Utterly Meaningless » 2004 » March
  • DR. NO HOMESCHOOLERS ALLOWED

    Filed on March 20, 2004 at 9:06 am under by dcobranchi

    Chris O’Donnell has a post about a doctor who appears to have watched too much Law & Order SVU.

    JUST A REMINDER

    Filed on at 9:02 am under by dcobranchi

    With April 15th less than a month away, I wanted to make sure no one gets hurt by claiming a deduction we’re not entitled to.

    JUST A BIT CONFUSING

    Filed on at 8:57 am under by dcobranchi

    What do you think of when you see a group named the “Home-School Association at Lafayette“? I thought it was a homeschool group. It’s not. Apparently, it’s some flavor of a PTA. I wish they wouldn’t do that.

    POSITIVE ARTICLE

    Filed on at 8:47 am under by dcobranchi

    Here’s a pretty good article about homeschooled teens in Boston. I liked this quote:

    Adds Rosenblatt: “We’re never home, and it’s not school.” Frequent haunts for her children, Bryanna, 15, and Aiden, 8, are Salem’s Peabody Essex Museum, the Higgins Armory Museum in Worcester, and the Museum of Science in Boston. Bryanna spent a month in Spain last year living with a family friend to top off the Spanish classes she’d been taking at North Shore Community College and Salem State. “We don’t really home-school, we car-school,” says Rosenblatt, who makes the common home-schooler joke that the only credential a parent needs to home-school is a driver’s license.

    HARDLY NEWS ANYMORE

    Filed on March 19, 2004 at 6:18 pm under by dcobranchi

    This is the first I’ve heard of this story.

    MALCOLM, Neb., March 18 (AP) — A teenager was arrested on Tuesday outside Malcolm High School after the police found him with 20 homemade bombs, a rifle and a note saying he wanted to injure everyone at the school except three friends.

    Pretty sad, eh? Just one more reason to homeschool.

    SO CLOSE YET SO FAR

    Filed on at 6:02 pm under by dcobranchi

    This otherwise very nice article about stay-at-home moms was spoiled at the very end:

    But no one should underestimate the importance of the signals sent by our culture. Stay-at-home moms have been bombarded for years with messages disparaging their choice. Now they should hear something else: that staying at home is a great and admirable act of self-sacrifice; that a career is not the only venue for important and meaningful work; that it is not unambitious to want to give your young children the full measure of your energy and attention.

    Why is it a “sacrifice” to raise your own kids? Still worth a read, though.

    TESTING! TESTING!

    Filed on at 11:40 am under by dcobranchi

    Tennessee homeschoolers are required to take that state’s accountability test.

    The Tennessee Department of Education requires all home school students in grades five and seven take the TCAP exam. Home school parents may call 209-8537 for more information.

    Isn’t this a violation of NCLB?

    SEC. 411(b)(4)(D) “APPLICABILITY TO HOME SCHOOLS- Nothing in this section
    shall be construed to affect home schools, whether or not a home school is
    treated as a home school or a private school under State law, nor shall any home schooled student be required to participate in any assessment referenced or authorized under this section.”

    AMENDMENT GOES DOWN IN FLAMES

    Filed on at 11:32 am under by dcobranchi

    South Carolina athleto-crats voted 16-0 against the proposed constitutional amendment that would have allowed homeschoolers to participate in g-school sports. Legislators are threatening to pass a law mandating it.

    THE “S” WORD…

    Filed on at 11:28 am under by dcobranchi

    is critical but not for whom you might think.

    OT: NO PROPERTY RIGHTS IN DE

    Filed on at 10:51 am under by dcobranchi

    The Delaware Senate voted yesterday to impose draconian rent control on the land under mobile homes in the state. According to the bill, rent increases would be limited to the Social Security cost-of-living adjustment plus 1 percent. It apparently didn’t matter to the Senate that land values are increasing at perhaps 10 percent per year. Fortunately, the bill has approximately zero percent chance of passing in the House.

    Hmmm, I wonder if this is a cynical Senate ploy- passing a DOA bill that makes them look like the good guys.

    TOO SICK TO BLOG

    Filed on March 18, 2004 at 5:01 pm under by dcobranchi

    I’m on major drugs (nothing too fun, though). See y’all in the a.m.

