Thursday, February 07, 2008

Who Are the School Board Candidates?

I've gotten several emails from people who say, I'm looking at this list of people running for school board and don't know who any of them are! Who should I vote for? doesn't advocate any candidate or political party in any election, never have, don't plan to. So -- we won't answer that question. Luckily for us, the Washington Post Montgomery Extra had a nice summary of the situation.
A lone seat on the Board of Education is the only local choice facing Montgomery County voters in the primary election Tuesday.

Five candidates have stepped forward to seek the at-large seat of departing member Sharon W. Cox. Two of them, Philip Kauffman and Tommy Le, ran competitive races for school board seats in 2006. A third, Alies Muskin, has the crucial endorsement of the county teachers association. Two lesser-known candidates, Carey Apple and Rob Seubert, round out the field.

All registered voters can cast ballots in the nonpartisan race. The two candidates with the most votes advance to the general election. One Vacant Seat, Many Issues: Five Candidates Running for Single School Board Slot

So -- you can vote for one, two are going to win in the primaries.

Now The Post will tell you about the candidates.
Cox's seat is one of three on the eight-member board that are up for election this year. Longtime board member Steve Abrams faces a well-connected challenger, Laura Berthiaume, for a seat representing Rockville and Potomac, and both will appear on the November ballot. No one has challenged Christopher Barclay, who represents the eastern part of the county.

Kauffman, 55, of Olney put two daughters through Blake High School in Silver Spring while being active in the PTA. He has a law degree from the University of Maryland and works as deputy assistant general counsel in the federal Department of Veterans Affairs. In 2006, Kauffman ran against school board President Nancy Navarro, who represents the northeastern county, and collected 37 percent of the vote.

Le, 65, of Silver Spring, is a longtime PTA activist with two grown children who attended county schools. He has a doctorate in engineering sciences and works as a senior project manager at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Le ran against school board member Shirley Brandman for another at-large seat in 2006 and took 37 percent of the vote.

Muskin, 52, of Silver Spring is also a longtime PTA leader. Her daughters graduated from Einstein High School in Kensington. She did doctoral work at the City University of New York and is chief operating officer of the Anxiety Disorders Association of America.

Seubert, 40, of Silver Spring, is a former sixth-grade science teacher at White Oak Middle School who works as a loan officer. Apple, 52, of Germantown, is a recreation supervisor at an aquatic facility in Olney. He has a son at Clarksburg High School.

Muskin is considered to be the candidate to beat. In county school board elections, candidates endorsed by the Montgomery County Education Association tend to win.

There is a little more to add to these summaries, without taking sides. Our readers will want to remember that in the last election, the anti-gay, anti-transgender, anti-MCPS group once known as Citizens for a Responsible Curriculum told The Sentinel that they supported Tommy Le. Steve Abrams made some news in 2006 with a physical scuffle with another Republican Party officer. Abrams allegedly used some racist wording in confronting the other person, who is black.

This story goes on, this is less than half. It's a good starting place to see who's lined up on which side, to inform you when you go into the booth on Tuesday.


Anonymous Anonymous said...


Could you tell us more about who's funding TTF? I know you've gotten support from churches of the type which were unconstitutionally favored by the Montgomery County government in the first curriculum that was thrown out by Judge Williams.

Do you get any other support or are you completely faith-based?

February 07, 2008 8:31 PM  
Anonymous Mr. Teacher Man said...

Many sex ed teachers may lack training

Tue Feb 5, 12:38 PM ET

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - A sizable minority of sex education teachers does not cover all of the basics, and many lack training to teach sex ed at all, a survey of teachers in one state suggests.

In a study of sex ed teachers at 201 Illinois schools, researchers found that one-third of teachers did not give comprehensive instruction -- defined as covering the four basic topics of abstinence, birth control, HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases.

In addition, 30 percent said they had no special training in teaching sex education, and these teachers were less likely to teach a comprehensive course.

"For this study, we set the bar for comprehensiveness fairly low relative to what most medical and public health organizations recommend," lead researcher Dr. Stacy Tessler Lindau said in a statement, "and one out of three programs failed to clear it."

The findings suggest that doctors caring for teenagers may need to "fill gaps" in their knowledge of sexual health, according to Lindau and her colleagues at the University of Chicago.

They report the study results in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology.

The study involved 335 sex ed teachers at Illinois middle schools and high schools. Lindau and her colleagues defined "comprehensive sex education" as courses teaching both abstinence and contraception, as well as information on HIV and other STDs.

They left out a fifth, more controversial topic often recommended by public health experts: giving students information on where to go for sexual health services, condoms and birth control.

Overall, two-thirds of teachers met this more relaxed definition of comprehensive education. In general, the most frequently covered topics were HIV and STDs, which about 96 percent of teachers said they addressed. Eighty-nine percent of teachers covered the topic of abstinence-until-marriage.

