Today, the Idaho State Board of Education overruled the wishes of a majority of Idahoans and disregarded parental choice and local control by mandating that Idaho become the first state in the nation to require two online credits for high school graduation.
Idaho educators, parents, and students see value in online classes. We recognize that they are a good choice for many students. However, Idahoans have said repeatedly since last January that the decision to take online classes should be made by students and their parents, not by the state.
The Idaho Education Association is pleased that the State Board chose to require two credits rather than the eight originally sought last January by State Superintendent Tom Luna. We also know that Idahoans will have the last word on this mandate at the ballot box in November 2012 by overturning the law requiring online credits and one-size-fits-all mobile computing devices. Local districts ought to have the right to decide what’s best for their students without mandates imposed by bureaucrats in Boise.
In other action today, the State Board also advanced a rule associated with Senate Bill 1108, the law that limits teachers’ ability to collectively bargain for matters including class sizes and student safety issues. The rule changes the original intent of Senate Bill 1108.
The IEA objected to the rule on the grounds that the Department of Education lacks the authority to promulgate this rule, as well as the fact that the rule oversteps the boundaries of SB 1108 by limiting to three items – employee insurance, leave time, and sick leave – the benefits that must be bargained between the district and the association. The law’s original language does not prohibit an expanded definition of benefits, should the district and association agree.
Here is news coverage of the vote: