Utterly Meaningless » 2004 » February

    Filed on February 29, 2004 at 8:56 am under by dcobranchi

    According to the Ohio Department of Administrative Services

    A year is a Leap Year if it can be divided by 4, except

    if it can be divided by 100 but not 400, then it is not a Leap Year.

    A year is not a Leap Year if it can be divided by 4000, except

    if the year is 200 or 600 years after a year that is divisible by 900, then it is a Leap Year.

    Hope you’re clear on that now.

    UPDATE: According to this site, 4000 is a Leap Year. I don’t know which is correct.


    Filed on at 5:23 am under by dcobranchi

    Some unbelievable photos here. Dial-up customers click at your own risk. The files are pretty big. (via Darby)


    Filed on at 4:49 am under by dcobranchi

    My punctuation and grammar skills seem to have gotten a bit rusty (no snarky comments, please). I’m trying to clean up my more embarassing gaffes with this online resource.

    UPDATE: Now, if MT would only implement a spell check to catch all my typos (like misspelling “resource” as “resoucre.”) Of course, I’m not likely to drop using all the parentheses. That seems to be how my mind works (or doesn’t), and I write like I think.


    Filed on at 4:35 am under by dcobranchi

    …in this article about how some Florida students are using a “loophole” to escape the FCAT exit exam requirements. Under state law, they are not permitted to enroll in a public college without a diploma. Kids who can’t pass the FCAT are “enrolling” in what may or may not be a diploma mill. Homeschoolers may get caught in some blowback:

    A spokeswoman for Gov. Jeb Bush, whose A+ Education plan included the FCAT graduation requirement, said the state provides ample opportunities for students to earn diplomas, even after the senior year.

    ”We have alternatives that can assist students that have language barriers — immersion classes, special reading classes,” said press secretary Alia Faraj.

    Despite Bush’s and Horne’s opposition, the practice is likely to grow, at least for now, as Foureau and his first group of graduates spread the word.

    ”This isn’t anything we’re going to take out advertising to tell people about,” Moitozo said, “although that might be a good idea.”

    Horne said Miami Dade College and other community colleges should carefully consider which diplomas they accept.

    This could hurt us in a couple of ways. Some homeschoolers also use this school. Of more concern, though, would be a move to only accept “accredited”diplomas.

    UPDATE: The school is accredited. But, even the accreditation agency seems a bit dodgy. For instance, you can’t even get a list of their “member” schools, and they won’t provide local references.


    Filed on February 28, 2004 at 10:28 am under by dcobranchi

    Izzy wanted a poll to answer the stupid ATT.net poll. Here it is.


    Filed on at 9:48 am under by dcobranchi

    Here’s one for Michael Peach:

    Some parents claim they are educating their children at home to hide the fact they are abusing them, welfare officers say.

    The Association for Education Welfare Management has asked the Children’s Minister, Margaret Hodge, for the power to check up on home educators.

    Sounds awfully familiar.


    Filed on at 7:12 am under by dcobranchi

    Homeschooling rates two mentions in this review of Best Picture nominees.


    Filed on at 5:54 am under by dcobranchi

    Just as the Bush Administration is seeking to add the FMA to the Constitution, the Justice Department has apparently decided we don’t need the First Amendment anymore.

    Anyone who publishes material from a country under a trade embargo is forbidden to reorder paragraphs or sentences, correct syntax or grammar, or replace “inappropriate words,” according to several advisory letters from the Treasury Department in recent months.

    Adding illustrations is prohibited, too. To the baffled dismay of publishers, editors and translators who have been briefed about the policy, only publication of “camera-ready copies of manuscripts” is allowed.

    …In theory — almost certainly only in theory — correcting typographical errors and performing other routine editing could subject publishers to fines of $500,000 and 10 years in jail.

    “Such activity,” according to a September letter from the department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control to the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, “would constitute the provision of prohibited services to Iran.”

    …Publishers may still seek licenses from the government that would allow editing, but many First Amendment specialists said that was an unacceptable alternative.

    A license to publish??? God help us.


    Filed on February 27, 2004 at 9:39 pm under by dcobranchi

    Judy Aron sent a link to a bill filed in the Kentucky legislature that would allow for “voluntary” certification of homeschools. Voluntary. Riiight! How long before they were compulsory?