    OT: I PROMISE I DIDN’T VOTE FOR HIM

    Filed on at 11:39 am under by dcobranchi

    Delaware figures prominently in this good anti-FMA post over at Long Story, Short Pier.

    So is it safe? Not quite yet, apparently. Delaware’s banning same-sex marriages and civil unions. They’re going to try to write this exclusion into the state constitution. This is apparently very important business—

    I don’t know of anything that disgusts me more than seeing two women get married on television, where one is dressed like a man and has a haircut like a man. I guess they take turns being the man on different nights.

    Delaware- The First State in idiotic legislators.

    SLIPPERY SLOPE

    Filed on at 6:07 am under by dcobranchi

    In 2002 (I think), Florida voters passed a constitutional amendment that the state would provide “free” pre-K for all 4-year-olds. At the time, the discussion was that attendance would be strictly voluntary; the state wasn’t lowering the compulsory attendance age. Well, yesterday, they took a big step towards doing just that:

    With little debate, a House committee Wednesday approved a proposed voucher program to implement a voter-approved constitutional amendment providing free pre-kindergarten for all 4-year-olds… Parents who want to home-school instead of sending their children to a pre-K program would be given either books or computer access.

    According to these 1999 data, compulsory attendance in Florida doesn’t even start until age six. Why would you need a “voucher” to “homeschool” your 4-year-old?

    PRETTY GOOD CARTOON

    Filed on March 17, 2004 at 9:07 pm under by dcobranchi

    Here.

    RUN AWAY!

    Filed on at 9:03 pm under by dcobranchi

    I’m sure this proposal will be very popular with home educators.

    Attracting more students, creating more income from sources other than property tax and involving the community more in the schools were goals addressed by three different task forces as they presented ideas on how to reach those objectives during a special meeting Monday night…Talking personally with parents who home-school their children and inviting them to tour the schools to see what the school could offer them in areas of music, phy-ed, computer labs and more, was a suggestion coming at Monday’s meeting from task force member and teacher Dianna Edling.

    Edling said parents may read a letter or notice in the newspaper but felt it would be better if they were approached in person. “This is a very personal thing,” she said.

    It was noted more than 40 students in the district are currently being home-schooled and the school now has more to offer those students. Some part-time credit would be allotted to the school district should students take advantage of music lessons, for example.

    I can see it now- educrats going door-to-door trying to snag those dollars, I mean, recruit those homeschoolers. Good luck!

    LIKE TWO PEAS IN A POD

    Filed on at 8:56 pm under by dcobranchi

    Cornell and Patrick Henry College?

    A LITTLE HELP?

    Filed on at 1:01 pm under by dcobranchi

    This was posted in an old thread.

    Yesterday, I met an young lady of about fourteen doing volunteer work. She was as pleasant, intelligent and as articulate as anyone could imagine. But, later I felt a little bit bothered.

    As this lady conversed she interjected the “will of God”, or such as into any statement that reflected a decision on her part, either in the past or in the future. Another point was she acknowledged she had other friends, but that her friendship with her Mother was far more important than any other relationship. She said that she would be home schooled through high school, but that in college she wanted to enroll in a nearby Christian School so as to broaden her outlook.

    It seems to me that the homeschooler that I have come into contact with are there on their parents wishes, they are secluded from TV, computers and any child that does not conform to the same standards as the homeschooling Mother. These Moms appear to be diligent in their schooling, but this is secondary to much to strong religious guidance and seclusion of the child from the outside world.

    Please comment.

    I don’t have time to comment right now. We’re taking the kids over to some friends’ house for a few hours. After that, our oldest daughter has dance lessons. Maybe tomorrow. Oh, that won’t work, either. First there’s co-op, then there’s the homeschool karate class. Friday? Nope, a field trip and homeschool ice skating. Sorry- guess it’ll have to wait ’til the weekend. Maybe one of y’all would like to comment?

    IT’S SPRING

    Filed on at 6:18 am under by dcobranchi

    and that means the bees are back- spelling bees, that is. And, guess who’s winning.

    JUNK LEGISLATING

    Filed on at 6:07 am under by dcobranchi

    A follow-up to the thimerosal discussion.

    The Missouri House has voted to prohibit all vaccines containing thimerosal starting in 2006. Two problems with this piece of legislation: 1) According to the CDC, all scheduled childhood vaccines are already thimerosal free, and 2) the few vaccines that still contain the preservative are unavailable otherwise.

