Utterly Meaningless » 2004 » April
  • OTOH

    Filed on April 21, 2004 at 3:45 pm under by dcobranchi

    This teacher will get what she deserves (in a strikingly similar situation).

    First, police say, Norman Elementary School teacher Mary Lou Botello made a 5-year-old student drop to his knees in the cafeteria and beg for forgiveness after making a racial comment to a custodian.

    Then, according to an affidavit filed Tuesday, she grabbed the student by his shirt, dragged him up a hallway and threw him into the principal’s office, where he slid on the floor and landed against a wooden bookcase. At one point in the hall, witnesses said, the child’s shoe came off, causing him to trip as the teacher continued her fast pace.

    Police decided that the teacher crossed the line between discipline and a crime during the March 26 incident. They charged Botello, 51, with injury to a child, a state jail felony punishable by up to two years behind bars.

    OUCH! MY WRIST HURTS!

    Filed on at 3:33 pm under by dcobranchi

    A third-grade teacher got off pretty easy with only a 15 day suspension after completely losing it in front of a security guard.

    “Get this f—— nigger out of my classroom before I kill him,” staff at the school reported.

    That sounds like a death-threat to me. Shouldn’t he be reassigned to the discipline school?

    JOLLY GOOD SHOW

    Filed on at 2:40 am under by dcobranchi

    Homeschool grad Danielle Perry will be heading to Cambridge on scholarship. She kind of disses her homeschooling background.

    At first, her parents were not thrilled with the idea of Perry attending college, but Perry’s father allowed her to attend nursing school at Reading Hospital and eventually Penn State Berks and University Park.

    Although she grew academically through home schooling, Perry said she felt extremely isolated from the outside world.

    “I almost felt like I was from another country,” Perry said. “It’s taken four to five years, I feel completely normal. It’s something I had to work for.”

    I’LL BID $1.50

    Filed on April 20, 2004 at 9:28 pm under by dcobranchi

    A NJ school is auctioning off naming rights on eBay. I might actually bid, but only if they’ll let me re-name it Brooklawn Prison.

    ANOTHER STRANGE COINCIDENCE?

    Filed on at 7:44 am under by dcobranchi

    I just saw a Katie Couric interview with Rev. Michael Shoels, whose son, Isaiah, was killed at Columbine five years ago today. The families are still grieving their losses. In fact, Mr. Shoels moved out of Littleton, CO because of the tragedy. Interestingly, he moved his family to Katy, TX. Katy Independent School District has been in the news a lot lately due to its very (overly?) strict zero tolerance policies. And, of course, the whole ZT movement grew out of a response to Columbine. I wonder if Rev. Shoels’ presence has had any influence on the school district’s policies.

    OVER MY DEAD BODY

    Filed on at 2:41 am under by dcobranchi

    Why do ‘tweens need their own cell phones? My kids can get one when they earn the money themselves. Until then, they borrow one of ours to call home in an “emergency.”

    COINCIDENCE? YOU MAKE THE CALL.

    Filed on April 19, 2004 at 7:55 pm under by dcobranchi

    Three days after I criticized HSLDA for pushing the bogus stats from an NHERI study in a WashTimes Op/Ed (and at a homeschool convention), Mike Smith has published a very balanced Op/Ed in the same paper.

    Of course, homeschool families are well versed in these reasons since the decision to homeschool requires much thought and preparation, but the general public and many in the media continue to have some misconceptions about the motivations behind homeschooling. A recent headline in the Dallas Morning News stated “Despite good schools, more kids learning at home.” The parents quoted in the article live in Los Rios, a wealthy suburb of Plano, Texas. They didn’t have a negative word to say about their local public schools. So why would these parents decide to homeschool if they already had good schools right on their doorstep?

    It flies in the face of conventional wisdom, which believes that parents only choose homeschooling if there’s something fundamentally wrong with their public school or if they’re motivated by religion. Conventional wisdom also suggests that the natural destination for children is public school and that any parent who chooses homeschooling must (or at least should) have a good reason for seeking that alternative.

    I’m sure Mike isn’t visiting H&OES and it really is coincidence. Still- pretty funny.

    FUNNY HED

    Filed on at 11:29 am under by dcobranchi

    This one brought forth all sorts of odd mental images.

