Utterly Meaningless » 2004 » September
  • MAN, I’M GOOD!

    Filed on September 30, 2004 at 6:02 pm under by dcobranchi

    Or they’re just so damned predictable.

    My GoogleNews scrape came up with the following sentence. From just that one clue, I not only knew the tone of the article but had a pretty good guess what the author does for a living.

    While parents should have a choice of schools, including responsible home schooling, the empirical evidence with vouchers shows that the disadvantages far …

    All too easy.


    Filed on at 10:52 am under by dcobranchi

    HH found a real screw-up in ODonnellWeb’s backyard (Chris, why does everything seem to happen in NOVA?). Kids were served margaritas at lunch.

    The school’s international focus this year is Mexico, so the day before the first day of class, teachers celebrated with nachos and margaritas after preparing their classrooms.

    “The faculty’s not a big drinking group, and so we had the mixed margarita together — the tequila and the mix — and we put the pitcher in the back of the refrigerator,” said Headmaster Alexander Harvey IV. “Next day, school starts. Everyone’s focusing on kids and making it a good first couple of days of school.”

    But on the first day of school, the milk supply ran out after two lunch periods, so students were served what an employee thought was limeade. It turned out to be the leftover margaritas and was served to third-, fourth- and fifth-grade students.

    Joanne wonders why the teachers were drinking at school. Good question. That said, the school seemed to handle the aftermath fairly well.


    Filed on at 3:26 am under by dcobranchi

    Deb sends word of contract negotiations in NJ. The school board wants to increase the length of the teachers’ workday to *shudder* eight hours. Then there’s this:

    The administration would reduce the number of eight-hour days from 180 to 108, Riker said.

    That’s a typo, right?


    Filed on at 2:43 am under by dcobranchi

    It’s late and I can’t think of a snappy title for this essay. It’s pretty good, though misnamed. A snippet:

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

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

    I like that “brutal failure” line. Worth a read.


    Filed on September 29, 2004 at 8:41 pm under by dcobranchi

    The lede says it all:

    HUDSON, Mass. – Dozens of parents have signed a petition asking town officials to remove election booths from schools out of concern for terrorism.


    Filed on at 12:27 pm under by dcobranchi

    The tin-foil hat brigade has really outdone themselves. They’re not only convinced that the Illinois law concerning mental health screening is compulsory in nature (it isn’t), but they’ve now decided that Illinois is akin to Nazi Germany.

    As a Jew, President Bush’s “New Freedom Commission on Mental Health” sounds eerily reminiscent of the words over the gates of Auschwitz, “Arbeit Macht Frei” (Work Makes You Free).

    …As far as I know, Illinois now joins Nazi Germany as the only places on earth to ever implement a plan of mandatory universal psychiatric screening. The Communist tyrants of the former Soviet Union, known for using psychiatry as a tool to crush dissent, never to my knowledge implemented a program this radical.

    It is a tale told by an idiot. (Hat tip: Judy Aron)


    Filed on at 7:32 am under by dcobranchi

    In “A Tribute to George Wallace,” Dave Gibson tries to tie homeschooling to Wallace’s fight against integration:

    Almost 40 years later, after the virtual collapse of our public schools, there are even more Americans who question the policy of integration. That is evident by the explosion of private schools being built and subsequently filled to capacity in and around the urban centers of this country. There is also the practice of ‘home-schooling’, which is becoming a national pastime. Was Wallace right?

    While I’m sure there are racist homeschoolers- just as there are segregationist doctors, dentists, and even Virginia Beach Deputy Sherriffs, homeschooling on the whole has nothing to do with Wallace or segregation.


    Filed on at 6:21 am under by dcobranchi

    I can’t wait to see Redovich’s rant about this:

    Students using vouchers to attend private schools in Milwaukee graduate at a higher rate than students enrolled in Milwaukee public schools, according to a study released yesterday by supporters of that city’s voucher program.

    …About 64 percent of Milwaukee students who used vouchers to enter ninth grade at 10 private schools in 1999 graduated from high school four years later, compared with 36 percent of students in public schools, the study found.

