Utterly Meaningless » 2003 » December

FUNNY, FUNNY

Filed on December 15, 2003 at 8:36 am under by dcobranchi

Someone left this sign on my desk. I think I’m getting a bit of a reputation. Danger!.jpg

“S” WORD BS

Filed on December 14, 2003 at 8:01 pm under by dcobranchi

This has got to be the dumbest socialization article I’ve seen yet. And it’s not even about homeschooling.

How can students socialize with classmates and teachers if they’re at home taking all their courses on the computer?

Won’t online learning turn them into introverted teenagers who won’t be able to relate with “normal” people once they get to college or find a job?

Aren’t students going to miss out on what every education expert says is the key component of the high school experience — experiencing high school?

I think maybe the reporter spent a little bit too much time socializing in J-school.

MORE NHELD

Filed on at 2:19 pm under by dcobranchi

CHN Vice President of Fundraising Judy Aron added a comment to the “NHELD RESPONDS” thread. A highlight:

NHELD is not offering “insurance”. NHELD is building a national network to help homeschoolers fight off federal legislation.

Compare this with the response I got from Deborah Stevenson as to what $100 buys:

It buys legal representation in each state to resolve homeschooling problems in each state in accordance with those state’s laws…

Sounds like insurance to me. I don’t ascribe sinister motives here. They just seem a bit disorganized.

STREAM OF (UN)CONSCIOUSNESS

Filed on at 9:15 am under by dcobranchi

TCS has a letter from a 14-year-old that shows how gr8 skool can be. Homeschooling gets a minor mention.

AN INTERESTING EXPERIMENT

Filed on at 8:17 am under by dcobranchi

New York’s Bard College is initiating a Masters of Arts in Teaching program in which students will take as many courses covering the actual subjects as they do in pedagogy.

“The education schools in the United States have had an unfortunate stranglehold on teacher training,” [Bard President Botstein] said, “and they have created a pseudoscience in pedagogy and wasted the time of future teachers by not deepening the knowledge that future teachers need.”

UPDATE 12-14 8:22 a.m. The following letter appears in today’s Wilmington News-Journal. It seemed appropriate to post it here:

Certification doesn’t guarantee quality

I disagree that a teacher who is state certified automatically possesses more teaching skills than one who is not. It is untrue.

I am state certified and teach in a Catholic school. I have worked with public and private school teachers, certified and uncertified, and have found that certification tells little about the skill of a particular teacher. Many uncertified teachers I have worked with have been excellent.

Having an undergraduate or postgraduate degree in a particular subject is extremely valuable, especially at the intermediate and secondary levels. Teachers, like students, deserve to be judged individually.

State certification may not necessarily make a teacher more qualified than one who has a strong background in a field such as science or history. Students can benefit greatly from this. Teachers’ skills should be judged by administrators, students and parents, not by the state.

Kevin McDonald, Wilmington

AN AMISH, A MENNONITE, AND A HOMESCHOOLER

Filed on at 6:42 am under by dcobranchi

…set out to buy some laundry detergent. What brand do they buy? Our detergent.

OUR Detergent built up that customer base primarily through advertising, both in local newspapers and in specialty publications that reach its targeted customers: People with large families.

“Kids get dirty, and a lot of kids get a lot of dirty. So we advertise in magazines that are read by the Amish, by Mennonites. We also advertise in magazines that are read by home-schooling families, because they generally are looking for good products at good prices,” John Stewart said.

STACKING THE DECK

Filed on December 13, 2003 at 10:07 pm under by dcobranchi

The Delaware State Education Assoc. (DSEA) is running a “scientific” poll. Here’s the single question:

There is too much standardized testing. Do you agree?

Only 90 percent agreed. I’m sure the DSEA was expecting 100.

“GAY” IS NOT A FOUR LETTER WORD BUT “LIAR” IS

Filed on at 10:19 am under by dcobranchi

Read this very short article and then decide if the five members of the school board who voted for this should all be fired (i.e., voted out of office). Eugene Volokh has a link to the original referral sheet.

