Parent: School, politics a bad mix

Full story: Lowell Sun 58
What started as a discussion about the impending elections in Massachusetts and ballot Question 3 at Nissitissit Middle School in Pepperell has turned into a debate about whether it is appropriate for a teacher to express political opinions in the classroom. Full Story
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been there

Tewksbury, MA

#41 Nov 1, 2010
My daughter has been doing current event assignments since middle school. The kids do love to debate and disagree with the teacher! There is nothing wrong with this.

She couldn't vote in the Obama McCain election and she and my husband debated every night at dinner because they were both on opposite sides. She knew her facts too! I am so proud of her. She has a mind of her own and she doesn't have to agree with us on everything. Now she's a very independent college student.

I thought it was our job as parents to raise them to be independant, responsible adults to go out and make their own choices and learn from their own mistakes. Good for the teacher if he gets them discussing something other than Hannah Montana.
you did not call it

Pepperell, MA

#42 Nov 1, 2010
not my tax dollars wrote:
<quoted text>
I've lived in pepperell for years and I can't beleive this is happening in our schools. Kids today aren't learning what they should be learning in the classroom. I see kids who think Ben Franklin was a U.S. president and most can't even locate countries on a world map. Sad. So did this teacher run out of textbook material on the school social studies curriculum? Were all the school social studis teachers talking about the Mass. ballot or just this teacher? The classroom shouldn't be used to lobby for any issue no matter how old the kids are. Don't use my tax dollars for that. Kids are influenced by many adults they come in contact with not just their own folks.
We have some teachers in our family(not in this state) and they say that religion, politics and sex are not discussed in the classroom. In fact there are district policies against it. I think this news story had something in it about not campaigning on school grounds, ect. so it seems reasonable that there should be a policy on political opinion from staff in classrooms. Looks like this parent went to the school board to ask if there was a policy. School board folks are the people responsible for district policy so that seems fine.
Looks like you live in pepperell "you called it" so if you disagree why don't you go the school board and tell them you want freedom of opinion in the classroom. Be careful of what you ask for though becuase that means freedom for ALL opinion-someones political opinion or religious opinion or opinion on sexual lifestyle. You can't just draw the line where you want it.
If you think the middle schoolers here would figure out the teachers opinion anyway then why don't you just let them figure it out for themselves on their own time? Let kids do their own research without the teacher imposing their opinion. Kids are influenced by many adults they have contact with not just their own folks so to say the teacher's opinion doesn't mean anything is silly and wrong.
To scare the kids into thinking that their favorite teachers might be gone becuase of how people vote on this question is just wrong and irresponsible. Local aid is only $5B out of $47B state budget, so there's plenty of other cuts which can be made. Just elect the right people to audit this budget. Lets let the kids focus on their studies and stop the fear mongering and using them as pawns in the political process. Want a teacher's opinion? see post 33 here..
http://www.topix.com/forum/source/sentinel-an...
Unlike some Topix readers I don't feel the need to go to the school board because I have never had a problem that was not solved by a quick note to the teacher or rarely a call to the principal. Nor do I feel that a problem I may have had called for a "policy change" for the entire school district. Since most school committee meetings are not full of disgruntled parents I assume many other residents feel the same. I am fine with discussions on politics and religion in the classrooms. Parents can request to review the health cirriclum also if they have concerns and yes I am ok with those talks too. Topics related to elections are discussed in middle school social studies classes through out Massachusetts. It's called teaching by most resonable people. I would only considered it lobbying if you are speaking to a group who can actually vote! If your doing your job as a parent and talk with your children at home then you should not worry about them being jaded by a school discussion. If you want to micro-manage what your children are exposed to then keep them home and let them "research" to your heart's content. You certainly aren't going to find a private school who is going to let you dictate policy changes.
speak for yourself

Pepperell, MA

#43 Nov 1, 2010
not my tax dollars wrote:
<quoted text>
Ya know a lot of parents don't even know whats happening in their childs classroom. Ya its not that they're not capable or unhappy. They probably have no idea whats going on.
I think plenty of parents DO have an idea what is going on in their children's classes. Have you ever gone to an open house and NOT seen the school full of parents waiting to talk with their child's teacher about their progress? What MOST parent are NOT doing is expecting an entire school district to make or change a policy because they are unhappy of what was allegedly discussed in one classroom.
Jerry C

