Two-thirds of Tom Luna's plan to dramatically change Idaho's education system are approaching another threshold. The House Education Committee is about to move Senate Bills 1108 and 1110 to the full House with a do-pass recommendation.
The measures would strip collective bargaining, eliminate tenure and introduce pay-for-performance guidelines to thousands of Idaho's K-12 public education. A third bill, proposing elimination of several hundred teaching positions and an increase in class size, is stalled in a Senate Committee.
Lawmakers heard three days of testimony, including several witnesses this morning representing education "stakeholders." Here's a sample:
Tom Luna (Idaho Superintendent of Public Instruction): "The system we have today makes it impossible to reward great teacher performance."
Jason Hancock (Luna aide): "I really don't see this as a step back."
Sherri Wood (president of Idaho Education Association): The bills "seem like a cruel joke on teachers."
Laurie Boeckel (vice president of Idaho PTA): "Our group wasn't involved in developing these bills."
Phil Homer (Idaho Association of School Administrators): "It's time to slow down and ask a few districts to provide some pilot programs."
Christine Donnell (executive director of Idaho Business Coalition for Education Excellence): "We're not saying that teachers are the main fault of why kids are not succeeding. It's a combination of many, many things."
Roger Brown (senior financial analyst for Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter): "These bills represent the governor's number one legislative priority."