Otter, Luna win Idaho Freedom Foundation awards for education reform
Nampa resident Maurice Clements recognized for lifetime achievement
NAMPA, Idaho -- Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter and Superintendent Tom Luna won the Idaho Freedom Foundation's "Education Innovation" award Thursday night during a banquet attended by nearly 400 people. IFF Executive Director Wayne Hoffman recognized Otter and Luna for promoting and winning passage of legislation intended to put students first and return control of public schools to locally-elected school boards.
Said Hoffman, "Thanks to the Legislature, our school boards, for the first time, will be free to hire the best teachers and reward those great teachers for their hard work. Collective bargaining agreements will no longer be negotiated in secret. No longer will union labor agreements last forever and cover every aspect of the operation of our schools. These reforms are re-empowering our local elected school boards to make the decisions they were elected to make." Hoffman noted that Otter and Luna have led the charge to reform public schools, despite continued criticism from the Idaho Education Association, which has tried to convince voters that the reforms are an attack on students and parents, when in fact, it is just the opposite. "For all they have done and continue to do to improve our schools, Governor Otter and Superintendent Luna are the winners of our 2011 Education Innovation award."
IFF gave its 2011 Ralph Smeed Lifetime Achievement Award to Maurice Clements of Nampa. Clements is a limited-government advocate, former legislator and co-founder with Smeed of the Center for the Study of Market Alternatives. Hoffman said, " Maurice has fought tirelessly in support of freedom. He is someone who does not back down from a fight against those who want to grow government, who puts his own money and time and reputation on the line to defend freedom." The award is named for Ralph Smeed, who died last year after a battle with cancer and was IFF's first Lifetime Achievement Award winner.
Other winners include Jack Stuart of Meridian, who won the Pioneer Award; Rep. Judy Boyle and Sen. Monty Pearce, who won Freedom's Hero awards for their work on anti-Obamacare legislation and on legislation to fight the introduction of wolves into Idaho; Rachel Gilbert, Hubert Osbourne and Don Brandt, winners of the Patriot Award for their work in support of free markets; and Middleton City Councilman Lenny Riccio for his work promoting government transparency in his city.
The Idaho Freedom Foundation is a free market public policy research organization which was founded in 2009. IFF promotes the concepts of limited government, low taxes, choice in education and government transparency.