    The study’s not perfect; social science research rarely is. Still, it’s good news for voucher supporters.


    Filed on at 6:08 am under by dcobranchi

    This tornado touched down less than a mile from our home. It then headed right up the street to where I work. Thankfully, by the time it got there, it wasn’t on the ground. From a 5th-floor window, we were able to watch the clouds spinning. (Real bright, eh?)


    Filed on at 5:53 am under by dcobranchi

    Here’s a NYT editorial that I think we can all agree with.

    This week, a group of American publishers filed suit against the Treasury secretary and the Office of Foreign Assets Control at the Treasury Department concerning an issue percolating since last September: the editing of books and manuscripts from countries, like Iran and Sudan, that are the targets of sanctions. Last year, the office issued a ruling that allowed the publication of finished works from those countries but made it illegal for Americans to edit them or consult with an author about editorial changes. The ostensible goal was to deny economic benefits to hostile foreign countries. The actual result was to impair the principle of freedom of information, a cornerstone of American democracy.

    It was the American Chemical Society that first challenged the rule.


    Filed on at 5:42 am under by dcobranchi

    The abuse of eminent domain is one of the worst examples of statist thinking. Cities across the country have been “taking” (in the constitutional sense) private property and giving it to developers in order to boost the tax base. Skip discussed it briefly here a while ago. Well, possible good news- the Supreme Court has agreed to hear a particularly egregious case involving seizing property in order to basically build more expensive homes.

    New London’s plans for the 90-acre neighborhood of small homes include a waterfront hotel and conference center, office space for high technology research and development, retail space and 80 new homes. The city has offered the property to a private developer under a 99-year lease at $1 a year. The property owners rejected the city’s offer of compensation and filed a lawsuit to block the plan.

    Let’s all hope that the Supremes shut down this odious practice once and for all.


    Filed on September 28, 2004 at 10:47 pm under by dcobranchi

    Hey, where’s my “Homeschoolers for Badnarik ’04” unit study?


    Filed on at 10:30 am under by dcobranchi

    There’s an interesting column up on LewRockwell’s site today. The premise is that three federal initiatives are pushing us towards totalitatian government. We’ve discussed before the mental health screening and the Census Bureau’s “American Community Survey.” The other initiative, which is completely news to me follows:

    The second encroachment, still in the discussion stage, is for government to monitor homeschooling more aggressively. But homeschooling is already subject to government scrutiny, including enforced testing requirements and so forth. Frankly, the word “monitor” raises a red flag because government monitoring usually evolves into government control. Public schools, or perhaps the more appropriate designation that has been suggested, “government schools,” blend indoctrination with education and imprudently rely on the latest untested teaching fads.

    These are some of the reasons why many parents elect to home school their children. But Washington bureaucrats won’t rest until they are able to control the curricula, philosophy and teaching techniques of home schooling.

    Anyone have an idea what this is about?


    Filed on at 6:53 am under by dcobranchi

    Idaho state senator Joe Stegner is at it again. Last year he proposed an ugly bill that would have regulated Idaho homeschools. Home educators were successful in beating it down. Well, he’s baaaack! The current bill is innocuous (as far as home education is concerned). It’s the attitude that gets me:

    “I can’t fight the irrational logic that the home-schooling industry will bring to the Legislature” for trying to require them to register with public school districts, said Stegner, R-Lewiston. “I will fight that fight another day.”

    Please, someone tell me this guy is up for re-election in November.


    Filed on at 6:40 am under by dcobranchi

    Another column from the Frontiersman. This one tries to present a balanced view of the situation but ends up with no real “voice.” The one money quote:

    “If we don’t have information, we are not in a position to monitor,” [Edu-crat] Doyle said.

    That’s why we fight against providing info to the state.


    Filed on at 6:23 am under by dcobranchi

    Compare this column (starting with MSNBC reports) with the actual MSNBC column.

    Support like this we can do without, although it could make a good homeschool lesson on proper attribution.


    Filed on at 6:11 am under by dcobranchi

    GoogleNews needs to work on filtering out just a bit of the trash they scrape. Here’s a Press Release for a MLM company touting a home educator who’s pulling in six figures!


