Utterly Meaningless » 2002 » August

    Filed on August 31, 2002 at 10:15 am under by dcobranchi

    IF YOU ONLY KNEW THE POWER OF THE DARK SIDE Well, I’m crossing over to the other side. One night a week, I will be teaching Chem 101 at a local community college. I’ll only be adjunct and, thus, ineligible for the union (NEA, I think). Too bad, I was really looking forward to those meetings at the “local”.


    Filed on at 8:35 am under by dcobranchi

    HELP WANTED- ONLINE NEWS EDITOR The Guardian (UK) needs some help. Here’s the headline and lede from a recent article

    Catholic Priests Sue Accusers

    Some Roman Catholic priests who say they have been falsely accused of molesting children have turned to civil courts for relief, filing defamation lawsuits against the people claiming to be their victims.

    And then, out of left field, we get this:

    Life experiences, whether going shopping or travelling, become teaching moments for the youngsters.

    As home-schoolers know, “life is a classroom,” said Michelle Doyle, chairwoman of the Quinte Christian Homeschoolers Association, which comprises about 30 families.

    Threw me for a second.


    Filed on August 30, 2002 at 4:22 pm under by dcobranchi

    REVOKE HIS UNION MEMBERSHIP The title of this article: “How one teacher’s experience overcomes lack of certification”. Here’s a quote that is sure to get him drummed out of the NEA

    “People ask me what do you teach, and I say, ‘I don’t teach social studies. I teach kids,'” Katzen said. When you have a talent for teaching children, wherever they are on the academic scale, the certification is not so important, he said.

    What?! Certification not so important? I thought that was ALL that mattered.

    EDISON The Phila. Daily

    Filed on at 12:57 pm under by dcobranchi

    EDISON The Phila. Daily News is reporting that all 20 Philly schools that Edison is slated to take over next week have begun shipping supplies back to the warehouse.

    Math workbooks, Spanish textbooks, science lab materials, art supplies, and gym equipment were loaded onto two trucks yesterday at one Edison school, the James R. Ludlow elementary school in North Philadelphia, district CEO Paul Vallas said.

    “Unless you have some other money to pay for it, we’re taking it back,” a truck driver told the principal, according to Vallas.

    Adam Tucker, a spokesman for Edison, yesterday said the supplies were picked up because his company’s $11.8 million contract is not enough to pay for them…

    [School District CEO] Vallas said the district will stock the school by Thursday with any supplies needed but missing.

    The cost for the replaced supplies will be subtracted from Edison’s contract, he said.


    Filed on at 12:18 pm under by dcobranchi

    < SARCASM>A SCIENTIFIC POLL < /SARCASM> Should parents who home-school their children be required to have a teaching certificate? (re-blogged from Isabel Lyman)


    Filed on at 7:48 am under by dcobranchi

    VOLOKH ON HOMESCHOOLING Eugene Volokh has responded to the critics of his earlier HS comments. I am still opposed to mandatory testing for HSers. Aside from the fundamental rights question on which Prof. Volokh and I disagree, there are at least three practical considerations that make this proposal illogical and unworkable.

    1) Why single out HSers for testing? Private schooled students are not required to pass any particular test and the imposition of testing requirements on religious schools raises all sorts of 1st Amendment questions.

    2) Prof. Volokh lightly dismisses the scope & sequence question:

    How, some people ask, can you decide exactly what the tests should say? Wouldn’t any potential design be in some measure arbitrary? Sure. But there are all sorts of tough judgment calls that have to be made where laws relating to treatment of children are involved. How much physical discipline is too much? When does a diet become neglect? When are parents at fault for failing to provide proper medical treatment to their kids, and when is their action a reasonable decision? Tough questions, and often call for some pretty arbitrary line-drawing — and, what’s more, for line-drawing that is a lot vaguer than a test, and that may yield to much greater penalties for the parents (criminal charges as opposed to just an insistence that the parents send the child to an accredited school). Some such judgment calls are inevitable whenever the community chooses to in some measure limit parents’ otherwise absolute power over their children, as I think it in some measure must. (Of course, one important proviso is that the mandated standards be relatively low floors, with lots of flexibility given to parents in most cases — I surely don’t think the test passage thresholds should be tremendously demanding.)

