Utterly Meaningless » 2006 » January

    Filed on January 31, 2006 at 11:39 pm under by dcobranchi

    There’s a homeschooling tax-credit bill pending in Iowa. HSLDA has come out against it. I (sort of) agree, but I don’t like their rationale:

    This bill would allow a tax credit for 25% of the first $1,000 dollars spent on each dependant towards expenses relating to competent private instruction. The bill currently has language which includes the phrase “home schooling.” However, in Iowa “home schooling” is legally known as “competent private instruction” and adding “home schooling” to the law would create an undefined category. Thus, we will support the bill if “home schooling” is replaced with “competent private instruction.”

    The bill allows for a tax credit for textbooks and tuition:

    “Textbooks” means books and other instructional materials and equipment used in teaching only those subjects legally and commonly taught in public elementary and secondary schools in this state and does not include instructional books and materials used in the teaching of religious tenets, doctrines, or worship, the purpose of which is to inculcate those tenets, doctrines, or worship. “Textbooks” includes books or materials used for extracurricular activities, including sporting events, musical or dramatic events, speech activities, driver’s education, or programs of a similar nature.

    “Tuition” means any charges for the expenses of personnel, buildings, equipment, and materials other than textbooks, and other expenses which relate to the teaching only of those subjects legally and commonly taught in public elementary and secondary schools in this state and which do not relate to the teaching of religious tenets, doctrines, or worship, the purpose of which is to inculcate those tenets, doctrines, or worship. “Tuition” includes those expenses which relate to extracurricular activities, including sporting events, musical or dramatic events, speech activities, driver’s education, or programs of a similar nature.

    I have a couple a problems with this bill that have nothing to do with inserting the phrase “home schooling” into law. (As an aside, the irony that HSLDA should oppose this bill for that reason is striking.) First, I assume that the religious materials exclusion was placed in there to keep from running afoul of Iowa’s Blaine Amendment. But that interpretation would require the understanding that the state equates a tax credit with using tax dollars to “building or repairing places of worship, or the maintenance of any minister, or ministry.” There’s a fundamental difference, in my mind, between a tax credit (individuals paying fewer dollars to the state) and the state paying to support a ministry. Besides, what is a very religious family, who may use all religious-based texts, to do? Lie?

    The solution for this first problem would be to strike all of the religious materials exclusion language.

    My second problem with this bill is more fundamental and couldn’t be quite so easily fixed. The tax credit will be based on some tax bureaucrat’s interpretation of what is a legitimate expense. So home educators are going to have to save their receipts and then, if audited, be prepared to argue that the books or tuition fit the definitions above. And if the bureaucrat disagrees? A fix here would require a straight tax credit of $250 per child for “competent private instruction” in lieu of using the public schools.

    This is a bad bill, period. The religious materials exclusions are problematic on a couple of levels. The proof that home educators will be required to maintain even worse.

    OTOH, it will put hundreds of dollars back into the pockets of many Iowa home educators. Is it worth fighting to fix the language at the risk of possibly killing the whole deal? That’s for Iowans to decide.


    Filed on at 8:23 am under by dcobranchi

    Joanne Jacobs has a take on high schools requiring algebra for graduation. It seems that a lot of kids flunk Algebra I several times and then drop out. Joanne blames a lack of basic skills, but doesn’t question the need. Why do all kids need Algebra? Yes, it’s a college requirement. But that could always be “fixed” later at a community college. Other than getting into college, what good does it do? Does one need algebra to balance a checkbook? Or to fill out one’s taxes? Or, to put it in terms of citizenship, to understand the federal budget? (I’d argue one should conceentrate on imaginary numbers (Calculus) for that last one).

    Joking aside, algebra is useful only in opening doors to higher math and higher education. For kids who aspire to neither, why should they be labeled dropouts just because they can’t solve two simultaneous equations in two unknowns?

    I want my kids to learn Algebra. But if they don’t care to (or can’t seem to), I’d be happy to help steer them to a career where it isn’t required. One size education does not fit all.


    Filed on at 7:16 am under by dcobranchi

    The latest edition of the Carnival of Homeschooling is up.


