Utterly Meaningless » 2003 » June

LETTER TO THE EDITOR

Filed on June 30, 2003 at 10:07 am under by dcobranchi

From the York Daily Record:

Let ‘em play: In a lot of Pennsylvania school districts, homeschooled students aren’t permitted to participate in extracurricular activities offered by their local school.
But in other districts, they are.

It’s inconsistent and policies vary from district to district. It would be much fairer for every school district to have the same policy.

The state is trying to remedy that. The state House last week passed a bill that would require school districts to offer extracurricular activities to homeschooled students.

It makes sense.

Part of a well-rounded education includes the lessons learned by participating in events with others, whether it’s as a member of the football team or the chess club. Those opportunities should be available to all students, whether they do their book learning at home or in the schoolhouse.

And those opportunities can lead to something bigger. One of Penn State football’s prize recruits this year is John Shaw of Spring Grove. John was homeschooled, and now he’s getting a full scholarship to a major university.

MORE REGENTS MATH

Filed on at 9:58 am under by dcobranchi

Here’s an interesting column by a math professor who reviewed the exam and has some recommendations. Among these, he suggests that calculators should go. I’ve never understood why they are allowed in the standardized tests (including the SAT). AP exams such as chemistry and physics? Sure. But, the math tests should be about the concepts, not punching in buttons on a graphing calculator.

MISLEADING HEADLINE OF THE DAY

Filed on at 9:27 am under by dcobranchi

The Detroit News takes the title with this ridiculous claim:

Student loan rate drop can hurt some

And, how, you may ask, can a drop in interest rates hurt the borrowers? It can’t. The “hurt” ones are those who locked in an interest rate before the rates fell further. You pays your money and you takes your chances.

A MARXIST, A MUSLIM, AND A MOONIE WALK INTO A BAR…

Filed on at 6:19 am under by dcobranchi

The Guardian (UK) has a somewhat disturbing piece profiling three young women who fit the title categories (well, the “Moonie” actually belongs to some other cult but I couldn’t pass up the alliteration). Of the three, the anti-capitalist seems the least rational.

“I believe that I am a small part of a growing movement that will change the world. In 50 years’ time we will have become a massive force, overthrown capitalism and replaced it with something much nicer,” she says…

Her boyfriend, John, 32, is also an active member of the anti-capitalist movement. For their first date two years ago they protested at the Genoa G8 summit, where Jowett showed him how to soak his scarf in lemon juice to lessen the effects of tear gas. “It brings us together. I couldn’t be with someone who would rather go shopping on a Saturday than go to a demonstration.”

She doesn’t want kids. The other two women are rasing younguns and homeschooling them. So, this isn’t entirely OT.

THE EXODUS CONTINUES

Filed on June 29, 2003 at 3:57 pm under by dcobranchi

Click the logo below for a list of those bloggers who have lately abandoned BlogSpot . IIRC, Joanne Jacobs is soon to join us ex-pats.

Running List Of Blogspot Defectors

DISCRIMINATION IN HAWAII

Filed on at 1:35 pm under by dcobranchi

A school in HI only admits students who are descendants of native Hawaiians. A Caucasian student has sued based on a claim of racial discrimination. In light of the recent SCOTUS decision about diversity being the new national education goal, this might be an interesting test case. One problem, though- the school appears to be completely private, funded by a trust set up by the old royal family. If so, I don’t think he’s got a chance.

IS HOMESCHOOLING LEGAL IN JAPAN?

Filed on at 8:24 am under by dcobranchi

This story is just horrific. It’s amazing how wide some cultural differences are:

Experts say molestation and statutory rape are commonplace in schools across Japan, and that victims rarely come forward. To do so would violate a host of powerful social conventions, said Akiko Kamei, a retired teacher who is the country’s only nationally known expert in classroom sexual abuse.

“In Japan there is a rape myth, which says that the victim of a rape is always to blame,” Ms. Kamei said. “Moreover, women are told that if you suffer molestation or groping, you have to be ashamed. If you talk about it to anyone else, you are going to be tainted for the rest of your life.”