Among the least frequently taught subjects were homosexuality, abortion and information on how to use condoms or birth control properly.

"Most parents support school-based sex education and teens regard it as an important source of information," Lindau said, "yet we found that several important health topics and skills are omitted, more often than not, from most Illinois public school sex-education


When it came to discussing condoms and birth control, teachers who omitted the topic generally did so because it was not in the official curriculum or because of "school or district policy." About half of teachers also lacked confidence in their ability to teach the topic -- rating their ability as anywhere from "average" to "very poor."

"Our study provides important new data from the teachers' perspective," Dr. Melissa Gilliam, another researcher on the study, said in a statement. "It supports other recent studies showing that large numbers of teens, especially low-income and youth of color, received no instruction about birth control methods before they first had sex."

SOURCE: Obstetrics & Gynecology, February 2008.


February 07, 2008 8:34 PM  
Blogger JimK said...

Anon, as far as TTF's funding, most of our millions of dollars have come from individuals, not George Soros himself but people like him in terms of the number of appendages, digits, sensory apparata, etc.


February 07, 2008 8:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, I think you're a faith-based organization.

Here's an interesting development:

"Huckabee to Get Evangelical Leader's Nod

By ERIC GORSKI,Associated Press

Posted: 2008-02-07 20:57:49

James Dobson, one of the nation's most prominent evangelical Christian leaders, is about to endorse former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, The Associated Press has learned.

Dobson, founder of Colorado Springs, Colo.-based Focus on the Family, talked to the GOP presidential hopeful Thursday and later was to release a statement explaining his choice, said Gary Schneeberger, a spokesman for Dobson.

Huckabee had long sought Dobson's endorsement, believing he is the best fit to advance Dobson's conservative, moral worldview.

Until now, Dobson had never endorsed a GOP presidential hopeful during the primary campaign. But he ruled out front-runner John McCain in a blistering commentary on Super Tuesday, and on Thursday the fight for the GOP nomination narrowed to a two-man race between McCain and Huckabee, who is far behind in the delegate count but pledged to fight on. Mitt Romney, a third hopeful trying to claim the conservative label, dropped out of the race Thursday.

Dobson released a statement Tuesday that criticized McCain for his support of embryonic stem cell research, his opposition to a federal anti-gay marriage amendment and for his temper and use of foul language.

He said if McCain were the nominee, he would not cast a ballot for president for the first time in his life."

February 07, 2008 9:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One would think that the group known as CRC or CRG or whatever would have jumped at the opportunity to present a candidate for the Board of Education election. What better way could there be than to sit at the table where education decisions affecting the students of MCPS are made? But...where is he/she?
It only proves that CRWhatever is a bunch of cowards...afraid to expose their idiotic and infantile ideas to public scrutiny, knowing that they would be soundly rejected for the discriminatory, bigoted, ignorant fools they are!

February 07, 2008 10:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Le a longtime PTA activist? Last time a PTA member was 1993. Just being a member of a PTA does not make you an activist---just a member.

Incredible as Le has not been at PTA meeting in any recent time nor been out on the front lines in any PTA advocacy effort. Just listen to him at forums. He cannot relate to a single school issue current or otherwise or even knows what goes on in school building.

Another lazy reporter who did not do his homework on Le. Just used a made up line from Le's brochure that Le made up himself.

Didn't the CRC(razies) support him the last time?


February 08, 2008 12:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Andrea-not anon
Jim, didn't we get 1 billion from Bill Gates and 500 Mil from Steve Jobs for the blog. Romney told me he wants to gives us money- he doesn't need to spend anymore on his campaign.

Nutty Anon-why don't you send us money ?- we provide comfort and support to your obviously lonely self. We're not like your Shower friends- we aren't harassing church, synagogue and mosque attenders to trick them into signing petitions or to get donations for crazy lawsuits.

February 08, 2008 8:20 AM  
Blogger Tish said...

As far as I can tell, Tommy Le wants to be on the school board because he is angry at parents for not teaching their children respect and responsibility (and manners).

He's entitled to his opinion.

I don't see that his platform is going to do much for the LD kids who have had their Learning Centers shut down only to find that their home schools don't qualify for "hours-based" staffing. These kids are now back in deepest mainstream without the support they need. Bashing these kids' parents is going to help them, how?

February 08, 2008 8:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting how anytime the question of TTF's funding comes up, the only response is a bunch of sarcasm.

How exactly has CRC harassed attenders of religious services? Is TTF so worried that they now call petitions harassment?

February 08, 2008 9:26 AM  
Blogger JimK said...

Anon, since you're so interested in our funding, why don't you fill us in on another question -- what is it you think we spend all these millions of dollars on? Granted, TTF Towers is a beautiful building, and we knew it would be expensive having a fleet of individuals limousines for every TTF member, including our vast secretarial staff, and it was a tough decision but we knew we deserved it. But most of us could pay for that with pocket change. What do you estimate our expenses are, not counting those trivialities?