    PC kindergarten roundup begins May 3

    A politically correct roundup of kindergartners? Git along, little doggie!

    BEAUTIFUL

    Filed on at 12:10 am under by dcobranchi

    The lede in this commentary is a classic.I spent most of my K-12 education at my local government indoctrination center. I went through the mandatory sex education, diversity training, evolution instruction, and sensitivity assemblies. Fortunately, I survived with my soul intact.

    But I don’t have the highest opinion of the public schools.

    I HOPE THIS IS A JOKE

    Filed on April 18, 2004 at 7:44 pm under by dcobranchi

    In the “poll” comments:

    My kid was selling drugs and skipping school. By signing up for home schooling at least the truant officers aren’t waking me up a 9 AM looking for the kid.

    EARTH TO EDUCRAT

    Filed on at 10:38 am under by dcobranchi

    This is a must read on the idiocy of ZT policies and of the educrats who enforce them. The quote of the year:

    District officials say the children who go through the school, named Opportunity Awareness Center [the alternative school], have access to better resources, including small classes, counselors and social workers.

    “They leave here better for it,” said Patty Bing, principal of the discipline school. “I’ve never seen a situation where a child did not benefit.”

    …”At [the alternative school], you knew you were in prison,” [Jewel] said, adding that the experience made her hate school even at Taylor.

    The entrance to the discipline school is monitored by a security guard and blocked by a metal detector, where the students line up every morning to be searched before they can enter. Bing and other faculty members greet the students as they lift up their shirts and pants, empty their pockets and take off their shoes.

    “We make it a very positive experience to start the day,” the principal said.

    I wonder if the principal has to go through the same procedure. Somehow, I doubt it.

    Oh, BTW, the “crime” that Jewel committed? Being accused of drinking at a school football game. She denied it and, when she requested to have a breathalyzer administered to prove her innocence, the school refused.

    Please, read the whole thing.

    UPDATE: I love the principal’s quote so much, I’ve enshrined it above.

    AND YET ANOTHER

    Filed on at 10:22 am under by dcobranchi

    Shay Seaborne had an excellent response to the same LTTE.

    Building walls? Hardly. We’re tearing down walls between races

    Date published: 4/18/2004

    Reader Gina Martin’s letter, “Home-schooling may ‘teach’ sectarian animosity,” reflects an inaccurate, stereotypical picture of home-schooling.

    She wrote that she is “concerned about the growing chasm between the different cultures, religions, and socioeconomic groups,” and wonders if we “value the importance of exposing our children to those who are different than they are,” implying that home-schoolers deliberately sequester their children.

    As a home schooling parent for nine years, I almost laugh at the irony. One of the many reasons I home-school is to “expose” my children to the larger world, and to teach them about different people and cultures.

    Were my children in school, they would not have the time to study Mandarin with me. We are learning this difficult language so we can better communicate with our neighbor, a delightful 64-year-old Chinese woman, who speaks almost no English.

    Other neighbors include a Muslim family from Pakistan from whom we are learning a little Urdu, and some delicious new recipes.

    The people behind us are Muslims from Afghanistan. To either side of them are families from Central America. Down the street, we have a Hindu family from India.

    If this isn’t enough, we have a home-school Travel Club, in which we learn about different lands, people, customs, and cultures. We read folk stories, try new foods, listen to new music, attend events, and much more.

    Contrary to the popular image, for many families, home schooling isn’t about “building walls around our children,” it’s about opening doors.

    Shay Seaborne

    Woodbridge

    Shay Seaborne is president of the Virginia Home Education Association.

    A TERRIFIC LETTER

    Filed on at 10:15 am under by dcobranchi

    in this Virginia paper, though they still haven’t published Chris O’Donnell’s.

    Just think what your children could learn if you were their teacher

    Date published: 4/18/2004

    This is in response to Gina Martin’s letter of April 7 [“Home schooling may ‘teach’ sectarian animosity”]:

    Are public schools the only place in which people are exposed to others with different backgrounds and values? Of course not. That’s a leap in logic that’s just not true.

    My own children are exposed daily to people from about five continents. I think that one of the strengths of home schooling is that instead of just reading about Japan and maybe having a bulletin board about it, we can meet someone from Japan in the grocery store, the kids can be curious about the contents of his shopping cart, we can talk, become friends, and end up invited to his home for a real Japanese meal. True story.

