Printed on: December 27, 2012

The voices Luna's allies hear


From the Lewiston Tribune

Maybe it's time to bring in an audiologist.

Or even a psychiatrist.

Either the people who gave you Idaho's all-time political snafu -- affectionately dubbed the Luna laws -- have lost their hearing.

Or they are listening to voices.

In their heads.

They can't comprehend what the voters of Idaho said last month when they struck down schools Superintendent Tom Luna's punitive assault on teachers.

To reiterate, it was:

No!

No to Proposition 1's attempt to break collective bargaining and teacher employment security.

No to Proposition 2's plan to give standardized test scores -- and in effect the socioeconomic status of the students -- power over a teacher's compensation.

No to Proposition 3's design to transfer money from the classroom to the manufacturers of laptop computers and providers of online instruction.

Idaho's electorate didn't whisper.

Voters didn't contradict themselves.

There was nothing nuanced about the margins. Prop 1 went down by 57.1 percent. Prop 2 died by 58 percent. Prop 3 lost by 66.7 percent.

Yet Karen Echeverria, who lobbies for the Idaho School Board Association, says lawmakers should proceed with reviving portions of Prop 1 -- including a measure that hands school boards the power to impose their own contract terms if negotiations remain stalled by June 10.

Former state Sen. Darrel Deide, R- Caldwell, suggests issuing laptops to teachers, giving students access to online college courses and maintaining open, public teacher contract negotiations.

"I agree we will have to 'slow down' and be very attentive to the process," Deide wrote in an essay for the Idaho Statesman. "But slowing down does not mean putting a hold on every aspect of school improvement for a full year, which would mean that it would be at least two years before any improvement could be seen in our schools."

How do they know this?

Where's the exit polling that interprets the broader mandate?

Where's any polling at all?

Even the Education Voters of Idaho poll they cite as evidence of support for modest reforms is locked up somewhere in EVI Executive Director John Foster's office.

Foster, by the way, had to be dragged through the courts before he confessed EVI accepted New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg's $200,000 check.

Not only don't you know what the EVI poll says, there's no way to tell if it's accurate or if it asked loaded questions.

Nor was there any subliminal message in the pro-Luna campaign that resonated with voters. All you heard was a steady drumbeat about how awful teacher unions were.

But now Echeverria, Deide and others will claim almost prophetic powers of mental telepathy.

They'll tell you voters were misinformed.

They were manipulated.

They might even say voters didn't really mind many of Luna's reforms, they just didn't like the heavy-handed way he went about passing them in 2011.

Really?

Where do they hear this stuff?