Sunday, February 18, 2007

What We're Up Against

Digger, in the comments, pointed out a letter to the editor yesterday (Saturday) in the Washington Post, by the former -- as of last week, I guess -- president of the Citizens for a Responsible Curriculum. You remember that the CRC has people on the board of directors and advisory board of the Rockville Pregnancy Center, which was recently kicked out of Montgomery County schools after it came to light that they have been having MCPS students chew a piece of gum and pass it around in class. I think the story first broke HERE.

Ms. Turner has a letter to the editor, as spokesperson for the CRC. Here's the whole thing:
We at Citizens for a Responsible Curriculum agree with Deputy Superintendent Frieda Lacey that gum-sharing exercises in Montgomery County public schools are "repulsive."

We also are concerned that students learn about sexually transmitted diseases. So how does Ms. Lacey feel about a curriculum that refuses to find anal sex "repulsive" or dangerous, but instead recommends that kids visit organizations that promote such sexual contact, and worse?

Last week our organization asked the State Board of Education to halt testing of the revised sex-ed curriculum. One reason for doing so was the failure of the new curriculum to address objectively the government-confirmed health risks of anal sex and other practices that spread sexually transmitted diseases.

So what's "repulsive" and requiring "immediate review" is all in the eye of the beholder, right? Unless you are a teenager who has just found out he or she is HIV-positive.

MICHELLE TURNER
Spokesperson
Citizens for a Responsible Curriculum
Damascus

The first sentence is ... not news. The CRC opposes children sharing their gum. We applaud them for adhering to that bold position.

But man, look at that second paragraph. Read this again:
So how does Ms. Lacey [actually, Dr. Lacey] feel about a curriculum that refuses to find anal sex "repulsive" or dangerous, but instead recommends that kids visit organizations that promote such sexual contact, and worse?

How can they say these things? You just wonder, as a normal person, how does somebody say something like this?

First of all, she asserts that the curriculum refuses to find anal sex "repulsive" or dangerous. Yes, it refuses to judge anal sex; it also refuses to condemn pickpockets and terrorism and illicit drug use, it says nothing about scrawling graffiti on street signs or the use of bad language by modern-day youth, there's nothing about a single one of the Ten Commandments or whether people should support our troops, and not a word warning people not to cross the street in the middle of the block.

Listen, the curriculum doesn't say anything at all about anal sex, except that you should use a condom if you do that -- which is good, mainstream medical advice. As Ms. Turner no doubt knows, the STD rate for teens who practice "abstinence" is about the same as for kids who do not. The reason? They practice anal sex without protection, thinking it keeps them technically virgins. I think it's a good idea to mention this to them, as they seem not to think of it on their own.

Part of the new curriculum is about condoms, and part is about sexual orientation. There is nothing about anal sex anywhere in it, and there shouldn't be. The CRC is so interested in anal sex that they think it is a terrible shortfalling of the curriculum, but really, nobody else is in any big hurry to teach kids about anal sex.

And then, this: ... but instead recommends that kids visit organizations that promote such sexual contact, and worse?

I suppose it is best that the CRC go ahead and publish this sort of thing in the newspaper, where people can see them for what they are. These kinds of statements are an embarrassment to our county and the intelligent and fair people who live in it.

Let me state clearly: there is no recommendation anywhere in the sex-ed curricula that recommends to anyone that they should visit any organization that promotes anal sex. That idea is entirely bizarre. But the CRC has succeeded, with the complicity of the Washington Post, in planting the seed of an idea in people's mind that the Montgomery County sex education classes somehow send children out to learn how to perform anal intercourse.

I'm pretty sure I know where this came from, some books that were handed out at a conference one time, which elicited an apology from the sponsoring organization and a clear statement that the material violated their principles. Somebody screwed up once, the year before last. We've been over it here many times, as the anti-gay betterthanyous jumped all over the incident to "prove" that gay people are evil.

To take that event, which has nothing to do with the new curriculum, and use it to typify the result of months of hard work by many people ... just amazing.

