Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Washington Post: Good Overview of What Has Happened

Daniel De Vise has a good story in tomorrow morning's Washington Post about the ruling.
Maryland Superintendent Nancy S. Grasmick yesterday denied a request from three citizen groups to halt field tests of new sex-education lessons about sexual orientation in six Montgomery County schools and said she was convinced of "the value of going forward" with the pilot program.

With Grasmick's endorsement, there is nothing to stop the field tests from proceeding. Opponents of the new curriculum, approved in January by the county Board of Education, say they look forward to the decision of the Maryland State Board of Education on whether the curriculum should be overturned. Sex-Ed Pilot Is Endorsed By Grasmick

That's supposed to happen in July. There will be a whole lot of thumb-twiddling between now and then.
Montgomery school officials launched field tests this week of new lessons that, for the first time, have health teachers introduce the concept of sexual orientation in the eighth and 10th grades. Parents must give written permission for their children to attend the sessions.

That the field tests are happening -- the first began Tuesday at Argyle Middle School in Silver Spring -- represents a symbolic victory for the county school board. An earlier version of the curriculum, approved by the school board, was halted by a federal judge in spring 2005, days before field tests were to begin.

And remember, the CRC was so happy that they would get a new curriculum. For some reason, they thought the new one would be more conservative, more anti-gay, than the other one.

But it turns out, they hate the new one even more than they hated the last one.
Critics of the 2005 curriculum oppose the rewritten lessons, too. In a petition filed last month with the state Department of Education, the groups allege the lessons compromise and injure the "sincere religious moral beliefs regarding homosexual conduct" held by some Montgomery families, whose faith dictates that homosexuality is a sin.

The Montgomery school board countered that the critics "simply disagree with the curriculum and want it rewritten to include their views on sexual orientation."

Yes, the MCPS lawyers pretty much disregarded the noise and got right to the point in their response.

I'll skip a little. Look, walk out to the driveway, pick up the paper, flip to the second section, and read it yourself if you want to know what I'm leaving out. Go to 7/11 and give the guy a half a buck, whatever.
Brian Edwards, spokesman for the county school system, said it was "clear from reviewing her ruling that she believes these lessons are valuable and ought to be tested in the classroom."

He said the pilot program has yielded early evidence that the new lessons are acceptable to most parents. A series of informational meetings drew no more than 12 parents at any school, he said.

Michelle Turner, spokeswoman for lead opposition group Citizens for a Responsible Curriculum, was pleased that Grasmick found merit in each side's argument.

"For Grasmick to say that we are equally matched -- it's a coin toss at this point," she said.

OK, I'll accept that: it's a coin toss.

You called tails.

Heads win.


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