    It’s not quite that simple. Let’s take U.S. history as an example. This year’s National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) 4th grade U.S. history section included questions from the colonial period up to the “I Have a Dream” speech. Public school teachers (and text book publishers) know this, of course, and include the material in their books and lessons. We HSers may do things a bit differently. [WARNING: Personal anedote ahead.] My wife and I have chosen to go into significantly more detail with our (then) 4th-grader. It will take us three years to get through the same material. If my son had been mandated to take a test at the end of last year, he wouldn’t have performed particularly well on that part. So, what is a HSing family to do? Continue to teach their kids the way they think is best and face retribution from the state or change their scope & sequence to match the test. Either way, HSers would lose their freedom.

    3) These tests are a burden and a tax imposed on parents. Test preparation takes time and money. Most if not all states requiring testing do not pay for the tests but make the parents pay. HSers pay property taxes and other taxes that go to support the public schools. We then choose not to use them, thus saving other taxpayers money. We gladly pay for all of our educational materials without support from the state. Enough is enough; don’t tax us to test us!

    As Prof. Volokh points out, HSers who CHOOSE to be tested do extremely well (as a group). The experiment is over; HSing works. Mandated testing serves no useful purpose and unnecessarily burdens law-abiding Americans.

    UPDATE: Skip Oliva again took Prof. Volokh apart piece by piece. (And yes, cynical reader, Skip kindly linked back to us here but that had NOTHING to do with my update. Honest!).


    Filed on August 29, 2002 at 4:05 pm under by dcobranchi

    SAT SCORES BY STATE And in case you’re wondering, the low percentages recorded by the western states can be attributed to the fact that many of their colleges and universities require the ACT.


    Filed on at 1:44 pm under by dcobranchi

    GAY STUDENT SETTLES LAWSUIT This story could fall into the WWHS category; if a youngster doesn’t fit into the public school norm, he or she is liable to be harassed by fellow students or even administrators.

    Henkle’s story suggested that his school was anything but a safe haven. He said a group of kids once had tried to lasso him and drag him behind a truck. When he sat, quivering and afraid, in a classroom and called for help, it took almost an hour for the administration to respond.

    Henkle said he had been transferred to three schools and been told by one principal that he “wouldn’t have him (Henkle) acting like a fag in his school. ” Henkle said the harassment was so pervasive that other kids would intimidate students who wouldn’t taunt him.


    Filed on at 1:13 pm under by dcobranchi

    MAYBE IT REALLY DOES TAKE A VILLAGE Here’s a nice column on how real parents behave.

    Mama and her friends and neighbors noticed everything. The night I nearly kissed the boy next door, her voice found me in a corner of the front porch and called me inside. Later, she banished another would-be boyfriend for failing to remove his hat in the house. Her eyes saw everything, and she could smell trouble while it was still struggling to take shape and claim a name.

    She wasn’t alone, of course. The neighborhood was full of watchers.

    I grew up surrounded by men and women who told stories, spanked their kids and sat on front porches, rocking and looking. They were ready to step into the center of any situation and become the parents of any child they saw.


    Filed on August 28, 2002 at 9:39 am under by dcobranchi

    IS “AGEISM” ACTIONABLE? This article about a (former) high school principal suing for being demoted has the headline “Teacher charges ageism”. I’m not sure but I don’t think “ageism” is the same as “age discrimination”.

    NICE WORK Skip Oliva

    Filed on August 27, 2002 at 6:46 pm under by dcobranchi

    NICE WORK Skip Oliva has a column up at the Center for the Advancement of Capitalism in which he lays out the argument against compulsory attendance. I hope Eugene Volokh sees this; I’d like to see his response.


    Filed on at 5:50 pm under by dcobranchi

    VERY SAD STORY Isabel Lyman just blogged a story about a HS mom who shot and killed her two youngest kids (no permalink- look for “I hate to even post this but…”). The story mentions that the parents had been arguing over whether to send the kids to public school with the mother in favor. It sounds to me that she may have known she was slipping over the edge and was trying to get the kids out of harm’s way.


    Filed on at 2:17 pm under by dcobranchi

    DELAWARE SPECIFIC ITEM Just a reminder that the DHEA is holding its meeting tomorrow, 6:30 pm at the Dover library. Elections are on the agenda.

    OT BIRD HUMORResearchers conducting

    Filed on at 12:32 pm under by dcobranchi


    Researchers conducting the most elaborate wild goose chase in history are digesting the news that a bird they have tracked for over 4,500 miles is about to be cooked.

    Kerry, an Irish light-bellied Brent goose, was one of six birds tagged in Northern Ireland in May by researchers monitoring the species’ remarkable migration.

