IDAHO SECRETARY OF STATE
Ben Ysursa, Secretary of State
Referendum to approve or reject legislation amending school district funding, requiring provision of computing devices and online courses for high school graduation.Referendum to approve or reject S1184; relating to education: revising Idaho Code by amending 33-125, to provide for a fiscal report card; repealing 33-129 relating to science education matching grants; amending 33-357 relating to a certain internet website; amending 33-1002 relating to the educational support program; adding new section 33-1002A relating to fractional average daily attendance; amending 33-1004 relating to staff allowances; amending 33-1004A relating to the experience and education multiplier; amending 33-1004E relating to district's salary-based apportionment; amending 33-1004F relating to obligations to the public employee retirement system and social security; amending 33-1020 relating to moneys distributed to the Idaho Digital Learning Academy; adding new section 33-1021 relating to distribution of moneys to school districts for certain math and science courses; adding new section 33-1022 relating to public school technology and expenditures or distributions of moneys for such; adding new section 33-1626 relating to dual credit; adding new section 33-1627 relating to online courses and mobile computing devices and providing certain expenditures or distributions of moneys; adding new section 33-5216 relating to public postsecondary institutions being authorized to operate public charter high schools.
Shall the legislation amending school district funding, requiring provision of computing devices and online courses for high school graduation be approved?
Argument IN FAVOR of Proposition Three
Voting yes means supporting legislation passed in 2011 by Governor C.L. "Butch" Otter and the Idaho Legislature.
This law provides the technological tools and teacher training to make learning engaging and relevant to today's students. The class of 2012 has lived their entire lives in the information age. Most carry smart phones, and communicate via text and Twitter. Times have changed. Idaho's schools must change with the times to meet the needs and capture the interest of 21st century learners.
This provision of Students Come First creates 21st century classrooms in every school across the state to ensure equal access and opportunity for all Idaho students — no matter where they live. In the 21st century classroom, learning is not limited by walls, bell schedules, school calendars, or geography. Every classroom is equipped with a highly effective teacher and the learning tools necessary to ensure students graduate from high school, adequately prepared to further their education or enter the workforce.
This law ensures every high school teacher and student has a wireless laptop device and every high school will be equipped with wireless internet accessibility. Teachers are provided with an unprecedented amount of professional development to learn how to use this technological tool to greatest advantage in their classrooms. This device becomes the textbook for every class, the advanced math calculator, the research device, the word processor, and the portal to a world of information and knowledge. No longer will Idaho's classrooms be the least technological part of a student's day.
This law invests $9 million a year in advanced classroom technology for elementary and middleschool classrooms. Already, teachers are sharing examples of how iPods, iPads, and SmartBoard technology are helping engage students in new and exciting ways.
When Idaho students graduate and go on to further their education or enter the workforce, they will need the skills to learn and work in a digital environment to be successful. As a result, the State Board of Education determined, beginning with the Class of 2016, students must complete two (2) credits (out of 46 total credits) of digital or blended learning to graduate from high school. Students will take these courses at school, during the school day.
Additional important elements of this law include:
This law ensures Idaho students will be ready to meet the challenges of their world when they leave high school. The state is accomplishing all this by providing, on average, $60 million a year in new funding to fully implement the Students Come First laws going forward.
Yes For Idaho Education
Rebuttal to Argument IN FAVOR of Proposition Three
Republican Finance Committee Chairman Sen. Dean Cameron said regarding Proposition 3, "I'm voting against this bill because ... not one stakeholder is supporting it - not the superintendents, not the school boards, not the teachers, not the parents. Every single stakeholder... has testified opposed to it."
Contrary to what Proposition 3 proponents say, this law is a costly, unfunded mandate that could lead to higher property taxes, more funding cuts, and fewer teachers in our already financially strapped local schools. It requires us to trade teachers for computers, forcing local school districts to spend our tax dollars on expensive computer equipment and software. But as parents and teachers know, computers can't diagnose a learning problem, develop critical thinking skills, or motivate a child to get excited about learning.
