Utterly Meaningless » 2005 » July
  • OT LETTER OF THE DAY

    Filed on July 7, 2005 at 2:15 am under by dcobranchi

    Fayetteville sure is an interesting town:

    Democrats have lacked integrity and patriotism

    President Bush is a strong, moral and courageous president. The Democrats are jealous because they have not come up with a candidate in a long time with these qualities. They have lacked integrity, patriotism and high standards.

    Lives are free of terror today because of a Republican president, who, I may add, is a Christian. Hooray, America.

    It is childish and stupid to put a timetable on withdrawal from Iraq. Progress has been made in helping us breathe free of terrorists and in freeing an oppressed country. Lives have been lost, as it has been throughout time when people wish freedom.

    Many Americans were shaken out of their complacency on Sept. 11, 2001. What kind of people are we? And what do we stand for? What we are made of and what kind of God we worship came forth on that day.

    We have our own insurgents in the United States who are single-minded and illiterate about the different kind of war, with a different kind of people, that we are having. It’s trying men’s souls, making them stand up and declare what they really believe in and whether it’s right or wrong to put down evil and protect ourselves from it.

    Betty Lowrance, Clinton

    I DON’T WANT TO HEAR IT

    Filed on July 6, 2005 at 9:27 pm under by dcobranchi

    Chris is livin’ in the fast lane.

    THIS COULD BE INTERESTING

    Filed on at 5:43 pm under by dcobranchi

    Sometime home educator Sen. Rick Santorum has a new book out on his political philosophy. According to this AP piece, he discusses home education. That should be a very interesting chapter since he and his wife quit home educating and enrolled their kids in a PA cyber charter, even though they live in VA. It ended up being a big controversy and could cost Santorum some votes in ’06– not that he has any to spare. Odds are pretty long that he’ll hold on to his seat. So home education may end up playing a tiny role in the (un)making of a presidential candidate in 2008.

    LIVE FROM NEW YORK

    Filed on at 5:31 am under by dcobranchi

    it’s the new blog!

    And here (scroll down to the bottom) are the other blogs that HEM is backing.

    I THOUGHT ONLY MY HAIRDRESSER KNEW FOR SURE

    Filed on July 5, 2005 at 7:24 am under by dcobranchi

    Check out the third ad down in the strip. ——–>

    LETTER OF THE DAY

    Filed on at 5:03 am under by dcobranchi

    From the WN-J:

    Home-school students don’t take conventional courses

    A recent writer said, “Once this state can finally agree on acceptable standards, I see no problem with home-schoolers meeting grade equivalency tests.” I see three problems.

    First, home-schoolers may take courses in a different order from public school students. One year my older daughter took ninth-grade English, civics and science; 10th-grade math and French; and 12th-grade history and economics.

    Second, home-school students may take courses not found in regular public schools. My younger daughter took courses in logic, critical thinking about documents from U.S. history, post-colonial world literature, 20th-century history, and problems of democracy using readings from Plato to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

    Third, many parents teach children at home partly for religious reasons. Public school tests would pressure them to ignore religion in their curricula.

    Grade-equivalency tests would make home-school parents feel constrained to follow the public school curriculum, reducing their freedom.

    Sarah Kitchin, Newark

    THAT’S GOTTA HURT

    Filed on at 4:50 am under by dcobranchi

    NASA has released really cool video of the Deep Impact probe smashing into the comet at a closing speed of 6 miles/second.

    HELP WANTED: NEWS EDITOR FOR CNN.COM

    Filed on at 4:43 am under by dcobranchi

    OK- read this lede and then see if your blood pressure doesn’t immediately start rising:

    Bras for ‘tweens’

    Lingerie companies are increasingly expanding their line of products to girls as young as age six.
    July 4, 2005: 10:30 AM EDT

    NEW YORK (Reuters) – As parents lament that children grow up too quickly, lingerie companies are spotting an opportunity to market bras especially for younger girls.

    Shades of A&F, right? Wrong. The rest of the piece is about how girls are starting to develop at younger and younger ages and how they really need bras at 6 or 8 or 9.

    NEW BLOG INFO

    Filed on at 3:38 am under by dcobranchi

    Not quite ready for prime time but I’ve run into a bit of a snafu that I wanted to pass along. WordPress syndicates via RSS-2 and handles it quite well. Unfortunately, Bloglines doesn’t. As far as I can determine, it never updates once it finds the feed the first time you subscribe. FeedReader loads the feed fine, so I know WP is outputting it properly. I’ve seen fingerpointing in both directions– It’s WP’s fault and/or it’s Bloglines fault. Regardless, if you’re using Bloglines as your reader, it’s probably not going to be able to see the HEM blog.

    BANNED!

    Filed on at 3:26 am under by dcobranchi

    I’m so sick of seeing this hed.

