COEUR D'ALENE -- Teachers from across the state of Idaho are staging demonstrations on President’s Day. The demonstrators are opposed to the “Students Come First” bill introduced by education superintendent Tom Luna.
KREM 2 News went to the rally in Downtown Coeur d’Alene. There teachers and community members gathered in front of the Human Rights Education Association. They say Superintendent Luna is being influenced by special interest groups. They hope their protest sends a message to legislators.
The “Students Come First” bill would eliminate 770 teachers positions in Idaho, but would also provide laptops for high school students. Many teachers are vocal about being against the proposal. Luna has accused the teachers’ Education Association of putting out misinformation, but teachers say they just want everyone to know what’s going on. Kristi Milan is the President of the Coeur d’Alene Education Association. She says Luna is making her group out to be “union thugs” and “scapegoats” for everything that’s wrong with education.
The bill would also introduce merit pay for teachers. Educators say there is a hidden agenda behind the bill. Milan says the whole campaign is about special interest groups that have funded Luna’s campaign and would profit from putting computers in the classroom.
The “Students Come First” bill would save the state of Idaho millions of dollars, but teachers say it is at the expense of good education.