Utterly Meaningless » 2003 » August

WHAT’S HE DONE FOR US?

Filed on August 31, 2003 at 5:53 pm under by dcobranchi

In an analysis piece about the upcoming Presidential election we find this:

“I think the center-right coalition — the Republican base, the Reagan base, the Bush base — is very happy with Bush,” said Grover Norquist, President of Americans for Tax Reform. “On the central organizing issue for each of the constituency groups, Bush has kept faith with each group. To taxpayers, he’s cut their taxes. To property rights people, he’s been good on property rights. To home-schoolers, he’s been good on home schooling. To pro-lifers, he’s done partial birth abortion. To the gun community, he’s been good on the Second Amendment.”

I can’t think of a single thing either positive or negative that Pres. Bush has done for or to homeschoolers. I don’t think the gun community is too happy with him, either.

CAUTION! EDUCRATS AT WORK

Filed on at 5:40 pm under by dcobranchi

A family moved into a new townhouse designed specifically for their wheelchair-bound daughter. Unfortunately, the home was a few feet on the other side of the boundary line for the school district where their son had been enrolled. Not to worry, the educrats have an answer:

Butler County Commissioner Michael Fox has sent a letter to Fairfield Superintendent Robert Farrell protesting his decision not to grant an exemption to the Godseys.”Aside from it being heartless, it’s just stupid,” Fox said. “Schools are supposed to keep the interest of the child central to their mission. There’s no reason on earth those children should go through the disruption.”

In an e-mail to Fox, Farrell said he would consider enrolling the Godseys if he received assurance this week they would move into a unit in the Fairfield side of the complex.

To quote Instapundit: “Cut his pay and send him home.”

NO COMMENT

Filed on at 5:30 pm under by dcobranchi

I just don’t know what to say about this “Letter to the Editor” of the Salt Lake Tribune (my old hometown paper):

Sometimes, if we just step back from the passions of politics and society for just a moment, we can see just how hysterically surreal our world is. Take, for example, the story “Sex topics put teacher under fire” (Tribune, Aug. 27).
And I quote: “Alpine School District officials are investigating [an] Orem High School teacher . . . after some parents complained she told their children to be open-minded about sexual orientation and same-sex marriage.”
God forbid actual thinking in schools, of all places! I suggest that if you want your kids to think exactly like you (to be narrow-minded), you should home school them. Then you could leave public education to the people who actually appreciate it.

Matt Shake
Salt Lake City

LAZY HOMESCHOOLERS

Filed on at 5:27 pm under by dcobranchi

Here are two good reasons to abandon homeschooling and enroll your kids in a g-virtual school:

“What I liked most was, I didn’t have to pay — and I didn’t have to do lesson planning or grading. The school does it for you and saves hours of work, ” said Debbie Dueck, who homeschools her three older sons through a Christian program. One son, 12-year-old Stephen, will join Nathan in cyber class this fall, as grades 6 and 7 have been added.

< sarcasm >I wish we had one of these in Delaware.< /sarcasm >

TRUTH? NOT!

Filed on at 5:21 pm under by dcobranchi

The self-described “eTruth” has a pretty ugly article up about private schools in Indiana. Homeschooling is referred to as the “other private school.” There’s a brief section on an unschooling family and then the remainder is 100% negative:

Sue Walsh, a Pinewood Elementary School teacher, said most homeschool settings probably produce successful students like Neff’s but that she’s seen parents use the homeschooling label when they’re really not doing anything at home.

“Because there is no regulation in Indiana on homeschooling, I’ve seen experiences where parents get mad at the teacher and pull them out, saying they’re homeschooling,” she said. “Then that wears down, and they bring them back, and it’s clear all they’ve been doing is watching TV.”

It’s not the norm, she said, but it does happen.

Walsh wonders about the perhaps hundreds of children in Elkhart County who are unaccounted for, whose parents might say they’re homeschooling them but really aren’t doing anything educational.

“Somehow these parents need to be followed up on,” she said. “We are holding schools over-accountable and homeschools under-accountable

“We are missing out on these children; we are failing these children. The answer, of course, is to test them all,” she said.

The penultimate paragraph is a classic. G-schools have been getting away with wasting hundreds of billions of tax dollars for decades. Now, they’re being required to show some results and this whiney educrat complains that they’re over-accountable. That’s rich. And how many tax dollars do homeschoolers waste each year?

SAY IT AIN’T SO!

