Utterly Meaningless » 2004 » June
  • J.A. CANADIAN STYLE?

    Filed on June 21, 2004 at 8:30 pm under by dcobranchi

    I have no personal experience with the folks who run this site, but the program seems legit. Anything that inspires entrepreneurism in kids is a good thing in my book. Contact info in Nova Scotia: 902 462 2163

    ABSOLUTELY PERFECT

    Filed on at 5:11 pm under by dcobranchi

    Eric Holcombe thinks this is how homeschool sports ought to be done. I wholeheartedly agree. The article is just too good to excerpt. Click on over; you won’t regret it.

    SEX! DRUGS! HOMESCHOOLING!

    Filed on at 4:10 pm under by dcobranchi

    If this is the quality of civil discourse in Grafton, I’d say it needs saving indeed.

    Hat tip: Izzy.

    UPDATE: Izzy has more on the controversy.

    HOMELAND SECURITY?

    Filed on at 2:24 pm under by dcobranchi

    Gotta keep these domestic terrorists off balance.

    A teacher’s aide who forgot to put away her marshmallows and hot chocolate at Yellowstone National Park last year was taken from her cruise ship cabin in handcuffs and hauled before a judge, accused of failing to pay the year-old fine.

    Hope Clarke, 32, crying and in leg shackles, told the judge Friday she was rousted at 6:30 a.m. by federal agents after the ship returned to Miami from Mexico. She insisted that she had paid the $50 fine before she left Yellowstone, which has strict rules about food storage to prevent wildlife from eating human food.

    …U.S. Magistrate Judge John O’Sullivan, who had a copy of a citation indicating the fine had been paid, apologized to Clarke, who spent nearly nine hours in detention, and demanded that the U.S. attorney’s office determine what went wrong.

    Zach Mann, spokesman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, called the arrest “an unfortunate set of circumstances.” He added, “We were acting on what we believed was accurate information.”

    OMG!

    Filed on at 1:03 pm under by dcobranchi

    This is horrible on at least two levels:

    A Japanese teenager was forced by his teacher to write an apology in blood after dozing in the classroom, the school’s principal said on Monday.

    …He said the boy was taken to the staff room of the school in Fukuoka City, southern Japan, after being caught asleep during a lesson. The 40-year-old male teacher handed the boy a box-cutter and paper and told him to write an apology in blood.

    The teacher left the student, who then cut his finger and began to write an apology using his own blood.

    …He said the boy was back in school, and neither he nor his parents had asked to switch teachers. The teacher involved is expected to resume classes in a few days, Dan said.

    Everyone is ok with this? It must be a cultural thing.

    Hat tip (I think): Skip Oliva

    WHISTLING PAST THE GRAVEYARD

    Filed on at 6:14 am under by dcobranchi

    Some Virginia locales saw big jumps last year in the number of kids being homeschooled. The g-schools are unconcerned.

    Patricia H. Fisher, the city’s assistant superintendent for curriculum, said she believes most new home-schoolers are coming not from Portsmouth public schools, but from private schools and other cities.

    “At this point,” she said, “I don’t see any data that this is a major problem for us.”

    Let’s see. Ninety-plus percent of kids are enrolled in the g-schools. All of a sudden, a whole bunch more kids are being homeschooled. And, you think they came mostly from private schools? Ever hear of Occam’s Razor?

    BUT, OBSCENITY IS A-OK

    Filed on at 2:59 am under by dcobranchi

    Izzy links to an article about a school district whose lawyer (at least) seems to have her head on straight.

    Carroll said she consulted Wednesday with a school lawyer who advised against any attempt to ban the Confederate flag, as well as the portion of the dress code dealing with ”offensive images” that are ”socially unacceptable,” which she deemed too vague. Carroll said that portion of the dress code will be stricken from the policy.

    So far, so good. But, the article closes with this bizarre statement.

    The school district ultimately revised the dress code to prohibit clothing that causes a disruption in school, but not material deemed obscene by administrators.

    That can’t be right. I’m betting the reporter blew it. At least, I hope so.

    A NEW SLOGAN

    Filed on June 20, 2004 at 6:00 pm under by dcobranchi

    From an article about one New Hampshire town’s less than welcoming stance on the Free State Project:

    Free Staters advocate the legalization of “victimless crimes” such as prostitution and personal drug use.