    Now, I should point out that the CDC page linked above is almost three-years-old, so point 2) above may have changed. What hasn’t changed is that there is no need for this legislation.

    OT: AN INTERESTING LETTER

    Filed on at 5:53 am under by dcobranchi

    in today’s News-Journal.

    NRA turned back on assault weapons

    At last the Senate has found the intestinal fortitude to stand up to the National Rifle Association. The NRA effort to repeal the assault weapons ban and limit gun purchase records went down to defeat.

    This vote is a victory for all Americans concerned about gun violence. The ideas the NRA promotes regarding gun confiscation are ludicrous. Even those of us who promote sensible gun control measures recognize that the Second Amendment is inviolate. The idea that we must be permitted to bear arms against an evil American government is beyond reasonable discussion. The gun industry is our only industrial group exempt from the Consumer Protection Act, thanks to NRA lobbying

    NRA lobbying and payoffs to members of Congress hinder every effort to regulate firearms, ammunition and explosives. Its paranoia extends to machine guns, cop killer bullets, tag agents for explosives and gun locks.

    I hope we may start to see a more pragmatic approach to gun regulation. As retired Gen. Wesley Clark said, “I support the Second Amendment. I am a hunter. I own 20 guns. If you want to handle an assault weapon, join the military.”

    Tom McAvoy, Newark

    Why interesting? Because Mr. McAvoy gets just about everything wrong. The amended bill, which was withdrawn, not defeated, would have extended the assault weapons ban for another 10 years. The ban will expire this September. I wonder why the N-J saw fit to print a letter such as this.

    OT: SO GEEK

    Filed on March 16, 2004 at 12:12 pm under by dcobranchi

    A 4 Gig hard drive the size of a quarter.

    GREAT LESSON ON SEDNA

    Filed on at 7:12 am under by dcobranchi

    Here’s a very topical scientific explanation of the newest (known) member of the solar system, told by the discoverer. Definitely worth a click.

    JUST GREAT

    Filed on at 5:54 am under by dcobranchi

    The LA Times is reporting that the polygamous/incestuous “family” in Fresno homeschooled:

    Neighbors and acquaintances described the mothers, who may number as many as six, as a commune of women who worked to support Wesson, bore his children and adhered to a strict lifestyle that he dictated. That lifestyle included home schooling, modest clothing and a rejection of America’s mainstream culture, they said.

    So far, no one seems to making any kind of connection. Let’s keep our fingers crossed.

    THANKS BUT NO THANKS

    Filed on at 5:49 am under by dcobranchi

    This has to be one of the dumber ed reform ideas around.

    AS ARROGANT AS THEY COME

    Filed on March 15, 2004 at 5:53 pm under by dcobranchi

    HSLDA’s latest email pushing CAPTA legislation:

    Subj: Memo to send to your CAPTA sponsors ASAP
    Date: 3/15/04 4:53:07 PM Eastern Standard Time
    From: Chris Klicka
    Sent from the Internet (Details)

    Dear Homeschool Leaders,

    This is the crucial year for passing your state’s child welfare reform
    bill. The more time that elapses, the more established social worker
    procedures will become. No doubt the procedures CPS agencies enact on
    their own will fall short of Congress’ intent, making it more difficult
    for us to pass these reforms next year.

    Now we have CAPTA amendments passed into law in TX, AZ, and VA!
    Indiana is on the governor’s desk.

    We need to keep pushing sponsors along in the other states. Feel free
    to send your sponsor the following memo.

    Sincerely,

    Chris Klicka

    =================
    Dear Senator _____,

    Here are several short bullet points to use to help pass the child
    welfare reform amendments in [give bill number].

    These amendments are passing UNANIMOUSLY in legislative committees and
    legislative bodies (Senate and House) in about 20 states where they have
    been introduced.

    These amendments have already been signed into law in Texas, Virginia,
    and Arizona.

    It is NOT a homeschool or Republican or Democrat issue. These common
    sense child welfare reforms help all citizens.

    Thank you for all your efforts!

    Please let me know if you have any questions.

    [Your Name]

    REASONS TO VOTE FOR [Bill] __________

    1) It is federal law. If federal funding for the state is to continue,
    these must be implemented. The HHS at the federal level has said the
    best way to make sure these amendments are properly and effectively
    implemented is by adding them to state code.

