Idaho politics: GOP rips laptop 'unfunded mandate' ad

The campaign over the Students Come First education overhaul is heating up — centered on the controversial plan to purchase laptop computers for students and faculty.

Opponents have intentionally misled Idahoans with a radio ad that calls a school laptop purchase an "unfunded mandate," according to the Idaho Republican Party.

“If the teachers’ union is willing to delude the truth about the funding of these bills, then we have to question their motives and whether they really have the interest of our youth at heart," state GOP chairman Barry Peterson said in a news release late this afternoon.

At issue is a radio ad that says, in part: "(Proposition) 3 is an unfunded mandate requiring schools spend millions of dollars they don't have on expensive laptops that are all too easily broken by kids when they take them home."

Lawmakers set aside $2.5 million to purchase laptops this fall for every high school teacher. Retiring state Rep. Brian Cronin, D-Boise, a strategist on the campaign to overturn the laws, defended the wording in an Associated Press interview.
"It's a big and expensive program. We've appropriated a tiny bit of money to pay for the first part of it, but we're going to continue to raid the current programs we have to pay for something we probably don't need and is not likely to raise student achievement."

Here's more from Jessie Bonner of the Associated Press. And here is the GOP's news release:

This week, the opponents of Students Come First released a radio ad that intentionally misleads the public and perpetuates myths about the comprehensive education reform laws.

“We are disappointed with the teachers’ union,” said Chairman Barry Peterson. “If the teachers’ union is willing to delude the truth about the funding of these bills, then we have to question their motives and whether they really have the interest of our youth at heart. Gov. (Butch) Otter and Superintendent (Tom) Luna introduced these changes, and the Legislature approved and funded them to improve the quality of education in Idaho schools.”

Despite what the opponents may try to claim, here are the facts: The Students Come First laws are fully funded through new money. The state is not shifting any future funding from salaries to fund pay-for-performance or technology. The Idaho Legislature appropriated $38.8 million in new funding to provide performance bonuses to Idaho’s great hard-working teachers this school year and $2.5 million in new funding to begin deploying laptop devices to teachers and principals in Idaho’s high schools this fall.

“We strongly encourage Idahoans to make sure they know the true facts and vote YES when they head to the polls on Nov. 6!” concluded Chairman Peterson, echoing the sentiment of the party at the state convention.

Get Twitter updates on my blog and column and Statesman editorials. Become a follower. You can also get updates on Facebook's Idaho Statesman Opinion Page.

Students "probably" don't

Students "probably" don't need textbooks either when everything contained in them is on the internet.

It just amazes me that the so-called Progressives are afflicted with this laptop phobia in the 21st century.

It has nothing to do with students and ...

everything to do with teachers unions/IEA.


Tell that to the parents and other taxpayers who oppose these laws.

Anyone know how much $ is in Otter's rainy day fund?

that fund isn't Otter's nor Idaho's money, it's the people's money and it should be used to support the public school system. The GOP, however, has no interest in supporting such a system, as their intent is in slowly dismantling it.

Students Come Last

is a ridiculous program designed to gut public education and provide campaign paybacks for Luna & Otter.

It makes no sense for public schools to provide laptops to each student. It boggles the mind that the GOP and Teapublicans think replacing teachers with laptops is a sound educational foundation.

Whatever happened to conservative principles of individualism and responsibility? How come conservatives wants this government handout?

Vote NO on this unfunded mandate which puts students dead last by the Idaho GOP.

Union Comes First

Gee, the teachers' union intentionally disseminates lies while simulaneously claiming they have students best interests at heart.

Thank you IEA! By example, you just set the integrity standards for all our students to see. Spew as many lies as possible...maybe one will stick.

You clearly don't understand the laptops aren't for "each student". I doubt you'll see first graders lugging around laptops anytime soon. Or, did you overlook that fact?

"Replacing teachers with laptops" is another falsehood propagated by the IEA teachers union. It's an interesting mantra because it shows the union's goal: Convince taxpayers to fund more union dues paying teachers at the highest cost to taxpayers.

