Paige tells governors NEA is 'terrorist organization' WASHINGTON (AP) Education Secretary Rod Paige called the nation's largest teachers union a "terrorist organization" during a private White House meeting with governors on Monday. Democratic and Republican governors confirmed Paige's remarks about the 2.7-million-member National Education Association. "These were the words, 'The NEA is a terrorist organization,'" said Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle of Wisconsin. "He was making a joke, probably not a very good one," said Democratic Gov. Ed Rendell of Pennsylvania. "Of course he immediately divorced the NEA from ordinary teachers, who he said he supports." "I don't think the NEA is a terrorist organization," said Rendell, who has butted heads with the group as well. "They're not a terrorist organization any more than the National Business Organization is a terrorist organization. Neither the Education Department nor NEA had an immediate comment on Paige's comments. Both indicated that statements were forthcoming. Education has been a top issue for governors, who have sought more flexibility from the administration on President Bush's "No Child Left Behind" law, which seeks to improve school performance in part by allowing parents to move their children from poorly performing schools.