    Filed on January 30, 2006 at 10:52 pm under by dcobranchi

    is not the Salt Lake Tribune‘s strong point. My old hometown paper spends an entire editorial saying how it would be a bad idea for g-schools to let HEKs play football and how unfair it’d be since our kids don’t have to pass the state tests. So, after 288 words of pure negativity, they close with this:

    It would be unreasonable for a school district board to prevent home-school students from joining their public-school peers within the same district in competing and participating in the extracurricular activities that add so much to a child’s social education.

    But that participation should only be allowed in a way that is fair to every student. SB72 does not meet that fairness standard and should be expelled by the Legislature.

    I’d really like the logicians there to explain how HEKs can participate if the district is not to take the parent’s word that the kids really are “progressing.”

    It’d be nice if someone wrote them and asked for their proposal to make it “fair.”


    Filed on at 10:39 pm under by dcobranchi

    A VA state delegate is pushing a bill that would essentially outlaw Gay-Straight Alliance clubs.

    According to Arlington Del. Adam Ebbin, the after-school groups offer a safe space where gay youths can seek comfort.

    But Harrisonburg Del. Matthew Lohr argues too many of these groups are just promoting sexual activity.

    They faced off Monday as the House of Delegates debated a bill that would empower local school boards to disband groups seen as encouraging teen promiscuity.

    Lohr’s House Bill 1308 would authorize school boards to prohibit the use of school facilities by any student club that promotes sexual activity among unmarried students.

    It would essentially dissolve the gay-straight alliances, which typically meet on school grounds, said Dyana Mason, head of Equality Virginia.

    The bill won preliminary House approval Monday, and could go before the Senate this week.

    I can’t imagine how difficult it must be for kids to be “out” in high school. Why the hell should Lohr care? Other than pure homophobia, of course.

    I often wonder about the folks who seem to go out of their way to punish homosexuals– What inner demons are they fighting in their own lives? Maybe Lohr’s just jealous that there weren’t GSAs when he was a kid.


    Filed on at 8:19 am under by dcobranchi

    It’s me and Willie Nelson.


    Filed on January 29, 2006 at 6:04 pm under by dcobranchi

    10 p.m. tomorrow. I think this is the transcript. Yes, HE&OS brings you all the home education news at faster than the speed of light.


    Filed on at 3:18 pm under by dcobranchi

    The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children is running an ad that states that “Each year one in five children is solicited sexually on the internet.” Somehow I find that one hard to believe.


    Filed on at 1:39 pm under by dcobranchi

    More politics but I thought this one was just too funny not to highlight:

    Rep. Mike Pence, R-Indiana, who appeared with Thune on “Fox News Sunday,”, said all White House correspondence, phone calls and meetings with Abramoff “absolutely” should be released.

    “I think this president is a man of unimpeachable integrity,” Pence said. “The American people have profound confidence in him. And as Abraham Lincoln said, `Give the people the facts and republican governance perhaps will be saved.”‘

    What planet is Pence living on?


    Filed on at 5:30 am under by dcobranchi

    And so it continues.

    The fight between Dr. Hansen and administration officials echoes other recent disputes. At climate laboratories of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, for example, many scientists who routinely took calls from reporters five years ago can now do so only if the interview is approved by administration officials in Washington, and then only if a public affairs officer is present or on the phone.

    Where scientists’ points of view on climate policy align with those of the administration, however, there are few signs of restrictions on extracurricular lectures or writing.

    2005 was the warmest year in the last 10,000. If you want to know what real climate scientists have learned over the last 20 years, RealClimate.org is an invaluable resource.


    Filed on January 28, 2006 at 10:15 am under by dcobranchi

    There’s an unsecured WiFi connection outside Charlotte Gate D4.


    Filed on at 7:42 am under by dcobranchi

    I can’t remember the last time I wrote out the full name of the blog. It’s always HE&OS. So, I’ve re-christened the blog.


    Filed on at 7:30 am under by dcobranchi

    This editor gets it.

    School disciplinary actions against a 17-year-old Carroll High School student apparently were resolved Thursday in a disappointing conclusion that left more questions than answers and left the free speech rights of Carroll students in question.

