Utterly Meaningless » 2002 » September
  • DREADLOCKS ILLEGAL? This sophomore

    Filed on September 30, 2002 at 6:30 am under by dcobranchi

    DREADLOCKS ILLEGAL? This sophomore was basically kicked out of public school because she wears dreadlocks. Check out this ridiculous quote:

    House said the school is trying to prevent the potential ridicule, bullying and attention being drawn to a student with outlandish hair.

    “We have standards, we have expectations,” the superintendent said. “We’re not singling out any one student. You set standards, you set your expectations for people to meet them and you do it for a reason. Our reason is that we’re a learning institution, we’re not a fashion school.

    “We want all children when they come here to have the opportunity to learn with no distractions.”

    This has nothing to do with maintaining an orderly school and everything to do with conformity. The entire article is worth a read; there are some other eye-raisers in there.

    BTW, she’s going to be HSed until this gets settled.


    Filed on at 6:15 am under by dcobranchi

    BOYS VS. GIRLS For at least 10 years, schools have been focused on bringing up the scores of girls who were thought to be shortchanged in the public schools. Now it appears the tide has turned and girls are outscoring boys in the standardized tests and in other important catgeories.

    For the first time, more girls than boys passed the math section of the 2002 WASL in all grades the test is given: fourth, seventh and 10th. In reading and especially writing, girls maintained large leads. In the seventh and 10th grades, nearly two-thirds of girls met the writing standard, compared with fewer than half of boys.

    The gap mirrors national — and international — trends. In England, they worry about the “lad” problem.

    This should be no surprise to anyone who has had a son in the schools. The emphasis these days is all on desk work, 6 1/2 hours per day (plus 2 to 3 hours of homework). Recess has been eliminated in many schools. Boys just don’t have a chance to burn off their energy. This may be completely sexist and un-PC but boys and girls ARE wired differently. There’s a reason the aphorism “Boys will be boys” became one. Still one more reason to HS.

    REAL AFDC? Here’s an

    Filed on at 6:03 am under by dcobranchi

    REAL AFDC? Here’s an interesting experiment: some poor Montana mothers are being paid to stay home and take care of their infants.

    The pilot program pays the same child-care worker’s wages – $17 a day in this state – to a low-income mother caring for children under 2.

    To show you how this turns history on its head – or makes history – remember that Aid to Families with Dependent Children began in 1935 as a program that would allow widowed mothers to stay at home with kids. By the 1990s, with so many mothers in the work force, the cry was to end AFDC.

    Welfare reform was based on an idea so radical that we didn’t even publicly acknowledge it. The idea was that a (poor) mother’s place was in the work force.

    The problem is that we never answered one huge question: Who will take care of the children? For many families, especially for those with infants, wages were so low and child care so expensive that the math didn’t work.

    SO I LIED This

    Filed on at 4:27 am under by dcobranchi

    SO I LIED This story from the NYT is a sports story but that’s not why it’s blogged here. Instead, this is personal; my eldest son and I drove down to Baltimore yesterday (yes, we played hookey from church) and were there to witness the Yanks clinch home-field advantage and Soriano to choke. It was a glorious day- 78 degrees at game time, not a cloud in the sky. It was his first MLB game, so a true father-son ritual. Just a perfect day!

    OBLIGATORY HS REFERENCE: We did drive by some historical old cannon in the Inner Harbor. 🙂


    Filed on September 29, 2002 at 6:59 pm under by dcobranchi

    WATCH THOSE LINKS UCSD has decided that linking to a web-site owned by a terrorist group (FARC in this case), may run afoul of the Patriot Act’s prohibition on “providing ‘material support or resources’ to foreign terrorists who have been placed on a State Department list.” At least one civil liberties group believes the school has overreached.

    The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) said UCSD’s reading of the USA Patriot act was laughably censorious.

    “I think their interpretation of materially supporting terrorism is dreadfully overbroad and a massive threat to freedom of speech,” said Greg Lukianoff, FIRE’s director of legal advocacy. Lukianoff said FIRE was willing to represent the Che Cafe against the university, which must abide by the First Amendment’s guarantee of free speech because it is a government school.


