Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Luna Laws won’t help kids learn

Voters in the Wood River Valley will have an opportunity to greatly impact the status of education in Idaho this November. The Luna Laws about merit pay, teacher voice and free laptops fall far short of really helping students.

I never thought that my teaching career would end like this: more test prep than ever before with fewer occasions for my students to reach that “ah-hah” moment with a book or a story. My passion has never been to lead students to higher test scores on standardized tests. And now my performance as a teacher has become tied to it? A merit bonus under the Luna law (Prop 2) is really from some other Idaho teacher’s job loss.

Providing laptops (Prop 3) is a no-brainer. My students don’t want free laptops. They want iPads and Smartphones!  With technology changing so quickly, why invest taxpayer money in something so capricious?

Finally, without a voice (Prop 1), teachers will never be able to control the environments of their learners. Class sizes have increased all over the state since these laws were passed.  The teachers I studied with at the Idaho Humanities Institute this summer had 35 to 40 kids in a single class. Multiply that by five or six classes a day and you’re headed for failure as an educator.

Yet the laws demand we improve student success. If we really want to model Finland and other countries with high-achieving students, we need teacher voices to ensure professionals are not overbooked, have ample time to reflect and improve practices, and can freely address any student issues.

Step up.  You can actively make a difference. Vote NO on Props 1, 2 and 3 so that education in Idaho can be a place where new teachers flock to and old teachers are proud to retire from.

Darlene Dyer



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