CSU teacher in Congress

Feb 112003
Authors: Patrick Crossland

What do you get when you mix professional women’s basketball with a degree at Stanford, a doctorate at CSU and five years as an assistant professor? State Representative Angie Paccione.

After eight years of involvement at CSU, Angie Paccione was elected as state representative for district 53 in 2002.

“It is very exciting; the responsibility is awesome,” Paccione said. “I don’t take it lightly, I’m doing all my homework.”

As a former coach, teacher and assistant professor, Paccione’s agenda has been geared toward students and youth. She recently attempted to have a bill passed which would allow minors to serve on the board of directors of non-profit organizations.

“What I liked about it was that it created opportunities for young people,” Paccione said. “One of my missions is to create opportunities for kids.”

Though the bill did not pass, Paccione plans to have the bill passed at a later time.

“I definitely want to come back with that bill,” she said. “There is no harm in this bill.”

She said the message sent to her was unfortunately sent to young people as well and says our society should ask more of young people.

Paccione is a proponent of the voucher system giving state subsidies to the student rather than the university, allowing students who normally couldn’t afford to attend a four-year college to attend a community college.

Paccione stressed the voucher system would not provide aid for those wanting to or attending four-year colleges.

“Community college is a good deal,” she said. “Some higher education is better than none.”

She also cautioned the voucher system can send a message that minority students belong in community colleges while Caucasian students belong at four-year universities.

Paccione is working towards other education bills including a bill to aid international baccalaureate students by clarifying credit allotments.

Paccione said credits taken in high school would count toward college credits, cutting back on the cost of college courses.

“What they do in high school can count toward college credits,” Paccione said. “Students don’t have to pay for classes they shouldn’t be taking.”

At her web site, Paccione says, “I will continue to fight to create opportunities for our young people to be meaningfully engaged in our communities.”

Her passion for young people is the product of years of involvement. She was the first woman in the history of Colorado high school sports to coach a boy’s sport at the large school classification. As well as teaching, Paccione became a dean of students at Smokey Hill.

Paccione says student input is important to her because it is her job to represent CSU, an impossible task without input from students.

“I want student input,” she said. “You can’t represent if you don’t have the input from the people you represent.”

Though taking time away from teaching, Paccione said she will return to CSU to teach during the summer and the fall.

“I don’t want to forfeit my connection to CSU,” she said.

While working as the state representative, Paccione has taken a leave of absence from her position as director at Project Promise.

Project Promise is a teacher licenser program for people who already have a degree in something other than education, but want to become teachers. said Brandy Hodgson, a Project Promise instructor.

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