    (2) The administrative regulations shall address but not be limited to the following organizational and instructional standards:
    (a) The application review process;

    (b) The minimum teacher qualifications;

    (c) The minimum curriculum offerings;

    (d) The minimum testing requirements, which may include scheduled administration of nationally norm-referenced tests; and

    (e) Other standards required to carry out the purposes of this section.

    This is very bad. The last thing we want is for the state to be setting up certifications of homeschools. That’s worse than Pennsylvania, even. Kentucky home educators- please shoot this down ASAP.


    Filed on at 5:50 pm under by dcobranchi

    Cher Carreathers, mother of a North LaFayette third-grader, said her son enjoyed Pilgrim’s class. She wondered whether the class focused enough on studies after her son’s reading skills faltered. She never had any concerns about his safety until she dropped in on his class recently and saw Pilgrim banging the child’s head on his desk and restraining his arms.

    She witnessed the attack and had him arrested. Good! Oh, the denouement.

    [He is] expected to be back in the classroom Friday following his arrest earlier this week for assaulting a special education student.

    Huh? A parent witnesses him bagging her son’s head into a desk, he’s arrested and charged, and they let him back in the classroom? At least the educrats are smart enough to transfer the boy to another class.


    Filed on at 5:45 pm under by dcobranchi

    HB675 (the homeschooling bill) barely squeaked through the Senate Education and Health Committee, 8-7. I thought this was pretty classy:

    The bill, sponsored by Republican Del. Rob Bell of Albemarle County, failed on a 7-7 vote in committee last week.

    However, one of the senators who voted against it–Republican Harry Blevins of Chesapeake–moved for reconsideration as a courtesy to a fellow committee member who was absent due to illness. That member, Democratic Sen. R. Edward Houck of Spotsylvania County, cast the decisive vote Thursday to send the bill to the Senate floor.

    The governor is opposed so it might not make it into law, anyway.


    Filed on at 12:33 pm under by dcobranchi

    Tim Haas pointed me to this Ann Zeiss page, which has a good collection of links showing the difference between homeschooling and government sponsored cyber schools. Tim likes this comparison from WHO. My favorite (so far) is this essay by Rodger Williams.


    Filed on at 11:51 am under by dcobranchi

    ATT.net is running a really stupid unscientific poll on its website (it’s down at the very bottom of the page): “Do you think home schooling a child hurts his/her social development?”

    As of right now, 71% of 11808 think so. Time to stuff the ballot box.

    UPDATE: You’ll have to delete the cookies in order to vote more than once. But, that’d be cheating. So, I only voted thrice.


    Filed on February 26, 2004 at 3:57 pm under by dcobranchi

    This sounds a bit ominous:

    The proposed legislation, the “Put Parents in Charge” act, would give South Carolina taxpayers a tax credit on taxes paid on income or property up to half the amount currently spent for each student in the public school system. The remaining half will stay with the local school system. The proposal would allow parents to use the tax credits to pay for transfers from one public school district to another, for independent school tuition or for certain home school expenses.

    Would SC home educators have to justify their program in order to qualify for the tax break?

    UPDATE: Here’s more (from Kimberly Swygert’s home paper).

    Gov. Mark Sanford on Thursday will discuss details of his proposal to give an education tax credit for families to use toward private education, home schooling or the cost of transferring a child to another school district.

    The credits offered on property or income taxes would be up to $4,100 per year and apply to any family making less than $75,000 a year.

    I hope the legislation phases out above $75,000, instead of dropping off a cliff. Otherwise, a homeschooling family with two kids earning just above the cutoff would face a marginal tax rate of up to 820,000 percent.

    UPDATE: I fixed the math error above. It originally read 82,000. My bad.


    Filed on at 9:29 am under by dcobranchi

    …of NCLB.

    Essentially every school district in the state of Minnesota is “failing.”

    A report today will estimate that 80 percent to 100 percent of Minnesota’s school districts will not meet expectations of the federal No Child Left Behind Act, according to a state official familiar with the report.

    …In a state that ranks at or near the top on many national student-achievement measures, the report’s findings that so many school districts are considered under-performing are sure to be unsettling. They also will add fuel to a smoldering rebellion at the Legislature on the No Child Left Behind Act.

    The state is considering forgoing federal dollars in order to opt out of NCLB. And, it’s only going to get worse.


