Two months after Gov. Butch Otter signed the three laws implementing Superintendent Tom Luna’s education-reform plan, we submitted far more than enough signatures to the secretary of state’s office to put those laws before voters on November 2012.
The people of Idaho will finally have their say on these tremendously unpopular laws.
We needed 47,432 verified signatures of registered voters to put each of the three laws on the ballot. We turned in an average of 73,000 signatures on each bill. We did not just barely make our goal; we surpassed it by 53%.
This victory is shared by all of the tens of thousands of Idahoans who circulated and signed petitions.
We have sent a powerful message: Idaho’s parents and educators will not be ignored.
We have done this because the governor and Legislature ignored the thousands of emails, thousands of people attending rallies across Idaho, and the testimony of parents, school board members, school administrators, and teachers who demanded that they reject Luna’s plan. Idahoans made it clear we do not want to trade teachers for laptops and mandatory online courses. We do not support laws that accomplish little beyond denigrating teachers. The administrators and teachers who will have to implement this poorly designed plan have said it will be a financial and educational disaster for Idaho’s schools.
Gov. Otter, Superintendent Luna, and their supporters in the Legislature chose their political agenda over public opinion. They passed these laws despite the impassioned opposition of leaders within their own party who voted against the laws because they recognized that they are elected to serve the public. We are left with no choice but to pursue the referendum process spelled out in the Idaho Constitution.
We have succeeded in the first step in this process. Our next challenge is bigger. We will work hard right up to the November 2012 election to inform the voters of Idaho just how damaging to public schools this plan is. In fact, evidence of that damage is already emerging in school districts across the state.
Many people have contacted my co-founder of Idaho Parents and Teachers Together, Maria Greeley, and me to offer help and words of support. We appreciate it. We are motivated to try to repeal these laws by the sustained public outcry over Luna’s education-reform plan.
We still need your help. Join our Facebook group for regular updates on our activities and news about impacts of Luna’s laws on Idaho’s schools. Subscribe to the email list on this website so that we can communicate with you when we need your help as we move forward. Throughout this process, subscribers to our email list at idahoparentsandteachers.com, and followers of the Idaho Parents and Teachers Together Facebook page, will also continue to receive updates on this effort.
Thanks for your continued support for Idaho’s schools.
Chair, Idahoans for Responsible Education Reform