    They also support home schooling, lowering property taxes and protecting Second Amendment rights.

    Sex! Drugs! Homeschooling! It’d make a great bumper sticker. Any artistic person want to mock one up for CafePress?

    TEE HEE

    Filed on at 3:19 pm under by dcobranchi

    Here’s your laugh for the day. JimBean86@lycos.com (sic) left a comment that I’m sure y’all could have some fun with.

    DC LUNACY

    Filed on at 2:23 pm under by dcobranchi

    First, DC schools wanted to hire a Superintendent for $600,000 per year. Now, they want to hire one who won’t commit to staying for more than one year. Can we please just fire the School Board and start over?

    KENTUCKY BRAIN DRAIN

    Filed on at 1:58 pm under by dcobranchi

    Apparently the best and brightest leave Kentucky at the first opportunity. The least and dimmest stay and go into politics.

    “Children born in Kentucky would be provided a college savings account on the day of their birth. Ideally, the account would be funded so that families could afford a community or technical college education. Parents and grandparents could then supplement these funds by making monthly or lump-sum payments, to guarantee that tuition will be available at a four-year college.” But because they believe in providing “a hand up, not a hand out,” Miller and Grayson further propose that “every high school senior who wishes to cash in his or her account to attend college must first provide a year of full-time community or military service in Kentucky.” They also suggest incentives to address a chronic state “brain drain” by encouraging Cradle to College beneficiaries to stay in Kentucky following college, especially those willing to “pursue lower-paying but socially beneficial professions, such as teaching, law enforcement, social work and the military.”

    And, what happens to the money that the parents put in if the child refuses this call to “voluntary” service? Does the state get to keep it? And, who gets to decide what occupations are “socially beneficial?” Presumably, if the job wasn’t no one would be doing it.

    The stupid proposal is the New Democrats Online “Idea of the Week.” I’d hate to see what the lesser ideas were.

    LET ‘EM CLOSE

    Filed on at 1:46 pm under by dcobranchi

    What is so special about “historically black colleges” that the federal government should give them tax dollars to stay open?

    In a letter to Bush that accompanied the report, Sullivan said historically black colleges “are at a very critical juncture,” echoing concerns voiced by other advocates of predominantly black colleges who note that many schools, including Morris Brown College in Atlanta, are in such financial peril that they may close.

    Maybe United Airlines should just classify themselves as a black college.

    NO BIG DEAL

    Filed on June 19, 2004 at 5:55 pm under by dcobranchi

    Another day, another close call:

    A 12-year-old boy plotting to frighten or even kill students who had teased him and then hold hostages to extort money was arrested yesterday morning at a Prince William County middle school after an administrator found him with a loaded rifle and two other guns, police said.

    Bizarrely, the boy’s mother saw the guns but didn’t bother to report them.

    RITALIN WILL BE SMALL POTATOES

    Filed on at 3:35 pm under by dcobranchi

    Chris O’Donnell found a scary article in the British Medical Journal. The article claims that the Bush Admininstration wants to implement mental health screening for all students (and teachers).

    Schools, wrote the commission, are in a “key position” to screen the 52 million students and 6 million adults who work at the schools.

    The commission also recommended “Linkage [of screening] with treatment and supports” including “state-of-the-art treatments” using “specific medications for specific conditions.” The commission commended the Texas Medication Algorithm Project (TMAP) as a “model” medication treatment plan that “illustrates an evidence-based practice that results in better consumer outcomes.”

    Anyone want to bet that parents who refuse this “model” treatment for their kids will face abuse charges?

    I just don’t buy it, though. Surely, Karl Rove isn’t that stupid. This program would be costly and have no natural constituency. The Dems would have a field day. Let’s hope that this was a trial balloon that will come crashing back to earth.

    IF YOU DON’T LIKE IT, HOMESCHOOL

    Filed on at 3:04 pm under by dcobranchi

    Baltimore schools until very recently had a mandatory summer reading assignment. Some parents complained and the program was scrapped. Several statists aren’t happy. This one takes the cake:

    The parent who would like to choose her child’s reading material should either home-school her child or select additional material if she feels the reading list is inadequate.

    There are several more letters just like that.

