Teachers’ Union And Governor’s Office To Talk About Next Steps For Idaho Education Reform

Nov 13, 2012

Penni Cyr addressing Students Come First opponents the day after voters rejected the laws.
Credit Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

Since Idaho voters rejected the Students Come First education laws last week, both sides have spoken about the need to cooperate. A first step in that direction happens Wednesday. Idaho Governor Butch Otter - one of the chief bakers of the laws - has invited representatives from the state’s teachers union, the IEA to come to the capitol.

The IEA worked to overturn Students Come First. Otter spokesman Jon Hanian says the governor wants to create changes to the state’s education system Idahoan’s will support.

“How we go about that is going to be a work in progress,’ Hanian says. “But this isn’t about a specific bill or legislation, it’s about a conversation.”

Otter won’t be at Wednesday’s meeting. He’s in Las Vegas at a Republican Governor’s Association gathering. IEA representatives will meet with one of Otter’s assistants. IEA President Penni Cyr says she’ll be there along with other senior members of the organization. She says she doesn’t know what the governor has in mind but she hopes it will be a true conversation.

“We’ll share our thoughts and certainly hope to hear their feelings, and we’ll go from there,” Cyr says. “It’s really up in the air. We’re just meeting.”

Superintendent Tom Luna, the chief architect of the failed education overhaul will not be at the meeting. Luna told reporters this week he wants to talk to the IEA and other former opponents as well. Luna said he wants those talks to be open to the public and streamed live online. Otter’s spokesman says Wednesday’s meeting will be closed.

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