This has been another trying week for Idaho educators. The Senate passed two of the three Luna bills, including one (Senate Bill 1108) that essentially strips away our rights as individual educators and as an association. That bill – and the unfunded pay-for-performance bill (S 1110) – now move on to the House Education Committee, where they will be heard starting Tuesday. Meanwhile, the bill to increase class sizes, trade teachers for technology, and eliminate a thousand Idaho jobs has gone back to the Senate Education Committee.
Although it’s been a difficult week, it’s also been a week of solidarity and action, both by the IEA and the public at large. Here is a recap of what has happened in the past seven days:
· Several thousand people rallied on Presidents’ Day Weekend in support of teachers and schools.
· We ran five days of statewide TV ads asking Idahoans to “Raise Your Hand” against the Luna plan.
· The IEA released a survey showing that 95 percent of Idaho educators oppose the Luna plan.
· The media have been hitting Tom Luna hard on his ties to for-profit online education companies. If you haven’t already seen these stories and columns, be sure to read and share them:
· The IEA filed a public-records request to compel Superintendent Luna to reveal his “confidential” list of people he consulted on his overhaul plan.
· Members and allies quickly pulled together more than two dozen vigils last night in the wake of the Senate’s passage of S 1108 and 1110. All across Idaho, educators and parents and students stood together for the second time in less than a week to protest the Luna plan.
Next Tuesday through Thursday (March 1-3), the House Education Committee will hear S 1108 and 1110 at its meetings in the Capitol Auditorium from 8 to 11 a.m. each day. Many of you have already taken time off to come to Boise to testify against the Luna plan. If you haven’t yet done so, please try to make the trip next week. If you cannot, please talk with family and friends who might be able to take a morning to help fill the Capitol Auditorium and, if possible, speak out against the attacks on teachers.
Our fight is a long way from over. But this weekend, we all need to applaud the organizing successes of the past week – see a slide show here – and enjoy a bit of down time to rest up for the next few weeks.