MORE NANNYISM

Filed on at 8:27 am under by dcobranchi

Just look at all of the trouble this kindergarten class had to go through to build gingerbread houses. The school has a rule against candy in school (got to fight obesity, ya know). I’m surprised the kids weren’t arrested for zero tolerance violations.

NOBODY EVER BATTED 1.000

Filed on December 12, 2003 at 11:50 pm under by dcobranchi

I think Chester Finn (the Education Gadfly) is a terific reformer with great ideas. Usually. This week he struck out swinging with his column on charter schools. Finn proposes allowing churches to start charter schools.

Let religious schools become part of the charter system so long as they’re willing to abide by the results-based accountability arrangements that other charter schools must accept, namely state academic standards and tests. And allow churches to found new charter schools without shedding their sectarianism.

This is a singularly bad idea and almost assuredly unconstitutional. Charter schools are public schools. Are we really prepared to allow the government to pick which churches can start a charter school? How likely is it that a Moslem group could get approval to form a charter in, say, OK? Or Baptists in Utah? Zelman allows for parents to take voucher money and use it at a religious school. That is a far cry from the government “owning” a church school. No, this idea is DOA.

WARD CONNERLY’S DOINGS?

Filed on at 5:15 pm under by dcobranchi

The state of Michigan has approved a petition drive to place the question of affirmative action on a future ballot.

LATE BLOGGING

Filed on at 7:25 am under by dcobranchi

I’m heading back to Somerset, NJ for the day. See y’all tonight.

ANTI-DIVERSITY?

Filed on at 7:24 am under by dcobranchi

Northern Kentucky University is getting set to change their admissions policy so that admitted freshmen will be better able to handle college-level work. Currently, 45 percent of freshmen drop out.

Starting next year, it will begin turning away some students, and by 2005, it will likely require a minimum score on the ACT and college-prep work in high school.

What?! Don’t they care about diversity in the classroom?

Setting minimum standards “isn’t fair to the less academic kid in school,” says Josh Rogers, a senior at Dixie Heights High School in Edgewood, who cheerfully describes himself as “not exactly a genius.”

“That’s what I relied on my whole life: If I don’t do good in this school, I can always go to NKU,” Josh says.

Principals cringe when they hear such comments from students, which is often. At Dixie Heights, 72 graduates entered NKU in 2002, records show.

“When I look at a kid and say, ‘You don’t want to fail that class, that’ll look bad on your transcript,’ they say, ‘It doesn’t matter, I’m going to NKU,'” says Kim Banta, principal of Dixie.

This is discrimination. Aren’t lazy students a protected class?

AFFIRMATIVE ACTION FOR DUMMIES

Filed on December 11, 2003 at 6:15 am under by dcobranchi

The NEA is having a “debate” on whether public colleges should admit students who are unprepared. This quote (from the “pro” position) is hilarious:

Often those who arrive needing developmental coursework better reflect the diverse nature of our society. Not everyone grew up attending schools that were adequately funded, came from families that encouraged scholarship, or were provided safe learning environments.

A classroom filled with students of varied backgrounds contributes to the development of all students. Our graduates will be living in a complex and ever-changing world. This is but one way to assist in their preparation.

Admitting unprepared students for diversity reasons!? That’s a new one. BTW, did anyone catch the missing reason that students might be unprepared? Bad teachers! Oh, I forgot. This is the NEA, after all. Bad teachers don’t exist.

MISLEDING

Filed on at 5:59 am under by dcobranchi

What do you think when you read this lede from the Washington Post?

Some 65 million girls worldwide are kept out of school, increasing the risks that they will suffer from extreme poverty, die in childbirth or from AIDS and passing those dangers from generation to generation, the U.N. children’s fund said Thursday.

That females are being denied an education becasue of their gender, right? Well, it’s not quite so simple. Further down in the article, we learn that 121 million children are not in school. So, some 56 million boys are out, too. I guess that wasn’t quite as heart-wrenching.

BTW, the article doesn’t mention homeschooling. For all we know, our kids could be included in those 121 million.