    Filed on September 27, 2004 at 6:06 pm under by dcobranchi

    The struggle against NCLB is just like the Civil Rights movement. Seriously.

    Bob Dylan they ain’t, but the musicians featured on “No Child Left Behind? Bring Back The Joy” bring just as much passion and protest to what they view as an abomination of the 21st century: federal education policy.

    …”So what did they do in the ’50s and ’60s down in Birmingham? They sang. We thought, ‘Why don’t we do the same thing to protest [judgments of school quality] on a single standardized test?’ Music is a great form of communication.”

    You’ve got to read the lyrics the “educators” came up with. Some are pretty funny. (Hat tip: Deb)


    Filed on at 5:53 pm under by dcobranchi

    One of the cutest scenes in the movie “Kindergarten Cop” was when Arnold finally got all the kids to lie down and take a nap. Well, that scene could not be performed in Anne Arundel schools; they’ve banned naps for the full day kindergartners.

    “Five-year-olds are out of naptime as far as maturity goes,” she said. “They don’t need it. Four-year-olds are going to be tired.”

    That’s a pretty sweeping generalization. At least two of our four were routinely taking naps at five. Anecdotal? Sure. But at least as valid as the claim that 5-year-olds don’t need to nap.


    Filed on at 6:29 am under by dcobranchi

    Craig Barrett (Intel CEO) on the g-schools:

    Q: On K-12, what would you do? If the problem was yours to solve, what would be your first step?

    A: For about two years plus, I was a member of the Glenn Commission. Senator Glenn had a commission and came out with a report and the title of the report is “Before It’s Too Late.” It basically came out in 2001. …

    The Glenn Commission addresses this issue of what to do with math and science education in K-12 as a series of recommendations. Everything from: Treat teachers as professionals, use technology, put meritocracy into the system, pay for performance, make it easier for people to become math and science teachers, etc. … I signed off on the report.

    Q: You spent a lot of time on it yourself?

    A: Monthly or bi-monthly meetings and other stuff for a couple of years. It was a classic government report. You have a problem, you assign a commission to study it, you get the commission’s report, you accept it with open arms, tie a red ribbon around it, put it on the bookshelf and you never look at it again. Then you continue to ask the question, “So what shall we do?”

    From my very simple standpoint, in addition to the Glenn Commission, my personal standpoint, I would put some competition in the system, and I would quantify the system.

    I happen to be an Arizona resident. It doesn’t make any difference. It can be a California resident or an Oregon resident or a New Mexico resident, there’s an active debate in each one of those states about no child left behind, about quantified testing.

    You hear all of the arguments about how demeaning it is to schools, teachers and takes away from classroom learning. I’m an engineer. I don’t know how to solve a problem unless you measure what you’re trying to solve. … I’m a big fan of testing and I’m a big fan of quantitative measures.

    I’m a big fan of competition. Competition is charter schools or private schools. I don’t think the K-12 public school system is capable of reforming itself in a required period of time unless it has some form of competition.


    Filed on at 6:23 am under by dcobranchi

    How can I get a job like Dennis Redovch’s? He has just two or three columns that he keeps recycling every Monday. Today’s rehash is “money is too precious to waste on the working poor and the education of poor children.”

    OK, maybe I’m just recycling my criticsm of his recycling. But, he’s getting paid for it.


    Filed on September 26, 2004 at 6:57 pm under by dcobranchi

    Kimberly’s gettin’ hitched! Way cool.


    Filed on at 5:42 pm under by dcobranchi

    Teachers just don’t realize how good they have it (or how arrogant they can come across).

    On average, employees nationwide pay 16 percent of the premium for individual coverage and 28 percent for family coverage, according to a survey released two weeks ago by the nonprofit Kaiser Family Foundation.

    Both the Abington Heights and Old Forge school districts fully pay the premiums for Traditional Blue Cross/Blue Shield and HMOs, and negotiations have stalled.

