Utterly Meaningless » 2003 » March

DEAR TERRY DNC Chairman

Filed on March 31, 2003 at 2:55 pm under by dcobranchi

DEAR TERRY DNC Chairman Terry McAuliffe sent me a copy of the Democratic Presidential Strategy Poll. Much obliged. Here’s my favorite question:

What is your opinion about a woman’s right to a safe and legal abortion?

I support a woman’s right to choose.

I oppose a woman’s right to choose and believe we need additional restrictions to limit abortions.

Unfortunately, Terry was too cheap to include a SASE so he’ll never get to see my responses.

BTW Terry- I’m not a Democrat.

JUST FOR DADS NHEN

Filed on at 2:49 pm under by dcobranchi

JUST FOR DADS NHEN has posted a page of articles for Dads by Dads. Some really good stuff.

CAPITALISM, FREUD, AND HOMESCHOOLING

Filed on at 7:17 am under by dcobranchi

CAPITALISM, FREUD, AND HOMESCHOOLING You probably never thought you’d see those three topics linked in a single article. I’m still not sure I get the connection but read this- maybe you can figure it out.

BEST-OF-SHOW? A homeschooler won

Filed on at 7:06 am under by dcobranchi

BEST-OF-SHOW? A homeschooler won “Best-of-Show” at the MT Junior Duck Stamp competition. Strange phraseology. Roths will go on to compete in the Nationals.

NO FUN ‘TALL An

Filed on at 7:04 am under by dcobranchi

NO FUN ‘TALL An OK reporter writes of his three-day “assignment” as a volunteer substitute in several government schools. Not a pretty scene.

BTW, the newspaper has the most obnoxious registration process I’ve ever seen. Fortunately, you can enter all fake data and they’ll never know.

VERY NICE Here’s a

Filed on March 30, 2003 at 6:25 am under by dcobranchi

VERY NICE Here’s a profile of two families with adult homeschoolers. Overall, a very positive article. As usual, the writer feels it necessary to quote a local edu-crat:

[State Education Commissioner] Driscoll said it is possible for a student to get the same quality of education from homeschooling as from a public school.

‘‘It is possible, but it takes a pretty special group of parents. And they are out there,” he said. ‘‘It is an enormous burden to take on, as opposed to a system that has licensed people and all the services. But it is absolutely possible.

Yeah, it’s possible- if we dumb down our curriculum by about four years. But, who’d do that?

DIY EDUCATION The Jacksonville

Filed on at 6:13 am under by dcobranchi

DIY EDUCATION The Jacksonville Times-Union editorializes today in favor of increased school choice options. They push homeschooling as one of the options but warn that educrats may try to crack down on it.

It would not be surprising if the education establishment tried to ban homeschooling or otherwise prevent parents from having that choice. The tactic would be to complain about “accountability,” which union bosses fight when it is proposed for public schools, but insist upon when parents exercise choice.

Meanwhile, there are 4 million children in public schools that are not meeting state standards, according to the Fordham Foundation.

The education monopoly is cracking, if not crumbling. Efforts to improve the public schools are making headway, but children who are slipping behind cannot wait and hope the efforts will succeed. Parents should have the option to bail out and ensure their child is educated — even if it has to be a do-it-yourself project.

RIGHT IDEA, WRONG VENUE

Filed on at 4:26 am under by dcobranchi

RIGHT IDEA, WRONG VENUE Chris O’Donnell blogged a story about sweet tea in GA. A legislator was aghast that he couldn’t order sweet tea while traveling in Chicago. In order to make sure that this horror did not occur in GA, he is introducing legislation that would mandate than any establishment which served unsweetened tea would also have to offer sweet tea. There’s only one problem here: GA restauranteurs would never fail to have sweet tea on the menu. The evil-doers who need to be coerced to do the right thing are the Damn Yankees Northerners. We need a Federal law. Sweet tea in DE- Woohoo!

A BRIEF HISTORY LESSON

Filed on at 12:22 am under by dcobranchi

A BRIEF HISTORY LESSON US military and civilian leaders are complaining that Iraq isn’t fighting “fair”. We’ve been studying the (US) Revolutionary War here. The British made the same complaint against the colonists. And, BTW, a suicide attack against a purely military target is not terrorism. Has the military forgotten the kamikaze pilots, too?

