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Concerns Raised by Pioneer in MCPS Directors Association Over LGBTQ+ Educational Plan Rollout: Inside Update Reveals

A key figure within the Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) directors association has expressed reservations about the district’s implementation of its new LGBTQ+ inclusive storybooks. This revelation came to light in an internal memo shared with central office staff last fall, several months before the decision to exclude students from class discussions on these materials was rejected in the spring.

In the memo, Mike Bayewitz, Principal of Cloverly School, wrote in his capacity as the Elementary Section Chair of the Montgomery County Association of Principals and Administrators’ Elementary Division (MCAAP). He conveyed concerns about inappropriate content in the books, biases in discussion guidelines, lack of teacher training, and inconsistent guidance from district offices since November 2022.

Zainab Chaudry, Regional Director of the Committee on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), highlighted these concerns in a press conference held outside the educational committee headquarters in Rockville. Chaudry shared that MCPS elementary school principals had raised issues about age-appropriate content, religious bias in discussion guidelines, teacher training, and inconsistent guidance from district offices.

While other MCPS-affiliated organizations have openly supported the district’s approach to LGBTQ+ inclusive educational materials, the directors association has refrained from taking a public stance.

CAIR disclosed the email and linked memo from Bayewitz, which was sent to top school officials on November 22, 2022. This information was obtained by CAIR through a Maryland Public Information Act request, revealing the concerns raised within the MCPS directors association.

Bayewitz’s memo expressed several worries about the district’s use of LGBTQ+ materials:

  • Conflicting messages about the purpose of the materials.
  • Uncertainty about whether the materials are mandatory or optional.
  • Availability or lack of an opt-out option for students.
  • Transparency regarding the extent of stakeholder input in material selection.
  • Appointment of a point of contact for ongoing communication about the materials.
  • Identification of “mixed messaging and/or problematic content” in associated documents.

In response to Bayewitz’s memo, MCAAP President Christine Handy clarified that the purpose was to provide feedback and support to MCPS. She emphasized that Bayewitz was not the sole author or advocate of the report and that MCAAP supports its members in developing concise guides on complex issues.

MCPS spokesperson Chris Pack, when asked for comment, referred to a recent information sheet reaffirming the district’s commitment to its inclusive curriculum. Pack also noted that due to an impending lawsuit, MCPS cannot provide further comments at this time.

Regarding concerns about students being removed from class discussions, Pack stated that MCPS lacks precise data on the number of instances before the cessation of this practice. However, legal filings suggest that an increased volume of opt-out requests disrupted the educational environment, leading to the decision’s reversal in the spring.

Despite differing opinions within the MCPS community, the local teachers’ association and service workers’ association have both voiced support for the district’s LGBTQ+ inclusive curriculum. They emphasize the importance of inclusivity and diverse representation in educational materials.

As legal battles continue over the inclusion of LGBTQ+ materials in the curriculum, a U.S. District Court judge will hear arguments on a motion that could potentially reinstate the opt-out provision. The outcome of this legal process will significantly impact the ongoing debate surrounding LGBTQ+ education in MCPS.

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