Pepperell, MA

#44 Nov 1, 2010
you did not call it wrote:
<quoted text>
Nor do I feel that a problem I may have had called for a "policy change" for the entire school district. Since most school committee meetings are not full of disgruntled parents I assume many other residents feel the same. I am fine with discussions on politics and religion in the classrooms.
Topics related to elections are discussed in middle school social studies classes through out Massachusetts. It's called teaching by most resonable people. I would only considered it lobbying if you are speaking to a group who can actually vote!
The way I read the article the person was asking asking IF there was a policy and left it with the folks on the school board. Whats wrong with you? The parent wasn't dictating any policy...taxpayers can ask for policy info. because they FUND the district. Ya thats right...those folks on the school board are accountable to ALL the residents not just the ones you agree with. Nobody asked you if it was OK on what to discuss in class--who made you the new supt.? Looks like the supt. agreed that discussions like this could make students uncomfortable and it would be addressed. Thats good enough for me as a taxpayer so it doesnt really matter what you think.
You are assuming things left and right here and you know what they say about people who assume. Looks like this has been addressed so you can go on ranting and raving at the wall. And if folks were allowed to take their tax money in the form of vouchers and send it to the school of their choice, there wouldnt have to be discussions like this. The fact is that public schools are accountable to the taxpayers who fund them so anyone can present their concerns to the board. their tax money affords them that right. Looks like you have an ax to grind...too bad no one gives a cr*p what you think. The spt. has spoken and didnt consult with you. Glad my grandkids dont have to put up with people like this.
Jerry C

Pepperell, MA

#45 Nov 1, 2010
speak for yourself wrote:
<quoted text>
I think plenty of parents DO have an idea what is going on in their children's classes. What MOST parent are NOT doing is expecting an entire school district to make or change a policy because they are unhappy of what was allegedly discussed in one classroom.
Who asked or cares what you think. Leave this issue with the school board and spt. Dont remember hearing they needed to consult with anyone else. Theyll do what they need to do and are answerable to the taxpayers in the district. You got issues.
A Student

Tewksbury, MA

#46 Nov 1, 2010
Teachers, please keep your personal opinions to yourself unless I ask you for them period.
wow

Lowell, MA

#47 Nov 2, 2010
A Student wrote:
Teachers, please keep your personal opinions to yourself unless I ask you for them period.
America's youth, self absorbed and self centered, they only care about themselves and how thing effect them. Welcome to the ME generation. Also look at the lack of respect, and people wonder why America is fallingbehind other countries. This child needs discipline.
citizen

Lowell, MA

#48 Nov 2, 2010
Jerry C wrote:
<quoted text>
The way I read the article the person was asking asking IF there was a policy and left it with the folks on the school board. Whats wrong with you? The parent wasn't dictating any policy...taxpayers can ask for policy info. because they FUND the district. Ya thats right...those folks on the school board are accountable to ALL the residents not just the ones you agree with. Nobody asked you if it was OK on what to discuss in class--who made you the new supt.? Looks like the supt. agreed that discussions like this could make students uncomfortable and it would be addressed. Thats good enough for me as a taxpayer so it doesnt really matter what you think.
You are assuming things left and right here and you know what they say about people who assume. Looks like this has been addressed so you can go on ranting and raving at the wall. And if folks were allowed to take their tax money in the form of vouchers and send it to the school of their choice, there wouldnt have to be discussions like this. The fact is that public schools are accountable to the taxpayers who fund them so anyone can present their concerns to the board. their tax money affords them that right. Looks like you have an ax to grind...too bad no one gives a cr*p what you think. The spt. has spoken and didnt consult with you. Glad my grandkids dont have to put up with people like this.
Good Post!
Learn to read