    Filed on at 6:15 pm under by dcobranchi

    TESTING, TESTING, 1, 2, 3 More school districts are imposing random drug tests on students participating in extra-curricular activities. The NYT had a nice pro & con type article today.

    OVERPAID TEACHER Another off-beat

    Filed on September 28, 2002 at 2:28 pm under by dcobranchi

    OVERPAID TEACHER Another off-beat article.

    Thanks to a computer glitch, the teacher was paid $7.9 million before taxes for 18 minutes of work. The teacher, who wasn’t identified, received $4,015,624.80 after taxes.

    Someone alerted the school district earlier this month, and the money was returned after six days, chief financial officer Ken Forrest said in Thursday’s Detroit News.

    “Someone” alerted the school district? And then it took six days to return the money? Sounds like this teacher was tempted to take the money and run.

    OT- DEMON RUM This

    Filed on at 2:19 pm under by dcobranchi

    OT- DEMON RUM This one’s just a little too bizarre to pass up.

    Chad Dillon was rescued yesterday after witnesses heard him screaming from within the back of the Waste Management truck as its driver picked up trash at the DeKalb County Fairgrounds.

    Police say the truck compacted Dillon into loads of trash not once, but twice. He was released yesterday afternoon from a Fort Wayne Hospital after being treated for head, chest and arm injuries.

    Auburn Police Chief Martin McCoy says Dillon apparently fell asleep in a trash bin somewhere in the downtown Auburn area, where a fall festival was held this week.

    He says Dillon had been out drinking Thursday night at an Auburn bar.

    OH, CANADA Here’s a

    Filed on September 27, 2002 at 5:17 pm under by dcobranchi

    OH, CANADA Here’s a nice profile of “old school homeschoolers” in the Great White North.

    The emphasis, Stephan says, isn’t on testing, but on learning. “When you’re working day by day with a child, evaluation is not as important. When a child sits down to do a math lesson, you know if they can do it,” he says.

    “If they’re having problems, we don’t make it a big issue. It’s not a matter of passing or failing.”

    Homeschooling for them is not just an experiment, it’s a lifestyle.

    “We’re teaching them to enjoy learning,” Stephan says, “so that when they leave our home they can continue to learn and they’ll know how to learn because they’ve been learning all their lives.”

    K12 Over at The

    Filed on at 11:20 am under by dcobranchi

    K12 Over at The Motley Fool (registration required)I am in the midst of a debate with the “Product Manager for K12’s Online School,” which is one of the reason’s I find this article interesting.

    Minnesota’s slow journey into online learning received a high-profile push Thursday with former U.S. Education Secretary William Bennett pitching one of the state’s newest schools…

    Tapping into the rapidly growing home-school movement in the state and with Bennett’s high-name recognition, the Minnesota Virtual Academy could rapidly expand Minnesota’s online enrollment, which has lagged behind some other states…

    K12 Inc. works in partnership with virtual schools in five other states. In its first year last year, it had an enrollment of 1,000. This year it has more than 7,000 students. About 60 percent of the students come from home-school families.


    Filed on at 8:57 am under by dcobranchi

    A CRUMMY HEADLINE This is just poor newspapering: Successes spotty so far in classes for home-schooled Half way down the article we learn that some courses being offered to HSers haven’t generated much interest. What a shock!

    Five years ago, the mother of one of Sandra Strassel’s drawing students at Valley Art asked Strassel to start such a class. Strassel agreed if the mother would get at least six students to commit.

    Now the Forest Grove gallery offers daytime classes for children in drawing and pottery and occasionally in calligraphy or bookmaking.

    But the success of daytime classes for home-schoolers seems to be somewhat fluky.

    At the other end of the spectrum from Valley Art is Dawn Webster, a teacher at Act-1 School of Dance in Cedar Mill. She offered a daytime dance class last term after some girls in her daughter’s home-school Girl Scout troop asked for one.

