Saturday, August 18, 2007

CNN-HN Has Their Own Theory

CNN Headline News has a show called "Prime Time," which this week featured the Citizens for a Responsible Curriculum's Michelle Turner, plus Martha Kempner from SIECUS -- the Sexual Information and Education Council of the United States, talking about our county's sex-ed curriculum. The host, Mike Galanos, is ... look, have you ever watched Glenn Beck? How about Nancy Grace? They're on this channel. Mike Galanos is like that. It might be infotainment, except for the info part.

This one turned out to be interesting. CNN Headline News has a theory, and we -- -- are right in the middle of it.

Galanos was talking with Ms. Kempner, who, by the way, we've never met.

He said:
Now you work with another group of parents, in crafting the curriculum, is that correct?

One. SIECUS: great group, we agree with them on everything, we just ... don't ... know ... them.

Two. Notice how he has little ol' us,, "crafting the curriculum." I don't know how he found out that the school district had turned over the responsibility to a bunch of parents with a web site. Wasn't that supposed to be a secret?

Ms. Kempner said:
We didn’t help them craft the curriculum but we did help them gain community support because there is a lot of support in Montgomery County and across the country for teaching programs like this. So we did work with other parents.

I would not be surprised to know that SIECUS was working with various MoCo groups, explaining the new curriculum, promoting it, smoothing the way -- that's what they do. And it is true, there is a lot of support for this curriculum.

Oh, and note how once this guy establishes the truthiness of crafting the curriculum, she just says no, we didn't help them craft the curriculum. As if we really did craft the curriculum. Hoo-hoo-hoo.

Then he springs his big point on her:
Let me read you something, this is from their website, the first page of their website. They say, “We support a new curriculum that recognizes that sexual orientation is not a choice, that homosexuality is not a disease,” goes onto say that religious extremists are attempting to impose their beliefs. I read that, that sounds like to me advocacy. Is that what’s at the heart here: if you don’t accept homosexuality then you’re intolerant?

Is this great, or what?

There's this nice lady from this big organization and CRC's former President on the screen, talking about a new curriculum, and the guy is reading from our web page.

And it sounds to him like advocacy.

Look dude, yes, we are advocates. It may be wild and weird and wacky, but we think the schools should teach the facts as they are understood by mainstream science and medicine. Most of us aren't gay, and the world isn't about gay people, but if you're going to teach it you ought to at least get it right. If that makes us "advocates," then OK, we're advocates. Cool. Somebody needed to step up to the plate, and that was us.

Also, you will not find anybody over here saying "if you don’t accept homosexuality then you’re intolerant." We don't care if you're tolerant or not, and you have every right to feel however you want about homosexuality. We will insist though that our students learn accurate facts, and we support the idea that they will learn to be good citizens and show respect for others.

Look at what he reads from our site, and then look at how he paraphrases it. Man, that's a leap.

Let me spell this out for the record. We are, a group of Montgomery County parents and other citizens who formed two and a half years ago to support our school district's decision to implement a new sex-ed curriculum. We don't write the curriculum, we don't work for the school district, we're just mostly people with kids that attend or have attended the public schools, we want to see them get a good education, and beyond that, we're proud of our community and like to see it do the right thing.

We have the right to promote a point of view -- why would we care if this eye-rolling talking head thinks our web page sounds like advocacy?

Oh and hey, his final statement on the show:
Thanks again Martha Kempner with SIECUS and also concerned parent, Michelle Turner. We appreciate your time, both of you and again Erica, classes begin – now there’s an appeal under way from that group Michelle Turner’s a part of. It’s probably not going to stop the classes from going forward. Again, classes start August 27th.

No, it’s probably not going to stop the classes from going forward. But it will waste the taxpayer's money, and that's just as good.


Anonymous David S. Fishback said...

Here is what I wrote to CNN after I saw the tape of the program segment:

It is unfortunate that, earlier today, Mike Galanos felt the need to criticize the Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) by observing that he felt that schools should not force him to decide what should be taught to his children about human sexuality. He seemed to be reacting to the statement by Michelle Turner that MCPS would require her middle school age daughter to take the unit on Family Life and Human Sexuality, which includes the new lessons on sexual orientation.

The fact is that Ms. Turner misrepresented MCPS's long-standing policy, which is that students may take the unit on Family Life and Human Sexuality ONLY if their parents opt them in. See, for example, p. 4 of the Superintendent's memorandum to the Board of Education, which may be found at

Ms. Turner knows better. She has several older children who have been through the school system. When we served together from 2003 to 2005 on the Board of Education's Citizens Advisory Committee on Family Life and Human Development, she told me that she had never opted-in any of her children to allow them to take the Family Life and Human Sexuality units of the health curriculum.

Incidentally, when the new lessons were piloted this past spring, in the face of a vigorous effort by Ms. Turner and her allies to convince parents not to opt-in (an effort that included statements misrepresenting the lessons), more than 90% of the parents in the pilot schools opt their children into the lessons. Indeed, only 5% of parents chose to decline to give permission, with the balance neglecting to turn in the forms by which parents either opt their children in or decline to opt them in.

As the document cited above demonstrates, the new lessons were thoroughly vetted and approved by medical experts. And the lessons are consistent with the wisdom of the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Psychiatric Association, and the American Psychological Association.

August 18, 2007 4:38 PM  
Anonymous slip-slider said...

Poor Jim.

First the NY Times and now CNN.

Everyone's out to get him!

No, TTF didn't craft the curriculum.

Not exactly.

It's just that the same people who crafted the curriculum also crafted TTF to try to create the impression that there is a great chorus of parents desperately yearning to have the schools teach that homosexuality is normal.

August 19, 2007 6:36 AM  
Anonymous Emproph said...

"No, it’s probably not going to stop the classes from going forward. But it will waste the taxpayer's money, and that's just as good."

Just like with 'Intelligent Design,' "teaching the controversy" is just as effective.

In this case, teach people to continue asking whether or not being gay is a choice.

August 19, 2007 6:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Homosexuality is normal, relatively rare, but perfectly normal. It has been around since the beginning of time and is present in most cultures and species.

But then so is homophobia. It's less rare but has been around since the beginning of time and is present in most cultures. Oddly only humans seem to suffer from it.

August 19, 2007 8:59 AM  

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