Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Did the Governor "lie" about school vouchers?

The Advocate reports on a new TV ad.
A pro voucher group is launching statewide television ads that accuse Gov. John Bel Edwards of lying to voters when he promised not to slash state aid for the school assistance.

The ads, which begin Tuesday afternoon in Baton Rouge and elsewhere, feature three unidentified mothers of voucher recipients looking into the camera and saying the governor is breaking his word.
“He lied to me. He lied to my child,” one says on the 30-second spot.

In a prepared statement, the governor’s office denounced the ad.

“This ad is a blatant attempt to leverage Bobby Jindal’s budget crisis for political gain,” Edwards said. “People who purposefully mislead the public about issues as important as our kids’ education have absolutely no place at the table.”

The ads are being financed by the Louisiana Federation for Children, which is a voucher advocacy group.
Last month, the governor announced a proposal to impose modest limitations on the voucher program. Edwards's plan would remove students currently attending "C" rated public schools from eligibility but maintain the program for students enrolled in "D" or "F" rated schools. This plan matches exactly a bill Edwards proposed as a State Rep during last year's legislative session.

Throughout the campaign, Edwards was critical of the voucher program and promised to make changes to it.  Just a few days after the election, Edwards delivered a speech to the Louisiana Federation of Teachers where he confirmed these intentions.
He told the annual convention of the Louisiana Federation of Teachers, one of the organized labor groups representing school employees, that he wouldn’t ban vouchers and wouldn’t close charter schools as his election opponents repeatedly claimed during the campaign.

But he would insist on greater accountability of charter schools. He would press for allowing school boards in districts that are not failing to decide for themselves whether to allow charter schools, which are outside the regular administration to allow for greater flexibility in teaching policies. He said he wants the voucher system to be used only by low-income students in failing schools.
So.. pretty consistent the whole way through. I don't really see where the "lie" is. The Advocate ran the accusation in a headline today but the initial version of the story didn't really address the assertion that he had lied. The now-rewritten article comes a bit closer to the matter. 
Edwards, a critic of vouchers, has repeatedly said he would not end the program, and has made no such proposal.

However, the group contends he broke his word because they say his budget proposal would end the voucher program for about 1,000 students.
So, really, the ad is... um.. bending the truth a bit.

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