[Vision2020] Area Residents Quiz Luna on Schools Reform

Sue Hovey suehovey at moscow.com
Sun Jan 30 02:21:48 PST 2011

Tom Luna has never taught in any classroom and he got his credentials on 
line in order to make the race for Supt of Schools.  He said it was so easy 
he wished he'd done it before then.  The law doesn't require him to have 
taught, it does require he takes school law & finance and have a doctorate 
in something.  That's it.

Sue H

-----Original Message----- 
From: Tom Hansen
Sent: Thursday, January 27, 2011 3:25 AM
To: Moscow Vision 2020
Subject: [Vision2020] Area Residents Quiz Luna on Schools Reform

A couple questions, V-peeps:

What are Toma Luna's credentials that qualify him to be Idaho's
Superintendent of Public Instruction?

What school districts has he taught in?

Courtesy of today's (January 27, 2011) Lewiston Tribune.


Area residents quiz Luna on schools reform

CULDESAC - Retired teacher Pat Peek of Viola is concerned about a plan to
increase class sizes in Idaho's public schools and require kids to take
more online courses.

"Online is not the answer all of the time," Peek told Tom Luna, the chief
of Idaho's schools. "There has to be a balance. Students need to interact
with real teachers in real classrooms. I also think the (proposed)
increase in classroom sizes could have a detrimental effect on education."

Peek and other residents in the region were able to speak with the state's
top government officials at the Culdesac Capital for a Day Wednesday.
Luna, the state superintendent of public instruction, was asked during a
morning break about his recent plan to overhaul K-12 education.

"A good teacher can handle one or two more students," Luna said in
response to a question about class sizes. "A poor teacher can't
effectively teach any number of students."

His proposal for an increased use of technology, performance bonuses for
effective teachers and administrators, and greater accountability seems to
be getting mixed reviews.

Luna said parts of the plan, such as phasing out tenure and conducting
salary negotiations in open meetings, are never going to be popular with
some groups.

He also believes there is a misconception that every ninth-grader in the
state will be handed a laptop and neither the student nor computer will
ever be seen again. "That's not the case at all," he said.

Luna said he wants every student to have a laptop because it can be used
as a research device, a textbook or a word processor.

"It took 20 years to get the overhead projector out of the bowling alley
and into the classroom. Education has always been a step behind when it
comes to technology and I want to change that."

Greg Bailey, superintendent of the Mountain View School District based at
Grangeville, told the Tribune he doesn't think Luna got enough feedback
from educators before he went forward with his plan.

"My No. 1 concern is he didn't get input from the people working in the
trenches," Bailey said. "They weren't allowed at the kitchen table where
the decisions were made. I am also concerned about the capabilities of
online courses and taking away opportunities for students to be face to
face with teachers."

Gov. C.L. (Butch) Otter said he and Luna have three options given the
present economy. They can continue to cannibalize a system that's already
anemic, raise taxes to put more money into a system that isn't working, or
reform the system to one built for the 21st century. They chose the
latter, he said, but they still have to persuade 105 legislators they're

Otter bridled at one man's accusation he and his cabinet are continuing to
get exorbitant salaries and "bonuses" while funding for education and
health and welfare are being cut.

He's never gotten a bonus while in government, Otter said. He is paid less
than more than 300 other state employees, most of them in education.

Neither does he get 60 percent of his federal salary for the rest of his
life for his brief service in Congress, Otter said. Both are rumors.

Elected officials can't turn down raises, but since 2008 he and Luna have
given those raises to an educational institution of their choice, he said.

Last year, he and the other constitutional officers agreed to take a pay
cut similar to what other state employees were taking. His pay is down
about $18,000 this year, Otter said.

Later in the day, Otter presented a Governor's Brightest Stars award to
West Park Elementary School at Moscow in recognition of the volunteer work
done by students, staff and families. The school has a culture of
volunteerism, according to the award.

West Park provides reading buddies, school maintenance and clean-up during
Saturdays of Service, organizes blood drives, and has done fundraising for
the Red Cross and Inland Empire Blood Bank. It also has a volunteer corps
with representatives of all parts of the community.


Tom Luna
(one of his better pictures)



Seeya round town, Moscow.

Tom Hansen
Moscow, Idaho

"The Pessimist complains about the wind, the Optimist expects it to change
and the Realist adjusts his sails."

- Unknown

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