Filed on August 30, 2003 at 9:30 pm under by dcobranchi

Homeschooler and WND columnist Kyle Williams has enrolled in the g-schools. He explains why here.

__________________________________________
We now have University of Maryland as well, that is equally participating in the promotion of online education. This actually began with Kaplan University offering gmat precourses online.

… AND IN EL PASO

Filed on at 9:23 pm under by dcobranchi

Where seldom is heard, a discouraging word.

A TREND TO WATCH

Filed on at 9:14 pm under by dcobranchi

That’s what MSNBC has to say about homeschooling. It’s actually quite positive and even refers to “the ‘S’ word.” I mean, the article uses the term “the ‘S’ word.” Very cool.

WAAAAAHHH!

Filed on at 10:20 am under by dcobranchi

New York State has re-scored this year’s Regent’s Math test which was deemed too hard(see Kim’s blog for a good summary). The passing score was lowered from 55 to 39. That this will allow the same percentage of students who passed the 2002 exam to pass this year indicates that this year’s test was much harder. All’s well that ends well. Except this article, which ends quite poorly:

An independent panel of math experts appointed by Mills found this week that the statewide test was too hard.

The panel, which is working to improve future tests, found the exam had no trigonometry questions, which was unfair to students who spent a lot of time preparing for that subject. It also noted there were three questions on the Pythagorean theorem, which it deemed a bit much for students who don’t understand it.

NOW THAT’S A “Y”!

Filed on August 29, 2003 at 8:41 pm under by dcobranchi

The Atchison Globe has a very nice article about several homeschooling families in Kansas. What really caught my eye, though, was this:

Next week after Labor Day, the YMCA will start home school classes every week. There are two classes offered for $1 per week per child. The first class is for 5- through 9-year-olds, the second class is for 10- to 14-year-olds.

The Wilmington Western “Y” charges $12/week, and the “teachers” don’t even like homeschoolers. Big ripoff.

WHAT DOES $5000 BUY?

Filed on at 6:54 pm under by dcobranchi

According to the Cato Institute, a fine private school education. One of the arguments that one sometimes hears against these kinds of studies is that they don’t take into account the fixed costs of education (e.g., maintaining the buildings, paying the light bill, etc.) We currently spend somewhere around $8600 per student per year. According to this Census Bureau report (page 19), “Operation and Maintenance” account for ~10% of total education spending. So, a $5000 voucher should be eminently achievable. Here’s the Cato press release (thanks to Isabel Lyman for the nudge).

August 28, 2003

$5,000 school vouchers would give most students access to quality private schools

Average elementary private school tuition per student is less than $3,500, much less than public schools spend

WASHINGTON–For over 20 years, education experts, teachers, and parents have pressed for the introduction of market forces into the American primary and secondary education system, citing the lack of competition and consumer choice as the key reason so many of America’s public schools are failing. Critics of school vouchers often respond that offering vouchers as an alternative to public education is unworkable because they do not cover the perceived high costs of a private school education. However, according to a new Cato Institute Policy Analysis, “What Does a Voucher Buy? A Closer Look at the Cost of Public Schools,” a $5,000 voucher or tax credit would give students access to most private schools because the average cost of elementary private school tuition is only $3,500.

Author David F. Salisbury, director of the Cato Institute’s Center for Educational Freedom, surveyed private schools in six large- and mid-sized American cities: Charleston, New Orleans, Denver, Houston, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C., places where school choice legislation has been recently implemented or is currently being considered. He found that the majority of private elementary schools charged $5,000 or less per student per year. Although they were not in the majority, in each city there were also private secondary whose annual tuition was less than $5,000.

Interestingly, 45 of 62 private elementary schools in Washington, D.C. charge less per student per year than the District of Columbia Public Schools spends per student. Additionally, lower income cities included in the survey—New Orleans and Philadelphia—have more low-cost than high-cost schools; 93 percent of elementary schools in New Orleans and 89 percent of elementary schools in Philadelphia cost less than $5,000 a year.

Existing school choice programs have already provided evidence that increased benefits and options are available to students after choice programs are implemented. Salisbury notes that “in Florida, for example, where students are able to attend private schools under several choice programs, the number of private schools in the state increased as school choice became more predominant.”

The study clearly shows that in addition to bringing more educational options to interested parents, a well-crafted voucher or tax credit program would more than meet the costs of the average private school. Salisbury concludes that “a voucher or tax credit of $5,000 or more per student would give families the clout they need as consumers . . . . Even a poor child, armed with a voucher of $5,000 could obtain a quality private education in any of the cities [covered in the survey], and the prices of private schools in these municipalities are representative of private school costs around the country.”