Then she says Last week our organization asked the State Board of Education to halt testing of the revised sex-ed curriculum. One reason for doing so was the failure of the new curriculum to address objectively the government-confirmed health risks of anal sex and other practices that spread sexually transmitted diseases.

She could have mentioned that the state had five days to order the stay, and they didn't.

This anal-sex business was one of the things in there. They sued for a bunch of reasons, ranging from their desire to include more anal sex in the curriculum to the fact that people in Montgomery County don't agree with them or appreciate them.

The last paragraph: "repulsive?" Why would the curriculum describe something as "repulsive" that it doesn't even teach about? "Immediate review?" What would that have to do with the HIV epidemic? There must be some covert politically correct code talk in there that I am unable to detect, about immediately reviewing something having to do with HIV. Same with the teenager who has HIV -- where did that come from? This is simply incoherent.

When I see this kind of thing, it motivates me in two directions. First, it makes me mad to think that people who "think" like this have any say at all in anything that happens in my county. If the people of Montgomery County disagree on an issue and want to debate it, fine, I'm good with that, but to do it with outright lies and distortion like this, where the only thing that matters is winning even if you have to poison the public well to do it -- I'm against that, and this just makes me fight back harder.

On the other hand, with real estate values what they are, maybe I could sell the house, pack up the family, and move into an adobe shack somewhere in the foothills of New Mexico, where we could listen to the coyotes singing and look up every night at a million stars. Maybe have a little garden and a couple of chickens, go into town on the weekend and two-step to the local country-western band -- hey, maybe they'd need a guitar player, and I could pick up a couple of bucks playing.

Sigh ... Not yet, I got things to get done still. But ... man, that sounds good sometimes.

It isn't right that any intelligent person would be drawn into this kind of idiotic discussion.

But you have to.

43 Comments:

Blogger digger said...

Jim

I'm with you on the millions of stars and coyotes singing; I would pick northern New Hampshire and the White Mountains.

rrjr

February 18, 2007 12:34 PM  
Blogger JimK said...

That is beautiful country up there. Did you ever read "The Ambitious Guest" by Nathaniel Hawthorne? (Actually, the whole story is right HERE)

It takes place in the Franconia Notch area, I think.

But ... I'll still take the Rockies.

JimK

February 18, 2007 12:41 PM  
Blogger Orin Ryssman said...

Jim writes,

Listen, the curriculum doesn't say anything at all about anal sex, except that you should use a condom if you do that -- which is good, mainstream medical advice.

LOLOLOLOLOLOL!!!!!!!!!! Jim, do you READ what you WRITE? LOL! I could just see you at the front of a class, "uh, class...pay attention now...the curriculum does not mention anything about anal sex, however if you are going to engage in anal sex we, the experts, think you should use a condom"! Oh, goodness, I can't remember when I have laughed this hard before.

Sad thing is, this will put ideas into some teenagers mind an idea that was not there before.

Jim writes,

When I see this kind of thing, it motivates me in two directions. First, it makes me mad to think that people who "think" like this have any say at all in anything that happens in my county.

Sigh...I know, I know...free speech is given to all, even the "undeserving". I have said it before (I think) and I will say it again: Jim, you really need to get out a little more, you know, like widen your social/political circle. One thing you would find is that many in "flyover" country (like where I live) consider the contemporary sexual ethos on those living on the "Porn Belt" to be...well, repulsive. Sorry about that...it might have something to do with why the East and West Coasts loved, simply loved and adored "Brokeback Mountain" while those of us in fly over country, religious or not (a close female friend, as secular as I am religious, had a similar take on the "love" story) were genuinely repulsed by the story.

If the people of Montgomery County disagree on an issue and want to debate it, fine, I'm good with that, but to do it with outright lies and distortion like this, where the only thing that matters is winning even if you have to poison the public well to do it -- I'm against that, and this just makes me fight back harder.

Look, Turner's letter was on the OPINION page...correct? If you don't like her opinion, give your own. I suspect absent total capitulation to the TTF sexual ethos, you would say just about anything is a lie or a distortion. You don't like any sexual ethical or moral system that might put a crimp on any teenagers sexual adventures.