    Last week, however, he was found dead in an Inuit hunter’s freezer in Canada, still wearing his £3,000 satelite tracking device.


    Filed on August 26, 2002 at 9:08 pm under by dcobranchi

    INSTAPUNDIT BEATS UP ON DELAWARE and deservedly so. Wilmington police are stopping people, lining them up against the wall, frisking them, and taking their photos for future reference.


    Filed on at 12:57 pm under by dcobranchi

    NEVER ENDING STORY In today’s edition of WWHS, the pressures facing kids to look the part in order to fit in at the public schools.

    Everything seems to matter.

    The 50-cent folder with Barney the purple dinosaur is totally unacceptable.

    The 50-cent folder with Lizzie McGuire, a Disney heroine, must be possessed.

    While such distinctions mystify and irritate parents, back-to-school shopping is a crucial time for students, experts say. Decisions made now will help influence how they are judged by their peers – and how they view themselves.

    “At least after age 7, the most important people in their lives are their peers. They dare not go back to face those peers without the trappings that are necessary for success. The clothing is extremely important, but the backpack and pencils are too,” said researcher James U. McNeal, who spent the last 40 years studying the consumer lives of children…

    By the time they reach first grade, McNeal found that children were not only identifying themselves with certain brands, but were making judgments of other people based on the brands they wear or consume.

    “We even discovered that a drink cup is considered an extension of their persona,” McNeal said. “They would prefer it say ‘Big Gulp’ rather than ‘7-Eleven.'”

    I don’t want my children taking any cues from their peers. If they want to, my kids could “do school” in their pajamas.


    Filed on August 25, 2002 at 11:07 am under by dcobranchi

    HOMESCHOOLING GETTING CHEAPER in comparison to the alternatives. When exactly did public schools start charging fees?

    At Bancroft Elementary in Walnut Creek, Kapur spent $50 on a parent donation and $10 for extra supplies. She expects to spend another $40 on such classroom necessities as napkins and tissue paper.

    At Foothill Middle, registration included a minimum PTA donation of $60, a $30 wood shop fee, $35 P.E. uniform fee, $10 identification card fee, $20 English supply fee and $25 science lab fee.


    Filed on August 24, 2002 at 7:57 pm under by dcobranchi

    FINALLY GETTING CAUGHT UP Eugene Volokh blogged the CA HSing issue the other day. He comes down on the side of the HSers but misses the mark with his comments about requiring “certain output[s]” such as “good results on periodic tests.”

    Failing to make sure that one’s kids are adequately educated seems to me to be a form of child abuse, and I think the government is morally entitled to protect kids against this, though there are obvious pragmatic and public choice risks even with such requirements.

    I have a couple of problems with this.

    First, why should HSers be subject to proving that the kids are getting a good education when we have given the public schools a pass for at least the last 50 years? Would this apply to each and every HSer? Would ALL of our kids have to score at or above grade level or face some kind of retribution from the state? On whose curriculum would these tests be based? HSers usually don’t follow the same scope & sequence as the public schools; would a low score on a test even be meaningful?

    On a more fundamental basis, though, I disagree with Prof. Volokh’s assertion that the state is “morally entitled” to be involved in our children’s education. I believe that the state has an interest in assuring that the populace is literate enough to vote. Beyond that, the state’s interest is subordinate to those of the parents:

    The fundamental theory of liberty upon which all governments in this Union repose excludes any general power of the state to standardize its children by forcing them to accept instruction from public teachers only. (Pierce v. Society of Sisters, 1925)

    If the state cannot standardize its children’s education, it certainly cannot demand a certain performance on standardized tests based on that education.

    UPDATE: Skip Oliva picked up on Volokh blog, too. He just did it a bit more, er, enthusiastically than I.

    UPDATE II: It’s apparently unanimous. Chris O’Donnell went after Prof. Volokh here.

    WWHS No commentary necessary

    Filed on at 9:36 am under by dcobranchi

    WWHS No commentary necessary here.

    The Ohio Department of Education has recommended that the state license of a longtime teacher be revoked.

    James Rokosky of Louisville was accused of inappropriate behavior with three female students…

    In 1980, Alliance administrators asked him to quit after he admitted writing what they characterized as a “love letter” to a seventh-grader…

    Rokosky left in 1982 after he refused to stop dating a 17-year-old East Canton High student. They subsequently married…

    Lisa Brendel told Jackson Township police then that Rokosky forced her to have sex with him when she was a fifth-grader at Heritage Christian School in Canton in 1978…


    Filed on at 9:12 am under by dcobranchi

    HOW DID I GUESS? I knew this article HAD to feature HSers.

