Hi, I’m Mike Lanza, chair of Vote No on Props 1, 2, and 3, and a co-founder of Idaho Parents and Teachers Together.
This election was not a vote against better schools. Quite to the contrary, this outcome was a statement by voters that we care very deeply about Idaho’s public schools.
Let’s be clear about the mandate from voters.
Idaho’s voters believe in local control of public schools and reject any top-down, one-size-fits-all mandates from the state;
We believe that every student deserves a qualified and committed teacher, and reject the notion of cutting teachers and increasing class sizes to pay for unproven, technological education fixes;
We believe in the fundamental fairness and collaborative benefit for everyone of giving our teachers a full voice in how our schools are managed, through the local negotiations process, including on matters beyond pay and benefits;
We believe we should invest in the classroom, and reject the idea that an unfunded and unproven merit-pay plan can improve student achievement;
And we believe that all stakeholders in education should be brought to the table to engage in a real and honest process of figuring out how to improve Idaho’s public schools.
Most of all, voters said: Our elected leaders must be accountable to the public.
Some politicians have talked a lot about making other people accountable, but when the time came for them to walk the walk, they let us down by passing laws that the public made clear we did not want.
We’ve demonstrated that, especially when it comes to our kids and our schools, the will of voters will not be ignored.
Idaho’s voters sent a message that we do want better schools and greater opportunity for our graduates, and a stronger economy through building better schools.
But we want to do it right.
Doing it right means bringing all the parties with an interest in improving our schools—including parents and professional educators—to the table.
I am already hearing from many people, from all walks and backgrounds, who are congratulating our win and offering to help with our efforts on behalf of education moving forward.
We want to sit down with our elected leaders—and that includes with Superintendent Luna—and begin the hard work that is required to forge real education reform.
Over the past two years, we have seen Idahoans engaged on this issue like we have not seen in a long time.
We have a unique opportunity now to restart this process and do it right.
I want my kids and all the schoolchildren of Idaho to be the real winners to emerge from this vote.
If this is really about education reform, then our elected leaders should embrace the determination of parents and our professional educators to work hard and be directly involved in bettering our public schools.
If this is really about education reform, then we have a duty and a responsibility to pursue solutions that are based on hard data and real evidence of success and results—not on ideology or a political agenda or ideas that make us feel good today.
Now is the time to put the “public” back in public schools.