February 18, 2007 1:22 PM  
Blogger JimK said...

Orin said ...this will put ideas into some teenagers mind an idea that was not there before.

Orin, I recently said something here about Martin Orne's research on demand characteristics. Let me ask you, did that suddenly make you think about demand characteristics? Did my sentence put an idea into your mind? Did you read that phrase and suddenly begin pondering the ways that the experimental setting affects the response of the subject by giving cues about what the experimenter expects to happen?

Of course not, because you don't know what a "demand characteristic" is. It was just two words that went together, unless you looked it up. And you know how much teenagers look things up.

Saying the words "anal sex" is not the same as teaching anything about it. This curriculum doesn't teach anything about anal sex, just uses the word in the condom lesson, where it is perfectly appropriate.

JimK

February 18, 2007 1:40 PM  
Blogger digger said...

Great story, Jim. I hadn't read it before.

There was much hubbub among my New England friends a few years back (or was it just last year?) when part of the Old Man of the Mountain (in Franconia Notch, on Cannon Mountain) fell off into the notch.

I miss the wild woods on New England. I have many fond and vivid memories of those mountains, which I had forgotten since living in this city. I think I'll go back this summer.

Thanks again for the story.

Robert

February 18, 2007 1:44 PM  
Blogger digger said...

Orin,

In the context of the ongoing series of stories, columns and letters in the Post about the Gum Game, Ms. Turner's letter came across to me as strident and jarring. Into a discussion about the wisdom of a school system allowing outside speakers to use a gross activity to encourage abstinence, she brought anal sex and the old canard of gays recruiting youth into gay sex. It seemed almost surreal to me.

I remember being taught in Sunday School that gay men were child molesters, and thought for many years that if I allowed myself to be gay I would inevitably molest children. Didn't Diocletian accuse the Christians of eating children, and weren't the jews in pre-modern Europe accused of stealing Christian children for devil-worshipping rites? Mrs. Turner's letter seems to me to be the same type of hysteria (i.e. "MoCo allies with gay activists to encourage anal sex among our children.")

rrjr

February 18, 2007 1:55 PM  
Blogger Christine said...

As stated on this blog countless times before (most recently here: http://www.teachthefacts.org/2007/01/current-condom-video.html ), some TTF members including me were in Room 180 at Albert Einstein High School in the Spring of 2005 along with then CRC President Michelle Turner. Einstein's health teachers showed us the currently-in-use condom demonstration from the filmstrip, "Hope Is Not A Method," which has been in used in MCPS since 1993.

We all plainly heard the male host say: "Condoms not only prevent pregnancies but they are the only method that prevents the spread of sexually transmissible diseases like syphilis, gonorrhea, herpes, condyloma, and of course, HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. Now we're going to be talking about other methods of birth control as well but remember, whether you're having vaginal, oral, or anal sex, condoms should be used to protect both you and your partner."

For Michelle to continue to pretend that comment, which is virtually identical to the comment in the latest condom demonstration video is not already in the MCPS Health Education Curriculum is simply unbelievable.

February 18, 2007 2:20 PM  
Blogger digger said...

An article in today's business section on another type of closet, but a very real one:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/02/17/AR2007021700137.html

February 18, 2007 4:59 PM  
Blogger Dana Beyer, M.D. said...

Here, Orin -- so much for your "Porn Belt" theory:

George Barna, a born-again Christian and the head of a research group that does surveys among faith groups, finds that only 19 percent of Northeasterners have divorced, compared to 27 percent of Southerners and Midwesterners. Barna's surveys also revealed another surprise – the divorce rate among conservative Christians is much higher than for other faith groups. Twenty-seven percent of born-again Christians have been divorced, as opposed to 24 percent of other Christians, and – Holy Moly! – only 21 percent of atheists and agnostics.

February 18, 2007 7:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let me see. We need to tell kids about condoms to prevent disease. On the other hand, we can't tell them that anal sex is more dangerous than vaginal sex because...?