Beyond that, even when they are identified and caught, molesters rarely receive more than a slap on the wrist.

Speaking at a public symposium, a member of Parliament, Seiichi Ota, recently made light of reports of gang rapes at a Tokyo university. “Boys who commit group rape are in good shape,” Mr. Ota said. “I think they are rather normal. Whoops, I shouldn’t have said that.” (The legislator’s comments were carried in many Japanese newspapers.)

LATE BLOGGAGE TODAY

Filed on at 7:28 am under by dcobranchi

Chruch this a.m. and then in to work for a couple hours. See y’all this evening.

WHY DO I DO THIS?

Filed on June 28, 2003 at 10:35 pm under by dcobranchi

Dean Esmay has a very interesting post on blogrolls, gift-giving, and why we blog. Here’s a part of his theory:

So why do it? I suggest it will always be one of the following:

1) They enjoy the recognition they receive, in the same way that actors, comedians, and other entertainers do.

2) They want to change something about themselves or the world around them.

3) They hope that it may lead to paying jobs as writers, or at least help them build marketable skills in that area.

I guess I fall into the first category, although the blog didn’t start out that way. It really was just a glorified distribution list. I was sending out emails to a group of homeschoolers in DE. The messages were very similar to what I still post here: links to online articles with a short (sometimes snarky) comment. The problem was different email systems made formatting impossible. When I discovered blogspot, I was in heaven. All I had to do was send out an email with a link to the post. I really didn’t care about hits or popularity or anything else. I was just happy I didn’t have to play the email games anymore.

It was only months later that I became addicted to this hobby and started paying attention to traffic. Now, I’m hooked. It’s fun seeing who linked to H&OES and checking the referrer logs. I guess there are worse things.

DUMB HOMESCHOOL CURRICULUM VENDOR

Filed on at 7:22 pm under by dcobranchi

Child-Reading-Tips.com links to H&OES from several of its pages including one about the “disadvantages of homeschooling”. Their website is about as poorly designed as they come. They appear to have done a Google search and cut-and-pasted directly out of the results. Dumb!

WHY IS THIS SO HARD?

Filed on at 5:30 pm under by dcobranchi

A Letter to the Editor of the Oregonian is pro-(forced)-testing for homeschoolers. I can’t help myself; it’s gonna get fisked.

I can’t understand why Christine Webb, the author of the letter, “Biased against home schooling” (June 23), is so upset at having to have home-schooled students tested yearly if they, as she claims, do so well on these tests.

There are so many reasons: freedom from governmental control, interference with our educational goals and directions, unnecessary expenses, etc. I don’t understand how an intelligent person could not understand.

I am a retired high school counselor.

Nevermind.

I saw during my career students coming back into the public school system who had been home schooled extremely well by a caring parent or other adult. Unfortunately, I also witnessed students being brought back into the school setting who had spent several years of what I call “No Schooling,” where the most stimulating moment in their day was changing the television channel.

And how many kids are bored to tears in the g-schools, where the highlight of the day is recess?

When these students came back into the school system, they were behind considerably, and now it was the school’s problem to get them caught up.

So? When we liberate kids from the g-schools, it sometimes takes us six months to de-school them. And, besides, anecdotes aren’t very persuasive. I can go one-on-one anecdotally speaking all day.

If public schools are expected to be accountable, so should home-schooling parents.

G-schools are held accountable because they take tax dollars. If teachers don’t want accountability, cut the apron strings. Not bloody likely, eh? How many tax dollars do homeschoolers take? Zero! Zip! Nada! None! Is that clear now? Money=accountability. No money? No accountability. Not to you, not to the schools, and not to the Governor of Oregon. Geez!