Policy Analysis no. 486

Contact:

David Salisbury, director of the Center for Educational Freedom, 202-789-5246, dsalisbury@cato.org
Chris Kilmer, media coordinator, 202-218-4621, ckilmer@cato.org
Evans Pierre, director of broadcasting, 202-789-5204, epierre@cato.org

The Cato Institute is a nonpartisan public policy research foundation dedicated to broadening policy debate consistent with the traditional American principles of individual liberty, limited government, free markets, and peace.

DARN!

Filed on at 10:15 am under by dcobranchi

I just found out that Mindspring (my soon-to-be-retired ISP) has been blocking Nigeria scam letters as spam. Who knows how many untold millions they might have cost me! Think I’ll sue.

ALARMING HED

Filed on at 9:50 am under by dcobranchi

This headline is just a bit misleading:

Plan calls for home-schooler testing

Of course, my radar lit up instantly. The article is really about placement testing former homeschoolers when they enroll in the g-schools. Larry Kaseman, for whom I have the utmost respect, is distinctly opposed but I really don’t have much of a problem with it. Except- the school is charging the parents $20 per test. That is ridiculous; any placement test should be paid for by the school.

ALL-AROUND GOOD KID

Filed on at 9:41 am under by dcobranchi

Here’s a nice profile of a homeschooled entrepreneur who also finds time to volunteer as “McGruff” for the police. Reporters continue to tick me off, though, when they include comments such as these:

The surprising thing is Gruenwald is only 16 years old and has never attended public school.

…Michael’s parents, Robert and Jennefer Gruenwald, taught school in Missouri and California before coming to Texas 12 years ago. The Gruenwalds are not certified to teach school in Texas, but certification is not required for homeschooling.

Bah!

THIRTEEN…

Filed on at 9:32 am under by dcobranchi

A pro-homeschooling movie? Apparently the well-received flick is not for children.

The winner of the Sundance Directing Award for first-timer Catherine Hardwicke, “Thirteen” opens with a close-up of teenage Tracy (Evan Rachel Wood), music headphones clamped in place. She and a pal are huffing nitrous oxide and then punching each other in the face, desperate to feel something in their otherwise numb lives.
Flash back four months, and we meet the other Tracy, the innocent child who is shocked at the vulgarity casually displayed at her new middle school. The setting may be for children, but the profanity and sexuality oozing out of every teen gesture is purely adult.
These scenes alone could divert a few youngsters toward home-schooling.

I won’t be watching it, either.

THOU SHALT NOT BEAR FALSE IMPRESSIONS

Filed on August 28, 2003 at 6:06 pm under by dcobranchi

Here’s a follow-up to a story about some young ladies who were strip-searched at the g-school. A teacher had $55 stolen and the school basically accused 10 girls of being the thief. The money was not found. The interesting part- the school originally denied that the girls had been strip-searched.

“They were searched by a female nurse. They were patted down. Their pockets were emptied. They held out exterior articles of clothing to shake out … so if there was something stuck in the clothing, it would fall out. Never were they asked to remove their clothes,” the paper quoted Winston as saying.

Not true. They have now admitted that they did indeed strip-search them.

“The school administration regrets giving a false impression that the incident either did not happen or was blown out of proportion,” the district conceded in its statement.

False impression? Where I’m from, that’s called lying. Good thing he wasn’t testifying in court. Justice Moore could have thrown that 5,280 pound monument at him.

NOT SO HAPPY

Filed on at 5:50 pm under by dcobranchi

Joanne (aka “The Happy Homeschooler) is decidely un. She’s got a good post about how the homeschooling community is set to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. I also just learned she has another blog. Click here.

GAG!

Filed on at 2:46 pm under by dcobranchi

The University of Michigan’s new application process includes this assignment:

Students will have three writing requirements–two of 250 words each and one of 500 words–plus an optional fourth essay. One of the 250-word essays deals with diversity, with applicants choosing from the following two questions:

1. At the University of Michigan, we are committed to building an academically superb and widely diverse educational community. What would you as an individual bring to our campus community?

2. Describe an experience you’ve had where cultural diversity–or a lack thereof–has made a difference to you.

I don’t care if my kids get a full-ride scholarship to UM; they are NOT going there.

… AND IN MASSACHUSETTS

Filed on at 1:39 pm under by dcobranchi

Here’s a fairly positive homeschooling-is-on-the-grow article. A few negative educrat comments but that is de rigeur.

