Thursday, July 19, 2007

The Post: What the People Think

The Washington Post recently asked for people to write them with their opinions about the new sex-ed curriculum. This morning they published those letters. I'm not going to edit, here's the whole thing:
The Montgomery County Board of Education recently approved Montgomery's new lessons on sexual orientation for all middle and high schools beginning in the fall. Two 45-minute lessons will introduce homosexuality and gender identity in health courses in grades 8 and 10, along with a 10th-grade lesson and instructional DVD on the correct use of a condom. Two weeks ago, the Maryland State Board of Education rejected an appeal to overturn the curriculum.

County educators have been in a pitched legal battle for several years over the sex-education curriculum. Citizens for a Responsible Curriculum, which led a consortium of opposition groups, had appealed to the state board to block the curriculum and had convinced a federal judge in 2005 to halt the first revision. Another group, TeachtheFacts.org, organized to support the changes. Representatives of both groups and others served on the Montgomery County Citizens Advisory Committee, which offered recommendations on what should and should not be taught in the lessons.

Montgomery Extra invited readers to comment on the curriculum, and several dozen people responded. Most favored the new curriculum.

Here are some of the letters. Some have been edited for space and clarity.


Lessons Should Go Further

I have had two students graduate from Montgomery County public schools, and three years ago started teaching at Magruder High School, where I also sponsor the gay-straight alliance student organization. In addition, I spent a decade doing volunteer contraceptive counseling for Planned Parenthood. I completely support the changes, and I think that in spite of all the discussion and counter lawsuits, they still do not go far enough to put Montgomery County into the realm of those who deal with sex education in an enlightened manner.

The more students learn about how to use contraceptives and condoms in particular, the better. It would be preferable if they could actually handle the contraceptives themselves, which the curriculum still does not let them do. Many sources, including some good surveys from the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, show that those students who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered or just questioning their sexual identity suffer more than other teenagers during their school years. They are depressed, feel victimized, experiment with drugs, attempt suicide and drop out in disproportionate numbers. I have seen anecdotal evidence to support this during the short time that I have been working with these students. The curriculum change is a small step toward discussion and acceptance of differences. The lessons are too structured and scripted to allow for meaningful conversation, but let's hope that can happen somewhere else. Let's stop pussyfooting around this issue and give our teenagers some real information.

Hilary Davies
Rockville

Props From a PFLAG Parent

As the parent of two graduates of Montgomery County public schools and as a member of the Metro DC chapter of Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG), I support the action taken by MCPS to include in the eighth-and 10th-grade health education curriculum information regarding sexual orientation and gender identity. Teenagers, particularly those who are gay or transgender, need this information, as do their families. I wish that it had been available to my children when they were in middle and high school.

Deborah S. Strauss
Bethesda

What's All the Fuss About?

The question of whether schools should present factual material about a subject that the average teenager thinks about every couple of seconds kind of answers itself. To think that the presentation of scientifically solid information about sexual orientation and the use of condoms will turn a straight youth into a homosexual (or modest behavior into debauchery) confers superpowers on mere teachers and belittles our children.

I would ask those who oppose the curriculum changes: "Did you move to, or choose to remain in, Montgomery County because of the housing prices, the traffic congestion or the school system?"

Ira R. Allen
Bethesda

Not the Role of Schools

The new sex-education lessons are teaching the "world view" that homosexuality is beyond one's control. The lessons teach that it is a way of life that has equal value with any other choice. This is one perspective.

The government schools want to teach chosen "facts" about sexual orientation. But this issue is one where families can teach their own children. It is a moral issue. It is inappropriate for the schools to teach about it.

The school board is also overreaching when it approved a class to teach about condoms. Again, the subject is a moral one. The government schools are taking the position that students will be immoral, and so they need to know the correct use of condoms. They are "setting the bar" very low. This is not the Victorian Age or the 1950s era, when talking about sexual relationships was taboo. Parents are articulate and capable. They can teach their own children, and they have the right to teach their perspective. The schools are trying to push their opinion as though it were fact.

