Sunday, July 03, 2005

That Money Could Have Been Spent on Something Useful

Here's The Gazette talking about last week's agreement ending the lawsuit:
"We were prepared for a good fight in court, if necessary, but it would have been costly in terms of both time and resources," he said in a statement.

"Many believe that we would have won, and I don't necessarily disagree with them," said Board President Patricia B. O'Neill (Dist. 3) of Bethesda, who also read aloud from prepared remarks Monday night. Sex ed agreement opens curriculum, broadens debate

Clearly, one big reason MCPS settled at all was to avoid the costs of fighting. Those costs are almost entirely legal expenses. CRC/PFOX had free lawyers, so they didn't care how long it dragged on, but MCPS had to pay their guys. So it did matter to them. So they settled.

The only thing the whiners, uh, complainants, got out of the agreement was $36,000 to pay their lawyers. Everything else was going to happen anyway -- they were going to have members on the citizens committee, there wasn't going to be any religious discussion, the controversial materials had already been jettisoned, there was going to be public review of materials -- they didn't really win anything by all of this, except blocking a good curriculum for a year and getting money for some Florida lawyers. Those lawyers, Liberty Counsel, affiliated with Jerry Falwell's Liberty University law school, go around the country suing over these religious issues. And I guess when they win, they get paid.

I have two kids in the Montgomery County public schools. And I know these are among the best schools in the country, but still, for instance, my kid's math class didn't have textbooks. The teacher would xerox some problems and send them home, and they didn't even have any explanation on the page about how to solve them. You listened in class and took notes, and did the homework. Can you imagine a math class without textbooks? And that's just one thing -- we all hear lots of stories about classrooms without air conditioning, substitutes who don't know the subject area, lots of things.

Our CillyGoose wondered what we could have bought with that thirty-six thousand dollars. So she did a little shopping online.

With that $36,000, the school district could have bought:
  • 514,285 pencils at $0.07 each
  • 90,000 free containers of milk at $0.40 each
  • 45,569 composition notebooks at $0.79 each
  • 22,641 graph paper notebooks at $1.59 each
  • 19,459 free elementary lunches at $1.85 each
  • 19,354 free sets of colored pencils at $1.86 each
  • 3,600 hours of afterschool tutoring at $10.00 an hour
  • 1,440 private 30 minute music lessons at $25.00 each
  • 360 Biology text books at $100.00 each
  • 1 year salary for full time reading assistant at $17.31 per hour

Instead, we the taxpayers end up funding the religious right's quest to eliminate the separation of church and state, which is Liberty Counsel's long-term goal. CRC and PFOX really didn't get anything out of the lawsuit except to postpone the inevitable, but now we've got a liberal county paying to promote a rightwing extremist agenda that almost none of us support.

We can think of lots of better things that could've been done with that money.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I go to Churchill, a "modern school".

During Final Exams, the most important time of the year [kind of], we had no air conditioning in a lot of the test-taking areas.

We barely have decent quality books and materials.

And the substitutes? Just pop in a video or hand out the pre-determined worksheets.

Many of them are "multi-purpose", meaning they do not know many of the classes they "teach".

And now these pricks want a slice of the pie?

Shame on them!

And they're supposed to be "non-profit", or whatever it was that meant that they were doing it "out of the goodness of their happy Christian hearts". (I do not know if they are Christian, I also do not care).

July 03, 2005 10:59 PM  
Blogger andrea said...

Well, these people don't really care about the students in MCPS -this is not about helping or teaching kids- it is about spreading ignorance and fear.

Maybe Liberty Counsel could donate their fee back in the form of school supplies- we know CRC needs to pay Steve Fisher's $1300 cell phone bill

July 04, 2005 6:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

...and John Garza's seems.

July 04, 2005 10:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Goodness, it is indeed, remarkable what can be purchased with $36,000. Perhaps Teach the Ideology ought to stop and reflect on a curriculum that took sides in the religious controversies surrounding homosexuality and why it was NOT appropriate in a public school setting. Then maybe TTI will better understand why some parents opposed the MCPS sex "ed" curriulum.

Orin Ryssman

July 07, 2005 7:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh Opie er uh, Orin, there you go again!

The curriculum included one single statement about "the religious controversies surrounding homosexuality" and that statement was found in the proposed "8th Grade Health Education Curriculum - Revised" which is posted at Here's what you will find at the top of page 18 in that PDF file:


A. Possible Effects of Cultural Factors (The following are examples of how cultural and/or
family beliefs may affect relationships.)
1. arranged marriages
2. chaperoned dates
3. gender roles in household

B. Possible Affects of Religious Beliefs
1. cannot marry outside the religion
2. children must be raised in the same religion
3. different religions take different stands on sexual behaviors and there are even
different views among people of the same religion."

Now I don't know about how y'all folks talk about things up there in your part of Colorado, but down here in good old Montgomery County, Maryland, we all agree that saying there's a whole lot of opinions about something ain't taking sides.

But you brought it up, son, so please tell the readers here, which "side" does this curriculum statement take in your opinion? (You might want to actually read the curriculum documents -- there's one for 10th grade too -- before you answer.)

Aunt Bea

July 07, 2005 2:08 PM  

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