Luna admits to Students Come First missteps

Ten months after voters rejected Propositions 1, 2 and 3, Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna admits he made mistakes in rolling out the plan.

Luna said his strategy was focused on convincing the Legislature to endorse his three far-reaching Students Come First bills — and after opponents packed public hearings and held demonstrations on the steps of the Statehouse, the 2011 Legislature passed the bills.

“Our plan under Students Come First was a legislative plan,” Luna told the Idaho Statesman editorial board Monday. “We had 105 (legislators) and one governor to convince. …

“What I learned … is that we should have been far more aware of a more broad discussion amongst the general public and not just focus on a strategy that would have legislative success,” Luna said. “Our goal was to successfully get comprehensive reform through the Legislature and then over a period of time through successful implementation … bring around those that were not supportive.”

The reaction — in the Statesman’s comment section, which will remain anonymous, at least for the next few days — was overwhelmingly skeptical. Said one commenter: “Luna is obviously doing damage control in order to position himself for continued public office. How pathetic.”

From the Statesman’s editorial board, the response was considerably more forgiving.