MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The dustup over disparaging remarks about teachers made by the president of a conservative Michigan college – shows no signs of settling down.
Gov. Bill Lee is finding it increasingly difficult to move on from the controversy – including his stubborn reluctance to clearly repudiate the remarks.
Teachers and other school officials – along with those from public and private universities across Tennessee – have roundly condemned the comments from Hillsdale College president Larry Arnn. In a private meeting attended by the governor last month in Williamson County, Arnn said, among other silly things, that teachers come from the dumbest parts of the dumbest colleges in the country.
Since the comments came to light, thanks to a Nashville TV station, several Republican lawmakers have come out in strong opposition to the remarks. They include legislators who usually make excuses for the politically naïve governor.
Some lawmakers are now saying they won’t support Lee’s efforts to allow Hillsdale to open scores of charter schools in the state. All of this could have been avoided – if Lee had been politically savvy enough to know it’s not wise to appear as if he condones trashing teachers.
Does the governor even know this is an election year – and he’s on the ballot seeking a second term? Perhaps he thinks teachers don’t vote.
At any rate, even if Lee is assured of reelection, this is one uproar that refuses to die down.