    In Abington Heights, where teachers have been on strike since Sept. 3, the board wants teachers to contribute to premiums. In Old Forge, where teachers have been on strike since Sept. 9, the board wants teachers to pay the difference between the Traditional plan and a cheaper option. Teachers want to maintain the status quo or have a choice of plans.

    …Marcelle Genovese, president of the Abington Heights Education Association, said the teachers compare their health plans to other teachers because they have the most in common.

    “I would like to compare to someone who has the same experience and education I have,” she said.

    Ms. Genovese is a longtime teacher with a master’s degree plus 72 credits. In the private sector, she said the best comparison would be doctors and lawyers.

    What an ego! Does anyone wonder why the teaching “profession” (and I use that term very loosely) is held in such disregard?


    Filed on at 8:59 am under by dcobranchi

    Holy cow! This is a remarkable statistic:

    38% of teachers pick private school

    More than a third of Chicago Public School teachers send their children to private schools, a new report finds.

    What do the g-school teachers know and when did they know it?


    Filed on at 8:13 am under by dcobranchi

    Homeschooling is really growing in Scotland. Sadly, it’s mostly because of violence in the g-schools there.

    GROWING fear of school bullies is forcing record numbers of Scots parents to educate their children at home, Scotland on Sunday can reveal.

    Almost 500 youngsters now receive full-time education at home north of the Border, an increase of nearly 40% since 2001.

    Home education campaigners say the increase mirrors growing fear of playground violence and intimidation and is the main reason given by parents who take their children out of conventional schooling.

    …A study of young people in Glasgow last June revealed that 20% of young boys, including primary children, carried knives to protect themselves.


    Filed on at 8:03 am under by dcobranchi

    A Michigan teachers’ union spokeswoman scored one for our team.

    The Michigan Education Association doesn’t denounce homeschooling but acknowledges its lack of oversight.

    “Public schools really have to jump through a lot of hoops to receive state and federal funding,” said Karen Schulz, MEA spokeswoman.

    “We don’t even know how many kids are doing homeschooling. There is really no accounting.” [Emphasis mine]

    Bingo! Public schools are accountable to the public because they take public tax dollars. Guess what? We don’t! When they pay me $10,000 per child to homeschool plus a property tax break (g-schools don’t pay taxes), then we can talk about homeschool accountability. Until then, leaves us the heck alone!


    Filed on at 7:34 am under by dcobranchi

    Today’s AstroPic is a good one- Earth viewed from space during a solar eclipse.


    Filed on September 25, 2004 at 10:49 am under by dcobranchi

    How did educrats take in loco parentis to mean that they got to make the decisions about kids’ appearance? Hair, tattoos, piercings. Aren’t these decisions that the parents should make?

    A Henry County student’s battle with the school system over its body piercing policy will continue next week.

    Daniel “Corey” Rager, 15, is expected to complete the rest of his three-day in-school suspension and could immediately begin another five-day stint if he continues to wear the piercings.

    …His fight with the 32,000-student district has attracted national media attention and put the spotlight on the system’s zero-tolerance rules.

    What is the rationale for this zero tolerance idiocy? This is a power play, pure and simple.


    Filed on at 3:31 am under by dcobranchi

    An interesting comment on an old post:

    I am 45 and going back to school to reenforce
    my medical billing updates.
    I need to find the address to write to the goverment to receive a Laptop free.
    Could you please help me find out how to do this.

    I may resemble Matthew Lesko from the infomercials but, I promise, I have never worn a jacket festooned with question marks.


    Filed on September 24, 2004 at 10:34 pm under by dcobranchi

    The BBC is running a new batch of Hitchhiker’s Guide radio shows. For the young ‘uns and less geeky in the audience, the original started out as a teleplay. I got hooked on the show in ’80 when NPR picked it up. Each show is available for 7 days starting on Thursdays. (via Chris)

    And as a complete aside, Anthony is currently reading the first book. Like father, like son.


    Filed on at 12:35 pm under by dcobranchi

    That’s the drumbeat leading us to compulsory weigh-ins in the g-schools. Think I’m kidding?