    2) All the enforcement concerns, reasons, and needs for the two
    amendments were already debated at the federal level in the House and
    Senate committees. No need for the state legislature to re-discuss or
    re-analyze.

    The two committee reports (House and Senate) are included in HSLDA’s
    packet on CAPTA that clearly explain the reasons and need. Attorney
    Chris Klicka’s testimony, which is referred to in the report language
    also documents many social worker stories. You can access the relevant
    testimony at: http://www.hslda.org/docs/news/hslda/200110192.asp

    3)These two amendments involve the protection of certain fundamental
    constitutional rights entitled to ALL citizens. They are too important
    to be simply left to the agency to try to implement.

    They simply require individuals subject to investigations to be treated
    with the same constitutional protections as every other citizen in the
    U.S.

    These amendments will ensure those being investigated have there
    constitutional rights respected: 4th amendment privacy rights and
    sanctity of their home from unreasonable searches and seizures, parental
    rights, and due process rights such as knowing what you are being
    accused of.

    Families, in the past, who were subject to social worker investigations
    often had these basic rights neglected and many INNOCENT families were
    unnecessary traumatized.

    The Constitution applies to social workers too. Every other law
    enforcement agency is trained in and follows these constitutional
    mandates.

    4) Social workers should not be afraid of a little accountability in
    such an important area as fundamental rights.

    Geez! These guys just don’t quit. I highlighted two sections to point out why I think HSLDA does more harm than good when it takes on these non-homeschooling issues.

    In the first, put yourself in the shoes of a state legislator. How would you feel about a lobbying group, any lobbying group, telling you to just pass the law; don’t bother studying or debating it. I think I’d be mighty suspicious of that group and the folks they represent.

    The second is even worse. We are constantly fighting claims that we’re afraid of “accountability” when we insist that we don’t want or need regulations and testing. And, here, our “representatives” are using the same word in a push for more regulations. I don’t think it’d be too hard to turn that sentence back upon us.

    There’s got to be a way to rein these guys in. Klicka’s email address is an active link. Feel free to click on it and let him know how you feel (either pro or con).

    BTW, I’ve turned comments back on. I thought this one might generate some discussion.

    UPDATE: Chris Klicka via email asked me to delete his address from the post.

    COMMENTS OFF

    Filed on at 4:34 pm under by dcobranchi

    79 p*rn spam messages in 4 minutes. A new record. *Sigh*

    THOSE LAZY 4-YEAR-OLDS…

    Filed on at 3:12 pm under by dcobranchi

    …sleeping the day away.

    Joanne (aka The Happy Homeschooler) takes after some idiot educrats who think naps are “baby school stuff.” Of course- they should be able to sit in a desk for 6 straight hours, working calculus problems and bringing about world peace. Geez! They’re 4-years-old! What are they waiting for, already? (Joanne’s permalinks appear to be toast. The post is on 3/15/2004.)

    HED OF THE DAY

    Filed on at 12:20 pm under by dcobranchi

    Old school could become new jail

    The punchline: And the change is…?

    DEVELOPMENTS IN NY

    Filed on at 12:14 pm under by dcobranchi

    There has been a positive development in the ongoing battle between homeschoolers and the NY Dept. of Education.

    Background: NY has long had a law on its books that no “under age” student could matriculate in the state colleges unless they first had a state recognized high-school diploma, took the GED, or could get a letter from the local superintendent that they had an “equivalent” education. Needless to say, the first and third options were not open to homeschoolers, and the second was anathema. No big deal, though, because the law was unenforced. Until last year when several homeschool grads were basically kicked out of college for being too young.

    Well, the Education Department has recently proposed to allow homeschoolers to prove “equivalency” by taking and passing 24 hours of college courses. This sounds like it would fix the problem, but HSLDA is still not happy.

    Hey, Meep, do you know the details?

    TOO FUNNY

    Filed on March 14, 2004 at 3:42 pm under by dcobranchi

    The city of Aliso Viejo, CA was all set this week to ban foam cups because the deadly chemical dihydrogen monoxide is used in their production. Dihydrogen monoxide, of course, is H2O (i.e., water). Pitiful. BTW, I’m one of the signers (from WAY back) on the “Petition to Ban Dihydrogen Monoxide.” (via Instapundit)

    JUNK SCIENCE OR JUNKY REPORTING?

