Elmbrook Superintendent misses the point…again

Elmbrook Superintendent Matt Gibson was so busy defending his administrative position last night that he completely missed the point regarding abstinence teaching for the sex ed curriculum. Gibson is quoted in the paper as saying,

he had a duty to provide human growth and development instruction to all students from families with various value systems, not just Christian-based, with parents who provide different levels of dialog with their children on sexual topics.

“There’s not going to be agreement on every educational material,” he said. “I’m a Christian parent, (but) that’s not the only audience we serve.”

Since when did protecting youth from the physical dangers of promiscuity become a “Christian” only issue? Last I checked, my agnostic and even Jewish friends thought the dangers of STDs from early sexual activity were a bummer, too. I don’t know any of them that would proclaim abstinence a “Christian” only teaching.

Matt, grip up. You blew it last year when your staff pranced in with changes against state law and district policy. You got caught making changes that didn’t honor the very process of parental guidance for sex ed curriculum that your board demanded. Now you’re finding that instead of slipping in new and extraordinarily liberal agendas to the district’s middle schools, you and and your staff are going to get a permanent group of eyes on this matter. It’s your responsibility to apologize to district parents for attempting changes to the sex ed guidelines outside the law.

I’m glad to be a part of the successful review that is taking place. Brookfield City News first covered the issue last August on a reader tip. The press generated from that put Elmbrook’s secret policy rewrite front and center. Now, thanks to the very hard work of a dedicated group of parents, it looks like sex ed instruction won’t be entirely defined by staff.

The paper didn’t say which board members voted to encourage curriculum control. If someone can put it to the comments, I’d appreciate it. I suspect it was Gehl and Allgaier, but would be interested to know all four.

Comments

  1. Cheri M. says:

    Tell us how you REALLY feel. ;o) I’m kidding, because you didn’t hold back… and we know how you feel. Sometimes we think alike. This may be one of those times. It does create a slight awkward moment as I contemplate whether people may surmise I’m feeding you these stories, or that you are doing my thinking for me, or that I am doing your thinking for you (ha!).

    Wis Stats require that districts emphasize abstinence before marriage. [118.019(2m)]Religion has nothing to do with it, and I feel it is unfortunate that his remarks may cause unneeded controversy, diverting energy and attention from teaching the knowledge and skills for the healthiest choice to our children.

    As a member of the HGD committee, I work with these people… and have seen several viewpoints in a state of flux… from day to day it is somewhat difficult to “keep score” or tally opinions. So I hesitate to say who expressed which opinions in this particular meeting… but DO watch if it is shown on cable.

    My own viewpoint has changed throughout this process. I personally became involved in the HGD committee because materials were not readily available to preview. I merely wanted to know HOW the topic of OS was planned to be brought up and WHAT specifically was planned to be said about it. I had an inclination that the information ought not be presented too early, robbing many children of innocence.

    I also knew that I had something to offer the committee, being a “policy wonk” and all. ;o)

    I feel honored to be a part of this committee. As you know community service is never easy given the vastly different knowledge bases, experiences, and levels of commitment of various members. Through the introduction of a specific DVD which a committee member brought for preview, my viewpoint changed. I am a firm believer that this info needs to be shared ASAP. It was a unifying moment for the HGD committee as polarized views moved toward center. The specific material… the tone, content, demeanor, inflection enhance the message. The context is important. I am now an advocate for packaged HGD program materials as opposed to staff-developed materials.

    Not to detract from staff in any way. When packaged materials were not available, it was great of them to write something. But let’s trust the true experts in this field. As one mom said, “We don’t write our own math books. Why write our own HGD materials?”

    Package HGD lessons also provide the benefit of known length of lesson time for ease of scheduling, professional tutoring for the district educators who will be presenting materials, ease of preview for parents, ease of sticking with scripted lessons for teachers, consistency in the delivery of lessons to all students, and… FULL TRANSPARENCY!

    Yes, I believe parents should be involved. This is provided for in statute 118.019(4).

  2. Kathryn says:

    Well Cheri, now we now how you REALLY feel too. Ha! But seriously, I wish the MJS article had been fleshed out a little more. We have no idea what Matt was responding to when he made those comments. Maybe he was thinking of the out-of-town protesters who insist we should never never never discuss certain topics…and they were insisting that their opinion was THE CHRISTIAN OPINION.

  3. Cheri M. says:

    Kathryn,
    forgive me and my typos – I have a headache, can barely type – the screen is too bright! 🙁
    I asked Cindy to please delete the comment with toooooo many typos (even for me… a few are OK in my book).

    Kathryn, I was there, I was paying attention, and I too wondered what the comment referred to… it seemed so random… out of context. Yes, maybe his mind skipped back to the out-of-town protestors… sort of a delayed reaction?

  4. Kathryn says:

    Only teasing about the double post, not typos! Didn’t even notice those, to be honest.

    Thanks for being there, Cheri. I really admire your commitment.