Students Come First

Updated: Several measures working through Idaho’s legislature echo parts of the laws known as Students Come First. Those laws were overturned by voters last November through ballot propositions. (You can read a detailed description of what was in those here.) We’ve put together a rundown of bills that reflect parts of Students Come First which may pass or have already received lawmaker approval.

Marlith / Flickr

Four months ago Idaho voters repealed three education laws through ballot initiatives. Now nearly a dozen provisions from those laws are working through the Idaho legislature or have already passed.

Idaho residents voted on three propositions to overturn the laws known as Students Come First. But the laws contained dozens of provisions on things like teacher labor relations and increasing classroom technology. Those who pushed for repeal say voters rejected all aspects, period. That’s how Penni Cyr, president of the Idaho Education Association (IEA) sees it.

Idaho legislative education leaders brokered a meeting Wednesday between Idaho Education Association representatives and representatives from the Idaho School Boards Association. The groups are at odds over a set of bills the association of school boards has introduced.

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

The group that represents Idaho’s school boards asked lawmakers Tuesday to bring back parts of the Students Come First laws. Voters repealed those last November.

The new bill would bring back open meetings for labor negotiations. The same bill would again allow school districts to set contract terms if negotiations with local unions were not concluded by a certain date.

Shelby Zepeda / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho voters sent a clear message to policymakers when they struck down a trio of education laws last November. Those laws known as “Students Come First” would have increased technology in classrooms, limited collective bargaining rights for teachers and more.

Butch Otter
State of Idaho

Idaho Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter has asked the State Board of Education to shepherd a statewide discussion about improving education for students.

Otter said Thursday a broadly representative group of Idahoans yet to be selected will study options that could lead to changes without lawmakers creating new laws.

But he says if the group determines legislation is necessary, lawmakers could take up the ideas in 2014.

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho voters' decision to strike down three education laws in November raised a question. What happens to the money that was meant to pay for things like classroom technology and hiring more math and science teachers?

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

The leaders of the campaign that defeated Idaho’s Propositions 1, 2 and 3 in last month’s election are concerned that the laws could come back. They’re speaking out against efforts to resurrect the education overhaul rejected by voters.

Images_Of_Money / Flickr Creative Commons

Idaho’s Department of Education says the repeal of the Students Come First education laws means a $23 million cut for the state’s schools. It took the department time to come up with that number after voters rejected the laws early this month through ballot propositions 1, 2 and 3.

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho high school students won't have to take online classes to graduate. The State Board of Education repealed a rule Monday that required them.

Voters rejected the Students Come First laws on November 6 but one of those laws had a twist. It required the board of education to set the online class requirement, which it did. That requirement was still in place despite the laws' repeal.  The Idaho Legislature still has to sign off but, board spokesperson Marilyn Whitney says students should consider it gone.

Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

Since Idaho voters rejected the Students Come First education laws last week, both sides have spoken about the need to cooperate. A first step in that direction happens Wednesday. Idaho Governor Butch Otter - one of the chief bakers of the laws - has invited representatives from the state’s teachers union, the IEA to come to the capitol.

The IEA worked to overturn Students Come First. Otter spokesman Jon Hanian says the governor wants to create changes to the state’s education system Idahoan’s will support.

Staff / Idaho Statesman

Idaho teachers will still get about $38 million in merit-pay bonuses this year. That’s despite voters' rejection of public schools chief Tom Luna's education overhaul.

The Idaho attorney general says the failure at the polls shouldn't affect the payout.

In an opinion made public Monday, deputy attorney general Andrew Snook wrote that teachers who qualified for the bonuses earned them for the 2011-2012 school year — before Luna's merit pay law was voted down Nov. 6.

Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

After voters rejected the controversial Students Come First education laws last night, members of the Vote No campaign gathered outside of Boise High this morning.

Vote No campaign chairman Mike Lanza said that the results of the referenda are clear. He says that voters showed how much they care about local control in Idaho’s schools, and he characterized the election results as “glorious.”  

Boise State Public Radio

For the second time in Idaho's history, voters have overturned a law passed by state lawmakers. 

Residents rejected the 2011 education laws known as Students Come First.  They did so by a wide margin. 

As part of our analysis on Morning Edition, KBSX education reporter Adam Cotterell spoke with host Scott Graf about the result, reaction to it, and what comes next. 

Boise State University

We spoke with David Adler, Director of the Andrus Center for Public Policy at Boise State University, about the results of the Students Come First vote. 

The interview aired on KBSX's Morning Edition.  Click 'Listen' to hear Adler's analysis.

Jessica Robinson / Northwest News Network

Idaho voters delivered a resounding defeat to three new education laws. Voters said no to limits on teacher bargaining rights, to creating a pay-for-performance system and to ramping up classroom technology.  Opponents were successful, in part, by billing the laws as an attack on teachers. 

When the first results came in, the Vote No campaign brought out the bagpipes.

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

All three of public schools chief Tom Luna's education overhaul initiatives were failing just before

midnight Tuesday.

About 40 percent of the precincts statewide were counted.

But if the numbers hold, it would be a clear disaster for Luna's plans to remake Idaho's schools.

By far, Luna's plan to spend $180 million on student laptops over eight years and require online courses to graduate was faring the worst, securing just a third of the vote.

Samantha Wright / Boise State Public Radio

Voters around Idaho are heading to the polls this afternoon.

In the state's largest county voting has been smooth so far.  That’s according to Phil McGrane, Ada County’s Chief Deputy Clerk. ”Only small issues far, we haven’t had any real challenges to deal with and as far as we know right now there aren’t any strong lines to speak of and people are able to get in and get out relatively quickly.”

yaquina / Flickr Creative Commons

Americans head to the polls Tuesday. Here in Idaho big turnout is expected. Many Idahoans have already voted including 1,700 high school students. They took part in the state's student mock election.  

idahokidscount.org

Tuesday Idahoan’s will vote on propositions 1, 2, and 3. Those ask if the state should keep the controversial education laws known as Students Come First. The laws limit collective bargaining rights and seek to increase technology use in schools. One of the laws also creates a pay for performance plan where teachers can earn bonuses. Now that law has drawn criticism from an unexpected source.

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