Idaho's education reforms: How will you vote?

Idaho's education reforms: How will you vote?

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by Andrea Lutz

Bio | Email | Follow: @KTVBandrealutz

KTVB.COM

Posted on November 5, 2012 at 12:13 AM

Updated Wednesday, Nov 6 at 1:32 PM

BOISE – There are big issues facing Idaho this general election and the proof is in a record number of Idahoans taking part in early voting.

Perhaps the biggest issue voters will face is the state's education reform referenda. The reform is properly known as propositions 1, 2 and 3 of the 'Students Come First' legislation passed in 2011.

Campaign spending for and against the measures has topped $6 million dollars in 2012.

While many seem to have their minds made up about how they are going to vote on the props, some voters KTVB spoke to say they are still undecided.

We headed to downtown Boise Sunday evening to ask people how they'll cast their votes on the measure.

One person said his vote was definitely going to the “yes” side, while another said they were definitely voting “no” to all the props.

“I don't think we have decided yet,” said another woman.

KTVB’s Dee Sarton tackled the issue of the propositions on Saturday's Viewpoint by hosting a representative from each side of the issue. Sarton hosted Lori Otter, first lady of Idaho, who is in favor of passing Props 1, 2, and 3 and Mike Lanza, an Idaho parent and the chair of the 'Vote No' campaign.

During the broadcast, they answered questions from voters.

Proposition 1 includes the issue of unions and contracts and would limit collective bargaining agreements for teachers.

“Open negotiations, transparency (and) having parents involved is crucial to schools,” said First Lady Otter on the issue.

“The law stipulates they can only negotiate over pay and benefits,” said Lanza. “I would like them to have a voice.”

Proposition 2 is the teacher pay for performance law; this would use standardize testing to award teachers with bonuses.

“As a parent I don’t think that a test is necessarily always the measure of my child's performance as a student,” argued Lanza. "They should be teaching from a broader perspective than just a test."

“It’s a part of school, it’s what schools do, it’s a way for us to know how effective our teachers are in the classroom,” replied Otter.

Proposition 3 deals with technology in the classroom, placing laptops in the hands of students and providing free online college courses for certain students.

Some voters have questioned where the legislature would get the money to pay for the student laptops.

“The legislature and the Governor did not create a dedicated revenue stream to pay for this,” said Lanza. “We think fiscally the computer contract is a bad deal for schools.”

“I find it very interesting that the very people that say we are not spending enough on education are now nickel and diming us on how much the computers cost,” said Otter.

Sunday we learned while some voters have their minds made up, not everyone is sure how they'll vote on Tuesday.

“No, on all of them,” said one voter. “I have quite a few friends that are teachers and I don’t know any of them who have said they are a good thing,” he said.

“The teachers unions, I struggle with that,” said another voter in favor of the props. “Education is big in this state.”

Others we asked said they were still undecided seeking answers on which choice is the right one for Idaho's schools.

“I think that I am just confused to be honest with you there are a lot of different points in each one of them,” said a mother of two. “I have to do a little bit more research on it but I will do it before Tuesday,” she said.

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