    Filed on at 2:56 pm under by dcobranchi

    According to The Scotsman, kids who get a thimerasol-preserved injection are six times more likely to develop autism than those who get one without the preservative. I find this hard to believe. AFAIK, there have have no studies that showed a statistically significant risk from thimerasol. If there really were such a huge effect, we’d have seen it before today. Something’s not right here.

    RED QUEEN IN D.C.

    Filed on at 2:30 pm under by dcobranchi

    This “free market conservative” wants the government to impose its will on Infinity Broadcasting. Why? Because Infinity changed the broadcast lineup for Redskins football games. Now, there’s a national scandal worthy of a Congressional hearing.

    I just finished reading “The Moon is a Harsh Mistress.” This line (on the failure of the libertarian revolution) seems apropos:

    Seems to be a deep instinct in human beings for making compulsory that isn’t forbidden.

    Sure- the GOP and the Dems differ on what they would compel and what they would forbid. But, in the end, it all comes down to the fact that they’re both just a bunch of statists. (Hat tip to Skip Oliva)

    PSA: A WARNING

    Filed on at 8:30 am under by dcobranchi

    This “Honor” society sounds like a scam. Save your $45.

    THIS IS A JOKE, RIGHT?

    Filed on March 13, 2004 at 7:24 pm under by dcobranchi

    Judy Aron sent me a link to a review of the book “Licensing Parents: Can We Prevent Child Abuse and Neglect?” I’ve got to quote the whole thing; it’s that bizarre.

    The government requires licenses for some of the most important aspects of our lives–driving, marriage, running a business. Yet there is absolutely no license, training, or test of any kind required for the biggest responsibility of all–having a child. Just about anybody at anytime can pop out a kid, and–as you’ve probably noticed–just about anybody does. I’ve known parents who I wouldn’t trust to care for my plants, yet they are in the position of raising another human being.

    What can be done? Psychiatrist Jack Westman, who has worked with abused and neglected children for 30 years, has an idea. Require a license for people to become parents. This would recognize children as full human beings, who have human and civil rights, including “the right to competent parenting.” Such a plan would also benefit society. Westman discusses the public cost of bad parenting, including welfare dependency, homeless children, public health problems, a decline in national productivity, the costs of child protective agencies, and an overall erosion of quality of life in the US.

    The author feels that just because you performed an act of sexual intercourse, you don’t have the inalienable right to force a child to come into this world, treat him like shit, ruin his life, set him up for failure in adulthood, and clog the world with yet another maladjusted jerk. “The traditional mystique of biological parenthood needs to be placed in perspective, so that parenthood can be seen accurately, not as a state determined by conception and birth but as a relationship based on a parent-child affectionate bond with reciprocal obligations between parents and children. As adoptive parents well know, parenthood really is a relationship and is not simply a status awarded by conceiving or giving birth to a child.” Once we accept this view, the idea of licensing parents make more sense. “It would designate parenthood as a privilege for which one is qualified rather than as a right that accompanies the event of childbirth.”

    In the chapter “A National Parenting Policy”, Westman explains how his plan would work. People would need to apply for licenses when they get married, when they decide to adopt, when unmarried people decide to have a child, during pregnancy, or at the birth of the child. To receive a license, a person would have to meet three basic criteria–be at least 18 years old, certify “that he or she agrees to care for and nurture the child and to refrain from abusing or neglecting the child”, and complete a course in parenting. For people under eighteen, their parents must agree to assume parenting responsibilities. If parents violate the terms of the license, the government might terminate parental rights. Or the parents might be put on a probationary period during which they would receive training while their child lives with foster parents. Should the parents be unwilling or unable to improve, their child will be taken from them. Similarly, an unlicenced woman who gives birth may be put on a probationary period, or she may just have her child taken from her for adoption.

    Westlake realizes there are many arguments against his plan, so he presents and rebuts all of them–the imposition of majority standards, violating the sacred parent-child relationship, fostering the blaming of parents, restricting the rights of adults to freedom of action, enforcing conformity in child rearing, objectionable prior restraint, the unfeasibility of administration, and several more.

    Despite these intriguing arguments, this concept gives me the heebie jeebies. Children need to be helped, but letting anyone–especially that monstrosity known as the government–decide who can and who can’t reproduce is fascist to the core. Still, when I see how all these losers treat their kids, the idea crosses my mind…

    Insight Books; $27.95

    1994; hardcover; 347 pp

    0-306-44766-5

    I honestly don’t know what to say. Can anyone really think this way? Well, at least the reviewer recognized the book for what it is.

