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  • Without Fanfare of Ohio or Wisconsin, Idaho Enacts Sweeping Reforms

    Voters head the polls in Ohio today to decide the fate of collective bargaining reforms for government workers. It’s a high-profile referendum on a controversial law that prompted protests similar to the union backlash in Wisconsin earlier this year.

    Across the country with much less fanfare, Idaho implemented its own set of landmark reforms. And while the state has lacked the drama playing out in the Midwest, the education changes implemented earlier this year in Idaho are arguably the most sweeping of any adopted in 2011.

    The plan, called Students Come First, returns control to local communities. Like other states, it makes changes to collective bargaining for teachers, but goes a step further by eliminating tenure and seniority. It also include a pay-for-performance option to reward teachers. Technology is a major factor in the reform with the goal of giving every student a laptop.

    The reforms were spearheaded by Tom Luna, Idaho’s superintendent of public instruction. Even though he hasn’t faced the same level of national media scrutiny as his counterparts in Ohio and Wisconsin, Luna has endured his share of personal attacks — vandalism, threats and an attempt to recall him from office.

    Like the referendum before Ohio voters today, some in Idaho hope to repeal the reforms next year at the ballot box. The Idaho Education Association already lost a court challenge before a district court judge.

    During a recent trip to Washington, we spoke to Luna about the reforms. He discussed the positive impact on students, why they’re necessary and how the state is adapting.

    The interview runs about 5 minutes. Hosted by Rob Bluey and produced by Brandon Stewart. For more videos from Heritage, subscribe to our YouTube channel.

    Posted in Education, Featured, Scribe [slideshow_deploy]

    9 Responses to Without Fanfare of Ohio or Wisconsin, Idaho Enacts Sweeping Reforms

    1. Mike says:

      " Public Servent " My Webster defines a servent as one that receives NO pay. In America Public Servents get paid many times more than those that do the paying. So who is the servent now? See how the whole thing is perverted and govt is WAY over due to be put back in its place. We the Tea Party are just getting started and with this coming victory we will be more confident of our ability to shut down and reign in out of control govt.

      • Bobbie says:

        Totally agree with you Mike. just like "volunteer" used to be doing something for others out of the kindness of the heart and at the expense of the volunteer. Now people are bribed to be volunteers at pay which doesn't make them at all sincere!

      • jcl says:

        Geez, hit the wrong "thumb" button…meant to give you a "thumbs up! Dang!

    2. Ok, for one thing there is no such thing a tenur. You Luna have never taught in a classroom and need to shut your mouth when you do not have a clue. You will be out of our state after this year. And to top it off, you enforce these laws when they are not funded. These laws do not put students first they put your pocket book first.

      • Bobbie says:

        not sure why my first reply wasn't posted but I'll try again. Quality teachers are driven to do what they can for the children they teach, not dismiss themselves from classrooms to fight for unaffordable benefits.
        Quality teachers don't put their demands before their responsible duty to their students ed. needs.

        Parents are teachers without tax paid monetary costs and benefits, so public education is just a convenience. And if the classroom is too tough for an admitted teacher, a good person wouldn't suggest higher pay to handle the class, but would remove themselves and accept that teaching isn't where their talent is.

    3. Bobbie says:

      Excellent interview! When I was learning it wasn't "benefits" and "pay" teachers were inspired by, it was a goal in making a positive difference in the lives of the children they were teaching! It's selfishly different today, most likely manipulated by union thugs!

      Parents can teach intuitively which makes public education little more than a convenience but within government control with an agenda of their own is clear or feds would respect their place. Today it's not worth the convenience and more suspicious than any trust.

      Some people who become teachers don't do it for the kids but specifically for the wages and benefits their teaching isn't worth.

    4. Chris Brammer says:

      The prospect of losing the fight in Ohio is very disappointing, so it is heartening to see that progress is being made elsewhere. Public employee unions are the problem. Period. When one looks at the history of the discord between labor and management, one understands that each side wants a bigger piece of the corporate pie. But in the case of public employee unions, the tension is between the payees and the payers. The payers have had enough. The payees have abused a situation that should have never been allowed in the first place. My mother, a former teacher now deceased, was incensed when teachers organized. "The very idea that they would put their own interests ahead of their students! It's an outrage!" Little did I know at the time how prescient her observation was.

    5. saveamerica says:

      hopefully students of all grade levels will receive qualified people who are driven to do what's right for the kids to take on the title of teacher, without fighting for personal unaffordable benefits while they convince the kids it's for the kids! how low can you go? exploiting children for administrations' gain. how low can you go?

    6. fortboise says:

      As someone quite familiar with the stories that Luna has been telling, and the contention surrounding the legislation this year, the wanton disregard that Luna and his cohort showed for public input in the process, I can affirm that this is "an excellent interview" in the sense that it presents a completely biased, self-serving and misleading picture of (a) what happened, (b) how it happened, and (c) what is yet to come for the people of Idaho. Precious little has been "implemented." The "focus" on technology and online learning amounted to a requirement for exactly TWO online courses for H.S. graduation. (Still two more than the majority of educators with actual experience in education–Luna has precisely NONE–thought was an appropriate mandate.) The vaunted "pay for performance" plan WAS NOT FUNDED BY THE BLOODY LEGISLATURE. But other than all that, things are great here in Idaho, and we can't wait for Mr. Luna to move to D.C. permanently.

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