Thursday, January 04, 2007

Improved Curricula, But Something Important Is Missing

Last night the citizens advisory committee was shown the version of the condom lesson and the eighth and tenth grade sexual orientation sections that will be presented to the school board.

The condom video is much better. They added a lot of things the committee had suggested; a woman's voice, a lot of details about proper condom use. It's actually not bad now -- you might remember, the original gave the basics about how to put the thing on, we wanted it to say how to use a condom correctly. Now it does. It's not going to win any awards for video production, but it's informative, at least. It'll work.

The eighth and tenth grade curricula are also better. The Superintendent's office accepted most of the changes suggested by the citizens committee, and smoothed out a lot of little things, and it's OK.

But the committee was not, let's say, enthusiastic at the end of the meeting. We discussed passing a motion endorsing the curriculum, and decided not to vote on it.

It seemed to some, maybe most of us, that the Superintendent's office backed down on one of the most crucial suggestions, without much of an explanation. The implication was that they were going to leave out some important details in order to avoid possible controversy.

There were several things, but most of it comes down to one item that was rejected for both eighth and tenth grade classes. It was a set of statements from professional organizations that had been recommended by the committee with 10-3 and 11-2 majorities (with CRC and PFOX being in the minority, of course, and on one vote, another conservative member).

Members of the committee were disappointed about the rejection of the "bullet points," a handout with a small set of statements by mainstream medical and mental health organizations that made an important point.

Here is the information that was excluded:

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.


These statements come from the American Medical Association’s Policy Number H-160.991 Health Care Needs of the Homosexual Population, the American Academy of Pediatric’s Clinical Report on Sexual Orientation and Adolescents, and the American Psychological Association’s online publication Answers to Your Questions About Sexual Orientation and Homosexuality.

It would be one thing if the committee had asked for statements from gay advocacy groups or church groups or whatever, but that's not what this is. These are the organizations we depend on for our health needs; these are doctors, they've got no axe to grind, they just want to see us well. These are important statements and the citizens committee wanted them included.

The Superintendent's staff comment was: Disagree. The recommended new material does not align with target indicators and objectives for the lesson. I think everybody understands that this is a judgment that could have gone the other way just as easily; these statements are certainly in line with the other materials in the lessons, and they are authoritative, readable, and relevant.

The next step is that the school board will discuss the proposed curricula on Tuesday. Among other documents, they will receive the list of suggested changes and whether they were accepted or rejected by the Superintendent's staff. During the discussion they have the opportunity to reintroduce changes themselves.

We hope the school board will be bold enough to put these important statements back into both the eighth and tenth grade curricula. It should not be controversial to quote mainstream medical opinion, and it could mean a lot -- a whole lot -- to the poor kid who's sitting in class feeling like a freak, not knowing if there's something wrong with him, as it will mean a lot to his friend who wonders what's up with him.

These statements were intended to be handed out with class materials. They hardly needed any classroom discussion, it was considered enough just to get the information to students.

The board has a number of new members, and has just undergone a shift in leadership. Most observers feel that this will be a vibrant, progressive Board of Education, one that dares to do the right thing. This might be the first test of that.

It's up to them now.

21 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Those statements from professional organizations are misleading. The Superintendent made the right call. Hope the Board backs him and resists pressure from the gay agenda groups. If so, they are profiles in courage.

January 04, 2007 11:01 AM  
Blogger JimK said...

Man, Anon, you aren't predictable at all...

JimK

January 04, 2007 11:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Montgomery County’s reworked sex ed curriculum is still filled with sexual material that many of the county’s parents would find objectionable:

• Proactively teaches that the lifestyles of homosexuals, bisexuals and lesbians are to be embraced and celebrated:

• “Many people who are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender celebrate their self-discovery and feel relief and a new sense of joy when they can be honest with themselves and their loved ones”

• Half a lesson is dedicated to students to reading undocumented “personal” stories of students who discovered they were lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, or transgender. After reading the stories, students break up into groups to analyze the stories and answer detailed questions.

• Includes a new focus on the concept of transgender and sex change operations, while not informing students that all reputable medical organizations classify transgender persons as mentally ill.

Implies homosexuality is quite common:

• “A significant number of people identify themselves as homosexual, gay, lesbian, or bi-sexual”

• “Most people who are gay, lesbian, or bi-sexual report feeling ‘different’ at a young age even though they might not have had a name for that feeling”

Encourages children to label themselves early as to their sexual orientation.

“People can identify themselves as gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, or transgender at any point in their lives.”

This is a practice leading clinical psychologists say is linked to increased suicide rates among adolescents.

Emphasizes MCPS policy of investigating all allegations of discrimination and taking appropriate disciplinary action; while providing only the statue (not the text) for the hate crimes of Maryland state law “10-304 of the Criminal Law Article, Md. Code Ann.” Refer to the Holt paragraph “Discrimination Hurts”.

• “Homophobia may be shown in ways as mild as laughing at a gay joke”

• “Children are not born hating; they learn to hate and fear from messages they receive growing up”.