    DOUBLY SCREWED

    Filed on at 1:10 pm under by dcobranchi

    Well it took almost exactly one year for this Texas school district to completely go overboard with its drug-testing policy.

    Middle school and high school students at Lake Travis schools may have to submit to random drug testing if they plan to park on campus next year.

    School board president Susan Tolles said the board will vote Monday night on whether to implement a drug testing program, which would tie $20 parking permits to participation in a pool of students that “volunteer” to be randomly selected for an unannounced drug test.

    Tolles said the district does not know how it will pay for the testing, which will be conducted by a private testing company, but will consider doubling the fee for parking permits.

    I love that “volunteer” part. Why not just force anyone who “volunteers” to go to class to piss in a jar? I feel so sorry for the students in g-schools today. They really have no rights whatsoever. And, just think about the wonderful lessons these kids are learning. Someday, they’ll be writing the laws that govern all our lives. Heaven help us all.

    DESPERATE TIMES?

    Filed on at 11:05 am under by dcobranchi

    A Boston-area principal has been accused of basically forcing her 4th-grade charges to cheat on the state tests. The kids did the right thing and dimed her out. The principal has 31 years of service, so I’m sure she’ll eventually be allowed to quietly “retire” (with full benefits, of course).

    INVOLUNTARY SERVITUDE UPDATE

    Filed on at 10:35 am under by dcobranchi

    Skip Oliva pointed me towards a good Edward Cline column on “volunteerism” at the college level. Cline is commenting on the NYT column blogged here. I have slightly less concern about these policies for college students. After all, there are no compulsory attendance laws for college. That being said, I still think it’s a bad idea. If you want to encourage volunteerism as a lifelong activity, forcing students to participate who’d just as soon not is likely to push them away forever. It’s that “right of passage” thing.

    TWO STUPID QUESTIONS

    Filed on June 18, 2004 at 7:42 pm under by dcobranchi

    …on EducationNews today.

    Why don’t teachers get paid like doctors?

    That’s too easy. Supply and demand. Tens (hundreds?) of millions of Americans are smart enough to be teachers. A much smaller number have the brain power, the drive, and the desire to be successful doctors.

    If the salaries of public school teachers could be doubled while the taxes the public pays could be cut in half, do you think the public would go along with that?

    Hell no! The only way to accomplish this would be to cut 3/4 of the teachers. Not a bad idea in and of itself, perhaps, but we’d immediately be faced with all sorts of complaints about increased class sizes. We’d end up right where we are now but paying twice as much in taxes. Thanks but no thanks.

    UPDATE: I fixed the math error above. The post originally had us paying 4x as much in taxes.

    BREASTFEEDING UPDATE

    Filed on at 6:43 am under by dcobranchi

    Steph at 1/16 posted an unfortunate update to the breastfeeding ad campaign from back in December. It seems the Ad Council caved and Steph is not happy (though not surprised).

    OT: WHO ARE THESE FOLKS ANYWAY?

    Filed on at 5:45 am under by dcobranchi

    Time Magazine has a lengthy article on blogs and bloggers. I really like the sub-head.

    Why are more and more people getting their news from amateur websites called blogs? Because they’re fast, funny and totally biased

    Totally biased. Sounds about right.

    I’M FLOORED

    Filed on at 2:33 am under by dcobranchi

    The WaPo(?) has an unbelievably positive piece on Jennifer Nichols- Christian, world-class archer, and homeschooler. Definitely worth a read.

    HOMESCHOOLING IN SERBIA?

    Filed on at 2:20 am under by dcobranchi

    Has Izzy moved once again?

    UPDATE: Serbia, Siberia. What’s the difference?

    NEW FEATURE

    Filed on at 2:00 am under by dcobranchi

    Bravenet is offering a calendar function to users of their Sitemeter. I thought it’d be a convenient place to post meeting reminders, info on curriculum fairs, etc. All y’all (that’s the plural of y’all in case you didn’t know) have read&write privileges. Here’s the link:


    Free Calendar from Bravenet.com
    &nbsp

    It’s also permanently ensconced at the bottom of the blogroll to the right.

    TROUBLEMAKER

    Filed on June 17, 2004 at 4:43 am under by dcobranchi

    Chris O’Donnell found a post by uber-geek Phillip Greenspun on how well-mannered homeschooled kids seem to be. Make sure you read the comments on Greenspun’s blog.