DO YOU THINK THEY CARE?

Filed on at 12:23 pm under by dcobranchi

I found this headline from the Houston Chronicle funny:

School vending machines criticized

I HAVE A DREAM

Filed on at 12:20 pm under by dcobranchi

Today marks the 40th Anniversary of the March on Washington. Here’s a link to the full text of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream,” delivered on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. This one is one of the great speeches in American History- a fitting homeschool assignment for the day.

PSA: A NEW NIGERIA SCAM LETTER

Filed on at 6:34 am under by dcobranchi

I haven’t seen this one before- I won $750,000 in a lottery but have to travel to Europe to claim the money.

W.S. Lottery Headquarters
:Customer Service
580 N. Tenth Street, CA 85914
Watergate Sweepstake Lotteryan
Affiliate of WATERGATE INC.
Arena Complex Km 18 Route de RufisqueI
.P.P Award Dept.Ref: WSL/941OYI/03
Batch: 033/06/MA346/03

WINNING NOTIFICATION:

We happily announce to you the draw of the Watergate Sweepstake Lottery International programs covering Australia, New Zealand, Asia, South America, as part our International Promotions Program, which is conducted annually held on the 26th of July, 2003.

Your e-mail address attached to ticket number: 914876000654 188 with Serial number 7501/03 drew the lucky numbers: 06-94-97-20-001, which subsequently won you the lottery in the 3rd category.

you have therefore been approved to claim a total sum of US$750,000.00 (Seven Hundred and Fifty Thousand United States Dollars) credited to file WSL/SA/9799-0021/03.This is from a total cash prize of US$ 9,000,000.00 (Nine Million United States Dollars), shared among the first Twelve (12) lucky winners in this category.

All participants were selected randomly from World Wide Web sites through computer draw system and extracted from over 100,000 companies. This promotion takes place annually.

Please note that your lucky winning number falls within our European booklet representative office in Europe as indicated in your play coupon. In view of this, your US$750,000.00 (Seven Hundred and Fifty Thousand United States Dollars) would be released to you by our payment office in Europe.

Our European agent will immediately commence the process of your winning to facilitate the release of your funds as soon as you contact him. For security reasons, you are advised to keep your winning information confidential till your claims is processed and your money remitted to you in whatever manner you deem fit to claim your prize. This is part of our precautionary measure to avoid double claiming and unwarranted abuse of this program by some unscrupulous elements. Please be warned.

To file for your claim, please contact our fiduciary agent: Dr. Spenser Wilford
WATERGATE INC. Email: dr.spenser1@juno.com To avoid unnecessary delays and complications, please quote your Ticket, Reference and Batch numbers in any correspondences with us or our designated agent.

Congratulations once more from all members and staffs of this program. Thank you for being part of our promotional lottery
program.

Sincerely,
Ben Venuto
W.S.L. Co-ordinator.

PSA: YOUR HELP IS NEEDED

Filed on August 27, 2003 at 8:55 pm under by dcobranchi

Skip Oliva and The Center for Voluntary Trade need to raise $2000 in September in order to keep fighting the good fight against the FTC. Here’s the release:

Citizens for Voluntary Trade is raising money to finance our campaign in defense of physician rights. For the past two years, the Federal Trade Commission and Justice Department’s Antitrust Division have repeatedly attacked the right of doctors to form voluntary associations to negotiate with HMOs and other “third-party” health payors that dominate America’s healthcare system. Under the current system, government-sponsored HMOs compel physicians to accept compensation well below market level. Doctors often fail to realize any profit on a patient, or even a group of patients, because of managed care’s compensation scheme. To preserve the financial stability, if not profitability, of their practices, physicians try to form voluntary associations to negotiate compensation terms with third-party payors.

Here’s an example of the policy in action: Marcia Brauchler is a Denver-based management consultant for two physician groups prosecuted last year by the FTC. The FTC staff also targeted Brauchler, a sole proprietor earning less than $30,000 working from home, claiming she broke the antitrust laws by “coercing” several multi-billion dollar HMOs into negotiating with her physician clients. Brauchler was threatened with criminal sanctions and financial ruin by FTC lawyers if she contested the Commission’s charges so she, like most FTC defendants, settled without a hearing.