    Filed on at 8:34 am under by dcobranchi

    This article finally pushed me into signing the declaration. These folks really think they’re homeschooling. And, this quote, sends shivers up my spine:

    “Programs like this work so well because it helps you keep track of their learning,” said Laura VanHoy, Connor VanHoy’s mother. “It also helps for them to be accountable to someone other than me.”

    A wise homeschooling leader wrote: “Heaven save us from ‘homeschoolers’ like this.” (Thanks, Tim)


    Filed on February 25, 2004 at 1:05 pm under by dcobranchi

    The Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star has a very nice editorial in favor of VA’s proposed homeschool legislation. The editor is pretty smart:

    The state’s top professional educator has a son who just got through school, but she wants to limit non-professional educators–who are demonstrably successful in educating their own children–because they never went to college? That’s nothing but the voice of the educational establishment protecting its turf. By Ms. Wheelan’s standards, “uneducated” Abraham Lincoln couldn’t have taught Civil War history to his son.


    Filed on at 12:45 pm under by dcobranchi

    A NC columnist has a really “smart” idea about how to handle two issues that face legislators: vouchers and the lottery. He proposes giving the money directly to the schools (public, private, parochial, or HOME) to spend for any educational purpose whatsoever. This ain’t never gonna fly. G-school teachers would never allow the other groups access to state money without “accountability,” and home educators, at least, will never go for that. This proposal is DOA.


    Filed on at 11:37 am under by dcobranchi

    The MA State Board of Education approved several new charter skools despite a letter writing campaign by high skool students orchestrated by the g-skool educrats. Well, “despite” might be too kind a description. How ’bout because.

    All the proof state Board of Education member Roberta Schaefer needed to OK controversial new charter schools were the letters before her from public school students.

    Schaefer ridiculed the letters against a proposed school in Marlboro for their missing punctuation and sloppy spelling – including a misspelling of the word “school” in one missive.

    “If I didn’t think a charter school was necessary, these letters have convinced me the high school was not doing an adequate job in teaching English language arts,” Schaefer said.

    Maybe the educrats should have written the letters for the students. It was a dumb stunt to begin with. Just how informed are high skool kids likely to be about these issues (other than the indoctrination they get at the hands of their g-skool teachers)?


    Filed on at 11:06 am under by dcobranchi

    The New York Times is calling for EdSec Paige’s resignation because of the “terrorist organization” flap. I think they’re likely to get it.


    Filed on at 4:44 am under by dcobranchi

    Read Sullivan.


    Filed on February 24, 2004 at 8:43 pm under by dcobranchi

    Here’s an interesting website that recommends books for home educators. The books are written from an Objectivist viewpoint (Ayn Rand’s philosophy). Except for an unforgiveable omission of chemistry, it seems to cover just about all the bases. (Hat tip to Skip Oliva)


    Filed on at 7:22 pm under by dcobranchi

    (Sorry ’bout that)

    Thanks to Tim Haas for pointing me to this terrific column by Wendy McElroy. Just a taste:

    My purpose is not to dispute with parents who send their children to public schools. I believe the system is a brutal failure, but parents must decide for themselves. I advocate extending alternatives far beyond the typical private versus public school debate, and even beyond homeschooling.

    Apprenticeships, experiments like Montessori and the School of Living, self-guided education, mentoring… The cost of public education is not measured in tax dollars alone. A universe of educational possibilities has been obstructed by the attempt to enforce a government monopoly over how, where, when, and what children learn.

    You’ll definitely want to read the whole thing.


    Filed on at 6:13 pm under by dcobranchi

    Here’s the New York Times
    take on Paige’s “misspeak.” One interesting quote:

    [Hawaii] Governor Lingle said, “He’s frustrated” by the N.E.A.’s “lack of support for a law that’s clearly aimed at helping all children.” She said Mr. Paige had complained that the union seemed concerned more about its 2.7 million members than about children.

    Of course it is. That’s the union’s entire raison d’etre. The kids are just pawns.

    UPDATE: I should point out that I definetely don’t think Paige was correct ro wise in his comments. As Joanne Jacobs pointed out, throwing around the “terrorist” label when there are real terrorist in the world is just not smart.


    Filed on at 7:13 am under by dcobranchi

    Dumb editorial of the day: It’s fisking time!

