Congressional Record of the United States of America
Proceedings and Debates of the 110th Congress, Second Session
Washington, Tuesday, June 24, 2008
Volume 154, Number 105
NEA'S HONORING OF PAUL MANN
Mr. HARKIN. Mr. President, in early July, when nearly 9,000 educators are in Washington for the National Education Association's annual Representative Assembly, they will posthumously honor one of Iowa's most dedicated and respected teachers, Paul Mann. Lola Mann, Paul's wife of 38 years, will accept the Applegate-Dorros Award on behalf of her late husband at NEA's annual Human and Civil Rights Awards Dinner on July 2.
The Applegate-Dorros Award is given each year to an individual who has made lasting contributions to the cause of international understanding, and who has encouraged young people to study the world and work for world peace. Over a long and distinguished career spanning nearly four decades as a teacher with the Des Moines public school system, Paul both lived and taught those ideals. He shaped the thinking of generations of students, and he was active on the national state as a long-time leader of NEA's Midwest Peace and Justice Caucus.
I do not believe that democracy is a spectator sport, and neither did Paul. As his wife Lola said, "he felt strongly that he was place on this earth for a purpose...that he was here to help make the world a better place." He challenged his colleagues and students alike to get involved in campaigns and in the broader political process. His own passion for politics and engagement was infectious.
Paul stood up for social justice and the peaceful resolution of conflict. Just as Gandhi counseled that "You must be the change you wish to see in the world," Paul lived a life that embodied the progressive ideals that he advocated.
Paul Mann was born in Onawa, IA on March 12, 1947, graduated from Central Missouri State University in 1969, and earned a master's in public administration from Drake University in 1981. He began teaching in Des Moines in 1969 and was an energetic, beloved teacher right up until his sudden passing in September of 2006. At the time of his death, he was a teacher of world civilization and government at Central Academy, the magnet school for Des Moines' gifted and talented middle- and high-school students.
As a teacher, Paul was a consummate professional who had a deep personal commitment to ensuring that every child receives a high-quality public education. this commitment lead to his activism and leadership withing the Des Moines Education Association, including 8 years as president. He served in various leadership positions at the local, State and national levels within the National Education Association. He was also active in local and State politics.
I have always appreciated what Lee Iococca said about teachers. "In a completely rational society," he said, "the best of us would be teachers and the rest of us would have to settle for something else." Fortunately, in Iowa, so many of our best and brightest do go into teaching. And Paul Mann was one of the very finest.
To honor his activism in the cause of world peace and understanding, the Paul Mann Memorial School has been established in Chiapas, Mexico. In addition, he has another living legacy: countless former students who are living the noble ideals that he taught in his classroom and embodied in his life.
Paul Mann lived a life of constant activism and thoughtful action both in and out of the classroom. His life is one worthy of recognition and I commend his family and all of his form colleagues for doing their part in honoring him with the Applegate-Dorros Award.