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What Ohio Can Learn From Idaho (Of All Places) About Teacher Unions and Online Ed

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Thursday, November 8, 2012 at 4:52 PM


Remember Senate Bill 5?

Well, earlier this year the Idaho state legislature passed two laws similar to Ohio's now-defeated collective-bargaining reform law.

The key difference between Idaho and Ohio was that Idaho's laws would only have affected teachers. Senate Bill 5 would have affected all public employees.

This November, Idaho voters decided to repeal them. From our partners at StateImpact idaho:

Voters in Idaho have rejected the trio of education laws put to a referendum through Propositions 1, 2 and 3 by a wide margin. That has sent a clear message to Idaho’s Legislature, governor and school superintendent that the reforms they put into place are not popular with the public.

(Propositions 1 and 2 relate to now-rejected laws concerning educator contract negotiations and compensation.)

That last proposition, Proposition 3, had to do with technology and funding for schools. Voters rejected that proposition most strongly. About 66 percent of voters said "no."

StateImpact Idaho says that much of the opposition to Proposition 3 had to do with a provision that would have had the state provigind each high school student and teacher a laptop.

But there was more to Proposition 3 than laptops.

For example:

What Idaho Wanted to Do Is Ohio Doing This?
A laptop computer will be provided for all high school teachers and students. That will happen over four years beginning with teachers in fall 2012. No
As determined by the Idaho Board of Education, students must take two semester-long online classes to graduate. No
High schools will get more money to help pay for the costs of providing more math and science classes to meet new graduation requirements. No. State lawmakers and Gov. Kasich are developing a new funding formula, but have said it's unlikely to increase school funding.
Creates a formula for allocating money to districts that takes online classes into account. See above. Lawmakers and the governor have said they want to encourage online and "blended" learning.
The Idaho Department of Education will post a fiscal report card for each school district on its website. Last year's state budget instituted a similar requirement.
Raises the minimum teacher salary by $355 to $30,000 a year. No
If a student has completed all graduation requirements by the beginning of her senior year the state will pay for her to take up to 36 college credits while still being registered as a high school student. She can also take college credits in her last semester if she meets graduation requirements by the end of the first semester. Ohio already lets high school students take college courses for credit.
Public post-secondary schools in Idaho can operate charter high schools. Yup. (Ohio lets state universities sponsor charter schools.)

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