ENGAGE BRAIN THEN OPEN MOUTH An Illinois legislator has dropped his proposal to “allow” homeschoolers to voluntarily register with the state. Shockingly, IL homeschoolers were opposed as they don’t have any registration now.
Rutherford also offered home schoolers the option of a registration law, but said Thursday he will drop both proposals because of the lack of support from home school groups.
“I am not finding there is a consensus as to what should happen. With that being said, I’m doing nothing,” he said.
He’s being disingenuous. The consensus was that homeschoolers were ready to go to war. Why did he ever think that homeschoolers would be in favor of this?
BLECCHH! There are enough ugly quotes in this article to choke a horse. Ventura Co. (CA) schools want to “help” homeschoolers.
Under the program, the Conejo Valley Unified School District would provide a credentialed teacher to oversee the child’s education, but parents would be responsible for day-to-day lessons…
The district would also provide opportunities for students to socialize with each other…
“Our hope is that, if they’re connected to our district during their home-schooling years, they’ll be better prepared when they come back to us,” he said.
They’re going to survey homeschoolers in the district to see if they’d be interested. I hope they tell them “Thanks but no thanks.”
ANOTHER FIRST AMENDMENT DECISION A federal judge has ruled that a Pittsburgh school cannot punish students for “offensive or abusive Internet messages posted from home.” The school’s student handbook had gone too far in supressing protected speech, according to the judge. I like this quote from the mother of the affected student:
“Judge Ambrose’s decision not only protects students’ free speech rights,” she said, “but also protects the parents’ rights to raise and discipline their children for conduct that takes place in the family’s home.”
Parent’s rights? In the schools? Heaven forbid!
COMMON SENSE WINS The 6th-grader who faced expulsion and jail-time for changing his grades on a teacher’s computer will not be prosecuted and will be allowed to return to his school.
OUR HORRIBLE PRINCIPALS Teachers in Atlanta fear for their lives. Not because of the students but because a principal has said he’d like to shoot some of the employees. He remains on the job while undergoing psychiatric evaluation. Yet, another reason to homeschool- psychotic administrators.
DOUBLE JEOPARDY A Denver high school student was suspended for putting up posters promoting a student walk-out to protest Bush’s war against Iraq*. Administrators had warned him that doing so would earn him a one-day suspension because a walk-out would disrupt the educational mission of the school. I think they’re probably correct. But, they’ve threatened him with expulsion if students walk out. That’s going too far. How can they hold him responsible the the actions of the other students?
*Yes- I recognize the political nature of this statement. IMO, when Pres. Bush stated that he didn’t care how many protesters there were against the war, he was going to war anyway, it became his war. He does still work for us, right?
LIKE A HOMESCHOOLED COWGIRL
McKenzie [Mullins], from Gordon, [TX] is competing through Sunday in the World Cutting Horse Competition at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. The 85-pound girl will ride her father’s 1,240-pound horse, Rosies Lena, last year’s world champion.
The family rides the rodeo circuit and homeschools so they can compete.
APPROPRIATELY NAMED? One of Virginia’s accountability tests is named the Standards of Learning writing test- abbreviated SOL test. I’m sure that’s how a lot of the kids feel about it.
DUMB AND DUMBER! A special ed teacher apparently got into a disagreement with a 17-year-old student. They decided to settle it by having a boxing/wrestling match. During school. In front of the rest of the class. This is the second special ed teacher to get in trouble at the school. Earlier this year, a female teacher was found in bed with a (different) 17-year-old student, violating a court order not to see him. She faces up to 60 years in prison. It may be time for regime change at the school.
JOHNNY CAN’T READ Here’s an article out of Canada that seems to be mistitled: How the schools wage war on boys The main point is that schools are doing a poor job of teaching reading and that boys, in particular, are not being well served. They make some good points about teaching phonics and really rag on the edu-babblers:
In Ontario, the education ministry at first proposed to define the problem away by relaxing the standards for the applied students. Meantime, among the education theorists, the definition of literacy itself remains in flux. Many of them are still wedded to the idea of “multiple literacies,” which is the peculiar notion that some people can be literate without knowing how to read and write.