WHO THE HECK IS

Filed on March 29, 2003 at 6:12 pm under by dcobranchi

WHO THE HECK IS HE? Here’s a pretty benign article on how homeschooling has “grown up.” What caught my eye was this:

According to home schooling authority, Mitchell Stevens…

Never heard of him. He also doesn’t appear to “get” homeschooling, either.

Mr. Stevens, a sociology professor at New York’s Hamilton College, says the primary appeal of home schooling is its flexibility. “One of the biggest advantages of home schooling is that it enables parents to tailor an education program around a student’s particular talents,” he says. “So if a child is an extraordinary musician or has a big passion for a particular scientific or mathematical endeavor, you can create an academic program that really enables that child to nurture those particular talents. It grants families a degree of flexibility over their instruction that makes the pursuit of an extraordinarily high level of accomplishment a real possibility.”

Yes, but that’s such a tiny slice of homeschooling’s benefits.

UPDATE: I love Google. I found this about Mr. Stevens. He’s an academic who interviewed 100 homeschoolers and wrote a book about it. As far as I can tell from his CV, that is his sole qualification for the “homeschooling authority” label.

ANTI-CIVIL RIGHTS? Evidently I’m

Filed on at 5:52 pm under by dcobranchi

ANTI-CIVIL RIGHTS? Evidently I’m opposed to civil rights.

They are coming by bus, car, plane and trainfrom Detroit, Flint, Grand Rapids and Lansing, from California, Texas, Virginia and dozens of other states.

…All support the University of Michigan’s affirmative action admission policies and all are bound for Washington, D.C., on Monday to join what some are saying could be the biggest civil rights rally since the 1960s.

Somehow I doubt that Martin Luther King dreamed about affirmative action.

SMALLER IS BETTER Evidence

Filed on at 5:35 pm under by dcobranchi

SMALLER IS BETTER Evidence continues to mount that students at small schools (particularly high schools) outperform students at larger schools.

Although in the short run there may be dollar savings resulting from consolidation, in the long run noteworthy and long-standing cost savings result when schools are smaller, including higher achievement, less violence, fewer discipline problems, and higher attendance and graduation rates. After examining both curriculum quality and cost-effectiveness, researcher Kathleen Cotton stated, “The perceived limitations in the program that small high schools can deliver and their presumed high cost regularly have been cited as justifications for our steady march toward giantism. The research convincingly stamps both of these views as misconceptions.” Smaller schools produce positive results. America should take notice of the impact smaller schools are making.

Of course, they don’t get any smaller than homeschools.

EQUAL TIME Former Milwaukee

Filed on at 5:27 pm under by dcobranchi

EQUAL TIME Former Milwaukee teacher Daniel Pryzbyla attempts to counter the publicity that the pro-voucher Milwaukee School Board candidates have generated. It’s pretty weak but worth a read to learn how the other side “thinks.”

COOL! Vermont’s governor has

Filed on at 3:52 am under by dcobranchi

COOL! Vermont’s governor has appointed a homeschooling parent to sit on the state Board of Ed.

The 10-member board oversees the Department of Education, teacher licensing and the standards of student performance. It also approves homeschooling curricula and independent schools.

Maybe in her new-found position, she can do something about that last bit.

A BILL DELAYED IS

Filed on at 3:48 am under by dcobranchi

A BILL DELAYED IS JUST FINE Arkansan legislators have decided to “delay” the bill that would have given the DOE the right to “undertake measures to ensure that home school students receive a quality education.” In this case, “delay” means it’s dead until at least 2005.

DIVERSITY OVERRATED? The NYT

Filed on at 3:37 am under by dcobranchi

DIVERSITY OVERRATED? The NYT has published an interesting Op/Ed by Stanley Rothman, an academic who used anonymous surveys to study the perceived effects of “diversity” at colleges and universities.

