Originally created 07/01/00

Williams quoted ripping top teacher



On Feb. 1 your editorial asked, "Is this Cuba?" when Georgia House leaders banned Andy Baumgartner, our National Teacher of the Year, from speaking in the House. This was after this gifted teacher spoke in the Senate and made some remarks about current legislation that the "good ol' boys" just couldn't tolerate.

You chided Speaker Tom Murphy and asked, "Isn't this something like how Communist Cuba stifles dissent from `the party line'?" You worried about the civics lesson conveyed to young people. You hoped that "Commissar Murphy's Cuba-style approach fails."

The very day you printed these fine words, Rep. Robin Williams took to the House floor red-faced and with pounding fits, not to defend our own, but to defend Mr. Murphy and attack our Teacher of the Year.

Rep. Williams said, "I want to talk ... about the teacher of the year ... lives in my district. I take offense ... He didn't ask me to come back down here. He went around me. I take offense at that. We don't bring them to honor them ... We don't provide a political platform for them to criticize us. It cheapens the process when we invite them down here to attack us. I tell you this, the education system in this state is dead. Let's bury it."

Listen to his tirade at the Georgia House web site. If Speaker Murphy is the commissar, what does that make Rep. Williams?

Rocky Pope, Augusta