Advocatesrepresent the rich
Is anyone struck by the hypocrisy of the ad favoring Props 1, 2 and 3 claiming that the teachers’ union is an outside interest? The ad features Mitt Romney, who knows little of education in Idaho, and is sponsored by Melaleuca. The corporation may be based in Idaho, but it has nothing to do with the education of children; it’s a wealthy corporate interest seeking to influence Idaho politics.
The ad also claims that the teachers’ union has no interest in our children. Aside from parents, there is no other group of people in this state that has a greater interest in our children. Groups favoring the propositions love to demonize the word union. What they hope we forget is that the “union” is made up of human beings who, for nearly the lowest pay in the nation, teach our children, grade papers at night, talk to parents in their free time, develop creative lesson plans, and do all they can to lift our children up and ready them for the challenges they face in the 21st century. No laptop or test can replace the work Idaho’s teachers do.
Please vote no on Props 1, 2 and 3.
STACEY ST.AMAND, Boise
Here’s the restof the statement ...
Why is Yes for Idaho Education using a blatant distortion of Bob Chanin’s 2009 speech to discredit the IEA and NEA? It’s because they have no real evidence on how their own plans for using cheap computers and demoralizing and insulting teachers will improve education. Almost all their advertising is negative and features this out-of-context speech. Here’s what they left out.
“So the bad news, or depending on your point of view, the good news, is that NEA and its affiliates will continue to be attacked by conservative and right-wing groups as long as we continue to be effective advocates for public education, for education employees, and for human and civil rights. ...
“This is not to say that the concerns of NEA and its affiliates with closing achievement gaps, reducing dropout rates, improving teacher quality, and the like are unimportant or inappropriate. To the contrary, these are the goals that guide the work we do. ...
“NEA and its affiliates will remain powerful and that power will in turn enable us to achieve our vision of a great public school for every child.”
SUSAN FISHER, Boise
Merit pay plan flawed
Merit pay does not reward the rare, truly outstanding, dedicated teacher. According to Luna’s plan, merit pay is awarded to every single teacher in a school that reaches a specific goal on a standardized test.
What this means is that the worst teacher in some schools will get merit pay, while the best teachers in other schools have little chance of ever getting it. I am not a big union. I am simply a teacher who works very hard to meet the needs of my students.
SUSETTE FREEMAN, Eagle
Teacher unionshave narrow agenda
If the teachers’ union really cares about its members, then why is it trying to stop teachers from receiving thousands of dollars each in compensation?
The answer is simple: Unions have convinced teachers that the only way they can receive an increase in pay is when the union negotiates it and then approves it. With the education reform laws now in place, teachers are earning huge bonuses without the union first giving it their blessing.
This puts the union in the uncomfortable position of not being able to take all of the credit for all of the money a teacher earns and the union knows that once teachers realize that the union is actually a hindrance to improved pay, the union will become irrelevant and no longer needed.
Our great teachers have earned these bonuses and they deserve the credit for earning them — not the union!
Vote yes to protect teacher pay! Vote yes on Prop 2!
ERIC CHRISTENSEN, Nampa
Vote for reforms
I am voting for educational transformation, so I am voting for Props 1, 2 and 3. Our students deserve the best, and right now they are losing opportunities. In Idaho, too often the classes offered and the tools available are determined by a student’s ZIP code. Prop 3 transforms Idaho’s classrooms. No longer will students carry 50 pounds of books, but a laptop that becomes their learning device. With a teacher at the head of the class, Idaho students will use the laptop, which would become their textbook, word processor, calculator, etc.
Idahoans have the choice to show students they want them to have the best tools possible or they can stay in the dark ages. I want Idaho students to succeed. Technology is here to stay. Why wouldn’t we give our students the best tools? It’s more economical than buying outdated, expensive textbooks and it puts Idaho on the map. Idaho doesn’t always have to be last. We can lead. We can choose innovation. Vote yes for education reform. Vote yes on Props 1, 2 and 3!
ANNIE SCOTT, Meridian
Children needvoters to say ‘no’
The future of my two young sons depends on your vote! Please vote no on Props 1, 2 and 3. These propositions will benefit private business far more than they will benefit students. Don’t fall for the propaganda that these propositions advance technology learning for children. Our children need qualified, dedicated teachers who encourage them to learn, to solve problems, and to discover new territory. Make your no vote count and vote yes for candidates who speak out against these propositions.
District 15 choices are clear: Betty Richardson, Steve Berch and Rick Keller all stated they will not support these propositions and gave their reasons why in the Idaho Statesman Voter Guide. Support these candidates regardless of party affiliation! They care about my children and yours!
TERESA REBILLET, Boise
Merit pay planis good for schools
Prop 2 is good for teachers. Vote yes.
In 2011, Gov. Otter signed into law education reform that will finally pay Idaho’s great teachers performance pay for doing a great job and going the extra mile.
Teachers will continue to receive pay based on how many years they have taught and the amount of education they have.
But now, on top of that, teachers can earn individual bonuses for taking on leadership roles and/or teaching in hard-to-fill positions. They can also earn a bonus by teaching in a school where student academic growth increases. This isn’t an individual bonus — teachers earn this bonus by working together in the school and then they all earn the bonus for their teamwork and student success.
Union leaders want us to go back to the old system, where all teachers are paid the same, regardless of the quality of their work and where all teacher compensation must first be approved by union leaders.
Don’t let this happen. Vote yes on Prop 2!
BRADY RUPP, Garden City
Don’t fault unions;it’s Luna’s fight
The truth should be known and remembered. The D.C. union did not bring this fight to Idaho, Luna did.
Michelle Rhee, former D.C. school chancellor and founder of Students First in 2010, made it her mission to ease teacher certification requirements, lift charter caps, establish longitudinal data systems, minimize collective bargaining rights, eliminate “tenure,” implement teacher merit pay basing at least 50 percent of evaluation on test scores, and usher in technology as major “reform” in the “transformation” of education. Students Come First has their marketing of ideas down pat.
This is the political education agenda war that we Idahoans now find ourselves on the front lines of. Yes, the fight is going on across the country. Where will it end, and will there be a truly public system left? For the sake of our children, it must end.
It’s time to say no to bad ideas that leave us without the money to do the real school improvements we need.
Just remember, Otter and Luna thought No Child Left Behind was a good idea.
VICTORIA M. YOUNG, Caldwell
Prop 2 will lead to competition
The proposition regarding pay for performance will lead to the good teachers being drawn away from the schools that need the most help. Schools such as alternative schools may not draw good teachers because teachers will not want to be in a school that has little chance of reaching the requirements. Most teachers go into teaching to help students and to contribute to society. However, this proposition will change that. Teachers will now be competing to be in schools where students typically achieve higher scores drawing them away from where the most help is needed.
I have been a very conservative Republican for many years, but this issue is not a Republican vs. Democrat issue. It is also not a union vs. non-union issue. It is an issue of what the consequences will truly be if these propositions pass. It is a matter of common sense. Think before you vote.
VANNI TILZEY, Nampa