HOMESCHOOLERS WIN IN SCOTUS

Filed on December 10, 2003 at 8:35 pm under by dcobranchi

Even though the Supremes upheld the major portions of McCain-Feingold, homeschoolers scored a victory by having the ban on contributions by minors struck down.

COMMENT SPAM

Filed on at 7:29 pm under by dcobranchi

The site is under spam attack. Does anyone have a quick solution for deleting (or better yet preventing) comment-spam? URL banning doesn’t work. Interestingly, the spammer uses the same email addy. Unfortunately, MT doesn’t allow for banning based on email address.

UPDATE: I’m turning off comments for a bit until I figure this out. If you want to comment, email me and I’ll post it as an update.

NHELD RESPONDS

Filed on at 12:54 pm under by dcobranchi

Here’s the text of an email exchange with NHELD’s Deborah Stevenson. First, mine:

Ms. Stevenson,

I am a homeschooling parent as well as the V.P. of the Delaware Home Education Association (DHEA), our statewide inclusive group. I also run a homeschool website (http://cobranchi.com). I posted your “press release” to my site but had several questions and problems with it. I understand your anti-HSLDA (or at least HR2732) stance. In this regard I am an ally. What I don’t understand is why we need yet another “national” group looking to lobby Congress. One is too many already. Homeschooling is a local issue. We only have “national” problems when some group (HSLDA or NHELD) takes it upon themselves to speak for all homeschoolers. Heck, DHEA can’t even speak for all DE homeschoolers and we live here. I like the idea of a list of lawyers in the states who know homeschooling law and are willing to take on cases when necessary. I think that is what the AHSA-USA listserv is all about (I am a member though not a lawyer). I just don’t see a need for a new group.

Also, your website doesn’t even state what the $100 per year buys. Is this like HSLDA? Sort-of legal insurance? Who needs it? There are very few legal battles involving homeschoolers now. And, the statewide inclusives can easily provide the kind of advice (for free) that HSLDA (and evidently NHELD) charges for.

Sorry. I can’t endorse your group at this time.

Daryl Cobranchi
http://cobranchi.com

And, now, the response:

Daryl…

I appreciate your comments. I also share your concerns. Ideally, I agree with you that there should be no national organizations lobbying Congress precisely because education is a state issue. However, the reality is that we already do have one very well known and powerful lobbying organization there urgining Congress to adopt more federal legislation. Yes, each of us on our own can and should send our individual opinions about proposed legislation to Congress and our state capitols. However, I think to effectively counter the recognition and power of the already existing organization, one or more equally centralized organizations is needed. I did work with AHSA and, in fact, inspired them to create the network that they are now creating. I do not pretend to speak for all homeschoolers. That is precisely why I hope to have the input from as many homeschool support groups and their attorneys from throughout the country so that we can bring as many perspectives to each issue as possible in one very centralized location where it is easily accessible to all.

I welcome any ideas on how to improve the vision I have. Please keep in touch and I hope that someday you will be able to work with us.

Deborah Stevenson.

I still don’t know what $100 per year buys.

AND THEN THERE WERE TWO

Filed on at 8:01 am under by dcobranchi

An attorney in CT is organizing another legal defense organization. I’ve attached the “press release” below. I don’t have a problem with many of their goals but I think pre-paid membership ($100 per year) is unnecessary for the vast majority of homeschoolers. I’d much rather see a list of attorneys who are knowledgeable and willing to take on homeschooling cases on an as needed basis. I also don’t want another national organization lobbying Congress. One is bad enough. As you might have guessed, I won’t be joining.

Dear Homeschool Leaders,

I would like to introduce myself. I am Attorney Deborah G. Stevenson
and I am Executive Director of a newly formed organization, National Home
Education Legal Defense. I would like to tell you about this organization
and our goals in the hope that you will be interested in working with us.