    With 9 million overweight schoolchildren, a number that has tripled since 1980, the new findings aim to give education leaders a traditional motivation for making changes: money.

    At least nine states that get state money based on student attendance, for example, are losing an estimated tens of millions of dollars because of absenteeism, a problem caused in part by the poor nutrition and inactivity of those missing school, the study says.

    You know, I seriously doubted they could do it, but I should have had more faith. They pulled it off. Even the obesity mania is now “All About the Money” (TM). Thank God we homeschool.


    Filed on at 10:25 am under by dcobranchi

    Joanne Jacobs picks up a story I heard on our local talk radio yesterday. One of the school districts here cancelled a marching band performance scheduled for Saturday because of Yom Kippur. No one seems to have complained. Joanne, who is Jewish, seems to think cancelling was a bad idea. Me, too.


    Filed on at 7:25 am under by dcobranchi

    Check out the closing sentences in today’s lead NYT editorial:

    Once upon a time, gridlock was considered the ultimate problem with Congress. That looks better than what we’re getting right now.

    Thanks, Chris.


    Filed on at 6:32 am under by dcobranchi

    It sure sounds like that’s what this Democratic candidate for MA’s legislature said:

    A tax credit for seniors based on local education spending is another idea Sannicandro said he would like to bring to Beacon Hill. He models it after a law passed in New York state.

    “(In New York) if you are 65, you get an automatic tax credit,” he said. “Beyond that, it is based on income.

    “It allows seniors to stay in their homes, and it also helps school districts because it prevents massive (housing) turnover that result in families with kids moving in.”

    Yeah, those families with kids (especially those large Catholic families in Boston) are a real PITA. I know. He probably didn’t mean it the way it reads.

    Personally, though, I’d vote for the Libertarian candidate:

    “Republicans talk about smaller government and lower taxes but they don’t deliver,” Doherty said.

    …Doherty, a Framingham South High School graduate, is a trained engineer, but also works as a personal trainer and a fire-arms instructor.

    If he makes it to Beacon Hill, Doherty said one of his first moves would be to propose ending the state income tax.

    “I would propose it and work for it,” he said. “Realistically, I would try to hammer away at government waste.”

    Some of his other proposals differ greatly from what Democrats and Republicans have been pushing, including his ideas on schools and guns.

    “I would like to privatize schools,” Doherty said. “They would charge tuition, just like a college. You pay for the services you use.”

    Parents could choose to home school their children, Doherty said, and people could donate to groups that set up scholarships for children whose families cannot afford tuition.

    The state gun laws, Doherty said, should be relaxed so more people can use their Second Amendment rights.

    “They talk about the right to bare arms, but in Massachusetts it’s a right you have to beg for,” Doherty said. “After you have gone through the background check, pay the fee and the training, the local police chief can deny the license.”


    Filed on at 5:58 am under by dcobranchi

    or “Why I’m voting for John Kerry.”

    Judging by deficit, Bush likes to spend

    I was surprised when George W. Bush used the tired label “tax and spend” in his nomination acceptance speech to criticize Democrat John Kerry. Federal spending under Bush has grown at the highest rate in the last 30 years, double that of Democrat Bill Clinton. In light of the half-trillion-dollar deficit, it seems that Bush does not object to spending. He is poised to be the first president to not veto a single spending bill.

    One must conclude that he and his Republican party, which controls both houses of Congress, only object to paying for their spending. Better to defer paying the bills to younger generations. To those who believe in small government and fiscal responsibility, take a closer look at the actual budgetary numbers. And re-think your party affiliation.

    David Donohue, Wilmington


    Filed on September 23, 2004 at 11:22 pm under by dcobranchi

    If you or your kids have ever wanted to study the language of Cicero, Catullus, and Vergil, I have a great opportunity for you. In addition to running the New Jersey Homeschool Association, I’m the coordinator of the latest Wheelock’s Latin self-study group on the LatinStudy e-mail list.

    Wheelock is a standard college text that the group works through at about half the normal classroom pace; completion will take two years. The group is meant for older teens and adults, but motivated kids as young as 10 can handle it. (My older son started at nine but dropped out after five chapters, then picked it up again six months later and recently finished at age 12.5.)

