Utterly Meaningless » 2004 » October

HAPPY HALLOWEEN

Filed on October 31, 2004 at 8:34 am under by dcobranchi

from Astronomy Picture of the Day.

WHY AM I NOT SURPRISED?

Filed on at 7:48 am under by dcobranchi

Anecdote ahead. Forewarned and all that.

Yesterday a g-school mom was complaining to Lydia and a certain Regular Reader here at H&OES that the school had been really inattentive to her SpEd son. She’d been threatening to homeschool him, and the edu-crats were doing everything in their power to dissuade her. All through the month of September, the school claimed he “needed” to be in school for “socialization.” Then, suddenly, at the beginning of October they changed their tune and told her to go ahead- maybe homeschooling would work for him.

In Delaware school headcounts for the whole year are based on enrollment as of September 30th.

IAATM.

98 PER CENT? HMMMM…

Filed on at 7:14 am under by dcobranchi

This is as depressing a statement as one is likely to see:

Kindergarten, which is German for “children’s garden,” is serious stuff these days. With half-day programs giving way to full days in state after state, the curriculum once saved for first grade has been pushed down to 5- and 6-year-olds. Nearly 98 percent of youngsters in the United States attend kindergarten, 60 percent of them in full-day programs, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Once focused on a child’s social and emotional development, kindergarten is now a largely academic experience, sometimes with math drills and daily homework and worksheets. In many schools, time for music, art, recess and games has withered.

Anyone want to bet where the missing two percent is? I’ll lay 10 to 1 that they’re not missing out on music, art, and games.

I AGREE

Filed on at 7:04 am under by dcobranchi

The critics of homeschooling are sounding weaker all the time:

Critics say the social aspect of public schools plays an important role in the education process.

Important doesn’t necessarily mean good.

LETTER OF THE DAY

Filed on at 6:47 am under by dcobranchi

Ignorance and bigotry run rampant in NCCo.

Muslims should not have special times

I am appalled that the Muslim people think they should have special treatment because of their religion at Bancroft Middle School.

If other children cannot pray in school, then why should special consideration be given to the Muslim people during Ramadan?

If we are going to find a special place for the Muslim children to pray and fast then perhaps this option should be given to children of all religions and faiths.

I think it is unfair not to allow prayer in public school, however if special consideration is going to be given to one group of people, then by all means do the same for everyone.

Patricia Stanley, Bear

I agree 100%. Kids should (and, in fact, do) have the right to pray during the school day. There’s a huge difference, though, between kids being allowed to pray and State-sponsored prayer. The folks who call for prayer in schools are generally asking for the latter. All the Muslim parents wanted was for their kids to not be forced into the cafeteria during Ramadan (while they’re fasting) and to be allowed to use an empty classroom to pray during that time. Seems eminently “fair” to me.

JEAN LIEDLOFF FANS BEWARE

Filed on October 30, 2004 at 5:52 pm under by dcobranchi

This recent development in Philly sounds like the vanguard of a coming national attack on the family bed:

The city [announced] a new campaign to educate the public about the risks of “co-sleeping,” the practice of adults and/or siblings sharing a sleeping space with infants. The Health Department and the Department of Human Services will be running print, radio, and TV ads informing parents that “the safest place for your child to sleep is alone, on his or her back, in an uncluttered crib,” according to DHS Commissioner Cheryl Ransom-Garner.

And what’s worse is that it wasn’t supposed to be this way. The HD, armed with a thorough understanding of statistics and a cultural sensitivity unusual in a government agency, originally was just going to release guidelines for safe co-sleeping — a reasonable proposition — but a local columnist with a surfeit of ignorance about correlation and causation served up five poisoned pieces on the topic over the course of a month, politically backing the health commissioner into a corner. Now there’s a playbook for “concerned journalists” in other cities to follow when their health departments refuse to whip up unwarranted hysteria about an ancient and beneficial practice.

But hey, what’s tens of thousands of years of mammalian history when you’ve got 25 column inches to fill?

HEADS UP IN MN

Filed on at 4:56 pm under by dcobranchi

It appears a local government may be over-stepping its authority.

