Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Weast to Retire

MCPS Superintendent Jerry Weast has announced that he's retiring next year. Weast was controversial in his way, but I think anyone in that position is going to elicit controversy, it just comes with the territory. The Washington Post had a nice article this morning:
IF ANYONE has earned the right to retire from a job well done, it is Montgomery County Schools Superintendent Jerry D. Weast. For 11 years he has led Maryland's largest school system with vision, courage and sheer hard work. Nonetheless, we can't help but be saddened by his decision or wonder why the school board didn't do more to try to keep him.

Mr. Weast announced Tuesday that he will step down at the end of the 2010-11 school year, ending one of the longest runs, nationally and locally, of a school superintendent. Board of Education President Patricia O'Neill aptly called it a "bittersweet" moment for Montgomery County given Mr. Weast's extraordinary record and what surely will be the challenge to replace him. Today, it is almost hard to recall what kind of school system Mr. Weast took over in 1999. Montgomery schools enjoyed a national reputation for excellence but, as Mr. Weast would soon make uncomfortably clear, only certain students -- the white and prosperous -- benefited.

It was, Mr. Weast told us, "the worst kind of racism because . . . low expectations were institutionalized." Before "achievement gap" became part of the national lexicon, Mr. Weast focused attention on the glaring discrepancies between what was expected of white and minority students. He shamed Montgomery into recognizing that there were two school systems and, more important, he was able to rally support for change. New resources were pumped into what Mr. Weast had identified as the red districts and, even as Montgomery underwent tremendous demographic changes, there were gains in student achievement across the board. Of all the system's accolades, perhaps the most telling is African American and Hispanic students' record participation in and performance on Advanced Placement exams. Montgomery County's Jerry Weast will be a hard act to follow

This was a tough call, a shifting of focus that did not, you might say, please everyone.
Mr. Weast would not have been able to succeed if he tried to please every political constituency, and his single-minded determination made enemies. Over the years, there was a change in the membership of the school board that had hired and backed him; only one current member, Ms. O'Neill, was seen as wanting him to stay on. Given the fiscal straits that complicate school reform, it's unfathomable that the rest of the board seemed more than willing to let Mr. Weast depart.

Unquestionably he leaves Montgomery schools on a firm foundation. We hope the school board that will be charged with picking a new superintendent, to be determined by the outcome of this year's election, will choose someone who will build on Mr. Weast's work and, like him, will never let political niceties get in the way of what is right for children.

Weast's office organized the development and implementation of the sex-ed curriculum we fought so hard for. His staff worked inside the bureaucracy to develop classroom materials while at the same time pushing back the hordes of peasants waving their pitchforks and demanding that the tidal surge of history be held back.

Our most remarkable moment has to be when the school board was finally voting in 2007 on the new curriculum, and one last statement had been added to it, supported by Weast, a statement allowing teachers to tell students who asked that homosexuality is not a disease. Board member Steve Abrams thought there was some backroom politics going on, and challenged Weast's decision to include the statement.

In a dramatic moment, Weast leaned forward and pointed his finger at Abrams, and said.
Now whether you like where I decided it or how I decided it is your own personal opinion. But I can tell you it didn't come from pressure, it didn't come from any of these Board members, it didn't come from any groups. It came from long thought on my part. I'm a teacher. I've been a teacher for 38 years Mr. Abrams. And when a kid, a student, a valuable member of a community asks me a simple question, "Am I mentally ill? Am I sick?" I felt the need. When my staff asked me that question, this child deserves a response if there is a response. And what we found was a response that I felt fit the extension and was appropriate, and has been thoroughly thought through by a national organization.

We wish Jerry Weast good fortune and lots of relaxation in his retirement.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

"the tidal surge of history be held back"

history shows that any society that normalizes homosexuality suffers adverse social conditions until the situation is reversed

tides go in and out

that will continue until the Judgement Day

Weast's involvement with the gay agenda will live in infamy

August 25, 2010 10:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Please be very specific, and cite examples and sources, to back up your assertion that: "history shows that any society that normalizes homosexuality suffers adverse social conditions until the situation is reversed"

Like your idols, Beck, Palin, Hannity, Buchannan, et al., you just toss out absurd statements, repeat them over and over until they gain some traction with the ill-educated. You stop at nothing in your efforts to dehumanize and attack those with whom you suffer from a case of extreme discomfort.

