Education: Attack on Teacher Rights

by Brenda Angel

To the Idaho State Board of Education, Tuesday, October 21, 2014

From the very beginning of Mr. Luna’s tenure, he has tried to force, what he calls, “teacher incentives” upon the K through twelve education system in Idaho.

But his so-called incentives, have proven over and over again to be unwelcome to most teachers, and most citizens in Idaho and mostly because they have been laced with the requirements that teachers trade in their due process rights, and trade in their continuing contract rights, in exchange for a few dollars. (Remember, Idaho does not have tenure for K-12 teachers.)

When the teachers did not respond as he felt they should, he then introduced his widely criticized ideas into the “Students Come First” legislative package after being voted into office for his second term. All the while campaigning under the guise that everything was wonderful under his leadership during his first term, but once in his second term, his so called “Luna Laws” were introduced which were not conservative, practical, nor educationally sound or research based.

The voters of the state of Idaho historically and overwhelmingly rejected the Luna Laws at the polls. Yet, now the Governor and Mr. Luna, citing the decision of the Governor’s Education Task Force, continues to repackage what the citizens of Idaho, and education practitioners, have said “no” to on every occasion when introduced. Merit Pay is now called “Leadership Pay” and now this?

As Mr Luna walks out the door, he seems to have convinced the State Board of Education to mandate these unpopular and unwanted programs once again; this time, offering teachers the possibility of the “promise of” a few more dollars, as though to appease and entice teachers for the included loss of their professional rights and due process. The proposal you are considering, links teacher certification with the subjective evaluation of a local school administrator, punitive to teachers, and not at all good for students or tax payers.

In addition, this time around, Mr. Luna and Governor Otter are requiring you to ignore the will of the Idaho Voters who Voted NO! NO! NO! on Propositions 1, 2, 3.

Teachers in Idaho desperately need a raise. Nobody, including the Task-Force members and the Board of Education, would dispute this. However, by tying compensation to certification, and by tying certification to high stakes testing, teachers can not be required to, and must not be forced to, hand over their due process rights, legal and contractual protections, and job security that was previously guaranteed, and that are necessary to allow teachers the freedom and confidence to do what they do best: to teach and to advocate for Idaho’s children.

And if my testimony is unclear to you, I am totally against this proposal, because it is punitive, not well thought out, unsustainable, unfair, and against the will of the people.

Submitted by,
Mrs. Brenda Angel

Published by Judy Ferro

Judy Ferro is communication director for the 2C Dems and a columnist for the Idaho Press.

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