Utterly Meaningless » 2002 » October

    Filed on October 13, 2002 at 6:46 pm under by dcobranchi

    WHY DOES THIS BOTHER ME? The Republican nominee for KS governor

    wants to restrict late-term abortions, give tax credits to parents who homeschool their children and allow those who can pass a background check to carry concealed weapons?


    Filed on October 12, 2002 at 6:39 pm under by dcobranchi

    GOD SAVE THE QUEEN (AND THE BBC) The BBC has a profile of a HS family that is so positive it could have been written by one of us. There is not one snarky comment in the entire article. They even get in a good “S”-word quote:

    For Heather, home education is no barrier to developing good social skills.

    She said that following interviews for jobs at the local Boots store, the manager offered the positions to Rachel and another girl who had also been home educated.

    “She said that the home-educated candidates had stood out way above all the other applicants – in particular they had been far more outgoing and confident.”

    ED-NEWS.ORG UPDATE The discussion

    Filed on at 6:26 pm under by dcobranchi

    ED-NEWS.ORG UPDATE The discussion is still going strong over at EducationNews.org. If you want to increase your blood pressure by about 50 points, read any of the posts by Ricardo, a very arrogant public school teacher.


    Filed on at 6:07 pm under by dcobranchi

    A REALLY DANGEROUS SCHOOL A 15-year-old student brought a loaded gun to school for self-defense.

    Mr. Samuels said the student indicated that he brought the gun to school for self-defense. “His statement was he brought the gun because some other students told him they were going to beat him up,” Mr. Samuels said.

    This is not the first time I blogged a story about this school. About a month ago I picked up a story about a girl being beaten with brass knuckles in the woods behind the school. Sorry, I can’t provide a perma-link; Blogger’s archives appear to be down (again).


    Filed on October 11, 2002 at 8:10 am under by dcobranchi

    IT JUST HAD TO BE The only perfect ACT score in the state of Iowa this year belongs to a HSer. A nice article but here’s one stupid ‘graf:

    Kristin Crouse, a spokeswoman for ACT, said Gulleen is one of only three home-schooled students nationwide to receive a perfect score this past testing year, in which more than 1.7 million ACT assessments were given. The average composite score for those who took the test between September 2001 and June 2002 is 20.8.

    “The statistical likelihood of a student earning a 36 is 1 in 10,000,” Crouse said.

    What an “apples & oranges” comparison! How ’bout providing us with how many HSers took the test?


    Filed on at 6:16 am under by dcobranchi

    SELF-INFLICTED WOUNDS HURT THE WORST Edison just can’t win for losing. Day’s after moving out of their Philly offices to save money, they blow $300G on a principals’ retreat where, among the better ideas, was this gem:

    [Philly schools’ CEO] Vallas also said he will not allow Edison to use students as workers at the 20 Philadelphia schools it manages – an idea proffered during the retreat by Edison founder Chris Whittle according to published reports.

    As usual, it was a misquote (protests Edison):

    [Edison spokesman] Tucker… said Whittle’s comments about students working had been taken out of context by a reporter who was listening through the wall.


    During one speech to the principals, Tucker said, Whittle suggested ways to “reshape the Edison design.” One of those ways was to give kids real-life experiences in school such as working as computer- network engineers to better prepare them for life after high school.

    “There is no plan, no proposal to do that,” said Tucker. However, he said that raising such provocative ideas was in line with true school reform.

    It looks like Edison is looking for ways to cut costs with essentially free labor. It really is too bad you can’t short a stock under $5. Maybe they’ll run a 1:100 reverse split.


    Filed on at 5:27 am under by dcobranchi

    DRUG TESTING “DEBATE” Kim Swygert picked up the beat on drug testing in schools (OOPS- the Permalink isn’t working. Just click here and scroll down to 10/10/02) and via email pointed me towards one of her earliest posts on the same subject. Except for tobacco company executives, I think we can all agree that cigarettes are harmful and that minors should be discouraged from smoking. But why is this the schools’ problem? Don’t they have other, more important things to worry about? This whole drug-testing crusade is just one more example of creeping “nanny state”-ism. Here’s a prediction: I bet that within a year we see someone proposing mandatory random cholesterol screening of public school students.