It's their mantra to detract from what the Union truly despises about the laws: Pay for performance, more local control over pay raises and eliminating tenure.

The teachers' union has sucked on the teet of Idaho taxpayers long enough. The time to overhaul our public education system was long ago. The teachers' union has become the biggest roadblock to better education in Idaho.


What he said!


There we have it ladies and gentlemen...A Classic example of how a teabagging, GOP loving, rightwinger, formulates an opinion.


Now, wait a minute.

The ad was not put out by the union. It was made by an organization of parents, teachers, and other citizens. So you are actually disseminating your own lies by saying it came from the union.

Luna and his supporters would like to believe opposition to his laws comes only from the union, but fortunately, a lot of the general public sees them for what they really are: pay back for his out-of-state corporate sponsors.

You didn't do your homework, did you?

Because you are absolutely wrong!

The IEA and NEA political action committees are funding the opposition. Try and spin it any other way you choose, the fact remains: The teacher's union IS the opposition to the SCF laws.

If you see a popup, click Yes that you are an IEA member. Then you can read this:

"The 2012 election is just around the corner. Your generous donation to PACE will help statewide efforts to repeal the misguided education reform laws enacted by the Idaho Legislature. Donate to PACE today."

The IEA fought the laws in court...and soundly lost.

Pay close attention to the "Membership Wanes" section. Overturning the laws is a fight for the survival of the teacher's union...and they are painfully aware of that fact.

"Virtually all of the $390,000 raised by the PAC came from the Idaho Education Association and the National Education Association."

There ya go!

Conclusion: It's all about the teacher's union standing in the way of comprehensive and necessary educational reforms.

I didn't say the IEA and NEA are not involved in the opposition.

I said the ad in question is not an IEA ad.

Last spring I worked to collect signatures for the referenda with a lot of volunteers who were not union members. No one who stopped to sign the referenda during my shift was a member of the union. The majority of teachers at my school are not members of the union, yet they oppose the Luna laws.

Of course the IEA and NEA are helping fund the opposition. I'm glad they are, because these laws are bad for education. I say this as a parent, teacher, and taxpayer.

Union supporter's vague reply

You claim they are "bad for education" but you don't quantify what you consider bad about the laws.

That's how you expose a union supporter.

You don't want to say, "I support the union." That's too obvious in your ambiguous "bad for education" statement.

Please elaborate on the issues...or don't you really have any?

You bet I support the union.

I'm glad they're helping fund the campaign against the laws.

Why are these laws bad for education?

1. The first provision prohibits professionals who work directly with students every day to participate in decision-making regarding issues that affect students, such as class size, length of school day, etc. Mr. Luna and legislators who passed this bill would like you to think that they are giving local districts more control, but the law actually gives them less flexibility.

2. The second provision, while sounding good, (reward good teachers), couldn't come at a worse time. Is it really responsible to implement this during these tough economic times? I just went out and bought crayons, notebooks, and folders for all of my students because of our district's lack of money for school supplies. My copying budget is severely limited. Shouldn't we be putting money into the basics before trying to implement pay for performance?

3. Finally, the technology provision: My major argument goes back to points one and two. This law takes away local control, and in many cases is a poor use of scarce funds. If there is money for technology, give it to individual districts to decide how to use it.

OK, these are my arguments. What are yours? Please don't just keep bringing up the union because that really isn't an argument.

That's all you got?

To your points:

1) Teachers don't set the class size or length of school day and never have. District administrators do that.

2) It's not the school's responsibility to fund those supplies. It's the parents responsibility.

3) The technology money is *new* money into the proverbial pot specifically for purchasing laptops, or, "mobile computing devices" at a State level. The idea is to leverage the entire state's purchasing power to keep costs down.

Which leaves you only one conclusion: You are merely a union supporter and don't really have any valid arguments against SCF.

Your grasp of logic is hideously lacking.

I.e. - your conclusion.