I mean if TTF thinks anal sex is mostly a hetero behavior then heteros have a choice to make. Why not tell kids which is the healthier way to have sex? Especially when, according to TTF, kids all over the country are having anal sex because the think it doesn't count. How can a program trying to teach kids about health not tell them that?

Tell us what your true agenda is, TTF. We can't figger it owt!

February 18, 2007 11:11 PM  
Blogger Dana Beyer, M.D. said...

Anon,

TTF doesn't THINK anal sex is mostly a hetero behavior, TTF KNOWS that to be a fact. Facts are simply something you can't comprehend.

February 18, 2007 11:41 PM  
Blogger Orin Ryssman said...

Jim, did you forget this letter?

Saturday, February 17, 2007; Page A30

Regarding the Feb. 10 front-page article "Students Get Lessons to Chew On":

My daughter attended the same Rockville Pregnancy Center lecture given in Montgomery County schools at the McLean Presbyterian Church nine years ago, and it was a success in this young girl's life. She is now a senior in college, and she remembers that talk to this day. It helped her get through high school and college feeling encouraged that abstinence was the best way to protect her body and her heart until she was ready to commit to marriage.

Please don't stop these lectures; they provide such a great springboard for communication between parents and children. The concept is life-changing and gives kids encouragement during a mixed-up time of life.

PATTY WEBBER

Great Falls

February 19, 2007 1:06 AM  
Blogger Orin Ryssman said...

Robert writes,

Mrs. Turner's letter seems to me to be the same type of hysteria (i.e. "MoCo allies with gay activists to encourage anal sex among our children.")

Odd, but I read her letter, and I do not recall her writing that part...could you show me where?

Orin

February 19, 2007 1:16 AM  
Blogger Orin Ryssman said...

Oh, and before I head to bed, Jim writes,

Saying the words "anal sex" is not the same as teaching anything about it. This curriculum doesn't teach anything about anal sex, just uses the word in the condom lesson, where it is perfectly appropriate.

Oh Jim...you are smart, very smart, but that is not what our school children need right now. First off, this present generation is already smart, what they lack is wisdom. And second, students placed in a class that is teaching human health and sexuality is not likely to let a reference to "anal sex" fly right past them.

Nice try at distraction though..."demand characteristics"? LOL!!!!! Keep it up and you might have a second career as a stand up comedian.

Orin

February 19, 2007 1:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"TTF doesn't THINK anal sex is mostly a hetero behavior, TTF KNOWS that to be a fact. Facts are simply something you can't comprehend."

Well, one fact I've got a grasp on is that anal sex is dangerous. Another is that TTF doesn't want this mentioned in health class. Another is that CRC does.

Put it all together and you've got TTF promoting an irresponsible curriculum!

February 19, 2007 7:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Einstein's health teachers showed us the currently-in-use condom demonstration from the filmstrip, "Hope Is Not A Method," which has been in used in MCPS since 1993."

Does anyone know of an instance of this film actually being used recently in MCPS? I ask because the fall before the Fishback revisions were unveiled, I spoke to an Einstein health teacher who told me MCPS was behind the rest of the country because they didn't include such a film in their currriculum. That leads me to believe this film was stored away and not actually used.

February 19, 2007 8:25 AM  
Blogger JimK said...

Anon, anal sex may be slightly riskier than vaginal sex for three reasons:
1. The anal tissue is more absorbing, and may let pathogens into the bloodstream more easily
2. The anal tissue is easily damaged, and small tears can increase the probability of pathogens entering the bloodstream
3. The anal tissue does not provide its own lubrication, and thus it is possible that condoms might slip off or break more easily.

There is no good research showing that anal sex is actually more risky than vaginal sex, partly because it would not be ethical to randomly assign people to have anal sex for a year with an infected partner.

Nearly half of Americans (40 percent) seem to be able to have anal sex without any major consequences.

Within a committed relationship between two uninfected people, anal sex has no disease risk.

There are risks in sexual behavior, for instance, promiscuity is a much greater risk factor than anal sex.

Risky behaviors are described and discussed in another section -- that is one reason the PRC was conducting the "gum game" in class, as you might recall.