    Come on, don’t be a baby. It’s just a little pin-prick.

    Or maybe just random weigh-ins?

    Hey, Beth, look’s like you’ve put on a few pounds. How ’bout you step up on this scale?

    Instapundit has a good line about politicians that I think may be equally valid for edu-nanny-crats:

    Cut their pay and send them home.


    Filed on at 2:13 am under by dcobranchi

    ONE FOR IZZY A talented 14-year-old HSer has just published her first book, a collection of short stories. The main character in the book is also HSed.

    Her mother, Catherine, thinks her daughter’s love of writing began when she attended Durant Road Elementary School. The talent flourished in home school, Catherine added.

    “Her dad and I are very proud of her,” she said. “Home schooling allows her the time to do writing.”

    And if you wish to support her and puchase the book, here’s the link to BN.com (and, no, I don’t get any kickback on the sale).


    Filed on at 2:03 am under by dcobranchi

    READING, WRITING, AND HUNTING A nice profile of a young, HSing, female hunter:

    Anna Coates’ friends think it’s “pretty cool” that the 11-year-old will don camouflage this weekend and be among 28 hunters in McLean County taking part in Illinois’ first-ever Youth Deer Hunt…

    Anna Coates began her quest to hunt by taking the mandatory Firearm Safety Course earlier this year. She got a perfect score on her test.

    Darryl Coates incorporated a tracking course into his daughter’s home-schooling curriculum.

    Mr. Coates also provides us with the thought for the day:

    “I think we should give children half as much money and twice as much of our time,” he said.

    REALLY SCARY Michael Peach

    Filed on October 10, 2002 at 2:55 pm under by dcobranchi

    REALLY SCARY Michael Peach has provided a link to a UK program called Connexions. It is a privacy advocate’s worst nightmare. It appears to provide each student who “volunteers” for the program a smart card programmed with all sorts of very private info.

    Participation Achievements Basic Skills Key Skills Life Skills Aspirations Identity & Self Image Attitudes & Motivation Family & Social Relationships Risk of (Re-) Offending Capacity of Parents or Carers Family History & Functioning Social & Community Factors Housing Income Physical Health Emotional Well-Being Substance Use Issues

    Each question is graded to five levels.

    Therefore these kids will be carrying around cards with details of convictions, substance abuse issues, family background, etc. This information is then available to various gov. departments and businesses.

    There is contention as to whether the info. will be available to the police or the social security benefits agency etc. (Of course NOT says the government but will they be able to resist for long).

    Given that the US often seems to follow the education trends out of the UK, I’m keeping an eye on this one.


    Filed on at 7:21 am under by dcobranchi

    ASKING FOR TROUBLE This is just plain reckless:

    Monday, 8 a.m., and Swarthmore College student Kaiko Shimura can’t decide what to wear. So she asks best friend Joseph Altuzarra for advice.

    He obliges, giving a nod to a black T-shirt featuring the punk band Anti-Flag, gray pants, and a white necklace with stars. “Does my sweater have any holes?” he asks.

    The two sophomores are roommates who live together in a campus dorm room, even though Shimura, 19, is a woman and Altuzarra, also 19, is a man.

    Swarthmore, joining the ranks of a handful of schools around the country, has extended coeducational housing beyond buildings and floors to include actual rooms, making for one of the most liberal dormitory policies in the country.

    OT: WHY BOTHER? Apparently

    Filed on at 7:05 am under by dcobranchi

    OT: WHY BOTHER? Apparently Congress doesn’t have any real work to do:

    The House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly — though not unanimously — on Tuesday for a bill that would keep mentions of God in the Pledge of Allegiance and national motto.

    The House bill gives directions on the appropriate manner for saying the pledge, which includes the removal of nonreligious headgear with the right hand to be held at the left shoulder as the hand rests on the heart.

