Utterly Meaningless » 2003 » January
  • AWE-INSPIRING And then there’s

    Filed on January 2, 2003 at 12:25 pm under by dcobranchi

    AWE-INSPIRING And then there’s this 13-year-old homeschooler who published her own magazine because she didn’t see herself in others that were available.

    Kenya Jordana James, founder and editor,
    Blackgirl Magazine

    For a girl who says she’s “not quite grown up yet,” 13-year-old Kenya Jordana James has made quite a mark on the world. This home-schooled eighth grader was an avid reader of magazines until she realized that none of the models or even stories appealed to the things that were important to her as a young African American. She created one that did.

    At 12, James became the editor and founder of Blackgirl Magazine, a bimonthly publication that promotes healthy images for black female teens while covering lifestyle and entertainment news from that perspective.

    “I didn’t see any magazines that served my needs,” James says. “It’s a little selfish, but I wanted to see a magazine that reflected me and my friends.”

    To fund her publishing career, James started a baking business out of her mother’s home that attracted enough clients to support her start-up publication. She invested $1,200 of her cake-making profits in Blackgirl’s sold-out debut issue, which ran 20 pages and featured an interview from musical sensation Outkast.

    “They were my first interview; I felt real official after that,” James says with a smile.

    James plans to launch her own clothing line next year, showcasing modest apparel with an African theme. Becoming a celebrity for being herself, she was featured on an episode of Oprah wearing a skirt she made herself. “I love to sew, so the clothing line was a natural,” James says.

    Her goals include becoming a midwife or an obstetrician, or maybe a television producer. From the record she has set already, James will probably do it all.

    HOMESCHOOLER ON ICE Here’s

    Filed on at 12:18 pm under by dcobranchi

    HOMESCHOOLER ON ICE Here’s another of those seemingly endless tales of a youngster choosing to be homeschooled so he can pursue some dream: in this case, an Olympic figure skating championship.

    WELL, THAT DIDN”T TAKE

    Filed on at 12:13 pm under by dcobranchi

    WELL, THAT DIDN”T TAKE LONG The lede in this story is the early front-runner for most ignorant homeschooling commentof 2003.

    Some of them stop coming to class, discouraged because they’re behind in their lessons or because the lure of the streets is too great.

    Others have parents who choose to home-school them at some point during the year, or parents who move to another state or city, taking their families with them.

    They all, at one time or another, have been considered school dropouts.

    Come on! Are the Mississippi educrats such idiots that they consider students who transfer to other schools (public, private, or home) “dropouts”?

    A HIDDEN AGENDA? Could

    Filed on at 7:41 am under by dcobranchi

    A HIDDEN AGENDA? Could this have been the real motivation behind the NCLB Act?

    State education officials are warning that a new federal education law’s requirement that each racial and demographic subgroup in a school show annual improvement on standardized tests will result in the majority of the nation’s schools being deemed failing…

    “What happens is you create a situation where there are so many schools failing that there is no support for them,” said Paul Houston, executive director of the 14,000-member American Association of School Administrators.

    Surely Bush and our legislators couldn’t be that cynical. Well?

    TWO OF MY FAVORITES

    Filed on at 7:33 am under by dcobranchi

    TWO OF MY FAVORITES Here’s a pretty good rant at the deals that school districts make with corporate interests. The best part, though, is the title: Caffeine and the First Amendment.

    BRILLIANT! At the same

    Filed on January 1, 2003 at 7:28 am under by dcobranchi

    BRILLIANT! At the same time that schools are cracking down on social promotions, this Michigan school is going to “pay” students to show up with a guarantee of better grades.

    To encourage attendance, students going to 95 percent or more of their classes during each 10-week grading period, beginning with the second semester, will get what administrators call a “grade enhancement” increasing their grades by one-third.

    For example, a student with a C-plus will see the grade raised to a B.

    How, exactly, is this grade inflation going to help these kids pass the state tests, get into college, or succeed in a job?

    THERE’S NO SUCH THING

    Filed on at 7:17 am under by dcobranchi

    THERE’S NO SUCH THING as First Amendment rights at some public colleges. FIRE is fighting the administrations at Rutgers and UNC-Chapel Hill over religious student groups rights to choose their own leaders based on religious belief. The schools have effectively banned two Christian organizations becasue they have a statement of faith built into their organizing documents.

    HOUSE O’ CARDS? The

    Filed on at 7:12 am under by dcobranchi

    HOUSE O’ CARDS? The NCLB Act’s reporting requirements are starting to irk Nebraskans and they are looking for a fight. If this heavily Republican state fights Bush, others may follow:

    The new law says states must let parents and other taxpayers compare one school with another across the state. Christensen, the education commissioner, said Nebraska has no plans to abide by that…

    Supporters of the new law say they are frustrated by Nebraska’s defiance, which, they say, could undercut Bush’s effort to impose accountability on schools across the country. Some education reformers warn that if the administration gives even one state too much wiggle room, the entire foundation of the law could crumble.

    Let it crumble. Education is one area where the federal government has absolutely no business dictating to states. Whatever happened to the GOP’s love of federalism?

    « Last