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Old 02-24-2004, 11:01 AM   #1
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I am a terrorist.

http://www.sltrib.com/2004/Feb/02242...n_w/141927.asp



Education chief in 'NEA culpa'


By Robert Tanner
The Associated Press

WASHINGTON -- Education Secretary Rod Paige called the nation's largest teachers union a "terrorist organization" Monday, taking on the 2.7 million-member National Education Association early in the presidential election year.
Paige's comments, made to the nation's governors at a private White House meeting, were denounced by union President Reg Weaver. Paige said he was sorry, and the White House said he was right to apologize.
The education secretary's words were "pathetic and they are not a laughing matter," said Weaver, whose union has said it plans to sue the Bush administration over lack of funding for demands included in the "No Child Left Behind" law.
Paige said later that his comment was "a bad joke; it was an inappropriate choice of words."
"As one who grew up on the receiving end of insensitive remarks, I should have chosen my words better," said Paige, the first black education secretary.
Pat Rusk, president of the Utah Education Association, reacted to Paige's comment while attending a hearing on Utah's Capitol Hill.
"Last week we were told that we weren't welcome in the Republican Party of Utah. And this week we're told we're terrorists. Seems like someone's really upset about No Child Left Behind. It seems to me that when you're running scared, you just start throwing stones.
"More and more people coming out criticizing this law, and they are refusing to back away from the legislation and say we made a mistake. "
The Utah House has voted to stick with No Child Left Behind, but has barred districts from siphoning state and local money to carry out the act's mandates.
Meanwhile, Paige said he had made it clear to the governors that he was referring to the Washington-based union organization, not the teachers it represents.
-----
Tribune reporter Mike
Cronin contributed.
Terry McAuliffe, chairman of the Democratic National Committee, put it in stronger terms, accusing Paige of resorting "to the most vile and disgusting form of hate speech, comparing those who teach America's children to terrorists."
Education has been a top issue for the governors, who have sought more flexibility from the administration on Bush's "No Child Left Behind" law, which seeks to improve school performance in part by allowing parents to move their children from poorly performing schools.
Democrats have said Bush has failed to fully fund the law, giving the states greater burdens but not the resources to handle them. The union backs the intent of the law but says many of its provisions must be changed.
The NEA spends roughly $1 million a year lobbying in Washington. It is also a big political donor, mostly to Democrats.
In the last presidential election cycle, 1999-2000, NEA and its political action committee donated $3.1 million to federal candidates and national party committees, with about $9 of every $10 going to Democrats. At that time, national party committees were allowed to raise union donations, part of the so-called soft money that they are now barred from accepting.
Missouri Gov. Bob Holden, a Democrat, said Paige's remarks startled the governors, who met for nearly two hours with Bush and several Cabinet officials.
"He is, I guess, very concerned about anybody that questions what the president is doing," Holden said.
Vermont Gov. Jim Douglas, a Republican, said, "Somebody asked him about the NEA's role and he offered his perspective on it."
Gov. Jennifer Granholm of Michigan, a Democrat, said the comments were made in the context of "we can't be supportive of the status quo and they're the status quo. But whatever the context, it is inappropriate -- I know he wasn't calling teachers terrorists -- but to even suggest that the organization they belong to was a terrorist organization is uncalled for."
Paige, in an interview, talked at length about his agency's efforts to work with states over their concerns with the law. He said meetings with state leaders have erased misunderstandings and a tone of confrontation.
But he said some opposition to the law has been stirred by at least three groups that are "hard nosed, highly financed and well organized." Asked to name the groups other than the NEA, Paige declined, saying: "I've already got into deep water with that one, haven't I?"
The governors were in Washington for four days of discussions at the annual meeting of the National Governors Association, though the usual effort to build consensus was marked by partisan politics that Democrats said couldn't be avoided.
In brief public comments, Bush told the governors that rising political tensions of an election year won't stop him from working closely with them.
"I fully understand it's going to be the year of the sharp elbow and the quick tongue," Bush said. "But surely we can shuffle that aside sometimes and focus on our people."





Copyright 2004, The Salt Lake Tribune.
All material found on Utah Online is copyrighted The Salt Lake Tribune and associated news services. No material may be reproduced or reused without explicit permission from The Salt Lake Tribune.
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Old 02-24-2004, 11:45 AM   #2
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Martha, no one said you were a terrorist.

Goodness, the liberal speech police are up in arms. Paige makes a comment about the practices of a union and it is painted as a comment against those "who teach America's children."

There is fair criticism that the NEA does not always act in the best interest of the teachers and does not act in the best interests of children.

Paige apologized, but stands by his criticism of the union. The hysteria is only a diversion, to prevent the union from coming under fair scrutiny. How should we spend out critical thinking - over a (poor) choice of words or over the practices of a large, profitable union?
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Old 02-24-2004, 12:19 PM   #3
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Yes, but if you use the word "nazi" in reference to the GOP, no matter the context, you'll see a similar hissy fit.

The GOP is, of course, hypocritical, as it uses the word "terrorist" with the same zeal it used the word "communist" for decades. Nothing changes...just the semantics.

