Voter forum debates Propositions 1,2,3
The League of Women Voters is a non-partisan group that focuses on providing education to voters in the area, according to Jennifer O’Laughlin, past president for the league.The league held a forum Wednesday about Propositions One, Two and Three.
The forum hosted two debaters — Darrel Deide for the yes vote to uphold the propositions and Shirley Ringo arguing to reject the propositions.
Deide is a former Idaho senator and superintendent of Caldwell schools, while Ringo was a public school teacher for 38 years and is currently serving in the House of Representatives for the fifth district.
Proposition One will limit negotiations between teachers and school boards and end renewable contracts.
“(Negotiations are) clearly distracting from good teaching,” Deide said. “It is not a novel idea to evaluate a person’s job on performance basis on the job they’re supposed to do.”
Ringo said it is important to reject all three propositions, but that Proposition One will not improve teachers.
“It will eliminate years of work (spent) to build a good school environment,” Ringo said. “It is a punitive measure to dismantle the Idaho Education Association.”
Proposition Two provides teacher bonuses based on student performance on standardized tests.
Ringo said they need to be clear that this plan is not for the schools.
“It’s also not for the teachers. They didn’t ask for it,” she said.
Ringo emphasized that the issue may not be propositions plans entirely, but largely with how they were constructed without public input.
Deide asked if the proposition will improve the quality of the classroom teacher, adding that the proposition has the support of many stakeholders.
“The most important factor for student success is good teachers,” he said. “Proposition Two attempts to bring some fairness to (teacher salaries).”
Proposition Three requires online courses for high school graduation and laptops provided for every high school student.
Deide said more than 100,000 people signed a petition to get the proposition on the ballot, but he believes some may have done so because they support technology and want a chance to say so in the voting booth.
“It’s hard to believe Idaho wants to ignore the future,” Deide said.
Ringo said the issue isn’t technology — those against the proposition want technology in schools as well.
“The question of how we move forward has a lot to do with if we think we are on the right road,” Ringo said. “It is a huge decision for Idaho, but we got a deal hatched behind closed doors. Everyone deserves to be a part of the discussion.”
Katy Swordcan be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org