Monday, January 08, 2007

The Board Decides Tomorrow

Tomorrow the Montgomery County Board of Education will discuss the new curricula that have been developed, and vote to accept or reject them. It has been a long time coming, and we hope that the board is willing to pilot test the curriculum.

It is also a last chance to make it better, to include some crucial stuff that was left out by the district when they put together the final draft.

The citizens advisory committee strongly desired a handout with this wording:
Other things to know:
  • Children who have fleeting same-sex attractions may assume incorrectly that they are gay or lesbian. Mere fleeting attraction does not prove sexual orientation.
  • All mainstream medical and mental health professionals have concluded that homosexuality is not a disease or a mental illness.
  • The American Academy of Pediatrics says that most experts have concluded that "one's sexual orientation is not a choice; that is, individuals do not choose to be homosexual or heterosexual." Moreover, according to the American Psychological Association, sexual orientation is not a "conscious choice that can voluntarily be changed." Similarly, the American Medical Association opposes "therapies" that seek to change sexual orientation that are premised on the assumption that homosexuality is an illness and that people should change.
  • Homosexuals can live happy, successful lives; they "can be successful parents."
  • Children raised by same-sex couples do just as well as those raised by heterosexuals, and are no more likely to be homosexual.

It looks like MCPS is afraid, though, that if they actually said out loud what the medical community believes, it will somehow make them more vulnerable to a lawsuit.

But look, this is important, students need to know this. It should be the heart of the "sexual variation" curriculum, the fact that doctors and scientists agree that being gay is not a disease and it's not a choice, that you can live a happy, normal life, being gay. It shouldn't be some optional add-on, this is the core of the whole thing.

Because, for me at least, this is what this whole battle is about. I have never seen this as a struggle for "gay rights." Now that I've been exposed to some of the ugliness, I certainly sympathize, but I'm sorry, if I were to "get political" it wouldn't be over the subject of gay rights.

No, to me, this is about courage and accuracy in education. It's about making our kids smarter by teaching them the truth in school, the scientific truth, the truth as it is understood by trained experts, no matter whose panties end up in a wad over it. It's about teaching the right thing, and it's about standing up to those who would try to bring you down to their level.

I value education, especially higher education. You learn a lot in graduate school and afterwards, when your career brings you in contact with other experts, with complicated theoretical notions, with the data and subtleties of analysis; these interactions lift you to a level of intimacy with the topic that other people simply don't have. And MCPS should not be ashamed to go into a classroom to teach students what the highly educated experts believe.

The school district says that if a student has a question about homosexuality, the teacher is supposed to tell them to discuss it with a "health professional." A doctor. The message will be, clearly, that this is a health issue, if you think you're "like that" there must be something wrong with you.

But that message is just the opposite of what the American Medical Association, American Psychological Association, and American Academy of Pediatrics want taught. They want people to understand it's not a disease.

It would be the very best to give students these statements and discuss them in class, but we can think of several compromises. For one, the school board could take the document known as "the compendium" in committee discussions, and make it a "teachers' resource," so teachers, when asked hard questions in class, can draw on these for answers. Another solution, effortless to implement, is to give teachers the APA brochure that is the source of many of the statements in the "bullet points." This would just mean downloading it from the Internet and making copies for each teacher. This handout can provide many answers to the harder questions that teachers might receive in class.

It will be very interesting to see how the board's discussion goes.

18 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"No, to me, this is about courage and accuracy in education. It's about making our kids smarter by teaching them the truth in school, the scientific truth, the truth as it is understood by trained experts,"

Whether one decides or makes a choice about what to become. Whether they have no choice about what kind of person they become. What is the correct and normal functioning and purpose of man. These are not scientific concerns, so they can't be the subject of scietific truths. Scientists are "trained experts" in testing and assessing empirical facts in the material world not making judgments in the moral and spiritual realm.

January 08, 2007 9:25 PM  
Blogger Dana Beyer, M.D. said...

Anon, you may continue to blather about how biology is not science but is instead ethics, but anyone who has spent even a minute considering their sexual identity or sexual orientation knows it's not a moral or spiritual issue. Except for people like you, of course, who fear the collapse of their worldview when reality intrudes.

January 08, 2007 11:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Anon, you may continue to blather about how biology is not science but is instead ethics,"

I haven't done this. I've pointed out that not everyone accept that all consciousness and human will is merely biology. It's only a conceit of some scientists that it is. It fits the radical gay agenda well so....

