When I watched the debate, I thought that Governor Bush was exhibiting some
of his "typical tangled-tongue, tongue-tied" problems when he made that
remark.  I think he probably meant to say something like, "At-risk students
have problems and need extra help/support."

I am defending the Governor (as a West Texan, not a Republican:  I'm voting
for Nader), but since I have talked to Laura Bush and she is strongly
supportive of early childhood education and interventions to help at-risk
and disabled learners, I am inclined to think that in the glare of the
spotlight and the pressure of being at the dais, Bush probably allowed some
words to come together that did not capture his real intentions.

I think it would be appropriate to write him and ask for clarification of
the issue, pointing out that such a comment is inconsistent with his
campaign slogan, "Leave no child behind."  When Don Garnett and I were
presidents of the Texas associations (TADE and TxCRLA, respectively) we
wrote the (then newly-elected) Governor and he responded in a very positive
and supportive manner concerning the work that our associations do in Texas.

Gail Platt

Melodye Wiens wrote:

> Colleagues,
> No matter what you think of either of the presidential candidate's
> overall performances in the October 3rd debate, I hope that Governor
> George W. Bush's discussion about education -- and his comment about
> "at-risk" students in particular -- caught your attention.
> In reference to "at-risk" students, Bush states, "...basically, they
> can't learn."
> You and I both know this is inaccurate. We may hope that Governor Bush
> really doesn't mean what he said. But suppose that he does...and suppose
> that at some point, he suggests policies that align with that perception
> -- either at a state or a national level. What then -- for our students,
> for our programs, and for the field of developmental education?
> I pose this as more than a rhetorical question. My hope is that we can
> have some healthy discussion on what we developmental educators can and
> should do, in response to this misstatement.
> Please respond to the list. We'll compile the results and will work with
> you to carry forth any response you feel is appropriate. There are no
> national politics or politicians, where developmental education is
> concerned, but we believe that our strength is in our association with
> each other.
> Of course, your individual responses -- differing or in agreement -- are
> welcomed. That's the way a democracy works, after all.
> Melodye Wiens and Becky Garlick
> NADE Political Liaison Committee co-chair
> [log in to unmask]
> 714-669-5735