Forest Lake City Council: The council on Monday voted 5-0 to adopt the sewer and water rate study and move ahead with a new rate structure, which separates water and sewer rates. It goes into effect Jan. 1. The council also approved, on a 5-0 vote, the final draft of a zoning ordinance, which includes a regulation and definition for home-schooling and a revision to the bed-and-breakfast regulations.

ELECTION YEAR HYPE

Filed on at 4:43 pm under by dcobranchi

This is utter nonsense:

To those three or four million Bible-believing Christians who failed to vote in the presidential election of 2000, I implore you to be salt and light! Think about all that is at stake! The next president will likely nominate two or three new Supreme Court Justices, and will almost certainly appoint the next Chief Justice. This will have a profound (even perhaps a deciding) effect upon abortion-on-demand, homosexual “marriage,” school choice (i. e., the “legality” of school vouchers and of home schools), and virtually every other issue facing America today.

First, it’s already been decided at the state level. And, second, the SCOTUS has already ruled on the legality of vouchers (vis a vis the Establishment Clause). I encourage everyone to get out and vote. Scaring home educators that their rights are in peril is not the way to do it, though.

DAMN!

Filed on at 4:31 pm under by dcobranchi

There goes my future in NC politics.

Rachel Lea Hunter, a Republican Cary lawyer running for the state Supreme Court, has battled the impression in her own party that she’s a fringe candidate.

This won’t help: Several years ago, she signed onto the agenda of a Fresno, Calif., group called Alliance for the Separation of School and State.

The group’s Web site includes Hunter and her campaign manager, Cameron DeJong, on a list of hundreds of North Carolinians who have openly endorsed this policy: “I proclaim publicly that I favor ending government involvement in education.”

The site goes on to say: “Children need honest education. Separating school from state is the only way to get there.”

DeJong explained Hunter’s involvement this way: “She thought she was signing in support of home-schooling. [Neither] she nor I support the ending of government schools.”

The group’s Web site warns prospective signers: “If you are considering running for elective office, your public endorsement of honest education may be used against you by your opponents.”

I coulda been a contender.

NO NUKES

Filed on at 7:31 am under by dcobranchi

The IAEA continues to show up in my referrer logs. Is my blog persona radioactive?

I LOVE INSOMNIA

Filed on at 6:02 am under by dcobranchi

It lets me get caught up on all those blogs in the blogroll.

Michael Lopez has a post titled ANOTHER REASON TO HOMESCHOOL. It’s not about homeschooling at all, but about how better schools (may) drive up housing prices. That got me thinking- we may be moving (sooner rather than later) to Fayetteville, NC. When (if?) it comes time to househunt, the schools will just not be a consideration. I can look way out in the boonies where land and privacy are cheap. Ten acres would be enough to keep a horse, right?

ON TOPIC POLITICS

Filed on at 4:37 am under by dcobranchi

Sue me.

Brian Micklethwait points to a good post at Instapundit. Ann Althouse, guest blogging there, notes how some Milwaukee-area schools have been using kids in a partisan GOTV effort. Brian quotes this ‘graf:

I firmly believe that once the state compels young people to attend school, deprives them of their freedom, it owes the highest duty to them to use their time only in ways that benefit them. To see them as a source of free labor or to exploit them for any purpose that is not itself a good reason for depriving the young of their freedom is a great wrong.

Good stuff. Ms. Althouse then beats up on Kerry a bit for his call for compulsory volunteerism (which I had noted a while back). Here I think her argument is a bit weak. Is federalism the only reason to oppose mandatory service? Would it have been okay if Kerry had merely called for the states to do this instead of mandating it? What about freedom?

One bit of good news- Kerry seems to have backed away from his proposal.

UPDATE: OTOH, this I heartily applaud:

I am fortunate to attend a high school that allows students to voice their political views. The Charter School of Wilmington allows political clubs. The Young Republicans Club was founded in 2003, and the Young Democrats Club followed suit this year. Both have large attendance rates. They organize members to vote if they can and for various other activities, such as literature drops and calling undecided voters.

On Tuesday students were permitted to stand at the entrances to the school and along Lancaster Avenue, waving posters and signs promoting their candidates.

But the fun didn’t end there. A few minutes later, the entire student body filled the auditorium to watch five representatives from each club debate terrorism, the environment, education, crime, gun control and the economy. Sen. Tom Carper attended and the moderator was Francis O’Malley, a University of Delaware professor. O’Malley said that Charter was the only school in the area to hold such a schoolwide debate and he commended us for our civic activism.

