Mike Simpson’s Atrocious Record On School Choice

Club for Growth Spokesman Barney Keller: “Mike Simpson’s record of opposing school choice is exactly why he was endorsed six times in a row by the Idaho Teachers Union.” 

Washington, DC – As House Republicans debate an education reform bill today, the Club for Growth PAC pointed out that Idaho Republican Congressman Mike Simpson has one of the worst records on school choice of any Republican serving today: 

“If House conservatives want to push for education reform, the last person they should rely on is Idaho’s Mike Simpson,” said Club for Growth Spokesman Barney Keller. “Mike Simpson opposes school vouchers and has called using standardized testing as a major factor to measure teacher performance ‘unfair’. He was also one of just nine Republicans to vote against reauthorizing the school voucher system in Washington, D.C. Mike Simpson’s record of opposing school choice is exactly why he was endorsed six times in a row by the Idaho Teachers Union.” 

“Idaho Republicans have a choice: they can return Teachers Union ally and R.I.N.O. Mike Simpson to Congress, or they can replace him with real conservative Bryan Smith,” added Keller. 

Mike Simpson: Opposed To School Vouchers and Endorsed by the Idaho Teachers Union Six Elections In A Row 

The Idaho Teachers Union has endorsed Simpson every election cycle since 2000, citing his opposition to school vouchers: The Idaho Education Association’s political action committee has endorsed U.S. Rep. Mike Simpson over Democratic challenger Nicole LeFavour….In a Facebook message to its members, IEA cited Simpson’s education strengths, including working with NEA staff to reverse parts of No Child Left Behind, voting against private school vouchers and supporting the extension of State Children’s Health Insurance Program. This is the sixth election cycle in a row PACE recommended NEA endorse Simpson. (The Times-News, 7/8/12) 

Idaho Teacher’s Union: We endorsed Simpson because he voted against vouchers and called it “unfair” to predominantly base teacher performance on standardized test scores: How did PACE decide to recommend Representative Mike Simpson for Congressional District 2 in 2012? This is the sixth consecutive time IEA’s PACE committee, by an overwhelming majority, made the recommendation to the NEA to endorse Congressman Mike Simpson. PACE believes that Nicole LeFavour is a true friend of education and has worked tirelessly for teachers and students during her time in the Idaho legislature. Everyone at PACE and the IEA is deeply grateful for her many years of advocacy. The recommendation to support Simpson was based on a number of factors, including his past support on education issues, a long-time positive working relationship with him in Congress, his and his staffs availability and willingness to meet and work with the IEA and the NEA, his leadership positions on key committees and his high probability of reelection. Representative Simpson:

·         Worked behind the scenes with NEA staff to reverse the one-size-fits-all nature of No Child Left Behind.

·         Voted against private school vouchers.

·         Supported the extension of SCHIP (State Children’s Health Insurance Program).

·         Supported the elimination of the Government Pension Offset and Windfall Elimination provision, which would improve retirement income for teachers.

·         Believes “teachers must have a prominent seat at the negotation table anytime significant reforms are being considered at any level of government.”

·         Stated “…it is unfair to base teacher performance solely, or predominantly, on student standardized test scores alone.”

(Source: Idaho Education Association Facebook Page, Accessed 7/18/13) 

Simpson voted against an amendment to include school vouchers in No Child Left Behind: But with Bush himself intervening at critical times, the House rejected major changes to the bill, and every member from Oregon and Washington ended up voting yes. A GOP amendment to add a voucher program failed, 155-273, with a surprising number of Republicans voting against it, including two from the Northwest — Simpson and Greg Walden of Oregon. (Lewiston Morning Tribune, 6/3/2001) 

Simpson voted against vouchers for early grade school (RCV #521, 1999) 

Simpson voted against establishing a pilot program for school vouchers in 10 states (RCV #524, 1

Simpson opposed funding for school vouchers: “The president’s budget process proposes a modest increase in NCLB of $949 million or 4.1% compared to the levels provided in the CR however almost one-third of that would for private school vouchers. At a time when the budget proposes to eliminate important programs for public schools such as education technology state grants and proposes to cut by 50% funds for career and technical education, why should we provide $300 million for private schools which by the way would not be subject to the same accountability as public schools are?” (Testimony of Margaret Spellings, Secretary of Education, before the House Appropriations Committee, 3/12/07) VIDEO LINK:http://www.c-spanvideo.org/program/Year2008Ed (at 51:15) 

Simpson was one of nine Republicans to vote against reauthorizing a school-choice voucher system for Washington, D.C.: Over fierce Democratic opposition, the House on Wednesday approved a bill to re-establish a school-choice voucher system for Washington, D.C., residents. The vote came a day after the White House said it opposed the program but stopped short of threatening to veto the legislation. The bill, H.R. 471, was approved on a 225-195 vote. Only one Democrat, Rep. Daniel Lipinski (D-Ill.), voted for the bill, and nine Republicans voted against it: Reps. Judy Biggert (Ill.), Robert Dold (Ill.), Sam Graves (Mo.), Morgan Griffith (Va.), Timothy Johnson (Ill.), Frank LoBiondo (N.J.), Ron Paul (Texas), Dave Reichert (Wash.) and Mike Simpson (Idaho). Restoring the D.C. voucher system was a top priority for House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), who sponsored the bill. (The Hill, 3/31/11) (RCV #204, 2011)