Pepperell, MA

#49 Nov 2, 2010
Jerry C wrote:
<quoted text>
Who asked or cares what you think. Leave this issue with the school board and spt. Dont remember hearing they needed to consult with anyone else. Theyll do what they need to do and are answerable to the taxpayers in the district. You got issues.
If you took the time to not only read the original article and posts AND comprehend the information then maybe you would be able to follow what is being discussed and responded to. If you don't want to read different opinions then don't. I don't have an ax to grind. I was not whining to the school committee, complaining to the principal and polling students. The comments made were in response to another post.
reality check

Pepperell, MA

#50 Nov 3, 2010
you did not call it wrote:
<quoted text>
I am fine with discussions on politics and religion in the classrooms.
Priceless. You might just have a problem given the separation of church and state. It's one thing to discuss a topic objectively, which wasn't the issue in this article. Discussions minus opinions aren't the problem. It's another thing to put forth one's opinion on a matter. Imagine if the class was discussing different religions and the teacher had said, "here's why I am a Christian," instead of "here's why I'm voting for---." Brilliant, but we're so glad you're fine with it. Another failure from the public ed. system.
Loves Attention

Gardner, MA

#51 Nov 4, 2010
The parent who initiated this discussion seems to be on an ego trip. She speaks all the time at School Committee meetings and acts as if she knows more than everyone in the room. She probably likes to see herself on cable TV and hear her own voice in the microphone. She seems to think the rest of us need to know her opinion on anything school related and she's critical to a fault of our superintendent and school committee. I for one am tired of hearing her views and I don't need her to "fix" my school system. Unfortunately we have to tolerate such self important individuals who grasp at their 15 minutes of fame however they can get it!
reality check

Pepperell, MA

#52 Nov 4, 2010
Loves Attention wrote:
The parent who initiated this discussion seems to be on an ego trip. She speaks all the time at School Committee meetings and acts as if she knows more than everyone in the room. She probably likes to see herself on cable TV and hear her own voice in the microphone. She seems to think the rest of us need to know her opinion on anything school related and she's critical to a fault of our superintendent and school committee. I for one am tired of hearing her views and I don't need her to "fix" my school system. Unfortunately we have to tolerate such self important individuals who grasp at their 15 minutes of fame however they can get it!
Town meetings, etc. are for the purpose of open discussion for ALL taxpayers and residents. If you disagree with something that's said by ANYONE, it's your right and responsibility to speak up. It's how decisions are made in open government, funded by the people.

Sounds like you have a personal issue with the parent. That's your problem. Residents themselves can't "fix" the problems, but their representatives can. Since the school committee and superintendent have the responsibility to review policy, etc., you should trust that they'll address issues in the district accordingly. Every town should have interested taxpayers who are engaged in how decisions are made. You don't like it...speak up for yourself or move to China.
Attention hound for sure

Pepperell, MA

#53 Nov 4, 2010
reality check wrote:
<quoted text>
Town meetings, etc. are for the purpose of open discussion for ALL taxpayers and residents. If you disagree with something that's said by ANYONE, it's your right and responsibility to speak up. It's how decisions are made in open government, funded by the people.
Sounds like you have a personal issue with the parent. That's your problem. Residents themselves can't "fix" the problems, but their representatives can. Since the school committee and superintendent have the responsibility to review policy, etc., you should trust that they'll address issues in the district accordingly. Every town should have interested taxpayers who are engaged in how decisions are made. You don't like it...speak up for yourself or move to China.
The person refered to in the article DOES jump on or if needed create "problems" to discuss and DOES try to make it sound like she is representing other parents or studendts rather than her own personal opinion. For example in the article she mentioned that three fourths of the class said they were uncomfortable or worried after the class. How exactly would she know how those other students feel? Who gave her permission to ask other children? I can only imagine how she would carry on if ANYONE dared to speak or question her child without her consent! She only has the right to represent herself and her child not all parents in Pepperell. If she does choose to speak (and oh boy does she!) in a public forum and agrees to have the Sun quote and publish her words that's her choice. Those on Topix also have the right to comment on what is said. The reason other parents aren't "speaking up" is because they do not choose to make an individual problem a district problem, let alone request a policy change to suit their own preferences. So I don't think that flight to China will be full so maybe YOU should think about taking a vacation. I here China is a great destination!
So right