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

um...I don't think so

1. Class size, school calendar, length of school day, etc ad infinitum have all been negotiable items. Besides, why would administrators want their employees to buy in to those important items?
2. When parents can't afford to buy basics like pencils, paper, kleenex, etc ad infinitum, who do you think pays for them? Do you think the kids will just do without? If you do, you clearly perceive teachers as mean, ruthless people. Even a bad teacher wouldn't let a kids nose run without giving them a tissue.
3. The state mega-screwed up on using its "purchasing power" to purchase laptops since only 1 out of 4 bids actually satisfied all of the requirement.

So your arguments are debunked. And just because someone supports teachers doesn't mean that they support unions. That is called a non sequitur. I learned that term attending an Idaho public high school.

Lies, lies and more lies from Teachers Come First

Lie #1: Idaho public schools will not be providing laptops to each student. Students may not even be allowed to take the laptops home, which I think is dumb, but this decision is to be made at the district level and possibly by the individual high school administrators. Some principals have stated they would prefer to have the laptops remain in the school, to be checked out and returned each day much like a library book. That is dumb, because it imposes limits on both teachers and students for reaping the full potential of laptop instruction, but stunting growth is what public schools often do best. Sigh.

Lie #2: Laptops will not be replacing a single teacher. Teachers are receiving their laptops first, because they are expected to learn the many creative ways to use them to teach an already wired generation in the 21st century. A small percentage of our teachers don't need this training, because they already see the potential for using this and other forms of technology to improve instruction methods and are employing those methods in their classrooms as best they can. They will be able to apply their innovative ideas better when each student has a laptop on his/her desk and can interact with the teacher online. Unfortunately, not all of our teachers are technologically gifted and will need to be taught how to make the most of this teaching tool in their classrooms. For decades teachers have been talking about the need (and seemingly impossible task) of individualizing instruction for students. At long last, laptops are making that goal achievable, but only if the student has a laptop at his/her disposal. Students Come First is introducing laptops on a very limited and gradual basis. It will be years before every student has a laptop or some similar mobile device, but rest assured that day is coming.

Lie #3: Voting yes on the mandates does not put students dead last. However, a no vote is the equivalent of saying teachers should come first, that teachers never have to learn and grow in their jobs unless they want to.

I will be voting yes on the mandates to empower our students as well as our teachers with skills that are vital to economic survival and success in the 21st century.

I am going to vote like a

I am going to vote like a republican on these issues, NO,NO and NO

the $2.5 million

is to pay for laptops for teachers. What funding has been appropriated to pay for laptops for students?

The biggest lie was in the name

"Students Come First" was never about students; it was about attacking the education profession because luna and the legislature were too lazy to do their jobs right. They refused to listen to the public at a 85%-90% rate of opposition and just called them the "vocal minority."

Ignore the politics and do what's right. The issue is about education and not unions. These bills are phony baloney blowing smoke around mirrors and trying to make people believe that they are somehow beneficial.

I don't buy into any of the nonsense that luna lied to us about 2 years ago even though he didn't run on a platform of reform. He's a big fat liar, and so I am voting NO on all 3 propositions.


Jacking teachers' salaries for several years to pay for un-needed toys doesn't count as funding. Promising "pay-for-performance" bonuses with the same money also is not funding. Telling teachers they won't get said "pay-for-performance" monies earned last year until after November (so the money will revert to the state if the nasty laws are struck down) is blackmail.

New money?

The key to understanding the lie in the Luna position is the statement that the money for all this will come from "new money". From where?

I don't like government employee unions, including those for teachers, but the Luna campaign is simply a lie.

Follow the money. We are taking money from education and putting it into the hands of companies outside of Idaho that are paying for the campaign against the laws because they expect to profit.

Fox 9 News Boise

I know big surprise coming from a Fox affiliate - but they're already starting to "villify" teachers Day 1 of school - and sadly the majority of the individuals in this state will lap it up because if there is one thing the GOP are masters of it's fear tactics -

Don't confuse local Fox affiliates with Fox 'News' Channel

FNC is Murdoch's and the Republican's propoganda arm, while local Fox affiliates are independent.
If the local reports with a slant that is on them.

KIVI is owned by the Journal Broadcast Group.

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