    The Senate is expected to pass an identical bill soon. It had already approved a bill that did not contain the headgear references. The bill will then go to the White House for the president’s signature.


    Filed on at 6:45 am under by dcobranchi

    SHOULD HOME SCHOOL PARENTS BE CERTIFIED? EducationNews.org is starting a discussion thread on this topic (based on the CA HSing mess). Here’s a link, in case you want to weigh in. My opinion is that, if not certified, we’re at least all certifiable. 🙂


    Filed on at 6:41 am under by dcobranchi

    EDITORIAL AS NEWS This reporting seems a little slanted (not that I don’t agree with the sentiment):

    Anyone who wonders about the climate for change in public education in Rhode Island might have gained some insight at last night’s forum on reforming high schools.

    There, one union leader after another faulted the Board of Regents’ sweeping plan for transforming large education factories into places where students feel known and valued.

    They said it wasn’t realistic to insist that teachers have common planning time without providing more resources. They said it wasn’t fair to hold all students to the same set of graduation requirements.

    Some questioned the need for mandatory literacy training. Others spoke out against a recommendation to assign every student to an adviser. And who, they asked, would pay for these new mandates, the state or the district?


    Filed on at 6:24 am under by dcobranchi

    HE SAID/ SHE SAIDThe Flint (MI) School Board is warning parents that Edison is headed for bankruptcy. Edison doth protest (too much, methinks).


    Filed on at 5:46 am under by dcobranchi

    SLOW ON THE UPTAKE The LAT finally picked up on the CA HSing story. Nothing like timely reporting, eh?

    UPDATE: David Mecklenburg at SabertoothJournal blogged this LAT story today. He rips the CA schools pretty good.

    UH OH! Here comes

    Filed on October 9, 2002 at 5:56 am under by dcobranchi

    UH OH! Here comes the CPS. Two kids were being mis-treated. CPS was on the case. Then their guardians withdrew them from school to HS and CPS dropped the ball. Now, they’re blaming HSing and looking for a “solution”.

    The two boys were being home-schooled. They told child welfare workers that if they made too many mistakes in their work they didn’t get anything to eat.

    For days, sometimes, no food.

    If the boys had been attending conventional classes, public or private, their teachers likely would have noticed something was wrong and reported it. Statewide, some 18.8 percent of the 179,432 cases of child abuse investigated last year were reported by school personnel…

    A CPS spokeswoman said the agency’s “peak time” normally is in September and October, after kids return to school. “Teachers are such good eyes and ears for us,” she said, adding that “teachers’ calls tend to be very accurate.”…

    Regarding the two boys who were starved, a CPS official said that being home-schooled “meant the family could hide them better.” …

    CPS officials knew their mother was in prison. They had investigated earlier complaints that the boys were being mistreated. They knew the boys had been transferred from public schooling to home schooling. They knew that teachers wouldn’t be helping out in this case.

    Can’t we find some way to protect kids like these two little boys without infringing on the rights of all our home-schooling families?


    Filed on at 5:44 am under by dcobranchi

    WRITE YOUR SENATOR This should be a no-brainer.

    A bill introduced by Rep. Mark Kennedy, R-Minn., that protects the privacy rights of home-schoolers nationwide passed the U.S. House this week. But for the bill to become law, an identical bill must pass the Democrat-controlled Senate and be signed by the president. So far, no companion bill has been introduced in the Senate.

    The bill would close a loophole in federal law that makes the records of some home-schoolers — including report cards and personal data — public information. Some school districts have interpreted the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act in a way that does not apply to home-schooled or private school students.

    The bill number is H.R. 5331. (Student Record Protection Act ).


    Filed on October 8, 2002 at 6:59 am under by dcobranchi

    ANOTHER HS BLOG TO READ This one from somewhere in the UK, I think. Michael Peach is a stay-at-home HS Dad.

    DRUG TESTING If you’ve

    Filed on at 6:42 am under by dcobranchi

    DRUG TESTING If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you’ve probably figured out that I usually come down on the side of personal freedom. That’s why I’m opposed to random drug testing for public school kids. The Boston Globe has an article out today that makes two good points about why these tests are a waste of time & money and a generally bad idea.