"but anyone who has spent even a minute considering their sexual identity or sexual orientation knows it's not a moral or spiritual issue."

Untrue and you know it.

"Except for people like you, of course, who fear the collapse of their worldview when reality intrudes."

The notion that everyone who doesn't share the radical left worldview is afraid of it is a mere rhetorical device. Similar to the claim that everyone who disagrees with them is lying.

January 09, 2007 12:15 AM  
Blogger Theresa said...

Anon -

Are you on my email list ?

Was hoping to meet you tomorrow :-)

January 09, 2007 1:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The notion that everyone who doesn't share the radical left worldview is afraid of it is a mere rhetorical device. Similar to the claim that everyone who disagrees with them is lying."

And similar to the claim that non-believers are lost souls.

January 09, 2007 6:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Theresa said...
Anon -

Are you on my email list ?

Was hoping to meet you tomorrow :-)

_____

Anon equals Theresa or even could be her. Birds of a feather you know.

Ted

January 09, 2007 9:23 AM  
Blogger Theresa said...

I very rarely post anonymously, Ted.

January 09, 2007 8:04 PM  
Blogger Randi Schimnosky said...

Anonymous at January 08, 2007 9:25 PM
said "Whether one decides or makes a choice about what to become. Whether they have no choice about what kind of person they become. What is the correct and normal functioning and purpose of man. These are not scientific concerns, so they can't be the subject of scietific truths. Scientists are "trained experts" in testing and assessing empirical facts in the material world not making judgments in the moral and spiritual realm.".

The "spiritual realm" doesn't exist. And ultimately morality is very simple: Do whatever you want as long as you don't interfere in anyone else's right to do the same (harm no one). Science can judge whether or not someone is being harmed, hence science can judge morality. Science can most certainly say what is the normal functioning of a person and whether or not people have choices in who they are. The overwhelming majority of scientific evidence shows that its normal for a small percentage of the population to be gay and that we do not choose our sexuality. If sexuality was a choice we'd see huge fluctuations in the numbers of gay people in different times and places due to different circumstances and social pressures- we don't. If sexuality was a choice "reparative therapy" wouldn't be the total failure it is for the overwhelming majority of individuals.

January 09, 2007 8:47 PM  
Blogger Randi Schimnosky said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

January 09, 2007 9:14 PM  
Blogger Randi Schimnosky said...

Theresa, I'm very upset with your pretentions to morality when you failed to acknowledge your error in this thread:

http://www.teachthefacts.org/2006/12/sometimes-you-gotta-laugh.html#comments

You said "I am against gay marriage because if we take the example of the Netherlands, or any other country that has legalized gay marriage, you see a corresponding decrease in the numbers of marriages overall."

That not true.

http://lists.powerblogs.com/pipermail/volokh/2006-November/007622.html

"[T]here is no evidence that allowing same-sex couples to marry weakens the institution. If anything, the numbers indicate the opposite. A decade after Denmark, Norway and Sweden passed their respective partnership laws, heterosexual marriage rates had risen 10.7% in Denmark; 12.7% in Norway; and a whopping 28.8% in Sweden.

In Denmark over the last few years, marriage rates are the highest
they've been since the early 1970s. Divorce rates among heterosexual couples, on the other hand, have fallen. A decade after each country passed its partnership law, divorce rates had dropped 13.9% in Denmark; 6% in Norway; and 13.7% in Sweden. On average, divorce rates among heterosexuals remain lower now than in the years before same-sex partnerships were legalized."

Theresa, if you're not solely concerned with stigmatizing gays, if you are truly concerned about gay kids catching STDs you'll support equal marriage for same sex couples.

January 09, 2007 9:18 PM  
Blogger Randi Schimnosky said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

January 09, 2007 9:20 PM  
Blogger Randi Schimnosky said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

January 09, 2007 9:28 PM  
Blogger Randi Schimnosky said...

Anonymous at January 09, 2007 12:15 AM said "I've pointed out that not everyone accept that all consciousness and human will is merely biology. It's only a conceit of some scientists that it is. It fits the radical gay agenda well so....".

Anonymous, most scientists accept that the mind is a function of biology. Only 7% of the members of the National Academy of Science believe in god. No matter how people have looked there's never been any evidence of conciousness apart from biology. And the LGBT agenda is to be treated as equals and allowed to live our lives as we choose as long as we are not hurting others - there's nothing radical about that.

