Utterly Meaningless » 2005 » June

    Filed on June 30, 2005 at 8:39 pm under by dcobranchi

    Sometime in the next 24 hours or so, I’m going to become a professional blogger. OK, stop laughing and get up off the floor. Helen Hegener has asked me to join the ranks of Home Education Magazine with a blog based on what I’ve always done here. So here’s the deal:

    The new blog will take the old name. That seemed to make the most sense as it matches the magazine’s name.

    I’m going to post almost exclusively education issues there. So no gay marriage or ID. (Well, maybe a little ID.)

    OT posts will stay over here. I will also cross-post to HE&OS everything I post at HEM. The carrot to get y’all to come on over to the new blog is that posts here will be on a 24-hour delay. (Or is that a stick?) Tim, Alex, and Darby (if she ever escapes from TVLand) are free to post anything they want over here. If they scoop me, good on them.

    A nice feature on the new blog– the WordPress software offers an RSS feed for comments on individual posts. So you can subscribe and see whenever anyone has continued the conversation. It also shouldn’t lose comments (unlike MT lately).

    Which reminds me– I wrote SixApart three times asking a question about upgrading from 2.64 to the current version of MT. Nary a word back. Good business model.

    Anyway, as soon as I’m given the OK to go live, I’ll post the URL here. I hope you’ll at least drop by to check out the furniture.


    Filed on at 7:19 pm under by dcobranchi

    Uncle Sam wants you (or, more precisely, your kids):

    The Army will try to reverse the downturn later this year by adding an additional 800 recruiters and exploring options that include focusing on home-schooled teenagers and signing up more soldiers who score in the lower half of military aptitude tests.

    … Laura Derrick, president of the National Home Education Network, said she believes the Army is smart to focus on home-schoolers but there aren’t enough of them “to put a dent in what they are looking at.”

    Derrick said a significant number of children who are home-schooled are in military families. One challenge for the Army will be figuring out how to contact them.

    “Home-schooling families aren’t that easy to reach,” she said.

    Damn straight, we’re not. That’s not a bug; it’s a feature.

    HINT #2

    Filed on at 3:54 pm under by dcobranchi



    Filed on at 3:08 pm under by dcobranchi

    Either Mary Pride was badly misquoted or she (sort of) hung her son out to dry:

    Mary Pride is president of Homeschool World, which publishes Practical Homeschooling magazine. She also is the author o f Mary Pride’s Complete Guide to Getting Started in Homeschooling , a leading homeschool text. She called the flap with LIFE a “nonstory.”

    “What we’re looking at here,” she said, “is Christian bashing.”

    Her son and Web master, Ted, was not authorized to make the statements he e-mailed to Willingham, she said.

    “I theologically agree with him,” she said of her son’s e-mail. “But I would not want to be hung up with him … If I put this stuff on our Web site, it sounds like we are condoning it, we approved it.”

    That’s just strange. Does she back him or not? And then there’s this:

    The word “inclusive” has been used by homeschoolers for years. In some cases it means inclusive to all Christian denominations. In others, it means the group is secular and discourages any religious discussion.

    What?! Inclusive means secular. Always has, always will. I’ve been blogging home education stories for 3+ years and not once have I run across the use of the word “inclusive” to mean restricted to Christianity. Since when did the Ministry of Truth take over home education? (via Chris)


    Filed on at 6:50 am under by dcobranchi

    There are going to be at least one major and several minor changes here at HE&OS over the next few days. The first minor change is that the blog has a new “official” name. Henceforth we’ll officially be “HE&OS.” The bigger change and some additional minor tweaks will occur sometime over the long weekend. Here’s a hint.


    Filed on at 3:30 am under by dcobranchi

    PA reader Cindy (who’s tagline is “I homeschool in PA. Kick me”) forwarded a great quote from a legislator about “equal access.”