National Home Education Legal Defense, or NHELD, grew out of a
statewide organization that began in Connecticut as Connecticut’s Citizens
to Uphold the Right to Educate, or CT’s C.U.R.E. CT’s C.U.R.E. was founded
in 1989 and has been instrumental in maintaining the rights of parents to
homeschool without government interference since that time. On more than
one occasion, we helped unite other statewide homeschool groups in
coordinated efforts and successfully defeated proposed state legislation
designed to “regulate” homeschooling. In 2002, CT’s C.U.R.E. became Home
Education Legal Defense of Connecticut offering information, consultation,
mediation and legal assistance to those who joined. Now, Home Education
Legal Defense of Connecticut has become National Home Education Legal
Defense offering these same services to parents nationwide.

With your assistance, NHELD will do this by creating a network of
attorneys in each state licensed to practice law in their home state, who
are thoroughly familiar with their state’s laws that are applicable to
homeschooling, and who have been recommended to us as trusted leaders by the
homeschooling support groups in their state. NHELD believes that the best
way to know the laws in a particular state and how those laws are most
appropriately interpreted to support homeschooling parents in that state is
to live in that state. NHELD also believes that the best way to protect the
rights of homeschooling parents is by effective organization to protect our
Constitution by preserving the Tenth Amendment guarantee that educational
issues are left to the states and to the people, not to the federal
government.

Among NHELD’s goals are the following:
1. Retain or regain the right of parents to educate their children
unfettered by government regulation.
2. Prevent or eliminate any federal regulation of home education due to its
unconstitutionality.
3. Provide a central clearinghouse for information concerning existing or
proposed legislation affecting the right of parents to home educate.
4. Provide accurate legal advice to parents about state law that affects
home education.
5. Provide legal services to individual families, when necessary, in order
to preserve their right to home educate.
6. Provide a central clearinghouse for information about parents who have
encountered problems in their efforts to home educate and effective means
for resolving those problems.
7. Provide a central clearinghouse for parents nationwide to receive advice,
consultation, and strategic means to uphold their right to home educate.
8. Assist parents in obtaining knowledge about their right to home educate
in their state to empower them to protect themselves, when necessary, from
unlawful actions or unnecessary interference.
9. Provide a nationwide organization to effectively defend the right of
parents to home educate by whatever legal means necessary.
10. Provide a nationwide organization that is sufficiently respected and
effective to counter any proposed federal regulation of home education and
to repeal any such existing regulation.

In order to accomplish these goals, NHELD needs your help. If you
support our goals, please help us, if you can, in the following ways:

1. Consult with other homeschooling organizations in your state and suggest
to us the names of any respected, trusted attorneys licensed to practice in
your state who are sufficiently familiar with your state laws regarding home
education and who would be willing to be listed as a participating NHELD
attorney.
2. Provide us with the names and contact information for all homeschooling
organizations in your state so that we may offer them the opportunity to
assist in our efforts.
3. Circulate this information to anyone who is interested.
4. Provide us with any suggestions that you believe may be helpful to us in
accomplishing these goals.

NHELD is open to any family who seeks to preserve the right of parents
to home educate. The cost to join us is $100.00 per year. Applications for
membership are available on our website at www.nheld.com
and checks may be sent to NHELD at P.O. Box 704,
Southbury, CT 06488. Our email address is info@nheld.com. You also may
contact Attorney Deborah Stevenson at (860) 354-3590 for further
information.

We hope to hear from you soon. Together, nothing is impossible.

Attorney Deborah G. Stevenson

BIZZARO WORLD

Filed on at 6:34 am under by dcobranchi

Here’s a very strange Letter to the Editor of the Wilimngton News-Journal.

Public smoking ban is lunatic conspiracy

It has been one year since Delaware banned smoking in public places. Congratulations on joining the stupid states that have adopted such moronic legislation.

The United Fascist Union believes this anti-smoking insanity is being spread by a tiny but vocal minority of nuts who have money to get lobbyists to support their crazy cause, in spite of the fact that most Americans smoke and enjoy it.

Two members of the United Fascist Union grotto of Bear were telling me one of their favorite pubs is going out of business because of this idiotic ban. How can anyone say America is a free country when state governments can ban a simple pleasure like smoking cigarettes in public? Oh well, your loss is Maryland’s gain, as people who smoke are coming across the state line to eat and drink.

