The Idaho media reported that the majority of Idaho voters turned down propositions that were an attempt to make public education better (Idaho consistently ranks low in quality of education in the United States, I guess most people in Idaho are happy with that).
What the dumb voters (encouraged by the dumb Idaho media) don’t know is that those propositions are not going away. State legislatures will simply revisit those proposals, and can even pass them as laws without voter input (they’ve done it before).
But here’s one good reason that Proposition 3 (provision of computing devices and online courses for high school graduation, aka lap tops for students proposal) isn’t dead: Hewlett Packard was already awarded an eight year $180 million USD contract to provide those lap tops, back on 23 October!
Now you voters in Idaho don’t want to be responsible for anymore layoffs there at the Boise HP Center, do you?
Here’s some of the latest data to show you how bad education is in the Gem State:
Montana State University: Idaho ranks 33rd for teacher quality. Idaho ranks 35th for education input. Idaho ranks 33rd for education social impact. Idaho submitted no data for the education output & education efficiency rankings.
Quality Counts Education Survey, 2012: Idaho ranks 47th (tied with Nevada).
CNBC Business ranking 2012: Idaho ranks 48th in the survey’s Education category, a drop from 45 in 2011.
U.S. Census Bureau: Idaho ranks 50th in school spending. I’m normally against increased spending, especially since most of the money goes to administrative costs and not actual education, or is not even accounted for, (and it seems year after year I have to pay more fees, besides property taxes, for my high school aged kids). But maybe there is a correlation here? However, according to National Kids Count Program (2009 data), when you adjust spending on regional cost of living then Idaho actually spends more than California, per student! Ah ha!
Here’s the problem I have with increasing funding: For example, School District 25 gets millions and millions of dollars from local property taxes (technically they’re called fees, which is why school officials get away with telling voters that school bonds/levies will not raise “taxes”. A few years ago a local newspaper article revealed that just one major employer in Pocatello pays $1 million yearly in school fees on their property tax bill!). Then they get money from the State and Federal governments (again from our taxes we pay). Then, supposedly, they get millions from Powerball Lottery (at least that’s what the lottery advertisements say). Oh, and I almost forgot the grant money, and computers they get donated from corporations, like the Albertson’s Foundation (I remember when my kids were attending Chubbuck Elementary [little more than ten years ago], seeing the school get new computers almost every year, and one year one of my kid’s teachers admitted that she didn’t even use them ’cause it was too stressful for her to learn how!)! Yet school district officials are always whining that they don’t have enough money! I want to see an investigation and a detailed breakdown of where all that money goes!
And if the votes of Idaho voters really count, then what’s going to happen to the $180 million HP is getting for Proposition 3, the Proposition voters just rejected?
(Here’s an update for 09 November 2012: my youngest daughter came home from school [she’s a Junior at one of the local high schools] saying that teachers were trying to explain that the “lap tops for students” was still happening, despite the election results. You see, your votes really don’t count!)