Alex Guillen, Newark

LETTER OF THE DAY

Filed on at 3:39 am under by dcobranchi

We homeschool because they don’t teach creationism in the g-schools? I never knew.

Reader Views: Vote to clean up our culture

By Eva Thompson
Searcy
Friday, October 29, 2004 11:46 PM CDT

Ask not what the candidate can do for you, but ask what you can do to help clean up our American culture. Reduce rape, pornography, violence, murder and drugs. Your personal vote may be the one that puts a Christian in office.

Don’t ever think that God’s word can’t make a difference! Christians ought to vote for Christians. About 5,000 votes have already been cast at the White County Court House. Polls are open Monday through Friday and Saturday afternoons. Find out what each candidate stands for.

Pray to God to heal our nation. There is no reason why mothers should have to do home schooling. Do your part to help put creationism back into our school classrooms.

God bless America, land that I love. If you love her, do your part to help clean up our culture. Join Christians, the nation over. Go vote and promote the Christian candidate. This is your chance to help make a difference.

As a homeschooling advocate, I’d love to see the g-schools teach creationism; it’d triple the number of homeschoolers overnight. :-)

PR: PUBLIC SPEAKING

Filed on at 3:32 am under by dcobranchi

A new niche product for homeschoolers:

Homeschoolers have often sung the praises of how homeschooling teaches better life skills than public schools. The problem? There weren’t any programs available to homeschoolers to help younger children with their communication skills. Enter JoJo Tabares, creator of “Say What You Mean” and owner of Art of Eloquence, which offers Christian based homeschooling communication curricula.

A public speaking course? Sure, our kids don’t have to stand up at the blackboard to work examples. But where does the fear of public speaking originate? It’s not a lack of practice, but of self-confidence. That’s one area, I think, where the home educated have no problems.

NO MORE POLITICS

Filed on at 3:23 am under by dcobranchi

Promise.

A BIT TOO GRANULAR

Filed on October 29, 2004 at 9:54 pm under by dcobranchi

I just think these stats are funny:

The district’s homeschool program as 2.4 kindergartners; 3 first graders; 1.2 second graders; 5.4 third graders; 2.4 fourth graders; and 3.6 fifth graders for a total of 18.

DELAWARE VOTING LAW UPDATE

Filed on at 8:09 pm under by dcobranchi

I think I found the law that the elections officer was trying to invoke.

§ 4933. Persons permitted in the voting room.

No person, other than members of the departments, employees of the department who shall be identified by a badge from the department, election officers, State Election Commissioner, employees of the State Election Commissioner’s office, who shall be identified by a badge from the Commissioner, persons actually voting and 1 challenger from any political party which is represented by a candidate in that district as provided in § 4934 of this title, shall be admitted within the voting room nor within 50 feet of the entrance thereof, except for the purpose of offering his or her vote or except as provided in this title. Other persons necessary to the conduct of the election may be admitted within the voting room or within 50 feet of the entrance thereof upon first obtaining unanimous consent of the inspector and judges. (21 Del. Laws, c. 38, §§ 15, 16; 22 Del. Laws, c. 63; Code 1915, §§ 1754, 1755; Code 1935, §§ 1843, 1844; 15 Del. C. 1953, § 4933; 57 Del. Laws, c. 181, § 53; 58 Del. Laws, c. 148, § 82; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1.)

The law, though, makes an exception for children:

§ 4937. Voting procedure.

…(e) The rest of this title notwithstanding, any voter permitted to enter the voting machine may be accompanied by a child of not more than 16 years of age. Any challenge as to the age of the child shall be resolved by the voter signing an affidavit (which shall be prepared by the Election Commissioner) that the child is not more than 16 years of age. (19 Del. Laws, c. 37, § 19; 19 Del. Laws, c. 576; 21 Del. Laws, c. 38, § 18; 22 Del. Laws, c. 62; 27 Del. Laws, c. 65, § 16; Code 1915, §§ 1767, 1772; 34 Del. Laws, c. 111, § 1; Code 1935, §§ 1856, 1861; 45 Del. Laws, c. 154, § 12; 15 Del. C. 1953, § 4939; 57 Del. Laws, c. 181, § 58; 58 Del. Laws, c. 148, § 84; 68 Del. Laws, c. 222, § 1; 70 Del. Laws, c. 388, §§ 1, 2; 70 Del. Laws, c. 505, § 3; 72 Del. Laws, c. 470, § 1; 73 Del. Laws, c. 404, § 1.)