Proposition 3 puts our students last and big computer and online education corporations first. It requires local schools to give away expensive, taxpayer-funded laptop computers to every high school student in Idaho. Given that kids will be kids, it's estimated that equipment repairs and replacements will cost taxpayers a lot more than the politicians predict. It also requires our students to take online education courses - using tax dollars to fund unaccountable online education companies, at least one of which was caught outsourcing teaching jobs to India.
Tell Superintendent Luna and the politicians in Boise that they shouldn't be spending scarce taxpayer dollars on expensive, unproven technology. Proposition 3 is bad for children, bad for teachers and bad for Idaho.
Vote No on Proposition 3.
Vote NO on Propositions 1, 2, and 3
Argument AGAINST Proposition Three
Proposition 3: puts computers first, students and teachers last
Proposition 3 is a largely unfunded state mandate that forces local schools to spend millions on expensive technology before they spend money reducing the size of overcrowded classes, providing classroom supplies, ensuring student safety and on other important priorities. It also requires all students to take online courses in order to graduate from high school. Proposition 3 is the third top-down mandate pushed through the legislature by State Supt. Tom Luna. It puts the interest of out-of-state companies that sell computers and technology before the interests of Idaho students and teachers.
If the measure passes, property taxes could increase in school districts across the state. Why? Because school administrators will be required to hand out expensive tax-payer funded laptop computers to every high school student in the state. Not only did the politicians in the state legislature fail to provide additional money for these purchases in years to come, but given that kids will be kids, this measure will end up costing many millions more for repairs and replacements than is currently estimated, and local school districts and taxpayers will be stuck with the bill. Local school boards will be forced to pay for the costs by further increasing class sizes, cutting pay for teachers and other school employees, shortening the school year, eliminating extra-curricular activities and enrichment programs, and/or raising local property taxes.
And while all our children might get these expensive computers, many won't be able to make good of use them. Last year, Idaho was ranked as having one of the slowest Internet speeds in the nation*. The problem is worse in rural areas. Yet Proposition 3 requires students in every part of the state to take at least two online courses to graduate. With Internet access what it is today in Idaho, this law puts many students at a disadvantage, setting them up to fail.
Before he wrote this law, Supt. Luna received tens of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from the companies that now stand to make millions selling computer equipment and services to the state**. One of these companies, K12 Inc., that state's largest online course provider, is being sued for alleged lying about student performance and deceptive recruiting practices***. They were even caught sending students' English essays overseas to reviewers in India for grading. The last thing we should do is use our taxpayer dollars to outsource Idaho teaching jobs and our students' education.
Everyone agrees that instruction in up-to-date technology is essential in preparing our students for the modern world. But Proposition 3's costly, top-down, one-size-fits-all mandates are the wrong way to proceed. Like the other Luna laws, it is full of unintended consequences. And like the other Luna laws, it is bad for children, bad for teachers and bad for Idaho.
*New York Times, September 13, 2011
Vote NO on Propositions 1, 2, and 3
Rebuttal to Argument AGAINST Proposition Three
A YES vote means ALL Idaho students will have equal access to quality classes, and highly effective teachers no matter where they live in the state.
A YES vote means ALL teachers will have the technological tools and professional development necessary to excite and engage today's 21st century learners.
A NO vote means Idahoans will NOT invest millions in new funding each year for classroom technology for students, for professional development for teachers, and incentives for students to earn college credit while still in high school.
A NO vote means Idahoans will return students to an unjust education system in which some students may never reach their full potential simply because of where they live.
Yes for Idaho Education
In Favor Of
Yes for Idaho Education
Vote NO on Propositions 1, 2, and 3
ARGUMENTS PRINTED ON THIS PAGE ARE THE OPINIONS OF THE AUTHORS AND HAVE NOT BEEN CHECKED FOR ACCURACY BY ANY OFFICIAL AGENCY.