    “But nobody came for it,” Webster said.

    Hint: Advertise!


    Filed on at 8:28 am under by dcobranchi

    ZERO TOLERANCE = ZERO BRAINS From the same school district that expelled a student for having a bread knife in his pick-up truck comes this story about a middle schooler suspended for accidentally leaving a Leatherman tool (with a 2 3/4 in blade in the handle) in his backback.


    Filed on September 26, 2002 at 2:14 pm under by dcobranchi

    WONDER OF WONDERS choice works- at least to the extent that some schools are starting to have to deal with market forces. Tuscaloosa schools are “losing” state aid due to increased numbers of HSers.

    “The more parents who choose to keep their children out of public schools, the less resources we have,” said Shelley Jones, chair of the Tuscaloosa City Board of Education.

    “Our resources, our money, our funding is based on our enrollment, so if we don’t have them in our school system, we don’t get money to educate them.”

    Well, duh!

    If home schooling digs much deeper into local school budgets, Salter said systems likely will have to promote themselves and their facilities to draw students back.

    “We hope people have seen the progress we’ve made in the last several years and want to come back to our public schools,” he said…

    “What we have to do is offer the highest quality curriculum, the best teachers and the best programs we can and hope that parents will look at our record and want to send their children to our schools,” she said…

    But if loss of funding prompts public schools to improve to lure home schoolers back, home school mother Deirdre Aycock said the result can only be positive for all parties.

    “Hopefully, having a choice will make public schools sit up and take notice and improve what they’re doing,” she said.


    Filed on at 2:02 pm under by dcobranchi

    HOPE SPRINGS ETERNAL A CA school district is seeking to raise funds to replace ageing school buildings. Why is this news? Check out this optimistic quote:

    Members of the Libertarian Party, providing the only organized opposition to the measure, say the district isn’t looking at all the options.

    To deal with space needs, party member Jack Hickey said the district should implement split sessions and encourage more parents to send their kids to private schools or home school.

    “It would take a load off the school district, because they wouldn’t have as many children to take care of,” Hickey said.

    “It’s the parents’ responsibility to take care of the children’s education, not the government.”

    I wish you luck.

    OH, NO! My favorite

    Filed on at 1:51 pm under by dcobranchi

    OH, NO! My favorite aggregator of “educ. stuff”, EducationNews.org didn’t publish today at all. Let’s hope this is temporary; EdNews is a great site.


    Filed on at 1:39 pm under by dcobranchi

    BRAIN OVER EASY Yes, mine is fried. I’ve been in one of those 8:00 – 4:00 meetings. Ugh! Blogging will now resume.


    Filed on September 25, 2002 at 5:25 pm under by dcobranchi

    THIS KIND OF HELP WE CAN DO WITHOUT This IA school district wants to “help” HSers. Thanks a lot:

    The group also discussed a possible home school assistance program. Christensen said that the number of home school students has been increasing across the state, and they feel it’s important to help those who chose that route for educating their children.

    The program requires a certified teacher to contact parents four times per quarter (two face to face and two can be by phone or e-mail).

    “The certified teacher helps with lesson planning, teaching strategies, curriculum development and testing,” Christensen said.


    Filed on at 11:03 am under by dcobranchi

    OT: GO WOFFORD This will likely be the only sports story you see here (at least until the Furman Paladins make the I-AA playoffs). I think the NYT underrates Wofford’s chances at knocking off Maryland. The Southern Conference has a history of sneaking up on ACC teams. In four consecutive years back in the mid-80’s, Furman beat GA Tech (ACC), the Univ. of South Carolina (independent), and NC State twice (ACC). Woof!

    HS THEM A short

    Filed on at 10:52 am under by dcobranchi

    HS THEM A short article on what are termed “profoundly gifted” children and the problems they have in school. We all know the solution: Homeschool ’em!


    Filed on at 9:57 am under by dcobranchi

    A NEW HSING BLOG Laura Derrick from NHEN has a new Homeschooling & Unschooling blog. Not a whole lot of commentary yet but a nice collection of good links. I’ll add this one to the blog-roll under “Laura Derrick”.


