To teach or not to teach? Global warming petition sparks debate at school board meeting

By: Tim Ciesco Email
By: Tim Ciesco Email

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) - Dozens showed up to Tuesday night's School Board meeting to voice their opinions about two petitions a local attorney turned in to Board members, one of which stirred up some controversy.

Since March, Rose Pugliese, a former Republican candidate for school board, has been circulating two petitions. One that asks the Board to create and enforce an official policy that bars teachers from applying their political views to their teaching and grading, and another that asks the board to prohibit the teaching of man-made global climate change as scientific fact in schools.

The latter was the topic of most remarks residents made to the Board during the public comment portion of the meeting.

Laura Kindregan, the Colorado head of the nationwide "Balanced Education for Everyone" campaign told Board Members her group is fine with the teaching of global warming in the classroom, but believes when the topic is introduced, teachers need to teach the "other side" of the climate change argument.

When asked what that other side was, Kindregan says, "That global warming doesn't exist, this is not the hottest our earth has ever been. There's science proving that our earth was much hotter during the medieval times, that we're going through a cycle."

"I wanted to support the Grand Junction community," says Kindregan. "What they have done with the initiation of Rose is really incredible."

Local biologist Richard Alward told Board Members the scientific community has been studying the effects of carbon dioxide on global temperatures since 1896, and the science to back up global warming is sound. He says it's important for students to learn about climate change because they will be the ones who have to deal with it later on.

"What I saw with these petitions was a motivation to introduce politics into the science classroom and I think that does harm to children, to the community, and the country," says Alward. "We have people who don't like some of the policy implications that are being proposed [because of global warming] and they attack science."

Pugliese collected 700 signatures for her global warming petition and 600 for her partisan politics one.

Because the petitions were turned in during the public comment portion of the meeting, Board Members did not respond to any comments made or take any official action on the issues.

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  • by John Location: 480 28 1/4 Rd trlr#48 on Jun 13, 2010 at 05:26 PM
    My Comment On Baring Our teachers from dicussing climate change in our schools is a bad idea .We should be teaching our students about climate change especially in History class.This is what I am talking about.We have freedom in this country to teach our children about whatever we need to teach them in school for education.Telling us we can not teach our children about climate change is like taking away our freedom.This is what I mean by America being treated like a communist country and that BS needs to stop.And no most of our school teachers for District 51 do a good job at teaching I think.But when We cannot express thing in our schools about climate change an how it affects the rest of the world I call our teaching principals not so good.Our schoolbooard needs to get off of their so called high horse about teaching about climate change.Otherwise how else are our children going to get an education in our schools.Banning this topic in schools is damaging our childrens right to learn.
  • by J Location: GJ on Jun 5, 2010 at 05:40 PM
    Maybe there should be less of a focus on HOW or IF global warming should be taught. Realize that a concerning issue is that with the reduction in teachers, your children's class size is increasing.
  • by Josh Location: Denver on Jun 2, 2010 at 09:52 AM
    After reading the comments here it is clear that Grand Junction needs to do something about it science education. First a scientific theory is a well supported understanding of how the world works not some hair brain passing flight of fancy. For example Germ Theory a basic precept of modern medicine or the Theory of Gravity. Should these not be taught as fact? Second science never proves a theory but through observation and experimentation adds support and/or refinement of a theory, Third Human induced climate change like evolution, Gravity and Germs is well supported and generally accepted by the scientific community. Fourth I love the irony of circulating a petition to bar politics from being injected into the classroom at the same time as circulating a petition to inject politics into the class room.
  • by Victoria Location: Michigan on May 28, 2010 at 09:55 AM
    Why would logic permit us to put an immature science's theory into immature minds? If parents really want their children taught global climate change then they should quit being lazy and teach it themselves. Because as we see politics has hijacked the discussion.And politics doesn't belong in the classroom of immature minds. Period.
  • by frank Location: GJ on May 27, 2010 at 05:22 PM
    I am 55 yrs old During the 1970's there was the theory of Global Cooling-Now it's Global Warming. In the 70's Carbon Monoxide was a danger to the Ozone-Now it's Carbon Dioxide. In fact I see lots of news reports that interchange the word Carbon Monoxide and Carbon Dioxide. there is no science in global warming and global cooling it is a theory and a theory is not a fact of science it's a theory just like Darwin Evolution that some people think it is a religion Darwinism. Keep Science get rid of Theories in the class room.
  • by Tim Ciesco Location: Grand Junction on May 27, 2010 at 01:31 PM
    Thank you for your comment Darby! I just wanted to clarify something quickly in reference to what you said. If you read the beginning of the story, you'll see that a second petition was circulated and turned in -- one that asks the school board to take partisan politics out of the classroom. When I said how many signatures her "partisan politics" petition received, I was referring to to that second petition, not the global warming one.
  • by Russell Location: Phoenix, AZ on May 26, 2010 at 03:53 PM
    NBC News 11 should ask 'local biologist Richard Alward' for his opinion on the 880 page REBUTTAL to the IPCC titled "Climate Change Reconsidered, The 2009 report of the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC)", seen at this link: What exactly is sound about the science claiming human-induced CO2 is driving global warming?
  • by Joe Location: GJ on May 26, 2010 at 11:32 AM
    We are conserving Ray. Fact is that we CANNOT function without oil and won't be able to function without oil for a long long time. A satisfactory alternative energy source has not yet been invented.
  • by Ray Location: Grand Junction on May 26, 2010 at 08:13 AM
    Since when is the "Scientific" community and The "Religo/Politco" fascists put in the same category? (Let's drill-baby-drill) And that is not the current administration's motto...If a real "conservative" exists - lets conserve energy and SEE if there is "climate change" or just cyclic normalises...
  • by Darby Location: Grand Junction on May 26, 2010 at 06:16 AM
    Hey Tim I dont see where calling it "her partisan politics one" is balanced journalism. I guess its only partisan if you believe in the great scam of global warming.
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