Nancy Stafford
Rockville

Target Behavior, Not Beliefs

I am the mother of a child who will go into the eighth grade this fall and, therefore, will take the revised segments of the curriculum. I am also a member of TeachtheFacts.org, which was formed to support the Montgomery County Board of Education's efforts to update the curriculum on human sexuality.

I am completely in favor of the new curriculum, especially the fact that it defines sexual orientation in general and provides some basic information on this subject in the eighth grade and provides more specific definitions in the 10th grade, including a definition of "transgender." The material includes an explanation that students may "come out" during their middle and high school years and that this process may be difficult for some people.

It indicates that students should treat those who define themselves as gay, lesbian or bisexual with the same respect that is given people in the school system with other differences, which might include religion, national, cultural or ethnic background and race. The curriculum, however, does not go far enough, because it does not include a statement that non-heterosexual orientations are not mental disorders or diseases according to the leading medical and mental heath organizations. Teachers may provide this information if a student asks.

Those who have vocally opposed adoption of the revisions to the curriculum claim, among other things, that their families' religious beliefs are being violated because the curriculum "normalizes" homosexuality, which they believe to be sinful. Further, they assert that their children are being forced to accept differences in sexual orientation and that the curriculum advocates different sexual orientations. First, parents may opt to keep their children out of lessons addressing sexual orientation. Second, the focus of the curriculum is to create an environment within the school community where teachers, other employees, students and parents are treated the same regardless of sexual orientation.

Neither the curriculum nor the school system dictates what people may or may not believe; the focus is how they behave. The students are completely free to receive the teachings of their families' values, and they are free to hold those beliefs and even express them respectfully, as long as they treat everyone within the school community equally.

Amy R. Heyman
Silver Spring

Knowledge Is Power

Usually by the time adolescents are 13 to 15 years old, their gender identities are well-established by nature, nurture or a combination of both. Unfortunately, so is prejudice, by societal forces.

Appropriate education on homosexuality and gender identity would offer students an opportunity to learn more self-understanding and tolerance of others who may be different (not to be read "bad" or "immoral") from themselves. Likewise, removing the mystique of the condom and its proper use does not guarantee early sexual intercourse.

Instructions on the proper use of matches, knives and power tools does not presuppose adolescents' aggressive/violent use of these things with other people. Truly, knowledge can produce strength and thoughtfulness in youth.

Carole Rayburn
Silver Spring

Respect Other Choices, Too

Our legal appeal of the Montgomery County Board of Education's new sex-ed curriculum also involved discrimination allegations. The curriculum is entitled "Respect for Differences in Human Sexuality" and promotes tolerance of homosexuals, lesbians, bisexuals, transgenders, cross-dressers and the intersexed. The Board of Education refused to include tolerance for ex-gays despite the four-year presence of our ex-gay organization, Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays & Gays, on the curriculum advisory committee.

This is why we filed the lawsuit against the board's so-called "Respect for Differences in Human Sexuality" new sex-ed curriculum. The board cannot pick and choose which sexual orientations they favor and then refuse to teach tolerance about the ones they don't like.

Regina Griggs
Alexandria
Executive director of Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays & Gays.

Teens Need Information

Last semester, I took the newly approved 10th-grade health class at Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School. Before that, I have taken a much broader relationships and human sexuality class at River Road Unitarian Universalist Congregation.

I strongly believe that every student should be required to take the new, more expanded health class. All youths should be able to get answers to their questions.

Many critics say that these classes "usurp parents' role." Many parents have a hard time talking to their kids about sex. Some tell their children that it's wrong, just "don't do it!" Sometimes they don't say anything. When this happens, most kids and teenagers go to their friends for information, and usually get the wrong idea or facts.

