Dist. 211 candidate: Students should learn American values, threat of 'radical Islam'
With his backing from Tea Party Palatine, it's no surprise Palatine-Schaumburg High School District 211 board candidate Roman Golash says he cares tremendously about financial issues.
But unlike most tea party members, the economy and government spending isn't Golash's focus.
Instead, in both writings on his website and in an interview Thursday, the 60-year-old retired Army colonel said he worries about whether students are being taught American values and about Islamic terrorism.
"I care about the budget tremendously, because the taxes are going through the roof, that's a given," the Palatine resident said Thursday. "But more than that I'm concerned about the moral fiber of our youth."
Golash is one of seven candidates running for four open board seats in the April 5 election. A career military man before his retirement in May, the Chicago native has been politically active as a Palatine Township precinct captain.
While he agrees District 211 teachers do their jobs well, he said many instructors are young and lack his military perspective, a viewpoint which he believes will help the school board. He also wants to establish ROTC programs and military memorials at each of the district's five schools.
"High school graduates are going into a complex world, they need to understand the war against Islamic terrorism, but they also require a solid set of values," his website reads.
The site contains papers Golash has written about terrorism in the post-9/11 world and clamors for tougher immigration laws to keep "Islamic terrorists" off American soil.
"In 2004, up to 190,000 OTMs (other than Mexicans) came across the Mexican border into the United States leaving prayer rugs and Korans in the desert," one of his papers reads.
Golash said he's not picking on Islam and that there's a difference between radical Islam and law-abiding citizens who practice the faith.
"We didn't declare a war against a religion," he said. "This doesn't include honorable people of the religion of Islam. In reality, you can't say all Muslims are terrorists, but we are being primarily hit by Muslim terrorists. There's a subset of Islam that does want to destroy us."
Golash argues schools are where students need to develop better American values, including loyalty and a strong sense in religious faith. He repeatedly called for schools to help students with their "moral compasses."
Those comments raised concerns with Jason Spoor, a social studies teacher at Fremd High School in Palatine and head of the District 211 teachers union. "Morals are very different for a lot of parents and a lot of members of our community," Spoor said. "We have churches and families that are doing a wonderful job as far as educating students as to morals. His morals may not be the same standards that other members of the community determine to be their moral standard."
Spoor also wondered what role teachers should play, as "morals" can come from a variety of places.
"Do we teach that cheating is bad?" he said. "I would hope. I would hope there's a role for the teacher in that. Teaching respect, I would hope, but I'm not exactly sure how we define 'moral.'"
Golash also wants the district to switch American history books to "A Patriot's History of the United States." The book has received praise from some conservatives, and its content includes eight pages covering President Bill Clinton's impeachment hearings.
The book's description states it corrects problems with current books written by historians who "have searched for instances of racism, sexism, and bigotry in our history while downplaying the greatness of America's patriots and the achievements of 'dead white men.' As a result, more emphasis is placed on Harriet Tubman than on George Washington."
District 211 in 2007 adopted the use of the textbook "The Americans: Reconstruction to the 21st Century."