    NOT WHAT IT SEEMS

    Filed on at 4:10 am under by dcobranchi

    I was intrigued when I read the lede in this piece. Thoughts of missionary kids or the tiny Christian minority in Palestine working through the intifada flashed.

    Ten students from Grace Home Educators, a West Bank-based Christian homeschool group, were among 150,000 students worldwide to participate in this year’s Math Olympiad program.

    Alas, not so. These kids are living on the West Bank of the Mississippi in New Orleans. I guess that’s one of the hazards of posting local news stories on the internet; shorthand that the locals all understand gets lost in translation.

    PRISON UPDATE

    Filed on at 3:35 am under by dcobranchi

    Interesting comment here.

    JUST SLIGHTLY AHEAD OF OUR TIME

    Filed on June 16, 2004 at 6:32 pm under by dcobranchi

    Samuel Freedman at the New York Times is calling for more students to study Arabic. I agree.

    FINAL SBC UPDATE

    Filed on at 4:25 pm under by dcobranchi

    The homeschooling resolution at the did not even make it out of committee. This result really wasn’t much of a surprise; I think Shortt and Pickney recognized this as a long-term project.

    Shortt was grateful he and Pinckney were able to get the issue out before the 5,000 members in attendance.

    …”The real point has been to raise this issue to a highly visible level,” he said, “and at that we have been very successful.”

    Wait ’til next year.

    Hat tip: Eric Holcombe

    NOT NEWS TO US

    Filed on at 2:06 pm under by dcobranchi

    USAToday has a pretty good column on how not everyone needs to go to college. This is something that homeschoolers have long known. Marty Nemko gets a little too touchy-feely for my taste, but overall I think he’s right.

    THOSE HORRIBLE…

    Filed on at 1:24 pm under by dcobranchi

    teachers

    Where do school districts find these folks?

    School investigators want the city to fire two romantically linked, foul-mouthed teachers — after one of them allegedly subjected her students to profanity-laced tirades and the other spewed ethnic and sexual slurs at his colleagues and a Muslim youngster, The Post has learned.

    Music teacher Jennifer Livingston and social studies instructor Steven Centonzo, both of whom teach at Staten Island’s New Dorp HS, engaged in steamy “intimate contact” in classrooms and other areas of the building in front of students and staff, according to a report by Special Schools Investigator Richard Condon.

    Then the two teachers interfered with Condon’s probe by contacting students to rally around them, the report said.

    …Livingston would spew the “F” word to humiliate students, as in “f – – – ing idiots, morons, retards” and an order for kids to “get the f – – – out of my classroom,” the report charged.

    She also called students “pieces of s – – -,” witnesses told investigators.

    Livingston once called girls on the dance team a “bunch of sluts” who are “too fat to be dressed in those outfits” and “lowlifes,” investigators said.

    The teachers have denied everything. Another fine example of socialization in the g-schools. I wonder if these behaviors were the “facts of life” that Bridget Callahan thinks homeschoolers are missing out on.

    DON’T EVEN BOTHER

    Filed on at 7:23 am under by dcobranchi

    entering this contest. We’ve got it won. Our family room is surrounded by bookcases, computer desks, and shelves with books, games, and software piled floor-to-ceiling. Couldn’t get any more tacky. But, we homeschool. What do you expect?

    SELFISHNESS?

    Filed on at 7:01 am under by dcobranchi

    An interesting Letter to the Editor in today’s News-Journal:

    Society will pay for resegregation

    The article on resegregation in northern Delaware schools broke my heart. Although it is now economic vs. minority segregation, the facts are indisputable that schools located in poorer neighborhoods have a more difficult time educating children for a variety of good reasons listed in the article.

    These reasons are even worse 30 years later with lack of good-paying jobs. Having been among the original parents who chose to send children to public school under desegregation ordered by Brown vs. Board of Education, I am appalled at the selfishness of today’s parents compared to the general good of society.

    I remember giving talks through the League of Women Voters back then supporting integration and having people explode at the thought. What has happened to us that we fail to recognize that helping children now is better than dealing with social problems and economic dependence later?

    The national administration’s No Child Left Behind law is all air and no money. Our selfishness and inattention to children will come back to haunt us.