    WHAT A HEADACHE!

    Filed on at 1:36 pm under by dcobranchi

    Homeschooling has to be easier than just registering with the state.

    KINDERGARTEN REGISTRATION

    THE COHOES CITY SCHOOL DISTRICT will be conducting its annual kindergarten registration for all children who turn five years old on or before Dec. 1. Register at the middle school registration office on the first floor 1-7 p.m. March 15, 16 and 18; 8:30-11:30 a.m. and 1-2:30 p.m. March 17 and 19. Items needed when coming to registration include child’s original birth certification, Social Security card, complete immunization record, parent or guardian’s proof of residency, custody papers if applicable. If children are already registered through the Cohoes Head Start program, disregard this notice. For information call Michele Smith at 237-4131 ext. 2299.

    NOT LEFT AT ALL

    Filed on at 6:41 am under by dcobranchi

    Brown University’s President Ruth J. Simmons has just ordered a study to determine how much (if any) reparations Brown should pay in order to atone for it’s (minimal) relationship to slavery in the early 1800s. But, this is going to be a serious inquiry, with no pre-determined outcome.

    Both Dr. Simmons and the chairman of the committee, James T. Campbell, a history professor at Brown, said the effort would be wide ranging and thorough, encouraging all points of view.

    “Everyone in a university is always being accused of being 18 miles to the left of the country,” said Dr. Campbell, who specializes in American, African-American and African history, but “there are people on this committee who think reparations is the stupidest idea ever.”

    The president, a great-granddaughter of slaves, is staying neutral on the issue:

    Dr. Simmons said she would not reveal her opinion on reparations so as not to influence the committee.

    “Here’s the one thing I’ll say,” she said. “If the committee comes back and says, ‘Oh it’s been lovely and we’ve learned a lot,’ but there’s nothing in particular that they think Brown can do or should do, I will be very disappointed.”

    I’m glad she’s not trying to influence the committee’s decision.

    President Simmons wants to see that “society learns from it, acknowledges what has taken place and then moves on. What I’m trying to do, you see, in a country that wants to move on, I’m trying to understand as a descendant of slaves how to feel good about moving on.” I’m pretty sure that the only people who haven’t “moved-on” are the ones calling for reparations. After all, slavery ended 140 years ago. There aren’t too many former slaves around left to compensate, are there?

    OT: CURSES! FOILED AGAIN.

    Filed on March 12, 2004 at 4:10 pm under by dcobranchi

    Shoot! This is illegal? Why’d we have all these kids, then?

    Share or borrow children: Don’t have any kids? Have more kids than you need to claim the maximum Earned Income Tax Credit? For a fee, huckster tax preparers will broker a deal in which families with a lot of kids sell their children’s Social Security numbers to individuals with no children to claim on their returns.

    IT DOESN’T WORK THAT WAY

    Filed on at 3:52 pm under by dcobranchi

    I received more info about the proposal to allow homeschoolers to play g-school sports. This line got my dander up.

    SCHEA’s Board of Directors will support this as a first step toward access for those homeschool families who would choose this path for their children.

    For those with a child who is an extremely gifted athlete, participation in this league is of utmost importance to them. For their sakes, we would ask our members and other home education advocates to act in support of this amendment, but if they cannot, we ask for NO negative intervention. It would only support disunity among SC homeschoolers as viewed by the SCHSL. [emphasis added]

    But there is “disunity” on this subject. If I were a SC home educator who felt that this proposal threatened my family’s freedom, you can bet your bottom dollar that I’d be emailing the SCHSL asking them to vote “No.”

    It appears that this proposal is tailor-made for three homeschooling families who want their kids to be able to play. Sorry, but I think there are more important issues at stake here, like “no entangling alliances.”

    Vote “No!”

    3:45 A.M. IS VERY EARLY

    Filed on at 3:33 pm under by dcobranchi

    That’s what time the alarm went off in order for me to catch the airport shuttle at 4:30. Ugh! PittCon was terrific (as usual), but my feet are very sore from walking the floor.

    NYHEN?

    Filed on at 2:58 pm under by dcobranchi

    Y’all know anyone active in NYHEN?