    If you want to get an Alaskan angry, tell him you want to infringe upon his privacy. If you want to get an Alaskan really angry, tell him how to raise his children.

    Damn straight! And, Alabamans, Arizonans, Arkansans, Californians, etc., etc.

    Rep. Mike Chenault, R-Kenai, has made a lot of Alaskans very angry.

    Chenault has sponsored House Bill 437, which, among other things, will require all Alaskan school-age children to carry a tracking number that would enable the state to ensure every child is receiving an education.

    Some home school parents see the bill as an intrusion upon their privacy.

    You think? Why don’t we just microchip ’em? Yeah, we can put those little RFIDs in their necks and every time they sit down to “do school” we can scan it into the Big Brother database.

    Under a hailstorm of angry phone calls and complaints, Carl Gatto, who chairs the House Special Committee on Education, said his office had to prepare a canned response. Gatto also said Chenault indicated that he may withdraw the bill in the future.

    Way to go, homeschoolers. Keep the pressure up until the bill is dead or he loses his seat. Better yet, both.

    The controversy begs a few questions. Just how far should a citizen be able to opt out of society, and how selective should that withdrawal be? To what degree is a community collectively responsible for the education of its children? Does our society consider education to be a matter of choice, or do we think of it as a protected right of every child?

    Is Alaska still part of Russia? I thought Seward bought it way back when. My bad. Well, in the 49 United States, a citizen can opt out just as much as he chooses. Perhaps things are different in the USSA.

    The first two questions hinge upon the third. If we believe that every child should receive an education, we must agree that the community has a responsibility to ensure that result.

    No we musn’t. The g-schools cannot ensure that result for all of their inmates, er, students. Remove the log from your own eye first.

    HB 437 does not define how home schoolers should be taught, nor does it limit a parent’s ability to choose home schooling over public education. It simply acknowledges that without some sort of tracking, some students may not receive an adequate education, and that would be a failure of the community, not just of the family.

    Another log there.

    Many home schoolers receive a high-quality education, and some outperform public school students. It is fair to say, however, that a number of home schoolers also perform below public education averages, and some home schoolers.

    Yes. In fact, 50 per cent of homeschoolers perform below the average of all homeschoolers. Oh, the horror!

    It is not enough to say that public schools have failures, and that those failures should be addressed before home schooling comes under scrutiny. The state has a responsibility to protect all students. We all pay a price at some point for children who are inadequately educated, and we should demand a minimum standard is met by all students.

    Sure. When the state proves that it is capable of ensuring a minimum standard for all its inmates, er, students, come back and see us.

    The parents of home schoolers who are performing well should not be alarmed by HB 437.

    Hell yes they should! This is intrusive and unnecessary.

    The parents whose home schoolers are failing should be alarmed by that failure.

    I’m sure they are already aware of any “failure” and are working to correct it. Unlike the g-schools run by that “terrorist organization.”

    We support any effort to protect every child’s right to quality education.

    So- homeschool them already!

    UPDATE: Izzy thought the editorial was a little Red, too.


    Filed on at 6:42 am under by dcobranchi

    Beverly Hernadez has a pretty good column up on whether or not to test. She counsels obeying stay law. Errr, sure. She has some good advice.


    Filed on at 5:49 am under by dcobranchi

    Sometimes leaving comments open on long dead threads pays off. Way back when, I blogged about homeschooler Jessie Conners on Trump’s show. Well, last night Miss Conners just happened by H&OES and left a note. Way cool.

    And, Rich, you need help.

    NO WAY!

    Filed on February 23, 2004 at 9:41 pm under by dcobranchi


    According to a news report, EdSec Paige branded the NEA a terrorist organization.

    Education Secretary Rod Paige called America’s largest teacher’s union a “terrorist organization,” according to Wisconsin Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle, who said he heard the remark along with Republican and Democratic governors during a private meeting Monday at the White House.

    “These were the words, ‘The NEA is a terrorist organization,'” Doyle told reporters.

    Too funny, if true.


    Filed on at 5:05 pm under by dcobranchi

    A Wisconsin educrat wants to hear from home educators about a proposed scheme to start a charter school to “help” us. He claims his motives, of course, are pure as the driven snow.

    Skurka said he respects parents’ choice to home school and is only trying to find a proposal that could benefit everybody. “We have no devious motive here to lure children into the district,” he said.