This may strike the layperson as bizarre. But in current education theory, the whole idea of “literacy” is subjective. It is a “social-cultural construct” that, in the words of one recent study, ought to take into account not only gender issues, but also “cultural and linguistic diversity” as well as “unequal relations of power, class, race and ethnicity.”
This language comes from education researchers Heather Blair and Kathy Sanford, who also want to define the problem away. The problem isn’t that boys are illiterate, they argue, but that they demonstrate their literacy in ways the current curriculum doesn’t assess. “We need to deepen our understanding of the subjectivity of literacies for both boys and girls, given the socio-cultural configurations from which they emerge,” they write. To encourage boys to get more involved with learning, they suggest putting video games and Pokemon in the schools.
I love the Pokemon part but the edu-crats are at least two years behind the times. Pokemon is dead- Yu-Gi-Oh rules!
BTW- we’re in the process of teaching our younger daughter to read. Lydia chose the Explode the Code series and we really like the program. Of course, YMMV. Click here for several reviews.
INTERESTING ADS The banner ad on the top of this page for the last several days has been advertising a couple of libertarian sites. Other blogspot banner ads are for family sites. In each case, the ad seems pretty appropriate to the blog. How is this done? I guess blogger.com could scan the archives for keywords and then plug in the correct ad. Pretty slick, IMO.
THE LAW(YER) IS A ASS This has got to be one of the dumber lawsuits- and it’s local. A while back, a teacher at a Catholic high school was fired for putting her name to a pro-choice advertisement. Personally, I think the school was in the right. Abortion is pretty much anathema to the Church. They should (and do) have the right to fire a teacher who publicly disagrees with their teaching. Well, her lawyer disagrees and has filed a lawsuit alleging “pregnancy discrimination.” Yes, you read that correctly.
The 21-page complaint also alleges that Curay-Cramer’s dismissal based on her abortion rights views violates the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, which prohibits firing an employee for having an abortion. The complaint contends that though Curay-Cramer herself didn’t have an abortion, she is entitled to the act’s protections because of her views supporting abortion.
“It’s a slam-dunk,” Neuberger said of the charges. “There are no exemptions for religious institutions for sexual discrimination.”
A slam dunk for the school, I’d guess.
SLIGHTLY OT The Phila. Inquirer has a piece on adoptions of kids orphaned in Africa. The three young girls described in the lede are being homeschooled and adjusting to life in America.
Mia saw her parents killed by rebels. Michaela’s mother died of starvation. Mariel’s mother developed gangrene from a bullet in her leg. And in war-ravaged Sierra Leone, where they were born, the girls suffered from malaria, food poisoning and malnutrition.
Only 343 African kids were adopted by Americans last year.
SHADES OF FDR Charter school proponents in MA may have found a way to beat the anti-charter opposition- pack the Board of Ed with charter school wannabes.
[S]peakers at yesterday’s standing-room-only meeting, including elected officials and parents, claimed that the vote was fixed because four of the five approved charter schools came from applicants in the yearlong charter-school fellowship of the Pioneer Institute, the Boston-based think tank that backs charter schools and other school choice options…
The state Ethics Commission has cleared two board members – chairman James A. Peyser, Pioneer’s former [Pioneer] executive director, and member Abigail M. Thernstrom, who sits on its academic advisory committee – to vote on charter schools after disclosing their ties. But the commission has requested more information about board member Charles D. Baker, who sits on Pioneer’s board of directors, before letting him vote. Baker was absent yesterday.
A GOOD BLOG Erin O’Connor’s Critical Mass is a razor-sharp edu-blog. I’m adding it to the blog-roll. I particularly recommend this post.