    Filed on at 9:05 am under by dcobranchi

    OT BUT WELL-TIMED In light of the re-running of Ken Burns’ Civil War this week (you did set the VCR, right?), I offer up Geroge Will’s column on preserving the memory of the Battle of Chancellorsville. Anyone who loves history will appreciate the column.


    Filed on at 8:41 am under by dcobranchi

    ARE THEY “PROFESSIONALS” OR NOT? Public school teachers are constantly claiming they are “professionals” and should be paid as such. Maybe but, in my mind, professionals have some sense of the rule of law.

    The Issaquah School District will open classrooms today without its striking teachers, who yesterday voted overwhelmingly to defy a judge’s back-to-work order…

    Kathy O’Toole, a Washington Education Association lawyer who represented the union in Monday’s hearing, explained to members their due-process rights and the potential consequences of defying the orders…

    One teacher questioned the burden of proof, if teachers defy the order.

    “If we don’t show up, isn’t that proof enough?” she asked.

    Linderman said teachers could say they were sick, or that a parent was sick. The district can’t prove otherwise.

    A fine example for their students from these “professionals”.


    Filed on September 24, 2002 at 8:02 pm under by dcobranchi

    OT: GOOGLE NEWS Jack Shafer at Slate has an article up about Google News.

    According to the site’s FAQ page, Google News software continuously crawls more than 4,000 Web news sources, looking for the most relevant articles from the most reputable sources. From those results, other Google automatons auto-generate news pages for its various section fronts, sorting them into: “Top Stories,” world, U.S., business, sports, entertainment, etc. The pages include the source of the article, a clickable (back to the originating site) headline, the story’s first sentence, and often a news photo. By my stopwatch, Google News produces all new section fronts every 12 minutes or so, satisfying even the most attention-deficit disordered news appetite. Enterprising readers who want to dig deeper can retrieve stories culled by Google News over the past 30 days by using keyword searches.

    Without Google News and EducationNews.org this blog would be a blank “slate” (I’ll leave it to you to decide if that would be an improvement).


    Filed on at 8:59 am under by dcobranchi

    THAT’S WHY THEY’RE CALLED “PRIVATE” SCHOOLS Here’s a great example of the arrogance of some reporters: private secondary schools are being pressured to release “accountability” type data and they’re pushing back.

    Reshma Memon Yaqub, a writer for Worth magazine, graduated from a public high school — Churchill in Montgomery County — and is accustomed to such schools providing all kinds of information to reporters. But when she began to contact private high schools for an article on getting students into Ivy League colleges, she said, “the door was slammed in my face.”…

    “It was as if these schools felt it was their God-given right to charge $20,000 a year . . . and not be accountable to the public for the results,” she said. [emphasis added]

    They’re private schools. They don’t have to be accountable to anyone except the students and their parents. The article goes on to basically warn private schools that vouchers can spell the end of their independence.

    Education experts say that if tax-supported private school tuition vouchers and other ways of funding private schools with government money become popular, private schools that receive such money will be obliged to report test scores, teacher qualifications and graduation rates, as public schools do now.

    “I think it’s very hard to argue that private schools receiving public funds should not be subject to the same information requirements as traditional public schools,” said Doug Harris, assistant professor of education and economics at Florida State University and a research associate at the Economic Policy Institute in Washington.

    BONUS: Lisa Snell is quoted in the article.


    Filed on September 23, 2002 at 5:40 pm under by dcobranchi

    PRETTY FUNNY I saw this list on HEM-Networking. I don’t know the original author.

    Top 10 Answers You Should NEVER Give to the Question “What?! No School Today?”

    10. Well normally yes, but this time of year I need help with the planting and plowing.

    9. Goodness, no!!! I graduated 18 years ago, but thanks for the compliment!

    8. No, we homeschool. We’re just out to pick up a bag of pork rinds and some Mountain Dew, then we gotta hurry home to catch our soaps.