    [If] such a school were to ever become reality, the district could reap state funding benefits by counting the students as part of the district – garnering state per-pupil aid.

    He wants feedback from home educators. His work number is 715-261-2561. His home number is… Nah, I can’t be that cruel. You’ll have to look it up yourself. (link via Izzy)


    Who is picking up your business phone when you are unavailable? An answering service can answer your phone calls when you are unavailable.


    Filed on at 2:49 pm under by dcobranchi

    Here’s a pretty good Letter to the Editor from a homeschooler:

    I am a 16-year-old home school student from Rhode Island. Recently I worked in Massachusetts with the Coalition for Marriage. I did phone banking, lobbying, and went to the rally at Boston Common. On Feb. 13, I went to the Constitutional Convention at the State House, arriving there with a group of students at 7:30 a.m. We were the first people in the doors. I stood in line until 1:30 p.m. so that I could enter the House gallery. I was excited to watch this debate since it was a subject dear to my heart. Not only had I spent many hours encouraging people to get involved with this issue, many people I know spent weeks doing the same thing.

    While we were sitting in the House gallery watching this debate, I was appalled at the lack of respect these senators and representatives had for one another, and for Senate President Robert Travaglini, who presided over the convention. I sat amazed at the fact that the president had to speak to them at least five times just to tell them to be quiet. They would get up and leave. They would stand there and talk to each other rather than pay attention to what the other had to state at the well. Then they would come back in and vote on these issues.

    These are our leaders. The people elected these officials into office to deal with the issues close at hand. As I sat there watching, I felt dismayed at what I was seeing.

    The president actually said at one point, “the people in the gallery are behaving better than the members of the House and Senate.” I was amazed by the apparent lack of attention the legislators sometimes gave to the matter being discussed. I question whether they were really listening, and fairly representing the people who elected them.

    These men and women are supposed to be role models for the younger generations that are interested in politics. When young students are better behaved than their state legislators, then we have a problem!


    Burrillville, R.I.

    Ethically servile, my ass!


    Filed on at 12:31 pm under by dcobranchi

    Dennis Redovich’s howler of the week:

    Greenspan in recent congressional testimony said, “job growth should strengthen in coming months as the result of rebounding economic growth.” “Greenspan said that upgrading educational opportunities for low skilled workers in America is the best way to deal with increased global competition.”

    Nothing could be further from the truth!

    Amen! Preach it, brother! What Greenspan meant, which apparently went over Mr. Redovich’s head, was that as jobs move overseas, American’s need to be prepared for the “new” jobs (whatever they are) that the American economy will create. Education is the way. Except, I guess, in Mr. Redovich’s world.

    Well, at least he’s consistent.


    Filed on February 22, 2004 at 9:39 pm under by dcobranchi

    This anti-zero tolerance article starts out normal enough but it then veers into tin-foil hat territory:

    • Does the juxtaposition of saber-rattling, gun-toting, violent images of buccaneers, warriors or conquistadors designed to promote school spirit seem incongruous to a vigorously enforced zero-tolerance policy?

    • What conflicting messages are being received by students, parents and staff when these powerful school symbols contrast and contradict?

    • Is my community able and ready to discuss ending mascot hypocrisy?

    Is he claiming that school mascots cause school violence? He’ll never make tenure track this way. (Hat tip to Diane)


    Filed on at 2:37 pm under by dcobranchi

    This 1999 paper is a direct answer to both Apple and Reich. This sounds like Apple’s paper, eh?

    Homeschoolers have also been accused of being elitist. The argument takes one of two forms. The first one is that the current public system is in disarray, but parents have a duty to try to improve that system to make it better for all children. Taking a child out of school may be fine for that one student, but it does nothing to improve the situation for all of the other children who are left in school. Homeschooling then, is an ungenerous act because those parents who choose it are shirking their duty to the other families who stay in the system (Menendez, 1996). In addition, if middle and upper class parents leave the school, this removes active and concerned parents who might otherwise fight for improvements. Occasionally, this criticism takes on a class or ethnic dimension as well. That is, homeschooling may be a viable solution to poor schools for middle and upper class families with a stay-at-home parent, but it is not an option for the lower classes where both parents must work in order to survive. Since ethnic minorities are over-represented in the lower classes, homeschooling is a way for ethnic elites to protect the education of their own children while abandoning children from other ethnic backgrounds.