As for your statement that "TTF doesn't want this mentioned in health class," that's a lie. It is fine to mention it in one of the classes about STDs. The current changes do not affect that section, and discussion of anal sex is not appropriate in the new classes, which are not about risks.

JimK

February 19, 2007 8:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Orin asked "Jim, did you forget this letter?"

Tell us Orin, why didn't you include the other two letters, the ones that were written by people living in Montgomery County, Maryland? Great Falls is in Virginia, the same state where PFOX is headquartered.

Here are the Montgomery County letters you omitted:

So it took a disgusting gum-sharing exercise for Montgomery County Public Schools to realize that the Rockville Pregnancy Center has no business in its health education classes?

Even if there is no overt religious content in the center's school presentations, such organizations routinely present disinformation in the service of promoting their socially conservative moral agendas. They try to instill doubt about the effectiveness of condoms in preventing sexually transmitted disease and of oral contraceptives in preventing unwanted pregnancy. And they greatly exaggerate the medical and psychological risks of legal abortion.

Public schools must ensure that students receive accurate, scientifically based information to help them navigate the complicated issues of human sexuality.

VICTORIA BALENGER
Bethesda

********

The Feb. 13 Metro article "Gum Sharing Exercise Was Used for Nine Years" stated that the activity presented a low risk of transmitting germs.

But a news story in the same day's A section ["Among Chinese, Fear and Prejudice About Hepatitis B"] stated that this virus may be transmitted though saliva.

In view of such a possibility (and perhaps others not mentioned), it would seem reasonable to bar such exercises as the sharing of gum.

IRWIN RUFF
Rockville


MCPS Mom

February 19, 2007 8:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Nearly half of Americans (40 percent) seem to be able to have anal sex without any major consequences.

Within a committed relationship between two uninfected people, anal sex has no disease risk.

There are risks in sexual behavior, for instance, promiscuity is a much greater risk factor than anal sex."

All these statements could have condom-less sex inserted for anal sex and still be true. Yet, you are insistent on condom instruction. What's the difference?

February 19, 2007 8:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

BTW, Jim, since your latest dicovered object of hatred is pregnancy clinics which encourage and assist pregnant women in saving the life of their babies, check out this week's Time magazine with a cover story on these clinics. It examines both sides of the issue, including yours.

Interesting is that, much as teen pregnancy rates have fallen with the development of abstinence programs, abortion rates since 1983 have plumetted, seemingly coinciding with the growth of these centers, which now outnumber abortion clinics in America.

February 19, 2007 9:00 AM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

Anon said ...check out this week's Time magazine with a cover story on these clinics. It examines both sides of the issue, including yours.

Interesting is that, much as teen pregnancy rates have fallen with the development of abstinence programs, abortion rates since 1983 have plumetted...


Which Time magazine cover story are you talking about? Your notions about pregnancy rates are not found in this week's Time cover story. Here's what this week's Time cover story actually says about pregnancy rates since abstinence program funding has increased while family planning funding has decreased:

"In the past 10 years, as public funding for family planning has stalled, unplanned pregnancy rates have jumped 29% among poor women; they are now more than four times as likely to have abortions as richer ones."

February 19, 2007 10:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

AB. Sorry if you misuderstood. I was referring to the overall abortion rate in the country, not to any specific group, nor to any pregnancy data in the article. The abortion data is in a visual graphic. You can't have missed it.

Also, as I said, it was an even-handed discussion. Didn't mean to imply the article endorsed the clinics. As so often in the past, you seem to think I can't cite something unless I am in complete agreement with some journalist's interpretation. Try some critical thinking.

February 19, 2007 10:28 AM  
Blogger Dana Beyer, M.D. said...

Anon,

The abortion rate is down because abortion has been available legally since 1973. We skipped an entire generation of unwanted children who would then be expected to have unwanted pregnancies of their own.

The data shows that abstinence does NOT work.

February 19, 2007 10:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The abortion rate is down because abortion has been available legally since 1973. We skipped an entire generation of unwanted children who would then be expected to have unwanted pregnancies of their own."