    7. What?! Where did you guys come from?! Oh my gosh! I thought I told you kids to stay at school! I’m sorry. This happens all the time. (sigh)

    6. There isn’t? Why, you’d think we would have seen more kids out then, don’t you?

    5. We’re on a field trip studying human nature’s intrusive and assumptive tactics of displaying ignorance and implied superiority. Thanks for the peek!

    4. On our planet we have different methods of education. (Shhh! No, I didn’t give it away… keep your antennae down!)

    3. Oh my goodness! I thought that today was Saturday…come on kids, hurry!

    2. Noooooope.Me ‘n Bubba jes’ learns ’em at home. Werks reel good!

    And the number one answer we should NEVER give to the question: “What? No school today?”

    1. “What? No Bingo today?”

    OUCH! An arrest was

    Filed on at 11:39 am under by dcobranchi


    An arrest was made Friday in the case of a 14-year-old freshman at Western Harnett High School who told Harnett County Sheriff’s deputies she was physically assaulted in the woods behind the school.

    Olga Esther Perez, 16, of Bunnlevel was arrested at home late Friday afternoon by Western Harnett School Resource Officer James Gunter.

    Miss Perez was charged with misdemeanor assault with a deadly weapon and possession of a weapon on school property, also a misdemeanor. Her arrest report stated that Ms. Perez attacked her victim with “brass knuckles, by hitting her in the back of the head.”

    Attacking someone with brass knuckles is a misdemeanor? But it gets better. Check out these ridiculous quotes:

    The mother also stressed it was her daughter’s “first time skipping school” and she was not smoking marijuana, but other students were. She said her daughter has since passed a drug test…

    “I feel that Western Harnett is as safe a school as any school there is. I would certainly not have any problem with my children being in that school,” [Superintendent] Andrews said.


    Filed on at 6:42 am under by dcobranchi

    FREE SPEECH ZONE? This preacher’s message is sick but I find the school’s proposed solution to be rather unworkable- protest is allowed only in a designated “free speech zone” located four miles from the football stadium. Who is he allowed to speak to way out there? The deer and the antelope?

    REFUSENIKS This article may

    Filed on at 6:36 am under by dcobranchi

    REFUSENIKS This article may be good news for HSers. Colleges throughout the country are not automatically penalizing MA students who refuse to sit for the high-stakes exit exam, the MCAS. HSers are not permitted to take this test (probably because the state doesn’t want the competition).

    DOUBLE DIPPING? The University

    Filed on at 6:30 am under by dcobranchi

    DOUBLE DIPPING? The University of Texas- Austin is set to open a charter school. Somehow, this just doesn’t seem right. UT is a state supported school. On top of that, the UT charter will receive $5000/student from the local school district.

    Under UT’s plan, charter students would go to school one week longer than their counterparts in public schools. They also would spend an extra 30 minutes a day in class. In addition, classes would be smaller than the state-mandated 22-1 student-teacher ratio, with a 16-1 ratio in pre-kindergarten and 20-1 in kindergarten and first grade.

    Well, sure. If you’re double dipping you have plenty of money to lower class size. But how does that translate to the OTHER public schools?

    WHY, OH WHY does

    Filed on at 6:00 am under by dcobranchi

    WHY, OH WHY does EducationNews.org continue to publicize the rantings of Dennis Redovich, former teacher? At least he’s consistent. Among the rest of this “well-reasoned” piece against the “spurious crisis in education” is this gem:

    An academically challenged media reiterates the garbage of Corporate America about public education without serious challenge.

    And where were these “academically challenged” reporters most likely educated? Why, those wonderful public schools, no doubt.


    Filed on September 22, 2002 at 6:01 am under by dcobranchi

    LONG DISTANCE UNSCHOOLING How’d you like to try to HS while through-hiking the Appalachian Trail?

    Long hours of hiking made it tough to follow a home-school curriculum, which Homer and Therese Witcher had hoped to do. Still, the children learned plenty, including plant and animal identification, and geography. By reading maps and adding trail lengths, Bennett became something of a math whiz.


