Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Education rally planned for today

‘Human Chain on Main’ set in Ketchum and Hailey


By TERRY SMITH
Express Staff Writer

The Blaine County Education Association has organized rallies for today, March 9, in Ketchum and Hailey to protest education reform legislation pending before the Legislature.

"Human Chain on Main" events are planned from 4:30-5:30 p.m. at the intersection of Main Street and Sun Valley Road in Ketchum and for north Main Street in Hailey. Participants are asked to wear black "to symbolically show our community's impending loss of choice, voice and funding for education," states a flyer advertising the rally.

The event is the second major rally in the Wood River Valley in protest of so-called education reforms proposed by state Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna. Legislation is currently pending that would reduce the negotiating power of teachers unions, base pay on teacher performance and replace several hundred teachers in Idaho with laptop computers and online coursework.

Tryntje Van Slyke, president of the Blaine County Education Association, said the rally is being held in conjunction with statewide protests, but teachers in Blaine County are also protesting another pending piece of legislation that would eliminate a permanent tax levy that provides nearly $30 million annually to the Blaine County School District.

"This second one is more of a community rally, but whoever shows up is welcome," Van Slyke said. "It's standing up for education, and that involves parents, teachers, students, businesses—it includes everybody."

Terry Smith: tsmith@mtexpress.com




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