BEE “S” A homeschooler

Filed on March 28, 2003 at 6:21 am under by dcobranchi

BEE “S” A homeschooler won the RI spelling bee. Nice enough but the article then goes into homeschooling in general and includes the obligatory “S”-word comment from a local educrat:

Pawtucket currently has 30 children being home-schooled out of a total public school enrollment of about 10,000, according to School Supt. Hans W. Dellith.

Dellith said he has some reservations concerning home-schooling.

“The downside I see is the lack of socialization, the lack of interaction, the lack of other points of view which a student would get on the same subjects in a group setting,” he said.

OLDEST HOMESCHOOLER? 76-year-old George

Filed on March 27, 2003 at 8:36 am under by dcobranchi

OLDEST HOMESCHOOLER? 76-year-old George White has graduated from the St. James Academy Home Schooling High School. Way to go!

DUMBED DOWN? EdNews.org has

Filed on at 7:18 am under by dcobranchi

DUMBED DOWN? EdNews.org has begun a multi-part mock trial of the Texas accountability tests, TAKS. it promises to be entertaining. A tidbit:

This State document proves that an average of 86% of Texas students got the first 29, or easiest, questions right. That prompted us to take a look at the next six easiest questions on the test that the plaintiffs refer to as “buffer zone” questions. A student who gave the right answer to 36 questions would have achieved the math performance standard that the TEA uses to define its first level of college readiness.

So, nearly all of the 10th graders got the first 29 questions correct and 36 correct signified that they were at the “first level of college readiness.” This is a multiple choice test with four possible answers. Random guesses should generate the 7 additional correct answers. Maybe the TX miracle is true and every 10th grader in TX is ready for college. But, what are they asking on those 29 “easy” questions? Here’s one:

At a candy store, chocolate costs $0.35 per ounce. Hector bought 8.25 ounces, Jeanette bought 8.7 ounces, James bought 8.05 ounces and Shanika bought 8.42 ounces. Which list shows these weights in order from least to greatest?

A. 8.05 oz 8.25 oz 8.42 oz 8.7 oz.
B. 8.42 oz 8.05 oz 8.25 oz 8.7 oz
C 8.05 oz 8.7 oz 8.25 oz 8.42 oz
D. 8.7 oz 8.05 oz 8.25 oz 8.42 oz

10th grade level work? Admittedly, EdNews.org may have picked the absolutely easiest question as a straw man. I have no way of proving that they didn’t. But, it makes you wonder if this test is legit or is designed to merely make the teacher’s union (which wrote the test) look good.

DUMB BILL Republicans in

Filed on March 26, 2003 at 12:52 pm under by dcobranchi

DUMB BILL Republicans in OR have introduced a bill which basically classifies any form of protest against the war as “terrorism.” Upon conviction, a life sentence will be imposed with no parole for 25 years.

SECTION 1. { + (1) A person commits the crime of terrorism if the person knowingly plans, participates in or carries out any act that is intended, by at least one of its participants, to disrupt:
(a) The free and orderly assembly of the inhabitants of the State of Oregon;
(b) Commerce or the transportation systems of the State of Oregon; or
(c) The educational or governmental institutions of the State of Oregon or its inhabitants.
(2) A person commits the crime of terrorism if the person conspires to do any of the activities described in subsection (1) of this section.

So, all those kids who walked out of class a week ago would have been guilty of terrorism. Let’s just go a little overboard, huh? This is great example of how Libertarians and Republicans don’t see eye-to-eye. Fortunately, this bill has absolutely 0% chance of getting past OR’s Democratic governor.

GOOD NEWS! A new

Filed on at 6:53 am under by dcobranchi

GOOD NEWS! A new law in VA allows homeschooling parents to teach their kids the behind-the-wheel portion of Driver’s Ed. Why is this not a bigger issue in the homeschooling community? If we can teach calculus, surely we can teach how to drive! Besides, who is going to be more concerned that the kids learn to drive safely- the “professionals” or the parents?

UPDATE: Here’s the actual text of the bill.

HOMESCHOOL TAX Just kidding

Filed on at 6:28 am under by dcobranchi

HOMESCHOOL TAX Just kidding but I have no doubt homeschoolers will be hit by Contra Costa County’s increase in overdue fines at the public libraries.

