Keeping politics out of the classroom: Local woman petitioning school board

By: Tim Ciesco Email
By: Tim Ciesco Email

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) - A local woman plans to turn in hundreds of signatures to the District 51 School Board Tuesday night after she says multiple students told her their conservative viewpoints were being silenced by their teachers, but other students' liberal opinions were not.

Local attorney Rose Pugliese is petitioning the School Board to create and enforce an official policy that bars teachers from applying their political views to the teaching and grading of students.

As a former school board candidate and a sponsor of a high school Young Republicans group, Pugliese says she's all for teens getting involved in the political process and exploring different political ideas.

"Let the kids decide for themselves or debate amongst themselves," says Pugliese. "But to be told what to think, I think that's a problem."

A problem that she believes is creeping into local classrooms. "I don't think there should be any partisan politics in class at all," says Pugliese. "Liberal, conservative, it doesn't matter -- there's no place for it."

For the past several weeks, she's been circulating a petition asking the School Board to make sure teachers are teaching the facts and not their opinions. She was able to collect more than 600 signatures.

"These kids are concerned, their parents are concerned, and now the community is concerned," says Pugliese.

School District 51 told 11 News it could not comment on the petition because it has not received it yet or had time to review it. But officials did refer us to a policy the District has on the teaching of controversial issues.

According to that policy teachers must:
-Gather facts and opinions that represent various viewpoints on the issue
-Show respect for every person who discusses any aspect of the issue
-Employ techniques designed to stimulate discussion and develop understanding of the various viewpoints

But in spite of the policy already in place, Pugliese says she hopes the Board will consider looking into the issue.

"Whether or not they take what I'm doing seriously, I hope they start looking at our schools and making sure that we provide the best education possible," says Pugliese.

Pugliese also plans to turn in a second petition to the School Board asking them to either remove the topic of global warming from their curriculum or include what she calls a "conservative counter" to the "liberal theory."

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  • by Jason on May 25, 2010 at 08:03 PM
    What is the phrase? A Republican is a Democrat that has been robbed? Sorry that Rose was robbed, but don't you think she is robbing others? Maybe there in fact is a REASON she lost the School District Board race... humm, but no one would put that together now would they? Where is Janet Rowland to save the day? Oh right, she is trying to save Jane Norton.
  • by RickK Location: GJ on May 25, 2010 at 07:02 PM
    Rose Pugliese is right. Children should be taught about massively organized mis-information campaigns. There is much to be learned about the Conservative/industrial campaign against climate science. There is much to be learned about the anti-vaccine campaign. There is much to be learned from campaign against conventional medicine. There is much to be learned from the anti-evolution campaign, and the Discovery Institute advertising agency. There is much to be learned from the Brown and Williamson campaign to market "doubt" in the science that said smoking causes cancer. These are all examples of ideologies using slander, character assassination, lies, lawyers and lobbyists to promote ideology and to denigrate evidence-based science. Children should learn about these campaigns, and about how the Rose Puglieses of the world are deceived by such campaigns.
  • by Joe Location: GJ on May 25, 2010 at 12:30 PM
    A problem that she believes is creeping into local classrooms. "I don't think there should be any partisan politics in class at all," says Pugliese. "Liberal, conservative, it doesn't matter -- there's no place for it." But ask Ms Pugliese where she stands on separation of church and state and she will have the opposite view. Go figure. Awesome folks in this town...
  • by Amiee Location: Grand Junction on May 25, 2010 at 12:22 PM
    This is sad to me. I went to school in SD#51 and was yelled at for having not a conservative point of view. Just the opposite of what Rose is fighting for. It's not about sides, it's about being open minded. Maybe if she is on this track she should go down to Texas and help out there. I shudder to think where she stands on the Evolution/Creationism debate. Time to make the Daily Show yet again!
  • by Dave Location: gj on May 25, 2010 at 05:20 AM
    It is unfortunate that some feel that the views of others mean less simply because they don't agree with them. If teachers don't encourage kids to research the validity of positions taken by those who make governing policies, not many generations ahead will enjoy the freedoms we do. What a waste of a grand opportunity to teach how come to one's own conclusions. Teachers that are actually suppressing student’s positions out of deference to their own political ideologies without the benefit of presenting both sides of an issue are not living up to the requirements of the care of our young student’s minds.
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