    I grew up in a small town. I became good friends with the children of a Nigerian college student who was hired to house-sit a neighbor’s home several summers in a row. My family also became best friends with a family from Vietnam. Neither of these contacts came through public school, yet I spent much of my free time with them.

    Had I not been in school all day, I could have met the many fascinating people my parents did just in the course of living their lives.

    I think it’s breathtakingly intolerant to believe that the only route to tolerance is through public schools, as well as a fine example of fuzzy logic.

    Both are errors that I hope to help my children avoid through the way I’m educating them.

    Tracey Rollison

    Indianapolis

    UPDATE: They did!

    LOCAL ITEM: JUST A REMINDER

    Filed on at 10:08 am under by dcobranchi

    CHAP is only a couple weeks away.

    OT: OILY DOGFOOD SYNDROME

    Filed on at 9:49 am under by dcobranchi

    Here’s one you don’t see everyday. A fire in an animal rescue organization’s facility was apparently caused by the spontaneous combustion of dog food. It’s basically the same phenomenon as the old linseed oil-soaked rag fires.

    Here’s the process in case anyone is interested: A slow oxidation causes a minute amount of heat to be generated. If the pile is big and dense enough, the heat cannot escape so the temperature goes up slightly. Chemical reaction rates increase exponentially with temperature so the oxidation rate goes up, generating more heat. A vicious cycle ensues until the temperature exceeds the auto-ignition temperature (AIT) of the linseed oil.

    And, yes, I am a chem-geek.

    PENNIES ARE LEGAL TENDER

    Filed on at 9:20 am under by dcobranchi

    Several girls were suspended for paying a $1 school fee with 100 pennies. They did it as a harmless prank. The educrat-in-charge was not amused.

    “We tried to do a prank that wouldn’t harm the school or we didn’t think would get us into any trouble,” said Ashley Hearn, one of those suspended. “So we were trying to do something that we thought would be funny and that they would take as a joke.”

    But Assistant Principal Roger Buswell didn’t see it the same way.

    “It took forever and disrupted the efficient opening in the morning,” Buswell said.

    I guess the front office had a hard time counting to 100. Why am I not surprised?

    AMISTAD UPDATE

    Filed on April 17, 2004 at 2:09 pm under by dcobranchi

    Here’s a nice piece on the ship’s arrival in Wilmington.

    “POLL” RESULTS

    Filed on at 7:58 am under by dcobranchi

    Well, I learned a couple of things here. First, home educators can’t follow a simple direction. 🙂 Most people picked more than one reason.

    In order to have all of the possibilities add up to 100%, I normalized everyone’s scores. If a person cited mulitple reasons with no expression of preference, I split the point evenly. In the case of an expressed preference, I gave that one double weight. Grad students may want to re-score this as they see fit; the data are available in the comments.

    Second, for this self-selected group, religion is the least likely reason to homeschool. That might say more about me than anything else. My regular readers tend to be secular homeschoolers and I only “advertised” this on HEM-Networking, not exactly a bastion of the Christian Right. 🙂

    Anyway, the results from the first 55 responses.

    Religion: 7.2%
    Better Education: 45.1%
    Safety: 11.4%
    Wanting to be around the kids more: 12.6%
    Other: 23.7%

    In the other category, reasons cited included: School didn’t work for child (many similar responses), financial, flexibility, special needs (health, etc.), political, individualized pacing.

    INTERESTING TITLE

    Filed on April 16, 2004 at 8:19 pm under by dcobranchi

    Has anyone seen this movie? In case you didn’t recognize the name, the star is the voice of Homer Simpson.

    IT’S GOVERNOR WARNER DAY

    Filed on at 8:16 pm under by dcobranchi

    I think the Virginia homeschool bill passed. Warner signed it but this report says he amended it. No details as to how.

    NUDISTS AND HOMESCHOOLERS

    Filed on at 8:13 pm under by dcobranchi

    The President of the American Association for Nude Recreation writes a strong letter to the governor of Virginia. Homeschooling rates a minor mention. Here’s a summary of the bill. At first reading, the homeschooling analogy seems apt.