    In what at first blush seems to be a classic example of Orwellian doublespeak, the Northwest Allen County Schools board approved an agreement that officially rescinded the expulsion of student Jeff Fraser, but for all practical purposes upheld it by banning him from the school and this spring’s commencement. And in a final slam at free speech, both sides in the matter have apparently agreed not to talk about it.

    UPDATE OF THE UPDATE: The ACLU-IN is now aware of the case and is looking into it. Yes, I’m a troublemaker.


    Filed on at 7:26 am under by dcobranchi

    The Norwich Bulletin has a couple of pieces on vaccinations. The sidebar is a short profile of a home educating mom who has refused vaccinations for her kids. She doesn’t come off looking very bright:

    “Doctors will ridicule us, and we know that,” Hussey said. “But I’m not some hysterical mother, we’re not stupid. God made my kids’ immune systems, and I can give my kids the things God gave me to make them well.”

    One standard vaccine babies receive protects against Pertussis or whooping cough.

    Children can be vaccinated for pertussis as young as 6 weeks old. Hussey said she doesn’t think the vaccine would have prevented three of her children from contracting whooping cough as adolescents.

    “At the pediatrician, they tested the kids for that, and it came back culture negative. They still had it — you could hear it. The culture only detects the original virus that they made the vaccine for, and that’s not what they had. It’s a new strain,” Hussey said. “They think it’s gone, but it’s not. Lots of kids still get it, but now they call it bronchitis.”

    Hussey said she will stick to homeopathic treatment for her children, and will continue home schooling them.

    Yeah, that homeschooling reference was gratuitous.

    For the record, I’m ambivalent about the vaccinations. Folks who don’t are counting on the combined immunity of those who do to prevent a serious outbreak. It’s kind of a “tragedy of the commons” in reverse. OTOH, folks should be free to vaccinate or not. There are a lot who are convinced that there’s some tie to autism (I’m not one of them.) And some people, like the woman profiled here, are just against modern medicine, period.


    Filed on at 7:10 am under by dcobranchi

    Ulrike is staying on top of the goings-on.


    Filed on January 27, 2006 at 10:42 pm under by dcobranchi

    The next Carnival of Homeschooling fast approaches. Submission details here.


    Filed on at 9:18 pm under by dcobranchi

    Every time I wander over to homeschoolblogger, I end up with just a bit less hair. The latest. NOTE: The mini-rant is aimed at whomver named HSN, not Kris Price personally.


    Filed on at 7:29 pm under by dcobranchi

    I think the kid has a legitimate lawsuit here:

    FORT WAYNE, Ind. — A high school senior who wrote a book mocking his high school, its administrators and fellow students will have his expulsion expunged but will not be allowed to return to the classroom this year.

    The Northwest Allen County Schools board also voted to bar the 17-year-old Carroll High School student from attending extracurricular activities and his graduation ceremony.

    The district will provide teachers to help home-school the student so he can graduate in June, according to a statement from Superintendent Steve Yager and the student’s family.

    “Carroll (The Book),” a 14-page publication, was modeled after comedian Jon Stewart’s book “America (The Book).” The boy’s version includes diagrams, profanity, photos and a picture of school Principal Deb Neumeyer on the cover.

    The student apologized for its contents in the statement released Thursday.

    More than a dozen Carroll employees attended the board meeting to support Yager’s initial recommendation to expel the student.

    “There’s no way to put a positive spin on anything this young man has said,” said Kathy Lepper, guidance director. “Carroll High School is not Comedy Central.”

    Students who attended the meeting said the administration overreacted.

    Dollars to donuts the eleven employees were all ridiculed in the book. And the “He’s not expelled. He just can’t come back.” is just too rich. Where’s the ACLU???


    Filed on at 7:21 pm under by dcobranchi

    What they said.

    What a stupid rule. And here’s a convenient form to contact her company directly.

    OT: HAH, HAH (NOT!)

    Filed on at 6:44 pm under by dcobranchi

    I usually try to steer clear of politics on HE&OS, but this one is so sick, so vile that I’m going to break my own rule. Ann Coulter should be kicked off of every respectable television network (and Fox, too). Calling for someone to poison a Supreme Court Justice, even (supposedly) in jest, is just plain evil.


    Filed on at 6:13 pm under by dcobranchi

    Hal Young pointed to this article in a comment thread down below. I wanted to make sure everyone had a chance to see it; it’s quite good.


