Jim Shackelford, the former longtime executive director of the Idaho Education Association, visited the Senate Education Committee today to explain why collective bargaining has been a win-win for Idaho educators and school districts.
Shackelford, who represented the IEA during 21 legislative sessions, spoke without notes as he recounted how the IEA proposed the first “professional negotiations act” for teachers in 1966. It was defeated in committee.
But in 1971, a similar bill was passed “after a great deal of debate, discussion and consternation,” not to mention one-day teacher strikes from Wallace to American Falls. At that time, Shackelford said, the Legislature was asked to decide the key public policy question: Is there a role for teachers' voices in determining what their job conditions looked like and, if so, what does that role look like? “I believe that's the issue that you confront in SB 1068 today,” he added.
The 1971 bill passed the House 57-9 and the Senate 33-1. Shackelford noted that it’s now been in place for 40 years “with only two small modifications.” He said collective bargaining has evolved into a “very sophisticated partnership model” as local education associations collect their members’ thoughts and recommendations to bring to their school district.
Shackelford concluded, “I fear that the provisions of SB 1068 will cast us back to a mid-1960s environment, and I would encourage you to give that your most special and thoughtful consideration.”