Sunday, May 01, 2005

Response to Ex-Recall Letter: Very Good

The Ex-Recall group apparently sent letters to everyone at Tilden Middle School -- one of the pilot schools for the eighth-grade curriculum -- warning them about the curriculum and encouraging them to oppose it. We don't have the original letter, well, we assume it's kind of like the other "literature" that's been sent out. The President of Tilden's PTSA responded by sending an email to the Tilden Yahoo group. I think it's good -- here it is:
To: [Tilden listserve]
From: [Susan Wyderco]
Date: Sat, 30 Apr 2005 22:26:59 -0000
Subject: [tilden] Changes to health curriculum

I and other members of the Tilden community have received a letter addressed to "Parents of [my child's name]" from a group calling itself "Citizens for a Responsible Curriculum." This letter purports to warn parents of an impending change to the health curriculum that, the letter states, "defends and advocates sexual variations."

Coincidentally, just last Friday I had the opportunity to examine the two hour health curriculum information that the letter claims to describe. I participated in a focus group with two school professionals, two eighth graders, and another parent. We reviewed carefully the exact information that will be presented to some eighth graders in a pilot program that will be offered later this school year. (Participation in the pilot is entirely voluntary.)

In my opinion, the letter we have received badly mis-states the information that is included in the new component of the curriculum. The new curriculum defines words (such as homosexuality) that our children encounter on a daily basis. It provides factual information in an appropriate and non-sensational manner. It does not "defend and advocate sexual variations." The curriculum, and the total health curriculum in general, strongly advocates abstinence from sexual relations.

I urge you not to come to any conclusions about the new component of the health curriculum on the basis of this letter (or, indeed, merely upon my description of it.) Your children deserve for you to first examine the curriculum before deciding whether it is appropriate or not.

Should you decide that the new curriculum contains information that is inappropriate for your child, the school system makes it easy for you to have your child "opt-out" of participating. That has been the case in the past with portions of the health curriculum which deal with issues touching upon human sexuality; it is true with this portion of the curriculum as well.

Susan Wyderko
PTSA President

Yes, there is that problem: CRC says one thing, the facts are something different. Each parent has the option of deciding for themselves whether to believe the Ex-Recall group, or what their lyin' eyes tell 'em. Oddly, it seems like some people are going to believe their own eyes.

There is a link to the curriculum materials on the right-hand side of this page. I say, click on the link, scroll down the page, look at the 8th and 10th-grade course outlines. See anything you can't stand? ... I didn't either.

[Thanks to Susan Wyderko for permission to reproduce her letter here]


Blogger Christine said...

I could not agree with Susan Wyderko and Jim Kennedy more. Use the link on our website or any other means possible to read the actual new health education curriculum for yourself. Call the school and seek answers to your questions from health educators who have been trained to use the new curriculum.

I urge each MCPS parent to employ your own values, beliefs, and judgement to decide for yourself if this newly proposed curriculum is right or wrong for your child(ren).

Chris Grewell

May 01, 2005 12:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


June 29, 2005 11:45 AM  

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