So long (for now). And thank you all.

I’ve saved my toughest column for last.

I am stepping down as Statesman editorial page editor, to take a writing position with Idaho Education News. I will start my new job on Monday, Jan. 21, and my last day at the Statesman will be Friday, Jan. 18.

Let me start with a few words about Idaho Education News — and the exciting adventure that awaits.

Idaho Education News is a new, independent and statewide go-to source for news and discussion about K-12 policy. I’m thrilled to join a talented, experienced team that will have a chance to launch a news site (Idahoednews.org), and focus our attention on the most important issue facing Idaho’s future: the education of our children and grandchildren.

The timing couldn’t be better. After a $6 million campaign, the shape of education reform remains unclear. Education will be a pivotal issue this legislative session — as veteran and first-year lawmakers come to town with their own ideas about improving the school system. And beyond, as Gov. Butch Otter’s task force wades into the reform issue. We will write about the politics of education — but more importantly, we will write about the nuts and bolts of what is going on in the classroom, and encourage a discussion on results and return on investment.

Idaho Education News is housed under the Center for School Improvement and Policy Studies at Boise State University’s College of Education, and funded through a grant from the J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Foundation. I’m grateful to the university and the foundation for their vision and generous commitment to this project.

It would take an opportunity this exciting, this exhilarating, to lure me away from this job and this page. For more than 11 years, I’ve had a great time here, writing opinions on everything that struck me as interesting, important, ironic or outrageous. I’ve had the chance to preside over a community dialogue — one that has spread from this page to my blog, to Twitter and to Facebook (venues we couldn’t have contemplated on my first day, back in 2001).

I owe thanks to too many people to name. To the publishers and editors who had my back and gave me the latitude to grow into the job. To my talented colleagues who have made me a better writer and editor. To the remarkable community representatives who have volunteered their time and their expertise to help us produce a smarter page.

And to you. If you’ve ever taken the time to write a letter to the editor or post a comment — or if you’ve picked up the phone to chew me out or cheer me on — thank you. I’ve learned a lot from you.

It’s someone else’s turn to hop on the ride. I’ll be editing and tying up loose ends these next few days, but I’m recusing myself from the editorial process — including, for instance, Tuesday's editorial on Otter’s state of the state address. Since I’m moving back into reporting, it’s only appropriate that I step back from opinion writing.

Which leads to the elephant and the donkey in this room. I know my opinions have rankled many of the political leaders I will now cover — Republican and Democrat alike. I own those opinions, and I won’t back down from them. I don’t know exactly how this transition will work. I do know this much. As an editorial writer, I’ve tried to be tough but fair, letting facts drive the end product. I promise to take the same approach as a reporter.

I don’t view this is as a farewell from the Statesman. Idaho Education News makes its content available to all media, free of charge. I hope you’ll see my byline in this paper soon, in a different capacity.

And I hope you’ll join me in reading this page religiously. This is an important forum for community discussion — every bit as important as ever. It’s been an honor to be a part of it.

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.

Good luck Kevin

Idaho needs an objective and impartial source of education news and analysis.

not suited

Objective and impartial?

Well that's not Kevin.

Perhaps. I wonder,

If Kevin has had so much as a single course in curriculum development, teaching methods, administration of education, educational psychology, statistics and measurement, or history of education. Advanced coursework in cultural foundations of education would be a plus. No matter, he's a "journalist" and journalists, like the Statesman's favorite Tap Dancing Clown of many names, kilo-saigon etc, have an opinion about everything. "Kilo-etc" clams to be an MD, Kevin has never claimed to an expert educator. And I do wish him good luck in his endeavors.

Pots & Kettles

Connect that to how much teachers LOVE to criticize Luna for not having an Education degree or any school experience. "How can he possibly know anything about the classroom?" as the song goes.

But IF someone is singing their same song, like KR most CERTAINLY will be singing, the education profession is just fine with it, regardless of their background, training, or experience.

***

If having an education background is so important to understanding Idaho education, maybe the Idaho Education News should have hired one of those woofully underpaid teachers, one of those fleeing their teaching jobs for more pay... instead of two "journalists" suffering cutbacks in the newspaper industry.

Makes me think of all the former newscasters now working for government Public Relations Departments. Politicians are good at talking to the press until they get elected. Then have to hire someone for it.

Becoming a flack

Wait long enough and just about every member of the "working" press will ultimately become a flack.

Begging your pardon?

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Apple users, run the Gig of RAM your PC needs to have and read the dumb tech white papers, wrinkle your forehead and buy more food and toilet paper with the difference. The internet is a piece of junk anyway and your cats know this.

Congrats on new gig, good

Congrats on new gig, good luck.

My best wishes

to you in your new job!

Best of luck to you Kevin! Thank You!

Thank you for providing insight into some of the most politically heated topics the state has seen. I lost faith in the Idahostatesman back in the mid 1990's and really stopped reading it until about 2002 or so, and at least reading it online. It became apparent to me that the Idaho Statesman had finally matured into a real news worthy source for real journalism thanks to you and the other Idaho Statesman staff not afraid to cover the controversial issues. No longer was every article that pertained to politics sugar coated and slanted to the whomever was controlling the legislature or the state like so many of the televised news outlets here. Kevin, I will miss you dearly as the editorial page editor but suspect you will do well in any endevour. I wish you the best of luck at you new position as a writer at Idaho Education News. Again thanks for covering and providing commentary on so many controversial issues here like the state tax commisioner Chigbrow, sloppy drunk McGee, timber thief Hart, ah that sorid list goes on and on. Thanks especially for your coverage on props 1,2 and 3. You are well respected in this region for your commentary and indepth reporting. With great respect and best wishes, sincerely.... the rational public readers of Idaho.

From a 'hypocrite' to much respect

Somewhere in the archives of this blog is a fiery column calling me out as a hypocrite. I've probably never been madder than that day -- but somewhere along the way these past few years I've gained much respect. Well wishes, KR. Enjoy being a Vandal in Bronco country.

--Don

Wish you well....Change is often good. Maybe you will

finally have some good to say about Republicans.

That all depends upon the republicans now

doesn't it?

Thank you, Kevin, for

Thank you, Kevin, for stimulating our thought processes. Its been a great ride.

I would love to have...

...you visit my classroom and talk to my students about writing and journalism and politics. They would love it, and so would you. I hope you will make yourself available.

--Best Wishes.

Best wishes, I will carry on and thank you.

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foreignoregonian