Your presumption.

"The data shows that abstinence does NOT work"

I assume you mean abstinence education not abstinence but you're wrong on either count.

February 19, 2007 11:02 AM  
Blogger Orin Ryssman said...

MCPS Mom writes,

Anonymous said...

Orin asked "Jim, did you forget this letter?"

Tell us Orin, why didn't you include the other two letters, the ones that were written by people living in Montgomery County, Maryland? Great Falls is in Virginia, the same state where PFOX is headquartered.


Wow, talk about guilt by association...ehh, gads. This group, PFOX really has you folks on edge...frankly I cannot understand why since I myself do not find their message particularly persuasive either. Huhh, go figure...

I did not include them so that I could see what would happen, and as I predicted (sort of along the same lines as that great experiment with Pavlov's dog...you know the one) you supplied the other two letters.

What is interesting is that of the two letters, the first uses that classic SIECUS line of "Public schools must ensure that students receive accurate, scientifically based information to help them navigate the complicated issues of human sexuality." by a Victoria Balenger of Bethesda.

Yawn...I have been over this with Jim, but I'll review it again for your sake...students have loads of facts and figures stuffed in their heads with access to still more information if they choose (for example, check out this site,
http://www.positive.org

for information that is only a click away - please don't tell me that a student that is smart enough to set up a MySpace account cannot find and access a "safe" sex website like the Coalition for Positive Sexuality...please!). What students lack is not necessarily knowledge per se, but wisdom and there is a difference.

And Jim writes,

Anon, anal sex may be slightly riskier than vaginal sex for three reasons:

Jim, saying that "anal sex may be slightly" is what is called minimizing a very real safety risks, especially given the three main characteristics that distinguish anal from vaginal sex, hence making it self-evidently more risky. To say that such behavior "may be slightly riskier" is to ignore those fundamental differences and is advice that I would NEVER give to anyone...ever. Why? Because it would be irresponsible.

February 19, 2007 11:28 AM  
Blogger JimK said...

Orin, I do not recommend "giving that advice" to anyone, esp in the schools. The CRC wants to say that anal sex is so dangerous that you should never do it, and that's ridiculous. We infer -- without empirical evidence -- that it could be riskier than vaginal sex, but there's certainly no sense in blowing it out of proportion.

We should be able to have this discussion among us adults here, without worrying that we are giving somebody bad advice.

JimK

February 19, 2007 11:46 AM  
Blogger Dana Beyer, M.D. said...

Yes, Anon, I meant abstinence "education," not abstinence per se. Thank you for pointing that out. That doesn't make you wrong, however, as all the studies have shown your position to be incorrect.

Orin, I agree, kids need more than knowledge. But you have to start with knowledge and facts, and not create an environment where those facts are ignored or obfuscated, creating conditions that drive children without wisdom into trouble.

I think it almost goes without saying that children lack wisdom. Wisdom comes from experience, and modelling, and having hope. When the CRC peddles religious dogma it deprives students of hope.

No, we are not on edge regarding PFOX. But we have learned, durng this most repressive administration, that giving an inch to purveyors of hate can lead to the opening of the floodgates. Yes, they have freedom of speech, and, yes, we accept that. But we have had to expend a large amount of time and energy (which could have been better spent with our children or solving global warming or even just cuddling with a partner) fighting a group of several dozen people who have nothing but lies to spread. Just look at everything Jim has had to learn when he would have been much more comfortable studying "demand characteritics."

February 19, 2007 1:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Yes, Anon, I meant abstinence "education," not abstinence per se. Thank you for pointing that out. That doesn't make you wrong, however, as all the studies have shown your position to be incorrect."

And the studies are?

I remember one from some university that wasn't peer-reviewed and didn't have a control sample and whose author said you shouldn't read too much into it. he also pointed out that there are many types of abstinence education and he only studied the effects of one. He also said that programs based on social norms rather than self-image appeared more successful.

Furthermore, any such study borders on pseudo-science. How can you prove something can't be taught or encouraged? Few would ever accept that result for any other behavior or toipic.