ANTI-SOCIAL WORKER ACT

Filed on at 4:39 pm under by dcobranchi

OK, it’s really called the “Keeping Families and Children Safe Act of 2003.” President Bush signed into law a bill to protect families from overzealous social workers. There are three main provisions to the new law

First, social workers will now be required to tell families the nature of the accusations against them at their first contact. With this information, families will be able to legally challenge the social worker and demand that a warrant be obtained before interviews or investigations are conducted. Since warrants can only issue from a judge on the basis of probable cause, overzealous cases can now be efficiently weeded out.

The second provision will require that social workers be provided with additional training in the constitutional rights of citizens. Social workers will be advised that the Constitution protects citizens against unreasonable searches and seizures. The third pertains to citizen advisory boards which can hear complaints against overly aggressive social workers.

Sounds good to me.

TWO FER ONE

Filed on at 6:12 am under by dcobranchi

Skip Oliva beats up on the WashTimes over its citing of the 10th Amendment as the reason the Supreme Court got it wrong in the Texas sodomy case. It seems they (conveniently) forgot about the 9th Amendment.

In support of this argument, the Times cites the Tenth Amendment, which states: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” What the Times neglects to mention is the Ninth Amendment, which provides constitutional protection for “unenumerated” rights not otherwise specified in the Constitution itself. Conservatives have long ignored the Ninth Amendment with malicious forethought because they view it as an obstacle towards their goal of using the government to impose private morality via public law.

Read the whole thing.

OT- Grammar question here: Should “citing” in the first sentence actually be “citation?”

NO IT’S NOT

Filed on at 5:08 am under by dcobranchi

In an article on a new K12 cyber-charter, we have an “expert” quoted who would have been better-served keeping his mouth shut:

“Online learning is the greatest boon ever to home schooling,” said Maeroff, director of the Hechinger Institute on Education and the Media at New York’s Columbia University. “All of a sudden, public funds are available to support these kids.”

I have no problem with cyber-charters, per se, as long as they aren’t referred to as homeschooling. The only thing they have in common is where it occurs. My local polling place is the elementary school down the corner. Does that make me a 1st grader? (link via Izzy at the Homeschooling Revolution)

CALL ME (NOT!)

Filed on June 27, 2003 at 10:11 am under by dcobranchi

The national Do Not Call list aimed at curbing telemarketing excess has gone live. The site is currently swamped so keep trying.

UPDATE: Here’s a link directly to the registration page.

HINT: The Spanish language page is working correctly. Even if you don’t read Spanish, you’ll have no problem figuring out what goes where. “Inscribir” means “Submit”; “Cambiar”, “Change.”

*******************

When done in house, telemarketing can be expensive. Outsourcing to a company that provides outbound call center services can save you money and keep your marketing efforts legitimate by adhering to all Do Not Call regulations.

A GOOD GUY IN TEXAS

Filed on at 9:33 am under by dcobranchi

TX State Rep. Gene Seaman and his wife fund a scholarship program exclusively for homeschoolers in the Coastal Bend area of TX because “so few scholarships are available for them.” (via the Corpus Christi Caller Times).

RUN AWAY!

Filed on at 8:59 am under by dcobranchi

The Jordan School District in South Salt Lake City, UT is considering two related policies. The first will allow teachers to carry concealed weapons on school grounds. The second forbids students from traveling to Canada, Mexico, or overseas unless the trip is absolutely necessary. I wonder if gun-toting teachers would qualify as an absolute necessity to get the heck out of Dodge, er, Salt Lake.

HOMESCHOOL FIELD TRIP?

Filed on June 26, 2003 at 2:50 pm under by dcobranchi

A park near Toledo, OH allows visitors to dig up fossils by the hundreds. Visitors get to keep what they find (trilobites mostly). Admission is free.

SLIGHTLY OT

Filed on at 12:38 pm under by dcobranchi

The SCOTUS has struck down the Texas sodomy law. Why is this only slightly off-topic? Justice Kennedy, in his majority opinion, cites the same case that homeschoolers use to back our right to homeschool, Pierce v. Society of Sisters, 268 U. S. 510 (1925). In fact, summarizing the opinion, he nearly quotes Pierce:

The State cannot demean their existence or control their destiny by making their private sexual conduct a crime. Their right to liberty under the Due Process Clause gives them the full right to engage in their conduct without intervention of the government.