    Breath mints won’t do anymore for students who have been smoking in the bathroom; some schools around the country are administering urine tests to teenagers to determine whether they have been using tobacco…

    Alabama’s Hoover school system randomly tested 679 of its 1,500 athletes for drug use this past school year. Fourteen high school students tested positive, 12 of them for tobacco.

    So, to catch the 1.76% of student-athletes who were smoking and the 0.29% who were using illegal drugs, the school district subjected the other 97.9% to an invasive, embarassing, useless test. This testing craze started out with the “drug problem” among student-athletes. Then we started sliding downhill to testing students participating in competitive inter-scholastic events (like “choir”). This morphed into testing students who needed to drive to school. And now the slope carries us down to testing nearly everybody for pretty much any damn thing the schools decide to test for. Your tax dollars at work (and another good reason to HS).


    Filed on at 6:24 am under by dcobranchi

    IT MUST BE THAT TIME OF THE YEAR when politicians feel free to give away other peoples money to buy votes. In this particular case, FL Gov. Jeb Bush is attempting to buy off the teachers:

    Teachers in Florida may be able to repay college loans at a reduced rate and buy a house with no down payment under two new programs Gov. Jeb Bush announced yesterday.

    TEST ‘EM ALL -Legislators,

    Filed on at 6:20 am under by dcobranchi

    TEST ‘EM ALL -Legislators, that is. Here’s a bit of sarcasm from FL on how their accountability tests can be used to improve the state government.


    Filed on at 6:08 am under by dcobranchi

    UNSAFE SCHOOLS One of the reasons often cited for HSing is an unsafe school, but it’s not often that the school building itself is the culprit.

    The school was evacuated twice last week after reports of noxious odors. Last Tuesday, 55 students and teachers were taken to area hospitals with complaints of nausea and headaches..

    Among Ross’ pictures of construction debris in a stairwell and missing ceiling tiles near the cafeteria are pictures of a blocked-off area marked with a “Danger — Asbestos” sign and wires jutting out of a hole in the main hallway wall. The wires are held in place by a piece of cardboard…


    Filed on October 7, 2002 at 7:13 am under by dcobranchi

    OT: WHAT A HOOT! I’ve come to the conclusion that EducationNews.org publishes Dennis Redovich’s rants for their entertainment value. Today’s column has some real howlers:

    The inspirations for this commentary are 1) My annual visit to Las Vegas, the greatest architectural and economic wonder in the history of the world…

    Snorting coffee out one’s nose is not a pleasant experience.

    These workers in turn spend their incomes for housing, food, cars etc. etc. and create more jobs. Fortunately, many if not the majority of workers in Las Vegas, even in unskilled jobs such as taxi drivers, food serving and housekeeping are organized and receive wages above the poverty level. This is a benefit to the economies of Las Vegas, Nevada and the entire United States. The taxes these younger workers pay, their contributions to Social Security and Medicare and the revenues created by their consumer spending are significant, as the population of the United States grows older…

    Unions = higher pay = more taxes. And this is supposed to be good for the economy?

    William Greider in his 1989 best-selling book Secrets of the Temple gives an analogy from the physical sciences, which is paraphrased as follows. In the laws of physics,

    Force = mass x velocity (squared) A small mass with high velocity (a bullet) has tremendous force, while a 1,000 pound ball rolled slowly has little force. A large amount of money ($1 Billion) in the hands of many thousands who spend the money for goods and services has an enormous economic force because of the high velocity turnover of the money. One billion in the hands of a few in paper wealth has little velocity or force and should be fairly taxed for the benefit of everyone.

    OK, basic physics lesson here: force = mass x acceleration; kinetic energy = 1/2 x mass x velocity squared. Ignoring that, what the heck is this supposed to mean? Is he claiming that $1B spent is better that $1B saved and invested? Well, maybe if the billionaire buried it in his backyard, but I doubt Bill Gates has too many tin cans hidden away in Redmond. (Note to self: buy a metal detector just in case).

