Utterly Meaningless » 2004 » April

    Filed on April 9, 2004 at 2:55 pm under by dcobranchi

    I think that’s the take home message from this Durham, NC editorial.


    Filed on at 9:57 am under by dcobranchi

    H&OES is under a g*a*y*p*o*r*n spam attack. I’ve turned the comments off until the attacker moves on. I can’t wait for MT 3.0.


    Filed on at 9:42 am under by dcobranchi

    Zero Intelligence found a particularly appropos story.

    Alejandro Johnson was in the cafeteria at school a few weeks ago when a group of kids came off the street onto school property to beat him up. He tried to fight them off and was arrested and subsequently suspended for ten days.

    But the Savannah-Chatham Board of Education says it stands behind the decision of the suspension. “It takes two to fight and the first thing we tell all students, repeatedly, is back away and wait until there is an adult there,” board president Hugh Golson said.

    It also takes two for a murder to be committed. Should we be charging murder victims as “Accessories to murder”?

    Zero Intelligence, indeed.


    Filed on at 6:41 am under by dcobranchi

    Here’s an interesting Washington Times piece about a nascent homeschooling movement in Japan. The Japanese reporter has bought into something of a stereotype.

    Mrs. Kubo, who is not a fundamentalist Christian, listened again to her friends’ advice about home school. Now her two daughters — Asuka, 15, and Sakura, 13 — are home-schooled.

    The rest of the article is good, though. Worth a click.

    99% CORRECT

    Filed on at 6:33 am under by dcobranchi

    Former Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore addressed a bunch of Colorado homeschoolers gathered at their state Capitol:

    “I applaud the Christian Home Educators of Colorado for teaching the truth about the separation of church and state,” he added. “But we’ve got to know who ordained the church and who ordained the state. It was God. It’s the federal government that violated the separation of church and state.”

    Drop the word “federal” and he’d get an A+. Unfortunately for Moore, he was part of the government; the feds were right to slap him down.


    Filed on at 6:08 am under by dcobranchi

    Yeah- just like the old TV show, guess what this woman does for a living:

    Social workers need annual salary boost

    We hear about dedicated school teachers not making enough money. I am not knocking teachers but what about social workers who see clients regarding food stamps, Medicaid, monetary assistance and child care, and deal with any other obstacle in families’ everyday existence.

    For the most part, social workers hold college degrees and have ongoing training as much as teachers do. But do we hear or read about the fine jobs they are doing? No, for the most part.

    Many times social workers work beyond the normal work day to help a family in dire need. They do not receive raises based on years of service or advanced education. This special segment of state employees need to be recognized with yearly salaries, not just a bonus.

    Janet McCabe, Seaford


    Filed on April 8, 2004 at 11:34 pm under by dcobranchi

    An interesting lede:

    Country Bible Christian Academy offers an alternative education that most resembles Christian home schooling, but is in a classroom setting with 26 other students in elementary, junior and senior high school.

    Yeah- the kids sit in classrooms, take gym, join g-school sports teams. But they use A-beka so it must be just like homeschooling, right?


    Filed on at 8:04 am under by dcobranchi

    Skip Oliva nails one on the problem of pragmatism.

    Pragmatism is slowly killing America. That’s not the conventional wisdom. Especially in an election year, both major political parties are falling over themselves to declare themselves pragmatists. Nobody wants to be labeled an “ideologue” that inflexibly follows principle over political expediency. It’s far better, the pundits say, to compromise, win reelection, and live to compromise another day. Both parties follow this philosophy. And it’s slowly killing America.


    Filed on at 7:34 am under by dcobranchi

    Here’s a good reason to oppose a property tax increase.

    A number of teachers spoke up to explain how larger class sizes would limit their ability to work with students, causing more of them to fall through the cracks. One teacher advised that such a decline could lead more parents to consider home-schooling or private school options.


    Filed on at 7:29 am under by dcobranchi

    This is a good one.

