Idaho elections: Group forms to back Luna laws

With the three "Students Come First" public school overhaul laws on the November ballot, a group has formed to campaign to keep the laws on the books.

"YES! For Idaho Education" filed its paperwork with Secretary of State Ben Ysursa Wednesday. Headed by State Board of Education member Milford Terrell and Idaho Falls school board member Wendy Horman, the group will seek to convince Idahoans to ratify the laws.

Critics successfully qualified to place the 2011 education laws on the November ballot. A "yes" vote on the referenda is a vote to retain laws that would revamp the teacher collective bargaining process; establish a school merit pay system; and fund mobile devices for teachers and high school students, while creating an online course requirement for high school graduates.

Here's the news release about the pro-Students Come First group:

The campaign committee to fight repeal of the Students Come First education reform laws officially filed paperwork with Idaho Secretary of State Ben Ysursa yesterday.

The committee, named “YES! For Idaho Education” and spearheaded by Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter, lists as co-chairs Boise Businessman and State Board of Education member Milford Terrell, and Idaho Falls School Board member Wendy Horman. State Representative Mack Shirley of Rexburg has been appointed campaign treasurer.

Governor Otter and Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna will unveil more detail regarding the committee membership and structure in the coming days.

Additional biographical information on YES! For Idaho Education committee officers:

Co-Chairman Milford Terrell is a long-time Boise businessman and community leader. He serves on the seven-member State Board of Education, originally appointed by Governor Dirk Kempthorne in 2003, and recently re-appointed to his third term by Governor Otter. Milford has been actively involved in statewide politics having served on the campaign committees of Kempthorne, Otter, US Senator Larry Craig, US Senator Jim Risch, and Superintendent Tom Luna among others.

Co-Chairman Wendy Horman, of Ammon, is a member of the Bonneville School District No. 93 Board of Trustees (Idaho Falls) since 2002. She is a past President of the Idaho School Boards Association (2006-2007) and has served as Chairman of the Idaho School Boards Association Foundation Board since 2008. Mrs. Horman served as a member of the Students Come First Technology Task Force, and in May won the Republican nomination to the open Legislative District 30 House Seat B. Horman will be completing her Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from Brigham Young University-Idaho in December. She is the mother of five children, all of whom attended or are attending Idaho public schools.

Treasurer Mack Shirley, of Rexburg, is retiring from the Idaho House of Representatives this year after ten years representing District 34. The last six years he has served as Vice-Chairman of the House Education Committee where he has established a reputation as a very thoughtful, knowledgeable member of the Legislature on education policy issues. A lifelong educator, Representative Shirley holds a Ph. D in educational and Higher Education Administration. Through his career, he has been a public school classroom teacher and administrator and a Teacher Education Instructor at Ricks College and Brigham Young University.

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Luna laws? Really?

Is anyone seriously thinking these laws should be left in place?

If this mess were sound there would be no need for a support group. You're being played, Idaho. These guys will try to make the education of our kids a partisan thing.

DO NOT believe the spin anyone gives you on this issue. Look up for yourself who stands to benefit financially from these laws. Vote intelligently on the issue, not on the gamesmanship being aimed at you.

At best, this ill conceived crap is an example of a "Ready, Fire, Aim!" mentality; at worst it's a selfish misuse of the trust of Idahoans place in the Republican party.

Anyone who does their homework with an open mind will likely vote against the rushed laws- but if you think you will vote to sustain them, be sure you know what motives and results you are giving support to, and that you can live with with them.

DO NOT think in terms of politics- think in terms of who (and where) will end up with our tax $$$ and what it will accomplish. Think in terms of how ethically the bills were introduced in the first place,and what kind of research went into them before they were rushed through and declared "emergency measures" to force them into play -- forced BEFORE the referenda could be considered by the good people of Idaho.

Should the laws be left in place?

YES, a thousand times YES!

is this comment indicative

of the average voting Idahoan's mentality? No substantiation, just a knee jerk? If so, we're losing not only on the education front, but in every decision that the principles of democracy rely on...