    Giving tax breaks to the rich and “reducing” levels of government spending that goes to many low and middle class income individuals and families is economically bad for everyone and slows economic growth, creating recessions…

    I thought Keynes was dead.

    Raising the minimum wage and subsidizing essential low wage jobs like nursing assistants and child care workers will do much more good for the Wisconsin economy than big tax breaks for wealthy corporations to encourage the creation of a few so-called high pay high-tech jobs.

    Evidently the law of supply and demand is also dead. Raise the minimum wage and the economy will demand fewer workers. So we subsidize the salaries of these fewer workers with the taxes “fairly taxed for the benefit of everyone”? To what benefit? Why not just pay everyone in the country $1B/year? Then we’d all be rich and wouldn’t mind being “fairly taxed”.

    It is paradox that Dental Hygienists at a median salary of $43,677 are the highest paid WTCS graduates while the median salary for 2,577 Nursing Assistant graduates in 1999 was one of the lowest at $17,676. Why do Dental Hygienists earn more than twice the median pay of child care workers ($16,838)?

    Why is this a paradox? Apparently, in Wisconsin, they really care about having clean teeth. Supply and demand. Oops I forgot it was dead. I guess it really is a paradox.

    SLIGHTLY OT Duke University

    Filed on October 6, 2002 at 3:53 pm under by dcobranchi

    SLIGHTLY OT Duke University runs summer camps for 7th & 8th graders who score relatively high on standardized tests. It doesn’t state explicitly in the article but HSers may be eligible.

    TIP asks schools and districts to identify students who qualify for the program through high scores on standardized tests and send letters home to their parents. Parents also can contact TIP officials (go to www.tip.duke.edu/ for information) to determine whether their children qualify.

    TOO BAD this HSer’s

    Filed on at 3:39 pm under by dcobranchi

    TOO BAD this HSer’s not a little bit older. We could arrange for him to meet her.


    Filed on October 5, 2002 at 2:02 pm under by dcobranchi

    GOOD NEWS / BAD NEWS The good news is that several AK schools should be safer with newly-installed police officers roaming the halls. The bad news is that AK schools need police officers roaming the halls. Another WWHS story.


    Filed on at 1:46 pm under by dcobranchi

    I HOPE THIS WAS A JOKE FL Gov. Jeb Bush is opposed to a referendum that would limit class size, claiming that it would be too expensive. But his quote, if accurate, is just a little bizarre:

    ”I have a couple of devious plans if this thing passes,” Bush said during a Wednesday meeting with a group of Panhandle legislators, attended by a reporter from Gannett Regional Newspapers of Florida.

    Note to Bush: “Devious” is how your opponents are supposed to describe your plans.


    Filed on at 1:33 pm under by dcobranchi

    HSING = ANTI-ESTABLISHMENT according to the New York Post. The article profiles a musical family that is a bit different:

    Jason and Tina Trachtenburg, and their 8-year-old daughter, Rachel, compose the Trachtenburg Family Slideshow Players, a musical outfit in which Jason plays piano and sings, Rachel drums, and Tina mans the slide projector – which is filled with pictures of other people’s lives.

    “Each slide is a line,” says the 32-year-old Jason, who resembles Rick Moranis and sings in a lilting falsetto. “A verse might have four slides. We use about 450 slides per performance…

    In keeping with their anti-establishment bent, the Trachtenburgs buy organic food, support independent businesses, make many of their own clothes and home-school Rachel (they were appalled at how apathetic New York public schools are toward their students, and kept her there for exactly one day).


    Filed on at 1:24 pm under by dcobranchi

    VOUCHERS FOR HSING? This candidate for Nevada state senate probably should stay out of NY and NJ.

    Schumann is wary of spending more money for education, saying throwing more money at a problem is not always the way to solve it.

    “Go to New York or New Jersey, those schools are really bad and they are spending twice as much as Nevada,” Schumann said.

    Instead, Schumann parents should have the choice and voucher support to use charter schools and home schooling.