Compare that with this from the 1925 decision:

“The child is not the mere creature of the state; those who nurture him and direct his destiny have the right, coupled with the high duty, to recognize and prepare him for additional obligations.”

See? As I wrote in April, it’s all tied together in that right to privacy that Sen. Rick Santorum thinks doesn’t exist. Pretty amazing that Justice Kennedy cited the same case, huh?

PITIFUL, JUST PITIFUL

Filed on at 11:09 am under by dcobranchi

(Picture Jed Clampett) A homeschooling mom in Northeast PA wants to start a cyber charter.

“We hope to attract special needs students, young mothers, overachievers and job corps students, as well as homeschool and public school students,” the brochure reads…

Knapp, a mother of seven, has a degree in Seconday Education/Home Economics, and is a paralegal. She is also a dairy farmer, and prior to setting up the Hinterland school was homeschooling most of her children.

She’s a “teacher.” What a shock!

UPDATE: In a somewhat bizarre coincidence, Buddy Ebsen is in the news today. CNN reports that the 95-year-old actor was hospitalized for an undisclosed illness.

AA HUMBUG!

Filed on at 8:18 am under by dcobranchi

TX State Senator Rodney Ellis has a piece in the Houston Chronicle extolling the virtues of affirmative action and pushing TX colleges to “throw open the doors” to minorities. I just can’t follow the senator’s “logic”, however.

In 1997, the Legislature developed what has become known as the Top 10 Percent rule. This allowed any student who graduated in the top 10 percent of his or her class automatic admission to the state university of his or her choice.

The results have been mixed. Minority enrollment is up. The University of Texas minority enrollment is back to its pre-Hopwood level. Unfortunately, there have been unintended consequences as well.

A growing number of those admitted to UT are admitted under the Top 10 Percent rule. This has led to a decrease in other kinds of diversity at the university. Reliable predictions show that in just a few years more than 80 percent of those admitted will be under the Top 10 percent rule. This is no replacement for affirmative action.

Minority enrollments are up and this is a bad thing? Why is it such a problem if the majority of TX students admitted to the flagship university of the state of TX are admitted under a program designed by the TX state legislators? This is a state school. Shouldn’t their highest priority be in-state students?

TOO FUNNY

Filed on at 8:08 am under by dcobranchi

A professor and a grad student writing a scholarly paper on plagiarism have been accused of plagiarizing the paper itself.

TOWN HALL

Filed on June 25, 2003 at 7:42 pm under by dcobranchi

TownHall.com has a whole series of columns up about the MI AA cases. Click quick; they’ll probably disappear tomorrow.

PA FLASH

Filed on at 6:16 pm under by dcobranchi

The PA House just passed a bill that would allow homeschoolers to participate in extracurriculars in all school districts statewide. Currently, the districts have the option.

ARCHIVES II

Filed on at 12:03 pm under by dcobranchi

They’re here! Woohoo!

UH-OH IDAHO

Filed on at 11:21 am under by dcobranchi

Izzy today blogs a tale out of Idaho about overreaching edu-crats. One line in particular is noteworthy (although all four proposals stink):

This is what the Blue Ribboners are recommending in this so-called draft:

1. Mandatory registration and oversight of all home schoolers with their local school districts;

2. Required testing of all home schoolers on the Idaho Standard Achievement Test (ISAT);

3. Forced remediation and reassessment of any home school student failing to score at grade level as required of public school students; and

4. Truancy and juvenile criminal prosecution of students and parents failing to comply with these requirements.

Proposal 2. is a direct violation of federal law (NCLB).

Part E, Subpart 1, SEC. 9506 PRIVATE, RELIGIOUS, AND HOME SCHOOLS.
(b) APPLICABILITY TO HOME SCHOOLS- Nothing in this Act shall be construed
to affect a home school, whether or not a home school is treated as a home
school or a private school under State law, nor shall any student schooled
at home be required to participate in any assessment referenced in this Act.

