Thursday, March 15, 2007

Disruption: Think It Through

The Citizens for a Responsible Curriculum are trying as hard as they can to persuade parents not to sign the permission forms for their students to take the new sex-ed classes during pilot testing of the new sex-ed curricula. They have been sending letters to the families at the test schools, full of the usual misinformation, and begging everyone they talk to to opt out. It might work, I don't know; but I do know, if there is a high attrition rate it will be attributed to the CRC's pressure, not to the classes.

The pilot testing is being conducted in order to find if there are problems with the courses. It's a standard part of implementation of any new curriculum
-- math, English, whatever. The intent is to improve the standard of education by carefully developing and testing new material before it goes district-
wide. This kind of careful preparation is one reason Montgomery County has one of the highest-rated public school districts in the country.

But the CRC doesn't want to improve the curriculum, they want to disrupt it. This is not a plan, it's a tantrum.

They figure that it will be a great success if they can undermine the testing process by emptying the classrooms, but I don't think they've thought this one through.

If anyone decides to opt out after reading the CRC's propaganda, it will be the more conservative families. That means it will be the liberal kids taking the courses, filling out the evaluation forms, asking intelligent and thoughtful questions instead of making comments like "My daddy says those people are sick." The feedback will be positive, and the school district will be even more determined than ever to see this implemented.

What is supposed to happen? Assuming they are successful in undermining the testing (and the evidence suggests that they have not been successful), what is the best they could hope for? The school district is supposed to say, "Oh, whaddya know -- People don't want to take this course." No, of course that won't happen. The school board has got a bunch of people on it who were just voted into office by a huge majority, people in Montgomery County made it crystal-clear that they want a progressive school system -- the district knows what the citizens of the county want. And the CRC has been agitating for years; the board is ... bored, I'm sure, with it all now. They won't be impressed.

If students opt out, the school district is going to understand why: it will have been because of the CRC's campaign. Nobody will be able to say it was because of the classes, because ... nobody's taken the classes yet. People can't react to something that hasn't happened yet. Nobody's going to opt out because of a class, but only because of what they heard from the noise-makers of the CRC.

The CRC is trying to disrupt the curriculum development process with no sensible reason. A high rate of students opting out won't affect the chances of the curriculum being implemented, and school officials aren't going to create a new parallel curriculum in response to a malicious-letter campaign. There is no foreseeable benefit to the CRC, no apparent furthering of their goals, as a result of this attempted disruption.

The world sees them stomping their feet, thrashing around, crying and shrieking like a bunch of bad, poopy-pants babies. Sorry, but that's how this is being seen.

Typically about one percent of students opt out of sex ed. By making it a political issue, the CRC is hoping to increase that percentage. Maybe they will. Then they can declare a great victory, as life goes on around them.


Blogger andrea said...

I guess the fact that CRC resorts to lies clearly shows what they are about. Why do they continue to say the risks of sex are not presented? There is a large section on STDS that is taught. I know because I learned a lot more about STDs when my daughter did. What CRC won't admit is that STDs are extensively reviewed- but that what isn't taught is that gay people are diseased and dirty and immoral. How typical is it that CRC fought the curriculum last time because some resource(not an actual lesson) said some religions are against homosexuality and this time they are complaining because they want to be able to say some religions think homosexuality is immoral.

March 15, 2007 7:15 PM  
Blogger andrea said...

My daughter opted out of Calculus in 12th grade- but I think MCPS is still teaching it.

March 15, 2007 7:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't know about the rest of you, but I think it's real interesting watching the GOP implode these days. Now that the Dems in Congress are providing the oversight that has long been lacking, years of GOP lies and schemes are finally being exposed and the world is learning that elected leaders of the "moral right" is neither "moral" nor "right."

Not that it matters very much here in deep dark blue MoCo, but there are repercussions of the relentless tide of right-wing scandals even here: Steve Abrams quit the GOP and registered as a Democrat. According to the Gazette, this leaves BOE member Sharon Cox, who is not exactly a fan of the CRC after the threats against her on their old website, as the last elected GOP member standing in all of Montgomery County.

March 16, 2007 8:34 AM  
Blogger andrea said...

Steve quit the GOP - please, is this a way to try to taint the Dems?

March 16, 2007 10:38 AM  
Blogger andrea said...

Will Steve try to beat up a democrat? I think if this same incident happened with democrats, no one would try to cover it up for "the sake of the party". I think it showed the desperation of the republicans in MC.

March 16, 2007 4:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does this make Abrams an "ex-GOP?" If, after going through the process of becoming a Democrat he decides he really is a Republican, will that make him an "ex-ex-GOP?"

Are there any organizations for "ex-GOPs?"

March 16, 2007 5:17 PM  

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