    Filed on September 21, 2002 at 5:11 pm under by dcobranchi

    SET THE VCR Ken Burns’ Civil War is returning to PBS this week. The program has been updated with better graphics and sound.

    SUCKERS! Just kidding- this

    Filed on at 4:26 pm under by dcobranchi

    SUCKERS! Just kidding- this is really sad. Teachers are spending a ton of money to buy supplies for their schools. The schools say they can’t afford to provide the necessities. Maybe it’s because they’re spending all their money on laptops.


    Filed on at 4:16 pm under by dcobranchi

    WELL, GO AHEAD THEN SC’s Horry County has delayed releasing the high-stakes test results until October 4th and parents are getting frustrated:

    “I don’t agree with taking the entire year to focus on a test,” said Martha Winebarger, whose son and daughter attend Bethel Elementary School. “Now, we’re even talking about adjusting school start [dates] because of testing.”

    Lori Austin, who was waiting to pick up her children at Bethel this week, said: “I’m tired of people judging children. There are times when I feel like I should just home-school.”

    P.S. As a bonus, this has one of the most confusing bylines I’ve seen in a while. Horry County is on the coast (Myrtle Beach is in Horry County). Mauldin is in Greenville County- about as far away from Horry as you can get and still be in the same state. Bizarre.


    Filed on at 3:43 pm under by dcobranchi

    HOUMA PART TWO These are out of order but I just received via email a link to the missing article. Beryl Amedee is mentioned again. There is also a variation on the obligatory photo. Instead of a mother pointing to a text book, we have a HSer studying same. Here’s a strange quote:

    The way Ellen Chauvin of Thibodaux makes sure her 11-year-old son, Caleb Chauvin’s academic performance is in line with his school peers is by closely following a preplanned school curriculum and by having Caleb take the SATs anualy [sic].

    The “SATs”? For an 11-year-old? I guess it’s possible.


    Filed on at 6:15 am under by dcobranchi

    IT’S A HSING SATURDAY here at the Cobranchi’s. That means roller hockey at 10, a quick trip to the science store, and then HS Field Day at 1. Hence, blogging will be non-existent ’til this evening. Y’all come back now, y’hear.


    Filed on September 20, 2002 at 3:21 pm under by dcobranchi

    A WEIRD COINCIDENCE Beryl Amedee was the subject of a very positive HSing article I blogged this morning. Then, this thoroughly disheartening HSLDA “e-lert” arrived this afternoon. Mrs. Amedee is prominently featured.

    On August 13 2002, three Louisiana legislators met with several child welfare and attendance officers and a Christian Home Educators Fellowship (CHEF) of Louisiana representative. Beryl Amedee, wife of CHEF of LA President John Amedee, represented CHEF at the meeting. Mrs. Amedee attended the meeting expecting to offer constructive suggestions for improving Louisiana’s truancy laws. Instead, she was told the meeting was dedicated to announcing the intent to “tighten up” on homeschools in Louisiana.

    After the meeting, these legislators wrote to Cecil Picard, Superintendent of the Louisiana Department of Education. Their letter states, “We are interested in filing bills for the 2003 Regular Session to tighten up on the requirements for home study and homeschooling.” The legislature will begin its session on March 31, 2003.
    This gives us five months to get organized and block this legislation. Visit the link to read the letter.

    BOILER ROOM I hate

    Filed on at 9:38 am under by dcobranchi

    BOILER ROOM I hate this.

    The students have about 10 days to sell enough magazines to reach their goal of over $100,000 in sales…

    On Wednesday, Wayne Miller of Bay Area Fundraising was on hand to explain the specifics of the magazine sale to students, mainly showing them how to fill out the magazine order forms.