Critics also say that "teaching about sex spurs teens to try it." But studies have actually shown that sex education decreases pregnancy and disease rates. If you aren't given the right information, you could get HIV/AIDS, sexually transmitted diseases or become pregnant. If you become pregnant, you might have to drop out of school. If you get a STD, then it will stay with you for the rest of your life.

If youths aren't educated about sex and its responsibilities, diseases and consequences, where will they get truthful answers when they need them? When youths are given the right information, they are better equipped to make decisions that can affect their whole life.

Lee Geiser
Chevy Chase

Move Forward, Not Back

The new eighth- and 10th-grade sex-education curriculum is a long-overdue step forward.

As a researcher and professor of higher education who teaches sexuality issues, I am appalled at how much abstinence-only education and other repressive measures have attenuated my students' education by the time they get to college. They are much less informed on basic health issues than students their age used to be. We need to go forward, not backward.

As I teach my students, Montgomery County is becoming a global community that combines many different cultural assumptions. It is important that we learn to talk about sexuality openly and non-judgmentally, and make the largest amount of accurate information available that we can. High school students are already discussing this. We just need to give them a healthy classroom space in which to do it and do it well.

Loraine Hutchins
Takoma Park

Parents' Roles Unchanged

As a former member of the Advisory Committee on Family Life and a Montgomery County public school parent who also works in the field of teen pregnancy prevention, I strongly support the new curriculum.

The protests by those who oppose adding information about homosexuality and proper condom use are hugely misguided. Emphatic claims that teaching kids about contraception will spur them to have sex ignore solid research showing that comprehensive sex education that encourages teens to delay sex and includes information about contraception is most effective in getting kids to wait longer to have sex and use protection when they do.

This long debate over a relatively short lesson plan has drowned out the most important point of all: When it comes to decisions about sex, love and relationships, teens say that parents influence them more than anything else -- more than friends, the media, siblings, religious leaders and, yes, more than teachers and sex educators.

Schools may be where formal sex education takes place, but it's at home where kids soak in the truly meaningful aspects of these topics. Parents are the ones who can go beyond the "what" to the "why." Schools can't, nor should they be expected to, do all that. So whether you're a parent in favor of the new content or opposed to it, you've got plenty of work to do with your kids after the school bell rings.

Karen Troccoli
Bethesda

You Call That Tolerance?

The new Montgomery County sex-ed curriculum could be summed up in one sentence: Shut up, sit down and listen to our one-sided lesson on tolerance, and we don't want to hear any of your bigotry about the U.S. Constitution.

Retta Brown
Rockville
Brown is a former member of the Montgomery County Citizens Advisory Committee.

Changes Are Welcome

I am an HIV counselor for the Whitman Walker Clinic and the president of Latin@s En Accion, a Washington-area Latino lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender organization.

On a professional level, I am really pleased to see such an innovative curriculum that not only focuses on a social issue but a very important health issue.

Many of the young men and women facing issues related to sexual education as it relates to sexual orientation or gender identity that I come across through my advocacy work happen to live in the Silver Spring, Rockville and Gaithersburg areas.

It has been my experience that when you help young kids to deal with sexual identity issues they are more likely to be prepared and empowered on other issues such as substance abuse.

There is a child that will benefit from the much needed education that at many times other peers deny them.

Ruby Corado
Washington

Face Sexuality Head-On

Let's keep our children informed and educated. Hiding our heads in the sand will not curb the behavior of our young people. The more education that our children have, the better equipped they will be to make decisions and to deal with the world we live in today. Sexual orientation is not a choice, and homophobia is all about lack of education.

Kathleen Soto Mayer
Gaithersburg

Being Gay Is a Choice

I am very disturbed and deeply saddened by the incredible bias of the Montgomery County school board. They have chosen to teach only one side of the story regarding homosexuality in their new sex-ed curriculum.

Why one side of the story? Because people can choose to live a gay life, or they can choose to change and come out straight. How do I know this? Because I made the change many years ago, and today I am living my dream.

