Monday, March 21, 2005

Senate Passes Bill on Tuition

Today in the Idaho State Senate, the bill allowing the transition between a fee system at Idaho public universities (limited to BSU, ISU, and Lewis & Clark) to a system allowing the charge of tuition, introduced in the House and sponsored by the Idaho State Board of Education, passed 25-8.

In recent weeks this legislation has consumed a great deal of my time and energy. The effects of the passage of this bill are far reaching and detrimental to the students of Idaho State University and the future leaders of the state of Idaho.

My disappointment cannot be expressed in one post, but let me say this--under the governorship of Dirk Kempthorne, Idaho education at all levels has taken a drastic hit. The state cannot fund our children's education, the state cannot support their interest in that education, and the state has implied and today continues to remind us that education has long lost its priority.

It is ridiculous, disappointing, and frustrating that only 8 members of the state Senate recognize the consequences of such legislation. It is even more frustrating that the president of Idaho State University believes that, “[ISU] appreciates the State Board of Education for supporting this legislation and the state Legislature for passing it. This change is critical to the future of Idaho State University.” I have personally Mr. Bowen on other matters and found him until today to be a rather rational and considerate man. Today I'd like to remind him that ISU does not appreciate this legislation. The administration might, but the student body of ISU certainly does not. The Associated Students of Idaho State University continue to support a lawsuit against their own state's Board of Education. Speaking on behalf of the students, not for a minute do we appreciate this legislation or the irrational, insensitive, and unsupporting senators who passed it.

The consequences of this legislation are yet to be determined. This may result in fees that are uncapped by state statutes. This may result in fees that are unaffordable for students. This may result in the outsourcing of education in the state of Idaho. The consequences will not be positive.

Tomorrow, I plan to write yet again to my state legislators, namely Senators Marley, Burkett, Kelly, Langhorst, Malepeai, Schroeder, Stennett, and Werk, and thank them for their noble efforts to defeat this legislation. I then plan writing a letter to Mr. Denton Darrington, a former educator himself and from my home town, and remind him that students vote. Not only do students vote, but one day I hope one of those students runs against him and dethrones him of that glorious senate seat Declo has afforded him for far too long.

I will continue to voice my disagreement with House Bill 231 and will continue to support the ASISU law suit against the State Board of Education. What does it say about the value of education when a public university's students are suing the Board of Education in their state??

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