Insulting voters is a losing strategy

You asked a question, and someone gave you a direct answer with no b.s. or spin. Is your insulting reply indicative of the people who want to repeal the education reforms? If so, you will continue to be an impotent minority in Idaho politics.

Teacher Unions Are The Problem

You would think that after the beating the unions took Tuesday in Wisconsin they would have learned a lesson. Tax payers know unions are all about teacher jobs and not about kids. Good teachers welcome innovation and bad ones hate it. Poor teachers reject the notion that better teachers should be paid more and students should be tested to prove where they are academically. Bad teachers hate testing because testing shows them up for what they are. Two important points: #1 Unions interfere with educating kids. #2 Unions only protect bad teachers.


I;m all for what you are saying here. JLF. But let's consider some dynamics.

Good teachers getting paid more results in smart (likely the good ones) teachers figuring out that better students reside in more affluent neighborhoods. It is easier to get high student scores in affluent schools. I'm pretty sure there is plenty of evidence of that.

So what will happen is the good teachers migrate to the affluent schools and the lessor quality teachers migrate to the low-income low scoring schools. We can see this all over the county. To some degree, even without merit pay, teachers do this by where they apply to be teachers.

How about a pay system based on which school they teach at. Wanna make the money? Work at the tough school and earn it.

Boise's East Junior High, Timberline? Give me a break- those students practically have college degrees already written on their forwards.
Let's see some great teachers doing AP cla sses in Caldwell High School and getting paid top dollar for improving student performance there.

I would rather see a disadvantaged student have a great teacher than an privileged student have that same great teacher.

And there's only so many to go around.

migrate? how

news flash..... you can't just migrate at will to a different school. There has to be an opening. Competition for teaching jobs is tough, since there are a lot of graduated & certified teachers that are looking for work (I know several).

So assuming that teachers will all immediately flee a failing school (and by extension a failing administration / district) is not a valid assumption.

Teachers Unions? They Are The Problem.


OK, I'll take the bait, JLF.

Teachers' unions are about fair employment practices, educational progress, and kids. How do I know? I belong to the teachers' union.

Every couple of months I receive a publication that is filled with articles by other teachers that give me ideas on everything from discipline to better instructional practices, to (gasp) technology. My local union has bargained with the district to provide days for professional development so that I can do my job better. Not to mention the fact that IEA has a children's fund to provide for students with various needs.

You're right, good teachers do welcome innovation, but not simply for the sake of innovation. Do your research before mandating technology that may not be necessary or cost-effective.

You're wrong about merit pay. The way the plan is set up, many teachers who do a great job will not see any extra pay, because their school and district also must be top-performing. Where does that leave teachers who teach in the lowest socio-economic areas? Good teachers give their best to teach kids, not to receive more money. Does it make sense to take money away from some good teachers to give to other good teachers?

Your statement about teachers hating testing is silly. Teachers test all the time; that's how we see if our students are learning. The thing is, we know that one test on one given day does not always tell how much students are learning, especially if it's a multiple choice test. We don't want to teach only to that one test, and we don't want to be judged only on that one test.

JLF, I am a teacher, NEA and IEA member, a parent, and a tax-payer. Those are my credentials. Please tell us your expertise, so we will know why we should take your comments seriously.

Union Thugs

Clearly Idaho unions don't have the clout of national unions. Teacher salaries have been pretty much frozen for years--the real question in Idaho is, Why isn't there a career pathway that leads to an income greater than the $30,000 incoming teachers make? Even the so called "pay for performance" moneys have been pilfered from the pockets of teachers. The real question has nothing to do with unions. It has to do with an unwillingness to fund an adequate education system. The criticisms of "unions" are nothing more than excuses by those in power to do nothing except and donate state dollars to technology companies and out of state campaign contributors, and call it "reform." In the old days this was called influence peddling and educated populations condemned it.

One reason incomes for new teachers aren't higher is.....

because the teacher unions want the majority of state funds spent on teachers with seniority. The unions tell starting teachers to buck up and go with the system until you reach tenure (3 years) and then reap the benifits of higher salaries on the step ladder without having to do more than get an average rating on their evaluation.