You do deserve some credit, though. It's obvious that you do know, and use, some history. Your hate-spewing techniques take a page from the writings of Joseph Goebbels...what a teacher, huh?

August 25, 2010 10:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This week Glenn Beck has gone out of his way to hit the ball right down the middle of 2010 whacked-out right-wing thought -- a place where every Muslim is a radical extremist/terrorist, and where the sensibilities of 9-11 families trumps all else, even the better American angels of religious freedom and tolerance. Indeed, over the course of several days Beck's comments about the proposal from moderate Manhattan Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf have veered into Newt Gingrich territory and beyond, as Beck even called the proposed Islamic center roughly two blocks in lower Manhattan an "Allah tells me to blow up America mosque."

But Beck insists his opposition for to the mosque is driven by nothing more than his love and respect for the survivors of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. The other day Beck asked: "[A]fter you've killed 3,000 people, you're going to now build your mosque?" -- one of a number of expressions of concern for those who suffered loss in the terror attacks nine years ago.

I don't know about you, but I'd love to see a debate between 2010 Beck and 2005-06 Beck, whose outlook on just about everything four years ago was the exact opposite -- more tolerant toward the notion of moderate Muslims, more, um, intolerant and bizarre than imaginable toward 9-11 relatives and loved ones.

He even shared a studio in with Imam Rauf in 2006, back when Beck was still "respectable" enough to appear on ABC's "Good Morning America." Here, remarkably, is what happened:

During the ABC segment, Rauf condemned the extremists who issued death threats against the Pope and political cartoonists, specifically saying that "these reactions are not at all called for by Islamic teaching. The teachings of Islam are very similar to the teachings of Christianity, of loving the one God and loving thy neighbor. These are the two common principles."

When Diane Sawyer mentioned that Imam Rauf says the radicals are just a "group of people" and "not him," Beck seemed to agree, saying "sure, sure." He added, "I believe it's a small portion of Islam that is acting in these ways."

Beck, for his part, even appeared to gesture to Imam Rauf when he invoked the idea of "good Muslims."

His tune on 9-11 families -- voiced in the time of Hurricane Katrina in September 2005 -- was a tad different back then. Remember this classic riff:

When you are rioting for these tickets, or these ATM cards, the second thing that came to mind was -- and this is horrible to say, and I wonder if I'm alone in this -- you know it took me about a year to start hating the 9-11 victims' families? Took me about a year. And I had such compassion for them, and I really wanted to help them, and I was behind, you know, "Let's give them money, let's get this started." All of this stuff. And I really didn't -- of the 3,000 victims' families, I don't hate all of them. Probably about 10 of them. And when I see a 9-11 victim family on television, or whatever, I'm just like, "Oh shut up!" I'm so sick of them because they're always complaining. And we did our best for them. And, again, it's only about 10.

All of which points to one thing. Glenn Beck, above all else, is just a guy who says stuff. Period.

August 25, 2010 3:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

the center to promote Islam at Ground Zero is not going to happen

the people have decided

move on, guys

August 25, 2010 3:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The people have decided in the echo chamber of your warped mind, however, out here in the real world, the vote was unanimous to build the Muslim center equidistant from ground zero as the bar where you can get a good lap dance.

wink wink

August 25, 2010 3:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sarah Palin has special medicine. That's about the only clear conclusion to be drawn from Tuesday's primary results. She backed five candidates in Arizona, Florida, and Alaska—and they all won.

In the Republican senatorial primary in Arizona, Palin-endorsed, big-spending incumbent John McCain beat back J.D. Hayworth, who tried to run as the real conservative.

