Soapbox Nov. 1st

Crop Walk says thanks

          Many thanks to all those who helped to make the 2012 CROP Hunger Walk a success on September 29th. Walkers and their supporters donated over $14,800 to help alleviate hunger in the world. One-fourth of that amount will stay in the community and will be donated to Helping Hands Mission, Community Oasis Outreach, the Mini-Cassia Christmas Council, and the St. Nicholas and Rupert Methodist Church food banks.

          Thanks particularly goes to the City of Heyburn, Ramsey Heating and Electric, Dennis Peterson, the Burley United Methodist Church, Gary Bench, Unit 54, Mr. Gas, Boise Paper Co-op, Dot Foods, the local news media, the many lunch providers and cookie bakers, and the walkers themselves!

          The Mini-Cassia CROP Hunger Walk is held the last Saturday in September at Riverside Park in Heyburn, and the tentative date for next year’s walk is September 28th. Please join us!

Viola Bloch, CROP Hunger Walk Chair


Vote Yes on Education props

            Why I will vote “Yes” on Props 1, 2, and 3. My oldest child started school in 1990 in Paul Elementary. My youngest is a senior at Minico this year. I have been actively involved in public schools in Minidoka County for the past 22 years. From helping in the school room, being in parents groups, and serving on the Minidoka School Board for the last 5 years.

            I have had an opportunity to sit in on a lot of discussions about the elements of the Props. These experiences come by way of serving on a number of committees at the local level, and attending workshops, conventions, and other informational meetings at local and State levels.

            My favorite highlights of the Props are:

            1. Parents having an opportunity of giving input about teachers. This puts some of the responsibility back on the parents to be actively involved and really know what’s going on in the schools in order to make informed comments on those forms.

            2. Negotiations are in open meetings. It’s a lot of money and the public has a right to know how their taxpayer money is being handled.

            3. Negotiations are limited to salary and benefits. The local school board has the right to decide bell schedules, calendar, classroom size and other things previously covered in negotiations.

            4. Removal of the “last hired, first fired” clause when it comes to Reduction in Force (i.e. laying off teachers.) Those decisions should be based on individual performance, not the number of years a teacher has taught in the district.

            5. Flexibility of yearly contracts with teachers. Local school boards are no longer tied to “evergreen” or multi-year contracts.

            6. Pay for Performance bonuses for teachers. These bonuses are above their base salary. Our best teachers should receive bonuses.

            7. Online classes, or online components, have become a big part of college classes and other job related skills. Our students need the chance to learn the “hows” and “whys” of online learning.

            8. Technology doesn’t replace the teacher, but enhances the learning for the student. Examples I have seen from Texas, Maine and Oregon are amazing! Students become an active part of the learning process.

            These are some exciting changes I would like to keep. Vote “YES” on Propositions 1, 2, and 3.

Tammy Stevenson


More on Props 1, 2, and 3

            Who is “buying” and who is expressing sincere concern?     

            The money behind the Yes for Idaho Education campaign is coming from a few “benevolent deep-pocketed” entities. Many of these sources are out of state sources and are heavily invested in online education and/or stand to make millions by “selflessly” serving Idaho students by selling mobile computing devices and providing mandatory online education services which have no accountability standards to meet and which can be outsourced to India and China. Some are currently being sued for breaking the laws of states in which they are operating. Some major supporters of the “Yes” campaign will not allow their identity to be revealed. The state is taking the “Yes” campaign to court because they are breaking the Idaho Sunshine law.

            The money behind the Vote No on Propositions 1, 2, and 3 campaign is coming from thousands of parents, concerned citizens and of course “evil self-serving” teachers who have joined their professional association to advocate for their students and their profession. Idaho is one of the states which are right to work states where forced membership in such associations is illegal. Almost half of all of the states are right to work states.

            Who do you trust most with the education of Idaho’s students? Who is buying and what are we (the citizens of Idaho) selling? Be sure to vote!

            I am revealing my identity. I am an evil self-serving teacher. My name is:

Steve Aston


Support education props

I have spoken to many who are against and who support Props 1, 2, and 3. As a parent and a former teacher I have tried to do my best to research the facts and to read the opinions of all sides. It is because of this that I have decided to write and share why I will vote YES on Propositions 1, 2, and 3.