    Did he really propose “voucher support” for HSing?


    Filed on at 5:02 am under by dcobranchi

    NOT A SPORTS STORY A 6’10” (and still growing) HSer is one of the top basketball prospects in the country. The article (onerous registration required) paints a positive picture of HSing, in general, and this kid, in particular, but it does include a comment that I find worrisome:

    For college eligibility, traditionally schooled students must be certified by the NCAA’s Initial-Eligibility Clearinghouse. Home-schooled students must go through the “initial-eligibility waiver process,” as administered by the NCAA national office and based on the school’s application.

    The application must include an SAT score, a list of textbooks and a home-school transcript.

    Textbooks? Transcripts? I’m sure a significant percentage of HSers have neither. What about unschoolers? Does this mean that they would have a hard time establishing NCAA eligibility? College admissions offices have learned how to process HSer’s applications. I wonder if we will have to educate the NCAA, next. I’m going off to do some research. I’ll update this if I find anything useful.

    UPDATE: Well, that was easy enough. The NCAA has a page for HSing – NCAA eligibility FAQs with more info available here. I’m not sure it answers all my questions, though.

    The waiver application must include the following items:

    Home-school transcript;

    ACT/SAT test score;

    Evidence of outside assessment, if available (tutors, tests graded by an outside agency, etc.);

    Evidence that home-schooling was conducted in accordance with applicable state laws;

    Detailed description of home-school teaching environment (e.g., name of instructor(s), method of instruction, number of hours of instruction per day);

    List of titles of all textbooks for all home-school courses;

    Copies of the table of contents for textbooks utilized in core courses (a sampling);

    Samples of work completed (tests, papers) by the student

    Some of the materials the NCAA asks for, like evidence of outside assessment, I do not have. I did not have any outside assessment during my home schooling. Will this hurt my chances of obtaining a waiver?

    NO. The committee recognizes that each home-school experience is unique and would not expect a student-athlete to produce supporting documentation that was not part of your home-school program. You should provide the materials that are applicable to your home-school experience.

    What are some of the key elements the NCAA will look at to make my certification decision?

    The primary factors that will be considered in determining whether you are a qualifier are: the required number of core courses successfully completed; ACT/SAT test score results; evidence of following state laws governing home schooling; and outside assessment results (if available).

    The “core courses” that are referred to are defined here.

    IT’S UNIVERSAL Parents everywhere

    Filed on October 4, 2002 at 6:52 pm under by dcobranchi

    IT’S UNIVERSAL Parents everywhere have to be ever vigilant to protect their kids from a culture that seeks to drag them down. This story out of Barbados could have been written by just about any concerned parent in the US.

    THE guys stood by grinning from ear to ear. Then one of them nudged the other and said, “Look at the sexy girls.”

    There is nothing really wrong with this picture except that the guys who are commenting about the girls are four year olds…

    I immediately thought of trying to circumvent the law and finding some way of adopting home schooling methods to protect my boy from these types of situations until he’s about 45 years old. I recognise that more than ever I am faced with the awesome task of training up this child “in the way he should go” and society has now made it harder…

    It is time for us to regain the dignity that we once had. Bedroom business should be kept there and parents should, at the appropriate time, be the ones to introduce their children to sexual education. I shouldn’t have to fear that my offspring would one day get it on the street. And even if he did, I would feel comfortable knowing that 1) he told me what he heard and 2) I would had already given him the correct information.



    Filed on at 6:27 am under by dcobranchi

    EDISON IS DOOMED if this is how they run their business.

    The company quietly abandoned its local headquarters on Spring Garden Street Wednesday and planned to reopen an office in a public school.

    But school district CEO Paul Vallas, alerted to the move by the Daily News, yesterday gave Edison the boot from the school before the company even moved in.

    “They can’t do that,” Vallas said last night. “It’s not legal. You can’t have a for-profit entity in a public institution. It’s not only a violation of their contract, it’s a violation of public law.”

    Edison spokesman Adam Tucker initially disagreed, saying the company’s contract includes the right to move into the school.

