Campaign To Keep Idaho Education Laws Defends Misleading Ad

Oct 17, 2012

KBSX has been keeping close tabs on the media fight over Idaho’s propositions 1, 2, and 3. We told you Monday morning the campaign that wants voters to keep the state’s Students Come First education laws had launched a new ad that used an out of context quote. Since then The Associated Press and others have agreed with our assessment that the ad misrepresents the meaning of that quote.

In the ad from Yes For Idaho Education you hear a former top lawyer for the National Education Association say the teacher’s union is powerful and that power comes from millions of dollars in membership dues. It claims the quote refers to why the NEA opposes education reform. The lawyer was actually opining on why the union has so many enemies and why it can advocate effectively for its members. Ken Burgess, who heads the Yes campaign, defends the idea behind the ad if not its content.

“I think it reflects very accurately the attitude of the national unions as it relates to what it is they’re really focused on,” Burgess says. “They’re really mainly focused on maintaining membership.”

The ad was prompted by last week’s revelation that the NEA donated $1.06 million to the Vote No On Props 1, 2, and 3 campaign. Mike Lanza chairs that. He dismisses the ad as an attempt to distract from the issues. And he doesn’t think the support from the nation’s biggest union will harm the campaign.

“The public has known from the start, you know, we have teachers on our side,” Lanza says. “And it’s not a surprise that we’re being supported by teachers all over the country.”

The Students Come First laws reshape Idaho’s education system by increasing student computer use, instituting statewide pay for performance and restricting collective bargaining. November 6, Idahoans will vote yes if they want to keep the laws and no if they want to repeal them.