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Stranger than Fiction: Vandalism in Idaho
posted by: Alix | February 18, 2011, 07:57 PM   

Idaho State Superintendent Tom Luna experienced quite the scare this week, waking up to an act of vandalism in his driveway. In the wake of his proposed bold education reform agenda, Mr. Luna has received quite the union push back to say the least. Luna's truck was left spray painted and the tires slashed Tuesday morning resulting in fingers pointing in the direction of the Idaho Education Association, Luna's biggest critic.

Superintendent Tom Luna, who promoted several education reform efforts over the past four years, was reelected for another term recently despite a union campaign to defeat him. Luna received over 68% of the vote and ran on a strong education reform platform.

In this latest intimidation incident, Luna said he woke up before dawn Tuesday and found his name painted on the truck with a slash through the letters. "I'm not pointing any fingers at any individuals or groups, but there's no doubt in my mind the vandalism involved the reforms," Luna told The Associated Press.

Luna has experienced several dicey incidents since outlining his plan in January including heckling from union members at local shops to an angry teacher who wouldn't leave his elderly mother's porch resulting in a police report.

Despite suspicion from Luna and his supporters, The IEA issued a statement condemning the behavior. "The IEA condemns vandalism and urges that anyone found to be responsible be prosecuted for their actions," IEA President Sherri Wood said. "We do not resort to violence or harassment to solve problems."

Luna first unveiled his education overhaul plan in January and called for boosting technology in the classroom and equipping high school students with laptops while requiring them to take online courses before they graduate. Idaho would tie some teacher pay to merit, and award bonuses to teachers who teach in high-need schools and take on additional responsibilities in the classroom.

Despite these incidents, Luna's plan cleared several legislative hurdles this week and is expected to become law imminently.

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