Mormom, and I am not bashing Mormons. Are you a bigot??

Ash Wednesday

What does Ash Wednesday have to do with dirty faces?
They put ASH on their foreheads in the shape of a cross.

Too bad it looks like they reformed education too late to help some.

I dated Mormons. They have all the stuff girls have standard.

NEXT!

(at least I HAD girlfriends for at least 4 years at a time)

----------

You must be lucky to be in the state I was born in!

Sunny, that's weird for you.

----------

You must be lucky to be in the state I was born in!

Perhaps you are confused and that was a picture

of Cecil Andrus you were looking at after he was kicked by his mule!

Cecil got the point though!

----------

You must be lucky to be in the state I was born in!

Socialist Proganda Machines?

It would depend on whether you are majoring in "Ethnic Studies", "Public Policy", or "Political Science" as opposed to "Engineering", "Premed", or "Physics". Business programs tend to be split down the middle ideologically, Marketing and Entrepreneurship on one side, Economics on the other. When school performance measures are subjected to socio-economic or parental achievement stratification, there is little difference between comparable student samples regardless of the the country where the student samples are derived. Students tend to respond to parental expectations and the influences of the socio-economic group to which they belong. If one compares a heterogeneous sample of American students to those of a much more homogeneous student population such as Finland, the validity of the statistics derived would be quite misleading. It would also help if a person doing the comparison were familiar with the history and population characteristics of the nations being compared.

Are our universities the best in the world? Our highly selective top tier universities are without question among the best in the world. Universities in most countries are highly selective as to who is admitted and the screening process starts early. In the US the process to gain admittance to a top tier university starts early as well, however it it far less formal than Europe or Asia. If a parent thinks that their "little dumpling" is "Ivy League level" material at age six, they had best take a realistic look at what "Ivy League Material" actually is. The process of "educational grooming" for a non-legacy student is not much different than that for a fifth generation Ivy League level student. The difference is the qualified legacy student is competing for one of perhaps 500 to 1000 freshman class spots and the non legacy student is competing for a slot where there are "set asides" and the Caucasian male student is competing for one of perhaps 50 to 100 slots, often with geographic considerations "set asides" (1 from Idaho, 2 from New Jersey, 4 from California, and so forth. Instead of Europe and the UK's A-Levels and O-Levels the US has PSATs, ACTs and SATs and the all important essays and letters of recommendation. It also doesn't hurt to be an Olympian or National Champion while in High School in addition to being academically qualified for admission to a top tier school. The "average kid" doesn't stand a "hope or prayer" of gaining admission to a top tier Ivy League level school. However their is no country on the planet where they have a better opportunity to enter a university where they can benefit from the educational opportunities available to them.

Don't tell Rancher you've taken stuff.

----------

You must be lucky to be in the state I was born in!

Red Scarves

No, the red scarves show the protesters finally realize that our GOP dominated legislature doesn't give a darn about the people of this state. If you want to influence the legislature dig out your wallet and make a contribution!

What was that

the light-weight kept repeating? We Won- Yeah that's what it was. We won.

That was a newspaper headline from WAY BACK.

----------

You must be lucky to be in the state I was born in!

This is WEDNESDAY, isn't it?

Seems like if they're actually going to be given raises on their performance now, they might want to stay in their classrooms and PROVE that they can do a good enough job to warrant a merit increase. Suppose they'll have to give the kids another a day or two off for their prep and in service days.

Oh to go back to the days when people entered the teaching profession because they wanted to help educate the next generation. Now they join so their union can get them raises for doing sub par work.

Ignorance

Why don't you save your comments for when you actually have correct information. Teachers and children were at work today. Unlike Luna, they really do put kids first. But hey, don't let facts get in the way of making such blind comments. It seems to be the way of many people. The event started at 4:30, after a 10 hour day.

Of course, it was symbolic and merely group therapy. NEXT!

----------

You must be lucky to be in the state I was born in!

100% Support Luna

Why are K-12 teachers sacred? K-12 teachers do not perform the most important function in society. What is more important? How about someone who teaches others how to cure cancer or transplant hearts. How about someone who rushes into a burning building to save people. How about someone who engineers an important bridge. How about a dentist that can relieve acute pain and repair and extend the life of people's teeth?

They all had teachers who taught them to read and write you say? Fine. Good. You are exactly right. K-12 teaching is a legitimate job. But, it is not the absolute most important job in society. It is not a sacred cow that can not be touched in tough times.

And, when times are tough K-12 is a legitimate place to cut back costs. You don't like that teacher? Go find something else to do.

And btw education majors are not usually your highest academic achievers in universities. Nor is education an especially tough major. Oh, and one last thing. If teachers and administrators want to make more money then let them take risks like those of us in the private sector.

Get real

Who and how do they get pointed in that direction ? By people like you ? Not hardly !
Also ask your Politicians what they have sacrificed and have they quit taking money
from Lobbyist's who benefit from this plan. Seriously look between the lines and
you may not feel so good about this plan.

boise49ers

You have no idea what I do nor of my involvement in the community, including with K-12 students.

There is no need to look between the lines. Our state and the United States of America are in extremely serious financial trouble. K-12 teachers and administrators are going to have to feel the pain. Everyone is.

Neither do the rest of us since you were merciful not to tell.

----------

You must be lucky to be in the state I was born in!