    State Rep. Mike Sturla, a Lancaster Democrat, said he supports the bill. “There is a whole socialization process that goes on in schools and if that can only occur on the football field, then at least it’s going to occur there.”

    No wonder our kids aren’t being properly socialized. Who knew that you had to strap on a helmet and pads and throw each other to the ground? Fortunately, the internets is a wonderful thing.


    Filed on at 2:16 am under by dcobranchi

    Beverly Henandez, who runs the About.com “Homeschool” page, has a follow-up to the new phenomenon that’s sweeping the country- home cooking. I’m not too sure about this fad. After all, how are the kids going to get to try all of the various cuisines of the world if they eat at home? Just look in your local phone book. In little ol’ Fayetteville we have Italian, pubs, Chinese, pubs, Thai, pubs, Mongolian, pubs, and more pubs (It’s a military town. What do you expect?) Home cooks surely can’t be experts at all of those. Right? [/sarcasm]

    And in keeping with my new title of “Rationalizing Corporate Shill,” I’d like to point out that Beverly has an a new ad in the strip ——> Hey, Beverly, is that cartoon supposed to be you?


    Filed on June 29, 2005 at 7:15 pm under by dcobranchi

    If the MSM are going to highlight every time a home educating family “goes bad,” I’m going to do the same with the g-school teachers:

    A chemistry teacher who was at least three months behind on her car payments gave passing grades to two failing students who stole and burned her car so she could collect insurance money, a fire investigator said.

    …The teens initially thought her scheme was a joke, but Fox continued to pursue them, Deutsch said. On May 27, the last day of school, the students took the unlocked 2003 Chevrolet Malibu from a shopping mall, drove it to a wooded area and set it on fire, he said.

    Fox reported the theft that day, after already having bought a 2005 Toyota Corolla, investigators said. She owed about $20,000 on the Chevrolet and had been facing repossession, Deutsch said.

    Too strange. And how does someone who’s three months behind in her car payments manage to buy a brand new car? Don’t they do credit checks anymore?


    Filed on at 6:14 pm under by dcobranchi

    Here’s an interesting press release (relax, Mimi, it’s not one of yours). The intriguing part:

    “The home education market potential is significant, representing millions of dollars of potential revenue annually,” said Bill Albert, PCS Edventures! National Sales Manager. “Our curriculum products have already been approved for state and federal funding in numerous states that provide financial support to homeschoolers, and we are now focusing on rolling these programs out to families across the country.”

    What states provide financial support to home educators? And the feds certainly don’t. Can I get a list of those states, please?


    Filed on at 6:08 pm under by dcobranchi

    I just love quotes like this:

    Before this, parents faced a stark choice: put their kids in public or private school, or home-school them. But Hickman Charter School offers a hybrid form of education: a marriage of public schooling and home schooling.

    I’m so glad I haven’t eaten supper yet. Gah! The entire article is just syrupy sweet. And, of course, the charter school is referred to as “home schooling” throughout. Double gah!


    Filed on at 6:17 am under by dcobranchi

    Here’s a nice piece about a home educating mom who taught her four daughters to cook.

    Each girl has her specialty, from Shannon’s pies with decorated crusts to Kacey’s fettucine alfredo. Each prepares dinner at least once a week. Abby, who often makes muffins or pancakes for the family’s breakfast, thinks she might want to be a chef when she grows up.

    Kay Spangler, picking green beans in their garden, said that would make her happy; she’s glad her children get the same satisfaction out of cooking as she does.

    “There’s a lot of self-satisfaction in it, I guess, for me.”

    Mmmmmm, fettucine.


    Filed on at 6:10 am under by dcobranchi

    In response to the Wilmington News-Journal pieces on home education:

    Teachers ought to help home-schooling parents

    Though some educators’ concerns and opinions about home schooling are valid, it reminds me of the saying, “People who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.”