CRY “CENSORSHIP!” A pro-Israeli

Filed on at 6:21 am under by dcobranchi

CRY “CENSORSHIP!” A pro-Israeli group has been buying ads in college student newspapers that depict Palestinians in a less than flattering light. Students have protested the ads and some papers have refused to run them.

“Calling for the censorship of advertisements is a flagrant violation of the freedoms of our great nation, and is further indication of the vile hatred of America that exists within the Palestinian community,” Dorfman said.

I don’t think this qualifies as censorship, which is a government act. The newspaper, for all intents and purposes, is an independent “business” which can certainly choose to run or not run advertisements depending on their readership’s interests.

READY OR NOT According

Filed on at 6:05 am under by dcobranchi

READY OR NOT According to MD teachers, only 52% of 5-year-olds are fully ready for the kindergarten “experience.”

The report shows children in private nursery schools are best prepared for kindergarten, followed by those who attend formal pre-kindergarten programs, child care centers and Head Start, the federal government’s preschool program for children in poverty.

Anyone else notice a missing category? Where are the kids who stayed home with a parent?

BOOK REVIEW The CSMonitor

Filed on March 25, 2003 at 6:27 am under by dcobranchi

BOOK REVIEW The CSMonitor has a review of Morning by Morning: How We Home-Schooled Our African-American Sons to the Ivy League. They like the book.

UPDATE The NYT has

Filed on at 6:16 am under by dcobranchi

UPDATE The NYT has some more info on the kid whose school outed him to his parents.

As Thomas McLaughlin tells it, the trouble began when his eighth-grade science teacher overheard him refusing to deny to another boy that he was gay. It got worse that afternoon, when his guidance counselor called his mother at work to tell her he was homosexual.

“The assistant principal called me out of seventh period, asked if my parents knew I was gay, and when I said no, she said I had till 3:40 to tell them or the school would,” said Thomas, a 14-year old student at Jacksonville Junior High School in Arkansas.

The ACLU is pursuing this.

HYPERBOLIC A RI school

Filed on at 5:52 am under by dcobranchi

HYPERBOLIC A RI school district has come up with a “magnet” school proposal that they think could “transform education.”

There wouldn’t be a new building or a full week of classes. Instead, principals from Seekonk, Somerset-Berkley, Swansea, and Dighton-Rehoboth would each pick five sophomores to attend nine-week sessions at each of the participating schools every other Friday. Each school would focus on a different discipline. For the rest of the week, students would go to regular classes at their own schools.

Let’s see- they’ll be attending one day every other week for nine weeks. In other words, the whole program will last five days. That’s not even a good start on a unit study.

PROM SEASON The CSMonitor

Filed on at 4:09 am under by dcobranchi

PROM SEASON The CSMonitor has a nice article about a prom in Orlando. Unfortunately, they blow an important statistic:

There are approximately 2 million home schoolers in the United States, a figure that has increased 15 percent in the last 20 years, according to the National Home Education Research Institute in Salem, Ore.

I think they meant it has been growing at an average of 15% per year over the last 20 years. The article then veers into a discussion of the upcoming WB program, “The O’Keefes.”

EXPENSIVE UNIFORMS, CHEAP SELF-ESTEEM

Filed on at 3:59 am under by dcobranchi

EXPENSIVE UNIFORMS, CHEAP SELF-ESTEEM Skip Oliva pointed me to an article in the WashTimes extolling the virtues of school uniforms. The $75 uniforms are, apparently, the greatest things since sliced bread: test scores are up; fights and weapons violations are down. The uniforms even help to boost self-esteem.

“When they go on field trips, [strangers] compliment the children on their appearance and behavior. That leads to an increased self-esteem,” she says.

Behavior, yes. Uniforms? You can’t buy self-esteem- not even for $75.

AN UGLY BILL Arkansas

Filed on March 24, 2003 at 3:28 pm under by dcobranchi

AN UGLY BILL Arkansas homeschoolers are fighting against a proposed modification to their current law.

(c) The State Board of Education may undertake measures to ensure that home school students receive a quality education.

That is one dangerous sentence. It would basically give the educrats carte blanche to regulate homeschooling.

