President Obama has challenged the nation to prepare 100,000 new teachers in the next decade.
Idaho schools superintendent Tom Lunas education reform plan hinges upon cutting 770 teaching jobs over two years.
I was struck by the contrast. And as the Legislature prepares for a defining debate over the future of its schools, I was struck by Obamas State of the Union address Tuesday night, and the time and focus the president devoted to education issues.
Obamas education agenda isnt far removed from Idahos agenda.
Obama touted his Race to the Top grant program; Luna sought money for Idaho, unsuccessfully.
Obama took George W. Bushs No Child Left Behind education law unpopular even in Republican Idaho and introduced it to the underside of the bus. Obama promised to replace NCLB with a law thats more flexible and focused on whats best for our kids.
Obama touted postsecondary education in terms much like the J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Foundations Go On ad campaign.
While cash-strapped Idaho has taken small steps to increase college scholarships, Obama pushed Congress to make permanent a four-year $10,000 tuition tax credit. (A noble goal, but what gets cut to fit this into Obamas five-year freeze on domestic spending?)
When it comes to merit pay, this Obama line could have easily been a Luna line. We want to reward good teachers and stop making excuses for bad ones.
To read the complete column, visit www.idahostatesman.com.