My wife and I recently celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary, and we are the proud parents of three remarkable children. I am living my dream because someone informed me that I had a choice -- to live a gay life, or to seek change and be straight.

Why is Montgomery County denying our students the right to choose for themselves? Where is the tolerance, diversity and equality? One side of the homosexual issue is all they are advocating. I am very sorry for our students and future generations.

Richard Cohen
Bowie
Cohen is director of the International Healing Foundation, which promotes the idea that changing from gay to straight is possible.

Educating Straight People

My daughter is a lesbian who had to go to Canada to get married. She now lives in New Jersey, where she and her partner are raising a beautiful baby boy who just turned 1. As I am 60, social conversations often turn to the question: "Do you have kids?" When I respond, I make a point of telling them the story about my daughter and her family.

I'm sometimes amazed at the obvious discomfort that some people seem to feel as I'm talking. My small contribution is to educate straight Americans about gay Americans.

I might not have to do that so often if young people learned a few facts about sexual orientation and gender identification while they were in school. This is why I support the Montgomery County school board's approval of the decision to include lessons on these issues in its health courses, which I'm hoping will include discussion about prejudice and discrimination against gay people.

Mark F. Wurzbacher
Takoma Park

Update Is Long Overdue

We are the parents of three children: one who graduated from Montgomery Blair High School in 2000 and two who are entering the eighth and sixth grades this fall. We strongly support these classes. It is past time for MCPS to address sexual orientation and the issues caused by ignorance and misunderstanding.

The curriculum has been available online and we have read it in its entirety. While it is a fabulous anti-bullying curriculum, it is not strong enough in one particular area: It does not make clear that all of the mainstream medical associations in the United States agree that homosexuality is not a disease or a disorder. Only if a student asks will a teacher say that the American Psychiatric Association does not consider homosexuality a disorder. This is a disservice to all of the students, but especially to those who are questioning their own sexual orientation.

The other "controversy" over this curriculum is a video demonstration of proper use of condoms. Come on, people. There has been a video demonstration of condom use since 1994. The old video was outdated and too long. All research about condoms agrees that careful and consistent use increases the protections against pregnancy and STIs. The full curriculum, which is presented over several years, makes it clear that only abstinence is 100 percent effective against both pregnancy and infection. The video also makes this point. Why would anyone stand in the way of this long-overdue update?

Letitia Hall
and Gavin Brennan
Silver Spring

Readers Speak Out About New Sex-Education Curriculum

Wow, there's a lot to talk about there. Richard Cohen says it's a choice?

A couple of these are familiar names, but it is also nice to see voices from the community, just plain folks who live here. OK, a bowl of oatmeal and I'm out the door. Talk amongst yourselves.

35 Comments:

Blogger Orin Ryssman said...

The goofiest letter would have to go to (with the one by Regina Griggs coming in a close, very close second place),

What's All the Fuss About?

The question of whether schools should present factual material about a subject that the average teenager thinks about every couple of seconds kind of answers itself. To think that the presentation of scientifically solid information about sexual orientation and the use of condoms will turn a straight youth into a homosexual (or modest behavior into debauchery) confers superpowers on mere teachers and belittles our children.

I would ask those who oppose the curriculum changes: "Did you move to, or choose to remain in, Montgomery County because of the housing prices, the traffic congestion or the school system?"

Ira R. Allen
Bethesda


Am I mistaken, or is he saying, Montgomery County...love it or leave it? And no, I don't think "information" about sexual orientation will cause my children or any other children to go out and embrace homosexuality. I just happen to think that values ought to be taught in the home, and at a minimum, not undercut by our schools. Mr. Allen's letter is among the sillest I've read in a while...and I read quite a few.

July 19, 2007 8:11 AM  
Anonymous David said...

I don't know, Ira. I think Regina takes the title.

How is "ex-gay" a sexual orientation? If in fact "change is possible," wouldn't such a person just be straight? To claim that "ex-gay" is a distinct sexual orientation seems to me to seriously undercut their central claim.