I’m printing this out and taking it with me. I guess I can only bring one of the kids in, though.

SOMETHING DOESN’T ADD UP

Filed on at 2:25 pm under by dcobranchi

Literally.

Gallup poll

Where kids go to school

Where were America’s 54 million schoolchildren when the bell rang this school year? The Gallup August 2004 work and education poll indicates the vast majority — 87 percent — of American children attend public schools.

About one in 10 U.S. parents have a child in an independent private school, and 8 percent have children in a parochial school. Just 3 percent of parents report they home school their children.

87% + 10% + 8% + 3% > 100%. I think the discrepancy must be because they switched from counting kids to counting parents. At least, I hope so.

EIN VOLK, EIN REICH, EIN BUSH?

Filed on at 12:56 pm under by dcobranchi

OK- tell me this isn’t just a little scary.

.—”I want you to stand, raise your right hands,” and recite “the Bush Pledge,” said Florida state Sen. Ken Pruitt. The assembled mass of about 2,000 in this Treasure Coast town about an hour north of West Palm Beach dutifully rose, arms aloft, and repeated after Pruitt: “I care about freedom and liberty. I care about my family. I care about my country. Because I care, I promise to work hard to re-elect, re-elect George W. Bush as president of the United States.”

UPDATE 5:42 p.m.: Billmon beat me to the One People by a few minutes with a much, much better post.

PROF. HAROLD HILL IN NC

Filed on at 11:20 am under by dcobranchi

Your tax dollars at work.

The University of North Carolina at Charlotte will now cement the show’s legacy in the state by offering an academic course about the TV show [American Idol].

Beginning in January, students at UNCC will earn three credit hours for the class “Examining ‘American Idol’ Through Musical Critique.”

The class will watch the show twice a week and devise its own system for rating contestants. Students will learn the history of different musical styles used as “Idol” themes, such as Motown and Broadway. The final project will be a paper on who should win and why.

The elective course was created by Jay Grymes, assistant professor of musicology, who says he’s a huge fan of “Idol.” The show can be a springboard for serious discussion about the art of performing music and the craft of critiquing it, he said.

GOOD IDEA

Filed on at 9:15 am under by dcobranchi

The CS Monitor suggests taking kids into the voting booth to see how its done. I’ve tried this, and the poll workers were definitely unhappy. They claimed it was illegal. I’ll try again on Tuesday with our two oldest. If the watchers workers fight me, I’ll ask to see the law in writing. Wish me luck, and send bail money.

WHERE’D I LEAVE MY MEMBERSHIP CARD?

Filed on at 6:51 am under by dcobranchi

I guess maybe I am a member of the VRWC. From Ed at the Brink:

I try to imagine myself as a privatizer. How would I proceed? If my objective were to dismantle public schools, I would begin by trying to discredit them. I would probably refer to them as “government” schools, hoping to tap into a vein of libertarian resentment. I would never miss an opportunity to sneer at researchers and teacher educators as out-of-touch “educationists.” Recognizing that it’s politically unwise to attack teachers, I would do so obliquely, bashing the unions to which most of them belong. Most important, if I had the power, I would ratchet up the number and difficulty of standardized tests that students had to take, in order that I could then point to the predictably pitiful results. I would then defy my opponents to defend the schools that had produced students who did so poorly.

Let’s see: Dismantle public schools? Check. G-schools? Double check plus. Sneering at edu-crats? So far, so good. NEA bashing? Every chance I get. Standardized tests? Not my thing. So, I’m batting .800.

The problem, I think, that supporters of the g-schools have is that they’re supporting the ideal of public schools. The reality is that they are a swamp of badly behaved “students” being indoctrinated into a “culture” that we reject outright. I encourage all such supporters to read Gatto’s Underground History of American Education. Then they’ll see why it’s not “right” (as opposed to “left”) to be anti-public schools.

UPDATE: I fixed the link to EatB.