    And, here is Reich’s general premise:

    However, Callan is clear that these are very unusual circumstances, and exemptions are only to be granted after careful scrutiny of each case. One cannot keep their child out of school simply because they think it is in the best interests of the child to do so. He explicitly argues that parents do not have the right to reject great sphere schooling for their children. The reason is that this would interfere with the child’s future “zone of personal sovereignty” (Callan, 1997:155) by keeping the child “ethically servile” (Callan, 1997:155) to her or his parents. Children who are ethically servile to their parents are those who have been raised in “ignorant antipathy” toward all points of view other than that of their parents. In other words, parents do not have the right to keep their children out of a common, great sphere school because they could be brainwashed into believing in only their parents very limited view of the world. This is not only harmful for the child so brainwashed, but also for the larger society. As Callan wrote,

    Large moral losses are incurred by permitting parents to rear their children in disregard of the minima of political education and their children’s right to an education that protects their prospective interest in sovereignty (Callan, 1997, p. 176).

    Arai does a very nice job of countering both arguments. Definitely worth a read.


    Filed on at 8:35 am under by dcobranchi

    The VA EdSec doesn’t think a VA diploma has much value. How else to explain this quote?

    Lowering the standard [that would allow a parent with a HS diploma to homeschool with less supervision] would be “a travesty,” said Belle Wheelan, the state’s secretary of education. “I don’t think it’s in the best interests of the children,” she said.

    Wheelan said her own son barely graduated from high school and “I wouldn’t want him teaching any grandchildren I have. He’s not qualified.”

    Hat tip to GillBates.


    Filed on at 8:25 am under by dcobranchi

    Please pray that my wife does not get pulled over this week as she heads off to lead a chemistry co-op. She’ll be carrying around a bunch of baggies containing white powders and this pocket-sized balance (50 g x 0.01 g).

    If you were a cop, what would you think?

    GO TEAM!

    Filed on at 7:46 am under by dcobranchi

    Ya gotta love this hed:

    Home-school team grabs math crown

    Geez, the homeschool team dominated.

    Individual winners

    Katie Rettig – HOME
    Kira Sund — HOME
    Steven Smith – HOME
    Marc Loffert – HOME
    Beau Luck – Seventy-First Middle School

    The team practiced three hours each Saturday. Good job, kids.


    Filed on at 6:32 am under by dcobranchi

    Micha at Catallarchy has a pretty funny poem up. Quick game here: Who gets it? No fair googling.


    Filed on February 21, 2004 at 9:36 pm under by dcobranchi

    Police in San Francisco have arrested a 30-year-old female g-school teacher they found naked with a 14-year-old student.

    Just to clarify my thoughts- I do not believe that most or even a significant percentage of teachers are predators. I highlight these stories to point out that it DOES happen. Any non-zero chance of abuse is too much for me. That’s one reason WWHS.


    Filed on at 9:08 pm under by dcobranchi

    A parent objected to a film about the cases that led to Brown v. Board of Education because the film “uses a racial epithet at least twice.” This story is interesting on at least two levels- 1) Any time parents want materials banned (particularly historical materials) because of PC-sensitivity, I get my hackles up and 2) I think this is the first time that a newspaper has gone out of its way to avoid even the “n-word” euphemism. Is that now also considered too volatile to print?


    Filed on at 2:22 pm under by dcobranchi

    HSLDA attorney Scott Somerville, Brian Ray, Rob Reich, and Univ. of Wisconsin researcher Michael Apple will be debating homeschooling in April. Scott Somerville wants input. Here’s a link to a recent Apple paper. If it’s any indication of his level of thinking on the subject, Scott will tear him up. (via Judy Aron)


    Filed on at 1:04 pm under by dcobranchi

    Suffered another attack last night. The previous one sent over 5000 “comments” in 24 hours before they finally gave up.


    Filed on at 4:55 am under by dcobranchi

    Idaho State Rep. Joe Stegner pulled his ugly truancy bill. Guess who got the credit:

    Home-schooling parent John Doherty of Jerome was relieved when he heard Friday the state’s truancy laws will remain unchanged for the time being.