    Previous Wheelock groups on the list have attracted tons of homeschoolers from all over the country, and the whole shebang is free apart from the cost of the book ($12-$20 depending on where you get it; there’s also an optional supplementary text that’s $13.50). Please e-mail me at spooner@pobox.com for further details.


    Filed on at 5:12 pm under by dcobranchi

    From their website:

    Home schooling not only goes mainstream — it goes into overdrive! There’s been a big rise in the number of kids now getting educated at home. And it’s not just religious concerns driving the trend. So how does their education compare? You might be surprised at the findings.

    UPDATE: Hey- this might be an application for the chat room. I’m going to miss the show (I’ll be driving one of the kids to karate) but y’all have fun.

    UPDATE: Here’s the transcript.


    Filed on at 12:47 pm under by dcobranchi

    For parents.

    Parents at the Pennington and Porter schools [in Pr. William County], two specialty schools that draw children from across the county, sign a contract pledging to volunteer at least 10 hours for every child they have enrolled. If they don’t, their children may be returned to their base school, although to date that has not happened.

    …There is no punishment for Tennessee parents who choose not to get involved. But the state legislature there debated all sorts of carrot-and-stick approaches, [Douglas Wood, executive director of the National Academy for Excellent Teaching at Columbia University’s Teachers College] said. Facetiously, one person even suggested jail time for the recalcitrant.

    “There’s a general sense of urgency and, in some cases, frustration that parents are not as involved as they ought to be,” Wood said.

    I believe the proper response to legislators and edu-crats who feel this way has something to do with “the horse you rode in on.”


    Filed on at 11:42 am under by dcobranchi

    From HEM-Networking:

    Just a heads up.. I just saw a commercial about “Homeschooling Today” to be highlighted on Tom Brokaw’s Nightly News. I’m holding my breath.. the commercial stated “surprising results.”

    UPDATE: There’s no promo up yet on their website.


    Filed on at 6:10 am under by dcobranchi

    Here’s an interesting column on innovation in education. Some of it may sound familiar.


    Filed on at 5:07 am under by dcobranchi

    Snack foods don’t make you fat. Lack of exercise does.

    A growing body of research corroborates McClellan’s point. Earlier this year, research published in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine found that “insufficient vigorous physical activity was the only risk factor” for overweight children. And a 2003 study in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine summed it all up by recommending “a focus on increasing energy expenditure, rather than reducing caloric intake.”

    I guess it’s time to sue Nintendo and Sony.


    Filed on September 22, 2004 at 9:25 pm under by dcobranchi

    Working through the backlog of mail after our vacation, I came across this gem of a cartoon in the September 13th issue of the New Yorker. I’d buy a print of it if I had a spare $125 lying around.

    HEY TIM!

    Filed on at 9:10 pm under by dcobranchi

    Here’s another nickel for your collection.

    Deb forwarded this article out of Maine. It’s really terrific (except for the description of Maine’s homeschooling law- YECCH!) A highlight:

    The two Berry boys are far from shy. They show more curiosity than timidity when questioned about their study habits and they tease each other with comfortable familiarity.

    “We like to fight,” said Joel with a grin while his younger sister, Abigail, who is starting kindergarten at home this year, squeezes in between the two boys on the couch. The brothers drape an arm around her shoulders unselfconsciously.

    “Yeah,” said Michael, who shares a bedroom with his younger brother. “The beds are set up so it’s really fun to fight.”

    Good stuff.


    Filed on at 7:58 pm under by dcobranchi

    An Anonymous blogger thinks the terrorism drill scenario was funny.

    The homeschool parents have taken offense with Malkin, in an extremely silly sense. The scenario is about extremists. Personally, I’ve never seen homeschooled students or parents go blowing up public school systems or threatening them in any way. Some snub the system (and generally their kids turn out to be socially retarded, and the kids may not recieve adaquate education because half the parents don’t know enough to teach, but that’s besides the point) but they’re not extremists. Except for The Happy Homeschooler, I guess, since she takes offense to it.

