Friday, April 24, 2009

An Utter Disregard for the Truth

The Education Action Guy, Kyle Olson, is a political operative not a policy wonk. You can tell this because he has a track record that demonstrates an indifference for facts. Winning's the thing.

For example, in an email the other day he railed against a 6.1% increase in MESSA insurance rates. Trouble is, today MESSA announced the increase will be 5.2% not 6.1%. Kyle's source? Disgruntled ex-MESSA  director Frank Webster. Frank is quoted: “The 6.1 percent MESSA increase . . . follows a 4.5 percent increase last year.”  Wrong. Last year's increase was 3.3. Maybe it's this kind of work what got Frank fired.

A quick Google search shows that nationwide "premiums for employer-based health insurance rose by 5.0 percent in 2008. In 2007, small employers saw their premiums, on average, increase 5.5 percent." MESSA rates were below these national averages both years. I'm sure Kyle has heard of Google, but doesn't look for these facts because he doesn't care.

Perhaps more important than what Kyle says is what he doesn't say. MESSA rates go up: Kyle complains.

But what about other provider's rates? How come Kyle doesn't complain about them? How much did they go up, Kyle?

MESSA provides health insurance for a little less that half the state's school employees. Why never word about the health insurance companies covering them?

How come Kyle never criticizes or second guesses any health care provider choice but MESSA? He bills himself as a school reform group. But his only targets are MESSA and the MEA. Never anyone else. Ever.

In a slip a few weeks ago, Kyle admitted: "we would like very much to convince every school board to dump MESSA..." He's a political operative charged with opposing the MEA and MESSA on all fronts: he's neither a group nor about school reform.