In the Republican senatorial primary in Alaska, big-spending incumbent Lisa Murkowski looks like she will lose to her challenger from the right, Tea Party favorite Joe Miller who was backed by Palin.

In the Republican gubernatorial primary in Florida, Palin helped out late-starting and little known rich guy Rick Scott who defeated state Attorney General Bill McCollum.

It's hard to find any theme except we can say this: Sarah Palin is having a good morning. Her biggest victory looks like it might come in the Republican Senate primary in her home state. Joe Miller wasn't well-known and spent only about $300,000 on his race against incumbent Murkowski. Analysts were predicting he'd get trounced and that Palin would be embarrassed. He is now a few thousand votes ahead, though the outcome won't be certain for about a week.

Whether Miller wins or not, Palin has already won. She didn't go all out for Miller but she worked for him more than a lot of her other endorsed candidates, promoting his candidacy but also tearing down his opponent. Palin can take some credit for a portion of his good showing. There are other reasons, too. He and Palin also supported a winnning ballot initiative that required parental notification of young women getting abortions.

Palin now has more support for a favorite story line of hers: The pundits and so-called experts said things were going to go one way but she had faith; she knew the real deal. This is part of her larger pitch: that she understands something fundamental about conservative voters. That, in turn, is what voters believe about her, which makes them think she has a special light to guide the country out of the muck. The Palin brand now grows ever stronger because other Republicans will want to access that magic. They don't want to risk winding up like Lisa Murkowski. If she ever decides to run for president, her opponents will have to treat her very gently.

Finally, Ben Quayle won the Republican primary in Arizona's third congressional district. The son of the former vice president ran a campaign ad, calling Barack Obama "the worst president in history" and promising to come to Washington and "kick the hell out of the place."

August 25, 2010 8:19 PM  
Anonymous a certain anon said...

Sarah looks like a certain anon backed the right horse!

August 26, 2010 8:09 AM  
Anonymous David S. Fishback said...

Majorities of one political party have, for the moment, bought into the hokum that is Sarah Palin, Rupert Murdoch, Glenn Beck, et al.

I am reminded of this passage from The People Yes, by Carl Sandburg, the famous poet and biographer of Abraham Lincoln:

The people yes
The people will live on.
The learning and blundering people will live on.
They will be tricked and sold and again sold
And go back to the nourishing earth for rootholds,
The people so peculiar in renewal and comeback,
You can't laugh off their capacity to take it.
The mammoth rests between his cyclonic dramas.

Of course, I suspect that each of us will read into the words what we already believe. Sandburg, however, was -- horrors -- a democratic socialist.

August 26, 2010 10:27 AM  
Anonymous happy Sarah Palin Day!! said...

"Majorities of one political party have, for the moment, bought into the hokum that is Sarah Palin, Rupert Murdoch, Glenn Beck, et al."

majorities of the American population are rejecting the hokum that is the Obama Reid Pelosi era

this will be over before we know it

January 2013 will see President Palin, Vice-President Rubio, Secretary of Defense McCain, Secretary of State Petraeus, Treasury Secretary Newt Gingrich, Energy Secretary Pickens, Education Secretary Huckabee and doing stand-up at the local comedy club, Al Franken

August 26, 2010 12:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ehrlich better watch out for Brian Murphy

Palin's candidates tend to swoop in to victory in the last couple of weeks

she's a political genius

August 26, 2010 12:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

She's a half governor and failed VP candidate, yeah buddy!

August 26, 2010 1:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

keep telling yourself that

she's young and has a base

she endorses candidates and voters listen

alternatively, all candidates are trying to avoid any association with Obama Reid Pelosi

please, please

continue to underestimate Sarah

August 26, 2010 1:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"she endorses candidates and" radical GOP primary "voters listen." However, her batting average in general elections outside the state of Alaska is zero.

But maybe she has started a family dynasty like the Bushes now that her grandbaby's daddy is running for Mayor of Wasilla and already picked up an endorsement

wait for it

from Jimmy Kimmel!