    On the robotics circuit
    Exhibition: Youths participating in a national engineering competition present a demonstration at the Maryland State Fair.


    Filed on at 8:50 am under by dcobranchi

    BULLYING IN THE (CANADIAN) PUBLIC SCHOOLS Unfortunately, it was the teachers making fun of a man with Parkinson’s.

    The British Columbia’s teachers’ union has apologized to Eric Rice, a government-appointed arbitrator who was teased by teachers during a demonstration over his shaky hands. The man suffers from Parkinson’s disease.

    The union is now in full damage-control mode. How stupid can you be? The man is an ARBITRATOR. I wonder if they’ll get a sympathetic ruling.

    I CAN SEE! I

    Filed on August 23, 2002 at 9:05 pm under by dcobranchi

    I CAN SEE! I CAN SEE! My 40 year old eyes were starting to protest the default font-size so I boosted it by 2 px. Hope y’all approve.

    CHECK ‘EM OUT Several

    Filed on at 8:40 pm under by dcobranchi

    CHECK ‘EM OUT Several new links to the left <


    Filed on at 12:49 pm under by dcobranchi

    CREATIONISM VS. EVOLUTION The Cobb County (GA) School District Board of Education has voted to teach creationism on an equal footing with evolution.


    Filed on at 11:27 am under by dcobranchi

    HOMEBOUND GOOD, HOMESCHOOL BAD The key to this article is in the 2nd ‘graph.

    Selleck is a credentialed [emphasis added]teacher who works for the Home and Health Services office of the Oakland Unified School District. She’s been teaching students in their homes or hospital beds since 1998.

    Other than that, this could almost be written about any HSing parent.

    Crystalyn Walker, a junior this year at Castlemont High School, worked with Selleck for about six months last year. Crystalyn said she enjoyed home study. “It was better than going to school,” she said. “I learned more.”…

    Selleck’s approach involves getting to know her students, including their interests, so she can tailor the curriculum to each one. It also means understanding each student’s illness and potential limitations…

    Selleck works with students for about six to nine hours a week and assigns a lot of homework. “Some can work more independently than others,” she said, but all the youngsters she teaches are expected to be students when they’re at home.

    But, then again, we’re not credentialed.

    A MUST READ Here’s

    Filed on at 11:19 am under by dcobranchi

    A MUST READ Here’s a primer on how kids are brainwashed at school. Ignore it at your own peril.


    Filed on August 22, 2002 at 4:23 pm under by dcobranchi

    AND THEY SAY WE’RE UNQUALIFIED TO TEACH One in four PS teachers are teaching in a field in which they have had little or no training.

    “It’s clear that administrators have yet to get the message that they have to stop assigning teachers out of field,” said Craig Jerald of the Education Trust, the Washington-based nonprofit that released the report Wednesday…

    The group looked at whether classes in four core subjects — English, math, science and social studies — were assigned to a teacher who lacked a college major or minor in that field or a related field.

    Nationally, about 24 percent of classes met those criteria; 12 states had more than 30 percent taught by teachers from outside the field. In four states — Delaware [emphasis added], Louisiana, New Mexico and Tennessee — the average exceeded one-third. Michigan’s rate was about 20 percent.

    NICE The San Antonio

    Filed on at 4:12 pm under by dcobranchi

    NICE The San Antonio News-Express had a nice little article on HSing.


    Filed on at 4:03 pm under by dcobranchi

    OFFICE SOFTWARE CHEAP, CHEAPER, & CHEAPEST Microsoft is offering their Office XP suite at a discount for students and educators. The discounted price is ~$129 compared to $450 list. For an even better deal, try Sun’s competing StarOffice for only $30. And finally, for the ultimate in cheap software, download Sun’s open source OpenOffice for free. I’ve used all three packages in one version or another; all are capable and similar.


    Filed on August 21, 2002 at 2:21 pm under by dcobranchi

    HOMESCHOOLING IS ILLEGAL in CA according to the state DOE.

    There have been several cases this year of state officials pursuing truancy cases against parents for home-schooling, although the Home School Association of California points out that the cases all have been settled in favor of the parents.

    We’re not talking about school officials going after parents who refuse to educate their children, but of officials targeting well-educated students because home-schooling is perceived as a threat to the monopoly school system. It’s a frighteningly totalitarian approach by a large and powerful bureaucracy.


