For Immediate Release
July 10, 2015
Contact: Josh Levitt
Important Questions Remain: Will Iowa GOP Condemn Johnson’s Remarks?
Do Iowa GOP leaders support Johnson’s Desire to Privatize Education?
DES MOINES – The Iowa Republican Party hit a new low yesterday as GOP State Senator David Johnson scolded an Iowa teacher to “quit whining” about education funding. Johnson’s comment comes after Republicans in the legislature, including Johnson, spent ample time during the 2015 legislative session fighting to underfund Iowa schools and leave school districts with far fewer resources to support Iowa students.
Democrats fought for months to get proper funding for Iowa Schools. And now we know why Branstad vetoed more than $55 million in K-12 funding, a move that until yesterday defied reason and ran contrary to the priorities of most Iowans. Senator David Johnson made it very clear: Republicans simply don’t care about Iowa teachers or the support they provide for our students.
Johnson’s response was downright shameful, especially for a public official. But instead of apologizing to Iowa teachers for his deplorable remark, Johnson doubled down on his opposition to education funding late yesterday, and, in the process, made clear that his goal is to privatize education.
According to Iowa Starting Line, Johnson sent an email to another Iowa teacher, Ryan Paulson, where he declares,
“True ed reform won’t happen until that $6,000 in state aid is stapled to every student’s backpack and spent at the discretion of the parent(s).”
In the wake of Johnson’s remarks, two important questions remain:
Does the Iowa Republican Party condemn David Johnson for his shameful and insulting remarks yesterday directed towards an Iowa teacher?
Do Republican Party leaders, namely Governor Terry Branstad and Minority Leader Bill Dix, support Johnson’s desire to privatize education?
If Branstad, Dix and the Iowa Republican Party are looking to privatize education in Iowa, perhaps that explains their relentless drive to underfund Iowa schools, even as educators have spoken out, loudly, against the cuts.
See the full roundup below:
Iowa Starting Line
Apparently Senator David Johnson wasn’t finished sending questionable emails on education just yet. In other emails Starting Line obtained from readers and found posted online, Johnson makes clear he doesn’t mind the fallout his tone is causing, saying in one, “I sure hope all these emails are going viral too.” More importantly, however, in one reply he lays out his desire for an ambitious, all-encompassing school voucher/privatization plan that may explain Statehouse Republicans’ actions on education funding.
GOP Senator Tells Teacher to “Quit Whining”About School Funds
Iowa Starting Line
“Good to hear your view,” Johnson began in his response. “But apparently you lack the courage to tell us where you are from and where you teach. BTW, the session extended by the Democrats unnecessarily cost me that same $2,000. My money, not taxpayers’. ” “Quit whining,” the email concluded. “Kind but skeptical regards, David Johnson.”
A state senator from northwest Iowa told a Waterloo teacher to “quit whining” during an email exchange about state funding for public schools.
Senator David Johnson, a Republican from Ocheyedan, replied, saying Gross lacked the courage to reveal where he was from and he told the teacher to “quit whining.” Gross posted the exchange on his Facebook page. “I was suprised by kind of the tone. I didn’t think it was actually him and then…gave him a chance to reply and he said it was him and wasn’t really apologetic about it,” Gross says. “That was pretty shocking.”
editor’s note: Sen. Johnson’s line about ”extended unnecessarily by the Democrats’ indicates that Republicans expected (or knew) Branstad would veto the compromise. They were never bargaining in good faith.