    But Vallas stood by his call, saying the district’s attorneys researched the issue.

    “First of all, they didn’t ask,” Vallas said. “If they would have asked, we would have told them.”

    Edison then relented. The company plans to be shopping for real estate today.

    Q: What kind of company packs up and moves it offices without first confirming that they have a place to move into?

    A: A very unprofitable one.


    Filed on October 3, 2002 at 1:02 pm under by dcobranchi

    ISRAEL, PALESTINE, & HSING Many Palestinian schools have been closed due to the violence and curfews in the region. As a result, parents are seeking alternative means of ensuring their kids get an education.

    The mobility restrictions in these areas have necessitated the creation of a substitute schooling system. Many Palestinian school children are now being home schooled by their parents, or gathering in makeshift classrooms such as mosques, basements and alleyways.


    Filed on at 12:55 pm under by dcobranchi

    LIES, DAMNED LIES, AND STATISTICS A candidate for MD state senate had this to say about the public schools:

    Shellenberger supports vouchers and charter schools _ not, she said, because she wants to, but because of the “failure of the public schools.”

    “Young parents are absolutely desperate for alternatives, she said, contending that a third of the Montpelier community’s parents home-school and another third send their children to private schools.

    That’s a stat that I find hard to believe.

    A NEWBIE Here’s a

    Filed on at 11:58 am under by dcobranchi

    A NEWBIE Here’s a brand-spanking-new HS blog. Welcome, Tam. She’s(?) off to a great start; it took me a couple of months to get perma-links installed.

    BRILLIANT! Maryland’s accountability tests

    Filed on at 8:25 am under by dcobranchi

    BRILLIANT! Maryland’s accountability tests only cover reading and math. According to the WaPo, some MD principals have “started telling their teachers not to bother teaching history and science — or at least not to teach much in those subjects — given that science and history won’t be on the test.” I’m pretty sure that’s not how these tests were supposed to drive school reform.


    Filed on at 8:16 am under by dcobranchi

    I’M NOT BLOGGING this story or this one, “though others have.”

    LOCAL MEDIA NBC-10’s Lisa

    Filed on October 2, 2002 at 8:50 pm under by dcobranchi

    LOCAL MEDIA NBC-10’s Lisa Mishler took a brief look at the reasons parents choose to HS and also at HSing laws in PA, DE, and NJ. The report is well-done but doesn’t point out that kids in heavily-regulated states don’t do any better than kids in less-regulated states. A minor quibble- in DE we don’t have to “get direction from a homeschool association or their local school district.” We may choose to HS our kids any way we see fit.

    COOL! This family homeschooled

    Filed on at 5:29 pm under by dcobranchi

    COOL! This family homeschooled on a trans-Atlantic sailing voyage. What a life!

    A highlight of the trip was waking up in Antigua after a nighttime arrival. Anchored in Falmouth Harbour, we woke to hear the kids on deck checking out our new surroundings. It sounded like Christmas morning as they oohed and ahhed with excited voices, seemingly identifying each feature of the anchorage. “Look, they even have palm trees. And check out that green house on the hill!”

    “Where? I want to see. Give me the binoculars, Annie!”

    They were delighted, and Cindy and I were enrapt listening to them point out ordinary things as if they were incredible new discoveries. Their interest and awareness had been enhanced by almost 20 days at sea—our first transocean passage completed together as a family.


    Filed on at 4:57 pm under by dcobranchi

    LETTER TO THE EDITOR Here’s a letter pushing for the passage of PA’s proposed HSing law, HB2560. I hope it passes; their current law is absolutely terrible. We live a couple miles from PA. You couldn’t pay us enough to move to the other side of the border and be subject to the current HS law.

    ARRRGGGHHHH!!! Here’s one of

    Filed on at 4:27 am under by dcobranchi

    ARRRGGGHHHH!!! Here’s one of those stories that makes we want to pull out what little hair I have left. A MN school board has issued a preliminary decision to bar HSers from taking any classes in the public schools.

