Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Pardon My Twitteruption--It Did Get the IEA's Attention!

Question: Why did Sherri Wood, Idaho Education Association president, call me?

Answer: In a series of tweets late March 10 and early March 11, I made some comments that spiked the attention of my union, the Idaho Education Association. I'm posting the relevant parts of the conversation between myself and the IEA press agent here in reverse order for ease of reading: 

@IdahoEdAssoc @DianeRavitch IEA asleep at the wheel on Luna plan. Should have offered legislature a different choice but didn't.

@IdahoEdAssoc Transportation budget in Idaho up 15% next fiscal year. Ed cut at least 5%, maybe more.

@IdahoEdAssoc Heard it all before. Excuses for NOT strengthening certification in ID and recertification. IEA should have known. SHAMEful.

@IdahoEdAssoc I am very angry w/ IEA.

@IdahoEdAssoc Thanks for encouraging NBPTS cert. Guess that's why I'm paying $1150 out of pocket to rectify and get nothing in Idaho 4 it.

@IdahoEdAssoc Staying the course landed us in Bermuda Triangle of Education reform.

@IdahoEdAssoc My husband says staying the course absolutely wrong thing to do, fed Vandersloot's rhetoric, did what Luna wanted. Thanks

@gmfunk Please send an email outlining anger, ideas. Twitter ill-suited for dialogue. Send to I will forward it. Thx.

On this last tweet, I wholeheartedly disagree. Twitter consistently proves itself an excellent platform for shaking up the status quo and getting attention from power brokers that typically ignore more conventional modes of communication--including email. Still, I did promise to compose an email as requested. 

However, I have not yet emailed IEA, which prompted the call from Ms. Wood. 

We talked about many things, including IEA's decision not to give the legislature a choice by offering its own plan. I value hearing IEA's goal of keeping the public's attention focused on Luna's heinous legislation. It's good to know that the advertising aimed at demonizing the union and paid for by Melalucca president Vandersloot actually mobilized support for teachers.   

Behind closed doors, in concert with the NEA and paid consultants, IEA is strategizing and weighing options. 

Without input from its membership, IEA leadership decided not to present a plan that has been in the works to the legislature. 

This was all news to me, and I asked President Wood if I had missed something in IEA's hotline. I had not. 

How do I feel about being locked out of IEA's planning? Disenfranchised, as though my opinion about issues directly affecting teachers and students are best made without input from teachers such as myself. Yet I understand IEA's objective of keeping attention focused on the Luna Plan. 

Still, I am not comforted. The legislature has passed the pay for performance plan, the abolition of collective bargaining, and will begin reconsidering Luna's laptop learning proposal in its newest incarnation. 

I stand by my contention that IEA should have been more vigilant, should have known Luna had something in the works; after all, the state department of education unveiled a new fourth grade history curriculum with on-line options last months ago. 

As a pawn in the education reform game, I hope IEA's strategy circumvents a check-mate from Luna and the legislature. 

*I want to publicly thank Sherri Wood for calling me. These are trying times for all educators, and I know President Wood has more pressing business than to devote a chunk of time listening to a seemingly disgruntled union member. I very much appreciate Ms. Wood's willingness to listen to my myriad concerns. I'm committed to maintaining my union affiliation.  


  1. Every state needs at least one Glenda Funk. I'm a proud union member, but sometimes the leaders get too close to the bureaucrats in the name of "harmony." When I want harmony, I'll listen to The Beach Boys. I need my union to protect my interests and speak on my behalf without divided attention.

  2. Good for you, Glenda. As a Canadian, I sometimes hesitate to comment on such matters, but I agree with Gary: every state and province (I might add) needs at least one Glenda to speak out and to be sufficiently persistent as to catch the attention of the powers that be.