Back In The Soup

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One morning in July, during the Education Commission of the States' annual meeting in Seattle, workshops were interrupted by the raucous strains of an off-key organ playing such tunes as "Louie, Louie" and "The Old Gray Mare."

The music was local teachers' less-than-friendly way of acknowledging that Gov. Booth Gardner of Washington had been selected chairman of the ECS for the coming year.

While Gardner gave his inaugural address to the conference, several thousand teachers organized by the Washington Education Association rallied outside the hotel to denounce his policies. The state's teachers have been critical of the governor for, among other things, failing to support what they see as adequate pay increases at a time when the state has been running a budget surplus.

Last spring, Gardner worked his way into the hearts of some Washington teachers when he stood at an awards ceremony and delivered an impromptu tribute to the role teachers have played in his own life. But by summer, those sentiments had faded. "No more hot air," the demonstrators chanted, to the backdrop of a giant balloon filled with just that.

During his speech, Gardner made only one subtle reference to the jeering crowd outside. "Imagine today that there were 4,000 children—let me reemphasize that—children outside the hotel chanting, 'We want to learn,'" he said.

Vol. 02, Issue 01, Page 20

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