In any other profession, the actions of Brauchler and her physicians would not spark controversy. But the FTC and DOJ, on their own initiative and without any authority from the Constitution or Congress, arbitrarily prohibit physicians from acting in their self-interest as a violation of antitrust law. Since President Bush took office in 2001, his appointees to the FTC and DOJ have sought to eradicate any effort by physicians to collectively negotiate with HMOs. Federal regulators instead seek to force physicians to accept whatever compensation terms the HMOs dictate–terms the government knows are not a reflection of free market negotiations.

More than a dozen groups, constituting more than 6,000 physicians, have been victimized under the current FTC-DOJ policy. The organizations that are supposed to protect physicians’ rights–i.e., the American Medical Association–have stood by in near-silence while regulators pick off doctors one group at a time. CVT is one of two national organizations dedicated to addressing the antitrust crisis in healthcare (the other is the Center for the Advancement of Capitalism). For the past year, we have fought every effort by the FTC and DOJ to distort the marketplace against doctors. In doing so, we fight not just for the physicians and their economic interests, but for patients as well. Managed care does not benefit the average customer; it provides an inferior service for an inflated price, leaving customers as much at the mercy of HMOs as physicians.

CVT is committed to beating back the federal antitrust attack on physicians, but we need additional resources to make that happen. Our current budgetary needs are modest by the inflated standards of Washington lobbyists and think tanks, but we require funds nevertheless. During the month of September, CVT needs to raise just $2,000 to maintain and expand its current programming. These funds will help finance the following objectives:

* Publication of a comprehensive policy paper analyzing the dozen-plus physician cases prosecuted by the FTC and DOJ since 2001;

* Litigation against the DOJ and FTC to force disclosure of information on recent physician cases;

* Assisting congressional efforts to hold hearings on the FTC and DOJ’s antitrust activities; and

* Creation of an “early warning system” to seek out and assist physician groups before they are targeted by federal regulators.

The importance of this issue cannot be overstated. Several physician groups have been prosecuted under the antitrust laws for not accepting bankruptcy over negotiating with HMOs. With recent congressional efforts to expand the government’s intervention in the healthcare market to prescription drugs, it is essential to stop the FTC and DOJ before they are given another excuse to attack physicians. No doctor is safe under the current policy.

Despite the dire circumstances, CVT is confident that defenders of individual rights and capitalism can triumph in this battle. The FTC-DOJ anti-physician policy has never been tested in court, and based on the FTC’s past antitrust defeats, we are confident that once these policies are placed under the appropriate amount of scrutiny, the physicians will prevail. But that can’t happen unless CVT has the resources it needs to take on the federal antitrust machine.

CVT’s work, however, is not limited to protecting doctors. Federal regulators use antitrust to attack the rights of every American, and CVT’s planned programming will address the following issues:

* First Amendment — the FTC and DOJ use antitrust to restrict the free speech and assembly rights of individuals and businesses. For example, the DOJ recently forced Village Voice Media and NT Media to sell publishing assets to third parties (chosen by the government) to prevent alleged monopolization of the “alternative newsweekly” market. The DOJ argued the need for diverse outlets overruled the First Amendment rights of publishers to control their product.

* Technology mergers — the FTC routinely ignores federal law that exempts mergers under a certain value from antitrust review. To get around the law, the FTC instead forces companies to undo mergers after the fact, sometimes years after the fact. The technology industry has come under particular attack using this illegal tactic. Small technology firms have no ability to know before entering a merger whether their actions will be deemed illegal by FTC lawyers.

* Intellectual property — the FTC uses antitrust to undermine the intellectual property rights of pharmaceutical and technology firms. In one pending case, the FTC is attempting to strip Rambus, Inc., of nearly $4 billion worth of intellectual property despite the fact a federal appeals court recently upheld as legal the same conduct the FTC claims was illegal. The FTC, in effect, is doing an end-run around the legitimate judicial system by hauling Rambus before an FTC-controlled administrative court.

CVT’s work on all of these issues is essential. We need your financial and volunteer assistance through any of the following means:

* A contribution of $20, $50, or $100; CVT accepts checks and money orders via mail or credit card donations via PayPal (go here and click the PayPal logo in the top right corner).

* Signup for CVT’s e-mail list to remain apprised of pending activities and the latest antitrust threats to America’s businesses.

* Volunteer to assist CVT with legal research, website development, public relations, or fundraising.

Any and all assistance is greatly appreciated.

Skip Oliva
President, Citizens for Voluntary Trade
Senior Fellow, Center for the Advancement of Capitalism

I GIVE HER A WEEK

Filed on at 4:22 pm under by dcobranchi

Some parents are upset that their new g-school wasn’t finished on time and is still under construction. Solvents stored in the “cafetorium” are blamed for causing a flu-like illness. This is just panicky parents scaring the kids into psychosomatic illnesses.

