The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: Part 1

By Victoria M. Young

Let’s dive right into the middle of the recommendations from the Governor’s Task Force for Improving Education and pull “the bad” to the surface. Let’s get it over with — again.

This should sound familiar; Bad for children. Bad for teachers. Bad for Idaho. Yes, the Luna Laws—Students Come First. They’re back!

The one based on the false premise that changing contract negotiations improves education has already come to the surface through the collaborative efforts of the Idaho School Boards Association (ISBA) and budget writers last year. Voters said no to Prop 1. We wanted to “preserve a teacher’s freedom to speak up on behalf of Idaho’s students.” ISBA, administration, and lawmakers made other plans. And we swallowed that small bite last year without much fuss as teachers’ bargaining was limited.

Prop 2 tied testing to teacher pay. Call it pay-for-performance, call it merit pay, or really make it sound inviting by disguising it burying it in Career Ladder Compensation (pages 30-32). If they put this part aside for this year, are we to believe that this false assumption—that merit pay improves education—is now something these lawmakers are willing to admit doesn’t work to improve education? Doubtful. It’s back in the plan, not forgotten or given up.

And then there was Prop 3 — the real reason we recall the words “resoundingly defeated” so clearly because the trouncing was so thorough.  But instead of laptops in the Governor’s Task Force report, you will see that things are broken up a bit more and given to us in pieces — High Speed Bandwidth & Wireless plus Educator and Student Technology Devices (pages 22 – 24). How bad is it? Bad enough that every elementary school will “have it all” while Silicon Valley geeks know better than to put these devices into too young a hand with too tender a brain.

It really appears that when voters said “no,” the executives, lawmakers, school board representatives, and all the others on the task force either didn’t think or did’t care. Either way, we are now being spoon-fed with a bit of sugar to make the bad medicine go down.

Spring of 2011. We did the right thing.

Spring of 2011. We did the right thing.

Maybe now would be a good time to refresh all our aging memories  least we forget what the plans were all along. The “bad” part is not much of a change from the Luna Laws we have already refused.

Now, “The Ugly”? That’s another story! …. Coming soon.

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