By Kirk Johnson
Summary by PEN Weekly Newsblast
"In Idaho, where a three-part proposition on performance pay, tenure, and technology in the classroom is roiling the state, the clash over schools has become a harsh debate about whom voters should trust, reports The New York Times. Political and social battle lines here are neither predictably conservative or liberal, hinging on the issue of what schools can and might be. Education is a major concern nationally this election cycle: South Dakota and Michigan have ballot questions on collective bargaining, California and Arizona voters will decide on expanding taxes to support schools, and at least 20 state legislatures addressed teacher tenure this year, most shifting power from unions to districts. Yet in Idaho, where the recession has been brutal, lawmakers made some of the deepest education cuts in the country. Per-pupil outlays fell 19 percent between 2008 and 2013. In 2011, a regulatory overhaul eliminated tenure and stripped teachers of most collective bargaining rights, while promising hand-held computers for students. The union and its allies suggest these changes were not to improve schools, but to eliminate vestiges of union life in this fiercely anti-union state. The governor and his allies question whether teachers want what's best for students, or if they're defending cushy rights few other workers enjoy. Administrators fear both sides are forgetting students."