Izzy predicts that this won’t go far. I tend to agree.

BIG GOVERNMENT- A GOOD THING

Filed on at 10:05 am under by dcobranchi

This Letter to the Editor of an OR paper caught GoogleNews’ “eye” becasue of the brief homeschooling reference. The really juicy part, though, is the closing graf.

Government is made up of a lot of people who pay taxes and buy things and help to keep this economy moving. We need to keep those jobs before we need one more tax cut for the rich.

Oh, so that’s why we have bureaucrats- to keep the economy moving. Dollars to donuts that Phillip Fears is lying sideways in the public trough.

2 DOWN, 1 TO GO

Filed on at 8:01 am under by dcobranchi

Here’s a Delaware item: SB103 (Homeschools Defined) passed the House last night on a voice vote. No word yet on whether there will be a signing ceremony. This bill cleans up some very confusing language in the existing homeschool law. The Delware Home Education Association (DHEA) has worked long hours for two years on this bill. Definitely home-stretch time.

THE KING IS DEAD

Filed on at 3:36 am under by dcobranchi

New York State has decided to scrap the results from this year’s Regents math test and allow kids who failed (but passed their math courses) to graduate. Only 37% of the students who took the test passed, compared to 61% last year. That’s not necessarily as bad as it sounds; the test is offered to freshmen through seniors. This is only the second time in 80 years that Regents results were tossed out.

UPDATE: Kim Swygert has more details.

ARCHIVES ARE BACK…

Filed on June 24, 2003 at 5:24 pm under by dcobranchi

sort of. I’ve been able to import the archives back to September ’02. I don’t know why the rest of them disappeared. I’ll try to fix the problem but the older stuff is still available at blogspot.

CHECKMATE!

Filed on at 11:04 am under by dcobranchi

A chess prodigy in England has been pulled out of the g-schools in order to homeschool. His parents had requested that the 7-year-old be allowed to miss a day per week in order to train. Impossible!

“It is a very difficult situation. The father is wanting something that is not possible. We have to ensure we are giving Peter every possible opportunity and fulfilling our legal obligations and responsibilities,” she said.

Parents 1, Edu-crats 0.

HOLD ‘EM OUT?

Filed on at 9:27 am under by dcobranchi

The WaPo has a decent piece on the pros-and-cons of keeping kids with summer birthdays out of kindergarten for an additional year. They report that there is a trend among middle-class parents to keep their kids (especially boys) home (or in daycare).

Studies have found that as many as 10 percent of parents nationally are delaying their children’s entry into kindergarten. The ones being held back tend to be boys, at a ratio of 2 to 1.

But, of course, this isn’t fair to poor kids.

Many say they worry that the trend to wait is serving to further disadvantage children from low-income backgrounds.

“There’s already at least a year’s difference in academic skills between middle-class and low-income preschoolers when they enter school,” Stipek said. The gap is widened if the middle-class student is a full year older.

So, middle class parents are once again expected to offer up their children to the “fairness” god. Blecchh!

UPDATE: The AZ Republic reports today that 71% of 4-year-olds who started kindergarten early have been held back.

833 of the 1,179 young kindergartners this past school year will be retained, nearly 6 percent more than in the previous year. Mesa’s lackluster promotion rate further fueled the controversy between early education proponents and those who equate the movement with parents’ push for state-funded baby-sitting and school districts’ reluctance to forfeit the state dollars that come with the younger students.

TOP TEN

Filed on at 7:47 am under by dcobranchi

Beth Henary has an alarmist post on EdNews about how the University of Texas has screwed up its admissions process with the Top Ten Percent (TTP) rule, whereby any TTP student in the state is guaranteed admission.

