The chair of the House Education Reform Committee is apologizing today for her use of the word "Gestapo" to criticize a teacher training proposal.
Officials with the statewide teachers union Education Minnesota said Tuesday they would support an alternative licensing program if participants were kept under close supervision for 90 days. Republican Representative Sondra Erickson of Princeton told Minnesota Public Radio News she thought that requirement sounded like the "teacher Gestapo." Erickson, who's a retired teacher, said a day later that her word choice was inappropriate.
"My apologies to everyone out there," Erickson said. " I love my profession. I think the world of teachers. I guess I just have a little problem with the unions demands, and we'll work that out."
The head of the Minnesota AFL-CIO and many educators were publicly demanding the apology. Erickson's committee is scheduled to hear two alternative licensing bills on Thursday.
I applaud the representative for apologizing. I heard the interview and Rep. Erickson twice referred to the "teacher gestapo". At this time where we all need to tone our rhetoric, I thought it highly inappropriate and glad that she apologized.
When I first saw this story summarized in the Daily Digest, I assumed the legislator in question was some freshman who didn't know any better talking out his ass to the press. I was surprised this came from Erickson because she's been around for a while.
I'm not surprised at all. It was probably in the Republicans' weekly talking points message to use "teacher gestapo." Just like every Republican interviewed for any reason was saying the health care reform law will kill jobs a couple weeks ago (they usually tell everybody to use misleading or outright false information). They like to use colorful language that the media eats up. But sometimes they miscalculate and choose a word that many find seriously objectionable.