February 19, 2007 2:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I remember one from some university that wasn't peer-reviewed and didn't have a control sample and whose author said you shouldn't read too much into it."

Sounds two thirds like the Spitzer study -- no control group and an author who said given the difficulty in finding participants, the results found are likely rare.

PTA

February 19, 2007 2:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Spitzer was peer-reviewed and his goal was not to measure effectiveness but find if something existed at all.

The other guy, in Texas I believe, had plenty to study just nothing to compare it to. He was measuring how successul a particular program was.

Anyway, where is all the data Dana mentioned? We need to see some Dana-data. I hope it's not from that Gutmasher Institute that is really a front for Planned Parenthood.

February 19, 2007 2:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"fighting a group of several dozen people"

You know, I think this is a significant increase from TTF's previous estimates. I hope it wasn't a freudian slip.

February 19, 2007 2:21 PM  
Blogger andrear said...

As the parent of two kids who graduated from MCPS, my kids didn't come home and praise some talk from Rockville Pregnancy center. My son was especially impressed by the MCPS handout on what constitutes a sexual crime- my daughter never got that one-maybe it isn't given out anymore. She liked the trip to Subway to talk about nutrition-and the kids who argued about getting a sandwich that had fewer than 6 grams of fat(See, there are STIs, nutrition, exercise, self-care, so many things taught in the class- most of you have no idea). My daughter did talk about the 32 STIs since in my day - I think we had 3(not that we actually learned about them) See, my kids and I have talked about sex, abstinence, self-respect, respect for others, pregnancy, family- all of these things for years and continue to do so. So I have to wonder if Patty Weber's daughter's life was changed by the talk or if Patty is just shilling for CRC. Abstinence is discussed again and again in the class by the teacher and in the text- I know you anons and CRC clones claim it isn't done but then most of you don't have kids in MCPS or kids who took the class.

I love New Hampshire and Vermont -I can breathe there in the summer(well, if you get above Manchester). Check out the Orleans County Fair in Barton,VT- I like the oxen the best. Once I retire- I hope we can spend a few months there in the summer.

February 19, 2007 5:52 PM  
Anonymous Merle said...

I wonder what some of you holy-roller patriots think of this little anecdote in Haaretz:

Speaking of George Bush, with whom Sharon developed a very close relationship, Uri Dan recalls that Sharon's delicacy made him reluctant to repeat what the president had told him when they discussed Osama bin Laden. Finally he relented. And here is what the leader of the Western world, valiant warrior in the battle of cultures, promised to do to bin Laden if he caught him: "I will screw him in the ass!"

MH

February 19, 2007 6:51 PM  
Blogger Dana Beyer, M.D. said...

I'm being generous with my estimate, Anon. I'm extrapolating from all the CRC events over the past few years, and maybe giving more credit than is due since when there are MoCo events CRC often buses people in from out of county and out of state.

But I think we can afford to be magnanimous, and can go with the rough approximation that only 1% of MCPS parents choose not to opt-in their children in sex-ed. That is the bottom line with the school system.

As for the studies, many have been referenced here before and I will let others find them. I have other things to do this evening. But why bother? You're only going to say that it hasn't been taught well, therefore it has failed, but you can personally teach it, which proves it can be taught.

Sort of like saying that Marxism never really got an honest chance in the economic marketplace, or Christianity for that matter -- it's just the adherents who didn't understand the doctrine properly or didn't apply it effectively, or whatever.

February 19, 2007 7:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

MCPS staff used to say that about one percent of students opted out of the sex-ed classes. They would also volunteer, privately, that these were mostly Muslim girls. Records were not kept, though.

February 19, 2007 7:16 PM  
Blogger digger said...

Orin asked, in ref. to Ms. Turner's letter:

"MoCo allies with gay activists to encourage anal sex among our children.")

Odd, but I read her letter, and I do not recall her writing that part...could you show me where?"

Dear Orin,

She didn't say that literally of course. What she did say was that Montgomery Schools were directing kids to organizations that encourage "that, and worse."

