Friday, March 23, 2007

CRC Brags: Parents Unimpressed

The CRC is really trying to undermine the pilot testing. Here's part of a newsletter they sent out a couple of days ago:
The opt-out program is going well. We have mailed information, and town-hall postcards, to all of the schools but one (Argyle) and a significant number of parents are choosing not to let their kids participate. We also autodialed three of the schools -- Westland, Watkins Mill and Sherwood, and have picketed at Argyle, Julius West, Westland, and Watkins Mill. Our picketers have been favorably received by the parents at all the schools so far -- honks and thumbs up all around.

If you haven't signed the on-line petition yet, please do so, it is almost over 2000 signatures.

Yes, bragging about auto-dialing the schools. They are trying to get people to opt out of those classes, so they can ... I don't know what. So they can prove that scary letters and phone calls can make people opt out of a health class?

There has been some discussion about the "thumbs up." Was the actual digit possibly misperceived? <strokes_chin_while_gazing_into_the_distance>

And another thing. The petition is "almost over 2000 signatures." We note that on March 14th, they said (here in the comments) that it was "up to 1900" signatures. You know they're bustin' the emails and sending letters and stuff: that doesn't sound like they're getting signatures very fast, does it? Less than a hundred in a week.

We remember back in January 13, 2005, when they planned to get 50,000 signatures on their petitions (as revealed by their online bulletin board, found in the Google cache). At this rate, that will take, by my calculations, 9.23 years. Good luck with that. (This was the same message that proposed: John Garza proceeding immediatley with his lawsuit. Lawsuits tend to get peoples attention - merit or no merit because it forces them to deal with their legal team on a continuing basis.)

The effectiveness of their attack is demonstrated by this email by a mom on one of the schools' listserves:
Subject: Phone Call from Citizens for a Responsible Curriculum

Last night, my family received a phone call with a pre-recorded message from the Citizens for a Responsible Curriculum, encouraging us to "opt out" of the upcoming pilot health ("sex ed.", as the message called it) curriculum for 8th grade students at [the school]. I didn't complain last week when I received the letter from CRC. Instead, I read it and discarded it, simple. However, I strongly object to our personal information from the [school] directory being used by an outside organization to phone my home with a pre-recorded message.

In my opinion, a line has been crossed that must be addressed. It has certainly been made clear to CRC that our directory should not be used for this purpose. To me, it is an extreme arrogance that leads a group to believe its message is so important that they don't have to follow "the rules" by respecting the privacy of those who released their information for use by other families listed in that same directory, not by an organization with an agenda. Is there anything we can do to address this?

Notes to CRC: If you're trying to persuade me to your point of view, sending a pre-recorded message that is received by my 10 year old son, who happened to be the one to first hear the message last night, is not an effective strategy.

This approach is r-e-a-l-l-y working, guys -- keep it up.


Blogger andrea said...

Gosh, didn't a CRCer claim only 9 kids took the class at one school? that was so totally wrong- like Michele's" the state granted- uh, I mean, denied the stay" So the chipper little voice in this CRC note is probably just a hope to get money by lying to their own constituents. Didn't Johnny have to beg for money and men(whoa- that sounds bad but I think it happened) at the latest CRC whinefest?

March 23, 2007 6:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So it appears that 5% of parents in the pilot schools chose not to allow their children to take the lessons. CRC seems to assert that that 5% should be able to impose their views on everyone else.

From today's Washington Times
The Washington Times

Most students present for sex-ed class
By Kristen Chick

Published March 27, 2007

Roughly 10 percent of Montgomery County students did not attend the school system's new sex-education classes that include lessons on homosexuality and condom use.
Three lessons were taught last week for 10th-graders at Watkins Mill and Bethesda-Chevy Chase high schools. And two lessons were held for eighth-graders at Argyle and Julius West middle schools.
Of the 488 students enrolled in the classes, 24 presented a parental-permission slip excusing them, and 17 failed to bring a permission slip allowing them to take the classes, said county schools spokesman Brian Edwards.
The classes are test lessons and are being taught this week at Sherwood High School and Westland Middle School.
This marks the first time sexual orientation has been taught in county public schools. The classes are expected to be part of the school system's 38 middle and 25 high schools by next fall.
Mr. Edwards said students who opted out of the classes and those who didn't bring their permission slips were taught alternative lessons.
Michelle Turner, spokeswoman for Citizens for Responsible Curriculum, which opposes the lessons, said some students were left to sit in the library during the class.
The group sent letters and automated-phone calls to parents urging them not to allow their children to attend the classes.
A Watkins Mill student decided not to take the classes because of what they taught was contrary to her beliefs, said her father, John Fichter.
The lessons she would have heard include definitions of the terms homosexual, bisexual, transgender and homophobia," he said.
One section is called "Recognizing One's Orientation," and another includes a video on condom use. Some parents are concerned about the lesson's portrayal of homosexuality.
"I think [my daughter] felt it was portraying as normal something that's not normal at all," Mr. Fichter said. "They don't present any of the health risks about" homosexual behavior. He also said there is "no portrayal of normal heterosexual marriage as a normal lifestyle."
He asked that his daughter's name not be used.
The curriculum was approved in January by the county school board, but the Citizens group and other critics asked the state Board of Education to stop the schools from teaching the lessons. Maryland Superintendent Nancy S. Grasmick declined to halt the pilot lessons, but the appeal is still pending before the state school board.
This is the second attempt by the board to rewrite the curriculum. A federal judge halted the first version just before it was to be taught in 2005.
A 10th-grader who took the class at Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School said it was informative.
"I don't think it was very controversial," said Laura Neuhauser, 15. "People understood why it was being taught and didn't really have anything against it."
Jim Kennedy, a founding member of, which supports the curriculum, said parents who take their children out of the class will lose the opportunity to comment on the curriculum. The school board will review comments about the lessons before deciding whether to implement them in the fall.
"When you talk about these opt-out numbers, they won't reflect any quality of the curriculum itself; it will reflect the fact that [parents] are getting calls telling them something scary is happening," Mr. Kennedy said. "If they're successful, only the students from liberal families will take the class, so all the feedback will reflect that."
Mr. Kennedy said a small group of conservatives was inflating an issue with which most of the county had no problem.
"This is not a big deal," he said. "It's just a class."
But Mrs. Turner disagreed.
"We don't feel its the school's responsibility to teach that material," she said.

March 27, 2007 8:11 AM  

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