    Iowa parents who home-school their children would be allowed to teach their teens how to drive under a bill approved this week by the Iowa Senate.
    Currently, Iowa teenagers are required to take a driver education course though the school district or a private driver education school that is contracted through the district.

    Nonpublic school students and home-schooled students must access the course through the public school district. But, many times home-schooled children have trouble enrolling in these driver education classes because there is already a long waiting list.

    The bill approved by the Senate this week would allow home-schooling parents who have had a clean driving record for two years to teach their children driver education if the course is approved by the Department of Transportation.

    The course must meet or exceed the standards of public school courses and students who are taught by their parents must undergo a driving test administered by the Department of Transportation.

    Currently 25 states already allow some form of parent-taught driver education, including neighboring states of Minnesota, Nebraska, Missouri, North Dakota and South Dakota.

    Home-schooled students are frequently turned away from public school driver education classes because the classes are already full. This bill would allow home-schooled children the opportunity to get off the waiting lists and into the car where they can receive proper, responsible and state-approved driving instruction from their parents.

    That “state-approved” line turns my stomach, but it still seems like a step forward for homeschooling freedom.


    Filed on April 7, 2004 at 6:34 pm under by dcobranchi

    A home educator took “Mom of the Year” honors in Arkansas. She is expecting her 15th child.


    Filed on at 2:12 pm under by dcobranchi

    Chris O’Donnell found an anti-homeschooling Letter to the Editor of his local paper. He responded here (a lot more nicely than I would have.)


    Filed on at 1:53 pm under by dcobranchi

    A Seaford, DE homeschooling mom has been awarded the title “Young Mother Representative” by the DE chapter of American Mothers, Inc.


    Filed on at 10:04 am under by dcobranchi

    The edunanny-in-chief now wants to test all 12th graders on the NAEP (I think- the WaPo doesn’t specify). This would be in addition to any exit exams the states have already implemented.

    President Bush endorsed a proposal Tuesday that would require states to test 12th-grade students and called for the replacement of an 87-year-old vocational education program…”I think high schools need to have the bar raised,” Bush said at a community college here in rural south Arkansas. “You need to know, your governor needs to know, the citizens need to know how you stack up relative to other places, if you expect to educate children for the jobs of the 21st century.”

    Of course, the federal government has no constitutional authority to do any of this, but when has that stopped them before?


    Filed on at 5:14 am under by dcobranchi

    Delaware ranks third behind Alaska and New Hampshire as the states with the lowest state and local tax burdens. Good deal. The worst? NY, DC, and Maine in that order.


    Filed on at 4:25 am under by dcobranchi

    The game was terrific. I’ll not go over the specifics; Ed and Chris will do a much better job than I ever could.

    My highlights- 1) Meeting Chris and Ed. It’s funny how the internet enables “relationships” in which you’ve never even spoken, let alone seen each other. It was good to finally put faces to the names and 2) Hearing the title song at the 7th inning stretch. I understood the reason for “God Bless America” at the end of the 2001 season and in 2002’s. By last year, it seemed forced somehow. In some strange way, baseball is America. There’s a fresh start 162 times a year. The game reveres its past- the players, the stats, the classic series. But, in the end, it always moves on to another game, another season. It just felt right yesterday moving ahead to that old song. Somewhere Harry Caray is smiling.


    Filed on April 6, 2004 at 11:46 am under by dcobranchi


    Anthony Cobranchi, Homeschooler or Future Terrorist?

    X’S and O’S

    Filed on at 11:02 am under by dcobranchi

    That’s the Sox and the Orioles.

    Anthony and I are going to take a quick trip down I-95 to hook up with Chris O’Donnell and Ed from Bambino’s Curse. I’ve promised to root for the Sox for this one day (I’m a big-time Yankees fan), but I warned Chris that I may have a nervous breakdown by the ninth inning. Cognitive dissonance is a terrible thing.

