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[Susan notes: Gary Stager reminds us to remember 9/11 before carelessly using the word terror.]

Submitted to Los Angeles Times but not published

To the editor

Secretary Rod Paige must resign after his outrageous assertion to the National Governors Association calling the National Education

Association a "terrorist organization." Such reckless language not only demonstrates the Bush Administration's callous contempt for teachers,

but dishonors the memory of the 3,100 people murdered by on 9-11. The thousands of children who lost a parent to terrorism or the subsequent

wars rely on the care and compassion of America's professional educators every day.

Sadly, this is not the first violent rhetoric to emanate from Paige's Department. On November 18, 2002, Paige advisor, Reid Lyon, announced,

“If there was any piece of legislation that I could pass it would be to blow up colleges of education.”

Secretary Paige could learn a thing or two about terror by visiting one of the classrooms victimized by his administration’s No Child Left

Behind law. Ask a first grader who no longer has recess, art, music or science in order to cram for standardized tests. Innovative teachers

are terrorized when forced to teach from canned scripts. Veteran educators are demeaned when they are branded “unqualified” despite decades of service and multiple degrees. Poor children in dilapidated schools are labeled as failures until their self-esteem causes them to drop out or “disappear” as they call it in Mr. Paige’s Houston.

Terrifying indeed!

Surely our nation’s children deserve a more responsible and thoughtful Secretary of Education. Mr. Bush needs to replace Paige with a

qualified educational leader at once.

Gary Stager

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