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Butch Otter on Education

Republican governor; previously Representative (ID-1)


Replace "K-thru-12" with "K-thru-Career"

My education task force recognized the importance of the increased academic rigor we will see by successfully implementing the Idaho Core Standards. The task force recommendations are already inspiring promise to make the idea of "K-through-12" education obsolete. The standard for Idaho's commitment to education excellence and workforce readiness can perhaps better be characterized as "K-through-Career." It is a straightforward but profound way of describing our goals for building out and maintaining a continuum of education and training opportunities. It is a formula that emphasizes local autonomy and accountability as the keys to success not only for our schools but also for our communities, our economy, and most importantly for our students.
Source: 2014 Idaho State of the State speech , Jan 6, 2014

No major school improvement measures, just progress

My highest priority remains public schools. You will find that my budget recommendation includes increased funding for K-12 education. However, I do NOT seek to simply revisit issues related to school improvement that were raised in the recent election. Instead, I've asked the State Board of Education to assemble a broad cross-section of stakeholders to study the message voters sent us and identify elements of school improvement on which there is broad agreement. I'm convinced that acting too quickly or without due deliberation will generate needless distraction from our goals of improving efficiency, effectiveness, transparency and accountability in our education system.

Let me say it again: I am neither calling for nor expecting major school improvement measures this year. But I believe there are areas in which we can make progress, and I encourage you and all citizens to engage in that public discussion. It's our very best chance to strengthen the foundation of our future.

Source: Idaho 2013 State of the State Address , Jan 7, 2013

Recommend $1.36 billion to advance educational goals

Iím recommending a general fund appropriation of more than $1.36 billion to advance our educational goals and meet all the statutory requirements for public education and to cover the cost of a safe school study, while providing more than $5 million for classroom supplies and almost $10 million for textbooks. For our colleges and universities, I am recommending a general fund appropriation of more than $275.6 million. That includes $12.9 million to help make salaries more competitive.
Source: 2004 State of the State Address , Jan 8, 2007

Provide needs-based scholarships for college-bound students

To provide scholarships for those students who can least afford to go to college, I am recommending that $38 million be used to create a needs-based scholarship endowment for Idaho students. The earnings from this endowment will provide at least $2 million per year for needs-based scholarships. We must maintain local control over our community colleges. We already have the legal framework in place to create additional community college districts with the support of local voters.
Source: 2004 State of the State Address , Jan 8, 2007

Voted NO on allowing Courts to decide on "God" in Pledge of Allegiance.

Amendment to preserve the authority of the US Supreme Court to decide any question pertaining to the Pledge of Allegiance. The bill underlying this amendment would disallow any federal courts from hearing cases concerning the Pledge of Allegiance. This amendment would make an exception for the Supreme Court.

Proponents support voting YES because:

I believe that our Pledge of Allegiance with its use of the phrase "under God" is entirely consistent with our Nation's cultural and historic traditions. I also believe that the Court holding that use of this phrase is unconstitutional is wrong. But this court-stripping bill is not necessary. This legislation would bar a Federal court, including the Supreme Court, from reviewing any claim that challenges the recitation of the Pledge on first amendment grounds.

If we are a Nation of laws, we must be committed to allowing courts to decide what the law is. This bill is unnecessary and probably unconstitutional. It would contradict the principle of Marbury v. Madison, intrude on the principles of separation of powers, and degrade our independent Federal judiciary.

Opponents support voting NO because:

I was disappointed 4 years ago when two judges of the Ninth US Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that our Pledge, our statement of shared national values, was somehow unconstitutional. I do not take legislation that removes an issue from the jurisdiction of this court system lightly. This legislation is appropriate, however, because of the egregious conduct of the courts in dealing with the Pledge of Allegiance.

By striking "under God" from the Pledge, the Court has shown contempt for the Congress which approved the language, and, more importantly, shows a complete disregard for the millions of Americans who proudly recite the Pledge as a statement of our shared national values and aspirations. No one is required to recite the Pledge if they disagree with its message.

Reference: Watt amendment to Pledge Protection Act; Bill H R 2389 ; vote number 2006-384 on Jul 19, 2006

Voted NO on $84 million in grants for Black and Hispanic colleges.

This vote is on a substitute bill (which means an amendment which replaces the entire text of the original bill). Voting YES means support for the key differences from the original bill: lowering student loan interest rates; $59 million for a new Predominantly Black Serving Institution program; $25 million for a new graduate Hispanic Serving Institution program; provide for year- round Pell grants; and repeal the Single Lender rule. The substitute's proponents say:
  • The original bill has some critical shortcomings. First and foremost, this substitute will cut the new Pell Grant fixed interest rate in half from 6.8% to 3.4%, to reduce college costs to those students most in need.
  • It would also establish a new predominantly black-serving institutions programs to boost college participation rates for low-income black students, and a new graduate Hispanic-serving institution program.
  • As we saw from 1995 to 2000, the questions employers were asking was not your race, not your ethnicity, not your religion, they wanted to know if you had the skills and talents to do the job. Most often today, those skills and that talent requires a higher education. A college education is going to have to become as common as a high school education.
    Reference: Reverse the Raid on Student Aid Act; Bill HR 609 Amendment 772 ; vote number 2006-080 on Mar 30, 2006

    Voted YES on allowing school prayer during the War on Terror.