    Received from a distraught mom in NYC:

    I NEED TO FIND HOMESCHOOLING FOR MY STEPSON.THE SCHOOL I.S.72 IN S.I.NY IS NOT HELPING MY CHILD.IM ALONE SINGLE PARENT FOR NOW N IM NOT GETTING ANY ANSWERS.I NEED TO GET MY STEPSON HELP IN HIS WORK BECAUSE HE WAS PLACED IN BUSHWICK AVE IN BROOKLYN NY.BUT I REFUSE TO LET HIM TRAVEL FROM OUR HOUSE TRAVIS AVE IN S.I. TO BROOKLYN TO BUSHWICK AVE.HE IS MISSING ALOT OF SCHOOLING BECAUSE OF THE BOARD OF EDUCATION.HE IS SUSPENDED FOR 45 DAYS HE RETURNS ON APRIL 16.THIS IS NOT FAIR TO THIS CHILD.HE HAS ADHD.N HAS A 504 DISABILIT ACT.I HIRED A ATTORNEY N CALL EVERYONE THAT I CAN N NO ONE SEEMS TO KNOW HOW TO HELP ME.CAN U .THIS CHILD IS BEING IGNORED.

    OT: FREEDOM OF THE PRESS

    Filed on March 11, 2004 at 5:02 pm under by dcobranchi

    The Chicago Tribune has a good editorial protesting the Bush Administration’s ridiculous policy accusing publishers of “trading” with the “enemy” by editing manuscripts. I’m proud to say that chemists, as led by the American Chemical Society, decided to challenge the admininistration directly.

    Last month, one publisher of scientific papers, the American Chemical Society, challenged the government by editing articles submitted from five embargoed nations, including Iran. “We think OFAC has gone off the deep end in this interpretation,” says Robert Bovenschulte, president of the American Chemical Society’s publications division. After months of legal analysis and consultation, he says, “we have decided that we’re simply going to proceed with business as usual.” Otherwise, he says, the ACS risks damaging its publishing program and violating its ethical guidelines, which dictate that the quality of the material, not the nation of origin, dictates whether it is published.

    Sometimes even geeky chemists can be cool.

    LET’S DO THE TIME WARP AGAIN

    Filed on at 2:39 pm under by dcobranchi

    The New York Times has a really sad report on the conditions in one g-school library. It seems that the library is part of the land that time forgot.

    The shelves are filled with thousands of books, and at first glance, the place looks normal. Only by reading would you know. Typical is “Friendly Workers Visit Larry” (1960), a child’s primer on jobs. The first job that young Larry learns about is telegraph delivery boy. Every worker that Larry meets – the dry cleaner, the deliveryman, the cleaning lady – is white and Larry talks funny. When his neighbor Mrs. Gay bakes cookies, Larry says, “Yum, Yum, the cookies I like best.”

    Need a technology book? Try “The First Book of Television,” by Edward Stoddard (1955). “Most families in America today have television sets,” it begins. “Yet as short a time ago as 1945” Telephones? “Let’s Find Out About Telephones” (1967). “When you phone you usually dial the number. But on some new phones you can push buttons.”

    The school has computers to access the internet, but there’s nothing like curling up in a corner somewhere with a good book in your hands. Very sad. I’m sure the school gets money to acquire materials. It’s just not been spent on books.

    HAIL, BRITANNICA!

    Filed on at 1:02 am under by dcobranchi

    This article out of Canada mourns the “death” of printed encyclopedias. They correctly point out that the CR-ROM based ones are just so much more up-to-date and “interactive.” In my mind, the latter is not necessarily a good thing. I like clean text with a minimum of pictures and other distractions. Maybe that’s why I’m so fond of the open-source wikipedia.

    BLECCHH!

    Filed on at 12:39 am under by dcobranchi

    This long-time home educator just sounds so whiney:

    “You have to jump through a lot of hoops in Pennsylvania to home school,” she said. “In most states, all you have to do is fill out an affidavit.

    “In Canada, every home-schooled student’s family gets paid $800 per child for expenses. That’s because they consider home schooling a good thing.”

    Wohar said she had no choice but to send three of her kids to cyber school because, “I asked California [her local school district] three times to allow my kids to participate in sports and they turned me down.”

    As a result, California Area is paying $18,000 to $30,000 a year for the three Wohar children to be cyber schooled.