    I think before the power of unions encroaches past the front doors of private residents, we must see major improvement in closing the achievement gap. If that passion runs so deep, maybe concerned educators can volunteer time assisting parents who home-school. Though I’m pro-union, it appears the underlining concern is self-preservation to counter decreasing public school student population associated with private and charter schools.

    Many educators think standardized testing is flawed, and the curriculum and state standards are not quite aligned. They are reluctant to submit to teacher accountability tied to the state testing program.

    Bold parents defeated the three-tiered diploma, which cracked the accountability reform that in reality benefits educators who resist reform. Once this state can finally agree on acceptable standards, I see no problem with home-schoolers meeting grade equivalency tests.

    If we impose standards, then give back to home-school parents the local share of tax dollars to offset their costs. However, this would reduce revenues to public education and have an impact on well-deserved benefits to public school teachers.

    The union needs to clean up public school classrooms by demanding more control from the clueless dictators in Dover. If parents can give hours volunteering in schools, then reformists within the teachers union should volunteer in homes assisting students.

    John M. Allison, Wilmington

    For the most part, Mr. Allison is correct. The DSEA’s objection to home education is driven by the union mentality to preserve jobs at all costs. The math is simple: More students=more teachers=more dues money=more political power.

    His point about HEKs meeting the state standards is a non-starter. DE has the highest proportion of kids not in the g-schools. Approximately 1 in 5 attend private schools, and they don’t have to meet the state standards, either. And then there’s that little provision in NCLB about it not being applicable to HEKs. And, finally, since 2/3 of the state tax revenue goes to maintaining the g-schools, you can be assured that home educators won’t be seeing that money anytime soon.


    Filed on at 5:55 am under by dcobranchi

    The Iranian New Agency has picked up the sorry tale of an HEK being interrogated by the FBI.


    Filed on June 28, 2005 at 9:03 pm under by dcobranchi

    A doctor specializing in autism is convinced that it’s causally tied to vaccinations and that HEKs hold the evidence. He wants to “study” us and our kids:

    Bradstreet said he has tried to persuade epidemiologists to study that subset of the homeschooled population, but they expressed doubts the results would apply to broader groups.

    “I said I know I can tap into this community and find you large numbers of unvaccinated homeschooled, and we can do simple prevalence and incidence studies in them, and my gut reaction is that you’re going to see no autism in this group.”

    Anyone want to volunteer their kids to be lab rats? Didn’t think so.


    Filed on at 8:53 pm under by dcobranchi

    Here’s an interesting example of reviewing one’s self. The Heartland Institute trumpets a really lame School Reform News review of their book “Public Schools, Public Menace: How Public Schools Lie to Parents and Betray Our Children.” I was all set to point out that SRN might need a new reviewer when I searched for their site and discovered that SRN and The Heartland Institute are one and the same. What a great idea. I think maybe I’ll write a review of HE&OS. I wonder if I’ll like it.


    Filed on at 8:11 pm under by dcobranchi

    Not mine though. Jeanne tipped me to the book “Hold on to Your Kids: Why Parents Need to Matter More Than Peers.” The first review at Amazon makes it sound like a worthwhile read (but probably not a beach book).


    Filed on at 8:46 am under by dcobranchi

    I bet that her folks frame their newspaper to remember this:

    Amanda Wallace, 11, Longview, home school
    The camp was free; I thought it would be fun … I’ve learned how to work as a team. The first day, we learned about short ropes and long ropes.

    A short rope is, “Here’s my idea, want to hear about it?” A long rope is quiet, just listens. A medium rope tells ideas and listens, too. We need all those types on a team. The long-rope people need to start saying their ideas, and the short rope people need to listen more. …

    At the ropes course, we did the flying squirrel. We went up high on a rope with a harness, and we had to step out really high. We had to be out of our comfort zones, and be in charge of each other’s safety …

    When I grow up I may have a part time job, but not a career. I plan to stay home with my kids and be a mom, have a family and home school. … You need to know what you’re teaching when you home school …

    My strengths are to stay close to family and be with the Lord, to help other people as best I can. My personality is a strength — I like to hang around with my friends, be with my family and stay in the church. I’m careful about music and movies. I don’t just say “OK, I’ll do that.” I don’t jump to conclusions …. I try to see the problem before I accuse or jump to a conclusion.