[Karen] Dame was irate, saying the school should not have been opened if it was still under construction.

“It’s a war zone … I’m pulling my child and home-schooling him, as many parents are,” Dame said.

A war zone? Because the school isn’t quite finished. Gimme a break! She wouldn’t survive homeschooling.

MUY BUENO

Filed on at 6:27 am under by dcobranchi

Izzy does a very nice job summarizing some of this year’s legislative battles in The New American. Her concluding ‘graf:

Frederic Bastiat, the 19th-century French economist, could have been writing about deregulating homeschooling when he opined, “It [the law] can permit this transaction of teaching-and-learning to operate freely and without use of force….” Perhaps more American legislators will get the message: Homeschooling works best when it is left alone.

NO HOMESCHOOLERS THIS YEAR?

Filed on at 5:52 am under by dcobranchi

A Gallup poll about K-12 education reports that 3% of Americans with school-age kids will homeschool this year. The margin of error for the poll is 3%. So, conceivably, Lydia and I may be the only homeschoolers in the whole country. What happened to the rest of y’all?

Actually, the 3% number seems a bit high. I’ve seen closer to 1.5% quoted all over the place.

Another interesting factoid from the poll: Americans think public education overall is pretty poor but their schools are doing fine. This result isn’t surprising, at all. Most parents feel they have no choice but to send their kids to the g-schools. Rating them lousy would only set up a little cognitive dissonance and might force them to do something. Much easier to give their local school a good grade and call it quits. Congress benefits from the same phenomenon. The public thinks politicians are corrupt but continues to re-elect the same people over and over.

HOMESCHOOLING & LIBERTY

Filed on August 26, 2003 at 6:17 pm under by dcobranchi

Isaabel Lyman posed the following question:

How does homeschooling advance liberty?

She wants feedback.

SOUNDS FAMILIAR

Filed on at 10:56 am under by dcobranchi

The University of Washington is having difficulty recruting black couples to participate in a study “find out how parents communicate and raise healthy, well-adjusted children.” The reearchers attribute this reluctance to “[f]ears of exploitation and a cultural tendency not to discuss “the family’s business” with outsiders.” I understand completely; I’d bet that homeschoolers were underrepresented in these kinds of studies, too.

ORATORICAL CONTEST

Filed on at 6:49 am under by dcobranchi

The American Legion’s contest includes this requirement:

All contestants must be bona fide students, described as any student under the age of twenty (20) years on the date of the National Contest who is presently enrolled in a high school or junior high school (public, parochial, military, private or state accredited home school)…

What’s a “state accredited” homeschool?

FREEDOM OF NON-RELIGION?

Filed on at 6:40 am under by dcobranchi

An atheistic Philly parent is suing her local school district over the issue of school uniforms. Or, more precisely, she’s suing because parents can get a religiois exemption. She thinks that’s not “fair.” Prof. Volokh is quoted in the article.

… AND IN BOSTON

Filed on August 25, 2003 at 10:27 pm under by dcobranchi

Mostly harmless.

I’M TORN

Filed on at 10:05 pm under by dcobranchi

A mom in NC has started two homeschooling organizations for African-Americans. I applaud her drive but this one raised the hairs on the back of my neck:

I want to stress that home schooling is a wonderful option for families, but parents must be willing and wholly dedicated to teaching their children well. As homeschoolers, parents will essentially become their children’s primary teachers. No one else will teach their children or be responsible for their children’s education but them, so home education is not only a rewarding endeavor, but a daunting one as well. For that reason, it’s important for all homeschoolers to connect with educational advisers so that they can build up an appropriate curriculum including literacy, Math and Science, Gifted Education and English. Since many parents don’t have access to educators in person, we provide the opportunity for parents to garner advice from professionals on our websites.

Thanks but no thanks. Parents are perfectly capable of acquiring curricula and materials without getting the professionals involved. She’s not even a newbie yet- she’ll learn.

NICE PROFILE

Filed on at 9:38 pm under by dcobranchi

This one almost fit into the …AND IN MICHIGAN category. The dad pulls off the best line:

Is there a down side? Mike thought for a long moment before answering.

“No. It’s harder for parents, but the peer pressure on the children is less. It’s a lot of work; we’re ultimately responsible, and responsibility is what we’re trying to teach them.”

Amen!

