Secretary Paige Smears Teachers Group as ‘Terrorist’

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 23, 2004

Contact: Nathan Richter or at Peter Montgomery

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Bush Education Chief Takes White House Intolerance of Dissent to Absurd Level

According to published reports, U.S. Secretary of Education Rod Paige told a gathering of American governors that the National Education Association is “a terrorist organization.” People For the American Way President Ralph G. Neas called the characterization “ridiculous, offensive, and beneath the dignity of Secretary Paige’s position as the nation’s highest education official.” Neas said Paige should apologize for the comment.

People For the American Way Education Policy Director Nancy Keenan, a former schoolteacher and former state superintendent of education in Montana, added, “Secretary Paige may disagree with the NEA’s critique of this administration’s education policies, but calling the organization ‘terrorist’ is completely beyond the pale. Members of the NEA are working every day to secure America’s future by educating our children.”

“Maybe Rod Paige has been spending time with John Ashcroft,” said Neas. “Up until now, the Attorney General has been the master of the Bush administration’s strategy of trying to bully dissenters into silence by equating them with terrorists. It is a shameful political tactic that Paige should definitely leave behind.”