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Ad Watch: Latest school reform commercial echoes earlier one

The latest TV commercial in favor of Propositions 1, 2 and 3 comes from "Yes for Idaho Education," and features a message strikingly similar to that in a September statewide ad from "Parents for Education Reform." The look is different, with video of teachers and kids in class, and there's different music, but the message is the same; it pulls out a feel-good item from each of the three complex measures and touts it as what the propositions will do. It does add in a jab at the "national teachers union" that was missing from the earlier ad. "It is essentially the same general positive message we’ve had in initial TV, in radio ads, and on our direct mail absentee chase," said Ken Burgess, spokesman for the "Yes" campaign.

Click below to compare the wording of the new "Yes" ad and the previous ad from PFER, which was the group that placed the ads funded by secret contributions to Education Voters of Idaho; you can read my fact-check story here from Sept. 28, which was headed, "Ad touting school reforms tells just part of story."

The  new "Yes" ad is running only in the Boise, Twin Falls, and Idaho Falls/Pocatello markets, Burgess said, adding, "We've left the Gov. Otter ad in place for our full run in Spokane."

New "Yes" ad:
    "On Nov. 6th, Idahoans will have the opportunity to finally put the interests of Idaho's kids in front of those of the national teachers union. Prop 1 gives Idaho parents a say in teacher job evaluations and restores control of our schools to locally elected school boards. Prop 2 rewards effective Idaho teachers with bonuses  paid on top of their regular salaries. Prop 3 allows Idaho kids to earn college credits while still in high school, and all of this is done without any new taxes. Give Idaho students the future they deserve. Vote yes on Propositions 1, 2 and 3."

PFER ad from September:
    “Education reform for the 21st century is as simple as 1-2-3. Prop 1 ensures parents have input on teacher and principal job performances. Prop 2 will reward our best teachers by paying them more. And Prop 3 will allow high school students to earn up to one year’s college credit. For our teachers and our children, education reform for the 21st century. Vote yes on Props 1-2-3.”

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Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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