    Filed on August 20, 2002 at 12:59 pm under by dcobranchi

    BURN THOSE BOOKS or at least close the libraries. There is a petition drive in Stevens County (WA) to close down all of the public libraries. Apparently some large landowners don’t read:

    “With all the property I own, I’m probably paying up to $500 in taxes for the library, and that’s just $500 wasted on something we don’t need,” said one supporter of the measure, Dave Sitler, a real estate agent.

    Sitler, a member of the American Heritage Party, which calls for an end to all property taxes and for a government based on biblical tenets, also said that the head librarian’s annual salary of $51,000 is too high.

    “The salaries they pay those librarians, with health benefits and all that, it adds up,” Sitler said.

    The Stevens County library system operates on a budget of a little more than $1 million a year, with a full-time staff of 10. It makes do in metal- roofed sheds, converted cabins and abandoned buildings. County records show that to help keep the county’s nine book outlets running, the average household here pays about $38 a year in property taxes, the equivalent of a month’s basic cable television bill.

    This guy is a real estate agent. Do you think property values might be negatively affected by closing the libraries? And here’s a REAL HSer (grin):

    But without the library system, some county residents said, they would have almost no link to the rest of the world.

    “I home-school my kids, and our four library cards are maxed out at 40 books at all times,” said Linda Arrell, who lives off the electric power grid with her family north of Kettle Falls. “They say everybody is on the Internet, so we don’t need a library. Well, some of us don’t have credit cards and some of us don’t have power.”

    IT’S OUR FAULT Kentucky

    Filed on at 9:46 am under by dcobranchi

    IT’S OUR FAULT Kentucky private school enrollments are up and the edu-crats are worried. There are some interesting HS quotes in here:

    Madison County Superintendent Mike Caudill says he doesn’t think the rise in private-school enrollment is about dissatisfaction with public schools, but about faith-based education.

    “Parents who have the means are having a bigger hand in the moral piece of their children’s education,” he said.

    But he is worried about the rise in home schools. The school system and courts have been more aggressive about truancy, he said, leading more parents to pull their children from school and say they are home-schooling.

    “I have tremendous respect for the good home schools, but there are plenty of parents who do it because they don’t want to deal with the school system,” Caudill said.

    In at least the past four legislative sessions, lawmakers have tried to pass rules that would govern home schools. But they’ve lost to a large and vociferous home-school lobby.

    “I think you’re seeing a whole new generation of people who chose private and home schools well before their children were of school age,” said Martin Cothran, a home-school advocate with the conservative Family Foundation. “People don’t perceive the public schools are focusing on academics the way they ought to, and there’s the religious aspect.”

    Both reasons influenced Debra Gibson, a Scott County mother who home-schools her three children with the help of a local home-schooling group in Georgetown.

    “My kids have the opportunity to do more things than we even have time for,” she said.

    Scott County has seen an increase in public-school students since the arrival of the Toyota plant. But more of them have chosen private schools since the 1990 Kentucky Education Reform Act went into effect, said Danny Glass, pupil personnel director.

    “That’s when we really saw the advent of home schools,” he said. “I think parents are onto them because they didn’t like KERA or because of religious convictions.”

    Richard Hardin, assistant superintendent of Jessamine County, thinks that the rise in census numbers is more directly connected to home schools than to their private counterparts.

    “The growth is not alarming to us at the moment, but I do think that basically totally unregulated home schools are a potential problem,” he said. “What we hope is that parents are going the extra mile to give their kids the best education they can.”

    This argument is getting SO OLD. We heard some of this in DE last year. Truants supposedly were claiming to be HSers to get out of trouble with the law and, therefore, we needed more regulation of HSing. It turns out that there were only a handful (single digits). Please just LEAVE US ALONE!!!

    WWHS In today’s edition

    Filed on at 9:35 am under by dcobranchi

    WWHS In today’s edition of “Why We Homeschool”- some states are having major problems with high-stakes testing.

    In July, Nevada officials reported that 736 sophomores and juniors had mistakenly been told they had failed the math portion of a test; when tests were rechecked, it turned out the students had passed.

    In New Mexico, 70 percent of superintendents recently reported testing errors of various kinds, according to FairTest, a group in Cambridge, Mass., that objects to high-stakes testing.

    In Georgia, Harcourt Educational Measurement could not deliver accurate results from last spring’s Stanford 9 tests in time for this school year, throwing off students’ assignments to gifted and remedial classes. The company called in several experts to help solve the problems with the tests, which were developed specifically for Georgia’s third-, fifth-, and eighth-graders. School officials are considering fining the testing company.