    Then, Miller whipped the students into a frenzy as he displayed the wide assortment of prizes available for those selling a certain number of magazines. Prizes include weepuls (small fuzzy characters with sticky feet), puka shells, stuffed animals, Borders and Old Navy gift certificates, a calculator/clock, personal water dispenser and a personal miniature refrigerator that can be plugged into a wall socket or used in the car with an adapter…

    School officials discouraged from students going door-to-door for the sale. Instead, they were advised to sell magazines to family, friends and neighbors.

    “Mostly what we’d like them to do is to call up their grandparents and people out of town, have mom or dad take the order forms to work with them, and go to doctors’ offices,” said King.


    Filed on at 9:28 am under by dcobranchi

    MISLEADING HEADLINE OF THE DAY A Boston Globe op-ed carries this whopper:
    Educating America’s new majority to headline a story on the effect the Mass. accountability tests have on “minorities”. I was intrigued as I hadn’t realized that so-called “minorities” were now in the majority. Well, of course, they’re not. According to these census data, self-declared “whites” account for 73.3% (97.6% of 75.1%) of the U.S. population.

    ARRRGGGHHH!! Now the truancy

    Filed on at 8:26 am under by dcobranchi

    ARRRGGGHHH!! Now the truancy cops AND the police are getting involved in the CA HSing mess.

    Ronald Crozier, a Drug Abuse Resistance Education officer with the Oakdale Police Department, said truancy officers want stricter laws so they can crack down on parents who abuse the system.

    He said he is pressing charges against a number of families who filed private school affidavits to get the officials off their backs.

    He said the families call themselves home-schoolers, but don’t have books or tests or attendance records to back up their claims.

    “Our problem is with parents who are taking advantage of the system,” Crozier said.

    What a bunch of nonsense. CA law doesn’t require books or tests or attendance records. Why should the truancy cops be able to demand them? We heard this same junk in Delaware last year. The state even organized a “Truancy Task Force”, which stated in its “Final Report

    The committee has also considered other issues and their impact not only on the truancy court process but also on better serving youth that are most at risk for school drop out. Although home schooling can provide an effective educational opportunities for children, truancy issues have demonstrated that home schooling has become a well known loophole for parents to use to establish school attendance for their child without having to send their child to a school building. With no criteria for home schooling in this state it allows for parents who are not capable of providing an education for their child [emphasis added] a legal way to not send their child to school.

    And who is to decide if a parent is “capable”? Why, the edu-crats who failed these kids in the first place, of course. More nanny-state nonsense.


    Filed on at 8:15 am under by dcobranchi

    COURIER-HOUMA TODAY PART III Here’s part three of the series (I never did find part two). Some excellent quotes here.

    “I would like to see less regulation. We’re doing a good job and really don’t need to prove that to the state because there are no benefits from it. The state doesn’t provide us with diplomas. The state won’t vouch for our progress. In many ways, the state, if anything, just interferes.

    “Any attempt for the state to further regulate homeschooling would just have a negative effect on homeschool families. Not that they wouldn’t comply or live up to whatever the change would be, but it would just be one more irritant or aggravation. It would be one more case of the government stepping into your living room to try to tell you how to do something you’re already doing just fine,” she explained…

    There are no drawbacks to home education, Beryl said. The experience allows her to have a deeper relationship with her children.

    “We are not isolated. We are not cut off from society. We don’t live in a cave, and we don’t keep the kids in a closet. Day to day, we’re out there … ” Beryl said.

    “For a parent to take the time to pour into their own children, that’s the only way the world is going to change for the better.”

    The only negative I see in this article is the all-too-standard “parent pointing at a book while child(ren) look on” photo. 🙂 If any paper ever decides to profile our family, I’m going to insist that they take a picture of the HS karate class or “swim & gym” at the “Y”. Anything that shows the kids away from the dining room table.


    Filed on at 7:36 am under by dcobranchi

    EDU-BLOGGING AT SAMIZDATA Natalie Solent blogs a piece about an ongoing UK education scandal. Her solution sounds like it could have come from the Alliance for the Separation of School & State.