    Children's Prayers Resolution: Expressing the sense of Congress that schools should allow children time to pray for, or silently reflect upon, the country during the war against terrorism.
    Reference: Bill sponsored by Isakson, R-GA; Bill H.Con.Res.239 ; vote number 2001-445 on Nov 15, 2001

    Voted YES on requiring states to test students.

    No Child Left Behind Act of 2001: Vote to pass a bill that would authorize $22.8 billion in education funding, a 29 percent increase from fiscal 2001. The bill would require states to test students to track progress.
    Reference: Bill sponsored by Boehner R-OH; Bill HR 1 ; vote number 2001-145 on May 23, 2001

    Let schools display the words "God Bless America".

    Otter co-sponsored a Congressional Resolution on support for the Nation:

    Title: Expressing the sense of the Congress that public schools may display the words "God Bless America" as an expression of support for the Nation.

    Source: House Resolution Sponsorship 01-HCR248 on Oct 12, 2001

    Rated 17% by the NEA, indicating anti-public education votes.

    Otter scores 17% by the NEA on public education issues

    The National Education Association has a long, proud history as the nation's leading organization committed to advancing the cause of public education. Founded in 1857 "to elevate the character and advance the interests of the profession of teaching and to promote the cause of popular education in the United States," the NEA has remained constant in its commitment to its original mission as evidenced by the current mission statement:

    To fulfill the promise of a democratic society, the National Education Association shall promote the cause of quality public education and advance the profession of education; expand the rights and further the interest of educational employees; and advocate human, civil, and economic rights for all.
    In pursuing its mission, the NEA has determined that it will focus the energy and resources of its 2.7 million members toward the "promotion of public confidence in public education." The ratings are based on the votes the organization considered most important; the numbers reflect the percentage of time the representative voted the organization's preferred position.
    Source: NEA website 03n-NEA on Dec 31, 2003

    Other governors on Education: Butch Otter on other issues:

    ID Senatorial:
    Jim Risch
    Larry LaRocco
    Michael Crapo
    Nels Mitchell

    Election 2013:
    NJ-R: Chris Christie (won)
    NJ-D: Barbara Buono (lost)
    VA-R: Bob McDonnell(Retiring)
    VA-R: Ken Cuccinelli (lost)
    VA-D: Terry McAuliffe (won)

    Gubernatorial Debates 2014:
    AL: Bentley(R) vs.Griffith(D)
    AR: Ross(D) vs.Hutchinson(R)
    CA: Brown(D) vs.Solis(D) vs.Villaraigosa(D)
    CO: Hickenlooper(D) vs.Tancredo(R) vs.Hess(L)
    CT: Malloy(D) vs.Foley(R)
    FL: Scott(R) vs.Crist(D)
    GA: Deal(R) vs.Carter(D)
    HI: Abercrombie(D) vs.Djou(R)
    IA: Branstad(R) vs.Hoefling(R) vs.Culver(D)
    MA: Coakley(D) vs.Grossman(D) vs.Berwick(D) vs.Baker(R)
    ME: LePage(R) vs.Michaud(D) vs.Cutler(I)
    MI: Snyder(R) vs.Schauer(D)
    OK: Fallin(R) vs.Boren(D)
    PA: Corbett(R) vs.Schwartz(D) vs.Critz(D) vs.Wolf(D)
    Up for re-election 2014:
    AK-R: Sean Parnell
    AL-R: Robert Bentley
    CA-D: Jerry Brown
    CO-D: John Hickenlooper
    CT-D: Dan Malloy
    FL-R: Rick Scott
    GA-R: Nathan Deal
    HI-D: Neil Abercrombie
    IA-R: Terry Branstad
    ID-R: Butch Otter
    IL-D: Pat Quinn
    KS-R: Sam Brownback
    ME-R: Paul LePage
    MI-R: Rick Snyder
    MN-D: Mark Dayton
    NH-D: Maggie Hassan
    NM-R: Susana Martinez
    NV-R: Brian Sandoval
    NY-D: Andrew Cuomo
    OH-R: John Kasich
    OK-R: Mary Fallin
    OR-D: John Kitzhaber
    PA-R: Tom Corbett
    SC-R: Nikki Haley
    SD-R: Dennis Daugaard
    TN-R: Bill Haslam
    VT-D: Peter Shumlin
    WI-R: Scott Walker
    WY-R: Matt Mead
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    Term-Limited or Retiring 2014:
    AR-D: Mike Beebe
    AZ-R: Jan Brewer
    MA-D: Deval Patrick
    MD-D: Martin O'Malley
    RI-I: Linc Chafee
    TX-R: Rick Perry


    Contact info:
    Fax number:
    208-334-2100

    Page last updated: Mar 23, 2014