The percentage of students UT had no choice but to admit has naturally gone up since the 10 percent law was enacted, including this year when automatic admits soared to 69 percent of the freshman class overall…

[B]ecause no cap was set on the number of students a school had to accept, UT over the last few years has been forced to accommodate its largest freshman classes ever. And the university can only begin looking at criteria such as test scores that compare students across high schools when a student is from out-of-state or has a class rank in the 89th percentile or lower.

Ms. Henary wants to scrap the whole system and, presumably, return to the affirmative action program that TTP replaced. I think there’s probably an easier, though less PC, solution. If TTP causes the freshman class to be too large, just change the program to Top Nine Percent or Top Eight Percent or … There’s nothing special about 10% (other than politician’s penchant for alliteration).

JJ- MIA

Filed on at 6:42 am under by dcobranchi

Kim Swygert reports that Joanne Jacobs has fallen victim to Blogger’s software “upgrade” and has been unable to post since last Friday. Get well soon, Joanne.

BTW, I love the internet. I was just about to fire off an email to Joanne inquiring about the site. Kim scooped me (as usual) and had the info. And, for anyone thinking about making the switch to MT- you’ll love it.

HOMESCHOOLING VS. THE FIRST AMENDMENT

Filed on at 6:28 am under by dcobranchi

No, not really. A homeschooling parent was quoted in support of the Supreme Court’s decision that Congress can “blackmail” libraries to install internet filters on their computers.

A mother of three children ages 11, 9 and 1, Costantino was first exposed to the issue at the Stanwood Library.

“We were just checking out books, and at the computer opposite the checkout stand, my kids saw what was on the screen, and they whispered to me, ‘That guy’s looking at really bad stuff,’ ” Costantino said.

She got mad that taxpayer money was supporting such activity. At one point, she even picketed against one of the library’s levy measures.

If the new ruling means things will change locally, the home-schooling mother said she might consider renewing her library card.

“I’d love to be able to use the library again,” Costantino said.

As I understand it, the Supremes seem to have done a pretty good job on this one. Libraries have the option of giving up the federal money and providing unfiltered access. They will also have to allow an adult to turn off the filter, if requested. The latter might be tricky. It seems to preclude server-side solutions. So, any computer could be made unfiltered by turning off the local filtering software. Ms. Constantino may find herself sans library card once again.

UPDATE: Instapundit has a good take on this

[T]he real lesson is that librarians who don’t like being bossed around by the feds should think twice about accepting federal money, which always comes with strings.

To quote Glenn, “Indeed.” Something to keep in mind the next time homeschoolers are tempted to lobby for some “benefit” from the government.

APPLES AND ORANGES

Filed on June 23, 2003 at 11:56 am under by dcobranchi

EducationNews.org is reporting that several states (including Delaware) had large increases in the percentage of students excluded from NAEP reporting based on limited English proficiency (LEP). EdNews calculates that there is a strong correlation between excluded children and increased test scores, with an almost 1:1 ratio (IOW, excluding an additional one percentage of kids due to LEP leads to a one point increase in NAEP score). DE jumped from 6 percent (in 1998) to 13 percent excluded. Surely, states wouldn’t excluded more kids just to artificially increase their scores, would they? BTW, the table on the linked page is best viewed by setting your text size to “smallest.”

WE HAVE A SPLIT DECISION

Filed on at 11:14 am under by dcobranchi

The Supreme Court appears to have punted a bit, upholding the MI law school AA policy while rejecting the undergrad policy as “not narrowly tailored to achieve educational diversity.” Whatever that means.

A LITTLE OVERBOARD

Filed on at 11:05 am under by dcobranchi

The Sierra Times, which I view as being on the far-side of wacko libertarian, ponders whether to go to war with the government over the Bryant case.

This article should not be construed in any way to condone violence. But if the event that the Bryant or any other family facing the same peril makes it clear that the sovereignty of their home would be defended against government overreaching with whatever force at their disposal, this author would not have too much difficulty justifying their actions – even if they didn‘t live through it…

The Bryants have three choices: Surrender, fight or flee. Winning in the courts is doubtful, since this case never should have made it to court anyway. Any government – every government – must have its limits. When it reaches beyond those limits placed on it by those it governs, it is more than the right of the people to alter or abolish its course…

…It is the people’s responsibility…

When is the use of force justified against government officials? Only you can answer that question.