HSLDA EDITORIAL Tom Washburne

Filed on at 7:47 am under by dcobranchi

HSLDA EDITORIAL Tom Washburne has a nice column up on “Homeschool Snow Days.” The nut ‘graf:

One of the reasons why homeschooling has really been successful in America is that homeschooled children are turning out to be quality young people. People often ask homeschoolers what it is that we do that results in such good kids. One big truth often overlooked is that we are not sending our kids mixed signals. We don’t tell them that education is important, but then show them by our actions that it is more important for everybody to be at the same level than to allow them to excel. We don’t close the school because a small percentage could not make it. We don’t bog the kids down with wasted time, waiting for everybody in the class to be done before they move on. We also don’t leave them behind. If one of my kids doesn’t understand something, we don’t move on until they do. What would be the point? In short, we are looking for and producing quality education.

Well worth a click.

A GOOD IDEA Maybe

Filed on at 5:57 am under by dcobranchi

A GOOD IDEA Maybe I have safety on the brain right now, but this product sounds like an excellent investment.

In the event of a home emergency, natural disaster, storm, power loss, fire or home intrusion children are taught to grab Herbie Hydrant from their bedside table to help find their way to safety. Once lifted from the battery-charging base, Herbie Hydrant’s flashlight shines, an alarm bellows and strobe lights flash. The flashlight can help children find their way to safety and the alarm and strobes can aid rescuers in locating a child who may be trapped. Additionally, a digital timer starts once the unit has been lifted from the base. This timer can be used to practice home escape routes and provides critical timing information for emergency professionals. There is even a storage compartment where pertinent personal/medical about the child can be kept for quick reference by rescuers.

SEATTLE BEE Another homeschooler

Filed on at 5:38 am under by dcobranchi

SEATTLE BEE Another homeschooler will be making the trip to Washington, D.C. for the Nationals.

NOT A MICROBE Blogstreet.com

Filed on March 23, 2003 at 1:42 pm under by dcobranchi

NOT A MICROBE Blogstreet.com (whoever they are) has ranked H&OES in its Top 10,000 blogs list. Woohoo! Take that N. Z. Bear. Insignificant Microbe, indeed!

BULLSEYE Milwaukee has been

Filed on at 1:10 pm under by dcobranchi

BULLSEYE Milwaukee has been one of the few truly innovative schools sytems. They’ve had a fairly large voucher program for 12 years. Not surprisingly, the teachers’ union is not happy. They’ve targeted for election defeat one of the most vocal proponents of vouchers, school board member John Gardner. The union is prepared to spend more than $2M to defeat Mr. Gardner and seize control of the board. There’s also this issue which might influence the union.

Mr. Gardner and four other Milwaukee school board members up for re-election next month comprise a pro-reform group, with a one-vote majority. They support school choice and want changes in a lucrative fringe benefits contract for 6,400 public school teachers. The contract has a current unfunded liability of $136 million a year.

If they can “invest” $2M and get a return of $136M per year, I’d say they have plenty of motivation to pull out all the stops in targeting Mr. Gardner. I wish him luck. (Thanks to Skip Oliva for the story.)

DELAWARE ITEM The News-Journal

Filed on at 12:54 pm under by dcobranchi

DELAWARE ITEM The News-Journal carried today a column entitled “A Sneak Assault on System.” The author believes the war on Iraq is being used to hide a concerted effort by conservatives to starve the government by running a big deficit.

Hardly any attention is given to the possibility that falling government revenue, however much it derives from market imponderables, is convenient and useful to political forces that want nothing more than an impoverished and vastly reduced governmental structure at all levels.

I’m no fan of deficit spending but starving a bloated government would be the silver lining. Here’s the best quote from the column.

Radical voices on the right have boasted that the federal government will be reduced by half within 25 years. That means many programs of social value will be eliminated, initiatives will be unborn, and the complex web of the American collective will unravel.

Interesting word choice- “collective.” I thought the Soviet Union collapsed a while ago. I didn’t realize that we had moved it over here. My bad. The rest of the column is no better.

