This reader explains how the Legislature had taken steps to circumvent the will of the electorate. Last November, voters decisively repealed the three laws that were promoted by State Superintendent Tom Luna.

The reader writes:

“I live in Idaho. The legislature has had public hearings since 2011s introduction of Students Come First. Tom Luna is our Superintendent of Public Instruction. He was an advisor to U.S Secretary of Education Rod Paige from 2003-2005, the “magic bullet” from Houston that pushed high stakes testing, and worked on legislation to pass No Child Left Behind. Tom Luna has no education in instruction, but has an online degree in “weights and measures.” Idaho repealed the Students Come First laws this last November, after a long battle between the people, and a supposed “grassroots” organization called Education Voters of Idaho. The donors for the Students Come First campaign were revealed.

http://www.spokesman.com/stories/2012/oct/31/ny-mayor-among-secret-donors-idaho-school-campaign/

Unfortunately, the Idaho legislature reinstated parts of the Students Come First laws, against the people, often stacking the hearings with people who were for these laws, which include:

“Limit the life of salary and benefit portions of master agreements to one year. Require negotiations between teachers’ unions and school boards be held in public. Require teachers unions to prove – if asked by a board – that they represent a majority of educators. Provide money for grants for schools seeking to expand technology, such as laptops or mobile devices, in the classroom. Set aside merit pay funding for educators, based on district standards.” http://www.idahoednews.org/news/lawmakers-revive-elements-of-defeated-props

The reinstatement of some of the Students Come First laws have deflated teachers’ and parents’ hope for change. Governor Otter, formed an Education Task Force, stacked with his previous committee he formed back in 2007, called the Education Alliance of Idaho. This includes business stakeholders and JA & Kathryn Albertson’s Foundation, who also formed a committee called the Idaho Leads Project, and the new ad running “Don’t Fail Idaho.” Joe Scott, the grandson of Joe Albertson, of the Albertsons grocery chain, has been found to make millions off of the online schooling company K12 inc.

http://www.spokesman.com/blogs/boise/2011/feb/19/albertsons-heir-made-millions-k12-inc-promotes-it-idaho-schools/

We have known ALEC members on ALECs education task force Senator Bob Nonini, and Representative Pete Nielsen, who are also on the Education Committee in Idaho.

My 7th grade twins that attend “traditional” public schools, hear me discuss Idaho’s education problems, and our nations. They had some interesting insight. They said it sounds very similar to the Roman Empire, and the corruption of the Senate. They said that the coliseum was built to distract the people from how horrible things truly were for the people. They said it did work for a while, and then the people began to revolt again. In Idaho’s situation, I feel these public hearings are the legislatures form of the coliseum. My only hope is to educate those that are unaware of the depths of our education deception, and eventually the people will win!!

Jen Leuck