• Students must memorize gay bullying statistics provided by a non-medical, gay advocacy group GLSEN.

The new sections on sexual orientation are added to the health curriculum with no mention of the increased risk of sexually transmitted disease inherent in homosexual sex. Health risks are minimized and only attached to the stress of “coming out”. Montgomery County is not planning on updating the current infection diseases section of health curriculum, originally developed in 1999, until 2008. The overwhelming gay sympathetic majority of the CAC does not see this as an issue. To quote the openly gay Matthew Murguía of the CAC: “I could have 100 sexual partners in my lifetime, and if I don't engage in any behavior which places me at risk for infection with HIV, I will remain HIV negative.” CRC believes that it is irresponsible to discuss homosexuality without discussing the risk of the homosexual lifestyle and the increased AIDS transmission through anal sex.

The Holt excerpt is authored by July Chiasson. Ms. Chiasson’s experience is 20 years of special education. She is employed by Project 10, a gay advocacy group, and authored these sections while she was working on her PhD determining efficacy of LBGT diversity training.

January 04, 2007 11:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the details, Anon. The new curriculum sounds like a vast improvement over the old one.

MCPS Mom

January 04, 2007 11:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, it ain't the new curriculum yet. It's the proposed curriculum that will finally get the parents of MC to wake up.

January 04, 2007 11:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

anonymous said, Well, it ain't the new curriculum yet. It's the proposed curriculum that will finally get the parents of MC to wake up.



Yes and it will be a repeat of another landslide of parents backing BOE and new proposed.

Ted

January 04, 2007 12:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, Ted, parents will love this:

"Many people who are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender celebrate their self-discovery and feel relief and a new sense of joy when they can be honest with themselves and their loved ones"

This kind of unmasks the promotion of homosexuality taking place. The only question is:

The judge or public opinion, who'll get there first?

January 04, 2007 12:49 PM  
Anonymous Daisy said...

Anon offered a list of "material that" Anon assumes "many of the county’s parents would find objectionable:

Proactively teaches that the lifestyles of homosexuals, bisexuals and lesbians are to be embraced and celebrated

It's great that this curriculum teaches our teens that all people, regardless of their sexual orientation, should be embraced and celebrated.

“Many people who are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender celebrate their self-discovery and feel relief and a new sense of joy when they can be honest with themselves and their loved ones”

Yes, that's so true. Living life honestly without harming others is so much better than living a lie. Good thing there's none of that shameful self-loathing ex-gay crap in there.

Half a lesson is dedicated to students to reading undocumented “personal” stories of students who discovered they were lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, or transgender. After reading the stories, students break up into groups to analyze the stories and answer detailed questions...

Maybe they should study "personal" stories of real people like Mark Foley and Ted Haggard instead. Speaking of undocumented, who are the "leading clinical psychologists" who say the act of coming out is linked to increased suicide rates among adolescents? Got a link to them saying so?

Includes a new focus on the concept of transgender and sex change operations, while not informing students that all reputable medical organizations classify transgender persons as mentally ill.

A successful treatment for people born living in the wrong body is to correct the body.

Implies homosexuality is quite common:

• “A significant number of people identify themselves as homosexual, gay, lesbian, or bi-sexual”


Let's see, 5% of 300 million Americans means 15 million Americans could be LGBT. Yep, 15 million is a significant number.

• “Most people who are gay, lesbian, or bi-sexual report feeling ‘different’ at a young age even though they might not have had a name for that feeling”

Well, this straight lady began yearning to marry prince charming "at a young age" so I could see LGBT kids having similar feelings at a similar age.

Encourages children to label themselves early as to their sexual orientation.

“People can identify themselves as gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, or transgender at any point in their lives.”


That's quite a stretch from from "People can identify themselves as GLBT at any point in their lives" to "encourages children to label themselves early." "At any point in their lives" could mean early and it could mean late.

Emphasizes MCPS policy of investigating all allegations of discrimination and taking appropriate disciplinary action; while providing only the statue (not the text) for the hate crimes of Maryland state law “10-304 of the Criminal Law Article, Md. Code Ann.” Refer to the Holt paragraph “Discrimination Hurts”.

These are two, 45 minute lesson plans on sexual orientation. The text of Maryland laws dealing with hate crimes might make for an interesting civics class. Maybe they could add it to NSL.

• “Homophobia may be shown in ways as mild as laughing at a gay joke”

True, or it maybe be shown as brutally as the death of LGBT people.

• “Children are not born hating; they learn to hate and fear from messages they receive growing up”.

True.

• Students must memorize gay bullying statistics provided by a non-medical, gay advocacy group GLSEN.

Yes, they are to learn 4 statistics:

-92% of GLBT students regularly hear anti-gay comments.

-82.9% of anti-gay comments made in schools elicit no response from teachers.

-84% of GLBT students are verbally harassed because of their sexual orientation

-64% of GLBT students feel unsafe at school.

The new sections on sexual orientation are added to the health curriculum with no mention of the increased risk of sexually transmitted disease inherent in homosexual sex.