GROWTH OR NO-GROWTH This article out of Arizona makes a big deal of the fact that homeschool numbers are up 545% in the last decade. But the population of the county is up 520% over the same period. Other than that, though, it’s a pretty good article. The quoted educrat comes off as particularly whiney.
UPDATE: Kim Swygert also blogged this. Typically, she did a much better job with it than I.
BMOC Here’s an unusual reason to homeschool- the kid was so tall he was getting picked on. He now stands 7-3 as a sophomore and is enrolled in a private school.
I KNOW HER Izzy Lyman has an article on WWHS in today’s Ludwig von Mises Institute daily journal. (Thanks to Skip Oliva for the heads-up.)
WHO??? Canadian musician Remy Shand was homeschooled. I’ve never heard of him but I like this quote:
Even in the summer months, when most students were taking a break, Shand would spend from nine to noon on school and then switch to music, which he would practice for eight hours a day.
“It really gave me the discipline academically to work on my own,” he told etalk. “It’s like getting into what you’re into and making that your life.”
FREE THEY AIN’T Edison Schools promise “free” computers to kids in the school. This has been a selling point that educrats and politicians love. Apparently, though, the parents aren’t buying.
At West Middle School, only 253 parents out of an eligible 1,100 completed the three training sessions that qualified them for a computer. West, which has been under Edison supervision since 2001, signed out the computers in December.
Edison and the educrats are shocked and disappointed. I’m not. I can think of many reasons why parents would reject these computers: For instance, perhaps they already have one (or more) at home. Computers are good tools but they are not the be-all and end-all to successfully educate our young. This was just an Edison gimmick that flopped. And, of course, the computers aren’t “free.” The cost is built into the contract and taxpayers are paying for them.
CLUELESS AZ parents are camping out in the street in order to be first in line to register their kids for a “good” pre-school.
“I know it’s crazy, but I wanted her to get into a really good preschool and they seem to have a well-structured curriculum,” said Young, 33, of Paradise Valley, who believes that a good preschool will give her 2-year-old daughter, Ashley, an edge in her education.
“I think it helps kids to be so much smarter. And they get a good head start.”
Is there any evidence that kids who attend these super-exclusive pre-schools do any better than anyone else? These parents are kidding themselves if they think that the pre-school their kid attends will determine, even in part, what college the children will eventually attend.
APOLOGIES Major problems accessing the ‘net today. I have not even seen EdNews.Org. I’ll try again in an hour or two. Check back then.
CLAUDE WORTHY?* Here’s a headline that, perhaps, only a DELDOT attorney could love: Home schooling works for many students, parents. Considering that there may be 2 million homeschoolers, I would hope it was working for at least a few.
*The title is stolen from the terrific Sneaking Suspicions blog. If it’s not on your daily read list, it should be.
A PRIVILEGE, NOT A RIGHT Lest you think I always see the government-school glass as half-empty, here’s an example where the educrats get it right. A boys basketball team will forfeit the rest of this year’s games for shouting a profanity during a pep rally. These kids were simply out-of-control.
According to [Superintendent] Follbaum, there has been a total of 42 suspensions handed out to nine of the team’s 13 players.
The suspensions have been for a variety of reasons: fighting, alcohol use, profanity, insubordination, missing practice, damaging a locker room and pulling a fire alarm as a prank.
Some lame-brained parents are appealing the decision to end the season.
PC ALERT Los Angeles schools are considering ceasing to name a class valedictorian because, said the principal, “If they are not number one, it could get their feelings hurt if they are self-motivating and high-achieving students.” BLECCHH!
ANOTHER REASON TO HOMESCHOOL Our kids won’t get fat (statistically speaking).
Historically, parents (and extended family) have controlled what, when and how much children ate. Our world, in which unsupervised children are allowed to choose their own food, is relatively new, as is the child-fat explosion.