    One of the few things I like about the NCLB Act is that it exempts all HSers from these accountability tests.


    Filed on August 19, 2002 at 11:18 am under by dcobranchi

    SEPTEMBER 11TH NEVER HAPPENED or, at least according to the NEA, we can’t blame any group.

    Suggested lesson plans compiled by the NEA recommend that teachers “address the issue of blame factually,” noting: “Blaming is especially difficult in terrorist situations because someone is at fault. In this country, we still believe that all people are innocent until solid, reliable evidence from our legal authorities proves otherwise.”

    And since all of the alleged hijackers are dead and will never stand trial, noone did it.


    Filed on August 18, 2002 at 4:47 pm under by dcobranchi

    MOTHER SHOULD I BUILD THE WALL The website’s only so-so but I couldn’t resist the name. Ten bonus points if you get it.


    Filed on August 17, 2002 at 8:08 pm under by dcobranchi

    MEA CULPA, MEA CULPA, MEA MAXIMA CULPA Yesterday I inferred that Skip Oliva was a lawyer. I was wrong. Skip emailed (posted with permission)

    Many thanks for the return link. Just to clarify, however, I am *not* an attorney…

    I am the director of federal affairs at the Center for the Advancement of Capitalism, an Objectivist public policy group in Washington. We, uh, advance capitalism. Education is an issue we haven’t done quite enough with, but we’re planning to remedy that in the next few months.


    Filed on at 8:00 pm under by dcobranchi

    MORE CYBER CHARTER I think the Kaseman’s may have written the definitive article on why HSers are so wary about virtual charter schools.

    Of course, homeschoolers have worked long and hard for many years to protect the right of parents to choose for their children an education consistent with their principles and beliefs. We understand that in the best of all worlds, parents who are willing to accept all the restrictions and drawbacks of a cyber charter school should have the right to enroll their children in one. There may be times when a cyber charter school, despite all its disadvantages, may be better than the local public school. So in the best of all worlds, cyber charter schools would co-exist harmoniously with homeschools. Students in cyber charter schools would not be called homeschoolers. The general public would understand that cyber charter schools are regulated in many ways that homeschools are not. Parents could choose among educational options that include homeschools and cyber charter schools.

    Unfortunately, we do not live in the best of all worlds. Given the advantages cyber charter schools gain by recruiting homeschoolers and their aggressive marketing strategy, they are likely to call their students homeschoolers. Even if they didn’t, much of the general public would still lump homeschoolers and cyber charter school students together and call them all homeschoolers. Only people who knew a lot about the subject would grasp the important distinction between the two. In addition, there are parents who want to homeschool or think it would be best for their children, but they think they don’t have enough money or confidence or education or whatever. These people may decide they can manage a cyber charter school program, and they will want to call themselves homeschoolers.

    So we have to either oppose cyber charter schools marketed to homeschoolers or sacrifice homeschooling (an approach to education that clearly works very well for many different families) to cyber charter schooling (an approach that is unproved, relies heavily on children’s use of computers, and brings strong government regulation into the homes of families). Do we want to risk homeschooling as we know it today for the sake of a few families that might benefit from cyber charter schools?


    Filed on at 5:35 pm under by dcobranchi

    OT AND WAY TOO FUNNY TO IGNORE CNN has a couple of headlines that make the President and Republicans look a bit hypocritical. Bush calls for deficit reduction and Bush backers get White House sleepovers

    HOW MANY? This can’t

    Filed on at 5:21 pm under by dcobranchi

    HOW MANY? This can’t be correct. According to the San Antonio Express-News 420,000 people holding TX teaching certificates aren’t teaching in the TX public schools. According to the Census Bureau TX’s population in 2001 was 21,325,018. After accounting for those under 18, this means that nearly 3% of TX’s adult population is a (former) teacher MIA. Or looking at it another way, if TX has an average student/teacher ratio of 20, approximately 2/3 of those holding certificates have gone AWOL.

    BUH-BYE Why do they

    Filed on at 10:17 am under by dcobranchi

    BUH-BYE Why do they call it “homeschool?” is a new journal-type HS blog. Good luck and welcome to the blogosphere. Oh yeah, kiss your life good-bye.