    It’s gonna be a great day. Brilliant sunshine, a businesspersons’s special, and some rabid baseball fans to share the game with. It doesn’t get much better than that.

    See y’all later.


    Filed on at 5:22 am under by dcobranchi

    This is an improvement?

    Children attend classes three days a week and are required to maintain homework and reading assignments during the two days a week they are at home.

    It sounds like a college atmosphere, yet the students can be as young as 5 years old. Tuition is paid by the credit-hour and students can “bump up” a grade in one subject while staying within their grade level in other subjects.

    Cornerstone Christian Academy will launch in Melissa for the 2004-05 school year. Classes meet Monday, Wednesday and Friday in a traditional school setting. On Tuesday and Thursday, students are at home with a parent who follows lesson plans set forth by the teachers.

    The proprietors think they’ve hit on the ideal solution.

    “This is a school that takes the best of home-schooling, the best of private and public schools and molds them into one model. You’re getting the best of all worlds.”

    Nonsense! With this model you’ve lost the essence of homeschooling– freedom. Freedom to study what, where, and when you want. Freedom to travel. Freedom to help our kids grow into responsible adults without some “nanny” telling us how to do it.


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

    I should have linked to A Likely Story a long time ago. Better late … Anyway, Rae is now in the blogroll ——->. BTW, she’s recently moved to her new digs at MuNu.


    Filed on at 10:39 pm under by dcobranchi


    Well, actually, it was. (via Random Thinks)


    Filed on at 6:41 pm under by dcobranchi

    A school principal gave a six-year-old a shampoo in order to wash the blue dye out of his mohawk. Why? Because, otherwise, his wild hair might have spoiled the class picture. The school is now facing a lawsuit. The money ought to come out of the principal’s pocket.


    Filed on at 2:46 am under by dcobranchi

    The organizer of this event left a nice note on an old post about homeschool proms, so I thought I’d give them a little pub.


    Filed on at 2:23 am under by dcobranchi

    Not this homeschool grad.

    “I just want to keep developing this and see what the future holds,” says Ware, who operates both The Nine Point Star, a gift and clothing store, at 3479 N. Oakland Ave., and East Side Internet Cafe, next door at 3477 N. Oakland Ave.

    Ware opened The Nine Point Star when she was 18. The store’s products include clothing designed and made by Ware, who began sewing at the age of 12.

    …The entrepreneurship seeds were sown when Ware was in sixth grade and being home-schooled by her mother, Jeannie.

    “It really gives you a sense of empowerment to do things on your own,” Ware says about her untraditional education.

    The flexible home-school schedule afforded her the time to delve into sewing and Web site development.


    Filed on at 1:47 am under by dcobranchi

    Rand Simberg (via Instapundit) had a post about some cops in NY basically admitting that the traffic laws are more about revenue generation than they are about safety. Of course, that’s been an open secret forever. Saturday’s Wilmington News-Journal presented us with another fine example.

    Red-light cameras in Maryland communities are producing widely varied financial results, depending largely on the size of their programs.

    Larger jurisdictions such as Baltimore city and Montgomery County have steadily expanded their programs and are reaping increasing returns from fines for red-light violations, but some cities and counties have experienced declining citations and revenue, The Baltimore Sun reported Friday.

    Some localities, particularly those with only a few cameras, are considering cutting back or dropping their programs altogether.

    “It’s great for traffic safety programs, but when it costs too much, there’s a limit to it,” Salisbury police Capt. Ray Ulm said.

    Citations in the Eastern Shore city have dropped from 500 a month when the cameras were switched on in mid-2002 to about 250 currently. Falling revenues prompted Salisbury to remove one of its three red-light cameras last summer, Ulm said.

    All together now- “It’s all about the money.”


    Filed on April 4, 2004 at 5:18 pm under by dcobranchi

    Education News loves Delaware and the News-Journal; we keep showing up on the day’s top ed stories. Today, the state math test is under fire as too many kids continue to fail. Of course, it’s all the test’s fault.

