When it comes to the facts about education in Florida, Gov. Rick Scott and former Gov. Charlie Crist may need to hit the books.
Associated Press reporter Gary @Fineout detailed the tendency of the two campaigns to mislead and exaggerate in a story here. In short:
* A Republican Party of Florida press release Tuesday accused Crist of vetoing education projects like pilot reading programs and teacher training. One problem: The veto actually stopped a 5 percent tuition hike in tuition for community college students and Crist was blocking cuts proposed by the Legislature in the aftermath of a special session to cut state spending.
* A new television ad by a Scott-related campaign committee criticized Crist for signing a law that allowed state universities to raise tuition by as much as 15 percent without legislative approval. The problem: the ad doesn't mention the GOP-controlled Legislature pushed the tuition hike and got Crist to go along with it.
* The same ad notes that says "everyone knows" except Crist know that college tuition costs too much. The problem: it fails to mention that a year ago House Speaker Will Weatherford said college tuition in Florida was affordable. He even held up an iPhone and suggested that most college students in Florida were paying the same amount for their phone bills as they were for college.
* A web video launched by the Florida Democrats this week that faulted Scott for approving $1.3 billion in cuts to schools in 2011 and a statment by party chair Allison Tant blaming Scott for three years of "slashing education funding while lining the pockets of special interests and top campaign contributors." The problem: Tant's statement ignores the fact that legislators have boosted spending on public schools in the last two years, including $500 million for teacher salary increases.
* Crist spokesman Kevin Cate told reporters that Scott's "first budget cut education by $4.8 billion so he could give tax breaks to his corporate contributors." The problem: Scott recommended the cuts in his first year but they were actually part of a two-year budget proposal that was not adopted by state legislators.