COMMENTS

Filed on at 9:17 pm under by dcobranchi

HSLDA attorney Scott Somerville responded to the anti-HSLDA site post from last week. I wanted to make sure that y’all knew to go back and read his comments. Disclosure: I’ve exchanged several emails with Scott from listservs where we both hang out. I find him to be a very nice guy who is quite serious about homeschooling and related issues. Here’s a link to the comments; Scott’s is the 4th one down.

LIMITED BLOGGING

Filed on August 24, 2003 at 11:13 am under by dcobranchi

A quick business trip this afternoon and tomorrow will likely limit blogging until tomorrow night. Maybe I’ll get lucky and they’ll have WiFi access in the hotel. If not, see you tomorrow.

FIGURES

Filed on at 11:09 am under by dcobranchi

Only in Seattle could they come up with an “Espresso” tax for the g-schools. Yes, you read that correctly. There is a proposal to tax every espresso and latte ten cents.

The tax would apply only to espresso drinks such as lattes, mochas and cappuccinos — whether they’re caffeinated or not. It would not apply to regular drip coffee. Businesses with gross annual sales of less than $50,000 would be exempt.

I guess I’d have to switch to Cafe Americano.

CLASSY KID

Filed on August 23, 2003 at 3:34 pm under by dcobranchi

Fourteen-yearold homeschooler Emily Clayton knits for the troops. She’s the youngest volunteer among a group of women who make slippers, gloves, and other cold-weather items for Sailors and Marines stationed overseas.

MORE REASONs TO HOMESCHOOL

Filed on at 9:10 am under by dcobranchi

I hadn’t thought of some of these:

And, as the very practical 11-year-old Danielle Howard of Delray Beach [FL] puts it, “You get out really early, there’s no head lice and no school bullies.”

PSA: NEW HAMPSHIRE

Filed on at 7:07 am under by dcobranchi

FREE STUFF at FIRST!

*WHEN?* Saturday, September 6, 2003 from 8AM to noon!

*WHERE?* FIRST in Manchester, NH! Materials will be distributed out of
the FIRST loading dock, which faces Commercial Street. The number on the
glass door to the left of the loading dock and dumpster is 255.

*WHAT are we giving away?* Used and obsolete surplus materials from
FIRST Robotic competitions such as motors, wire, castors and anything
else we can find. It all MUST go.

*HOW do you haul it away?* It is a B.Y.O.B. (Bring your own box) to
carry the material away.

This is first come, first served event!

… AND IN ATLANTA

Filed on August 22, 2003 at 6:13 pm under by dcobranchi

Another in the everlasting series of start-of-the-school-year-homeschooling is-an-alternative.

CLOSE ‘EM ALL DOWN

Filed on at 6:08 pm under by dcobranchi

Another WWHS article:

A Gilbert high school teacher accused of attempting to molest a co-worker’s 7-year-old daughter on the school campus in 2000 was arrested Thursday.

It was the ninth time since March 2002 that a Valley schoolteacher has been implicated in sexual misconduct with a child.

THE LETTER OF THE LAW

Filed on at 8:43 am under by dcobranchi

Maryland educrats are attempting to force a 2nd grader to attend an officially failing school, even though his mother wants hime to transfer under NCLB. The reason? He attended a private school last year (which has since closed). The educrats interpret NCLB literally:

The law says children “enrolled” in underperforming schools may switch to better ones, and Jareaux believes that also applies to kids who simply live in a school’s district, but have not registered in the school.

The Howard school system disagrees, interpreting “enrolled” to mean that a pupil must attend a failing school to transfer from it. So Jareaux’s son, who went to a private school in Washington last year, does not qualify.

Insanity. The mother is frustrated to the breaking point:

“What are those who move into the district supposed to do?” asked an exasperated Jareaux, “Send our kids to a bad school for a year first? I’m not willing to take that risk.”

…”I’m terrified and petrified of him going there. In my mind it’s not an option,” Jareaux said. “If I have to use my home equity line to pay my bills for the next couple of months so I can home-school him, that’s what I’ll do.”

She followed the rules. She registered him in June, prior to the school being declared a federal disaster area. The educrats should be ashamed.

DENNIS PRAGER

Filed on August 21, 2003 at 10:02 pm under by dcobranchi

Stephanie H. sent an email about Dennis Prager (about whom “I know noth-ink”):

Today on the Dennis Prager show, Dennis (who is pro-homeschool) said that one drawback of homeschooling is that all the kids with good values are taken out of the schools, which is why schools are becoming worse places.