The United Fascist Union recommends smokers organize themselves and become just as vocal as the lunatics in the anti-smoking camp before this madness spreads to every state and the American people lose yet another liberty to Big Brother government that’s out of control.

Jackson K. Grimes, Director, United Fascist Union, Elkton, Md.

Would fascists tend to be in favor of “Big Brother government?”

UNSCHOOLERS ARE IRRESPONSIBLE

Filed on December 9, 2003 at 10:42 pm under by dcobranchi

I went to the Appoquinimink School Board meeting tonight, where I managed to get into an argument with the Superintendent. Go figure. Their proposed homeschooling policy included a statement that homeschoolers who wish to enroll in the district “must” furnish an organized, sequential portfolio before they would be enrolled. I pointed out that many homeschoolers don’t have one and couldn’t furnish it even if they wanted to. I tried to explain that unschoolers don’t have work books or texts. He was very distressed and stated that they only want “responsible” homeschoolers living in their district. An educrat also made the statement that homeschoolers are not supervised nearly as much as the educrats would like. I almost did a Halleluah Breakdown right there in the middle of the meeting. In the end, the school board sided with me and agreed to change “must” to “should.”

UPDATE: I almost forgot the other silly thing in their proposal. When a homeschooler wants to enroll in 10th, 11th, or 12th grade, in addition to the portfolio (which would be mandatory), they would need a transcript of the grades received. They’d only give credit for a “C-” or better. I asked them if they realized that we don’t normally assign grades, but they insisted that we’d have to in order to get credit. They weren’t happy when I suggested that they might see a lot of “A” grades then.

UPDATE II: A reporter approached me after the meeting and asked if I’d give her a call to discuss the homeschool policy further. I’m debating. Do I really want to be known as a troublemaker in yet another district?

BORDERS DEAL

Filed on at 6:58 am under by dcobranchi

Here’s a coupon good for 15% off at Borders.

PATENTLY ILLEGAL

Filed on at 5:39 am under by dcobranchi

When Texas A&M announced recently that it would no longer consider race in admissions, minority legislators were incensed. Lawsuits were threatened. A big mess. Well, they’ve apparently crossed the line into outright illegality:

“As a result of our conference today, there will be specific performance measure criteria established because there were none,” said Sen. Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo. ” `Trust me’ just won’t cut it, even from someone as nice and well-intentioned as President Gates.”

Sounds like racial quotas to me. Do you think Sen. Zaffirini has evr heard of Bakke?

CLASS, PAY ATTENTION

Filed on at 5:21 am under by dcobranchi

I hope the Catholic Diocese and other private schools in Wilmington are paying attention to the News-Journal, which has yet another editorial in favor of the private schools subjecting their students to the DSTP. The N-J loves the idea ostensibly as a way to assure that all students are getting a quality education. A laudable goal, no doubt. But, there may be other reasons for the paper’s enthusiasm:

Both religious and independent schools in Delaware have been free of state control. The only real state authority the state exercises over private schools is attendance rules.

I think the private schools (with the notable exception of the Diocese) are smarter than that. That won’t stop the ultra-statist N-J from pushing the concept every chance it gets.

MIKE’S MOVED

Filed on December 8, 2003 at 6:56 pm under by dcobranchi

Michael Peach has moved his blog to TypePad. Time to update your “Favorites.”

A “MINOR” CORRECTION

Filed on at 12:00 pm under by dcobranchi

I missed the original error but this is hilarious:

Correction

Because of an editing error, a recent Perspective article by University of Delaware associate professor Douglas Stalker incorrectly referred to Anthony W. Marx, the president of Amherst College, as Karl Marx.

Anyone in MA care to comment?

GHOSTS AND THE “S” WORD

Filed on at 10:51 am under by dcobranchi

Lileks disses a Happy Meal toy in today’s Bleat.

ALERT: CAMEL’S NECK IS PART-WAY IN

Filed on at 6:58 am under by dcobranchi

The Wilmington News-Journal lauds the Catholic schools’ decision to use the state accountability tests.