    Delaware’s school superintendents, frustrated that more than half of their eighth-graders are failing the state’s high-stakes math test, are pointing to the test itself as one reason for the dismal figures.

    They are armed with a study, performed by a nationally recognized math expert, that says the low scores warrant scrutinizing the exam.

    There may or may not be something there. But, I think the superintendents are aiming too low.

    [Study author] Grouws still supports reviewing the eighth-grade test. He said more Delaware kids score proficient on the National Assessment of Educational Progress, the federal test given in all states, than on their own state test, another sore point with the superintendents.

    “In my mind this is a serious difference in results, and it’s in everybody’s interest to find out why,” he said. But Delaware’s eighth-graders rank only 30th nationwide on the national assessment.

    So, Delaware ranks 30 out of 50 on the NAEP, and the supers want to lower the bar on the state test? Delaware does excel in one educational category, though. The state ranks first in the percentage of kids not in the g-schools. I wonder why.


    Filed on at 8:55 am under by dcobranchi

    Any blogger wanna-bes ought to check out MuNu.


    Filed on at 7:37 am under by dcobranchi

    Juia Steiny wants to get rid of one of the teachers union’s pet “rights”- bumping. That’s where a teacher with more seniority can bump a less senior teacher out of a position, even if the more senior teacher doesn’t “fit.” Ms. Steiny is 100 percent correct; the entire seniority system is an anachronism that should go. Unfortuantely, most of these systems are enshrined in law and the NEA is pretty good at the political game.


    Filed on April 3, 2004 at 9:52 am under by dcobranchi

    Here’s a nice article about a “gifted” nine-year-old who is taking some college-level classes. She had some trouble getting enrolled, but is now enjoying school.

    Wensdai said she’s having fun and making new friends, even if getting acquainted is a little different in college.

    “In elementary school, you talk to the person a little bit and if they seem nice, you ask if they’ll be your friend,” she said. “In college, you just keep talking and assume they’ll be your friend … but I still do it the elementary school way.”

    …Wensdai said she misses the day-to-day contact with her peers, but has made new friends her age through a soccer team.

    And if she gets her way, Wensdai will be spending a lot of time with young people in the future. The 9-year-old said she hopes to parlay her advanced course work into a Harvard University degree and career as a pediatrician.

    Wensdai? She’s 9 so I guess she’s too old for Imhotep.


    Filed on at 9:42 am under by dcobranchi

    This sounds like it coud be a growth industry.

    Paul Dorr, a campaign consultant from Ocheyedan in northwest Iowa, makes a living by helping opponents of school bond issues defeat the levies.

    “I help people who think they have no voice,” he said. “I help them with solutions.”

    …Dorr and his wife home school their 11 children. In a letter titled, “Why I defeat government school bond levies at the ballot box and do it for a profit,” Dorr calls for other home-schoolers to start consulting firms and oppose public school funding proposals.


    Filed on April 2, 2004 at 12:46 pm under by dcobranchi

    This ain’t one of them.

    But many in the audience vowed to start home-schooling their children if the district forced them to attend a different school in El Cajon. Having recently received the California Distinguished School award, the 230-pupil school should be saved at all costs, they said.

    One parent said he might home-school his child in order to deny the district average daily attendance revenue. The district loses about $4,500 per year in state funding when a student leaves, school officials said.

    Wouldn’t last a week. Guaranteed.


    Filed on at 7:28 am under by dcobranchi

    The News-Journal is really clueless. In one editorial they argue for a single diploma for “all who meet the standards for high school graduation,” yet “there is legitimate concern about what happens to students caught in the middle, unlikely to achieve standards soon enough in this early wave of classroom reform. That raises the question about whether there should be alternative ways to acknowledge their efforts. ” That’s what the “basic” diploma was supposed to do- acknowledge the kids who went to school all four years but couldn’t pass the DSTP. So, N-J, which is it? Are you in favor of the tiered system or opposed?


