Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Luna: Grow Class Sizes, Eliminate Tenure, Give Out Laptops

Posted By on Wed, Jan 12, 2011 at 10:05 AM

Idaho Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna has unleashed a sonic boom of a plan to redefine classrooms across the Gem State.

If the superintendent has his way, teacher tenure will be gutted, classroom sizes will increase, middle-schoolers will be given new laptops and students will be required to take online courses.

As part of his "three pillars" of reform, Luna addressed a joint session of the Idaho House and Senate education committees Wednesday morning, he said classrooms should not "be limited by walls, bells, school calendars or geography."

In a one-hour laundry list of proposed changes, Luna said he wanted:
-To raise minimum teacher salaries to $30,000, but institute a pay-for-performance plan where teachers could earn $2,000-$8,000 a year in bonuses.
-Eliminate tenure. "It has become an obstacle to improving schools," said Luna.
-Strictly limit collective bargaining with teachers' unions
-Enlarge average class size in the first year of the plan by 1.25 students per teacher in fourth-12th grades, and continue to enlarge another .75 students in the second year of the plan

"Today, we have a solution," said Luna. "Up until now the only options have been to cut budgets or reduce school calendars. Nothing in this plan hurts Idaho students. It may be difficult for some adults."

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