    She even went so far as to circulate a petition to get her kids on the g-school teams. I guess it takes all kinds. *Sigh*

    A WONDERFUL ESSAY

    Filed on March 10, 2004 at 11:32 pm under by dcobranchi

    Diane Patterson pointed me to this essay by a former homeschooler. Absolutely terrific writing. And, on a subject that we know quite well:

    It’s too easy to blame public education. It’s a shattered, crippled, dangerous wreck; it’s also one of the best ideas we ever came up with. Education is vital; opening it up as much as possible, making those opportunities available to every kid you can reach, is not only the morally right thing to do, it’s the best way possible to make sure you as a society can best capitalize on the potential of each of your members. Anything that fragments that ideal risks punishing kids for the ineptitude and bad choices of their parents (or guardians). No, we can’t protect everyone from everything bad, and no, we shouldn’t have schools where careless parents can drop their kids off and pick them up, well-rounded and ready for college, after 12 years. But we haven’t done right by our best idea in decades. It’s shattered and crippled and dangerous, but for every officious prick waving the zero-tolerance handbook around, there’s still a half-dozen smart administrators making the best of a very delicate juggling act; you never hear about them because they do their jobs well. For every obsolete teacher, there’s a dozen doing good, solid, thankless work, and a couple that are brilliant, in spite of every reason in the world not to be. For each piece of stultifying monkey-work, there’s also, here and there, inspiration and serendipity and joy that you couldn’t find anywhere else. The ideal of the American public school is one worth fighting for. Not giving up on. And homeschooling feels all too much like giving up.

    (But: teaching to the test and No Child Left Behind and teachers buying their own paper because the school budget can’t afford the copies they need to make and for God’s sake the religious isolationist freaks are taking over the school boards and demolishing text books left and right! When is enough enough? When do you leave the sinking hulk and try to launch a brand new ship? Would I homeschool my own kid, in spite of all the hardship and shortcomings? Would I sacrifice them at the altar of a broken idea? Would I take it as it came, trusting in the basic resilience of kids and the power of reading to them every night from infancy to muddle us through, much as we’ve all managed to muddle through, one way or another, more or less? —Ask me when the time comes.)

    Be warned- it’s a bit stream of consciousness, but, absolutely, read the whole thing.

    BTW, after reading some more entries, I decided to add “Long Story, Short Pier” to the blogroll; it’s that good.

    AN OVER-REACTION?

    Filed on at 4:20 pm under by dcobranchi

    An 8-year-old with ADD was charged with a felony for physically resisting being sent to the principal’s office for misbehaving. He allegedly struck the teacher but the article provides no details. The teacher did not want to press charges, but he was arrested anyway.

    After the school called the father to tell him about the boy striking the teacher, his parents grounded him and took away his privileges — including his toys and television — and made him apologize, the father said.

    The father said the boy has changed schools, is taking his medicine, sees a counselor and is doing much better.

    The parents thought the incident was settled until the father recently got the summons to appear in court.

    “I cannot comprehend it,” the father said. “This is just too much.”

    Fortunately, someone finally decided to act like an adult and dropped the charges. (Hat tip to Andrea)

    A FISKING! A FISKING!

    Filed on at 9:33 am under by dcobranchi

    Chris O’Donnell rips the DEVO fan to shreds. Yagottaloveit!

    HOME EDUCATORS TOO DUMB TO DRIVE…

    Filed on at 9:19 am under by dcobranchi

    or at least to teach driving.

    That’s the opinion of (hopefully soon to be former) Rep. Mary Mascher, D-Iowa City. She opposed a bill allowing home educators to teach their kids to drive.

    [She said] home-school parents may not be qualified to teach driving.

    “Being a good driver does not automatically make you a good teacher,” Mascher said.

    It ain’t that complicated. Geez! We can teach calculus but not how to do a three-point turn?! Where do they find these folks. And, then vote them into office.

    Fortunately, Ms. Mascher was in the minority and the bill overwhelmingly passed in the House.

    WWHS: A LOCAL ITEM

    Filed on at 8:39 am under by dcobranchi

    Not for the squeamish.

    Except for the incident, the educrats and police seem to have handled this properly.

    DEAD BUT NOT MOURNED

    Filed on at 5:02 am under by dcobranchi

    The Biloxi Sun Herald reports that a bill to force all g-schools to allow homeschoolers “dual enrollment” status has died. Darn!

    Don’t bother clicking over; there’s no there, there.

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