    Filed on at 6:55 am under by dcobranchi

    The other day I sarcastically referred to the proposed “Distinguished” diploma in DE g-schools as a “Winkie button.” Well, I was apparently prescient. All 16 superintendents in the state want to shelve, at least temporarily, the three-tiered diploma system, which has been in the works forever. In order to not hurt the kds who actually did well on the test, they want to give them a gold star.

    [T]he superintendents also agreed they would want to add a sticker or mark to the diplomas of those who made high enough scores on the Delaware Student Testing Program exams in reading, writing and math to earn a distinguished rating.

    A sticker? Isn’t that precious?


    Filed on April 1, 2004 at 9:35 pm under by dcobranchi

    What do you think of a 4+-year-old who does this?

    Our youngest is into the game Ape Escape 2 for the PS2. Today, he got on the computer (we have a cable modem so it’s always online) and typed APEESCAPE (sic) into the Google bar. He then clicked on a series of links until he ended up here. Only after playing around with the movies, did he tell his mom.


    Filed on at 9:27 am under by dcobranchi

    We’re being sued by the FTC?

    Today the Federal Trade Commission issued an administrative complaint against the parents of 1,725,000 homeschooled children and two national homeschooling organizations. The FTC’s complaint charges the homeschooling parents and groups with engaging in “unfair competition” against the nation’s public school systems by maintaining, in effect, a group boycott. Susan Creighton, the FTC’s chief antitrust official, said her office will seek an FTC order enjoining the parents from keeping their children out of the public schools.

    …The FTC’s complaint charges the homeschooling families, the Home School Legal Defense Association, and the National Home Education Network, with conspiring to deprive public schools of revenue and students. “The homeschooling movement has unfairly used their market power to artificially lower the revenues of public schools throughout the nation. This in turn has restrained the ability of school districts to give more money to teachers, union officials, and school administrators.”

    The homeschooling respondents named in today’s complaint will have 30 days to file an answer to the FTC’s complaint, after which they will be given a hearing before an FTC-appointed judge. Should the respondents lose the hearing, they will be permitted to appeal to the five FTC commissioners.

    Here’s the FTC complaint.

    Of all the lame-brained, over-reaching, statist, plain idiotic policies, this has to set a all-time world record. I just don’t know what to say.

    Unfair competition? There ain’t no competition. The g-schools are the monopoly; we’re just David compared to their Goliath. Hmmm. Maybe that’s the FTC’s problem. They see what happened to the giant.

    This time it really is all about the money.

    Every child that is ‘home-schooled’ deliberately takes money away from these schools, because funds are ultimately tied to enrollment. The FTC will not stand by while an insidious cartel of parents and organizations unfairly competes against America’s government-run schools.

    Read the whole thing!
    Read more »


    Filed on at 6:35 am under by dcobranchi

    And children of all ages.

    Here’s a nice piece about a homeschooling family traveling with the “Greatest Show on Earth.” I like the father’s hair.


    Filed on at 6:20 am under by dcobranchi

    WWHS Reason #134,353

    This one is just unbelievable:

    A substitute teacher is accused of using a string to choke a 7-year-old student who had not done his homework.

    Albert Coleman, 59, of East Orange, is accused of slipping a string around the child’s neck and drawing it tight, police said.

    …Authorities said Coleman reportedly told the boy that he was going to strangle him if he didn’t do his homework. When the boy didn’t, police said, Coleman had the boy stand on a chair.

    He then took the string attached to the ceiling light and tightened it around the boy’s neck and released it, authorities said.

    Police said the boy left the classroom and was seen by a school secretary putting water on his bruised neck, he said.

    I just saw the kid on the local news. His neck wasn’t bruised; it was cut all the way around.

    The “teacher” has been charged with aggravated assault. Is that a hanging offense? In this case it ought to be.

    « Last