SCIENCE OLYMPIAD It’s that

Filed on at 6:19 am under by dcobranchi

SCIENCE OLYMPIAD It’s that time of the year again. Here’s a nice article about a regional competition in Akron. Homeschool groups are welcome to participate. I’m a judge for the Water Bottle Rocket event here in DE. The kids who do well have learned a lot of science and engineering and all concerned have a blast (sorry for the bad pun).

WWHS Schools continue to

Filed on at 6:10 am under by dcobranchi

WWHS Schools continue to report sexual abuse of students by their teachers. Here’s a quick summary of recent events in the Phoenix area:

• A 24-year-old teacher at Marcos de Niza High in Tempe was arrested Tuesday after rumors of a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old student were reported to police.

• A 26-year-old Higley High teacher is awaiting the results of a paternity test after he was rumored to have fathered the child of a 16-year-old former student.

• A 27-year-old Gilbert Highland Junior High teacher was dismissed in February for having a romantic relationship with a 12-year-old student.

• A 27-year-old teacher from Cherokee Elementary in Scottsdale was indicted in January on 30 felony counts including child molestation. The principal resigned after a school district investigation found that he failed to discipline the teacher.

• On Friday, David Edgar Welsh of Scottsdale, a former Mesa teacher, and Ronald Henry Harris of Chandler, a former Glendale teacher, were given 19-year prison sentences for sex crimes against children.

Why are there ANY children still in these schools? What are the parents thinking?

BEACH UPDATE A perfect

Filed on March 22, 2003 at 3:16 pm under by dcobranchi

BEACH UPDATE A perfect day. Temperatures in the mid-60’s. Bright sunshine. And a bunch of people working on the beach. There were about 100 people at Bethany- about 5x last year’s turnout. We got close to a mile of beach planted. Some photos of our crew.

TO THE BEACH No,

Filed on March 21, 2003 at 2:29 pm under by dcobranchi

TO THE BEACH No, we’re not going on vacation (though I could certainly use one after the HazMat/WMD class). We’re going to the annual Beach Grass Planting at the DE shore tomorrow morning. Volunteers from across the state will be planting grass to help hold the dunes in place. We’re going to Bethany but DNREC has operations up and down the shore. It’s supposed to be nice weather; come on out and plant some grass.

WRITE YOUR CONGRESSPERSON Mike

Filed on at 2:19 am under by dcobranchi

WRITE YOUR CONGRESSPERSON Mike Castle (R- DE) has introduced legislation that will update and reauthorize the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). IDEA currently provides funds to both public and private schools to assist kids who are struggling with disabilities. The funds are typically used for things like speech therapy. When originally written, it appeared that Congress meant for all kids to be eligible. But the legislative language refers to public and private schools. In many states, homeschoolers are “officially” neither. Homeschoolers are, therefore, ineligible in many states. The reauthorization is the time to fix this discrimination.

This is one of those “rock and a hard place” issues for me. I don’t like the idea of government being involved in the funding of homeschooling. OTOH, the discrimination really rankles me.

ANOTHER HOMESCHOOL U According

Filed on at 1:33 am under by dcobranchi

ANOTHER HOMESCHOOL U According to Agape Press, Belhaven College in Jackson, Mississippi actively recruits homeschoolers. A large chunk of the faculty and the college president are homeschooling parents.

Belhaven president Dr. Roger Parrott, himself a home-schooling parent, says he understands the significance of home school education and that it is a great foundation for college-level work. He says the school offers special scholarships for home-schooled students.

“We find that [home-schooled students] come with high ACT [scores] and, because they are home-schooled, we add some [financial] incentive to that … to help them,” Parrott says. “We also know that … if they come, they’re going to persist and graduate because parents are going to be involved in their education. Part of the challenge of all of education is lack of parental involvement — and we don’t want that to end just when they come to college.”

One to keep in mind.

I HATE BLOGSPOT The

Filed on March 20, 2003 at 8:09 pm under by dcobranchi

I HATE BLOGSPOT The stupid software ate my last three posts. I’m too tired to recreate them. And they all were Pulitzer-worthy efforts, too. :-)

TELLING SPAM I received

Filed on at 7:11 pm under by dcobranchi

TELLING SPAM I received a spam from a company looking to market to homeschoolers. It contains an excellent anecdote evidencing how forcing homerschoolers to take standardized tests infringes on our parental rights.

