Brian Cronin to Debate Tom Luna on Students Come First

What: Referendum on "Students Come First"
When: Tuesday, Oct. 2, 2012, 11:45 am - 1:15 pm
Where: The Grove Hotel
Who: Tom Luna, Idaho State Superintendent of Public Instruction; Brian Cronin, Idaho State Representative, District 19

Idaho Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna championed three major education reform measures called "Students Come First" in the 2011 legislative session. The reforms were strongly opposed by many teachers, administrators and the Idaho Education Association, but the legislation was passed overwhelmingly by the Idaho Legislature.

Luna's plan shifts funding priorities to reward teachers with financial bonuses for student performance, invests in technology by requiring school districts to provide laptop computers for teachers and high school students, and mandates online courses. “Through these laws, the state and local school districts will make every classroom a 21st Century classroom," Luna said.

Opponents disagree. To them, Luna's plan is a union-busting measure, because it limits collective bargaining and ends the practice of issuing renewable contracts. According to the IEA, a record 1,300 public school teachers left the state or the profession last year. There also are concerns about reduced state funding for public schools and larger class sizes. The group, known as “Idaho Parents and Teachers Together,” gathered 75,000 signatures to contest the trio of laws on Nov. 6, election day. The ballot measures are known as Propositions 1, 2 and 3.

Superintendent Luna and State Rep. Brian Cronin (D-Boise), who is a senior vice president for Strategies 360 and a consulting strategist for “Idaho Parents and Teachers Together,” will debate the pros and cons of the ballot propositions and take questions from the audience.

Chair: Julie Robinson
Moderator: Jim Weatherby
Registration is required