    Filed on at 7:32 am under by dcobranchi

    The father, not the kid. (Well, OK, the kid was pretty dumb, too.)

    Long Island school officials say they caught a sophomore cheating on a Regents examination last week and were quickly able to trace the cribbed answers – written on his hand – to the student’s father, an assistant superintendent in charge of exams and answer sheets in another district.

    …As for the father, he had been praised as having a promising career and had planned to assume a new job next week as a principal in the Uniondale district. But now that is in doubt.

    I can’t imagine what this father was thinking as he threw away his career over a stupid test. Is the sophomore Regents even high stakes?


    Filed on June 27, 2005 at 10:36 pm under by dcobranchi

    Good riddance to this retiring MT educrat:

    Maddux lined up on the unpopular side of last year’s home-schooling fight when she supported Sen. Don Ryan’s bill that, in part, required testing for home-educated children.

    “It went down in flames,” she said of the bill that never got out of committee.

    Still, she’d do it again. No Child Left Behind requirements are just one example of proof that cannot be provided when a child is home-schooled.

    “There is no support in my office records to say home-schooled kids are better educated,” she said.

    “I’m an advocate for quality. I don’t care if people want to home school, but they better meet the same level of quality … It comes back to our founding fathers in the Constitution. They didn’t give us privilege alone. They gave us privilege and responsibility.”

    I hope somewhere in Montana, home educators are throwing her a going away party. And if they’re really super nice folks, they might even want to invite her.


    Filed on at 10:27 pm under by dcobranchi

    And it’s not the garlic.

    Gilroy, CA educrats are still apparently ready to go to war with home educators who file the R-4 private school exemption. Here’s another LttE in response.

    Lastly, as a taxpayer, I am appalled at the waste of public funds occasioned by Mr. Valadez’s meddling with law-abiding R-4 filers. It could be even more expensive for the district in legal fees and potentially in damages should some homeschooler pursue a civil rights violation.

    I doubt Valadez will care unless he’s somehow personally liable.


    Filed on at 5:37 pm under by dcobranchi

    I have a very strong feeling that this bill will go absolutely nowhere.

    UPDATE: More details here.


    Filed on at 7:13 am under by dcobranchi

    That’s the third ad down in the strip ——>


    Filed on at 6:35 am under by dcobranchi

    Here’s a nice piece on home education from my old hometown paper, the Wilmington News-Journal. I must be really cynical (or have been blogging for too long) because throughout the entire piece I was waiting for the “expert” opinion on how home education is bad in one aspect or another. Wonder of wonders, no expert quotes. Very nice.

    UPDATE: It’s one of a set. Here’s the other. Now I really am feeling a bit homesick. Jamie Meyer and our daughter Katelyn danced together at First State Ballet Theatre. And Traci Eizember is one of the original DHEA Yankees. (That’s the same “Traci” who comments here on occasion). Very cool.


    Filed on at 6:27 am under by dcobranchi

    “Fixing” NCLB and paying teachers a lot more ought to do the trick, according to this insipid NYT Op/Ed. It’s amazing how so many supposedly learned folks don’t understand the simple concept of supply and demand:

    A few years ago, the residents of Helena, Mont., decided that their schools needed improvement. So they started with teacher salaries. They increased average pay some $8,000; pushed starting salaries to $30,000 from $23,000; and built incentives for improving performance, working on professional development and taking on responsibilities outside the classroom.

    In years past, a vacancy in the Helena school system would attract perhaps a dozen, mostly underqualified applicants. Last summer, Randy Carlson, principal of Capital High School, needed three new social studies teachers. He got to choose from a pool of more than a hundred candidates.

