Assemblywoman Joan M. Quigley figures her bill is a shoo-in. It would be tough to oppose a measure that "ensures that Terrorism 101 is not taught in New Jersey public schools," the Democrat reasons.
Her bill, which won unanimous approval of the Assembly's education panel last month, would make it a crime for "teaching staff" to instruct students on how to make explosive devices. Penalties would include up to 18 months in prison and fines of up to $7,500.
Ms. Quigley was motivated by an incident in a northern New Jersey high school, where a teacher last year let students watch a video showing classmates making and detonating pipe bombs. Two students were later charged with possession of a destructive device. But no legal action has been taken against the teacher, because prosecutors found no applicable law, Ms. Quigley said.
"It shouldn't be necessary to have a law saying that teachers shouldn't be teaching kids how to build bombs, should it? But it's clear we need this," she said.
The full Assembly may take up the bill later this month.
On the Attack
If you ask the Oklahoma Education Association, Gov. Frank Keating has put his foot in his mouth about up to his knee.
Mr. Keating upset teachers once this month by referring to less-than-stellar instructors as "slugs." Three days later, he attacked the OEA, the state's 47,000-member teachers' union, in an interview with the Daily Oklahoman newspaper.
In response to the teachers' complaint that requests for a meeting had been ignored, Mr. Keating said he would talk with them, even though "they are a wholly owned subsidiary of the liberal Democrats, and they are the antithesis of what's good for education in Oklahoma."
"If they want to meet and apologize to me for what they've done to children in Oklahoma, how they have savaged school choice and charter schools and been virulently hostile to real reform and change, I'll be happy to meet with them," the Republican governor was quoted as saying.
"I think he's dramatically misinformed about who we are and what we are," said Barbara Smith, the president of the OEA. "The governor is obviously very out of touch with what is happening in Oklahoma."
She said the union is a nonpartisan organization that has backed GOP candidates and worked for school reforms.
A spokesman said Mr. Keating will not apologize, and called his remarks about the OEA "a very accurate portrait."
--Lynn Schnaiberg & Millicent Lawton
Vol. 15, Issue 22