Teachers talk more about war

March 25, 2003 12:00 am

By CLAIRE ST. JOHN

and The Associated Press

As the news changes and the battles shift in the United States' war against Iraq, so do people's opinions and questions.

It's no different for kids.

Some teachers have broadened classroom discussions by watching or reading the news daily and trying to answer students' questions about the current situation and what will happen in the future.

Curtis Creek Elementary School teacher David Mortensen polls his students nearly every morning.

Yesterday, he and his seventh- and eighth-grade classes read newspaper headlines before Mortensen asked the class "do you support what the administration and the Pentagon are doing in Iraq?"

"Twenty-eight to two were in favor," Mortensen said of his first class of the day. "That's a significant change from last week."

Mortensen said his students are keeping abreast of the war in Iraq, both in the classroom and at home.

"I think there's a lot of conversations going on in families," Mortensen said. "(In class), they are very somber, no jokes. They are taking this very seriously."

Calaveras High School teacher John Franceschi said his junior and senior students are able to speak knowledgeably in their U.S. history and government/economics classes.

"I'm really impressed about how informed they are," he said. "They understand that at one point, we were working with Iraq during the war with Iran. They understand the relationship between the CIA and bin Laden."

Some of his students joined peace marches in San Francisco, while others support the war, he said.

"There's a pretty dramatic split between those who think we're wrong and we shouldn't be doing this and those who think we have no choice," he said.