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Guest opinion: Gianforte is no supporter of public education

Guest opinion: Gianforte is no supporter of public education

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On behalf of every educator, parent, student, and taxpayer in Montana, I must contest Congressman Greg Gianforte’s blatant lie that he is or ever has been an advocate for public education. Congressman Gianforte has a long rap sheet on the topic. Let me refresh Montana’s memory.

The truth is that Gianforte promotes privatization of public schools for his own religious and profit taking purposes. In fact, Gianforte has given millions of dollars to organizations dedicated to siphoning money away from public schools and to private schools, like the one he started.

Montanans value public education. In fact, we value it so much, that we protected it our constitution. Simply put, Gianforte doesn’t share those Montana values.

Along with Senator Steve Daines, Gianforte submitted an amicus to the U.S. Supreme Court in support of using taxpayer dollars to fund religious education. This not only violates Montana’s constitution, it defunds Montana’s public schools. A sitting Congressman, especially one who claims to understand business, cannot support defunding public schools on one hand and promise to pay teachers more with the other. Any voter can see that is absurd.

Gianforte has proposed deep cuts in state revenue streams without saying what state programs and services he would no longer have the state provide and which Montanans would lose their jobs. Congressman Gianforte, please provide a list of the schools you would close and/or teachers you would fire after cutting school funding by 30%.

In KTVQ’s September 30 coverage, Congressman Gianforte refers to “certain, unnecessary regulations for public schools” without ever giving a single detail. So, which education laws would he gut as Governor? Teacher licensure? School accreditation? Maybe Gianforte will join Superintendent Elsie Arntzen in illegally following Betsy DeVos’ playbook to funnel our tax dollars away from public schools to private institutions.

You also won’t ever hear Congressman Gianforte talking about his rating with the National Education Association. That’s because Congressman Gianforte has earned a 0% rating with the NEA, an organization representing more than three million educators and public employees, every year he’s been in federal office. To be clear, a 0% rating from the NEA means that Congressman Gianforte never, not once, ever supported public education in Congress. That’s a rap sheet you just can’t escape.

It’s no surprise that Gianforte is lying about his support for public education. He lied about protecting stream access, he lied to police about body slamming a reporter, he lied about supporting social security and Medicare, and he lied about supporting “Right to Work” in Montana.

It’s a good thing Congressman Gianforte has a clear voting record and a long history of direct quotes in Montana media outlets. Otherwise, we’d have no idea where he really stands. Gianforte has never answered the phone when this union, representing the vast majority of all public educators in Montana, has called him for an interview.

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