Tuesday, May 3, is National Teacher Day, and the first week in May is traditionally marked as Teacher Appreciation Week. Although Idaho teachers have been under siege due to budget cuts and radical school reform laws, Idaho educators can take heart that they’re viewed three times more favorably than State Superintendent Tom Luna.

In a recent poll, only 25 percent of likely voters surveyed gave Tom Luna a favorable rating, compared to a 75 percent favorable rating for teachers. Luna’s unfavorability rating skyrocketed from 18 percent negative in March 2010 to 41 percent negative a year later, with 15 percent taking a neutral view.

Teachers’ favorability ratings remained near constant, dipping 2 percent from 77 percent last year. The Idaho Education Association’s favorability ratings rose from 39 percent to 47 percent since March 2010. The survey of 600 registered Idaho voters likely to vote in November 2012 was conducted by Portland-based Grove Insight March 13-15. It had a 4 percent margin of error.

“On National Teacher Day, educators all across Idaho are grateful that Idahoans appreciate the hard work that all our public school employees do on behalf of our state's children, especially in these most difficult times,” said Sherri Wood, Idaho Education Association president.

“Superintendent Luna is currently on a taxpayer-funded tour to try and sell the bad laws that he pushed through the Idaho Legislature this year,” Wood added. “But Idahoans rightly remain skeptical of these laws that impose costly new mandates on our school districts and will lead to larger class sizes and lost Idaho jobs.”

Together with a parent-led group, Idahoans for Responsible Education Reform, the IEA is working to collect nearly 48,000 signatures on each of three petitions to overturn Senate Bills 1108, 1110 and 1184. Signatures must be collected by June 1 and turned in to the Secretary of State’s office on June 6. “Idahoans who want to thank a teacher this week can signify their appreciation for educators and their dissatisfaction with these harmful laws by signing these petitions,” Wood said. For more information and downloadable petitions, see www.rejectthelunalaws.com.

Correction: The first version of this news release had Tom Luna's March 2010 unfavorability rating at 8 percent. It was 18 percent.

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