PUT THEM IN THE CURIO CABINET

Filed on at 6:16 am under by dcobranchi

This is just a strange way to describe a family:

He has a long-shot Republican challenger in Brian Kenyon, an excavation contractor who lives in East Randolph with an extraordinary collection of nine children, some birth-children and some adopted, which he and his wife Nancy home-school.

LETTER OF THE DAY

Filed on at 6:13 am under by dcobranchi

File this one under “Damned if you do. Damned if you don’t.”

Fallon has the time for legislative duties

I would like to call voters’ attention to concerns that exist regarding having a teacher in public schools running for the Legislature.Tom Chapman is running against incumbent Tina Fallon.

It is physically impossible for one person to do a thorough job of both teaching and being a legislator. Legislative sessions start at 1 p.m. Public school dismisses at 2:30 p.m. A good teacher should remain at school for some time after students are dismissed to help those having problems or for general planning. If Chapman leaves Seaford at 2:30 p.m. he probably would arrive in Dover at 3:30 p.m. He would not carry his share of legislative work. In addition, legislators serve on committees.

Tina Fallon is on the job every day helping constituents with problems that only she can solve as a result of contacts established through years of service. A teacher would not have the time. The fact that the DSEA has endorsed Fallon’s candidacy is significant. Fallon has proved herself of service to teachers and schools Fallon first ran for the Legislature because she wanted to see teachers’ salaries increased.

Anne Nesbitt, Seaford

I feel sorry for the folks in that district.

FRIDAY CAT BLOGGING

Filed on at 5:48 am under by dcobranchi

Times? Times? Hey! Over here! Thanks, Laura.

I’M ON THEIR SIDE…

Filed on October 28, 2004 at 6:28 am under by dcobranchi

for once.

Chicago teachers are fighting against a residency requirement. Apparently, under local law, all teachers in the g-schools have to live in the city. Nancy Salvato rightly takes the city adminsitration to task. She also beats up on the union a bit.

Where a teacher decides to live is an issue of privacy. Teachers are not chattel. If there was ever an express purpose for a union, the defense of the teachers against this indefensible practice would merit their operation. But of course, the unions are too busy pushing their partisan political agenda to look out for the teachers!

She’s right (on both counts). Residency requirements are terrible law, dictating where people choose to live their lives. Where’s the compelling State interest?

A FUTURE HOME EDUCATOR

Filed on at 6:09 am under by dcobranchi

The other day, I predicted that Kimberly would someday homeschool. Well, she’s confirmed it:

Before any of my Devoted Readers jump in and say this – yes, if I had a daughter, she would be called Alice; she would be homeschooled, and kept in pigtails, and dressed in tights, flat shoes, and jumpers until she was 16 years old. If you think my attitudes mean that I would probably drive any child of mine crazy, yes, you’re right.

Welcome to the lunatic fringe.

Now, when is Lileks going to make the annoucement?

I’VE GOT TO GET A CAT…

Filed on at 5:51 am under by dcobranchi

so H&OES can show up in the NYT, too.

LETTER OF THE DAY

Filed on at 5:03 am under by dcobranchi

The writer is either clueless or a teacher.

Yes, schoolchildren are special interest

At a candidates event in Claymont, Stacy Griggs dismissed Diana McWilliams’ many endorsements by saying they were from special-interest groups. I agree that at least one of her endorsements, the Delaware State Education Association, is a special-interest group. It’s an organization committed to the interests of the children of this state. DSEA endorsed McWilliams because of her commitment to education and support of teachers as professionals. For this and many other reasons, I will be voting for her for state representative in the Sixth District.

Shannon Athey, Wilmington

The DSEA is, of course, the Delaware affiliate of the NEA. Their interest in children extends only as far as determining how they can best use them to increase union power.

SO WHAT?

Filed on at 4:30 am under by dcobranchi

An interesting lede in a NYT news piece:

Americans are closely divided on whether they think the United States is prepared to deal with another terrorist attack, but the overwhelming majority have done nothing to prepare for such an attack themselves, according to a recent New York Times poll.

The poll found that most Americans are not worried that they or a family member will become a victim of terrorism, with the majority of the respondents saying they do nothing different even when the government raises the terror-alert level.

