Deide says table 'hot-button' Idaho ed reforms to 2014, move ahead on others ASAP

Darrel Deide, who chairs a PAC loyal to Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna, says Idaho lawmakers should re-enact many of the reforms rejected by voters last month, but employ an interim task force to take on the most controversial issues and report to the 2014 Legislature.

In an essay he sent me Sunday, the longtime former Caldwell school superintendent and chairman of Idahoans for Choice in Education offers the greatest detail yet about how pro-reform forces may proceed.

Early this month, Gov. Butch Otter said he will make reform proposals to the 2013 Legislature and cited a private poll conducted for another pro-Luna PAC, Educations Voters of Idaho, which Otter said demonstrated public support for parts of Propositions 1, 2 and 3.

Luna also has said the voter rejection of the laws he authored was a "bump in the road" and that he'll make another run at reform. But neither Luna or Otter have said what they have in mind.

Deide, a former state senator who now lives in New Meadows, did get specific.

Deide writes that Luna "probably tried to do too much too fast," but said some measures are important enough and broadly supported.

"I agree we will have to 'slow down' and be very attentive to the process," writes Deide. But slowing down does not mean putting a hold on every aspect of school improvement for a full year, which would mean that it would be at least 2 full years before any improvement could be seen in our schools. Two full years is a lifetime of high school graduates who will be denied the quality education that they deserve."

Deide ticked off a list of what should happen in 2013: wireless connections in every school; a computer for every teacher, along with training; online college credits at state expense; charter schools run by Idaho colleges and universities; and "some 'baby steps' in the area of teacher accountability and collective bargaining."

Deide suggests deferring until 2014 limits on collective bargaining by teachers, teacher tenure, performance pay, laptops for all students and an online class requirement for graduation.

In Luna's successful 2010 re-election campaign, Deide's PAC received $25,000 from K12 Inc., which was spent on independent advertising to help Luna. K12 operates the Idaho Virtual Academy, which has about 3,000 students supported by taxpayers. All told, K12, its employees and major stockholders spent about $44,000 supporting Luna.

Deide's full essay follows:

The media reported recently that Governor Otter is in favor of continuing the effort to reform our Idaho school system. He had cited a recent poll that indicated that Idahoans in general were in favor of many of the components of the recent reform efforts that failed at the polls last November. Superintendent Luna also is in favor of advancing some school reform legislation in the next legislative session, calling the recent defeat of propositions 1,2 and 3 as a “bump in the road.”

However, the founders of the political action committee, “Idaho Parents and Teachers Together,” Mike Lanza and Maria Greeley, see it much differently. They are saying “not so fast.” They are suggesting a broad based task force be appointed to develop a new and innovative school reform program to be presented to the 2014 Legislature. Translated, they believe that with a new task force they might be able to avoid their real issues--that of collective bargaining and teacher tenure, and perhaps derail the school reform movement entirely.

Never mind that, for the past three years, we had that broad based committee developing a school reform program. It was the Idaho Education Alliance, established by Governor Otter, and it was the alliance’s recommendations that became the “heart” of the three propositions.

However, that “Alliance,” which did have representation of the teacher’s union the IEA, did not do a very good job of bringing along all of the education stakeholders as they developed their final recommendations and Superintendent Luna probably tried to do too much too fast. I am sure that if they had to do it over again all would have proceeded a bit differently.

I agree we will have to “slow down” and be very attentive to the process. But slowing down does not mean putting a hold on every aspect of school improvement for a full year, which would mean that it would be at least 2 full years before any improvement could be seen in our schools. Two full years is a lifetime of high school graduates who will be denied the quality education that they deserve.

That is simply not acceptable as there are aspects of the recent reform efforts that do have wide support and they should be dealt with in the 2013 legislative session. What are they? In Propositions 1, 2 & 3 there were 16 specific reform measures, and without doubt, some were very controversial. Let’s take the most controversial off the “table” for now and let an interim task-force deal specifically with those hot-button issues.

What does that leave for the 2013 legislative session? Quite a bit really: Let’s be sure that every school has wireless Internet accessibility, and that every teacher has, as does every legislator, a laptop or similar computing device and the necessary training. Let’s make sure that our high school students are able to earn, via online instruction, college credits at the expense of the state.

Since our charter schools have great support in Idaho, let’s give our state-supported colleges and universities the option of sponsoring their own charter high schools. Finally, we can take some “baby steps” in the area of teacher accountability and collective bargaining. Almost everyone agrees that the contract negotiations should take place in open public meetings and that contracts or negotiated agreements should be readily available online. Further, that those agreements should be only for one year and that the union must show they represent at least 50 percent of the employee group.