Giving private elementary schoolchildren an opportunity to participate in the state’s achievement tracking, or one that matches it, is an important addition to those schools. We would like to see non-religious private schools pursue the same path.

Homeschoolers, ye be warned!

ULTIMATE CORPORATE WELFARE

Filed on at 6:51 am under by dcobranchi

Conectiv (the local power company) was having trouble collecting on some bills that dated back to 2000. The trouble all started at Conectiv’s end, when they sent out incorrect bills to thousands of people. Well, three years later it’s finally resolved: The Delaware legislature gave the company a million dollars. Our dollars. I hope this graf is carved into Harris McDowell’s political tombstone:

“I felt rather than let this money sit idle in a pot, this was a good way to put it to constructive use,” McDowell said.

I hope he gets a nice thank you note (i.e., donation) from Conectiv when he runs for re-election.

YOU DON’T HAVE TO READ THE ESSAY

Filed on at 6:20 am under by dcobranchi

…to know what Redovich is going to say in his weekly rant. It’s pretty much the same each week. Today’s is notable, perhaps, for having among the longest and most convoluted titles in the series.

There is No Rationale for High Stakes Testing for Promotion in Elementary Schools or for High School Graduation, Labeling Public Schools as Failing Schools and Creating Private Choice and Charter Schools

One small section deserves highlighting for its sheer idiocy:

Algebra and higher math courses were useless for most students 40 years ago, when I taught it in high school, and are useless in 2003 for most students, except for college

Math and science are mystiques because many students and adults have difficulty with math and science courses like chemistry and physics. Mathematicians and scientists perpetuate the mystique by claiming super human powers for the skills they possess.

Call me “Superman.” One reason chemistry and physics are difficult for some students is that they haven’t mastered the algebra and calculus necessary to understand the subjects. In my field, Analytical Chemistry, the math required rarely rises above Algebra I level. But, I couldn’t have gotten through college and grad school without calculus and diff-eq. After all, I might have decided to go into P-Chem. Without the higher level math that Redovich constantly disses, a lot of doors would have never opened.

This country doesn’t produce nearly as many B.S. (that’s Bachelor of Science) chemists as the economy requires. The unemployment rate for Ph.D. chemists has traditionally hovered around one percent, even after “importing” the best and brightest from overseas. Most high school students don’t know what they want to be when they grow up. Some of them will make fine chemists and physicists. But not if they bomb out of the high school level courses because they haven’t mastered the math.

Sorry for the anti-rant. The more I read, the angrier I got.

PRETTY COOL BLOGGING TOOL

Filed on December 7, 2003 at 3:10 pm under by dcobranchi

I finally decided to try out an RSS aggregator. Bloglines is pretty neat. After registering, you can “subscribe” to any number of blogs. When any of your subscribed blogs is updated, a small piece of software which resides in your systray alerts you to the new posts.

THE GRINCH TEACHES FIRST GRADE

Filed on at 2:39 pm under by dcobranchi

A first grade teacher told her charges that Santa isn’t real. How cruel and such a usurpation of what is a parent’s prerogative.

Geneta Codner, was reading a story about the Tooth Fairy when the class started discussing what was real and what was not, said district spokesman Joe Donzelli.

When the subject of Santa came up, the teacher started questioning parts of his story — How could a fat jolly man fit down a chimney? How could reindeer fly around the world in one night? — and told the children that wasn’t possible.

Kids lose their innocence so early these days. Couldn’t the teacher just keep her mouth shut? And the school spokesman should be fired for bad punning:

Donzelli said the school’s principal “had a real stern conversation” with the teacher. But there will be no written reprimand because she did not violate any school district policy.

“We have no Santa clause,” Donzelli said. “We would think that teachers would use better judgment.”

Tim Allen played that shtick (twice) already.

WHAT ARE THEY THINKING?

Filed on at 8:44 am under by dcobranchi

EducationNews.org seems to be making a transition from aggregator to blogger. Until very recently, their listings would include a link and a few sentences from the lede without commentary. Now, they often include a sentence or two from the “editor” (whoever that is). In today’s edition, they serve up the New York Times Magazine article I blogged yesterday. Here’s the entry in its entirety:

For the outcasts and oddballs, virtual high school can seem like an ideal solution. But for all that online students gain, what do they lose?