    Board member Ken Ziebarth, one of five policy committee members who voted in favor of the change, said he believes students should have the choice of public education or home-schooling, though he is personally against home-schooling. But he says families that choose home-schooling “should not be picking and choosing” which courses they want to take in the local public school system.

    “If our math is good enough, then all our programs should be good enough,” he said.

    Ziebarth also said he felt students are deprived of “social factors” when they are home-schooled, although, again, he said this is the choice of parents. “There are other things but course work that are important for kids,” Ziebarth said…

    Ziebarth says students “miss a lot if they’re not in school.” He added that the district would not discriminate or punish kids, adding that he believes parents are punishing kids “by not allowing them in school.” He said parents who don’t feel comfortable home-schooling certain subjects should not be able to use public schools for only those subjects while rejecting others. “The Constitution says all kids are afforded the right to a free education and that’s how we set up the public school,” he said. “If you choose something else, that’s your choice. But I have a problem with picking and choosing.” [emphasis added]

    I hope this idiot is referring to the MN Constitution because it’s certainly not in the U.S. Constitution.


    Filed on at 4:16 am under by dcobranchi


    Albanese awakes at 5:30 every morning, practices from 7 to 10 a.m. and then again from 3 to 6 p.m. Three times a week, she works on her speed and agility at the Cris Carter FAST program in Boca Raton, a high-tech training facility owned by the former NFL player. Albanese also regularly runs up and down staircases at Florida Atlantic University and a local hotel she would rather not reveal because non-guests probably aren’t supposed to be chugging up stairwells without permission.

    Sometime in between, she does an average of four to five hours of home schooling a day. She quit regular school after fifth grade.

    ”My goal is to turn pro as soon as I turn 14, start getting my points by playing in small 10,000s [$10,000 tournaments] and then by 18, be top five in the world,” Albanese said, matter-of-factly.

    OT BUT GOOD Newsweek

    Filed on October 1, 2002 at 7:43 pm under by dcobranchi

    OT BUT GOOD Newsweek has a nice column on political correctness and diversity:

    I am a sexist. A racist. A homophobe. A zealot. It’s enough to make me hate myself. And I would if I believed it. But these labels do not really describe me—they are names I’ve been called because I’m religious and conservative…

    I quickly realized that “celebrate” and “embrace” were code words for “endorse” and “agree.” On my way to lunch, I’d occasionally stop outside the cafeteria to talk to the students who were signing kids up for campus activities. When the activity was something I had ideological differences with, like a pro-choice rally, and I expressed my point of view, the conversation would come to an abrupt end. Once, the angry young woman manning the table said it was people like me who were responsible for the Crusades and the Inquisition…

    So what’s my point? It’s that when we demean those who have dissenting opinions by calling them names, we discourage intelligent debate—and original thinking. Sometimes I feel like I’m one of the few who don’t simply regurgitate politically correct drivel.

    So I encourage you to do what in this political climate seems truly liberal: think for yourself. Don’t believe what you hear about my “kind of people” or any kind of people. Listen to what the individual has to say. Hasn’t that been the goal all along?

    READ THE CONSTITUTION PocketDeclaration.org

    Filed on at 10:54 am under by dcobranchi

    READ THE CONSTITUTION PocketDeclaration.org is encouraging Americans to read the entire Constitution. This is a smart organization; look who they believe will be ordering copies in groups of 100 or more.

    BRAINS WIN The Leatherman

    Filed on at 7:10 am under by dcobranchi

    BRAINS WIN The Leatherman tool incident has been settled with the kid essentially being exonerated. A parents group is going to review the whole “Zero Tolerance” policy.

    GO MARK! Mark Sanford,

    Filed on at 5:59 am under by dcobranchi

    GO MARK! Mark Sanford, the front-runner is the SC Governor’s race is pro-HSing.

    Sanford wants to eliminate the state income tax, a major source of education funding, and institute a vouchers program. He has said he would home-school his children if he is elected governor. “He’s given up on public education,” [Gov. ]Hodges said.

    DISCLOSURE: I know Mark from college.

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