Petitions target ‘political’ leanings of teachers

The presentation of petitions calling for local teachers to keep partisan political views out of the classroom and stop teaching global warming drew nearly 40 people to Tuesday evening’s District 51 school board meeting.
The petition about non-partisan teaching received 600 signatures, while the climate change petition garnered 700 signatures, according to petition author Rose Pugliese, a Palisade lawyer and member of the Western Colorado Conservative Alliance who ran for a school board seat in November. Greg Mikolai won the seat.

Pugliese said she started circulating the petitions in mid-March because she said parents told her during and after her campaign that they were concerned their children’s conservative views were being silenced in the classroom. Pugliese said it’s possible some children’s liberal views may have been shot down as well, but she said she doesn’t know many liberal parents.

“I don’t believe teachers should be imparting their personal, political views in the classroom,” Pugliese told the board Tuesday.

Laura Kindregan, head of Colorado’s branch of the national Balanced Education for Everyone campaign, came from Denver to attend Tuesday’s meeting. Kindregan said the campaign’s goal is “to get people more aware of the effect on kids of teaching global warming.”

“If you’re going to teach it, then show the other side,” she said.

The two petitions ask for opposing actions, local scientist Rich Alward said. Alward told the board he’s fine with keeping partisan views out of instruction, but he said science instruction “should stay rigorous.”

“It’s very curious to me the second petition asks us to bring political theories into the classroom,” when the first asks to keep them out, Alward said.


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