Monday, June 19, 2006

Jim Nussle's record reveals a consistent lack of support for public education

While Jim Nussle likes to go around saying he supports public education, his record in Washington as a member of the Congressional Republican leadership shows that he is no friend of public schools.

This is one of the most important issues to Iowans, and Chet Culver is clearly the candidate for Iowans who want to improve our public education system.

But it looks like some Republican pro-Nussle bloggers are trying to smear Chet Culver again.

I won't promote their crap by providing links. But to clarify any confusion out there, I'm going to post this AP story:

Culver gets teacher union nod
Associated Press

Friday, June 16, 2006

DES MOINES, IA - The state’s 32,000-member teacher union endorsed Democratic gubernatorial candidate Chet Culver today, declaring him "one of us" and warning that Republican Jim Nussle’s record doesn’t match his campaign rhetoric.

"As a former classroom teacher and coach, he has a deep understanding of the challenges and frustrations facing educators and a keen grasp of current education issues," said Linda Nelson, of Council Bluffs, president of the Iowa State Education Association.

In accepting the endorsement, Culver said he wants "to be a champion for teachers, a champion for kids."

Nelson said the board running the union’s political action committee -- made up of six Democrats and six Republicans -- interviewed both candidates Friday morning, and recommended Culver. The board’s recommendation was ratified by a larger, 76-member governing committee and by the union’s executive board, Nelson said.

Both Culver and Nussle have called for raising teacher pay, with Culver saying it should be increased to "at least" the national average while Nussle wants it even higher.

"Both candidates spoke about raising teacher salaries and that was what we wanted to hear," Nelson said.

While Nussle voiced support for many of the union’s goals during the interview, Nelson said "his congressional voting record reveals a consistent lack of support."

"What he did say didn’t match at all his congressional voting record," she said.

In a statement issued today, Nussle said he’ll continue to push for raising teacher pay.

"My priority is to have Iowa set the standard for world class education and that starts by raising teacher pay above the national average," he said. "As governor, I will work to ensure more reliable and more predictable funding for education so we have the best and brightest teachers in the classrooms teaching our children."

The last time the teacher’s union endorsed a Republican gubernatorial candidate was Gov. Terry Branstad’s 1990 bid for a third term in office.

The endorsement gives Culver a cadre of foot soldiers in every corner of the state. Teachers are traditionally politically active and are also respected in their communities. It also opens the union’s coffers to Culver, resources he needs after an expensive primary fight.

In addition to pointing to Culver’s call for higher teacher pay, Nelson said union leaders liked his support of increased spending on preschool programs, boosting basic state aid to local schools and putting in place new loan programs for college students.

"Chet Culver is truly one of us," Nelson said.

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