    REASON 3) IS PRETTY GOOD, TOO

    Filed on at 7:51 pm under by dcobranchi

    If you haven’t seen it, here’s some scary video of one 14-year-old middle-schooler’s busride to school. (Make sure to allow pop-ups)

    AN UNSCIENTIFIC POLL

    Filed on at 2:06 pm under by dcobranchi

    Curiosity has got the best of me. Let’s run a poll of our own. Please respond via comment below (anonymously is fine). And, feel free to pass the permalink (http://www.cobranchi.com/archives/002862.html) along. The more the merrier.

    From the list of reasons, below, please pick the single most important reason why you chose to homeschool:

    1) Religious
    2) Better education
    3) Safety (concerns about drugs, gangs, socialization, etc.)
    4) Wanted to be around your kids more
    5) Other (please specify)

    DEAR CAMILLE ARMELLINO

    Filed on at 11:59 am under by dcobranchi

    It was a joke. Sorry if I offended.

    EVERYTHING OLD IS MADE NEW AGAIN

    Filed on at 3:46 am under by dcobranchi

    Sony has developed a new DVD that is made mostly of paper. I wonder if they’ll be putting them on cereal packages.

    BOGUS STAT?

    Filed on at 3:39 am under by dcobranchi

    Where does this number come from? I’ve seen HSLDA quote it several times.

    Parents choose to educate their children at home because of academics, to shield children from the travails of the schoolyard and for other reasons, but foremost among those is a desire to shape children’s values and moral and religious education, said Chris Klicka, keynote speaker at the Home Educators conference. Klicka, of Virginia Beach, Va., is senior counsel of the Home School Legal Defense Association and a home-schooling dad to seven. He said more than 80 percent of home-school families do so for religious reasons.

    I’m sure that is inaccurate. I’d just like to know the source. Any ideas?

    AND TWO MORE

    Filed on April 15, 2004 at 9:53 pm under by dcobranchi

    Another positive article- from Minnesota Public Radio, no less.

    Lisa Messerer wants her kids to change the world. Her friend Trina LeGarde wants her kids to be saved. They both think home schooling is the best way to do it.

    And they’re part of a growing number of Minnesota families. Officials say home-schooling is more popular here than in other states. The legislature spelled out some requirements nearly 30 years ago. Home-schooled children have to take a standardized test every year. The state doesn’t see the results, but the tests allow the parents to keep track of how their students are doing. The Department of Children, Families and Learning is comfortable with how home-schooling families are doing, according to spokesman Bill Walsh.

    “There’s some national studies that indicate that home-school students do very well on standardized tests, like SAT and ACT,” he says. “Most evidence would point toward high academic achievement for home-schooled kids.”

    A generation of home-schooled young people is now active in the world.

    SUPER-DUPER MOM

    Filed on at 9:37 pm under by dcobranchi

    Here’s a wonderful article about a homeschooling mom in Minnesota. Funny and heartwarming.

    RIOT AT UCONN

    Filed on at 7:30 pm under by dcobranchi

    Eric Holcombe thinks these UConn students have been properly socialized. The Dean wants names. Here’s my favorite:


    Please identify the person in this picture.

    Good luck.

    DELAWARE ITEM: AMISTAD

    Filed on at 7:05 pm under by dcobranchi

    A re-creation of the Amistad will be visiting Wilmington for 10 days starting tomorrow. (Thanks to Tim Haas for the tip)

    OT: WARNING! POLITICS AHEAD!

    Filed on at 7:19 am under by dcobranchi

    Paul Berman, writing in the New York Times, has a really good Op/Ed on the war on terrorism.

    DESPERATE AND HEROIC

    Filed on April 14, 2004 at 5:14 pm under by dcobranchi

    That’s us, according to this article about NCLB.

    DON’T WAIT UP

    Filed on at 8:24 am under by dcobranchi

    Very busy today. I’ll get some stuff up tonight.

    AN INTERESTING RACE

    Filed on April 13, 2004 at 5:23 pm under by dcobranchi

    Self-described “formally homeschooled child” Nathan Tabor is among 8 Republicans seeking their Party nomination in North Carolina’s 5th Congressional district. Mr. Tabor has the endorsement of HSLDA, even though he doesn’t know their name.

    In Congress, I will actively fight for the rights of homeschool parents and children. I’ll stand with organizations like the Home School Legal Defense Fund, the Madison Project and the North Carolinians for Home Education.