Transcripts aren’t available so I can’t give a direct quote. Perhaps he said this as a joke but, if not, this is just plain dumb.

G-school teachers have made essentially the same complaint for years; homeschooling takes the “best” parents out of the system. My answer to both Prager and the educrats is the same: Do you really expect us to sacrifice our kids and their education in the name of “fairness” to the g-schools? Not bloody likely.

HOMESCHOOL ATTORNEYS

Filed on at 5:06 pm under by dcobranchi

Since the subject of matters legal came up via comment in the ANTI-HSLDA thread, I thought I’d post a link to the Association of Home School Attorneys.

Mission Statement

It is the mission of the Association of Home School Attorneys to support homeschooling by promoting knowledge of homeschooling laws. The Association will promote knowledge of homeschooling laws in several ways:

  • by creating a network of attorneys interested in homeschooling who share legal information among themselves,
  • by acting as a clearinghouse for dissemination of legal information to the homeschooling community, and
  • by working to educate the legal community and government agencies in contact with homeschooling families, such as District Attorneys, Child Protective Services, Family Court Services, Child Custody Attorneys and Mediators, and Family and Juvenile Law Judges.
  • BLECCH!

    Filed on at 12:42 pm under by dcobranchi

    Here are some more homeschooling parents begging the educrats to allow their kids to participate in extracurriculars. A particularly ugly ‘graf:

    There also were personal stories‚ such as the a woman Godshall knew of in Allentown who was homeschooled and was able to get into Brown University based on her extracurricular activities.

    Yeah, right. What kind of extracurricular activities would get you into a college that you otherwise couldn’t? If she was on an athletic scholarship, just come right out and say it.

    ABSOLUTELY WRONG!

    Filed on at 12:06 pm under by dcobranchi

    In an otherwise decent article about a cyber-charter in Ohio, we get this:

    Some critics include home-schooling activists who want to make religious instruction an integral part of their children’s daily education. Because of the constitutional wall between church and state, those parents fear online public education will restrict their ability to teach religion.

    Homeschoolers aren’t opposed to cyber charters because we fear that “online public education will restrict [our] ability to teach religion.” We are opposed to the continued confusion that cyber-charters are basically government-supported homeschooling. This confusion, which K12 has assisted, threatens our freedoms across the board. If newspapers and government officials (including educrats) could keep them separate, I think homeschoolers would pretty much ignore the whole thing.

    VOUCHER STUDY PRETTY WEAK

    Filed on at 7:06 am under by dcobranchi

    Joanne Jacobs blogged a Manhattan Institute study that purports to show that Florida’s A+ voucher program works- that is, the competition from voucher schools causes the g-schools to improve. That may be but the study appears fatally flawed in several respects: 1) Causation is inherently difficult to prove and 2) The study groups schools into 5 categories and examines their improvement but the groupings are not mutually exclusive. In other words, schools can fall into more than one category.

    Voucher Eligible Schools

    These schools have received at least two Fs since FCAT grades were first given in 1998-99 and have been deemed chronically failing by the state.

    Voucher Threatened Schools

    Voucher Threatened Schools have received exactly one F in the three school years prior to the administration of the 2002-03 FCAT.

    Always D Schools

    Always D Schools have never received any grade other than D.

    Ever D Schools

    These schools have received at least one D since grades have been given but have never received an F. Ever D Schools includes all the schools in the Always D category.

    Formerly Threatened Schools

    Formerly Threatened Schools received an F in the first year of FCAT grading, 1998-99, but have not received another F since.

    The study hypothesizes that the Always and Ever D schools will improve more that the Formerly Threatened Schools, but I find it difficult to believe that every school that received an “F” in the first year jumped straight to “C”. So, some of these Formerly Threatened Schools may have “earned” straight “D”s for the last four years. How would this make them any different than the Always D Schools?

    The study’s authors hope to publish in a peer-reviewed journal.

    ANTI-HSLDA SITE

    Filed on August 20, 2003 at 9:42 pm under by dcobranchi

    Some Virginia homeschoolers have put up a site that “exposes” HSLDA.

    OT: THIS IS JUST TOO COOL

    Filed on at 6:11 pm under by dcobranchi

    Go to googlism.com and enter your name. Here’s what Google thinks of me:

    daryl cobranchi is a chemist
    daryl cobranchi is frustrated with what passes for “homeschooling” these days

    Pretty accurate assessment, I’d say.

    READ IT AND WEEP

    Filed on at 2:47 pm under by dcobranchi

    Literally.

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