BOISE -- Propositions 1, 2, and 3, the Students Come First education reform laws, will be the big decision for many people on the ballot this November.
Both sides are spending a lot of money on advertising, and a new ad just came out Tuesday. The new ad is from the group, Vote No on Propositions 1, 2, and 3. It claims that, "Prop 2 links teacher pay to the standardized testing results of Idaho kids."
This is true. Proposition 2 does link some teachers' pay (their shared, school-wide pay-for-performance bonuses) to state achievement tests.
Ken Burgess is with Yes for Idaho Education, which supports Props 1, 2, and 3. He says the ad's statement is incomplete, since it does not mention how those tests are judged (specifically, by the growth of students).
"This ad, I think is misleading, in that they want people to believe that it only goes for one particular test," said Burgess. "But in fact, it is multi-factorial, and it measures the growth aspect, which is what a school ought to be measuring anyway."
A spokesperson for Vote No on Propositions 1, 2, and 3 declined any interview or comment on this ad, but says the group stands by it. It goes on to claim, "Like 'No Child Left Behind,' Prop 2 takes away local control and puts even more emphasis on teaching to the test."
As far as teaching to the tests, those scores will be one factor in the bonuses. However, the Propositions also link the bonuses to other factors like student graduation rates, and teachers taking on leadership roles and taking hard-to-fill positions.
As far as local control goes, these Propositions (to be carried out by local districts) do come from the State Board of Education. But, Burgess says his group's position is that Prop 2 increases local control, since the specifics of what "leadership role" and "hard-to-fill positions" mean are determined by teachers and school boards.
Just Wednesday we learned the U.S. Department of Education has finally granted Idaho a waiver from the federal No Child Left Behind law. Pending approval from the Idaho State Board of Education, a new accountability system will be implemented to measure student achievement, including academic growth.