    Doherty, and hundreds of other home-schooling parents throughout the state, were convinced that legislation sponsored by Sen. Joe Stegner, R-Lewiston, could make them vulnerable to prosecution for not putting their children in public schools. Considerable pressure from the state’s home-schooling community prompted Stegner to pull the bill on Friday…”It has generated more animosity than I had anticipated,” Stegner said.

    Don’t mess with homeschoolers. We’re tough.

    There is a lesson, here, for us. We are getting quite good at local politics. We are considerably less experienced at the federal level. We need to keep homeschooling issues down in the states where we know we can run with the big dogs.

    Hear that HSLDA?


    Filed on at 4:44 am under by dcobranchi

    Here’s a completely positive article about homeschooling in Maine. The hed is the worst part:

    Homeschooling approaches mainstream


    Filed on at 4:15 am under by dcobranchi

    What happens in New Jersey high schools to make the kids go backwards?


    Filed on February 20, 2004 at 6:28 pm under by dcobranchi

    What’s missing here?

    The State Preschool Yearbook has been developed by the National Institute for Early Education Research to provide information on one important contributor to change in the education of young children—state-funded prekindergarten programs. This 2003 Yearbook is the first in an annual series reporting on programs funded by state governments to educate children at ages 3 and 4. Primary responsibility for education in the United States resides with state and local governments, and state prekindergarten programs will play an important role in the education of young children in the 21st century. We recognize that other types of programs serve young children under a variety of names and auspices, including the federal Head Start program and privately-and publicly-funded child care. This report seeks to improve the public’s knowledge and understanding of state prekindergarten programs in that larger array of programs.


    Filed on at 2:03 pm under by dcobranchi

    Yesterday EdSec Paige announced that schools will no longer be held accountable if their English-learner students don’t pass the state tests. I never understood how this was included in the first place. Did anyone really think that giving a kid a test in English before he even learned to speak the language was fair, let alone a good idea.

    At least this shows that Bush et al. are willing to listen and adjust the law as necessary.


    Filed on February 19, 2004 at 11:21 pm under by dcobranchi

    Holy cow! This NHEN thread has it all: anarchy, necrophilia, dueling (as in to the death) libertarians, and the FMA as it relates to homeschooling (obligatory HS reference there).

    It really is terrifically fascinating. HSLDA attorned Scott Somerville, in particular, has some really neat ideas.

    UPDATE: I guess I should mention, in case I haven’t made my position clear, that I am opposed to the FMA. I just don’t see how allowing same-sex marriages could affect heterosexual marriages or our right to homeschool.


    Filed on at 12:06 pm under by dcobranchi

    No spam for 5 minutes. A new World Record.


    Filed on at 9:56 am under by dcobranchi

    This school principal has forgotten who the parent is.

    A Lovington father is scheduled for four hours of school detention for keeping his high school age daughter home from school for one day due to extreme cold weather.

    …On the morning of Friday January 30, Hatton said he decided it was too cold for his children to go to school that day. But the Lovington High School Handbook does not list “parental concern for a child’s safety” as one of six excused absences in their handbook.

    …Lovington High School Principal Kevin Van Meter said the Hatton’s 16 year old daughter’s absence was unexcused, and punished her with five days detention. He based the punishment on a provision in the Lovington High School Handbook which states, “The student will be considered truant for all unexcused absences. The student will make up all time for unexcused absences unless the administrator deems the absence to be unavoidable.”

    The gall of these idiots! Who the hell do they think they are?!

    I sort-of applaud the the father for taking the rap. But, it’d have been far better if he fought it out with the school board.


    Filed on at 9:46 am under by dcobranchi

    The WaPo has a piece about the increasing numbers of states that are rebelling against NCLB. An interesting quote from EdSec Paige:

    In an interview Friday, Education Secretary Roderick R. Paige said many of the protests against the No Child Left Behind law are the result of its very complexity — it is more than 1,000 pages long — and a failure to understand its provisions. He said that much of the opposition is coming from a Washington-based “union establishment” that has mounted “a deliberate and highly financed effort to distort information” about the law.

    “For every person out there who is criticizing this law, there are tens out there who are supporting it,” Paige said.

    I kind of doubt that. And, it’s only going to get worse. The law allows states to set their own AYP levels as long as they get to 100% by 2014. Most states set the bar low at the beginning. As the years pass, it is going to get harder and harder to make AYP. I’m betting that somewhere around 2012, almost every school in the country will be “failing. The law is doomed.

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