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House Bill 174 — School boards, local education orgs

House Bill 174 — School boards, local education orgs

Anna Miller
February 16, 2021

Bill Description: House bill 174 ends forced negotiation between school boards and teachers unions. 

Rating: +1

Does it violate the spirit or the letter of either the United State Constitution or the Idaho Constitution? Conversely, does it restore or uphold the protections guaranteed in US Constitution or the Idaho Constitution? 

House bill 174 ends forced negotiations between teachers unions and school boards, which restores the rule of law in two ways. The rule of law requires that everyone, including those who wield government powers, be bound by the same set of rules. Additionally, the rule of law requires that the state enforce rules of just conduct among people. These rules create an environment wherein people are free to pursue their own purposes while dealing with others solely on the basis of voluntary exchange. 

The fact that it is legitimate to engage in collective bargaining has been distorted to mean that the rule of law does not apply to teachers unions. This has allowed them to do whatever they deem necessary to succeed in their policy goals. Striking, for example, has been used as a weapon by Idaho teachers unions to succeed in their efforts, regardless of any ramifications for students or families. 

Workers certainly have the right to voluntarily associate and form unions. But mandatory bargaining between school boards and teachers unions violates the rule of law. In ordinary contract law in Idaho, all parties must have freely chosen to bargain with the others over the terms of bargaining and have consented to the terms that emerged from it. Without mutual consent, a contract is null and void. House Bill 174 ends forced negotiations between school boards and teachers unions while still allowing school boards to voluntarily consent to negotiate with unions. 

This policy change upholds the rule of law by ending teachers unions’ special privileges and enforcing on school negotiations the same set of rules that apply to ordinary contract law. This bill also allows school boards to have more autonomy to advocate for student and family needs, the parties whom they exist to serve.


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