I take her as saying that the organizations that Montgomery schools does reference (PFLAG, and SMYAL, which is the DC areas LGBT youth agency) encourage youth to engage in risky sexual behavior. Or maybe she's referring to my group, GLSEN. It's hysteria. None of us, of course, encourage youth to engage in any sexual behavior; we give the advice to LGBT youth that I suspect you would give: that they be cautious, monogamous, and that they form mature relationships (actually, GLSEN gives no advice to youth on sex; it's not what we do).

I thought Ms. Turner was being inflammatory, and I wrote what I thought her sentence really meant.

As to PFOX, they (and Regina Griggs) put me personally on edge. Years ago, when she was opposing an anti-harassment policy to include Sexual Orientation in Fairfax Schools, I communicated with her by email, trying to see if we could perhaps meet in person (with the idea that if people of good will but different opinions meet, and eat together, that maybe the level of enmity can be decreased). She emailed only long enough to get a quote from me saying that I opposed the school system giving out ex-gay materials, then cut off communication. Later, she used that quote in letters to the Northern Virginia Journal (now the DC Examiner) and the Washington Times. If you hunt around the PFOX website, you'll still find posted a letter to the editor calling me a hypocrite.

In our brief email correspondence, I shared with her that I have Bipolar Disorder (naively, I was trying to make a personal connection and thus shared personal information). When I spoke at the TTF forum a in 2005 about my experiences in the ex-gay movement, she gave that information to CRC, which posted it on their website (I think they thought they were "outing" me; they wer certainly using personal information to discredit me).

If Ms. Griggs at this point were to reach out to me, I would respond. But I think she has treated me personally badly and dishonestly. It colors my whole attitude to PFOX; I also think it underscores the organizations approach to LGBT people.

Yours in anticipation of Daylight Savings Time,

Robert

February 19, 2007 9:10 PM  
Blogger Dana Beyer, M.D. said...

Orin,

I have reached out a number of times to Turner and Griggs and others as well, to no avail. The only person to whom I've spoken has been my colleague, Dr. Ruth Jacobs, but it was a superficial conversation with no substance.

February 19, 2007 11:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,251296,00.html

Jim.
Is this also ok in your book...
Just curious where you draw the line.

February 20, 2007 1:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Orin --

PFOX doesn't have me on edge and I wasn't going for guilt by association either. I mentioned that PFOX and the author of letter to the editor you shared are both from Virginia because I think only the opinions of Montgomery County residents should be considered by the BOE. School curricula and speakers are supposed to reflect community values and standards -- our community values and standards, not some other locality's. That's why I posted the letters that were written by Montgomery County residents.

It's interesting that the letters written by MoCo residents published in the Washington Post came in 2 - 1 in favor of MCPS's decision to eliminate this religious group that thinks it's OK to expose our students to each other's germs from teaching in our schools. That ratio mirrors the only community poll that counts -- the one taken on Election Day.

MCPS Mom

February 20, 2007 6:59 AM  
Blogger Dana Beyer, M.D. said...

Hey, Anon, I thought you were into family values? Don't parents have a right to raise their children as they see fit? I know a number of couples that don't hide their bodies in front of their children. In their mind Christianity has a twisted view of human sexuality in general, and sexual repression breeds more sexual repression. Who's to say? Certainly church attendance does nothing to cut down on extramarital sexual activity. It may even encourage it, giving people the cover they feel they need. Analagous to FOX TV promoting a hypersexualized culture while FOX News rales against it.

February 20, 2007 7:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Seriously, Dana. What do you think of these parents exposing their kid to that?

February 20, 2007 9:40 PM  
Blogger Randi Schimnosky said...

Orin, anal sex wouldn't be so widely practiced if it was as risky as you'd like people to believe. Certainly in contrast to abstinence anal sex is not appreciably riskier than vaginal sex - both are quite safe, albeit not risk free in a monogamous relationship.

February 21, 2007 7:51 PM  
Anonymous Phentermine said...

Nice design of blog.

August 13, 2007 3:27 PM  

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