    Of course he did. That was perfectly predictable. But if all of the other local school districts follow the same course, Randy Carlson would be right back where he was, and the taxpayers of the Capital School District would be a bit poorer. Not to worry, though. All we have to do is borrow the money for the salary increases:

    But where will local districts get the money to increase salaries? One idea: every day, bonds are approved to build stadiums, even schools. The presumption is that the new buildings will increase the profile of a given city, thus attracting more visitors, more businesses, more families and more tax revenue, all of which will pay down the bond. By the same token, then, wouldn’t it make sense to create a bond to pay for better educators?

    The district would get the best teachers, families would get better schools, businesses would settle in the city with the great public schools, property values would go up, and everyone would be happy. Especially the students, who would get the best educators, gain respect for the profession and might even consider becoming teachers themselves. The talent pool would then grow ever stronger, and in 20 years we could have created the best corps of teachers the country has ever known.

    First, there’s a huge difference between borrowing for a one-time expense (like for building a bridge) that will pay dividends in future economic growth and borrowing every year to pay your teachers more. And, second, this argument is just some twisted form of the Laffer curve.

    Here’s the problem– the Laffer curve predicts that up to a point a marginal tax rate decrease will lead to an increase in tax revenues by stimulating the economy. But only up to a point. It depends upon which side of the parabola you are on. The teacher’s Laffer is even more questionable. Is there a causal link between teacher salaries and community prosperity? Who knows? And assuming that there really does exist some type of Laffer curve for teacher salaries, what side of the curve are we on? After all, raising the taxes on the people who live in the Capital School District immediately makes them poorer (or more in debt if bonds are issued). Raise the salaries high enough and you can bankrupt the town.

    Back to the drawing board.


    Filed on June 26, 2005 at 10:31 pm under by dcobranchi

    Chris O’Donnell has struck out on his own, offering VoIP for larger businesses. Very cool.


    Filed on at 4:36 pm under by dcobranchi

    This woman needs some help.


    Filed on at 4:23 pm under by dcobranchi

    This is how science is done. Take notes, IDers.

    And dollars to donuts that the vast majority of ID proponents will reject this, too. Any takers?

    1,405 MILES NORTH

    Filed on at 3:56 pm under by dcobranchi

    The Boston Globe has an equally positive piece in today’s paper. The concluding grafs:

    ”Some people assume the kids are locked up in a closet,” said Bent, who has three children, two in home school and one enrolled in a charter school. Education is not just about hitting the books for six hours a day, she says, but incorporating learning into life — for example, going to the store and figuring out price per pound.

    ”You learn that everything in life is educational,” she said, ”and you use it to your fullest.”


    Filed on at 3:47 pm under by dcobranchi

    Just a little snark in the headline to this nice St. Petersburg Times piece. It’s really too long to excerpt and do it justice; you’ll just have to click over. And while you’re there, make sure to read the other articles in the series. They’re linked right under the photo at the top of the article. (HT: Jeanne)


    Filed on at 7:05 am under by dcobranchi

    Natalie has a pretty sad post up about a split between an inclusive support group and Homeschool World. In Homeschool World’s, er, world, it is apparently impossible to non-discriminate against folks based on their religion and their sexual orientation.

    Just so the folks over at HW don’t accidentally link over here let me state right out–

    Home Education & Other Stuff does not discriminate against folks for any reason including SEXUAL ORIENTATION! Exclusivist prigs will get tweaked on occasion, though.


    Filed on June 25, 2005 at 11:08 pm under by dcobranchi

    Check out the comments on the “Strange Priorities” post.


    Filed on at 9:57 pm under by dcobranchi

    From the always reliable readers of the Wilmington News-Journal:

    Nuclear fusion is another energy-generating resource

    Harry Themal’s column was a brilliant insight into energy and waste problems that are not being solved. The waste problem is a state responsibility, which only pressure from the citizens can solve. But the energy problem is a federal responsibility resting mainly with the Department of Energy.