    HELP WANTED

    Filed on at 3:25 am under by dcobranchi

    Needed, actually.

    A home educating family of 12 lost their wife and mom from a sudden illness. Their church is helping out, but … Contact info– Renfrow at 419-358-0170 or 419-358-1886.

    SO CLOSE

    Filed on at 3:25 am under by dcobranchi

    Scott Parks in the Dallas News writes about the coarseness of g-school life and how it’s driving some folks to home educate. I thought he was doing a pretty admirable job. Until this bit, that is:

    Every time a violent incident erupts on campus, you can bet the ensuing publicity leads a few more families to abandon public schools. The social fabric frays a bit more and the common education system in which we all have a stake gets a little weaker.

    Did you catch that? The fraying isn’t indicated by folks pulling their kids out of the g-schools; it’s caused by it. When will they ever learn?

    WHERE THERE’S A WILL…

    Filed on at 3:24 am under by dcobranchi

    A Memphis-area HEK is being heavily recruited to pitch for some of the big-time baseball schools. An interesting quote:

    Although playing for the Memphis Tigers during the summer has been a tremendous help as far as getting his name out to college recruiters, being home-schooled would normally hurt him as far as having a team to play with during the spring. However, his dad and a few other people did something about that.

    “My freshman year we started a home school team,” said the southpaw. “My dad had a lot to do with that just so that I would have a place to play. It’s not nearly as competitive as what I’m doing in the summer, but it was a place to play. We’ve developed over the last couple of years into a decent team.”

    Yeah, I know. If he’d have been allowed to play on the g-school teams, none of this would have mattered. I’m still really ambivalent about that entire issue. On the one hand, I do feel for the kids who would like to participate and are caught between a rock and a hard place. (That doesn’t mean, however, that I buy the “I pay taxes and therefore my kids should have access” argument.) OTOH, the edu-crats make a good point when they argue that sports are a part of the school system. We opted out of that. And just how can you be fair to the kids who are in the g-schools and have to jump through all of the hoops meet all of the other requirements in order to be eligible? Attendance, GPA, etc. are all pretty meaningless terms for home educators.

    (FAKE) SAT QUESTION OF THE DAY

    Filed on at 2:48 am under by dcobranchi

    An email exchange with Skip Oliva had me longing for the days of the old “analogies” section on the SAT.

    School:prison::cyber charter:__________

    My answer is below the fold.
    Read more »

    PEACHY KEEN

    Filed on at 2:37 am under by dcobranchi

    Completely OT– Mike Peach has temporarily(?) relocated the family to FL. He’s been posting pictures and commentary about the difficult time the family is having adjusting to life in the US. And Mike seems to be having a bit of trouble with the law; hopefully it’s just that driving on the wrong side of the road thing. Regardless, you might want to drop by and leave him a note of encouragement.

    BACK IN TOWN

    Filed on July 4, 2005 at 9:08 pm under by dcobranchi

    We were at a pseudo-family reunion up in Asheville, NC. Too much good food followed by some pretty serious day-hiking are not a good mix. I huffed and puffed all the way up to the top of Copperhead Summit, where we saw a genuine copperhead sitting right in the middle of the trail. He was a baby but I’m sure lethal enough. Between snakes and a thunder storm rolling in while we were smack dab on top of the highest point for several miles around, and we had enough adventure to last until the next reunion in 2007.

    GOING OFFLINE

    Filed on July 2, 2005 at 4:20 am under by dcobranchi

    to the mountains for a couple of days. I’ll be back on Monday.

    NO KIDDING

    Filed on at 3:08 am under by dcobranchi

    Tibor R. Machan has concluded that mass-produced “education” doesn’t work for some square-peg kids and might just be the cause of ADD. Somewhat surprisingly, home education isn’t even mentioned as a possible solution. Maybe we’re just too far out of the box. (Tip credit: Skip Oliva)

    RATIONALIZING CORPORATE SHILL

    Filed on July 1, 2005 at 7:08 pm under by dcobranchi

    The July-August edition of HEM is out. I received my deadtree version in the mail yesterday. Bits and pieces are posted here.

    WAS THAT A GOOD THING?

    Filed on at 4:45 pm under by dcobranchi

    Bryan Hassel, guest-blogging at Eduwonk, links to an article about vouchers in DC. Not my bag, exactly, but his commentary caught my attention:

    Enabling urban kids to attend suburban schools has long been thought a good thing by many progressives and other desegregation activists. The city of Wilmington, DE, for example, was split up into four wedges, each joined with part of the suburban ring in a school district. Boston, Indianapolis, and other cities have run transfer programs of various kinds for years?

