Opponents of a ballot measure to dismantle the state’s bilingual education law yesterday called on its backers to return money from a California millionaire bankrolling their campaign because of racially charged comments he made about the federal education czar.
The Committee for Fairness to Children & Teachers, which opposes the petition sponsored by California software entrepreneur Ronald Unz, demanded English for the Children of Massachusetts return the $173,000 contributed by Unz, said Tim Duncan, chairman of the committee. Unz called U.S. Education Secretary Rod Paige the “dimmest” member of the Bush Cabinet and suggested he only got the job because he is black.
While he has distanced himself from Unz’s comments, local director Lincoln Tamayo said the group will not return the money. He called the opposition’s demand a “desperate” attempt to focus on an issue other than educating children.
As of December, Unz had contributed $75,000 himself and an additional $98,000 through a California political committee.