Referendums to veto Idaho education reform on the 2012 ballot

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October 10, 2012


By Josh Altic

Boise, Idaho: Three out of the five state measures on the 2012 Idaho election ballot call for the repeal of education reform bills 1108, 1110 and 1184, which were introduced by Idaho Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna and signed into law during the 2011 legislative session. Bills 1108 and 1110 enacted education reform including the transfer of decision making power to locally elected officials, the removal of tenure and collective bargaining rights concerning teachers and the establishment and funding of a pay-for-performance system. Bill 1184 deals with shifting of funding towards technology in schools and the use of online classes.[1][2][3][4]

Supporters of the referendums condemn the reform, saying that these bills will replace teachers with technology and could ultimately outsource money to out-of-state companies, which would be providing the tools needed for online classes and improved technology.[5][6]

Jeb Bush, former Governor of Florida, is among the supporters of Luna and these education reform bills. He proposed that these laws would "be models for the rest of the country."[7] But the reform was controversial from the outset. On April 27, 2011, just twenty days after the end of the legislative session in which these bills were passed, the Idaho Education Association challenged Bill 1108 in court as unconstitutional. When the Bill was upheld by Fourth District Judge Timothy Hansen, Governor of Idaho Butch Otter said, "That's welcome news. But we recognize this issue and the fate of Students Come First will remain in the courts — including the court of public opinion. Superintendent Luna and I are confident that Idaho citizens understand what's at stake." Due to the veto referendums put on the ballot by the submission of over 72,000 signatures gathered for each, which is well above the required 47,432, Idaho citizens will have a chance to either show their support or opposition of this reform in the upcoming November election.[8][9]

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