Voters on Tuesday rejected laws passed by the Legislature in 2011 reforming how public education works in Idaho. All three propositions on the ballot fell by wide margins, according to unofficial results from the secretary of state’s office.

More than 56 percent of Idaho voters rejected Proposition 1, which put limits on master teacher contracts and required agreements to be negotiated in public, among other things. The measure was the closest vote of the three hotly contested ballot issues.

Proposition 2, which put in place a merit pay system for the state’s educators, garnered opposition from more than 57 percent of voters.

Proposition 3 suffered the most severe defeat, with a supermajority of Idaho voters rejecting the law that puts in place a requirement that all high school students be outfitted with mobile computing devices. More than 66 percent of Idaho voters rejected the statute.

The defeat means that the laws in place prior to the 2011 legislative session go back on the books once the election results have been certified later this month. Several lawmakers have said that if the propositions were defeated, they would work in 2013 to push individual education reform bills through the Legislature.

The National Education Association flooded the state with millions of dollars to defeat the propositions and the election outcome may not reflect true voter sentiment with regard to labor laws, pro-education reform legislators have said. But opponents, and even some supporters of education reform, may be reluctant to re-enter the fray, with voters having soundly defeated the three measures.

The state attorney general’s office opined last week that teachers eligible for a pay-for-performance bonus will receive the money regardless of the outcome of the Proposition 2 vote. However, one variable that could cause a problem is the date districts elect to pay the bonus.

The Lewiston Tribune reported that bonuses paid in advance of a Nov. 21 certification date would be paid out without a problem; by law, the bonuses were supposed to be delivered by Nov. 15. But the education department worried that some districts may have a problem with the Nov. 15 date due to their payroll schedule.

A defeat of measures passed by the Legislature is historic, but not unprecedented. In 1935, the Legislature passed a 2 percent sales tax. More than 52 percent of Idaho voters rejected the measure in the 1936 general election.

It wasn’t until 1965 that the Legislature was willing to take up a sales tax again. Voters weighed in 1966, and the sales tax, at 3 percent this time, was upheld with 61 percent of the vote.

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  1. Unions win again. The NEA and the IEA together contributed nearly $3,000,000 to this referendum. Considering the fact that Proposition 1 would have limited their power, this is not surprising. However, keep in mind that the number one unions’ objectives are to protect the jobs and benefits of their members, not provide better education for the children.

  2. Give the public a little credit for being intelligent enough to read, study and discuss the propositions. It wasn’t the $3 million that made the propositions fail, it was the decision of the people. We need to value and respect our teachers more. Many politicians speak of teachers being so important for our children and our future but when it comes to pay and laws, they don’t put their views to work. I am not a teacher but I am a parent of two teens in Nampa schools.

  3. The union did not win. Big Business lost. Those more interested in lining their pockets through online education that does not really educate and computers that do not parent or teach. Check out the contract terms and see the waste, even if the concepts were valid. Teachers are not in it for the money, if they were they should all be fired for stupidity because they will never get rich teaching, especially at public Elementary, Middle School and High Schools. The so called “bonus” offered for performance is funded by money they stole from teachers already small paychecks, and sadly even if they pay it out, many teachers will not get their stolen money back because they teach in a low income school that will never reach government standards, but will do their best to provide an education to all children who walk through their doors.

    Most teachers have the children’s, our future, best interest in mind. They do not get paid enough for the time they do spend and most spend far more hours.

    If you want children to have a better education then fix the problems in the home. Parents need to value education. Parents need to teach their children hard work, respect, responsibility, civility, and much more. Schools can not fix what is broken in homes.

  4. ….the laws had nothing to do with student achievement. Try using a collaborative approach and you might actually achive real “reform”

  5. As a 30 yr teacher, I disagree with your opinion of teacher Priorities. I’m not a member of the NEA or IEA but I don’t blame them for standing up against Melaleuca.

  6. […] Idaho, voters have repealed unpopular reforms to tie teacher pay to test scores and limit the power of teachers’ unions in collective […]

  7. When will Idahoans learn that the unions are corrupt. They take the dues and funnel them into the Democratic Platform. They’re too strong so they dictate to us. They’ve taken God out of our history in the government schools and teach our children about sex in elementary, homosexuality and abortions. We now have a generation of dumb young people voting because a comedian tells them who to vote for.

  8. @Quig: I moved from Idaho to Oregon when I started my teaching career, because the wages were lower, the teaching conditions worse, and the quality of education (my own children were in elementary school at the time) inferior in Idaho. The unions were also much, much weaker there. Strong teacher unions improve education for children because teachers’ working conditions are children’s learning conditions. What’s more, I fail to see how any of these three measures would have provided better education for children. I’m thrilled to hear that these measures were defeated in Idaho.

  9. Gee, no mention of the tireless million dollars plus that Frank VanderSloot chipped in to bash the union? To answer patriotgirl’s question, Idahoans who enjoy newsfotainment from unbalanced sites such as this don’t need to “learn” anything, they already “know” everything they need to.

    You all out to get out to the real world more often. The air is fresh and clean, and voters had ample time to consider the value of the propositions, and spoke very clearly.

  10. […] “Voters soundly reject all three Idaho education reform propositions.” Idaho Reporter. 7 Nov 2012. Retrieved 12 Jan […]

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