    And I guess it’s ok for me to refer to Anonymous bloggers as retarded ignoramuses who probably can’t count to 20 without taking off their shoes. Hey, it’s funny! Right?


    Filed on at 4:05 pm under by dcobranchi

    Apparently the rugged individualist is dead and buried in Alaska. The misnamed Frontiersman is evidently run by emigres from their neighbor to the West.

    It is clear that parents should enjoy a great deal of involvement and authority in the education of their children. The state should not interfere with parenting, but it should protect the right of every child to basic literacy.

    We all live within a greater community and that community also bears some of the responsibility, and some of the burden, of child rearing. The concept of educational standards is not intended to infringe upon parents’ right to enhance education and experience for children.

    Government standards are intended to establish a minimum base of knowledge that is required to seek secondary education or function in society.

    Some of those standards require a basic level of education and training for educators, and some of them establish acceptable minimum academic levels for students at different grade levels. There is no state standard or regulation that limits parents’ ability to augment public education at home — in an effort to exceed government standards.

    We are sure there are many qualified, dedicated parents involved in independent home schooling in Alaska. However, there is no way to know how many children are independently home schooled, and there is no way to know if they are all receiving an adequate education.

    Because state regulations are so liberal concerning independent home schooling, the door is open for unqualified parents to deprive their children of a quality education without any interference by the state.

    We support the rights of home-schoolers, but we also believe every student should be required to meet basic attendance and academic standards.

    That’s about as statist an argument as one is likely to find outside the old Soviet Union. I especially like the part where the “community” (read, “government”) is going to rear our children with us. Thanks for the offer. But, no thanks.

    I hope some AK home educators set Mikhail the editor straight.


    Filed on at 11:23 am under by dcobranchi

    Skip Oliva has a really good essay on the Mises Institute website. Definitely worth a read.


    Filed on at 8:49 am under by dcobranchi

    Chat away. (Hey, it was free and took three seconds to install.)


    Filed on at 6:17 am under by dcobranchi

    Why I hate edu-crats-

    A girl was being harassed in her Arkansas high school and decided she wanted to be homeschooled. She had to fill out some paperwork. That’s when it gets ugly:

    “This student came to fill out homeschool papers, and I encouraged her to enroll at Hector [another local school] on a temporary basis because I’d rather her be in school somewhere than to be at home.”
    Lovelady also said the student said she was not coming back to Dover High School.

    This edu-crat completely usurped the parents’ authority to make decisions about what is best for their daughter. But we’ve got to keep the dollars coming in students in school. IAATM.


    Filed on at 6:06 am under by dcobranchi

    Oh, the power of the blogosphere!

    Michelle Malkin is all wound up about the Muskegon terrorism drill. She’s demanding an apology. As sharp-eyed blog-commenters have noted, they’ve already apologized.

    As a complete aside, I am constantly amazed at how fast things happen and news spreads via blogs. Laura Derrick found this one Sunday night. By Monday a.m. the bloggers and listservs had it. The apologies were issued Monday p.m. A day later, the pundits weigh in. I expect the Old Media will get the story sometime around Friday, long after we’ll have moved on.

    UPDATE: This story made the top of the charts at EducationNews.org today.


    Filed on at 5:54 am under by dcobranchi

    I think this reviewer brought some prejudices with him into the screening room:

    DVD Review

    Mean Girls might seem like a comic indictment of high school cliques and the rampant backstabbing within them, but it’s really about the dangers of home schooling—at least that’s how it struck me. Cady Heron (Lindsay Lohan) has spent the bulk of her life in the African jungle, frolicking with animals with her zoologist parents (Ana Gasteyer and Neil Flynn). But when her family relocates to preppy Evanston, Illinois and Cady enrolls in public school, she finds lions and tigers are pussycats compared to the stuck-up rhymes-with-witches who rule North Shore High. Cady may be smart, but home schooling has made her a social retard—she doesn’t understand teen lingo, knows nothing of pop culture, and is clueless about school hierarchy, etiquette, and peer interaction.

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