You can take the teacher out of the classroom — even send him to Congress — but you can't take the classroom out of the teacher. Or take away his red pencil.
Before coming to Washington, freshman Democrat Mark Takano taught English for 23 years — mostly at Rialto High School. He must have been a tough grader.
In the midst of the heated Congressional debate over immigration, Takano tries humor — a bit of political fun at the expense of his GOP colleagues.
Republican House members were circulating a "Dear Mr. Speaker" letter urging John Boehner to take up immigration reform in pieces rather than consider the comprehensive Senate bill. (No mention is made of the bipartisan bill being crafted in the House by the "Gang of 7.")
"Strong thesis" he writes next to the opening sentence that reads: "The nation's immigration system is broken and in need of serious reform."
It went downhill from there.
Takano uses that red pencil liberally, underlining several passages, scribbling "evidence??" next to them. He questions one sentence that alleges "vote-buying that occurred in the waning days before the Senate vote" on immigration, asking the writer, "Do you have evidence or are you just making an accusation?" He concludes by calling the letter a "weak draft" and includes three suggestions for a rewrite, including "address pathway (to citizenship) issue."
He gives the letter a big fat "F" and asks the writer to "see him after votes."
No word on whether the letter writer is formally appealing the grade.
Takano said he "edited this letter because I want the conversation to be honest. I want the author to admit that he opposes a path to citizenship. Once that happens, the people actually trying to fix our immigration system can come together and chart a course forward."
We assume the letter is making its way to Boehner without Takano's edits. No California GOP members signed the letter.