But maybe that's just me.

July 19, 2007 9:04 AM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

Maybe Orin isn't aware that when many families are transferred to the Washington DC area, they shop around for the best schools for their kids. Montgomery County is selected by many new residents because of the stellar reputation of its public school system. That's one reason our housing prices are high and our traffic is so conjested. Even so, families continue to choose to reside here because of our outstanding public schools.

July 19, 2007 9:19 AM  
Blogger Tish said...

I noticed that 50% of the letter-writers who do not like the curriculum come from outside of the county. There's really nothing new to say about Griggs and Cohen - we already know who they are and where they come from. It is tiresome that the editors of the Post continue to add those voices to this in-county dialog, but those were probably the only four anti-curriculum letters the paper received.

July 19, 2007 9:40 AM  
Anonymous Joltin' Joe said...

"Maybe Orin isn't aware that when many families are transferred to the Washington DC area, they shop around for the best schools for their kids. Montgomery County is selected by many new residents because of the stellar reputation of its public school system."

Actually, Fairfax County schools, across the river in Virginia, have a better reputation, part of the reason demographics are shifting toward that side of the river- nad have been for a while. They have a much more conservative sex ed curriculum, which is also a plus.

In any case, the fact that two completely different systems in the same area are both consistently ranked in the top ten of the country points to another truth: because of stable family wealth and the mostly highly educated parents in America, these students do well regardless of the system.

July 19, 2007 10:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Orin wrote:
Am I mistaken, or is he saying, Montgomery County...love it or leave it? And no, I don't think "information" about sexual orientation will cause my children or any other children to go out and embrace homosexuality. I just happen to think that values ought to be taught in the home, and at a minimum, not undercut by our schools. Mr. Allen's letter is among the sillest I've read in a while...and I read quite a few.

**************************
Contact Ira and tell him that.

Center for the Advancement of Health
Contact: Ira R. Allen
Director of Public Affairs
202.387.2829
press@cfah.org


Ted

July 19, 2007 11:03 AM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

Here are some excerpts from Fairfax County Public School system's sex ed curriculum:

Topics include sexual and nonsexual high-risk behaviors; myths about the transmission of HIV; the need for compassion for people with HIV; the ways to prevent or reduce the spread of HIV, including abstinence from sexual activity, abstinence from intravenous drug use, and the use of condoms...

The student will identify the advantages and disadvantages of contraceptive methods and discuss different moral and/or religious viewpoints concerning their use.
Descriptive Statement: This includes distinguishing the effectiveness of contraceptive methods including barrier methods, pills, IUD, sterilization, spermicide, withdrawal, and the sympto-thermal methods of natural family planning. Various viewpoints concerning contraception will be addressed...

The student will discuss abortion and the different opinions in society about abortion.
Descriptive Statement: This includes the concept that abortions can be spontaneous (miscarriage) or induced, and discussion of the varying opinions concerning the morality of abortion. Adoption will be identified as an alternative to abortion...

The student will recognize the development of sexuality as a life long aspect of personality.
Descriptive Statement: Discussion will focus on the concept that individuals are sexual beings from birth to death and that sexuality evolves from infancy to old age. Students will distinguish between heterosexual and homosexual orientations. Discussions will include the normalcy of strong same-sex friendships. The medical, social, and legal issues related to homosexuality will be addressed...


I guess that discussion of abortion makes Fairfax "more conservative" than MCPS according to Joe.

July 19, 2007 2:43 PM  
Blogger andrea said...

Oh, c'mon- did anyone really think JJ knew anything about the Fairfax curriculum? Or where people are sending kids to school or which system is better? Like all CRC supporters- there is rarely any fact to back up the "numbers.

I don't know Regina was goofy as usual but Retta and the US Constitution?? good for a laugh, I think.

July 19, 2007 10:05 PM  
Anonymous cairo joe said...