This is, of course, a divisive line of thought — and for some, a painful one. Many mothers work because they must. And those who can choose often feel they and their families benefit from their decision to work outside the home. Still, though it may be sexist and unfair, the link between absent mothers and overweight children is increasingly difficult to deny. This is true not only in the United States. A 1999 study of obese Japanese 3-year-olds identified “the mother’s job” as the environmental factor contributing most to child obesity.
NICE AD A positive profile of two homeschooling families. The article serves as an ad for a seminar they’re organizing.
ONE FOR (THE MIA) MICHAEL PEACH The British government is cracking down on truancy, scouring shopping malls for students out during school hours. In a recent sweep they picked up over 7,000 kids who were out with their parents. I wonder if any were homeschoolers. And, how would the truant officers know if they were?
TEST BOYCOTT Another parent is boycotting the FL accountability tests. What makes this interesting is that this parent is a member of the School Board. The FCAT is theoretically a high-stakes test but there are a couple of other ways that kids can get promoted if they don’t pass (or take) the test. So, her act of civil disobedience is a little weak.
DOA The UT legislature is proposing a head-tax of $90 per child to fund the government schools. Of all the states, UT has to be the least likely to attempt this. The LDS (Mormon) Church basically runs the state and they don’t exactly discourage large families.
SERVES HIM RIGHT A teacher whipped (with a narrow strip of plastic) a female special-ed student who had misbehaved. He hit her hard enough to leave a “pretty severe” bruise. The next day, the girl’s older brother came to the school and punched the teacher in the face. He required stitches to close the wound. A grand jury refused to indict the brother (who happens to be the stepson of the Assistant Police Chief). The teacher’s union and the teacher are claiming a civil rights violation since the teacher is black and, apparently, the police chief isn’t. IMO, the teacher is lucky to have only gotten punched in the face. “Switching” a student hard enough to leave a bruise is child abuse, plain and simple. He should be facing charges.
JOEL KLEIN, MONOPOLIST Skip Oliva has an interesting column up on the monopolistic tendencies of former anti-trust lawyer and current NYC Chancellor of Schools Joel Klein. I especially enjoyed the closing ‘graf:
If Klein had even an ounce of intelligence, he would embrace the free market in education. After all, if capitalism is good enough to provide Americans with food, clothing, and housing, it’s also good enough to provide quality education.
I was going to suggest that Skip sign the Proclamation but he already has. Cool.
ROFLMAO A SD legislator was opposed to a bill allowing homeschoolers to participate in public-school sports.
She said public school students are hard-working kids who have to “get up at the butt crack of dawn” to sacrifice for their educational and extracurricular activities. The typical public school student “pays a price. They don’t get everything their way.” They have to “put up with the same crap” day-in-day-out only to have to compete for a spot in the school play with some home school kid living on Easy Street who gets to sleep in, decide what he wants to learn, and has lunch made by good ol’ mom. “How is that fair?”
That’s some endorsement of the public-schools. I guess she can kiss off that contribution from the NEA.
MONTANA LETTER Here’s a good letter to the editor concerning the proposed MT homeschholing regs.
Montanans speak up for home schooling
On Feb. 12, swarms of parents and home-schooled children gathered at the Capitol in the old Supreme Court Chambers to get a firsthand view of the workings of a government that is for the people and by the people. And whom do they have to thank for this unique lesson? Sen. Don Ryan.
Ryan introduced a bill to the Education Committee Feb. 12 that would mandate that home-schooled children participate in the standardized state testing. In an introduction that lasted almost 50 minutes, he assured his support of home-schooling for the first 10 minutes and proceeded to demonize the institution in his following 40 minutes. Following this lengthy oration, the chairman called for testimonies from the proponents of this bill.
You could have heard a pin drop.
Though the chamber was packed tighter than a sardine can with more than 400 persons, not a soul stirred to side with Ryan.
When the chairman called for the testimonies of the opponents, more than 100 people formed a line that extended outside the chamber doors and down the hall.