Dana said "but anyone who has spent even a minute considering their sexual identity or sexual orientation knows it's not a moral or spiritual issue."

Anonymous replied "Untrue and you know it.".

Again, anonymous any behavior that does not hurt others is by defintion moral. Spirits don't exist.

Dana said to anonymous "Except for people like you, of course, who fear the collapse of their worldview when reality intrudes."

Anonymous said "The notion that everyone who doesn't share the radical left worldview is afraid of it is a mere rhetorical device. Similar to the claim that everyone who disagrees with them is lying.".

Obviously anonymous you are afraid of your worldview collapsing when reality intrudes. In this thread:

http://www.teachthefacts.org/2007/01/tomorrow-we-get-to-see-it.html#comments

You said "I've been trying to deal with some of these feelings lately, since Randi has pointed out that I may not be "objective" about this topic of homosexuality. Please give me a little time.".

Its clear your "its a choice" worldview is in danger of collapsing when the reality of your inability to choose not to be gay intrudes.

January 09, 2007 9:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is there any one at the National Academy of Science that is better than these people?
And this is the short list. Pleas make a fool of yourself and say that one of these men on this list is a fool or not a scientist of the highest caliber.

Nicholas Copernicus (1473-1543)
Sir Fancis Bacon (1561-1627)
Johannes Kepler (1571-1630
Galileo Galilei (1564-1642)
Rene Descartes (1596-1650)
Isaac Newton (1642-1727)
Robert Boyle (1791-1867)
Michael Faraday (1791-1867)
Gregor Mendel (1822-1884)
William Thomson Kelvin (1824-1907)
Max Planck (1858-1947)
Albert Einstein (1879-1955)

January 12, 2007 2:49 PM  
Blogger Randi Schimnosky said...

So, what's your point Anonymous? Are you claiming these people were all believers? That was most assuredly not the case with Einstein. When Einstein referred to god or religion he wasn't speaking about them in any conventional sense. He was refering to god and religion in terms of wonder at the world, not in terms of a supernatural creator.

"It was, of course, a lie what you read about my religious convictions, a lie which is being systematically repeated. I do not believe in a personal God and I have never denied this but have expressed it clearly. If there is something in me that can be called religious then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as science can reveal it." - Albert Einstein

" I am a deeply religious nonbeliever. This is somewhat of a new kind of religon.

I have never imputed to Nature a purpose or a goal, or anything that could be understood as anthropomorphic. What I see in nature is a magnificient structure that we can comprehend only very imperfectly and that must fill a thinking person with a feeling of humility. This is a genuinely religious feeling that has nothing to do with mysticism.

The idea of a personal god is quite alien to me and seems even naive." - Albert Einstein

As to the rest of the people on your list most of them came from a time when they would risk death or serious societal repercussions for being openly atheistic.

January 12, 2007 6:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Randi Schimnosky said...
So, what's your point Anonymous? Are you claiming these people were all believers? That was most assuredly not the case with Einstein. When Einstein referred to god or religion he wasn't speaking about them in any conventional sense.

You Know Randi I have never needed to quantify someone’s religious view or speak of it as a conventional sense Einstein stated nothing more than has been stated for the last 5 thousand years. I think that Einstein was mind full of his present situation and the hate he would receive from thoughts communist like you who hate god.

science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind. Einstein.

unlike you, I am not a bigot, I have no problem with Einsteins religious views and don't hold them against him.

January 15, 2007 3:01 AM  
Blogger Randi Schimnosky said...

You're not a bigot?! There's a good one! You're the biggest bigot around, you come here day after day bashing gays who haven't hurt you in any way, you obsess over gays, you can't get your mind off of them, we know why, because you've been taught to hate your inner gay and you're too immature to have gotten over it. You're going to end up like Ted Haggard, in your 50's in a loveless marriage and seeking out gay hookers to satisfy your need for sex.

I don't hold Einstein's "religion" against him. As you can see from his quotes he doesn't believe in religion in the traditional sense of the magic man in the sky, to him religion is merely a phrase referring to the wonder of the world.

January 15, 2007 1:51 PM  
Anonymous Phentermine said...

Nice design of blog.

August 13, 2007 3:38 PM  

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