It Wasn't One Incident: The Outrage was Repeated
THE SECRETARY OF EDUCATION AS FREEDOM FIGHTER: Secretary of Education Rod Paige yesterday said a teacher's union is a "terrorist organization." Paige was talking about the 2.7 million member National Education Association. He made these weird remarks in a private meeting with the National Governors Association.
There was the expected reaction to Paige's remark. The union was "outraged." The chairman of the Democratic National Committee called Paige's remarks "hate speech."
Paige later apologized.
Lasso would like to point out that this remark by Paige is no aberration, no trick of the tongue. As opposition to the Bush's No Child Left Behind education act has grown stiffer, Paige has gone 9/11 on those who would doubt the administration's wisdom. Yesterday he called them "terrorists." It wasn't the first time he invoked the images of warfare to beat back those who would question his judgment.
Back in December, Paige was in Houston. He talked about No Child Left Behind and the wave of reports showing that the schools under his control (Paige was the superintendent in Houston before going to D.C.) doctored test and attendance data. Here's what Paige said then, according to the Houston Chronicle:
"Because those who are fighting against it (No Child Left Behind) have targeted Houston and are targeting your children," Paige said, "you have a right to know what's happening. For better or worse, whether you like it or not, Houston has become the epicenter of this discussion, the battleground of a new struggle for freedom."
The paper went on to report:
"The education secretary tied his message to the struggle for civil rights and to the administration's war on terrorism, saying education reforms will require a 'coalition of the willing.' "
Battleground? Struggle for freedom? Terrorists? Targeting children? "Coalition of the willing" — the same term used to describe the U.S. led forces in Iraq?
Paige is giving us the Armageddon speech — about an education reform act, no less— eight months before the presidential election. The guy needs to take a cold shower.