State Republican Party Chairman Barry Peterson again criticized an ad campaign urging voters to overturn state schools superintendent Tom Luna's Teachers Come First education overhaul.
The talking points from Peterson aren't new. He has criticized opponents' radio ads that said the student laptop purchase program is an unfunded mandate. But as opponents have taken their campaign to TV, Peterson has ratcheted up the rhetoric.
"Do not give into these underhanded tactics of the leaders of the teachers’ union. They are opposed to education reform in Idaho, and it is a shame to see they are willing to go to any lengths to stop reform from taking place — including lying to Idaho’s families and taxpayers."
Heading closer to the final month, this campaign is getting uglier.
Here, in full, is the GOP news release:
Republican Party Chairman Barry Peterson is calling for the teachers’ union and their allies to take down misleading and erroneous television ads on education reform.
“The teachers’ union is running scared,” Peterson said. “They are intentionally misleading the public about education reform in Idaho. They know the ad is wrong, yet they knowingly produced it and continue to air it. Stop misleading the public, and take the ad down!”
In radio and television ads, the teachers’ union has intentionally misled the public. The truth is that the Idaho Legislature and Idaho’s governor have fully funded every part of the Students Come First laws, including the laptops for high school students. The funding for laptops also covers the necessary maintenance, security and tech support. No burden will be left on local school districts, parents or families.
Recent media reports have highlighted the inaccuracies of the campaign ads the teachers’ union has aired in opposition to education reform. A Sept. 23 Spokesman-Review newspaper article stated that the ad, “…makes some questionable claims.”
The ads contended that in addition to being unfunded, your property taxes will increase to pay for the 21st century classroom technology called for in Idaho’s innovative reform laws. That is simply not true. Nothing in Idaho’s education reform laws will require local property tax increases. "I didn't sign an unfunded mandate into law, and I didn't sign a tax increase into law,” said Gov. Butch Otter in a statement to KTVB News. “What I signed into law was a way to ensure equity and excellence for our students, opportunities for our teachers and accountability for local school trustees. There's plenty of truthful information available to help voters understand why it's important to vote YES for education reform. Don't believe the union bosses."
Despite the facts, the teachers’ union continues to lie to the public and claim this is an unfunded mandate in television and radio ads. They also spread this misinformation in an upcoming voter’s guide printed by the secretary of state’s office, using taxpayer dollars, and mailed to every Idaho household.
“Do not give into these underhanded tactics of the leaders of the teachers’ union. They are opposed to education reform in Idaho, and it is a shame to see they are willing to go to any lengths to stop reform from taking place — including lying to Idaho’s families and taxpayers,” Peterson said.