FINDING NEMO

Filed on at 10:39 am under by dcobranchi

The kid whose voice brings the lost Nemo to life is a homeschooler. All three kids in his family are actors.

HOMESCHOOLING IN EUROPE

Filed on at 10:33 am under by dcobranchi

Iain Murray at the NRO thinks that homeschooling is in danger if the European Constitution is adopted.

In Article 14, however, we see that social policy, too, is an area of human rights, as the charter guarantees the “right to education and to have access to vocational and continuing training . . . [including] the possibility to receive free compulsory education.” Employers must therefore allow their employees to undertake vocational training, and homeschooling is in serious trouble. European teachers’ unions will be happy.

I’m not sure I see the problem but the constitution is not a topic on which I have any knowledge.

WWHS

Filed on June 22, 2003 at 1:27 pm under by dcobranchi

Bullying at g-schools- another good reason to homeschool.

“I’ve been stabbed in the back with a pencil, kicked in my leg all the way up to my knee, they’ve called me names and tripped me,” said Tiffany, 11, who attends Adamsville Elementary…

The last straw for Derenberger came on May 23 when Tiffany came home to tell him she had been hit in the face with a basketball by a boy at school. He called the Muskingum County Sheriff’s Office to file a report.

Tiffany reported to the officer that she knew the act was intentional because the boy held the ball in both hands and threw it directly at her. She also told the officer she had been having problems with that boy and several other students calling her a “disease.”

A fellow student backed Tiffany’s claim in the report.

However, two teachers on recess duty said they didn’t witness the incident, although one stated Tiffany had reported it. Both teachers said they didn’t think Tiffany was being picked on at school.

The child accused of hitting her also denied the allegation.

The reporting officer, Deputy Phil Snider, determined there was no reason to follow up on the case.

POINT – COUNTERPOINT

Filed on at 1:19 pm under by dcobranchi

The two Times (NY and Wash) have Op/Ed pieces today on the Michigan affirmative action cases. Predictably, the NYT is pro-AA and the WaTimes is anti. What is perhaps somewhat surprising, though, is that the NYT piece argues that diversity is not a compelling government interest and that African-Americans harm themselves in bowing to the diversity “god.”

First, while diversity is a goal that deserves to be pursued in its own right, it was a major strategic error for African-American leaders to have advocated it as the main justification for affirmative action. In doing so, they greatly expanded the number of groups entitled to preferences — including millions of immigrants whose claims on the nation pale in comparison to those who have been historically discriminated against. Such a development understandably alarmed many whites who were otherwise prepared to turn a pragmatic blind eye to their principled concerns about affirmative action.

Using diversity as a rationale for affirmative action also distorts the aims of affirmative action. The original, morally incontestable goal of the policy was the integration of African-Americans in all important areas of the public and private sectors from which they had been historically excluded. But if diversity is the goal, the purpose of affirmative action shifts from improving the condition of blacks to transforming America into a multicultural society. Thus the pursuit of inclusion is replaced by the celebration of separate identities.

In a more profound sense, the diversity rationale undermines a hopeful view of America. If the purpose of affirmative action is to redress past wrongs, then it requires both the minority and the majority to do the cultural work necessary to create what Martin Luther King Jr. called the “beloved community” of an integrated nation. Instead, many of its supporters see affirmative action as an entitlement, requiring little or no effort on the part of minorities.

A CYBER STORY

Filed on at 1:10 pm under by dcobranchi

The Contra Costa Times picked up a tale about a cyber-charter in PA. Overall, it’s quite positive and, except for the mandatory testing and “certfified teachers”, almost could have been written about homeschooling.

Marc Stone, 17, and his sister Lisa, 18, who were both graduating, had driven four hours from Gettysburg for the ceremony. Marc underwent a kidney transplant when he was an infant, and he still has health problems.

