Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Idaho's State Ed Leader Resorts to Intimidation and Threats in Response to Referendum and Recall Campaigns

Idaho State Superintendent of Public instruction doesn't like the Idaho Education Association's referendum campaign to place the recently passed "Students Come First" legislation on the ballot for a vote from the electorate.

Nor does the grass-roots effort to recall Luna sit well with him. What to do?

Resort to intimidation and name-calling. That's Luna's response, which he details in a thinly veiled smack-down to superintendents across the state in which he

  • Threatens teachers with letters of reprimand.
  • Threatens suspension of teachers' certification. 
  • Threatens teachers with revocation of their licenses.
  • Threatens stipulating conditions on teachers' certificates.

Luna ignores the strict protocol establish by both the recall and referendum campaigns.

Ironically, as an elected official and non-certified teacher, Luna is not bound by the Idaho Code of Ethics, but that hasn't stopped Travis Manning from Caldwell from charging Luna with ethics violations.

That Luna has suddenly calibrated his ethical compass strikes many teachers as the ultimate insult. After all, Luna failed to mention his proposed legislation in his campaign last fall. Luna continued to lobby and push his agenda in the last legislative session despite overwhelming opposition among the electorate. He extended his palm to out-of-state educational software companies eager to sell their products in Idaho by accepting thousands of dollars in campaign contributions.

During the campaign, Luna showed little regard for the ethical use of state funds and schools, as the IEA chronicles:

The IEA today released a photo of a political event in support of the Luna campaign on the grounds of Lake City High School in Coeur d’Alene last fall. In the months since the passage of his “Students Come First” legislation, Luna and his staff have sent emails in an effort to generate controversy about supposed Code of Ethics violations, and they took a taxpayer-funded statewide trip to try and sell the unpopular new legislation.

"Political activity outside a football game last fall at Lake City High School in Coeur d'Alene."

Dear Readers, if you live in Idaho or know someone who does, please sign the referendum and recall petitions and urge those you know to sign, too. 

Finally, to Tom Luna, I say two things: 
1.  Shame on you for implying that teachers should discourage students from voting and for suggesting Idaho educators use their positions for political gain when the evidence clearly contradicts your thesis. 
2. "Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye " (Matthew 5.7 KJV).