Anyone can look it up. Montgomery has been declining and Fairfax ascending for years. Political correctness is a big factor. We could use some standards of learning over here. And, yes, their sex ed curriculum was devised with community standards respected.

July 19, 2007 11:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cairo Joe (what a clever name for the former "Anonymous") claims that anyone can "look it up" to confirm that "Montgomery has been declining and Fairfax ascending for years. Political correctness is a big factor. We could use some standards of learning over here." I would be interested in knowing his source for this evaluation. His comments about "standards of learning" clearly show that he hasn't the foggiest notion of what Montgomery County's curriculum and over-all core education values and objectives are. It's best for him to avoid getting into this area of discussion lest he make more such foolish statements that can only lead to further exposure of his ignorance.
Rob

July 20, 2007 12:21 AM  
Blogger UntwistedTruth.com said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

July 20, 2007 12:26 AM  
Blogger UntwistedTruth.com said...

Factual material? What a joke.

Can anyone justify why the committee refused to include CDC or NIH or FDA or any warnings on dangers of anal sex as petioned by 270 Montgomery County medical doctors?

...or the fact that transsexuality and travestitism are classified as treatable mental disorders by APA was left out?

...or why curriculum will now teach homosexuality is innate as a scientific fact although not APA nor anyone else confirms this?

...or why American Pediatrics Association warning on self-identifying as gay at too early age puts children at risk?

...or that even Trojans warns that condoms for anal sex are not safe?

...or that sexuality confusion is not uncommon and it does NOT mean you should try gay sex or assume you might be born gay?

Advancement of health? It is absolutely obvious that advancing sexual diversity takes priority over health and welfare of all students.

The self-serving enlightened ignorance of these responses is appalling.

It's not about what people think--it's about what they don't know. This curriculum with a fancy name has little to do with presenting all the facts. Obviously afraid to include the whole truth.

Indoctrination is not eduation.

July 20, 2007 12:43 AM  
Anonymous Cairo Joe said...

"His comments about "standards of learning" clearly show that he hasn't the foggiest notion of what Montgomery County's curriculum and over-all core education values and objectives are. It's best for him to avoid getting into this area of discussion lest he make more such foolish statements that can only lead to further exposure of his ignorance."

Is it just me or does everyone see that Rob's post has absolutely no substance?

July 20, 2007 6:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's just you.

July 20, 2007 6:55 AM  
Blogger Dana Beyer, M.D. said...

The hatred of a fool like UT is just mind-boggling. C'mon, man, please show me, with links, footnotes, whatever, what the treatment for transsexualism is and how it differs from anything presented in the curriculum. I had all the treatment for the "treatable mental disorder" you mention and here I am, still far more rational and productive than you ever were, in spite of having to live in a world populated by ignoramuses like you.

What's your problem?

July 20, 2007 7:24 AM  
Anonymous joltin' joe said...

"It's just you."

Well, anon, could you enlighten us then and show where Rob actually said anything other than "that guy's wrong but I'm not saying why".

July 20, 2007 7:44 AM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

UT's problem is obvious in his first statement. It's his obsession with anal sex. He's been gone for weeks but he's back obsessing about it some more in the middle of the night.

What are the "dangers" of anal sex? Not pregnancy, but STDs. The MCPS curriculum discusses STDs in the STD portion of the curriculum, which is to be revised next year. UT must be salivating at the prospect of his obsession being discussed by that committee for a whole year. Did UT apply for and win a seat on the CAC so he can join in all those discussions?

July 20, 2007 8:06 AM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

Sure JJ. When Rob said "I would be interested in knowing his source for this evaluation." he's asking you to provide the facts that support your claims that:

1. "demographics are shifting toward that side of the river- nad have been for a while."

and 2. "Anyone can look it up. Montgomery has been declining and Fairfax ascending for years."

In what measures is Montgomery declining and Fairfax ascending especially in regard to what you imagine to be their "much more conservative" sex ed program -- teen pregnancy rates, STD rates, ex-gay conversion rates, marriage and divorce rates, single parent rates? Show us the data that support your claims.

