Thursday, February 24, 2011

Teachers Mourn Senate Passage of Education Bills

Posted By on Thu, Feb 24, 2011 at 6:33 PM

Symbolically or not, scores of Treasure Valley teachers stood with their backs to the Statehouse tonight in a somber vigil protesting the Senate vote to approve two of Tom Luna's plans to reform education.

Earlier today, the Senate voted 20-15 to approve both bills, which strip collective bargaining and tenure from teachers as well as institute new merit-pay processes into school districts across the state. Eight Republicans joined seven Democrats in voting against the measures. Twenty Republicans voted to approve the bills.

"Today's debate is best characterized as factual opponents versus idealogic proponents," Democratic Sen. Elliot Werk told Citydesk. Werk said he expects a very different vote when Luna's third bill, calling for elimination of nearly 1,000 teaching positions and an increase class sizes, comes before the Senate.

"I know there are a lot of rumblings over class size," said Werk. "No one is really buying Tom Luna's logic that class size doesn't matter."

The vigil outside the Capitol was one of more than a dozen teachers' rallies scheduled tonight throughout Idaho.


The first two bills are expected to be considered by the House Education committee next Tuesday.

"It's a dark night in Idaho," said Werk. "But I would tell teachers that there will be better days."

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