    Themal didn’t mention fusion power. The same nuclear reaction that occurs in a hydrogen bomb is used in a controlled reaction to produce large amounts of heat, which could generate electricity. The Department of Energy has spent many years and billions of dollars trying to develop a plasma process, using very high temperatures in a devise called a tokamak, which has not worked. DOE physicists have a parochial prejudice against any other competing process, and will not grant money for other variations of fusion.

    William C. Hickey, Wilmington

    Like what? Cold fusion?


    Filed on at 3:52 pm under by dcobranchi

    Well, it was fun while it lasted.

    At a conference in Seattle yesterday, Microsoft officials announced that Longhorn, its next operating system will come with RSS-friendly features making it easy for users to subscribe to them, and for developers to work with them.

    For those of you who haven’t discovered the joys of RSS— Better hop on fast before Mr. Softee ruins it forever.


    Filed on at 7:09 am under by dcobranchi

    Here’s a leading candidate for “Dumb Quote of the Year:”

    Bobby Welch, the president of the Southern Baptist Convention, who was re-elected Tuesday, said he did not support a resolution that would have specifically called for pulling Christian students out of public schools.

    “Everybody doesn’t have to go to Disney,” he said. “Everybody has to go to school.”


    Filed on at 6:59 am under by dcobranchi

    I have nothing against cyber-schools. In fact, I’m “pro” just about every school choice there is. And I’m really glad this mom has found something that allows her to spend more time with her daughter.

    Johnson home-schooled her four daughters until the eldest and her husband were killed about six years ago. After going through stints of attending private and public schools and home-schooling, Johnson juggled a full-time job until she was able to work out of her home.

    It was then Johnson saw a flier and learned about Connections Academy. She decided to enroll Theresa so she could spend time with her daughter and supervise lessons, but without the full-time effort of traditional stay-at-home teaching.

    “I never thought I’d be able to home-school again,” she said. “It’s the best of both worlds. There’s the expertise of a teacher, and you’re still flexible to do everything.”

    Good. Terrific. Wonderful.

    It’s still not homeschooling.

    The rest of the article completely confuses public cyber-schooling with home education.

    “It’s mixing home school and public school together,” Kristin said.

    …”It takes off the accountability on Mom and Dad,” father Ron Tracy said. He said home-schooling can be difficult when grading one’s own child. Also, because the program is publicly funded, families can save on home-schooling expenses.

    I recognize that there’s an on-going debate in the home education community about how to respond to cyber proposals. I believe the majority of activists are in the “fight ’em” camp. And they may be right; cyber education may really be a threat to home education. There’s no question that cyber-charters (and other flavors of cyber schools) draw their enrollments heavily from (former) HEKs. I’d bet that there’s a strong inverse correlation between home education growth rates and the growth of cyber charter enrollment.

    But some folks just aren’t ready for freedom. Or it’s just not particularly valuable to them. Maybe “free” curriculum and a “free” computer” are a better deal for them. Maybe they really do need the accountability of reporting to a g-school teacher. As long as their choices don’t threaten my freedom, I can live and let live. I’ll even help them when I can. I ask only one thing in return– Please don’t call what you do what we do. That’s the real threat to home education.


    Filed on June 24, 2005 at 8:22 pm under by dcobranchi

    This hardly seems worth the effort:

    Home school program likely to grow

    Poole also provided the board with an update on the district’s home school project. Now in its fourth year, Haxtun provides home school parents help with tutoring, evaluations, and even allows home school students the chance to attend classes at Haxtun.

    “We’re willing to help them with their home schooling, giving them a school base,” Poole said.

    Haxtun is allowed to include those students in its enrollment count, which in turn determines how much state funding the district receives.

    “We’re working out of the box,” Poole said.