August 26, 2010 5:58 PM  
Anonymous barry the lame duck said...

she has been in one national race and she wasn't calling the shots

that campaign made a serious error in under-utilizing her estimable skills but she handled the situation admirably

Barack Obama, on the other hand, is batting a thousand on the national stage

and, yet, her endorsement is valuable to those who receive it and Obama is seen as radioactive by those in his party

so, nice little quip by Jimmy Kimmel

but sad when the ignorant fools like you take stand-up seriously

go on youtube and you should be able to find some stuff by Al "Three Stooges" Franken that should fascinate you for hours

August 26, 2010 10:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

OMG...the End Days are surely on the horizon (if "Anonymous" should have his fantasies and wishes fulfilled): "January 2013 will see President Palin, Vice-President Rubio, Secretary of Defense McCain, Secretary of State Petraeus, Treasury Secretary Newt Gingrich, Energy Secretary Pickens, Education Secretary Huckabee..."

Could anyone in his wildest imagination ever wish such disaster on this country? Well...why not..."Anonymous" and his ilk have been working assiduously over the past years to bring about the downfall of this Democracy and to rid our society of people they do not like. And this exemplifies Christian thinking?

There is an asylum within driving distance that has a vacant room available for you, "Anonymous"

August 27, 2010 9:41 AM  
Anonymous svelte_brunette said...

My posts on another thread keep mysteriously disappearing... I'm going to try posting them here and see if they stick around any longer... sorry if you've already seen this before, but I'm trying to get to the bottom of this nefarious mystery.


August 27, 2010 9:59 AM  
Anonymous svelte_brunette said...

P.S. The previous thread was "Another Anti-Gay Student Loses Lawsuit."


August 27, 2010 10:02 AM  
Anonymous svelte_brunette said...

Fascinating... the very same to posts that disappeared before on the other thread disappeared here as well, but the intervening posts survived.


August 27, 2010 10:05 AM  
Anonymous svelte_brunette said...

Anon wrote:

“the fact that it may be possible to combine genes from a couple of guys and artificially produce a child is irrelevant to whether homosexuality is a disorder

why not splice in some wings while you're at it?”

My comments about recent work in genetics were a response to your statement which read:

“by definition, homosexuals can't reproduce in a partnership with their chosen object of sexual attraction and romantic interest

this is not available to them because of a psychological dysfunction

it's an intrinsic disorder”

August 27, 2010 10:14 AM  
Anonymous svelte_brunette said...

As you often do, you have claimed that homosexuality is an “intrinsic disorder,” and you tried to claim that they can’t reproduce because of a “psychological dysfunction.” All you have done is strung together a couple of the anti-gay talking point memes with a non-sequitur, and in your rush to send it out into the inter-tubes you didn’t bother to check if it had any connection to reality. Any 8th grader with a couple of weeks under his belt in biology class could poke holes in your argument.

Don’t like the two-mom argument? There are other ways to pick apart your bogus logic.

Imagine if you will that a gay man is locked in a dark room and either tricked or forced into having sex with an ovulating female. Do you really believe that his supposed “psychological disorder” you keep insisting he has will prevent him from siring a child?

I think not. His inability to reproduce with his same-sex partner of choice is entirely due to biochemistry. This is a simple fact. This is the “Teach the Facts” website. Those are some facts. Once again you have provided NO evidence of a psychological disorder, but ample evidence of a clear lack of understanding about the basics of human reproduction. You do your side no service.

August 27, 2010 10:14 AM  
Anonymous svelte_brunette said...

Anon claimed:

“as it turns out, Christian ministries are present througout the country to care for unwanted children

liberals often seek to find excuses to shut them down”

If you could provide some examples of “liberals” trying to shut down care for children, then you might have made some kind of point. I am not aware of any such instances.


August 27, 2010 10:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mother Teresa was known not just for her selfless work with the poor, but for observations such as this:

"There is only one God and He is God to all; therefore it is important that everyone is seen as equal before God. I've always said we should help a Hindu become a better Hindu, a Muslim become a better Muslim, a Catholic become a better Catholic."

August 27, 2010 6:54 PM  

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