Prop 1 – Phases out tenure and returns control to local school boards. This proposition holds all teachers, administrators, and school board members accountable for performance. As I have thought about this, I have wondered, in what career do you receive a contract guarantee regardless of performance? In what is arguably one of our most important industries, teaching our children, a teacher’s longevity is given greater weight than actual teacher quality. Tenure does nothing to increase motivation in teachers to be innovative and challenge students year after year. Which leads to Prop 2…

Prop 2 – Pays the best teachers better. My daughters have been blessed to have some of the greatest teachers out there. I believe those teachers should be rewarded and incentivized for working hard, going the extra mile and truly caring for the success of our children. Studies have shown that pay for performance can increase student achievement and improve teacher retention. Performance of teachers will be based on multiple factors and not only on test scores of students. These measures will be decided at the local level by each school district, where parents and teachers have the most say, not bureaucrats far away. Teachers will be rewarded for individual growth of their students, not everyone in the class meeting the same general level.

Prop 3 – Bringing our schools into the 21stCentury. We live in a technological age; therefore our children’s education needs to prepare them to be competitive in a 21st Century work environment. It is unfair to state that because of Prop 3 computers will replace teachers. It is simply untrue. Computers are a necessary tool, just like textbooks of the last century, which teachers use to educate and enlighten their students. I spoke to one local teacher who expressed her need for Prop 3 in her classroom. Certain assignments and assessments in her class must be administered on the computer, of which she has only one in her classroom. When she is able to schedule her class to go to the computer lab, which is in high demand, there are only 28 computers for her class of 32. Thousands of classrooms across the country have implemented this program and seen great results. It has been tried and tested in states like Texas, Oregon, and Maine. This fully funded program will insure equal access for all students regardless of where they live in a rural state like Idaho.

Please study the issues for yourself and decide what you think is the best way to put our children first.

Jessica Wilkinson


Support for Props 1, 2, 3

                Two years ago, Propositions 1, 2, and 3 became laws for education reform in the State of Idaho.

                As is evident, there is opposition and support in varying degrees, and we now will be asked once again to case our vote, according to our conscience.

                So, in order to make an intelligent vote, I have taken time to read about these propositions, listen to the different pros and cons from educators, legislators and other citizens.

                I have found that many of the ideas have been tried and proven successful in other states. The conclusion I have come to is that these propositions are and can be a benefit in eduction reform for the students, parents, teachers and administrators of the State of Idaho.

                So, I will be casting a YES vote on November 6th.

                In order to give my support, I decided I would like to post a sign in my yard indicating to vote YES. Apparently there are some on the opposition who don’t think that is my right. Two days after putting the sign out, it was gone. I hope that the person who took it feels good about this. I have tried again and we will see if I do have this right.

Kathryn Hall


Why does Melaleuca support Luna laws?

                Melaleuca has been running full page ads in many Idaho papers for months now to try to keep the so-called “Luna Laws” in place. I don’t know much about the company, and I don’t really care what they sell, but I have a few disagreements with their ads.

                First, they try to scare people into thinking “the union” runs Idaho schools. In case anyone has forgotten, union membership in Idaho is voluntary, and it has been for quite a few years. I suppose many voters will remember that Idaho is a “Right to Work” state. Visit neighboring Montana, where all teachers are forced to join the union if they want a job.

                Second, Melaleuca states in their ads that the reason they are so in favor of Propositions One, Two and Three is because they want an educated work force to hire from. My opinion on that is if Melaleuca offers wages that encourage young college graduates to stay in Idaho and work for their company, they would have a substantial hiring pool to choose from. As it is, many of our best and finest college graduates are lured to other states where they earn much more money than their parents do here in Idaho.

                Third, if these motives for Melaleuca being in favor of passing the Luna Laws are flawed, one needs to ask the deeper questions: Why is Melaleuca so interested that they would spend thousands upon thousands of dollars for these ads? I dont’ have the answer to that one, but I always remember that old adage, “Follow the money.”

Ruby Gebhart




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