    Two home school students participated in the just-ended school year. Poole expects more will participate in the coming year but doesn’t have a firm number yet.

    I applaud the 99 44/100 percent of home educators who are steering clear of this attempt to pull their kids back into the system.


    Filed on at 6:00 pm under by dcobranchi

    How much time an energy has been wasted in the past two years fighting this battle?

    The drive to change the name of Jefferson Elementary School was a two-year battle, and when the school board voted it down Wednesday night, a good part of the audience stood and sang, “We shall overcome.”

    …Long known as the principal architect of the Declaration of Independence, Jefferson failed throughout his lifetime to put an end to slavery, an institution he said was fundamentally wrong.

    …The drive to change the name at Jefferson began when three teachers wrote letters to gain support in the community, then circulated a petition. A period of considerable discussion followed during which the administration at Jefferson invited the school community to propose an alternative name. The name Sequoia was chosen out of eight names that met the required criteria in a vote that included parents, students and staff members. But the two-year effort came to an end after impassioned arguments failed to win over a majority of the board.


    Filed on at 5:01 pm under by dcobranchi

    I find it difficult to believe that North Dakota legislators couldn’t figure out a way to allow home education grads to be eligible for state scholarships. Here’s a hint.


    Filed on at 6:58 am under by dcobranchi

    The BlogAds “Homeschool Blog Network” is now officially up and running. We’re still waiting on a cool logo. And we’re still accepting new blogs in the network (of course). Drop me a line if you’re interested.


    Filed on at 3:31 am under by dcobranchi

    Kudos to the editor of the East Valley (AZ) Tribune:

    With the AIMS test staring the Class of 2006 in the face, you might think the Arizona School Boards Association would have its hands full making sure public school students pass muster. Well, you’d be wrong. Instead, they’re fretting about the welfare of home-schooled children.

    …[I]f our public schools did half the job most home-school parents are doing, Arizona’s academic achievement record would soar and the dropout rate would plummet. District administrators have plenty to do without meddling in an area where they aren’t wanted or needed.

    There’s lots more. Definitely worth a read.


    Filed on June 23, 2005 at 5:01 pm under by dcobranchi

    I have my share of disagreements with HSLDA. But one thing you can’t deny, they can sure write a bad-ass letter.


    Filed on at 4:54 pm under by dcobranchi

    The May/June edition of Home Educator’s Family Times is up.


    Filed on at 4:37 pm under by dcobranchi

    To keep the kids’ private data away from military recruiters:

    The Defense Department began working yesterday with a private marketing firm to create a database of high school students ages 16 to 18 and all college students to help the military identify potential recruits in a time of dwindling enlistment in some branches.

    The program is provoking a furor among privacy advocates. The new database will include personal information including birth dates, Social Security numbers, e-mail addresses, grade-point averages, ethnicity and what subjects the students are studying.

    Remember, folks, provide the absolute legal minimum of information to any state educrats. Use P.O. Boxes when you can. “Forget” to include phone numbers. And never, ever provide a SSN when not mandated by law.

    And one other thing– where the hell are the military going to get GPAs?! It is illegal under federal law to provide student grades to anyone but the student. And that includes GPA data.


    Filed on at 7:18 am under by dcobranchi

    As I expected, NHELD is involved.

    The governor’s office fielded about 60 phone calls Wednesday from homeschoolers unhappy with the way local school officials are treating them.

    The call-in, orchestrated by a national home education association with Connecticut roots, asked Gov. M. Jodi Rell to direct school districts to stop requiring letters of intent from homeschoolers and eliminate misleading language in the state law that allows home schooling.

    “From what I understand, it went well,” said Deborah G. Stevenson, a Southbury attorney who is representing a Bridgeport homeschooling family. Stevenson is also director of National Home Education Legal Defense.


    Filed on at 1:35 am under by dcobranchi

    I think Shay doesn’t like HSLDA:

    VA: PW County Victory!