    Filed on at 5:45 pm under by dcobranchi

    in not pointing out that we’ve a bunch of new advertisers——> Show ’em some love, ok?


    Filed on at 4:43 pm under by dcobranchi

    Some legislators (led by a Republican, this time) are concerned because the State can’t account for all of its our kids. The proposed solution? All homeschoolers would have to register, take standardized tests, and prove that they were worthy. Idahoans– you know what to do.

    UPDATE: This Op/Ed is even worse than the original article. It looks like it’s going to be a full-court press to find Idaho’s our kids:

    As of today, nearly 14,000 Idaho children are unaccounted for by Idaho’s school system.

    Truant? Maybe. Home-schooled? Probably quite a few. On drugs? Who knows? Headed for jail? Possibly.

    The whole point is, for one out of every 15 school-aged children in Idaho, we just don’t know. Not a clue.

    …The Associated Press hopped on the story, and you can read their report here. In there you’ll find quotes from home-school advocates who say the report is flawed, and that kids are getting an education in Idaho.

    The problem there is that Idaho takes them at their word, and the kids disappear. Without any sort of communication between home-schoolers and school districts, it’s going to be difficult for Idaho to effectively track and guide education in the state.

    Shea Anderson has a spot for comments.


    Filed on at 4:36 pm under by dcobranchi

    The current edition of the Home Educator’s Family Times is up.


    Filed on at 4:28 pm under by dcobranchi

    Joanne (aka The Happy Homeschooler) needs your help. Hey, Scott– any advice?


    Filed on at 4:25 pm under by dcobranchi

    Answer the following questions and then click over to the article to see how your answers might relate to risk taking.

    1) A bat and a ball cost $1.10 in total. The bat costs $1 more than the ball. How much does the ball cost?

    2) If it takes five machines five minutes to make five widgets, how long would it take 100 machines to make 100 widgets?

    3) In a lake, there is a patch of lily pads. Every day, the patch doubles in size. If it takes 48 days for the patch to cover the entire lake, how long would it take for the patch to cover half the lake?

    The correct answers are given at the end of the article.


    Filed on January 26, 2006 at 8:22 pm under by dcobranchi

    Anyone want to hazard a guess what this means?

    Rollins has been practicing chiropractics for 19 years since graduating from the Cleveland Chiropractic College in Los Angeles. He had a well-established practice in the Hollywood area for years, in which he cared for hundreds of patients, from the homeless to celebrities.

    …So why has he chosen to settle in Cedar City?

    “We’re homeschoolers,” he explained. “In our research, we found that the George Wythe College is one of the main places providing home education.”



    Filed on at 3:56 pm under by dcobranchi

    The author of this piece and her t-shirt. Don’t bother trying to leave a comment. They apparently just disappear into the ether.


    Filed on at 6:01 am under by dcobranchi

    I’ve banned IM from our house. It looks like I may have to block MySpace.com, too.

    Some children are so consumed by bringing people to their sites that they post racy pictures and text that goes way behind flirtatious. And people come. They flock by the hundreds. Even children whose sites are innocuous are affected. If a careful mother goes to an innocuous site and clicks on a “friend” and from the friend’s site clicks on another “friend,” she is two or three clicks away from a site with pornography — every time. No one is immune.

    During my recent myspace.com education, I saw kids from public schools, Catholic schools and home schools — all in their underwear! With every click, the stakes went up, and so did the popularity ticker. Suddenly, we are no longer talking about who has the most signatures in her yearbook and who made the cheerleading squad. We are talking about the very lives of our children — morally and physically. Sites like myspace.com have taken the innate quest for popularity and exploited it to such a degree that an entire generation is threatened.

    The entire column is worth a read.


    Filed on at 5:48 am under by dcobranchi

    Our kids have a constitutional right to play g-school sports:

    Denying access to activities denies rights
    January 26, 2006
    Robyn Giles has it all wrong (“Make a choice: home or public school,” Jan. 19). Just because my family home schools, or another sends its children to private school, should not bar our access to public facilities and activities. We pay for our own texts, curriculum and other supplies, and we also pay to support the public schools. Our decision to opt out of the public school environment, for whatever reason, lessens the financial drain on the public system as a whole, and we pick up that expense without recompense. It seems little to ask that our kids could make use of driver educations, participate in some team activity or even use lab facilities.