February 08, 2008 9:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander, Anonymous. Perhaps you would be so kind as to enlighten all of us here about your sources of financial support? All of your court cases, petitions, robocalls, attorney fees, etc. cost far more than a group of 6 or 7 people can come up with out of their pockets. It would make a very interesting investigative report for one of the local media to locate the sources of the thousands of dollars you are spending for your bigoted efforts. Do you think Focus on the Family, the so-called Family Leader Network, the Thomas More Law Center, PFOX, or even the Md. chapter of the W.C.T.U. would be willing to divulge their contributions?

February 08, 2008 10:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wouldn't think much. I do remember you guys passing out something at a parade a couple of years ago. That might entail some copying or printing expenses. Perhaps you covered the expenses or even a fee for a speaker at one of your events. Might have some theoretically reimbursable travel expenses, the way you seem to shadow CRC members around the county and do surveillance on the residences of those in opposition to TTF positions. I imagine you just pay for that personally though.

But, that is really the question, I guess. You brought up recently that you have received grants from liberal churches. What did you use those funds for? Did you seek these funds from these churches? What percent of your total funding has come from liberal churches?

If the percent is over half, you may be a faith-based organization supporting the religious position of these congregations, although I doubt you think of it that way.

February 08, 2008 10:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander"

RT, I'm not a CRCer. My activity is limited to playing punch dummy here to stir up conversation.

It does seem to me, though, that CRC has been very open about the groups helping them. We just learned about the church support for TTF recently.

February 08, 2008 10:20 AM  
Blogger JimK said...

... surveillance on the residences ...

Anon, I should tell you, sometimes people tell us things about the personal lives of the CRW people. They call us or email, often people we don't even know. We have even had people send us pictures that we could use to embarrass them personally. We don't ask for it, and we don't think it is appropriate to use that kind of information against them. We all have personal lives and we respect their privacy. We don't claim to be perfect, and members of the CRW are not, either, that's not what this is about.

Anything they do in public -- protests, talks to the school board or county council, lying about petitions, etc., is fair game, but we don't have any interest at all in conducting surveillance on their residences.

We know you guys lie, we have caught you dozens of times, but this one goes too far.


February 08, 2008 10:34 AM  
Anonymous Mr. Teacher Man said...

Oh, AnonFreak.

Don't you have any friends? You spend too much time at the computer! Go out and get to know some human beings other than by means of the computer.

February 08, 2008 11:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's nice to know that no matter how low the approval rating of Bush falls, the Democratic Congress will always outdo him in public disdain.

Apparently, Bush's approval rating is 36% higher than Nancy Pelosi's.

"Bush and Congress Hit Bottom in Poll


Posted: 2008-02-08 11:50:45

WASHINGTON (Feb. 8) - It's almost as if people can barely stand the thought of President Bush and Congress anymore. Bush reached his lowest approval rating in The Associated Press-Ipsos poll on Friday as only 30 percent said they like the job he is doing, including an all-time low in his support by Republicans. Congress' approval fell to just 22 percent, equaling its poorest grade in the survey. Both marks dropped by 4 percentage points since early January."

And, to think, of the two remaining Democrats left, both are part of that publicly disdained Democratic majority. The certain Republican nominee: the most consistent critic of Bush in his party.

This election is gonna be fun!

February 08, 2008 12:52 PM  
Blogger Randi Schimnosky said...

Red Baron said "My activity is limited to playing punch dummy here".

Well at least you play the "dummy" part anyway.

February 08, 2008 12:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

andrea- not anon
Ok, Jim- Dummy Anon caught us- we have to defund the spy satellites now.
I just try to stay far away from your sort- and I tell them to stay away from me. We are supporting human rights- not religious rights.

February 08, 2008 1:27 PM  
Blogger JimK said...

Andrea - I think we will still need the spy satellites. I was thinking of cutting us all back to four bodyguards, what do you think? Maybe even three for the lower-ranking platoons of secretaries. If that doesn't do it, do you think we could drink domestic champagne at our meetings?


February 08, 2008 1:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"If that doesn't do it, do you think we could drink domestic champagne at our meetings?"

No need for that, Jim. The New England Patriots are having a sale on the good stuff. They got stuck with an unneeded shipment.

February 08, 2008 2:02 PM  
Blogger Dana Beyer, M.D. said...

Sorry, but I'm trying to be helpful.

I have suggested that CRW play be the rules, and live up to Michelle Turner's plea for clarity. Yet neither she nor Theresa has taken any such action, which just leads me to believe they are only posturing for the press.