    …Will you please take a few moments to let me know you’re willing to stand with me during this campaign for Congress? You may contact me by calling 336-993-0929 or by visiting www.taborforcongress.com I need your support, time, vote and most of all your prayers!

    I would also like to personally invite you to an event with Mike Farris in November. The date and time will be sent to you shortly. [emphasis in original]

    Let me get my checkbook out right now!

    As an aside, I was unfamiliar with the Madison Project. From the website:

    Madison Project raises money for conservative candidates through our network of grassroots conservatives. We provide our members with campaign profiles of selected candidates, and each member decides which candidates they want to support.

    Our values are Pro-Life, Pro-Family, Limited Government, Defenders of Religious Freedom. We only endorse Republicans who clearly demonstrate their conservatism. We evaluate every Congressional and Senatorial race in America, and our endorsements are only extended to key competitive races which have a strong conservative candidate with the ability to win.

    Guess who the Founding Chairman is. None other than Mike Farris. Kind of takes the shine off the endorsement, eh?

    So, Tabor has the endorsement of HSLDA, the endorsement of an organization founded by the President of HSLDA, and the endorsement of the North Carolina HSLDA-affiliate. Kind of a one trick pony, I think. (Hat tip to Skip Oliva for pointing me to this race)

    SO THAT’S WHAT SHE WAS UP TO

    Filed on at 10:48 am under by dcobranchi

    Jessie Conners, the homeschool grad who was an early Trump firee, is attempting to capitalize on her celebrity. She has filed for several trademarks related to the show. Back in February, she left this note in an old thread.

    Hi,

    I just happened upon your web-site. It was kind of odd, because I was in search of Trademarking and Incorporating a recent idea that I had… No correlation to Home School Education.

    But, anyway… if you have any questions about my homeschool background, please contact me. I have very strong opinion on the subject.

    Thanks! and keep up the good work,

    Jessie Conners 🙂

    JUST SWEAT

    Filed on at 7:14 am under by dcobranchi

    BYU is offering homeschool PE classes in order to provide their ed students with “practicum” experience. I think it’s a win-win, but I found this sentence funny.

    Prusak said it can be difficult for home-schooling families to meet the state curriculum requirements for physical education.

    What kind of crazy PE requirements does Utah have that can’t be satisfied by kicking the kids outside to play in traffic?

    UPDATE: Via comment, Rae very gently pointed out that I never defined “BYU.” Sorry. “BYU” is Brigham Young University, the Mormon church-owned school located in Provo, UT. All you football fans will recognize it as the alma mater of numerous NFL quarterbacks including Steve Young, who is the something-something grandson of Brigham.

    OTOH

    Filed on at 7:07 am under by dcobranchi

    I was with this kid until the last sentence.

    Student understands merits of state tests

    As a 10th-grade student who recently took the state tests, I feel there is no reason why parents should complain about it. I cannot say I particularly enjoyed the testing process. On the contrary, I find it quite tedious. However, the significance of such a test does not escape me.

    It is general understanding that each high school varies scholastically. Delaware administers the tests to ensure that all schools aim for a standard of excellence, which can be rewarding when met, and measures the school’s ability to produce able members of society. To students who receive exceptional grades in school and mediocre scores on the tests, it should be obvious their school is teaching at a lower level than expected and rewarding average students in order to maintain an honor roll and scholar-athletic rates.

    Those who attend superior public schools and work diligently to go above and beyond the state’s standards deserve a meritorious award, such as a distinguished diploma. As a student at Sussex Technical High school, a “choice” school, I expect my distinguished diploma to arrive in about two years.

    Alexandra M. Stamat, Lincoln

    I guess they haven’t gotten to “humility” yet at her school.

    DELAWARE DIPLOMA UPDATE

    Filed on at 7:01 am under by dcobranchi

    Well, it looks like the three-tiered diploma system may actually be implemented this year. Gov. Minner has appointed a task force to study the system with a mandate to report back in February. She does not support a moratorium on the system in the interim.

    INADVERTANTLY INSULTING?

    Filed on April 12, 2004 at 6:47 pm under by dcobranchi

    An entrepreneur has developed (read, stolen from Netflix) a DVD-rental program for educational DVDs. I guess it might be useful for some folks. What caught my eye, though, was this sentence:

    The composition of the families which homeschool has changed in recent years from [primarily] parents who were unhappy with the public school systems’ lack of religious-based teaching to include a substantial percentage of parents who are college educated and upper middle class.

