Forum On Idaho Education Propositions Focuses On Policy Not Politics

Oct 16, 2012

Idaho voters go to the polls in three weeks to select a president, congressional candidates and state legislators. They’ll also vote on whether to keep the state’s sweeping education overhaul known as Students Come First.

“I think this issue dwarfs everything else on the ballot. And this is one of very few in which the outcome is in doubt,” says James Weatherby, Boise State professor emeritus of political science. Monday Weatherby moderated a forum on Propositions 1, 2, and 3.

More than 200 people filled the auditorium at Centennial High School to learn more about the propositions. At one point, it was standing room only. The eight panelists included a teacher, a representative from the state Department of Education and some for and against the Students Come First laws. Weatherby says the questions were largely policy based.

“You know there weren’t any political questions really, in terms of back and forth between the two camps,” he says. “But more in terms of how you implement these education reform measures.”

Weatherby says the three laws up for voter consideration have so much policy in them that the two hour forum wasn't enough time to cover them. That’s why panelist Eric Exline from the Meridian School District told the crowd to ignore the ads for and against the propositions because they only focus on small sections of the laws.  

“Go to a variety of sources and you should go all over looking for them. Go to the Boise School District’s web page and go to the Idaho Freedom Foundation’s web page.” He added, “there, I’ve given you the entire political spectrum possibly.”

Meridian’s presence on this panel set this forum apart from a debate held earlier this month by the City Club of Boise. Like all districts the state’s largest has had a year and a half to implement the laws. The Meridian reps were there to talk about their experience. They were meant to be the neutral voice on this panel of passionate opinions.

You can learn more about propositions 1, 2, 3 and the history of Students Come First by checking out our ultimate guide from StateImpact Idaho.

Copyright 2012 Boise State Public Radio