This isn't the first time I've offered to be helpful, which is what my job entails. Yet only once, if I recall, did Theresa ever bother to respond directly to a question which I had posed. Now she has a chance to influence legislation, and she's nowhere to be found. All I hear is that my boss should make the introduction. Sorry, that's not how this works. We're happy with the law as is. If someone has a gripe, they need to petition their council members.

February 08, 2008 4:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"All I hear is that my boss should make the introduction."

I was suggesting that myself but not on the behalf of CRC. I'm on their e-mail list, like you guys, but I don't have any contact with them. It was just a suggestion from lonely ol' me.

I agree that they probably are playing PR to get the referendum on the ballot but I don't really see that as a bad thing. I think it would healthy for the community to have a discussion about the wisdom of discrimination laws based on feelings.

If you believe all your rhetoric about this being a pro-gay advocacy stronghold, I don't see why you would strongly object either.

Why don't you and Duchy sign the petition so you'll have an opportunity to show how strongly the public supports these discrimination laws? Call the CRC bluff.

February 08, 2008 4:41 PM  
Blogger Randi Schimnosky said...

Red Baron said " I think it would healthy for the community to have a discussion about the wisdom of discrimination laws based on feelings.".

These are not simply "feelings", transgenderism is an innate characteristic. The rights of a minority should never be put up for a vote.

February 08, 2008 4:57 PM  
Blogger Tish said...

Jim, I'll accept the cut to domestic champaign, but we have to keep meeting in the lounge at Citronelle. (At least until the Lobster Burgers are out of season.)

February 08, 2008 6:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Andrea- not anon
I don't mind the champagne or the bodyguards but if our bonus is going to be reduced, I need to know. That villa in Tuscany and the flat in Belgravia don't run themselves!

February 08, 2008 6:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Other than the gourmet provisions, where did that tax-advantaged money you got from churches go? As a tax-paying citizen, I just find this all very funny.

How were you helping them fulfill their religious mission so they could keep their ability to receive tax-exempt donations?

Did you file the new annual form required of all tax-exempts?

February 08, 2008 7:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, please, are being more than ridiculous with this "financial reporting" schtick. You are just trying to divert attention from your own questionable (and possible illegal) funding sources and the tactic smells like the proverbial red herring. Discovery of who they are and how much they are involved in the internal affairs of Montgomery County's citizens would only make perfectly clear to the citizens what your religious objectives are. Give it up.

February 08, 2008 8:39 PM  
Blogger Dana Beyer, M.D. said...

I don't lie, I don't countenance liars, and particularly those that tell such big lies that they cause overt hostility and put people's lives and livelihoods in danger.

I don't believe that basic human rights should be put up to a vote.

One's innate sexuality, as one's ethnicity and genetic status, are not reducible to "feelings." One's religion is a choice, yet we protect that choice as well.

I suggest you all start treating people with respect, and stop imagining that we're being overrun with terrorists, that trans women are murderers and rapists and trans men don't exist, or even that all men are potential predators. it will make your lives easier.

February 08, 2008 10:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"One's religion is a choice, yet we protect that choice as well."

BS Dana, or you would have supported a religous exemption in the transgender bill.

February 09, 2008 1:08 AM  
Blogger Dana Beyer, M.D. said...

BS? Really?

1) There has never been a religious exemption on the County level for the anti-discrimination bill, so why now? Why should religious organizations be allowed to discriminate against trans people but not against anyone else?

Anyway, as I said, since it exists on the federal and state levels, it's moot.

2) Nobody asked.

February 09, 2008 9:36 AM  
Blogger Dana Beyer, M.D. said...

Oh, that African-American fella who scuffled with our dear Steve Abrams, candidate in District 2, was none other than Adol Owens-Williams, the man who gave the Hitler salute to my boss, Duchy Trachtenberg, in the Council hearing room in November.

February 09, 2008 3:06 PM  
Blogger Randi Schimnosky said...

Red Baron you have the right to choose your religion and all LGBTs support your right to that choice. What you do not deserve is special rights under the law which is what you're demanding when you ask for a religious exemption.

February 09, 2008 3:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tish said about Tommy Le

I don't see that his platform is going to do much for the LD kids who have had their Learning Centers shut down only to find that their home schools don't qualify for "hours-based" staffing. These kids are now back in deepest mainstream without the support they need. Bashing these kids' parents is going to help them, how?


Tommy Le is fine with learning centers closing. He said in a questionnaire related to disabilities issues that all kids should be educated in the general education classroom. He said that provides a realism of competitiveness to reflect the real world of work environment that all children must face after their transition from MCPS to real life.

So Tommy Le is okay with it no matter the disability as long as competitiveness is there along with his idea of realism for LD kids.


February 09, 2008 9:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

For more details on the candidates, I found this page on Gazette.Net that has full Q&A pages for each of the School Board Candidates:

February 11, 2008 4:55 PM  

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