    She mentions the horror of a full-time public student being “bumped” because of a home-schooled child. So what? Would not the home-schooled child be equally affronted by not being allowed to even try out?

    In reality, denying them access creates a discriminatory process, particularly if persons are opting out under a religious exemption – government is then barring use of public facilities because of a religious conviction. This opens a whole plethora of constitutional issues ranging from freedom of religion to equal protection.

    She suggests that someone is confusing opportunity with entitlement. I suggest that, on the contrary, someone is confusing rights of citizenship and equal protection with prejudice.

    We pay our taxes, are entitled access and have a right to use public facilities and programs, which our taxes support, as do those of any other citizen. Denying us access doesn’t become just a denial of opportunity or entitlement, but a denial of rights.

    William Liddell


    If it weren’t for the over-the-top “rights” argument, I’m almost there. Our kids can’t participate in a lot of activities run by the g-schools. Sports, band, choir. And neither can kids in private schools. Or charter schools. The problem isn’t the choices we’ve made. It’s the monopolization of extracurriculars by the g-schools.

    The schools are Microsoft, and they’ve bundled the fun stuff (which isn’t their primary mission) with their lousy OS. Unbundle sports and band from the g-schools and the problem goes away. Communities will sponsor sports leagues and bands and choirs. And pay for them. Or not. But we’d no longer have to pay taxes for the extra stuff our kids weren’t allowed to use.


    Filed on January 25, 2006 at 12:06 pm under by dcobranchi

    I’m traveling again. Blogging will be sporadic through Saturday.


    Filed on January 24, 2006 at 6:04 am under by dcobranchi

    B&N is clearing the (warehouse) shelves.


    Filed on at 5:59 am under by dcobranchi

    This one has been floating around the blogosphere for a couple of days. Spunky’s beat on it a bit and the folks at The Panda’s Thumb have given it a qualified thumbs up (sorry). It’s a sad tale of what might be the end of local control of education.

    The New York Times reported that an unnamed appropriations bill in the Senate has this nice little amendment that will basically force a turnover of all g-school curricula to federal control:

    The measure, backed by the Bush administration and expected to pass the House when it returns next month, would provide $750 to $1,300 grants to low-income college freshmen and sophomores who have completed “a rigorous secondary school program of study” and larger amounts to juniors and seniors majoring in math, science and other critical fields.

    It leaves it to the secretary of education to define rigorous, giving her a new foothold in matters of high school curriculums.

    Slick, huh? The college students can possibly get grant money based on how good the EdSec thinks their high school is. And that’s only the start of the fun. The boneheads in the Senate managed to leave out all private school and home ed grads.

    Another problem is that private school operators believe that the legislation renders their graduates ineligible by saying applicants must have completed a “program of study established by a state or local educational agency and recognized by the secretary.” The bill “would inadvertently exclude over 5.3 million private K-12 school students,” the National Association of Independent Schools, which represents some 1,200 private schools, said in a letter to senators last month. The same legislative language may also exclude parochial and home-schooled students.

    This is all just plain stupid. Why tie eligibility for a grant for college to the supposed quality of the high school program. Wouldn’t one think that a college junior or senior who had maintained a 3.0 had proven herself, regardless of what she did in high school? And then the coup de grâce— that “critical field” bit. Yep, the EdSec will get to determine if your son’s or daughter’s major is “worthy.” So much for the free-market, eh GOP?

    There’s just so much to dislike in this unworkable proposal. Its anti-federalism. The power grab by the EdSec (BTW, didn’t the GOP want to do away with her job not that long ago?). The sheer ineptitude of the folks who are running the show. This really reminds me of the disastrous Medicare Prescription bill– a train wreck waiting to happen.

    So, if you agree that this is a very bad idea, what do we do? Where do we start? First we need info. What bill is this amendment in? The NYT is hopeless as a purveyor of information. Then we find out who is on the conference committee and start making phone calls. We had the right game plan for Section 522. We just didn’t get in the game until the 2:00 warning had sounded. Too little, too late. Maybe not this time, though. With a little luck, we can get this pulled from the final bill. We don’t want the EdSec defining a rigorous high school program, nor do we want her defining worthy majors. This whole idea needs to go back to the drawing board.