Which "homosexual sex" act are you talking about? Holding hands, kissing? If you are referring to anal sex, many more heterosexuals engage in it than LGBTs.

January 04, 2007 12:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous your hate for homosexuals shines through. We certainly get how homophobic you are. Better watch out a homosexual just may accidentally brush up against you today. Do you think that part of your body will then fall off?

January 04, 2007 12:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Glad to see everyone agrees on the content of the proposed propagandistic curriculum.

You're in for a surprise about public opinion here in MC, Daisy.

Of course that's assuming the MCPS Board is foolish enough to approve it. We'll see.

January 04, 2007 1:06 PM  
Blogger digger said...

Anonymous said:

"This is a practice leading clinical psychologists say is linked to increased suicide rates among adolescents."

Anonymoose,

The stats say that a disproportionate number of youth who identify as lgbt experience depression and suicide attempts (not successful suicides). It doesn't make sense to correlate self-identification with increased depression. We teach inductive reasoning in September in Geometry. You're welcome to sit in.

It's kind of like Theresa saying she opposes gay marriage because she's seen stats correlating gay marriage in Denmark with increased out-of-wedlock births: grasping at straws to maintain an anti-gay position.

Whom else don't you like besides queer people?

As an aside, where you you come down on the predestination vs. free will debate?

Robert

January 04, 2007 1:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Robert

That analysis of the curriculum wasn't mine. I pasted it from the CRC site so I don't know where the stats are from. It does make sense that if a kid is encouraged to do this prematurely or incorrectly, they would likely face unnecessary social problems.

Calvinist. I know where you're going with it and I'm not up for it today.

January 04, 2007 1:35 PM  
Blogger Randi Schimnosky said...

Anonymous said "The new sections on sexual orientation are added to the health curriculum with no mention of the increased risk of sexually transmitted disease inherent in homosexual sex. Health risks are minimized and only attached to the stress of “coming out”.".

Anonymous, there is no risk of disease in a loving committed gay relationship. The risk of disease is a function of promiscuity, not gayness. Its incredibly ironic and hypocritical that bigots like anonymous insist gays going without sex altogether is a realistic goal but that a monogamous gay relationship is not. Logic dictates that it is much easier to restrict oneself to one sexual partner than to none. If the ant-gay religionists were realistic and honest about wanting the best for gay people they'd be avid supporters of equal marriage for same sex couples.

January 04, 2007 2:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon at January 04, 2007 11:34 AM hoped

"It's the proposed curriculum that will finally get the parents of MC to wake up."


Anon at January 04, 2007 1:06 PM said:

"You're in for a surprise about public opinion here in MC, Daisy."

You're the one who's in for the rude awakening. You apparently missed the public opinion poll results from right here in Montgomery County a few weeks ago. But by all means, keep waiting and hoping for your delusions to come true.

January 04, 2007 2:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, was there a poll on whether we should tell kids they'll experience a "new sense of joy" if they come out as homosexuals?

January 04, 2007 3:21 PM  
Anonymous daisy said...

You're in for a surprise about public opinion here in MC, Daisy.

Of course that's assuming the MCPS Board is foolish enough to approve it. We'll see.


If there's any doubt in your mind that the MCPS Board will approve this curriculum, you are the one who's in for a surprise. I'll check back in next Tuesday after the vote to watch you eat crow.

January 04, 2007 3:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're desperate, Daisy. I never said they won't approve it. I said they'd be foolish too.

What I did say is that parents will be outraged when this is made public. It's possible these Board members will actually pay attention to the proposed propagandistic curriculum this time and make necessary changes right away. I'm not going to give them credit for that much intelligence, though, until I see it.

January 04, 2007 3:46 PM  
Anonymous daisy said...

Oh yes, now you're talking!

I'm desperate because each candidate I worked for last fall -- those who support TTF's position -- won his or her seat for MC County Council and MCPS Board of Education in the landslide November 2006 elections.

And I'm desperate because so many Montgomery County citizens (6 at most, 4 of whom are TTFers) have risen up to voice their "outrage" and concerns at the very public meetings where this curriculum has been discussed and amended for months.

Get a grip Anon. You are losing it big time.

The only desperate people are those who would sue MCPS rather than accept the community's view about education for every MCPS student.

January 05, 2007 8:16 AM  
Blogger digger said...

I wasn't really going anywhere with the predestination question. It's just a theological problem that I haven't been able to figure out for myself yet. Does a perfect all-powerful God determine everything, including our will, or do we have liberty of decision; then, what does free will mean to imperfect beings? It puzzles me.

rrjr

January 05, 2007 9:17 AM  
Blogger digger said...

"What I did say is that parents will be outraged when this is made public."

Some people will be outraged, and some will approve wholeheartedly; there will also be people in the middle. Most people will be unaware or indifferent.

I get the impression that Montgomery County is one of the most liberal jurisdictions in the country. Queer people seem to be pretty welcome there.

January 05, 2007 9:27 AM  
Anonymous Phentermine said...

Nice design of blog.

August 13, 2007 3:39 PM  

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