Less than a week after Sen. Bill Nelson’s campaign began airing a television ad claiming “when it comes to education, Rick Scott failed our kids,” the Scott campaign fired back with an ad on Tuesday defending his education record.
Nelson’s ad (see below) claims budget cuts by Scott during his early years as governor resulted in reductions in per-pupil spending and teacher pay.
“It’s no wonder why Florida ranks 40th in education, or why we’re experiencing a shortage of quality teachers,” the Nelson ad (see below) said.
But, Scott’s ad, called “First,” the campaign says “Florida’s incredible economic turnaround under Governor Scott has led to unprecedented achievement and funding for education in Florida.”
“To pay for great schools, it takes a strong economy,” Scott says in the opening line of the new ad.
Scott goes on to say that since Florida’s economic recovery, 4th grade reading and math scores have become first in the nation. He says 8th grade reading scores have climbed to first and high school AP classes and college education, both ranked first in the nation.
“And now, our highest education funding ever,” Scott says. “I like it when Florida’s first. In the Senate, I’ll put Florida first every day.”
“Senator Bill Nelson, however, has failed Florida students time and time again, including supporting sequestration, which risked hundreds of jobs for Florida teachers, and voting to cut billions in funding for student loan relief,” the Scott campaign said in a news release unveiling the spot.
Scott claimed earlier this year in a letter to Secretary of State Ken Detzner approving the budget passed by the Legislature, Scott said the past six years have been marked by record-setting years for education spending.
“For the sixth straight year, we have secured record funding for K-12 and state universities to ensure every student has the opportunity to receive a world-class education in Florida,” Scott wrote Detzner on March 16.
However, a check by Politifact, determined “In sheer dollars, Scott’s claim about K-12 schools is accurate.” But, the report goes on to say, “Scott’s boast of record funding, however, does not hold up when adjusted for inflation.”