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Old 02-24-2004, 01:21 PM   #4
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Democrats have misused the term "terrorist" as well. Your buddy Matt Drudge posted the following:

Quote:
Democrat presidential frontrunner John Kerry Has Called Republicans 'legislative terrorists'... MORE... In Jan. 1996, commenting on the federal government shutdown, Kerry called the House Republicans 'legislative terrorists,' who used federal workers as pawns and disrespected them. Asked about his terrorist comment, Kerry explained, 'Terrorists hold hostages, and the Republicans are holding the government hostage'...
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Old 02-24-2004, 01:25 PM   #5
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Doug, I am proudly a card-carrying member of the NEA. I, like many others in this country, have serious concerns about NCLB. Paige was indeed referring to me when he labled my professional organization a "terrorist organization."

Yes, he apologized. But he still blurted it out, which meant he was thinking it.

I'm not a part of the "liberal speech police." Sometimes I disagree with the what my organization does, but people need to remember that the union is made of its members.
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Old 02-24-2004, 04:41 PM   #6
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Martha

NBC, you know know what you're talking about. This most certainly did use that exact word.

He did immediately apologize, though, and this teacher is willing to accept his apology. However, the Dept of Ed needs to realize that teachers oppose NCLB because, among other reasons, it's not funded and kids aren't cookie cutters who can be standardized, as any trained educator who has studied dev. psych and methodolgy and pedagogy knows. Unfortunately, decisions are made about education in this nation by people who AREN'T TEACHERS! Most people don't question lawyers about the law, or doctors about medicine, yet it's assumed that teachers can't be trusted to teach. People believe anyone can do it. (I personal wonder if this doesn't have something to do with the fact that traditionally doctors and lawyers are MEN and traditionally teachers are women, but that's a whole other thread.)

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Old 02-24-2004, 05:56 PM   #7
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While I do not find myself agreeing with some of the things the teacher's union does.....

I agree that NCLB is hurting education.

That said, I do believe schools need to be held accountable, and I do believe it is rediculously difficult to remove a poor teacher.

He should have clarified his remarks from the start.
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Old 02-24-2004, 06:20 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by Sherry Darling
NBC, you know know what you're talking about. This most certainly did use that exact word.
I never denied Paige used "the word", but thank you for your comment.
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Old 02-24-2004, 07:12 PM   #9
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1. Then what else did you mean by "Martha, no one said you were a terrorist?"

2. You're welcome!

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Old 02-24-2004, 07:28 PM   #10
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Paige's comment was not directed at individual teachers - it was directed at the union.
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Old 02-24-2004, 07:31 PM   #11
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LOL--that doesn't even pass the Straight Face test NBC.

Since NCLB is all about standardized testing, here's one for ya.
True or false: the Union is made up of teachers.



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Old 02-24-2004, 07:34 PM   #12
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teachers are members of the union.

True or false - the Union educates children.

The union is a separate legal entity, with people on its payroll (making $$$).
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Old 02-24-2004, 07:38 PM   #13
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True or False

The union makes it difficult to remove bad teachers.....



Does spelling count?
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Old 02-24-2004, 07:55 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally posted by nbcrusader
teachers are members of the union.


The union is a separate legal entity, with people on its payroll (making $$$).
You can equivocate all you want, but those people on the payroll are representing me. I am a member of NEA. They act on my behalf. Too many people try to separate the members from the union, thinking they can criticize the union and still not anger the members. Without me, there is no union. The members ARE the union.
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Old 02-24-2004, 08:17 PM   #15
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NB....Why would he apologize if he were referring to Union Leadership. While in priniciple I can understand what the man could be getting at, in this day and age, he used an inflammatory way to make his point. I do not think this was without thought or unintentional. I think it is the begging of election day rhetoric.

It is quite easy to BULLY teachers. It happened here in Massachusetts with Gov. Romney running for office. While I think he is doing an excellent job here in our state, he made US a target. Then one year into his Governorship, he is claiming responsibility for the improved scores in Massachusetts. I do not agree with this.

The union is correct....the $$$ is not there. I was in charge of running the after school programs at my school. Up until three years ago we had NUMEROUS after school programs. Not just fun and games programs, but valuable programs that helped students achieve. We have gone from almost 20 after school programs to ZERO at my elementary school.

The gifted and talented program, which pulled high achieving students out of the classroom to teach them higher level math skills and reading is gone.

The Robotics program, which townwide boasted 27 teams is gone. Four of the teams I coached. Can you imagine the science, math, higher level thinking, journal writing and problem solving that disappeard. In my school, I accepted 20 kids.....usually 50 out of 80 students in the 5th grade would apply to be on our team. My teams were the only teams that had an girls on them because I recruited them. When we won the state championship the girls on the team were the ONLY girls 5th through 8th grade out of 24 teams at the Museum of Science in Boston. The next year when they were on the Middle school team, they were again at the state championship as the runner up.

The Drug programs gone, the health education programs gone.....

I am currently spending on a yearly basis out of pocket somewhere between $500-$1000 a year. Multiply that by two because my wife teaches.

I could go on.....The remark while he directs it at the UNION leadership in his "apology" was uncalled for.

Finally, our class size in the MAJOR test year has gone from 20-22 up to 28-30. This is INSANE. The general public may feel that this is no big deal, but until you have walked through a classroom door and felt the difference between 20 kids in a class to 28 I do not want to hear it. IT is a major influence on the dynamics of a classroom. It is a major influence on the ability of ANY teacher to remediate and prepare for the NCLB testing.

Sooooooo he may label the Union as a Terrorist organization, but he IS doing so to DEFLECT us in a campaign year away from the issues. No one is going to deal with the issues, they are going to argue about what he meant, and everyone, EVERYONE has had a bad teacher that they remember. Very rarely do they remember the good ones.
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