The Republican platform states: “We oppose any efforts to limit academic freedom of choice by state regulation of church, private or home schools.” President Bush firmly echoed that position when he required that home schoolers be exempt from “No Child Left Behind” testing requirements.
Today we are proud to enjoy a tremendous victory for all Montanans and especially parents in having the freedom to determine and choose the best education possible for their children, whether that be public, private or home school. We rejoice that the “silent majority” was not silent today and thank them for raising their voice.
Jan and Jim Helgeson
FOUR YEARS OR SIX HOURS The NEA has put together a six-hour “crash course” for newbie teachers.
These are the things you don’t learn in college, but which are vital to your success as a teacher,” says Mary Jo Webster, a high school music teacher in Falls Church, Virginia, who took the training course through the Virginia Education Association (VEA).
Kind of undermines the value of that four-year certification program, eh?
ON THE ROAD, AGAIN I’m travelling today so blogging will be non-existent until this evening. In the meantime, those interested in politcs should check out polstate.com. Click on the archives link to see everything written about your state.
NO HABLAMOS ESPANOL Blogger is freaking out. It redirected my site to a Spanish blog. A re-fresh pulled up a cartoon (in English). So, no, I haven’t lost my mind and gone all affirmative action again.
FIRST AMENDMENT BLUES A high school student in MI was sent home because he was sporting a t-shirt that labeled George Bush an “International Terrorist.” The school has a large Muslim population and school officials
wimped out were worried it would “inflame passions.” I think the kid falls into the “useful idiot” category but he still has First Amendment Rights. (via Izzy and Bret of Our Horrible Children)
ANOTHER CYBER-CHARTER San Diego is starting a cyber-charter. Ho-hum. As usual, they confuse it with homeschooling.
Home-schooling is not a new concept, but there’s a new wrinkle that’s becoming more popular in San Diego.
Home-schooling via computer has an added attraction for the families that take part — it’s free. And that concept is prompting a debate over who’s really footing the bill.
A new record- ignorance and stupidity in a single sentence! Cathy Henderson pulls off a deliciously snarky comment.
“Home-schooling via computer has an added attraction for the families that take part — it’s free.” FREEEEEEEEE. All you have to do is let Bennett and the public school et al decide what your child should be learning, how they should be learning it, at what age they should learn it, and be monitored with periodic visits from “real” teachers, and take standardized tests. Oh. And pay taxes. Is that free or what?
HIGHLY QUALIFIED Pres. Bush’s NCLB Act mandates that all public-school classrooms have a “highly-qualified” teacher. That’s been interpreted to mean “fully certified.” What, then, do we make of this statement from Susan Sclafani, an aide to U.S. Secretary of Education Rod Paige?
“Evidence of the value of (teacher) certification, in general, is equivocal at best.”
Is certification important or not?
MORE SEP SCHOOLSTATE STUFF EducationNews.Org has been on a Separation of School and State kicklately. Today, David Kirkpatrick, the owner(?), editor(?) has a piece up on the subject. Nothing too profound but worth a peek if you’re interested in the subject. And, if you’re really interested in the topic, head over to SepSchool.Org and sign the Proclamation.
DISCONNECT The usually good CS Monitor confused me today. They start off a column on college costs with this lede:
It was not your average police-blotter item: Last week, federal marshals arrested four people in Minnesota who had defaulted on student loans. They weren’t charged, but they were put behind bars until they turned over financial information to the Federal District Court in Minneapolis so officials could see what monies might be available to pay back their debt.
The operation’s name: Anaconda Squeeze.
Some $25 billion in student loans stand in default.
OK, kids are in hock up to their eyebrows and can’t pay it back. But, the Monitor follows with this non-sequitur:
But before more Anaconda-like operations are carried out, Congress ought to take a close look at raising the ceiling on how much a student can borrow in low-cost government loans, something it hasn’t done for a decade.
How is allowing undergrads to borrow more money going to lower the default rate or help the students?
