Thursday, November 29, 2007

Eighth Grade Classes Have Been Taught At 35 Schools

At the citizens advisory committee meeting last night, Montgomery County Public Schools administrator Betsy Brown reported that the new eighth grade sex-ed classes have been held now at 35 of Montgomery County's 38 middle schools. The district is collecting information now about how it went, but she had some data for the committee.

Ms. Brown said that of the 2,263 students who were eligible for the classes, 2,146 or 95 per cent got parental opt-in and took the classes. 117 students took the alternate units; of those, some parents refused to sign and some kids lost their permission slips, you can't tell from the data.

Last spring's pilot test, she said, had 88 percent opt-in. You remember, that was with the CRC picketing schools, calling homes with automated messages, sending letters and postcards ... For the real classes, three of the 35 schools were below 88 percent by a little bit. She wouldn't say which ones those were, and I can understand that. She gave a hint about one, but it wasn't enough, for me anyway, to guess what schools it was. Had something to do with new health teachers. I wondered if there was an upcounty/downcounty difference -- I don't really know where people live who would opt their kids out of a health class because it taught respect, tolerance, and empathy. The good news is that it doesn't appear there are many people like that in our county.

She talked quite a bit about the parents' information meetings at the schools. Sounds like there was a lot of variation among schools, with parents' attendance ranging from zero to a hundred percent at the different schools. It sounded like high parental attendance at the meetings correlated with high opt-in for the classes; involved and well-informed parents decided to send their kids to the class. That's perfect.

This really shouldn't be news, that the schools held some classes. We have been fighting for three years to see this happen, using facts and reason against some of the most inflammatory and dishonest rhetoric imaginable. A group of extremists tried to take over our school district, and they failed, due to the public and the school district standing up to them. Montgomery County, a prosperous, well-educated, liberal community, should not have to work this hard to teach our children the facts of life, to bring a positive and accurate message of kindness and truth to the classroom.

The alternative would have been to cave in to bigotry, and the county just couldn't do that.

So -- congratulations to Montgomery County Public Schools for hanging in there, and to all the great people who went to public comments before the school board, who served on committees and made phone calls, who signed petitions, who voted for candidates that would do the right thing, and those intrepid souls who commented on our blog, pro and con, so the public could follow the dialogue in real time.

I'm sure the controversy will revive again and again, but for now -- this is a real milestone, and we should be proud to have arrived to this point.


Anonymous Emproph said...

"Ms. Brown said that of the 2,263 students who were eligible for the classes, 2,146 or 95 per cent got parental opt-in and took the classes."

Well that’s just devastating. Thousands of school children not being taught, in minute detail, about the unprotected anal sex lifestyle.

November 29, 2007 10:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Andrea- not anon
And where is that huge groundswell of angry MCPS parents- the same ones who will be voting out the council and school board- who want to keep their kids from learning the real facts of life? CRC tells us over and over again about those numbers- they couldn't be wrong, could they????

November 29, 2007 2:21 PM  
Anonymous Mr. Teacher Man said...

Oh, they are wrong alright. CRC is ONCE AGAIN forced into shame... I think we all knew that was going to happen. Have a great weekend. :-)

November 30, 2007 5:57 AM  
Anonymous Jimi D said...

"congratulations to... those intrepid souls who commented on our blog, pro and con, so the public could follow the dialogue in real time"

I had no idea I'd be congratulated. Maybe I'll be nominated for a Nobel prize.

Jimi D

November 30, 2007 9:11 AM  
Blogger JimK said...

You won't.


November 30, 2007 2:01 PM  
Anonymous jimi c said...

ROCHESTER, N.H. - A man claiming to have a bomb walked in to Hillary Rodham Clinton’s campaign offices Friday and took hostages, police and witnesses said.

The man had what appeared to be a bomb strapped to himself, said Bill Shaheen, a top Clinton state campaign official. He took two hostages, both volunteers, and released others, Shaheen said.

WNBC-TV in New York quoted an unidentified law enforcement source as saying the man wanted to speak with Clinton.

November 30, 2007 2:56 PM  
Anonymous jimi sure said...

"WASHINGTON (Nov. 30) — Marking the 14th anniversary of legislation that allowed gay men and lesbians to serve in the military but only if they kept their orientation secret, 28 retired generals and admirals plan to release a letter on Friday urging Congress to repeal the law.

“We respectfully urge Congress to repeal the ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy,” the letter says. “Those of us signing this letter have dedicated our lives to defending the rights of our citizens to believe whatever they wish.”"

Right to believe whatever they wish? Interesting.

Is homosexuality now a religion? If it could be declared one that would be great. Would could then stop the schools from advocating for it under the establishment clause.

November 30, 2007 3:09 PM  
Anonymous Emproph said...

