Haines school superintendent wrong about NEA-Alaska

Posted: Monday, June 30, 2003

Recently published comments by Haines School Superintendent Woody Wilson require a response ("NEA-Alaska sues Haines, Hoonah over layoffs, June 18). I would like to set the record straight about NEA-Alaska's defense of the three tenured teachers dismissed by the Haines School District.

First, Superintendent Wilson says that NEA-Alaska has filed this lawsuit only because Haines and Hoonah are small districts. Nothing could be further from the truth. NEA-Alaska stands up for our members, for the students of Alaska and public education no matter the opponent.

We are currently involved in a lawsuit against the state of Alaska to uphold the constitutional prohibition against diminishing the benefits of retired educators. Interestingly enough, one of the future beneficiaries of this lawsuit is Superintendent Wilson.

Second, Superintendent Wilson questioned the numbers we use. These numbers came directly from the Department of Education and Early Development. In turn, the department's numbers came from Superintendent Wilson. If he doesn't like the fact that we are using his own

numbers, then perhaps it is not the numbers that are specious, but the superintendent's use of them.

NEA-Alaska respects Superintendent Wilson's right to disagree with us, but his use of inflammatory and misleading rhetoric is simply not acceptable. It is unfortunate that Superintendent Wilson has forgotten that the mission of the Haines schools is to educate its students. It is the quality teachers of the district, such as those three who have been fired, that make this possible.

Rich Kronberg, president , NEA-Alaska

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