Pepperell, MA

#54 Nov 4, 2010
Loves Attention wrote:
The parent who initiated this discussion seems to be on an ego trip. She speaks all the time at School Committee meetings and acts as if she knows more than everyone in the room. She probably likes to see herself on cable TV and hear her own voice in the microphone. She seems to think the rest of us need to know her opinion on anything school related and she's critical to a fault of our superintendent and school committee. I for one am tired of hearing her views and I don't need her to "fix" my school system. Unfortunately we have to tolerate such self important individuals who grasp at their 15 minutes of fame however they can get it!
You are not the only person sick of hearing it!
Thou Protest Too Much

Worcester, MA

#55 Nov 4, 2010
Loves Attention wrote:
The parent who initiated this discussion seems to be on an ego trip. She speaks all the time at School Committee meetings and acts as if she knows more than everyone in the room. She probably likes to see herself on cable TV and hear her own voice in the microphone. She seems to think the rest of us need to know her opinion on anything school related and she's critical to a fault of our superintendent and school committee. I for one am tired of hearing her views and I don't need her to "fix" my school system. Unfortunately we have to tolerate such self important individuals who grasp at their 15 minutes of fame however they can get it!
I seem to see somebody else at that microphone just as often, Constance.Those who live in glass houses should not not throw stones; especially on the taxpayer's dole. Now get back to work!!!
Teri

Richmond, VA

#56 Nov 9, 2010
really wrote:
Don't like it? Homeschool your kid. Stop trying to control everything in their pathetic little life. Let them live and learn. They don't have to mini clones of you. You seriously have issues if you have to go straight to the top instead of dealing with the issue directly with the teacher.
Hey, I think you are the issues if you are calling children's lives "pathetic". Who are you to say that? It is just ugly.
So right

Pepperell, MA

#57 Nov 10, 2010
Jerry C wrote:
<quoted text>
Most parents today dont even know whats going on in school so thats why they dont speak up at school board meetings. they have nothing to say.
Ya so sit down and shut up and just ante up with your tax dollars everyone. Dont bring your concerns to elected officials like school board officials who are supposed to know whats going on and make district policy. Looks like this parent was just doing what most tax payers should be doing--bringing concerns to elected officials so that they can make policy if necessary or ensure policy is being followed. If more taxpayers spoke up about issues or concerns as they were happening our country wouldn’t be in the sorry state its in now.
My daughter sends my grandkids to private school and they are learning history and geography in social studies classes (5th and 7th grade). Don’t know how old their textboks are but it doesn’t seem like the teachers are running out of material. Guess the difference is that its private school and not public school where some teachers feel like they have to toe the union line.
As a taxpayer I’m getting sick and tired of paying for union members to lobby anyone especially the kids in class. Don’t remember this happening when I went to school. You got an opinion? Go hold a sign on the town green or make a contribution to your favorite candidate. Its not your job to indoctrinate every up and coming voter to your way of thinking.
I know weve got some good teachers in town--they're friends and neighbors and even they dont think this is right. So it sounds like this teacher just decided to do his own thing. Its not OK with our tax dollars in taxpayer funded buildings.. Looks like even the superntendent was concerrned too and recognized this shouldn’t be happening.
Enough is enough. Just follow the currculum already. Its no wonder so many families are looking to educate their kids outside the public school system if this kind of stuff is happening.
Sure just follow the book, teach to the MCAS don't get any more creative then that. That's definatley provides a great education. Your children mus not think that is so or they children would be attending public school Jerry or do you feel that is fine for private school teachers to say anything they want since your tax dollars are not paying for their salaries? I myself have many public school teacher friends who DID not vote for the canidates backed by the teacher's union so don't assume or label the teacher's comments as lobbying. My tax dollars do go to NMRSD and I as a tax payer do not appreciate listening to that particular parents negativity toward just about anything school related. Most of the comments that come from those lips are half truths or spun to suit her own need to complain. She should like your children send her kid's to a private school.
union GREED ALERT

Dracut, MA

#58 Nov 10, 2010
So right wrote:
<quoted text>
My tax dollars do go to NMRSD and I as a tax payer do not appreciate listening to that particular parents negativity toward just about anything school related. Most of the comments that come from those lips are half truths or spun to suit her own need to complain.
MOTS

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