    And, finally, a note to any HSLDA attorneys who happen to wander by. On the off chance that this passes into law,


    do not lobby to have our kids included. Discriminating against HEKs is bad, but having the EdSec define a rigorous program for home education would be an utter disaster.


    Filed on at 5:04 am under by dcobranchi

    The next installment of the Carnival of Homeschooling is up at the Headmistress’ place, The Common Room. Looks like there’ll be lots of good reading.


    Filed on January 23, 2006 at 7:08 am under by dcobranchi

    As usual.

    Pseudoephedrine found in decongestants is easily converted to methamphetamine. Several states, using methods that have failed time and time again, have made it increasingly difficult to purchase the drug. Many places the pills are behind the counter and you have to show a driver’s license (which is recorded in some database) in order to buy them. Did it help in the War on Drugs? Not a bit, according to the NYT, as imported crystal meth has taken the place of the home-cooked version.

    Net effect– A bunch of inconvenienced consumers and a loss of privacy. It really is so predictable that you just have to wonder– Bug or Feature?


    Filed on at 6:49 am under by dcobranchi

    The wonders of statist thinking:

    Keeping tabs on who is truant can also become tricky when dealing with children who are home-schooled, he said.

    When a family begins home schooling one child, sometimes the younger siblings aren’t always picked up by their local school districts, and record-keeping becomes an issue, he said.

    This can become an even bigger problem if some of those children qualify for special education services, he said.

    BONUS: Name the song the title alludes to.


    Filed on at 6:34 am under by dcobranchi

    Gena (publisher of TOS) has some advice.


    Filed on at 6:23 am under by dcobranchi

    Geek News Central questions the validity of the Top 10 Sources section on homeschooling. Personally, I think it’s an excellent list.


    Filed on January 22, 2006 at 8:36 am under by dcobranchi

    I just found this piece in my normal GoogleNews scrape.

    Physical strength, mental discipline, social bonding and aesthetic beauty are aspects of the human experience that we often strive for.

    Michael Pinkston found them all in one sport nearly 40 years ago when he discovered rock climbing.

    “Rock climbing combines the best human qualities. It is a very positive, life-changing sport,” he said.

    Pinkston opened The Climbing Place at 436 W. Russell St. on the first day of 1997 to share his passion in a region where the nearest climbs are a couple of hours away.

    …Fayetteville’s Ben and Jamie Williams took their 7-year-old daughter, Kylee, and their 3-year-old son, Hayden, to TCP on Thursday night after Jamie heard about the gym through home school.

    “They came right in and started climbing right away,” she said. “My husband just got back from Iraq and he is climbing with my 7-year-old right now, so it’s kinda cool that they’re doing something together.”

    Kylee spent the night here Friday. One topic of conversation– the climbing wall in Fayetteville.


    Filed on at 7:02 am under by dcobranchi

    This is a follow-up to the car magnet from before Christmas. The other day Lydia was in town shopping. When she came back to the car there was a note on the windshield from another home educator in the area. She had seen the magnet and liked it. She also left her email address. She and Lydia exchanged emails, and she invited us to participate in their groups’ hike at a local state park yesterday. What a great group! Neat folks. Only about 1/2 were on the hike. We’ll meet most of the rest of them this afternoon. Homeschooling in Fayetteville just got a whole lot more fun.


    Filed on January 21, 2006 at 3:59 pm under by dcobranchi

    I found this hed kind of funny.

    Towns brace for cyclone Daryl

    Yeah, I can be sort of a pisser.


    Filed on at 6:46 am under by dcobranchi

    In a piece on the Florida Libertarian Party’s response to the recent FL voucher decision:

    Libertarians, said Mr. Gilson, “Show people how all government schools should be made ‘truly free and public’ by being made non-compulsory, making boards more local and run by parents and students, and supported voluntarily through community trusts. They also point to the value of private schooling, and are generally acknowledged as having led the revival of home-schooling in the US.

    Since they’re talking about big “L” Libertarians, ain’t no way. I cannot think of a single thing that they’ve done for homeschooling. Or, to be honest, anything else.