Even with approval of these items by the 2013 legislature there are still remaining some tough issues to be resolved. We still have on the “table,” the limitation of negotiations to salary and benefits, teacher tenure, parents’ role in evaluation of teachers and principals, staff reduction criteria, performance pay for teachers, laptops for kids and online credit requirement for high school graduation. To address those issues the legislature could create a qualified committee with the specific charge of developing recommended legislation in regard to those issues for the 2014 Legislature to consider.

This approach would keep reforms moving forward instead of stuck in a delay and retreat cycle.

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Voter's Rejected Ed. Reforms

What is it that the Repubs. and their bribing PAC don't understand about the rejection of these reforms? Are you those same guys that get arrested for battering women because you don't understand the word NO? Did your mommies spoil you when you were young?
NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. None of your so-called education reforms are acceptable. Understand? Understand voting rights? Understand majority rules?

The people of Idaho spoke...

along with the educators and their union representation. No reform needed in Idaho. Let's not spend more money, and let's not try to upgrade the kids equipment and overall experience.

Education is not worth the effort. It is better to simply allow teachers to continue to perform to their same overall mediocre levels, allow the politicians and special interests to control their piece of the pie, and let the kids and their parents complain about most everything.

Spend the money on Roads. At least then we can travel out of state faster and safer. Along with the future business opportunities.

I'm sorry teachers are

I'm sorry teachers are mediocre in your opinion. But I can't help but wonder if you support Repubs. Norquist, and ALEC instead of our hardworking educators. You can get out of state fast enough. Bye bye.

Boise School District only one of 20 nationally that......

The Boise School District was one of only 20 nationally that featured all four high schools as “highly performing.” Impossible without excellent Kindergarten, primary and middle schools.

While State funding and support of parents, teachers, and students is mediocre; the performance of parents, teachers, and students is stellar. To mitigate damages by Idaho legislators to the Boise School District, BSD residents were forced to pass a $70 million dollar levy.

Parents, Teachers, Students, and yes, even the teachers Union earned our trust.
Lobbyists, Legislators, and the trouble For-profit education industry did not.

Abramoff: "Fire up the jet baby, we're going to El Paso!!" Mike Scanlon: "I want all their MONEY!!!" Email interchange between Jack Abramoff and Mike Scanlon, February 6, 2002

mediocre?

I don't know what schools your kids go to my my kids' public school teachers are excellent. Do they really have mediocre teachers or are you just saying that? If so then I am sorry and your school needs administrator reform.

Clean up our Idaho Legislature and our State government first...

First things first. Clean up our Idaho Legislature and our State government. .

“Baby Steps to Ethics Boys” Denney, Nonini, Moyle, Semanko, Labrador, Hart were unable and unwilling to pass Ethics legislation during their ‘tenure’ in our Legislature. Will they learn much in the four hour ‘ethics training session’ for Idaho Legislators this session? I suggest a pre-test and a post-test to measure comprehension.

The aforementioned Idaho Legislators damaged both our Party and Idaho Citizens. They broke the trust of Idaho Citizens. I remember when our Party stood for transparency, capable leadership, honesty.

Ethics training should include department heads, managers, etc. Our Attorney General’s office too as the office serves as a rubber stamp for questionable actions of our Industrial Commission, process irregularities at our Department of Labor, and other departments.

Foster and Fields, opinion leaders in my Party questioned Ben Ysursa’s integrity for standing for Idaho Citizens specific to Sunshine Laws. Another disconnect between our leaders and Idaho Citizens.

Freshmen Idaho Legislators of both Parties, our new Speaker of the House have an opportunity to save right from wrong. Start by passing Ethics legislation. Bring back the excellent Cronin legislation deep-sixed by Nonini that protected Idaho Citizens from the troubled For-profit education industry.

Idaho Legislators, please emulate stellar Idaho leaders like Batt and Andrus. Park and Smylie.. Cenarrusa and Ysursa rather than being influenced by bad actors like these: Abramoff: "Fire up the jet baby, we're going to El Paso!!" Mike Scanlon: "I want all their MONEY!!!" Email interchange between Jack Abramoff and Mike Scanlon, February 6, 2002

Good luck with that, syncster

I'll give you credit for putting an unusual spin on the resounding defeat of Props 1, 2, and 3, but good luck selling your notion that voters rejected education reform, at least to anyone who's been paying attention the last couple years. What Idaho voters rejected was legislation that had very little to do with improving Idaho schools and everything to do with stripping the IEA of what little power it possesses in this right-to-work state, rewarding the for-profit education corporations that contributed to the re-election campaigns of Otter, Luna, Goedde, & Co., and paving the way for privatization of public education.

Until we vote them out

They will continue to believe that they act on our behalf. A more arrogant group of legislators doesn't exist in my knowledge.