Luna-Wiki redux: What was the online degree earned by Idaho's schools chief?

Contrary to repeated publication, Idaho Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna's degree is not in measurement science. He has a bachelor of arts in liberal studies, says the spokesman for Thomas Edison State College in New Jersey.

I wrote last week about the Wikipedia dustup over Idaho Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna's biography, noting that his spokeswoman's editing prompted more than 60 revisions in two weeks.

Revisions continue, with the latest coming today.

I'm hoping to help end the debate on at least one question: What does Luna's diploma say?

"His degree is a bachelor of arts in liberal studies," Joe Guzzardo, communications director at Thomas Edison, told me this morning. "Measurement science" is not a specialty earned by Luna, Guzzardo said.

That's contrary to the Wikipedia bio, which says Luna holds an "online bachelor's degree in liberal arts with an emphasis in measurement science."

The original Wikipedia bio on Luna was created in February 2007, a month after Luna took office. It introduced the error, saying, "Tom completed his college degree in 2002, obtaining a degree in Measurement Science from Thomas Edison State College."

That first entry had no source citation, but one was subsequently added, though, it too, is wrong. The current bio cites the
2006 Idaho Public TV "Idaho Debates"
page, but the IPTV document only says that Luna has a bachelor of arts. IPTV makes no mention of measurement science.

Luna owns a weights and measures company, Scales Unlimited, which appears to be source of the mistake. Luna's degree was based, in part, on his business experience. He also attended Ricks College (now BYU-Idaho) and Boise State.

Luna's spokeswoman, Melissa McGrath, has played a role in perpetuating the error. When she ignited the Wiki war Aug. 27, McGrath edited out two references regarding Luna's degree, first that it was obtained "online" and second that it was "in liberal arts."

Wrote McGrath: "He graduated from Thomas Edison State College in 2002 with a degree in measurement science." A Wikipedia editor restored the references to "online" and "liberal arts," as well as the incorrect "measurement science" specialty.

I followed up on this because I had two calls Friday questioning whether Thomas Edison State College offered such a degree.

Even McGrath seemed confused, telling me Thursday, "I just don't know the specifics of exactly what his degree was in, so I just left it with online (sic) degree with an emphasis in measurement science." (McGrath later acknowledged removing "online" and said the change was an oversight.)

Luna's official bio is agnostic on the liberal arts/measurement science question, saying, "Tom originally moved to Idaho with his wife Cindy 30 years ago to attend college at BYU-Idaho (formerly Ricks College). Tom also attended Boise State University and later graduated from Thomas Edison State College."

Having talked with the Guzzardo at Thomas Edison, I'm hoping to put this to rest.

Luna has a general liberal arts degree, like hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, of Americans. Maybe McGrath doesn't like the word "liberal." Nevertheless, what matters is that in the same year his name first appeared on the ballot Luna satisfied Idaho's legal requirement that candidates for superintendent hold a bachelor's degree.

FYI, I looked up how we've covered the Luna degree. The first mention in the Statesman was on March 30, 2002, shortly before the May primary, got it right. Here it is:

Former Nampa School District trustee earns degree, right to seek office

Tom Luna, former Nampa School District trustee, has earned a degree in time to join the race for state superintendent of public instruction ("Nampa man wants to be state schools chief, " Sept. 21). One of the requirements for a statewide office is a college degree.

Luna, a Republican, received a bachelor of arts degree March 15 from Thomas Edison State College in Trenton, N.J., through the college's distance-learning program.

"I'm excited to have it done, " he said. "It was a lot of work and a lot of time, but it's worth it."

Luna said he attended Ricks College and Boise State University in the early 1980s, but left his studies to join the company he now owns, Scales Unlimited Inc. in Nampa.

Luna is seeking the post now held by Democrat Marilyn Howard. He recently stepped down from the School Board to focus on the race.

But by Sept. 27, 2002, we too had added the specialty, writing, "Luna is freshly graduated with a bachelor's degree in liberal arts emphasizing weights and measures from Thomas Edison State College, a New Jersey school that specializes in distance learning."

Why that amplification was added, I've no idea.

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BA in liberal studies ought

BA in liberal studies ought to sit well with the GOP and his foes. End of discussion.

Degrees

Sort of like Mitt's under graduate degree in English. He did atone by going to Harvard and getting an MBA and JD.

McGrath

McGrath is as slippery as Luna. It amazes me how she continues to be the voice for his office. She seems clueless...or just dishonest.

Amplifier

Why it was added?

Really Popkey?
You have no idea why it was added to clarify it was a study in Weights and Measures?

***
Maybe the job requirements should be changed.

Agreed!

No matter what his degree is in, we need to do something about the law that only requires superintendents of public instruction for the state to only hold a bachelor's degree, and have NO experience in public school teaching or building administration. He does NOT know what it is like to teach a classroom full of students, he knows NOTHING about pedagogy (how people learn), etc. What the heck is that?

Many teaching jobs in this state require more than a bachelor's degree; almost ALL admin jobs for school districts require a master's degree, if not just a secondary endorsement in admin. on top of a teaching certificate. Aren't school administrators required to have a teaching certificate too?

If this is the case, we need to make the law state that the admins in the state level need to have a teacher's certificate. It costs $75 every five years and the cost of 6 graduate credits in the specialty of education to keep up two endorsements.

In my opinion, first year, no-experience school teachers (I'm at the bottom of the experience pile, starting my 4th year), are more qualified to run the state's school systems than Luna is.

It's shameful the lack of professionalism (as in educational specialty) required to hold this office. We wouldn't have a journeyman plumber with a bachelor's degree running for AG, would we? Why enable someone who doesn't have any educational background or PAID professional experience able to run the education department? If they can't get a job teaching, why allow them to run the state's education department?

Agree....

They have less education and get paid two or three times as much as a teacher. Disgusting. But this is Idaho, where, apparently, stupidity is cherished.

Doesn't matter; he's still just a political hack who doesn't

have any education or experience in the specialized department he manages.

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

He doesn't?

Are you talking about Luna or Obama?

Pathetic

Luna even lies about his joke of a degree from a diploma mill.

So that makes sense. Idaho

So that makes sense. Idaho is at the bottom of the nation in education and the guy who we have in charge of education doesn't even value education.

And that guy could very

And that guy could very easily be appointed in charge of our national education system if mitt is elected. Scary -- you bet!

It only matters to you

He has a Bachelor's degree. Yesterday you probably whined that you thought it was a "weights and measures" degree.

Face it, you're the one with the problem--not Luna.

It was the Third Degree...

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You fry wants with that?

I demand to see Luna's Bachelor of Liberal Arts Degree.

I'll bet it's in the safe that holds Obama's Kenyan birth certificate.

Oh, sandhugger, get off it

Oh, sandhugger, get off it -- that is old and outdated and just shows your limited thinking.

OK, throw in a wide stance, TAANSAFL? and something about...

governors Andrus through Risch.

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You fry wants with that?

Whatever....

Melissa(towm8r)You're not that stupid, although you pretend to be, and we're not that naive. It's clear who you actually are.

Melissa who? Robinson couldn't muster a single joke. LAY OFF.

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You fry wants with that?

And as for you FO....

your posts reveal as nothing more than a cheap Crispin Glover knock off. : )

Who is Crispin Glover? I don't read magazines!

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You fry wants with that?