    They’re not mutually exclusive, ya know.

    He also refers to their marketing system as “multi-level marketing.” That’s a loaded phrase best avoided. Sounds like someone could use a good editor.

    A TWO-FER

    Filed on at 3:28 pm under by dcobranchi

    Here’s an article on blogging in higher ed. Nothing particularly earth-shattering but there are a couple of interesting stats.

    Blogs are dominated by the young, the study found. More than 92% are created by people younger than 30, with 51.5% by those ages 13 to 19. Women are slightly more likely to blog than men.

    I’m definitely a minority. Maybe I should push for blogfirmative action, eh?

    OT: DUMB BUT LUCKY

    Filed on at 12:36 am under by dcobranchi

    A Briton bet his entire net worth (some $130,000) on a single roulette spin. As you probably figured from the title, he won. What an idiot! Roulette is a sucker’s bet. He should have played blackjack.

    British TV filmed the event for a short reality series. I think it’d be more interesting (though a longer term project) to see what happens next. Does he blow the money, or does he parlay his winnings into something more? Enquiring minds want to know.

    IT WAS A DARK AND STORMY NIGHT

    Filed on April 11, 2004 at 2:35 pm under by dcobranchi

    Here’s my nomination for the 2004 Bulwer-Lytton award (non-fiction division).

    Notwithstanding the longstanding Republican (and therefore, supposedly, conservative) majority on the House side (and in whose principal office building this affair took place), the presenters in this instance (as is typically the case with purveyors of the questionable science of pedagogy) were decidedly of the left-leaning persuasion.

    I have no idea what the rest of the article was about; that first sentence scared me off.

    THE PROBLEM WITH CHOICE

    Filed on at 2:05 am under by dcobranchi

    The Minneapolis Star Tribune has an interesting piece on how the proliferation of charter schools is affecting the regular g-schools.

    [A]s students exercise their options, the traditional public schools they leave lose basic state student aid, compounding other financial pressures. In urban and small rural areas, schools are closing, and families who stay are seeing their options within the public system narrow. In some ways, choice is undermining the regular schools and communities.

    …In Minneapolis, which may have the most choice options in the state, nearly 21 percent of school-age students opted out of district schools last year, almost twice the rate as in 1994-95. And that’s had an effect on those who have decided to stay. For example, dozens of parents opposing a recent proposal to close as many as 10 Minneapolis schools noted that their choice — to send their kids to relatively small neighborhood schools — could be eliminated.

    …”It’s very much a downward spiral,” said Natalie Siderius, a member of the school board in Winona, which recently moved to close an elementary school in Dakota, on the far south end of the district, only to have parents organize to keep it open as a charter school, sponsored by the state Department of Education. “Parents want small classrooms and schools, and we’re looking at closing them. The kids that remain in the system have to bear a larger and larger percentage of the costs.”

    In Winona, a district with about 4,000 students and three charter schools already, the school board voted to close the 70-student Dakota Elementary to help deal with a $2.4 million budget imbalance. But when the school opens this fall as a charter school with state sponsorship, the district will be required to pay transportation costs and some costs for special education students. The turn of events has rankled district officials even more than having to provide a taxi to get some kids to a charter school, as they did recently. “It’s frustrating,” Siderius said. In her view, the state is “creating two public school systems.”

    …While charter schools get start-up money from the federal government and help paying rent from the state — in addition to standard per-pupil funding — they face less academic scrutiny than regular public schools, Jennings argues. Meanwhile, he points out, their governing boards are unelected, directors need not be licensed, and the schools don’t have to pay their nonunion teachers as much as public districts pay their well-organized ones.

    Of course, the school districts that learn to compete aren’t complaining.

    Adjacent to Minneapolis, the St. Anthony-New Brighton district was about to dry up and blow away not long ago. In 1988-89, it had fewer than 1,000 students in its three schools. This year, it has 1,675, the difference due entirely to students from other districts who have entered through open enrollment, many from Minneapolis. Among districts in which students have exercised all the major choice options, it’s the state’s top net gainer.

    Superintendent Bob Duncan said that despite its growth, it also has the advantage of its small size — one of two factors that, along with academic rigor, led Carpenter to choose St. Anthony for her daughter.

