Friday, May 13, 2005

School Board Gives Away the Rest of 2005

I'll start by quoting something toward the end of this morning's Washington Post story.
[Montgomery County school superintendent Jerry] Weast said the resource materials were for teachers only.

"It is important to note that there are two components to the health education program: the curriculum that is presented to students and the teacher resource materials that are provided only to teachers," Weast said. Montgomery Deal Aims to Resolve Sex-Ed Suit

Now, if he had said that last week, say, in front of a federal judge, maybe the rest of the story would have been different.

Instead, here's the news today:
Montgomery County school officials and two community groups that had sued over changes in the school system's sex education curriculum reached an agreement yesterday that both sides hope will allow them to work out their differences.

Citizens for a Responsible Curriculum and Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays joined the school system in asking a federal judge to extend a 10-day temporary restraining order through the end of December to give both sides time to see whether they can reach a settlement in their dispute over the revised curriculum.

"This is a good sign," said Erik Stanley, the lawyer representing the two groups that had sought to block the sex-ed program. "This gives all parties time to see if this can possibly be resolved. It takes some of the pressure involved off."

Added Superintendent Jerry D. Weast: "The agreement reached today by our attorneys provides us with the time and opportunity to resolve this litigation, which we hope can be done in an amicable and productive manner while at the same time maintaining the school system's fundamental right to control its own curriculum."

No, dude, you just gave up the right to control your own curriculum. Or are you talking about some time in the twenty-second century?

When the judge issues a ten-day restraining order, you take the ten days, you regroup, and you come back swinging. Instead, you immediately cancelled the video, which had already been piloted and approved, and which was not part of the restraining order or mentioned in the judge's opinion. You gave 'em that, without explanation.

Then you stretched it out from ten days to the end of the school year. We can understand that, there're only a few weeks left, and this might have prevented a devastating injunction.

But now, the ten-day TRO is extended to the end of the calendar year? This important instructional material will not be piloted in the current semester, or the fall semester? Ten days now stretched out to more than half a year?

The CRC/PFOX win rested entirely on their lawyers bamboozling the judge into believing that the teachers' background resources are part of the curriculum that is presented to students. MCPS lawyers should never have allowed the judge to be fooled that easily.

But the judge was confused, and then lazy reporters around the region, and around the country, took the judge's opinion and quoted it, and people everywhere believe now that the curriculum was teaching kids that Unitarians are better people than Baptists.

Resolving the issue is easy: throw out the three teachers' resources that offended the judge. Re-train the teachers, if that is necessary, it should take a day. Ten-day restraining order? Thanks, Yer Honor, we got 'er all fixed now, ready to get back on the road.

The new curriculum was written to achieve an objective. Currently, Montgomery County kids are brought up to be totally ignorant about a significant minority in our county -- and our country's -- population. Homosexuality is a facet of human sexuality that exists whether the bigots approve of it or not. It belongs in a course that calls itself "sex education."

The way it is now, stereotypes are allowed to grow, or when groups like the Citizens for a Responsible Curriculum host the show, negative stereotypes are encouraged to grow. Gays are recruiting your children, they tell you. Look at this gay porn -- this is what your kids will see in school, they tell you. Gay people are promiscuous, they molest children, they eat poop -- all these ideas have been promoted by the Citizens for a Responsible Curriculum.

This is what we're fighting against. Bigotry and hatred.

The objective must not be abandoned.

Rumor is that the school board has hired some good lawyers. Good. I for one would like to see the case won by the best argument, not by bamboozlement.

Because we're really just at the beginning -- the court case is hardly a week old. But listen, people, we're going to have to fight for this. It's not going to drop into our laps.


Anonymous Gleeful said...

CRC says that homosexuals eat poop.

That's the level of discourse you have here.

They're just bigots who hate everyone who's different, right, Jim?

If the BOE is populated with people like you, then it's no wonder that they didn't meet with CRC. They can't deal with someone who disagrees with them in an adult manner -- they have to demonize them.

May 13, 2005 11:49 AM  
Blogger JimK said...

OK, they didn't say "eat poop." They said "ingest fecal material."

May 13, 2005 1:08 PM  
Anonymous Tish said...

Jim, do you suppose the new legal team had anything to do with this? They've been brought in pretty quickly, whereas the Liberty Council and its lawyers have been handling the CRC for several months. I don't like the way this looks, but it could be about giving the legal team the time to choose their strategy. The Health Ed. classes are taught in the spring semesters (except for the 10th grade unit which is also available in summer school). If this goes forward in December or January we will still have the pilot on track for next spring. If this step backward is going to result in better footing for the next step forward, then I can hold off on getting mad about it.

We need to remember that we are asking the BOE to move forward and give our 21st century students a 21st century education. I think we can be very flexible about the presentation of the core material, as long as the material itself is not compromised.

May 13, 2005 4:15 PM  
Blogger Kay2898 said...

MCPS works with several law firms. The one now "on board" has been used in past by BOE.

Nothing new and certainly what BOE should do as this is going to be a long fight..down and dirty... as they say... before the end is reached by winning appeals.

Surely ExRecall (CRC) did not think that BOE would rollover? ExRecall (CRC) would never think that parents/community support BOE and look at it as necessary to stop their agenda...well they should. The agenda should be to impart children with the knowledge they should have to make wise decisions about their own bodies and protect themselves if and when they choose to have sex.

ExRecall (CRC) had been beating the bushes for months trying to get parental plaintiffs to hop on board their legal train. This lawsuit business has been in works for them...say like yesterday....even as they spent time in public saying.."We just want to meet with BOE...." Nobody and especially did BOE buy that hence lawsuit was in play once ExRecall (CRC) did not get their way.

BOE can take time to regroup and come out swinging.

I support that on this issue and I look at it as my tax dollars being spent wisely.

Kay R

May 13, 2005 6:29 PM  
Blogger andrear said...

To Gleeful(or whoever you are)- Tres Kerns - an invited honored speaker at the CRC "town hall' meeting- said exactly that- in the more "elegant" manner that Jim mentions in his response to you. You can choose to not believe it-weren't you the person who said TTF was not stopped from getting signatures at the meeting and actual CRC people admitted we were stopped. What do you think telling us we don't know what we heard or read- when we were there, have it on tape or have the actual statement in an e:mail or article-does? I think Tres Kerns speech is on-line - I taped it. I have not listened to it nor have I referred to the transcript since that day- most of what I heard that day is unfortunately burned into my mind. And I bet Tres Kerns says this same thing lots of places- go ask him on his web site. We are not demonizing anyone- there is no need to- these peoples' own words demonize them.

May 13, 2005 9:53 PM  

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