    Thanks to local grassroots action, homeschoolers in Prince William County, Virginia are no longer burdened by the onerous “approval before removal” requirement. At tonight’s school board meeting, board members voted 6-2 in favor of removing the offensive language from its current homeschool regulation. This leaves us with a regulation that is fully in line with state law. The coalition is gratified that after 1½ years of bridge building, we won the majority of the board to enthusiastic support.

    One board member, who stated, “We need to get these obstacles out of the way and support our homeschool parents,” even hugged a member of the coalition after the formal session ended. Most other board members’ comments expressed support for the homeschooling community and frustration that the issue has dragged out this long.

    Local homeschoolers and members of the PWCS board were taken by surprise by HSLDA’s sudden and unsolicited involvement in this local issue. However, the national organization’s actions did help to limit the changes to the current regulation solely to removal of the offensive clause, without the addition of any potentially problematic wording.

    HSLDA attorney Scott Woodruff actively participated in discussing the legal issues with the coalition and the school division personnel. The organization made an effort to keep communication lines open until this was resolved.

    Before the board meeting commenced, grassroots coalition member Amy Wilson submitted proposed language to the board member who has been the group’s primary contact. This language was crafted by the coalition, with agreement from Mr. Woodruff, as a result of numerous communiqués between the two parties.

    During its Citizen Time slot, the coalition’s spokesperson, Shay Seaborne, expressed appreciation for the board’s willingness to revisit this issue, and for members’ dedication to helping the community. As a token of thanks, Ms. Seaborne presented the board and superintendent with a basket of cookies baked by herself and her children. This brought broad smiles of thanks.

    Mr. Woodruff described HSLDA’s aims, purposes, goals, and statistics, stated that he had worked with Amy Wilson, and then noted that he was available if the school board needed any legal advice in this matter.

    The HSLDA spokesperson claimed that the organization represents more than 200 families in the county. Mr. Woodruff multiplied that by about 2-3 children per family, arriving at 400-600 children represented by the organization. Local homeschoolers were extremely surprised by these numbers, considering that the total number of homeschooled children in the county is approximately 1,100 according to school division figures. Due to their knowledge of the Prince William County homeschool community, coalition members speculate that a not insignificant portion of HSLDA members in the county are underground on the advice of that organization, and therefore, are not represented among the school division’s count.

    Local homeschoolers and Mr. Woodruff are pleased with the wording of the current regulation as amended at this meeting. However, the board plans to revisit the homeschool regulation over the summer, due to concerns expressed by the board attorney.

    Members of the grassroots coalition plan to continue their active involvement in this issue, and look forward to building on the foundation of mutual respect and cooperation that we have established with the school division.


    Filed on June 22, 2005 at 8:04 pm under by dcobranchi

    I don’t get it. Why would PA home education advocates, saddled with the worst laws in the country, spend their energy on “equal access” to g-school sports? MaryAlice on one of the list-servs.

    PA Senate passed Equal Access bill (SB361) 34-16 this morning. It goes to the House but is not expected to have problems there. Our Governor is a different story and might veto it.

    Well, at least the home educrat won’t oppose this one.

    UPDATE: And here’s the NYT version of the whole “movement.” MA has a brief quote.


    Filed on at 3:46 pm under by dcobranchi

    Although I guess it could be considered blasphemous to salivate over a deity. (Anti-ID tip credit: COD)


    Filed on at 11:29 am under by dcobranchi

    Here’s a follow-up to a gratuitous swipe at home education. As far as I can tell, Publius is not getting any smarter.


    Filed on June 21, 2005 at 7:22 pm under by dcobranchi

    The article is pretty pitiful, but Matt Hearn thought this line was pretty funny:

    Degrading treatment prompted the victim to seek psychological counseling and eventually withdraw from Howland High School and undergo home schooling.

    Home education– It’s good for what ails you.


    Filed on at 10:46 am under by dcobranchi

    It starts now.

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