All that proves is that Americans aren’t dumb. The alert system is less than useless for civilians (and possibly for first responders, too) and the chance that any one person will be directly affected by future terrorism, infinitesimal.

EVERYTHING UNDER THE SUN IS IN TUNE

Filed on October 27, 2004 at 10:53 pm under by dcobranchi

10 minutes into totality
Eclipse.jpg

TONIGHT’S THE NIGHT

Filed on at 1:26 pm under by dcobranchi

Reminder– the eclipse starts tonight around 9 p.m. EDT.

OT: AN ANTI-ENDORSEMENT

Filed on at 7:19 am under by dcobranchi

Why not? Everyone else is doing it.

I’m not voting for Ruth Ann Minner for Governor.

On the whole, I think Minner has done an admirable job. She steered DE through the recession, cutting expenditures when it appeared we were going to run a deficit. All her good works, though, have been brushed aside by her latest ad. The backstory: Back in July, there was a hostage situation in one of the prisons. It was bad. A prison employee was raped and the prisoner shot and killed. After it was all over, Minner was widely quoted as saying “You almost expect this to happen in prisons.” Political firestorm. Now, I have no idea what she meant, but she did say it, and her opponent took notice.

Bill Lee has been running an effective ad that quotes Minner directly. In the last couple of days, Minner’s sampaign has been running their response ad that accuses Bill Lee of being dishonest. They say that Minner never said “You expect this to happen.” See the difference? That “almost” is missing. So, technically, she’s not lying. One problem, though- Bill Lee quoted her exactly. I hate dishonest politicians!

If her skirt is not on fire, it’s at least smoldering.

A SHORT HISTORY LESSON

Filed on at 6:47 am under by dcobranchi

The NYC subway system turns 100 today. The NYTimes has a nice piece on some of the local “flavor.” Today might be a good day for a very short unit study and a field trip to that submarine sandwich chain for lunch. (If you haven’t been in the restaurants, the wallpaper is full of scenes of various subway systems).

NEW BLOG

Filed on at 6:38 am under by dcobranchi

Doug Lewin writes a brand-spankin’-new left-leaning (I think) edu-blog. He politely asked for some linky-love so here goes. Scanning through his archives, I found he’s a fan of Saxon Math (the old one), so he should fit right in around here.

AWWWWWW

Filed on October 26, 2004 at 4:49 pm under by dcobranchi

I often run across wedding announcements where either the bride or the groom were homeschooled. I think this is the first I’ve seen where both were. I’m guessing that they’ll join Kimberly somewhere down the road. :-)

WHY DO I GET THE FEELING…

Filed on at 2:19 pm under by dcobranchi

that when the newly engaged Kimberly Swygert starts a family, homeschooling will be an option?

AND TO THINK, I KNEW HER WHEN

Filed on at 6:12 am under by dcobranchi

EducationNews has proclaimed Kimberly Swygert’s Number 2 Pencil the “Blog of the Century.” Hey, Kimberly, can I have your autograph? And when’s the Delaware Valley Edu-blogger Bash?

AND THE POINT IS?

Filed on at 12:22 am under by dcobranchi

The WaPo has a very strange article up about homeschooling. It reads as if their readers would never have heard of the concept. And then it goes nowhere. Seriously. I’m assuming that this must have been part of a longer article that got severely (and badly) edited. The one positive it has going for it- the photo of the mom and kids actually looks realistic. Sorry, Tim- no nickel this time.

A MEANINGLESS STAT

Filed on October 25, 2004 at 11:40 pm under by dcobranchi

You’ve got to love the NY Post. Tabloid journalism at its best, er, worst.

Authorities arrested city public-school teachers at a rate of more than one a day last year, even as busts of city Department of Education employees fell slightly, figures obtained by The Post show.

A staggering 370 teachers were collared on charges ranging from sexual abuse to drug possession between July 1, 2003 and June 30, 2004 — one less than the previous school year.