    Yes, Wilmington had a court-ordered desegregation plan that split the county into four pieces with each school district getting a chunk of the city. Kids would go to their local g-school for K through 3 and then be bussed into or out of the city for grades 4 through 6. Some of these bus rides were over an hour in each direction. Then the kids changed schools again back to their local schools for 7th grade. It was a terrible system, hated by literally all of the suburbanites. There is a good reason that DE has the highest percentage of kids not in the g-school system.

    And, yes, until April we were some of those New Castle County, DE suburbanites. The bussing program was killed by a lawsuit several years ago (not that it would have mattered for our family.)

    COPYRIGHT THAT PHRASE

    Filed on at 4:20 pm under by dcobranchi

    And the winner of the dumb lede of the day award goes to (really loooooong drumroll, please) Sherry F. Colb from FindLaw.

    A growing number of parents in the United States are home-schooling their children, as an alternative to sending them to public or private schools. For a variety of reasons, these parents believe that they can provide an equal or superior educational experience at home.

    Yet, parents who home-school their children (whom I will call “home-schoolers”) have begun to recognize the benefits of group after-school activities.

    I do hope her specialty isn’t IP.

    CUTE AT TWICE THE PRICE

    Filed on at 12:26 pm under by dcobranchi

    HSLDA has some amusing home ed anecdotes up on their site. But the real story is how cheap they are:

    Send us your story

    We are looking for humorous, warm anecdotes and true stories illustrating that homeschooling is the best educational alternative around.

    All material printed in the Court Report will be credited, and the contributor will receive a $10 coupon good toward any HSLDA publication of his choice.

    A $10 coupon– WooHoo! Reader’s Digest pays $300 cash for these.

    COOLEST FREEBIE EVER

    Filed on at 7:21 am under by dcobranchi

    Google has outdone themselves with this extension of GoogleMaps. It’s impossible to describe adequately, so you’ll just have to download it. Make sure you read the system requirements, though.

    WHAT’S NEXT?

    Filed on at 6:12 am under by dcobranchi

    Press gangs?

    Here’s a very strange Op/Ed on military recruting woes. Dale McFeatters apparently thinks that military recruiters should be given free rein at the schools.

    The Army is 16 percent below this year’s target for active duty and 21 percent behind for the reserves, while the Marines are down 2 percent…. But the Pentagon is going to get this done one way or another. It has to. Internet rumors notwithstanding, there’s not going to be a draft. The military doesn’t want it and Congress won’t allow it. A bill in the House last year to reinstate the draft went down to a 402-2 defeat.

    So they can’t find enough volunteers, and there won’t be a draft. Yet the military is going to get it done one way or another. I’m really curious what other ways are available. Any ideas?

    YEAH, BUT…

    Filed on at 5:59 am under by dcobranchi

    Bullying is bad no matter what the medium. But does this really sound like bullying?

    Life threw Molly Reddington a few curveballs this school year, but she didn’t expect a dose of cyberworld cruelty to go with it.

    While she was on a school trip to Costa Rica in April, a handful of Reddington’s so-called friends at Milton High School went to a popular Internet website and created sexually explicit journal entries in her name, making it appear as if she were having immodest exploits while overseas.

    …Reddington was one of six friends, ages 15 and 16, who were posting legitimate journal entries to the website earlier in the school year. But things turned sinister when two members of the group posed as Reddington and described her sexual involvement with a Costa Rican named Juan.

    ”Hey lovies, still in Costa Rica getting a nice tan!” wrote the impersonators. ”I was in the elevator going to my room last night and it stopped all of a sudden. The only other person in there was this older man named juan. [sic] His hands were so gentle and loving. I thought I could be there all night justss [sic] stuck in the elevator . . .”

    …Faced with the first incident of its kind at the school, Milton High principal John Drottar said administrators helped resolve the matter. ”The assistant principal in our Resource Center met with the kids concerned,” he said. ”We told them that was unacceptable, and they shut down the site and were apologetic.”

    Not satisfied, Reddington’s mother, Catherine Reddington, filed a report with the Milton Police Department, only to learn there was little, if any, protection from the arrows flying at her daughter.

    It sounds like it was a prank among friends that went too far.

    GIVE THAT MAN A CIGAR

    Filed on at 5:44 am under by dcobranchi

    Hey- a state educrat who actually really truly wants to help us:

    Wyoming’s new graduated driver’s license law has teenagers flocking to enroll in drivers’ education so they can get their licenses six months early.

    “The No. 1 lifetime skill in Wyoming is driving, and yet this has never been a priority,” said Leeds Pickering, manager of the department’s traffic safety and pupil transportation program.

    According to Pickering, the definition of a Wyoming drivers’ education class has not been updated since 1974. Pickering asked the Legislature’s Joint Transportation and Highways Interim Committee to allow him to redefine a drivers’ education class to possibly include private classes and classes taught by home-schooling parents.

    As it stands right now, Wyoming HEKs apparently must wait an extra six months to get their licenses as compared to their g-school counterparts.

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