Tuesday, March 22, 2005

The Conservative Curriculum

We realized when we first saw the Board of Education's report that we were going to have a problem. And we immediately realized what the problem was going to be. And we understood, from that first gloomy moment, that there was no easy solution.

The problem has to do with the word conservative.

In its usual usage, "conservative" means something like "avoiding excess." A conservative suit does not call attention to itself. Conservative behavior conforms to expectations, doesn't stand out.

The new curriculum proposed by the MCPS Board of Education is conservative. By that definition.

Sadly, the word conservative has another meaning, though. It has a political meaning. I'm not sure what it means any more, I think the definition has changed, but suffice it to say: the people who oppose this curriculum are people who would be called, in this day and age, politically "conservative."

So it's hard to say the curriculum is "conservative" when "conservatives" oppose it. See the problem?

Another word might do. Like, "modest." But no, it's not really a modest curriculum, it is comprehensive so it's not modest in the sense of being small and unimposing, and it doesn't address the question of modesty.

"Moderate?" How does that work? "A moderate curriculum." No, unfortunately that sounds like it means "not very good." Like, "He was a moderate student." See what I mean?

"Restrained?" Naw, restraint has nothing to do with it. I mean, it's quite low-key, but it's really just another health class. You know, like it's no more restrained than your average precalculus class.

Hey -- how about "low-key?" Mmm, a low-key curriculum. No, I don't think that's going to do it. It doesn't matter how intense it is, that's not the issue.

So ... you see the problem, right? In fact, the curriculum is very conservative, but we can't call it that, because those other guys own the word. It's basically the same old curriculum, but with a little bit of new stuff added about sexual identity and sexual orientation, and a new video. Kind of bringing it up to the Eighties, it seems to me. Never mind the twenty-first century, with "Queer Eye" and "Will and Grace," where gay is just part of reality -- this curriculum very ... conservatively ... brings up a subject that some student's parents are uptight about, and deals with it very ... conservatively.

You see the problem?


Anonymous Dr. Roger Johnson said...

Well thats because you are ignoring the truth when your trying to find a label for it.

Try Extreme, Liberal, Progressive, or Pro-Gay, they all seem more appropriate and accurate than any of the ones you mentioned to describe your position.

I did listen to that recording you posted, and I have to admit the "conservative" side of this debate is as extreme as yours, and just as scary.

Which brings me to the obvious observation....why are both sides trying to impose their extreme ideologies on our children. Why cant we just compromise and not make our schools a battleground for either side's agenda.

Sounds to me like a school that didn't teach that homosexual lifestyles are "normal", or that we were created by a supreme being, would be a perfect compromise. They wont try to make public schools Christian Madrasses, and you wont attempt to force their children to accept homosexual behavior as being a socially acceptable lifestyle against their will.

March 22, 2005 8:30 PM  
Blogger JimK said...


Please take a few minutes out of your busy day to read the board of education report that describes the curriculum. The word "normal" isn't in it. There's nothing vaguely "pro-gay" about it. It is very matter-of-fact.

In your vast practice you must have observed that some of your many patients are, in fact, gay. You don't seem gullible enough to believe that they chose to be that way, and you probably observed (I'm sure you double-gloved) that they are approximately as mentally healthy as the rednecks you normally, ahem, I mean, as the rest of your clientelle. Up till now you couldn't even tell kids in the schools here that gay people existed. Now you can tell them that, but not much more.

It is a very conservative curriculum.


March 22, 2005 9:41 PM  
Anonymous Dr. Roger Johnson said...

I am not that kind of a Doctor, but yes I do have a rather conservative clientèle, and at the moment they are mostly perturbed at me for pointing out the pandering overtones of Congress' pretentious sense of urgency in the Schiavo case, and my apparently overly factual comparisons of modern day Islamic tendencies for violence to historical Christian positions have made me the target of their passionate yet obviously erroneous permanently fixed agenda.

But hey thats the price you pay to be an open minded moderate in my chosen field of practice, and thats what I am trying to be here, and thats also the direction I am suggesting you should take if you want to succeed in this endeavor.

The proposed accurate labels I suggested in my above post where directed at your personal position on the overall situation, and not a reflection of the report which I have not seen.

Did I miss a link you posted to it, or do I need to google it up via the school board's website?

March 22, 2005 10:26 PM  
Blogger JimK said...


The report is linked from our Resources page. Or try this:

Or if that's too long:

The revisions to the curriculum are listed there. New stuff is bolded.


March 23, 2005 6:27 AM  
Anonymous Dr. Roger Johnson said...

Devil's Volcano

March 23, 2005 7:22 PM  
Blogger JimK said...

Yes, Doctor, that link is right on target. We got trouble here in River City.

March 23, 2005 9:08 PM  

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