    Marlene Rayner, Centreville

    It’s difficult to parse the bolded sentence. It sounds like Ms. Rayner is accusing parents of selfishness for not enrolling their kids in the crummy g-schools. Surely that’s not what she meant.

    Yeah, the schools are being re-segregated by the Neighborhood Schools Act. No big surprise there. What’s the solution, though? Continue to bus children all over the county for all eternity? Been there; done that. All it accomplished was that parents felt even less involved in their kids’ schools. I’m sure there are some things that Delaware could do to improve things (although it is significantly ahead of neighboring states): equalize funding for all schools (no reliance on property taxes), encourage through incentives better teachers to teach in city schools, etc. Busing’s just not on the list.

    “S” WORD OP/ED CA. 1990

    Filed on June 15, 2004 at 7:18 pm under by dcobranchi

    A college freshman thinks she has figured out what’s wrong with homeschooling.

    Growing up in the David Douglas School District here in Portland, I learned vast amounts of worthy, book-smart facts.

    I wrote excellent AP English theses, used the quadratic formula in more ways than I wanted to know and even learned how to write in iambic pentameter. These lessons prepared me well for collegiate academics. But I believe the most essential lesson I learned in school is the ability to live and relate with others.

    Unfortunately, those lessons are something I fear home-schooled children aren’t learning.

    …Of course, the argument rises that schools are unsafe, troubled places full of drugs, alcohol, violence, sex and the like. But the point is, while these problems are facts indeed, they are facts of life. If children are kept at home for their first 18 years, these problems aren’t magically going to disappear once they enter college or the work force. Learning to resist and avoid temptations such as these is an essential characteristic of a good citizen and is impossible to truly learn from a parent.

    Funny, in all my years at DuPont, not once have I been beaten up, seen colleagues on drugs or drunk, been sexually harassed, or the like. The fact of the matter is that school is a completely artificial world where “Lord of the Flies” is the norm. If kids survive g-school with their morals and their sanity intact, they should count themselves lucky.

    Ahhh, she’s a kid. Of course she thinks she knows (and has seen) it all. I bet in 10 years she’ll look back at this Op/Ed and cringe.

    A STAT I DON’T BELIEVE

    Filed on at 4:27 pm under by dcobranchi

    From Newsweek:

    46% say they’d like to leave their job to be “Mr. Mom” (MensHealth.com). In fact, the number of stay-at-home dads has increased 70% since 1990; there are just 8% more stay-at-home moms (Ajilon Finance).

    UPDATE: I may have mis-understood the stat. I originally interpreted it to mean that there were only 8% more stay-at-home moms than dads. I guess it may mean that stay-at-home moms increased only 8% since 1990. If that’s what the author intended, it could have been worded a bit more clearly.

    THANKS CHRIS AND FLOTSAM AND JETSAM

    Filed on at 12:24 pm under by dcobranchi

    Chris O’Donnell sent me one of his valuable (to geeks like me) G-Mail invites (he has 2 remaining, BTW). For now, I’ll keep my main email on the cobranchi.com domain but I’m looking forward to playing around with the Google version. A Gig is a fair amount of storage.

    And, speaking of storage, Sony’s imagestation.com allows unlimited storage of digital photos and videos. Size limits, at least for photos, are pretty reasonable (5 MB per). Their prints are competively priced (currently $0.19 for a 4″ x 6″) with $1.99 shipping. I was impressed with the quality the one time I ordered from them. If you have broadband, it’s worth considering instead of hiking over to Walmart or Target.

    Which reminds me, if you want to print digital photos, the way to go is with the Fuji (NOT Kodak) kiosk at the stores above. Fuji dumps the digital data directly to their one-hour printer so your digital prints have the look and feel of “developed” photos. The last time I went in to Target, I had the photos in hand in 20 minutes. Walmart charged $0.24 for each print; Target $0.25. The kiosks read all of the standard digital (including the relatively new XD) memory cards as well as CD-R. Since discovering the Fuji printer, my high res photo printer has sat abandoned on a shelf. I’m sure I’ll never use it again.

    “FREE” DAY CARE, REDUX

    Filed on at 5:44 am under by dcobranchi

    The News-Journal is at it again. They’ve come out in support of full-day kindergarten. Why? Because state-funded daycare is a good thing. I kid you not.