It appears as though they've officially gone national. They've set their sights on California now. Under "Latest CRC News," their latest update links to:

ADF [Alliance Defense Fund]: Calif. law eliminates "gender" roles, creates safety hazard for women and children - ADF and allies [Advocates for Faith and Freedom] file lawsuit challenging SB 777, November 27, 2007

Boy o boy doesn't THAT sound scary?

Even the name of it that they didn't include is scary: "SB 777 - Student Civil Rights Act"

The description of it on that page is even scarier:

"The Safe Place to Learn Act requires the California Department of Education to regularly monitor what steps school districts have taken to ensure compliance with the California Student Safety and Violence Prevention Act of 2000, AB 537 (Kuehl).

The legislation will help to ensure that current school safety standards regarding harassment and discrimination are fully and properly implemented."

And how does the ADF characterize it all?

""State officials are jeopardizing women’s privacy and the safety of women and children. Without any standards for determining someone’s ‘gender,’ school officials have no way to prevent a man from using the girl’s restroom or locker room, for example, and this should alarm students and parents,” said ADF Legal Counsel Tim Chandler."

Sound familiar?
This has been in the news of late and you can catch more of it at Good as You and especially on the Equality California Fact Sheet.

What tickled me was finding this little gem on page 2 of the 11 page lawsuit:

"Additionally, the special treatment intended for a select few students through the enforcement of Senate Bill 777 will result in the violation of the privacy rights of the remainder of students not targeted for special treatment under Senate Bill 777."

"Special treatment" is of course a red herring. Those who claim as much already have the same "special treatment" that they claim to protest (just to get that out of the way).

What they are claiming here, is that everyone who is not protected by this law, is violated by it.

Just like when the CRC and ilk whine about the "99% of society that will be unfairly burdened by this law..." (blah blah blah, wah wah wah, ad infinitum, ad nauseam)

I covered this "majority rules" canard the other night, but this ADF example is even slicker.

Instead of using the word majority, or giving majority statistics, the ADF uses the word "remainder."

99% of that remainder may unequivocally support sharing the same protections that they themselves already have under this law, but the ADF and ally, are arguing (in a court of LAW) that even supporters are victims.

And the local CRC is promoting it.

December 01, 2007 6:54 AM  
Anonymous jimi imp said...


If you think trangenders should have special bathroom rights, WHY DON'T YOU JUST SAY SO?

December 01, 2007 10:24 AM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

Everybody should have the right to use the bathroom that matches their gender identity. There's nothing special about this right, it should be the same for everybody. Stereotyping people based on their gender identity is not acceptable.

jimi wimp obviously needs to take the new 8th grade health class so he can learn that stereotyping is hurtful, unfair, and unacceptable.

“We are going to review words that are important to understand because they describe behaviors that interfere with a healthy relationship.” Use the Harassment Word Tree Overhead (page 19). Show one part at a time to the class. Review each part of the word tree by calling on students to read the information to the class. After you have modeled the word tree for harassment, direct students to complete the stereotyping word tree.

...Direct students to discuss their Think question responses with a classmate nearby. Then emphasize that these are all learned behaviors. No one is born to harass or stereotype. Emphasize the influence peers have on the development of these behaviors. Call attention to the fact that stereotyping and generalization are based on limited information. Emphasize with students that harassment and stereotyping are not acceptable behaviors.

...Ask students to think about how respect, empathy, and tolerance counter harassment and stereotyping. Ask them to think about how they might feel in a school where respect, empathy, and tolerance are the primary behaviors displayed. Ask how effective communication, honesty, and conflict resolution promote these behaviors.

...Distribute the Human Sexuality Student Resource Sheet (page 9). Say to the class: “In the next class, we will consider how individuals respond to others based on sexuality. Read the information on the Human Sexuality Student Resource Sheet and answer the questions individually, in preparation for the next class.”

Human Sexuality Student Resource Sheet:

When people do not understand others, they may stereotype them.

• People sometimes stereotype others based on differences in sexuality. “Sexuality is everything about you as male or female.” (Human Sexuality, Glencoe, 2005)

• People sometimes stereotype others based on sexual identity. Sexual identity is the way you act, your personality, and how you feel about yourself because you are a male or female (Glencoe).

• People sometimes stereotype others based on gender identity. Gender identity is your identification of yourself as a man or a woman, based on the gender you feel to be inside (Holt).

• People sometimes stereotype others based on their beliefs. Just as stereotyping others based on sexuality is not an acceptable behavior, stereotyping others based on personal beliefs also is not acceptable.

• In the next class you will consider how people sometimes stereotype individuals based on sexual orientation. “Sexual orientation is a person’s emotional and romantic attraction toward members of the same sex, opposite sex, or both sexes” (Holt).

To prepare for the next class, think about what you know and have observed related to stereotyping individuals based on sexual orientation, appearance, or mannerism. Write a reflection.

December 02, 2007 8:24 AM  

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