July 20, 2007 8:21 AM  
Blogger Orin Ryssman said...

Ted,

Go ahead, pass my posting on to Mr. Allen...

Orin

July 20, 2007 8:52 AM  
Anonymous joltin' Joe said...

"In what measures is Montgomery declining and Fairfax ascending especially in regard to what you imagine to be their "much more conservative" sex ed program -- teen pregnancy rates, STD rates, ex-gay conversion rates, marriage and divorce rates, single parent rates? Show us the data that support your claims."

These rankings about the best schools in the country come out all the time. I'm not going to start Internet searches for stuff you can easily find yourself (and if there was contrary information you no doubt would have already posted it.) Fairfax has been ahead of Montgomery and its been that way for a while. We were, however, talking about academics rather these social health measures. The person who started the conversation said newcomers to the area choose Montgomery County because of the great schools. I think that's wrong. If that was the deciding factor, Fairfax would win. I've also seen Montgomery ranked below Howard and Arundel counties at times. The trend is not really good for our most radical local county.

And, again, Rob didn't say anything.

July 20, 2007 9:10 AM  
Blogger andrea said...

Why do people like twisted liar and JJ(in the song it says joltin joe has gone away- why don't you) go on posting lies- you copy stuff CRC puts out even after you are given a direct cite proving it is not true. The Trojan website- from which I posted a direct quote- says to use a condom for vaginal, oral and anal sex- so does the CDC-also previously posted. I am not going to post these again- you liars just keep it at -posting the same tired CRC/PFOX lies- that anyone can refute with actual information.

t

July 20, 2007 11:55 AM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

I'm not going to start Internet searches for stuff you can easily find yourself (and if there was contrary information you no doubt would have already posted it.)

According to the easy Internet find of Newsweek's 2007 ranking of individual public high schools, which in spite of your lack of doubt I did not post already,
MCPS's top four high schools are

Richard Montgomery # 27
BCC # 46
Wooton # 64
Walt Whitman # 73

while Fairfax County's top four high schools are

George Mason # 63
Woodson # 65
Langley # 72
McLean # 76

None of the schools ranked in the top 100 were from either Howard or Anne Arundel Counties.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/12532678/site/newsweek/

Show us where you easily found high school rankings that show "Fairfax has been ahead of Montgomery and its been that way for a while" and "I've also seen Montgomery ranked below Howard and Arundel counties at times."

July 20, 2007 12:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Newsweek rating system, based some strange idea proposed by local Montgomery County space case Jay Matthews, that giving alot AP tests makes a school better, is just ludicrous.

July 20, 2007 12:25 PM  
Anonymous joltin' joe said...

oops!

that last one was joltin' joe

July 20, 2007 12:26 PM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

Typical non-answer, JJ. What easily found Internet data are you talking about that shows Fairfax, Howard, and Anne Arundel schools are better than MCPS?

Post it or move on to your next lie.

July 20, 2007 12:43 PM  
Anonymous joltin' joe said...

I'm not going to start Internet searches for stuff you can easily find yourself (and if there was contrary information you no doubt would have already posted it.)

July 20, 2007 12:57 PM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

Montgomery Ranks 5th in U.S.; D.C., Alexandria Lag

By Daniel de Vise
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, July 18, 2007; Page B04

A new study by Forbes magazine ranks Montgomery County public schools fifth in the nation "for the buck," with nods to Howard and Loudoun schools for delivering return on educational investment. It ranks D.C. and Alexandria schools among the worst...

The report ranked Howard County seventh, Loudoun 11th, Frederick 21st, Fairfax 28th, Calvert 51st, Arlington 64th, Anne Arundel 75th, the District 95th and Alexandria 97th.


http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/07/17/AR2007071701151.html

July 20, 2007 1:45 PM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

Forbes Magazine's "Best And Worst School Districts For The Buck"

July 20, 2007 2:03 PM  
Anonymous joltin' joe said...

