One hundred fifty-eight thousand that’s how many valid voter signatures it would take to push an early election and recall Idaho Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna.Members of the Committee to Recall Tom Luna announced Sunday that they had only collected about 50,000 signatures and thereby failed in their effort to recall Luna.But the real issue isn’t recalling Luna from office. It’s about recalling his policies and preventing further diminishment to the quality of public education in Idaho.
Last year, the Census Bureau confirmed that out of 50 states and the District of Colombia, Idaho ranked 50th in terms of per-pupil spending. That same year, $128 million was cut from the K-12 education investment fund.As University of Idaho students, we should be concerned about public education on all levels. Approximately 82,000 high school students in 115 school districts will be adversely affected by Luna’s Students Come First education reform plan, including our younger siblings or children. As the quality of education decreases in public schools, it will slowly reach the university level. Luna’s education reform plan will only speed up this process.
Students Come First will mandate online education courses and make laptops available to every high school student in Idaho. Luna said the reform is about educating students at a higher level with limited resources, but in reality, students don’t come first. As a result of this reform, class sizes will increase by one or two students and almost 800 teaching positions will be eliminated. Laptops will substitute for the valuable one-on-one time between teachers and students.
Education is about preparing students for the future. Great teachers are able to fill a classroom with knowledge and make learning fun. Through public education, teachers have the ability to leave a lasting, positive impression and they are often the people who have one of the greatest impacts on our childhood. To help students succeed, teachers cultivate hidden talents and qualities in students.Talents that won’t be found in a student’s reflection as they stare into a computer screen.