    Roberta M. Golinkoff, a University of Delaware child psychologist, applauds the state’s intention to offer full-day programs. In a recent Perspective article, she wrote that “all day kindergarten is a superb idea because it provides continuity of care that many children of working parents lack.” Full-day kindergarten as state-supported day care, run by people with college degrees and training in child development, is a positive situation.

    Geez! The vast majority of parents don’t have college degrees and training in child development. And, we let parents keep ’em until their five?! Heaven forbid! Much better if we just hand them over to the educrats at birth, no?

    To be fair, the N-J does get something right.

    H.B.444 specifically permits parents and guardians to opt for a half-day program. But the bill doesn’t specify — as it should — that half-day programs ought to be self-contained, not just half of an all-day program.

    Absolutely true and almost impossible to implement. Already, there is not enough space for full-day kindergarten. If the state mandates separate half-day and full-day programs, there is no way the schools could accomodate the portables they would need for it all.

    But, all this begs the question- where is the research that shows an educational benefit to the majority of students? Not the poorest of the poor. Here’s the N-J’s sole comment:

    Ample research already exists to support extending half-day to full-day instruction.

    No data. No citations. Not even a one-sentence summary.

    In the end, though, it really doesn’t matter. As I wrote in December, the fix is in. Full-day kindergarten is coming and we’ll all be paying tens of millions of dollars in additional income taxes to provide subsidized daycare.

    SBC UPDATE

    Filed on June 14, 2004 at 12:20 pm under by dcobranchi

    Tons of articles on the Convention. The homeschooling proposal is big news.

    NEWSFLASH…

    Filed on at 12:16 pm under by dcobranchi

    Homeschoolers aren’t dropouts!

    From an article about a young motocross rider:

    When in high school, he missed so much that he dropped out and started a homeschool program, devoting half of the day to books and the rest to motocross. He completed his diploma and turned to racing full time.

    This is so common as to be almost a cliché. Homeschooling’s flexibility is ideally suited to athletes who have demanding practice schedules. Why papers continually make the error that these kids are dropouts is beyond me.

    OT: WHAT ARE WE, MAYBERRY RFD?

    Filed on at 7:01 am under by dcobranchi

    I hate it when the News-Journal goes all weepy-eyed over some fake cause. Today it’s a post office in Wilmington.

    Wilmington, the largest city in Delaware, needs a post office not just for walk-in city business but to maintain its identity. Not having a post office downtown would be damaging. U.S. Rep. Michael Castle and Sens. Joseph Biden and Thomas Carper surely see the potential harm of losing it.

    What? Are cartographers going to erase the city if the USPS pulls out? The Post Office is supposed to work like a business (albeit, one with a government-sanctioned monopoly). Why does the N-J feel it necessary to keep every USPS facility open in perpetuity?

    2-4-6-4?

    Filed on at 6:46 am under by dcobranchi

    The NYT has a couple of Op/Eds about student loans. Both columns (here and here) promote the idea that it’s better (and far cheaper) for the government to provide the loans directly instead of the guaranteed bank-loan system we have now. Fair enough. Cheaper government is never a bad thing. What really caught my eye, though, was the chart reproduced above. What bleary-eyed editor let that one through?

    OT: MLB

    Filed on June 13, 2004 at 7:41 pm under by dcobranchi

    I refuse to tempt the baseball gods by bragging (Yankees management would never have made this mistake), but ya gotta love a team that battles back like this.

    UPDATE: Great minds(?) think alike.

    “Go back in history, and see the dramatic moments in Yankee history, and see how often these guys come up victorious. It’s really amazing.”– David Wells, San Diego pitcher, after the Yanks’ 6-5, come-from-behind, 12-inning win at Yankee Stadium Sunday.

    Now, even for a Red Sox person like me, I have to respect what New York did in this game. Respect, not like. Down 2-0 in the ninth inning with Trevor Hoffman pitching, Hideki Matsui and pinch-hitter Kenny Lofton hit consecutive homers deep to right. In the 12th, the Pads got three; Mariano Rivera was out with a bad back. The Yanks got four. That, my friends, is an all-time comeback. – SI’s Peter King

    PSA: MY OWN

    Filed on at 2:39 pm under by dcobranchi

    I just posted the following to several homeschool list-servs in DE. I’m sure I missed some (many?). Feel free to forward or to throw brickbats if you choose. 🙂

    It’s that time of the year when papers nationwide report on homeschool graduation ceremonies of all types and flavors. Here’s one from yesterday: http://desmoinesregister.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20040613/NEWS02/406130332/1004

    AFAIK, there are no ceremonies in DE that are open to all graduating seniors. The umbrellas have their own and (I guess) “single-family homeschools” (i.e., independents) do whatever they want to do.