One per day- an interesting factoid but there’s no there there. How many teachers does the City employ? How does the rate of arrest compare to other professions such as doctors, lawyers, or yellow journalists? Enquiring minds want to know. (Hat tip: Deb)

A BAD IDEA FROM THE LEFT

Filed on at 11:32 am under by dcobranchi

A post at Political Animal pointed to this call for a new kind of draft. The money graf:

It’s not hard to imagine how such a draft might be structured. Every year, the federal government spends tens of billions of dollars subsidizing university education, from student loans to research grants. In the words of military sociologist Charles Moskos, “We’ve created a G.I. Bill without the G.I.” Why not pass a law that says that no four-year college or university can accept a student unless and until that student completes a 12-month to two-year term of service? No lotteries, no deferments.

Why not? How about private colleges and universities can admit whoever the hell they please?! How about what gives the government the right to demand service from 18-year-olds?! A draft is just a bad idea.

I’ve got a suggestion that would make for a very different kind of debate: No one can propose any sort of draft unless they themselves will be subject to it. Too old to be drafted? Then, forget it. So, until Paul Glastris starts packing his bags for Iraq, he should just keep his mouth shut.

THAT’S THE BEST HE CAN DO?

Filed on at 5:02 am under by dcobranchi

Michael Smith makes a pretty good case that HSLDA has outlived its usefulness. Of course, that wasn’t the point he was trying to make. He cites a couple of areas where HSLDA is carrying homeschoolers’ water.

In Pennsylvania, several families who are home-schooling for religious reasons have had truancy charges filed for failing to comply with the Pennsylvania home-school law. These families are claiming that the law in Pennsylvania burdens their practice of religion.

…For example, the Veterans Appeals Board in Wisconsin denied monetary benefits to a family whose child was older than 18. The federal regulations provided for continued benefits as long as the child was a member of the veteran’s household and pursuing a course of instruction at an approved educational institution.
The child continued to be home-schooled past his 18th birthday so he could complete high school at home. The family was in compliance with the Wisconsin home-education requirements. Therefore, we argued that the home-school program met the educational-institution definition.

A civil case in PA and a couple of Veterans Affairs cases. HSLDA is sounding more and more like MADD- a group that accomplished its raison d’etre and is now in mission creep mode. How many millions does HSLDA take in each year?

LETTER OF THE DAY

Filed on at 4:48 am under by dcobranchi

George Bush is God (or Jesus Christ).

Bush’s Iraq war is setting people free

In Julia Ward Howe’s “The Battle Hymn of the Republic,” there is a remarkable line that expresses the importance of life, death and freedom: “let us die to make men free.” Weapons of mass destruction were not the only reason for the war against terrorists in Iraq. George Bush and our allies have eliminated one of the most evil murderous dictators in history and many of his followers.

At the same time we have begun the process of freeing 25 million human beings. This was not a colossal mistake; it was a courageous act of leadership that most would not undertake including Bill Clinton. “He lied, but nobody died.” Not true, thousands of Iraquis died at the hands of Saddam Hussein while Bill fooled around in the Oval Office. John Kerry helped our enemy in Vietnam with his self-serving testimony. Now he is doing it again with his twisted logic saying he supports the troops and at the same time voting against bills that support them.

How many veterans and soldiers would support a candidate like that? George Bush is my hero and he is marching on.

Burt Chase, Greenville

Emphasis mine.

Let the Hero, born of woman, crush the serpent with his heel
Since God is marching on.

Someone please check Burt’s meds.

HED OF THE DAY

Filed on October 24, 2004 at 2:59 pm under by dcobranchi

This one is just perfect:

Edwatch by Julia Steiny: Wheels on the bus have fallen off

Whoever wrote this one deserves a raise.

UPDATE: Here’s the runner up:

Writing Wrongs

A NEW TREND

Filed on at 6:23 am under by dcobranchi

and I’m not sure it’s a good one. I’m seeing more and more quotes like this:

[S]he has a 3-year-old son, Farad, whom she home-schools.

OK, of course she’s not legally “homeschooling,” in the sense that she is not bound by the homeschooling laws. What bothers me is the assumption that a 3-year-old home with mom has to be doing something. She’s not a stay-at-home mom; she’s a homeschooler. It’s almost like SAHMs have become an endangered species. What’s next? Are we going to see stories about 2-year-olds being homeschooled? About learning to walk and talk being part of a homeschooling program?