Beatrice

I had assumed you didn't bring up this study yet because you knew better.

BAHOONKKK!

Doesn't qualify.

Forbes looked at cost not absolute quality. MC isn't necessarily better because it invests less in its children.

Here's some experts on the Forbes study:

"Education scholars and school system officials greeted the study as a flawed answer to a fascinating question: Which school districts deliver the best results for the tax dollars citizens invest?"

"Chester E. Finn Jr., president of the Thomas Ford Foundation derided this analysis as "just plain dumb" for failing to consider other factors, such as wealth and parent education, that affect test scores and graduation prospects."

"The Forbes study takes the unusual approach of rating school systems from a stockbroker's perspective -- or, more specifically, the perspective of a stockbroker raising a family in the D.C. suburbs. Rather than simply rank them by SAT participation or outcome or graduation rate, it considers all three measures and dollars spent."

"researchers don't consider the Forbes analysis up to the standards of academic works,"

Indeed, even given the conceit of its parameters, there is question whether the Forbes study calculated the results correctly.:

"Paul Regnier, spokesman for Fairfax schools, said a quick comparison with the rival Montgomery system left him befuddled. The two systems rank neck-and-neck on most academic indicators. On the Forbes list, Montgomery came out on top. "We have a lower per-pupil cost, and we have higher test scores," Regnier said. "Why are they fifth and we're 28th?""

Keep trying, Beatrice. You'll find something soon.

July 20, 2007 2:51 PM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

When you are ready to cite the data that supposedly supports your claims that Fairfax, Howard, and Anne Arundel schools were "ranked" higher than MCPS, maybe we'll talk about it.

Until then, you will remain a liar IMHO.

July 20, 2007 3:19 PM  
Anonymous joltin' joe said...

I'm not going to start Internet searches for stuff you can easily find yourself (and if there was contrary information you no doubt would have already posted it.)

July 20, 2007 3:27 PM  
Anonymous injun joe said...

"IMHO"

I don't think that H is the only thing that O is.

It is also VI.

July 20, 2007 3:57 PM  
Blogger andrea said...

See, JJ doesn't have the info. Even when you post facts, these no-nothings deny it. The fact is- Chester Finn doesn't say Fairfax is better and he doesn't work for the Ford Foundation either. And Quotng a Fairfax co. spokeperson- yeah, that's so much better than the Forbes study. As usual, CRCers get it wrong! This is why is not worth actually debating the non-facts CRCers put up. If I was ever on the same side as Regina, Bianca/Precious/Retta or Johnny- I would immediately change my mind.

July 20, 2007 4:18 PM  
Blogger Robert said...

For once, I agree with Joe. I think a ranking based on # of AP tests taken is largely meaningless (and, I believe, that was the source of the Newsweek data).

Hears what I think: FFX and MoCo both have good, competent school systems with good services for students with a variety of needs, so I wouldn't detract from either one. As far as student achievement goes on a variety of measures (SAT scores, SOL scores, AP tests, college admissions), the factors that correlate most with achievement on most of those measures are family income, parent education, and zip code. Although MoCo and FFX are good systems, they start ahead of the game because of their demographics; until you control for those demographics, you can hurl all the statistics you want without saying anything with any real meaning.

Unfortunately, the debates we have about educational efficacy are so full of such obfuscating statistics that it's hard to separate a small amount of wheat from a large amount of chaff.

rrjr

July 21, 2007 6:52 PM  
Blogger Robert said...

BTW, Fairfax has had a Family Life Education (sex-ed) lesson affirmative of gay youth (called "What if I'm Gay?") for about a decade, while Montgomery is just now introducing one. Oddly, for many years, FFX's FLE has been one of the most progressive in the region. Joe's statements about more conservative curricula are simply incorrect.

rrjr

July 21, 2007 7:14 PM  

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