    I’m toying with the idea of organizing a ceremony (for 2005) that would be open to any homeschooler statewide. If there’s interest, I’d probably look into finding a place that was centrally located (Dover?). Do y’all think this is feasible? Desirable? If you want to respond off-list email me at D A R Y L @ C O B R A N C H I . C O M (without the spaces, of course).

    Daryl Cobranchi
    http://cobranchi.com

    DON’T WORRY, BE HAPPY

    Filed on at 12:48 pm under by dcobranchi

    The Miami Herald is trying to scare folks with the prospect of utter chaos:

    With most of South Florida’s schools expected to again fall short of federal testing goals, hundreds of thousands of students could be eligible to switch schools next year.

    Hundreds of thousands of South Florida students will likely have unprecedented power to choose which school they attend next year, which could wreak havoc on overcrowding, school staffing and district administration.

    Ain’t never gonna happen. First, g-schools have gotten very good at making sure there’s no space in the better schools. And, second, even the available slots will go wanting as parents are either too confused or complacent to get their kids out of the worst schools.

    HOMESCHOOLING ON THE GROW- IN FLORIDA

    Filed on at 4:02 am under by dcobranchi

    This is the type of article I usually expect to see in August, when parents are deciding whether or not to keep their kids handcuffed to the kitchen table. The Daytona News-Journal does a pretty decent job with it. Of course, the obligatory socialization section is in there.

    NOT SO DEEP THOUGHT

    Filed on at 3:42 am under by dcobranchi

    Why does it seem that only those who are already out of school are so anxious to propose mandatory volunteerism for students?

    “PICKING” UPDATE

    Filed on at 3:05 am under by dcobranchi

    Interesting comment here.

    AND HE SHOULD KNOW

    Filed on June 12, 2004 at 5:30 pm under by dcobranchi

    An unbelievable Letter to the Editor:

    Maurice Wolfthal writes that “Tom Horne and Doug MacEachern are making a serious mistake in advocating that schools hire unprepared teachers” (“Inexperienced teachers no answer,” letter, Wednesday.)

    The assumption underlying Wolfthal’s assertion is that reducing the course work required for certification will leave prospective teachers unprepared.

    This assumption seriously overestimates the value of the vapid curriculum utilized in teacher training. What little useful information the curriculum contains could easily be presented in a single short course.

    His letter also assumes that teacher training is a prerequisite for great teaching. This ignores the fact that thousands of corporate trainers, university professors and home-school parents are very successful, despite being “unprepared” by Wolfthal’s standards.

    Horne’s proposal improves the pool of prospective teachers by allowing these and other degreed professionals to contribute their skills rather than face the barrier erected by two years and thousands of dollars worth of potentially meaningless classes.

    Ultimately, it’s the school principals who decide who is hired to teach, and this proposal gives them additional options that are much-needed during an acute teacher shortage.

    David Mohler, Glendale

    Why unbelievable?

    The writer has taught high school for the past 15 years and is the Deer Valley Education Foundation Teacher of the Year 2003.

    Talk about burning your bridges. Sheesh!

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY, BIG BOY

    Filed on at 2:21 pm under by dcobranchi

    Is this how Tiger Woods started out?First thing this morning, as Jonathan opened his eyes, he said, “I’m five now.” Yeah, our little guy is five. Cool but oh so fast. Ten seconds after deciding that five was the place to be he asked, “How long ’til my birthday”? Five can be cool for just so long.

    SUMMER (HOME)SCHOOL

    Filed on at 11:19 am under by dcobranchi

    The Fort-Worth Star-Telegram has a pretty decent write-up of what some homeschooling families do during the summer. For the record, we’re requiring 30 minutes of reading daily (7 days per week) and 60 minutes of Gold Medal Math per week. We don’t really expect them to advance at this leisurely pace; we just wanted to forestall any back-sliding.

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