Spring is in the air — that is if you think of spring as continuous rainfall, with intermittent breaks of heavy mist. Oh well, this is just one of the many reasons we love Washington State. The other is their tolerant acceptance of home educators. While our 3 oldest have been out landscaping, gardening and training the horses in this gloriously damp weather, the 2 youngest have been housebound taking their annual standardized tests, which are mandatory according to the State of Washington.

So, instead of educating their kids in the manner they feel best, they have to keep them chained to the kitchen table “prepping” for the state-mandated test.

THANKS, I GUESS A

Filed on at 2:50 am under by dcobranchi

THANKS, I GUESS A (presumed) homeschooling parent wrote the editor in response to the Rob Reich nonsense from the other day. This is a thoroughly counter-productive letter, in my opinion. His main point seems to be that Florida homeschoolers are already “accountable” because they are tested each year. By government-school teachers, no less.

In all cases, annual evaluations are done by Florida-certified teachers. Results are reported to the School Board, stating whether or not a student performed adequately for his grade level.

This is a good thing? He then basically goes on to invite legislators to mandate that homeschoolers take the state accountability tests.

Florida law sensibly grants the option of using such tests. Until academic standards for the FCAT objectively exceed those of the SAT and ITBS, why would anyone with a legal choice use the still-evolving and grading-problem-plagued FCAT?

…Florida homeschoolers are already thoroughly accountable by law, and whether or not they take the FCAT is a thoroughly bogus issue.

This is really poor. The writer has completely bought into the argument that homeschoolers are accountable to the state. He’s just arguing about the details. Pitiful. I hope another homeschooling parent sets the record (and this guy) straight.

TEACHER CERT This is

Filed on at 2:32 am under by dcobranchi

TEACHER CERT This is interesting- EdSec Rod Paige has backed a new alternative method for teacher certification.

Mr. Paige yesterday endorsed the new American Board for Certification of Teacher Excellence (ABCTE), whose mission is to certify subject experts, experienced professionals and military veterans as public school teachers, even if they don’t have degrees in education.

So far, a couple of states have accepted this alternative as equivalent to an education school certification.

I’M TRYING Blogger is

Filed on at 2:27 am under by dcobranchi

I’M TRYING Blogger is still completely wacko. It was down all last night. If it’s working when I get home tonight, I’ll have some new stuff. For now, here’s a couple of stories from yesterday.

THE WORST SENTENCE EVER

Filed on March 19, 2003 at 3:10 am under by dcobranchi

THE WORST SENTENCE EVER WRITTEN Joanne Jacobs blogged about the worst book. I think I’ve found the worst sentence ever written.

The hawks of Bush II are not afraid of disorder in the pursuit of American dominance. They have no interest in any coalition — except their own. They see the international “we” as an impediment to joy — and to destiny. The Bush doctrine is animated by “the big I.” That self-regarding doctrine, concocted by Bill Kristol, Paul Wolfowitz and Richard Perle back when W. was still merely a presidential gleam in Karl Rove’s eye, preaches preventive pre-emptive preternatural pre-eminence.

Prease, er, please!

IT’S CONTAGIOUS Long-time blog-readers

Filed on March 18, 2003 at 11:17 pm under by dcobranchi

IT’S CONTAGIOUS Long-time blog-readers know that blogspot has been somewhat unreliable, with very frequent outages. Well, now that blogger.com has been purchased by Google (and moved to the Google servers), blogspot and Google are both down.

TAILOR MADE According to

Filed on at 11:05 pm under by dcobranchi

TAILOR MADE According to this CNN story, The College of the Ozarks sounds like a place where many homeschoolers would fit right in.

The 1,500 students at the four-year liberal arts college in southwest Missouri each work 15 hours a week and pay only room and board.

…Davis said the free education is enticing to parents, but so is the school’s emphasis on character, Christianity and getting ready for the working world.

“The values here represent the best of what made America great,” Davis said. “We are talking about hard work, faith and opportunity.”

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