Might as well ask “What do homeschoolers lose?”

HOVERING CLAUSTROPHOBIA OF HOMESCHOOLING?

Filed on December 6, 2003 at 3:43 pm under by dcobranchi

The New York Times Magazine has a long article about cyber schools (public and private). The reporter disses homeschooling but apparently doesn’t realize how close some of this is to what many of us do. Tim Haas points out “that they are more like us than the school peers they’ve chosen to leave, and therefore aren’t connecting with people who could support them better.”

I’ve always been conflicted about how to handle cyber charters. While, legally, the kids certainly aren’t homeschoolers, they face many of the same issues. I think where I’ve uncomfortably settled is here: We ought to reach out to these families and include the kids in whatever social and educational activities we can. Support groups should allow the parents to participate. But, we have to draw the line at legal issues. Cyber charter parents can’t be allowed to hijack meetings to discuss accountability testing or charter laws. Thoughts?

DELAWARE ALERT!

Filed on at 12:16 pm under by dcobranchi

At the Appoquinimink School District Board Meeting scheduled for Tuesday, Dec. 9th the following item appears on the agenda:

Homeschooling Policy and Procedure First Reading

Does anyone have any idea what this is about?

YET ANOTHER WWHS

Filed on at 11:54 am under by dcobranchi

This one comes from the tabloid New York Post, so a big grain of salt may be warranted. That being said, if true it’s pretty bad:

December 6, 2003 — A classroom aide allegedly went berserk inside a Brooklyn school this week, punching a 7-year-old special-education student and slamming his head into a microwave oven – because the child didn’t know the date.
The boy’s mother says school officials then tried to cover up the incident.

Kenneth Wooten, 40, a city schools paraprofessional with a criminal record, is accused of beating Isaiah Dunham at PS 327 in Brownsville as a teacher and other schoolkids looked on in shock.

The assault took place at around 9 a.m. on Wednesday, after Wooten confronted the boy and demanded the child tell him the date, cops said.

When no answer came from Isaiah, who suffers from Attention Deficit Disorder, Wooten allegedly punched him in the gut and repeated the question.

When the 7-year-old still couldn’t answer, Wooten slapped the boy in the face and punched him in the head, chest and back about four times, police said.

He then grabbed Isaiah and threw him against the microwave, where he hit his head and back, cops said.

Mom Felicia Dunham said school officials downplayed the beating as “an altercation” between her son and the aide when they first told her what happened.

When Dunham asked if school officials would call the police, the principal instead suggested that she meet Wooten to work out their differences.

Dunham is also angry that the nurse did not send her child to the hospital, where he was later taken and treated for bruises, swelling, scratches and a bump on his head.

“They made it sound like it was nothing,” Dunham said. “They told me to just put ice on it.”

After Dunham went to the cops, Wooten was charged with third-degree assault, menacing, endangering the welfare of a child and second-degree harassment.

Schools officials said Wooten was put on administrative duty in the central district office, away from students.

The Brooklyn man has been arrested three times by the NYPD.

He was busted twice for drug possession, and a third time for drug possession, trespassing and resisting arrest, sources said. Wooten could not be reached at home last night, but his mother said: “Kenny’s not the type of person who would do this.”

PSYCH!

Filed on at 11:50 am under by dcobranchi

A Boston-area high schooler has been suspended for pulling the old fake-handshake psych on MA Governor Mitt Romney. Other students were disciplined, possibly for carrying protest signs. All in all, not a good day for the 1st Amendment in MA.

THE JOYS OF YOUTH

Filed on at 11:41 am under by dcobranchi

Jonathan, at 4 1/2, is old enough to really enjoy this year’s first snow.PC060052.jpg

MORE ZERO-TOLERANCE LUNACY

Filed on at 8:04 am under by dcobranchi

A high school student has been expelled for a year for carrying a loaded Advil bottle into school.