    Duncan said the district next year will reach its capacity, but that there are no plans for new buildings. “If we start becoming bigger, we might start losing some of the reasons for coming here,” he said.

    It does look like some kind of death-spiral for some of the g-schools. Darn! Social Darwinism at work, I guess.

    All in all, the system appears to be working. Parents (the paying customers) are pleased; (some) schools are learning to adapt; and, the teachers’ union is pissed. A three-fer!

    EASTER EGG HUNT…

    Filed on April 10, 2004 at 4:57 pm under by dcobranchi

    in our community. And, they didn’t even ask if the kids were homeschooled. 🙂

    Jonathan scanning for eggs

    Chelsea taking a break

    NOW I KNOW THIS AIN’T HOMESCHOOLING

    Filed on at 3:18 pm under by dcobranchi

    California “homeschoolers” need to get off the public teat.

    [O]ver the past 15 years, home-schooling’s reputation has improved because because of public schools’ backing of it.

    Monterey County Home Charter School is a public school under the auspices of the Monterey County Office of Education. That school and Liberty are the only public schools in the county that offer home-schooling.

    …[A]lthough home-schoolers have more leeway in fulfilling their instruction hours, they’re monitored closely. Home-school students can fulfill their 20 hours of required weekly instruction whenever they want — at night or even on weekends.

    “We have 24 credentialed teachers that are all assigned families or students,” [Mary Kay Sgheiza, principal of Monterey County Home Charter School] said. “They visit those families on a weekly basis.”

    OT: A BILLION HERE, A BILLION THERE

    Filed on at 6:41 am under by dcobranchi

    The New York Times has an utterly stomach-turning, jaw-clenching article on two pieces of pork included in the federal highway bill- huge bridges that basically go nowhere. The worst quote:

    [Rep.] Young said Alaska had been late to the federal table — it did not join the Union until 1959 — and needed to play catch-up. With his position as chairman of the House transportation committee, and with Mr. Stevens driving appropriations in the Senate, the state can muscle through most of the road projects it dreams up, he said.

    “It’s not a good way to legislate, although I got a lot of stuff in it,” Mr. Young told The Anchorage Daily News in December. “I mean I stuffed it like a turkey.”

    Rep. Young’s “stuffing” will cost us close to $2B when all is said and done.

    I JUST LEARNED THAT I’M JEWISH

    Filed on at 12:16 am under by dcobranchi

    Bloghopping, I ended up here. The relevant (to me) passage:

    According to Jewish law, Jewishness is determined by the mother; thus the immediate male descendants of a female Jewish apostate are still considered Jewish; all her female descendants, but only in an unbroken female line of descent, and their immediate male children are also considered Jewish. While most of these descendants probably would not be practicing Judaism, or in many cases aware of their Jewishness, their status as Jews technically still would be in effect.

    My mother converted to Catholicism when she married my father. I followed my mother’s example and joined a Baptist church after marrying Lydia. So, I’m a twice-lapsed Jew, once-lapsed former Catholic? Oy vey!

    HUH?

    Filed on April 9, 2004 at 7:05 pm under by dcobranchi

    Why did a copy-writer think this was necessary?

    Mr. Bunny and Friends

    10 a.m.-12:30 p.m. today, Central City Park. There will be games and prizes followed by an egg hunt. Home-school children are welcome. Please call to register your school or group, ask for Sandra at 751-9288.

    It’s better than being excluded, but still…

    AN OBJECT LESSON

    Filed on at 6:59 pm under by dcobranchi

    A public-policy advocate for drug issues thinks we play the game well.

    “The really organized and vocal people get a lot of pull on Capitol Hill,” said Thau, public-policy consultant for Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA) at a recent conference session on “The ABCs of Advocacy,” as she prepped a group of CADCA members for a visit to their Congressional delegations.

    As an example, Thau noted that advocates for home-schooling have been very effective in getting their message across to lawmakers. “They can close down the Capitol switchboard,” she said. “There’s not many of them, but they’re very organized.”

    COOKIE!

    Filed on at 6:52 pm under by dcobranchi

    A family of homeschoolers served as emergency judges at a cookie bake-off. The winner got a gift certificate at a local restaurant.

    The judges each got a plastic bag full of once-bitten cookies and a new whiteboard with erasable markers to use at their in-home school.

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