    Filed on August 16, 2002 at 10:47 pm under by dcobranchi

    AND BACK AT YA The Intellectual Passivist blogged the same CDC story but he does a better job. Skip Oliva is apparently a DC blogger-lawyer (yes, another one) who has an interest in education issues. He’s got some interesting stuff- check him out. The link’s over there. <


    Filed on at 6:30 pm under by dcobranchi

    SOMEONE PLEASE FIX THIS Another charter has essentially shut down with no warning.


    Filed on at 6:28 pm under by dcobranchi

    UPHILL BOTH WAYS The CDC says that more kids should walk to school for the exercise. We’re doing our part- my kids walk down the stairs to the dining room table every day!


    Filed on at 6:23 pm under by dcobranchi

    PAGING KIM SWYGERT Here’s a headline only an edu-crat could love: Lowell officials say school’s improving, though test scores are not


    Filed on at 6:11 pm under by dcobranchi

    A BAG OF FLAMING POOP Joanne Jacobs re-blogs a really biting Transterrestrial Musings satire about a student who is claiming to be disadvantaged by not being disadvantaged. I think this true story may have been the inspiration.

    Normally, a student with a 4.5 GPA and high test scores would get into Berkeley and UCLA but I didn’t,” said high school student Kyle Taylor.

    Taylor might have had a better chance of being accepted at both schools if he’d suffered a gunshot wound, gone to a bad high school or was the son of divorced parents. That’s because a new University of California admissions policy called “comprehensive review” gives preference to students who have overcome personal hardships.

    “I’ve never gone through anything really difficult, but, I mean, I don’t see why that should affect how I get into college,” Taylor said…

    UC officials say the policy levels the playing field, but critics call it a transparent attempt to get around California’s ban on affirmative action in college admissions. But the courts may get the last word, as some students who were denied admission are considering lawsuits.

    UPDATE: Highered Intelligence has a really good blog on this same topic.

    $300??? I’m not often

    Filed on at 5:57 pm under by dcobranchi

    $300??? I’m not often in favor of higher taxes but I think a hike may be in order in this Las Vegas school district.

    While there is an understanding and acknowledgement that schools are underfunded, classroom teachers have to deal with the current reality. That reality includes some teachers receiving notes from their principals in the last couple of weeks about how much they will be allocated for classroom supplies this year…

    One school was providing each teacher $300 for the whole year. What do the teachers get for nothing? Bulletin board trim and butcher paper.

    The $300 allocation is supposed to pay for such things as paper, spelling tablets, folders, binders, rubber bands, index cards, chalk, paper clips, crayons, erasers, rulers, yardsticks, stapler, staples, scissors, Scotch tape, glue, white board markers, overhead transparencies, pencils and pens. Imagine $300 to pay for those supplies for 25 to 35 students for a whole school year. Are teachers really supposed to have the kids stop writing or practicing math when their paper supply runs out in December or are they expected to buy it out of their own pocket?

    In some ways this means not all kids will be provided for equally. New teachers, especially if they are single, won’t be able to afford to buy much for their classrooms on their $27,000 salary…


    Filed on August 15, 2002 at 9:48 am under by dcobranchi

    A SLIPPERY SLOPE? Bill Bennett’s K12 organization feels that HSing groups are opposed to public cyber charters.

    Opposition to K12 is being mounted, predictably by the National Education Association, but also by an unlikely source, home school advocates…

    Although the curriculum is home-based, K12’s founder and CEO Ron Packard told CNSNews.com that its mandated rigorous curriculum, enforced accountability through state tests, and access to state-certified teachers makes it “dramatically different” than the home school approach…

    Tom Washburne is an attorney at the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA), as well as director of the National Center for Home Education, the HSLDA’s federal policy and lobbying arm. Washburne said the HSLDA is reluctant to mix home schooling with public education.

    “We’ve made great grounds in the last couple of decades on home school freedom and we don’t want to see us taking a step back,” Washburne told CNSNews.com…

    Packard said he was “shocked” by the opposition being mounted by home school advocates. “It’s really amazing to me that a group that has fought so hard for [its] right to home school would oppose someone else’s parents who are fighting for their right to be doing at home a great public school education,” Packard told CNSNews.com.

    “The same level of intolerance that you saw in the education establishment toward home schooling, I think home schooling [groups] are showing toward us,” he added.

    I believe that this is going to be a major issue over the next several years. Choice is good; more choice is better. I don’t think that HSers are opposed to cyber charters. I think they are concerned that there is confusion that these students are HSers. The slippery slope comes when the public and legislators start to confuse “homeschooling” as it has been traditionally defined with cyber charters. Cyber charter students are still public schoolers with the same curriculum and accountability issues. HSers have opted out of that system. Confusing cyber charter students with homeschoolers just complicates things and may give the state legislatures (with prompting by the NEA) the excuse needed to take away HSing freedoms. And if you don’t think that this is on the agenda, check out this quote from the same article.

