Big Ben Chimes Zero Hour For Secret Finance Committee

Kudos to Idaho Secretary of State Big Ben Ysursa who has filed suit in 4th District Court in an effort to force disclosure of the names of those who have donated more than $50 to a group called Education Voters of Idaho.

“The voters made it clear when they passed the Sunshine initiative, that public disclosure is an essential element of Idaho elections,” Ysursa said. “The citizens want to know where the money comes from and how it’s spent. My job is to enforce that law.”

He has also asked for reports from teacher organizations.

At issue are three propositions strongly opposed by teachers and the education community, but supported Tom Luna, Idaho public school superintendent. Luna’s education changes limit union bargaining power, promote teacher merit pay, and require online classes and student laptop computers.

Read John Miller’s AP STORY.

Comments & Discussion

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  1. Should be interesting to see what businesses donated all the money and how there tied to the profits.

  2. It’s interesting that the deep-pockets on both sides of the issue want to remain anonymous. You’d think if they feel strongly enough to donate, that they’d also be willing to lend their names to the cause.

    Regarding the “Luna Laws,” I have mixed emotions. Recalling my own experience, I had teachers who deserved far more than their teachers’ salary… and other teachers that should’ve been shown the door. Same thing with my kids’ teachers. So I’m in favor of some form of merit pay. (It seems to work well in the private sector.)

    And it’s funny – EVERYBODY seems to agree that the quality of public education is suspect and needs to be improved… but any change beyond throwing more taxpayer money at it is vigorously resisted by many of the involved parties.

  3. Grumpy ole guy
    Oct 23, 2012, 10:25 am

    Every so often there comes along an elected official who truly deserves the accolade of “public servant”. Ben Ysursa certainly is the foremost State or Federal officer in Idaho now who fits this description. We can thank our 43rd star. His service and integrity gives much hope that the system really can and does work.

  4. Education reform in Idaho needs to address the issue of “social promotion” of kids in grades 1 to 4. If these kids are not performing at grade level at this stage of the process all the bells and whistles and legislative blather are worthless. Failing kids will not catch up to grade level and will eventually drop out of school. They have very few chances at success in life without the ability to add subtract, multiply and divide along with the ability to communicate in written and oral manner.

    I do like the idea of the Khan Academy approach where the “classroom” is online and the “homework” is done in the classroom with a real live teacher to help teach the concepts and material.

    Props 1,2 and 3 do not suggest any improvements in outcomes. We still need a “high touch” environment to help students master materials at all grade levels. An example of this would be the Freshman Academy in Caldwell. It is a concentrated effort to get kids back on track and ready for high school level classes.

    The other issue I have with Idaho education is high schools are highly concentrated with college prep classes. The reality is the majority of high school kids do not go to college. Taxpayers get to fund a lot of skilled labor classes at the Community College level. Why can’t these classes be taught at the High School level?

  5. The kids are coming out of the schools dumber than ever according to the Exxon commercial. Our nation is going to need cheap labor soon because the failing service-based economy is forcing a return to the core industrial & raw materials economy from decades ago. All the stupid kids are the ditch-diggers we need to rebuild. Teachers and schools keep up the good work, perhaps you can do it for less, but good job overall. And if you political types could please start a global war again we could be thriving in 10 years.

  6. I wonder how much of rural Idaho even has decent internet connections for the kids to use the laptops. I have friends who cannot open files ith downloads take so long. Who is going to pay the bill for the rural broadband? Why doesn’t a city like Boise have free wifi by now? Someone is going to get very wealthy if this passes.

    EDITOR NOTE–local news says H-P will get $180 million.

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