During the intense debate on Collective Bargaining, a number of inaccurate statements were made.  In Denison, an email was circulated by the Denison Education Association to its members in the Denison School District. Members of the Denison Education Association are also my friends and neighbors, so it is important to set the record straight.

The email in question was sent out to teachers in Denison on Wednesday, February 15th.  It stated, “Good Evening, ISEA President Tammy Wawro had a conversation with Representative Steve Holt today. Holt informed her that he had heard no opposition from Denison teachers regarding the collective bargaining bill. Now is the time to make your voice heard. We urge you to text him at this number (gave his home number) and say “I am a teacher in the Denison Community School District. Vote NO on the collective bargaining bill.”

Everything in this statement is inaccurate. I never had a conversation with Tammy Wawro. I never said I had heard no opposition from Denison teachers.  Finally, the email used my home phone number, a land line which cannot be texted, and is answered by my wife and children. This number was used in spite of my cell phone and legislative numbers published in numerous places and readily available to those who sent out this email.

I reached out to the individual in the Denison Education Association who appeared to have sent this email and asked that the record be corrected.  I was finally told after lengthy conversation that I should contact Tammy Wawro’s office for assistance.  I did just that.

On Monday, February 20th, I contacted Jean Hessburg, Public Relations Specialist with the Iowa State Education Association and had a good phone conversation with her. She emailed me later in the day and told me that an email is being sent to members of the Denison Education Association with this statement:

Last week you received communication from DEA Secretary, Darin Johnson. Among other things, the communication said ISEA President Tammy Wawro had a direct conversation with Representative Holt regarding the collective bargaining bill.  Darin received this information from a source who was not correct. Tammy Wawro did not have a one-on-one conversation with Representative Holt. We believe the nexus of the information originated from a Facebook post in which Tammy asked DEA members to contact Representative Holt about the collective bargaining bill.  The ISEA apologizes for the inaccuracy about a one-on-one conversation in the email. Further, Representative Holt has respectfully asked that we set the record straight and make sure you know that he and Tammy have not spoken directly.  As always, thank you for your hard work and efforts on behalf of Iowa’s students. Please feel free to contact me directly if you have further questions or concerns.

I appreciate the willingness of the ISEA to set the record straight, but it would not have been necessary had people who have known me for years bothered to confirm the validity of the information prior to the email being sent to members of the Denison Education Association.

The debate on collective bargaining in our district was mostly civil, respectful and constructive, and I believe that the inaccurate information in this email was unintentional. In other parts of the state, however, the debate has been far less civil.  In any debate on important issues, it is informative to note who deals in the articulation of facts, as opposed to those driven by emotion, who resort to name calling, yelling, profanity, hysteria, and the distortion of truth.

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