Cyberschool allowed him to continue advancing — he was already taking college courses — even when he had to spend weeks at a time in the hospital.

“I took my laptop with me,” he explained.

For many of Marc’s fellow graduates, cyberschool had been liberating. They could sit at their computers — in their pajamas, if they wanted — and focus on learning. None of their classmates, or their teachers, knew what they looked like.

Aaron Doctor, whom Trombetta introduced during the ceremony as a poet, was wearing blue nail polish, thick pancake makeup, penciled-on black eyebrows that matched his dyed black hair, and a metal stud through his right ear.

“I had a horrible time in high school,” Aaron said, referring to his hometown school, in Fayette City.

In cyberspace, he said, he can be himself. “It’s a lot more comfortable than the regular world. I can doll it up and draw on my eyebrows. There’s a lot less judgment.”

OT: HEY, CHAD…

Filed on at 3:59 am under by dcobranchi

If Chad Holliday, DuPont CEO, wants to start blogging, I’d be more than happy to help. Hmm, Daryl Cobranchi, Blog Director. I like the sound of that.

THE HAPPY HOMESCHOOLER…

Filed on June 21, 2003 at 9:37 pm under by dcobranchi

has been added to the blogroll. I should have done it a long time ago. Joanne is also clearly a member of the LUAC.

[T]he government has made it clear that they feel they know best what my child should eat, wear, learn and do. I am completely against that thinking. I won’t compromise my “stand” against that aspect of our government for a few art classes.

I’M SO DIZZY…

Filed on at 8:27 am under by dcobranchi

from the all the spinning coming out of the DC Superintendent’s office. The public schools in our nation’s capital scored the lowest on the recent NAEP reading test. This despite having the second-highest per pupil spending in the country.

The superintendent of D.C. public schools yesterday said he had found some good news in a new national report …Superintendent Paul L. Vance said the achievement gap between white, black and Hispanic students has narrowed.

DC- the anti-Lake Wobegon.

MAD IN MA

Filed on at 7:53 am under by dcobranchi

The Massachusetts Family Institute is riled about the treatment that the Bryants and other MA homeschoolers face at the hands of the edu-crats.

Evelyn Reilly, director of public policy at the Massachusetts Family Institute, says the Bryants represent a growing number of families who are part of what is called the “Leave Us Alone Coalition.”

“They just want to be able to be left alone to raise their children according to their own likes [and] not have the government trampling on their constitutional rights,” Reilly says…

“These families are being victimized by an overgrown welfare system [and] overgrown bureaucracy, and by some people that like the thrill of wielding power over other people’s lives,” she says.

Too true. I’m a charter member of that coalition. They need a better name, though, than “Leave Us Alone Coalition.” Something a little catchier. And, it ought to form a cool acronym. Suggestions?

NATIONAL HISTORY DAY

Filed on at 7:41 am under by dcobranchi

At first glance I thought that this article out of MN was mis-titled:

State performs well in national history contest

The lede is about a homeschooler who won the competition.

Kristina Bjorkman, of Homeschool-Partnership, took first place in the senior individual performance category with her entry, “Forgotten Heroines: The Rights of the WWI Signal Corps.”

It looked like the MN was “claiming” homeschoolers. The rest of the article, though, does list other winners from the state.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK

Filed on at 7:25 am under by dcobranchi

New York may have a serious testing screw-up on it hands. Math teachers across the state are reporting a failure rate of 70- 80% on the “Math A Regents Exam.” The normal pass rate is ~50% in the city.

The Regents used to be optional but now, apparently, functions as the state exit exam. Kids who failed will be permitted to march at graduation but won’t receive diplomas unless they can pass the test in August.

HELP WANTED

Filed on at 3:14 am under by dcobranchi

Between the blogger exodus and my general slackness, the blogroll has become woefully out-of-date. If you’d like to see your site included in the blogroll, have an updated URL, or would like for me to move you from one category to the other please drop me a comment or email.

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