    The National Education Association (NEA), which opposes home schooling in general and supports charter schools “with certain provisions,” calls Bennett’s K12 taxpayer “facilitated home schooling.”

    It’s not HSing. Please don’t call it HSing. Call it what it is- Cyber charter schooling.

    FOR SALE Highered Intelligence

    Filed on at 5:54 am under by dcobranchi

    FOR SALE Highered Intelligence is disgusted that a public school has sold the naming rights to its football field. The new name will be Rust-Oleum Field. I don’t really have a problem with this. The article seems to describe a situation that has existed for a LONG time. My HS (way back in the late 70’s) had a scoreboard that was donated by the local Pepsi bottler. Of course, there was a big ad and the concession stands sold Pepsi.

    The donation by Rust-Oleum Corp., a Vernon Hills paint manufacturer, helped pay for the field’s scoreboard, refreshment stand, lights and other amenities. Under the 20-year agreement, the company’s name will be displayed on a plaque on a pillar near the entrance to the stadium and in the press room.

    The deal, which also requires the company to provide paint to maintain the field’s outdoor equipment, was viewed as a goodwill gesture, not as a marketing tool, officials say.

    The donation “wasn’t so much for the naming of the field,” said Gene Childers, facilities manager for Rust-Oleum. “It’s our way of giving back to the community.”

    This actually seems to me more benign than the scoreboard. I’d have much more of a problem if they were selling the naming rights to the school. Maybe I’m splitting hairs but what do you expect at 5:55 a.m.?


    Filed on August 14, 2002 at 11:49 am under by dcobranchi

    HOMESCHOOLER DEPICTED AS “SAD” Re-posted from NHEN-Legislative:

    I have heard from a number of you concerning the mural in the stairway leading down to the children’s room in the New Cumberland (PA) Library. The mural, for those of you who haven’t seen it, includes many little children involved in various activities like reading, skating boarding, etc. Every child, on their shirt, is labeled with the name of a New Cumberland area public school. These children are all happy. One somewhat sad child is labeled with the private school St. Theresa’s. The HOMESCHOOLED child (the words are painted on his shirt) is sitting on a bench, a bench which has been recently painted. This child is not happy at all! There is a sign which clearly states “Wet Paint” on the bench. The complaints I have heard are that this part of the mural implies that homeschoolers are dumb and can’t read. Or maybe implies that we aren’t teaching them properly? (Maybe this mural was painted by a local public school art teacher?) If you see the mural, agree that it is degrading to homeschoolers, and feel led to talk to the children’s librarian about it, please do so kindly and without anger. The librarian, Mrs. Franz, told me she has heard from some disgruntled homeschoolers, some of whom weren’t very polite. Most of us have asked for the boys t-shirt to besimply painted over eliminating the words “homeschooled”. It has also been wondered if a petition signed by local homeschool kids would persuade the library to change the mural, repaint the boys shirt. If anyone wants to write and distribute a petition, let me know. I guess this is just one of those “one step back” instances…it does seem that homeschooling in general is gaining in popularity and respect.

    So, two steps forward we go!

    But, since we’re ALL HSers, who cares?

    UPDATE: If you care to register a comment, the phone number is 717-774-7820.


    Filed on August 13, 2002 at 7:38 pm under by dcobranchi

    CHARTER CLOSES DOORS I’m definitely pro-charter schools but this seems to be a growing problem that has to be addressed:

    Leighton and other parents who had enrolled their children in the charter school said they weren’t notified that the school was closing.

    “I feel totally betrayed,” said Anna Maguire, who had paid a $165 deposit to enroll her son in the preschool program. “I was in just last week and was reassured everything was fine.”

    Owner George Guariglio said closing the school was a last-minute decision and parents were notified by phone over the weekend.

    Guariglio said he ran out of money and had sought to sell the school but the deal fell through. He will try to find another building to house the prekindergarten through third-grade students.

    This is the second school owned by Guariglio to close in less than two weeks. Guariglio closed the doors of Evergreen Charter School in Ahwatukee on Aug. 2.

    Problems at Evergreen came to a head this summer when it became known the teachers were not getting paid and checks were bouncing. Similar situations occurred at Palisades, parents said.

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