Maybe it’s our fault. I’m beginning to think that the label “homeschooling” may be undesirable. What differentiates what that SAHM is doing from what we do? The age of her kid and being bound by the homeschool laws. But what if we suddenly got rid of all compulsory attendance laws? Would we suddenly stop being home educators? Legally, sure. No compulsory attendance law equates to no homeschooling law. But I can’t imagine too many of us would quit teaching ours at home. We would all be just “families” again. Some families have SAHMs and SAHDs. Some families send their kids to school. Others don’t. Some families would start out one way and change direction (possibly several times). But we’d all be just families.

So, Daryl, what do you want? Do you want to get rid of the label? Yeah, I think I do. I think it may just be counter-productive. What do y’all think?

THOSE “PROFESSIONAL” TEACHERS

Filed on October 23, 2004 at 2:44 pm under by dcobranchi

This really should be unbelievable. Sadly, it’s not:

MACON, Georgia – A teacher-parent brawl in front of 19 primary school pupils sent a mother to the emergency room and the teacher to jail.

Teacher Katrina Ann Rucker, 30, is charged with battery and cruelty to children for allegedly beating a parent who tried to retrieve her daughter’s book bag, The Macon Telegraph newspaper reported Friday.

According to police interviews, parent Lurella Amica went to Bruce-Weir Elementary School Thursday morning to deliver a note to her 9-year-old daughter.

At the classroom door, the girl told her mother that Rucker had thrown her bag in the trash can, the report stated. Amica entered the classroom and tried to get the book bag, but Rucker grabbed for it and the two struggled, the report said.

After Amica wrestled the bag away, police say Rucker picked up a chair and hit her in the back, knocking Amica to the floor. Rucker then began punching Amica in the face and body.

During the fight, the girl was reportedly crying for her teacher to stop hitting her mother and ran up to them. Rucker then allegedly hit the child, pulled her hair and pushed her out of the way before starting to strike the mother again.

Rucker dragged Amica by the hair outside the classroom, according to the report.

“A school administrator and another teacher had to pull the teacher off the mother,” Macon police spokeswoman Melanie Hofmann said.

In Rucker’s account of the story, she said Amica hit her hand during the initial struggle, Hofmann said.

“The teacher said she was defending herself because she gets a shot in that hand and it hurt,” Hofmann said.

Amica was in stable condition in the emergency room of The Medical Center of Central Georgia late Thursday night.

Rucker was placed on administrative leave.

With pay, I’m sure. Not to worry, though. The edu-crats have it all handled.

Sylvia McGee, Bibb County’s deputy superintendent, said school staff called the parent or guardian of each child in the class. Social workers counseled students, and only Amica’s daughter left school early.

Principal Karen Konke sent letters to parents about the incident.

“Let me assure you the school is safe and that our students have been involved in appropriate instructional activities throughout the day,” Konke wrote.

I feel much better now. (Hat tip: Dee Dee)

UPDATE: Parents are pulling their kids out of this “safe” school.

HOME(LAW)SCHOOL

Filed on at 7:36 am under by dcobranchi

Izzy pointed to a very interesting educational experiment, Oak Brook College, at which you can study law via distance learning. The tuition is right, too- only $3,000 per year. I’d be really interested to see how their graduates fare on the CA bar exam.

SOMEBODY’S BEEN SLEEPING IN MY BED

Filed on at 5:26 am under by dcobranchi

How’d you like to go on vacation and come home to find someone living in your home?

A woman came home from vacation to find a stranger living there, wearing her clothes, changing utilities into her name and even ripping out carpet and repainting a room she didn’t like, authorities said.

NICE ESSAY

Filed on at 4:56 am under by dcobranchi

by a homeschooling mom. It’s all about civil liberties.

PUH-LEASE!

Filed on at 4:25 am under by dcobranchi

The reporter ruined an otherwise nice profile with this closing graf:

Educators and guidance counselors in White County believe that some students are receiving an excellent education in their home setting. However, they are concerned that others are not. They say that some parents who are withdrawing their children from the public schools lack the literacy skills to understand and fill out the required forms without help.

Sure. And how is that any different that what happens in the g-schools? Heck, when I was in (public) HS, my psychology teacher pronounced the prefix “pseudo” as “puh-SWAY-do.” I very quietly (and politely) after class told him the correct pronunciation. He said that was another way to say it. After that I always wondered why we weren’t studying “puh”-sychology.

Plank and speck, edu-crats. Plank and speck.

Next »