    Filed on at 6:39 am under by dcobranchi

    This seems like a nice touch by the School District.

    The Solanco School District is providing parents of home-schooled children with the opportunity to have their child’s photograph taken during student picture day at Quarryville Elementary School on Thursday, April 20.

    It doesn’t cost the school anything, and the photographer might make a few extra bucks.


    Filed on at 6:34 am under by dcobranchi

    I think this woman is nearby to Chris:

    Spotsylvania woman seeking House seat

    A Spotsylvania County woman running as an independent for the 97th House District seat in a special election Tuesday said she is seeking office because of the state’s discrimination against gays and lesbians.

    Lee Criscuolo, 43, a reference assistant in the Central Rappahannock Regional Library system, is one of three candidates on the ballot for the special election to replace former Del. Ryan McDougle, who was elected to the state Senate.

    Criscuolo, who is married and has two teenage daughters, is a graduate of George Mason University and has lived in Virginia 31 years. She has home-schooled both of her children, she said.

    The General Assembly’s approval of a bill to ban gay marriage provided the impetus for her campaign.

    She believes Virginia needs to do more to protect the environment, civil rights, privacy, religious freedom and separation of church and state.

    I wish her luck. You can’t have too many friends in the legislature.


    Filed on at 6:29 am under by dcobranchi

    Gary North “thinks” he can basically cut & paste a series of primary documents and come up with something coherent. I kind of doubt that writing history is quite that easy.


    Filed on at 6:18 am under by dcobranchi

    Taking care of HSLDA.

    The following was posted by Scott Somerville on HSWatch. It appears to be an E-lert, but I have been unable to find it on HSLDA’s site. I’ve bolded the interesting bit:

    Legislative Bill 1213: Allowing Single Parents to Homeschool

    Senator Adrian Smith.

    This bill eliminates the “s” from the requirement that “parents” notify the
    Department of Education. This change would allow just one parent to sign the
    notice of intent without being hassled or prevented from homeschooling by the
    Department of Education.

    01/18/2006 Read first time

    Action Requested:
    Please call your Senator, and tell them, “Please allow single parents to
    homeschool in this state. Vote for LB 1213!” You can find contact information
    for your legislator by visiting HSLDA’s Legislative Toolbox.

    HSLDA’s Position:
    Support. This bill would eliminate the difficulty HSLDA has had with the
    Department of Education when it comes to single parents exercising their right
    to homeschool.
    It will also reduce the reporting burden for every family by
    allowing just one parent to sign the notarized form.

    So, the reason to change NE’s homeschooling law is to make life easier for HSLDA’s attorneys. Good to know. It’s really too bad HSLDA doesn’t have some kind of ombudsman who could relay back to the powers that be how they look from the outside.


    Filed on January 20, 2006 at 8:32 pm under by dcobranchi

    I just can’t even describe how inane are the expressed opinions (and I use that term very loosely). Doc (one of my new favorite bloggers) does an admirable takedown (via Chris).

    UPDATE: I just noticed that she tagged her ultra-statist rant with “libertarian.” She must be a high-school student who hasn’t quite mastered the use of a dictionary.


    Filed on at 5:55 pm under by dcobranchi

    This (signed) editorial is just plain nasty. I’m glad we weren’t the targets.


    Filed on January 19, 2006 at 5:02 pm under by dcobranchi

    The Independent (UK) has a fairly balanced piece written by an LEA officer. I was all prepared to hate it, but I couldn’t. The concluding graf sums up the article fairly well:

    Despite having four decades of teaching experience, I would never attempt to educate my children from home because my knowledge in certain areas is not extensive enough, and I would always be worried that I would be letting them down. At the same time, I have occasionally seen failing, timid, school-hating youngsters blossom through home tuition. They may not have obtained GCSEs at the age of 16, but they have gone on to further education colleges without any fear and knowing exactly what they want to achieve None of us should be too negative about home-schooling, but nor should we idealise it and ignore its imperfections.


    Filed on at 8:18 am under by dcobranchi

    Don Surber has a rant about homeschoolers being allowed to play g-school sports. He’s agin’ it. I’ve gone back and forth on this. My current (as in today) thinking is summarized in a comment on Surber’s site.

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