THOSE WIERD HOMESCHOOLERS

Filed on at 6:05 am under by dcobranchi

For some strange reason my kids think this is absolutely hilarious.

THIS IS REALLY WWHS

Filed on at 5:43 am under by dcobranchi

From the Salem, OR Statesman-Journal

We asked: What teacher most influenced your life and why?

Your responses:

The teacher who has most affected my life is my mother Helene Rodgers. Mama has sacrificed so much to be able to homeschool me, and nothing, including cancer, has been successful in slowing her down. I love her so much, and am so thankful to have been blessed with her as such a central part of my life. She is my best friend, and has always been there for me, spiritually, physically, and emotionally. I only hope that when I get older, I will be half of the woman she has been, and has taught me to be.

Jessica Rodgers, age 11, Salem

MOVING UP IN THE ECOSYSTEM

Filed on December 5, 2003 at 7:48 pm under by dcobranchi

TESTING, TESTING

Filed on at 7:07 pm under by dcobranchi

I’m testing the RSS feed from the site.

IT’S SNOW(BALL)ING!

Filed on at 9:58 am under by dcobranchi

Biggest “snowflakes” I’ve ever seen. At least an inch across.

NO PRIVACY RIGHTS AT ALL

Filed on at 9:35 am under by dcobranchi

It’s evidently Catholic schools day at H&OES. A Chicago area school is going to randomly test all students for drug use (marijuana, cocaine, and Ecstasy). To add insult to injury, the parents will have to pay for the $60 test. It’s a private school, so they can do anything they like. I personally think it’s a bad idea and a big waste of (parent’s) money. Maybe the customers will wise up and refuse to pay.

A NOTE TO THE KIDS: It’s really easy to beat this hair-based test. Keep you hair cut as short as possible. No hair? Nothing to test.

UPDATE: I forgot to mention it’s an all-boys school, so the short-hair thing is eminently doable. The kids ought to start a school-wide buzz cut as a protest. Then what will the priests do? Mandate long hair for boys?

DUH!

Filed on at 9:26 am under by dcobranchi

The dumb headline of the week:

Divorce can psychologically damage children – family expert

No kidding. The story’s out of Middle Earth, er, New Zealand. Maybe hobbits don’t divorce very often.

THE STATE (COP) IS NOT YOUR FRIEND

Filed on at 9:00 am under by dcobranchi

Wonderful story about our friends the police in today’s News-Journal:

A Pennsylvania State Police trooper was charged with breaking into houses while in uniform and stealing money and prescription drugs, officials said Thursday.

The arrest of Trooper John Travis Layne, 31, comes a week after state police released a study showing that dozens of its troopers had been arrested over the past decade for crimes ranging from rape to disorderly conduct. Gov. Ed Rendell called the arrests “a problem” and vowed to fix it.

THE CAMEL’S NOSE

Filed on at 8:55 am under by dcobranchi

Education reform in Delaware is leading the state’s Catholic schools to adopt the Delaware Student Testing Program. It seems that parochial teachers will lose their certifications unless the Diocese does something. I’m sure this is just a coincidence and that educrats never anticipated being able to control the private schools. Riiight!

This is really bad. Delaware has the strongest parochial/private school system in the country (approximately 20 percent of students are outside of the reach of g-school educrats). If the state can essentially force the Catholic and other private schools into the state system, only homeschoolers would be exempt from the accountability tests. How long do you think we’d be able to maintain that independence? Not long, I’d guess. Right now, no other private schools are lining up behind this proposal. Let’s hope it stays that way.

FINALLY!

Filed on December 4, 2003 at 8:55 pm under by dcobranchi

It’s been a long time coming but I finally got a shotgun for home defense. I pray I’m wrong and will never need it.

PC040045.jpg

It’s a Maverick 88 Security Model. 12 gauge, 6 shot capacity with another 6 shells in the SideSaddle.

A GOOD JOKE

Filed on at 5:28 pm under by dcobranchi

Fragments has a good homeschool joke. Funny and all too true (as the best jokes usually are). (via Chris O’Donnell)

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