THIS SHOULD BE INTERESTING The Ashland, MA teacher’s contract has a built-in pay raise scheduled for next school year. At the same time, the school district is facing a massive deficit. The district has asked the union to forgo the raise in lieu of layoffs. What will they do?
CHEAP B.S.! Gary North has a fascinating column on how to earn a bachelor’s degree on the cheap- homeschooling! Distance learning programs allow students to take college classes over the internet at rock-bottom prices.
You can send a child to a distant campus, either tax-funded ($44,000 TRBB) or private ($80,000 TRBB). Or you can let him live at home, work part-time to fund his own education, and spend as little as $7,000 over 2.7 years…
Only about 10% of 4-year colleges and universities offer their students as many as half a dozen accredited distance learning degree programs, even when they offer a hundred majors to on-campus students. Most of these public universities charge the same tuition to in-state distance learning degree students that they charge to on-campus students, even though distance learning degree program students don’t use the colleges’ real estate. Most of the tax-funded universities charge three to four times as much tuition to out-of-state distance learning degree students. Nevertheless, some real bargains have slipped through the cracks. But you have to know about their existence and then go looking for them. Here is a good introductory list…
Apparently, the homeschool model continues to work through the bachelor’s level.
Recent studies have revealed that students who have been educated in an off-campus learning setting produce higher performance rates than conventional classroom-based education does…
Why not keep the child closer to home for an extra two years, and then send the child off to college?
Even better, why not let the child stay at home for all four years, work part-time, earn enough to make a down payment on a home, and get the B.A. by mail?
Why not, indeed.
OAKLAND DEBATE There’s going to to be a school choice debate Feb. 20th. The pro-choice position will be argued by Peter Brimelow, prominently mentioned in the blog entry earlier today. If anyone attends and would like to guest-blog, drop me a line.
EDUCATION NEWS? I don’t see the connection but EdNews.org picked up a story on chitlin’s. The Savannah paper extols the virtues of this “delicacy.” I’m a bit familiar with these. Every year Salley, SC hosts the “Chitlin’ Strut.” Trust me- you don’t want to be downwind of Salley that day.
WE ARE THE SOLUTION The WashTimes has published a column on the NEA written by Paul Craig Roberts. Mr. Roberts is no fan.
Mr. Brimelow uses the wrong tense when he writes “the teacher unions are destroying American education.” They have destroyed it.
He seems to be ready to scrap the whole system.
If the NEA is to be undone, its undoing will come from parents and teachers deserting the schools. Homeschoolers, without benefit of fancy facilities, science labs, and huge expenditures of money, outscore public school students.
2 + 2 = 476,341 The Bozeman Chronicle editorialized in favor of their pending anti-homeschooling legislation. Apparently, the editor missed PHIL 201 at the University of Montana (Introduction to Logic).
Of the 3,500 kids who are home-schooled in Montana, do some lag far behind public school kids? Almost certainly. Are some not being taught at all, merely kept at home by deadbeat parents – possibly dissipated by alcohol or drugs – who can’t be bothered with getting their kids to school?
Perhaps. But would SB276 fix this hypothetical “problem?”
That’s what SB 276 is really all about – detecting and catching the kids who may be falling through the cracks. Students wouldn’t be required to pass the test and the results would only be shared with parents.
I doubt that any parent “dissipated” enough to not educate their kids would even bother to administer any state test, much less care about the results. No, this is a power grab by the nanny-state and should be opposed vociferously. (reblogged from Izzy)
ALL WORK AND NO PLAY MAKES JACK A DULL BOY Like Jack Nicholson in The Shining, we are snowed in. The Governor has declared a State of Emergency and cars are banned from the roads. In fact, I saw a Military Police HumVee drive down our street a few minutes ago. Dummy me- I was outside with my digital camera and didn’t snap a shot. We already have about two feet on the ground, followed by 1/2″ of sleet and now it’s snowing again. Drifts are up to four feet deep. See y’all in July.