    I know a breathtakingly simple way for Estelle to get out of this mess entirely. It’s this: Get out of this mess entirely, Estelle! Yes! It’s that easy! Kick over your ministerial desk, make a barbecue of all your papers, hurl your dispatch box over the balustrade of the magnificent interior balcony of Sanctuary Buildings, and be gone and free within the hour. I don’t just mean resign. I mean make your last act the complete and inalienable renunciation of government interference in A Levels, AS Levels, right through to X, Y and Z Levels, with every record so much as touching upon the subject shredded or electronically wiped to make sure your courageous decision sticks. Because government interference is the only cause of all this mess and government butting out is the only cure.

    Preach it, sister!


    Filed on at 6:47 am under by dcobranchi

    AN INTERESTING SENTENCE I promised not to blog any more teacher-student sex stories but this one’s an update with a twist.

    Tanya Joan Hadden, the San Bernardino teacher whose relationship with a 15-year-old student began with innocent car rides and after-school French fries but crossed the line — and then the state line — was given a suspended sentence Thursday and will avoid prison for now…

    Hadden still faces additional charges in San Bernardino, where prosecutors have pledged to forge ahead with a second criminal case in an effort to put Hadden behind bars for

    TESTING Please ignore whatever

    Filed on September 19, 2002 at 1:00 pm under by dcobranchi

    TESTING Please ignore whatever happens on this site for the next few minutes; I’m experimenting with inserting photos.

    UPDATE: It appears to have worked. Cool. Thanks to PaulArk for the code. The image is clickable and should take you to a larger version. This is an old cartoon that I happen to have access to. No news here; move along, move along.

    UPDATE: I have removed the cartoon for copyright reasons. It was, after all, just a test.

    $$$$$$$$$$$ Yes, it’s all

    Filed on at 9:26 am under by dcobranchi

    $$$$$$$$$$$ Yes, it’s all about the money. Another cyber charter targeted at HSers.

    Letters will be sent out to families who home-school their children, telling them of the school district’s plan to implement a virtual school program…

    In response to questions by board members he said that should home-schoolers take part in the program, the school district would receive credit in the form of state aid. One figure mentioned was $8,000 per full-time student…

    Home-schoolers, it was noted, could be set up at their homes. While that would cost the district, the state aid would more than offset that cost, it was noted. “I think this is worth sending letters to home-schoolers and telling them this is what we are contemplating,” board member Dave Pederson said. “I’ve talked with two (families) already and they are interested,” Grimm noted. With between 40 and 50 home-schooled students living within its boundaries, Frederic School District has a somewhat higher percentage of home-schoolers, which plays into the district’s loss of approximately 100 students within the past decade — that, along with open enrollment and an apparent decline in the number school-aged residents…


    Filed on at 9:12 am under by dcobranchi

    ONE MORE THING TO DO And, after they’ve done all their homework (see previous post), they need to read at least forty minutes a day.

    On average, very young children should read two to four familiar books a day, either independently or with an adult, and should have one to two other books read to them every day, school officials said.

    First-graders should read four or more books a day and listen to two to four others. By second grade, students should read one or two short books or long chapters each day and have at least one more difficult book read to them.

    By third grade, students should read at least 25 chapter books each year – not counting what they read for classwork – and should be read aloud every day to expose them to a richer vocabulary and to model good reading habits, officials said.

    Probably good advice but where exactly are they supposed to find time to do this and still have SOME play time?


    Filed on at 9:05 am under by dcobranchi

    ANOTHER HS ADVANTAGE No homework (for the parents).

    Who decided that parents must oversee every book report, give practice spelling tests and correct long division? Our parents never helped with homework. They sipped gimlets or watched Walter Cronkite while we toiled away in our bedrooms, conjugating verbs.

    The whole piece is pretty funny- well worth a click.


    Filed on at 8:57 am under by dcobranchi

    THIS IS THE LAST TIME that I’m going to highlight one of these articles under the categroy of WWHS. It is just SO depressing (and predictable):

    Carol Daubert, 37, pleaded guilty to indecency with a child and was sentenced in state District Judge Bradley Smith’s court, said Assistant District Attorney Diana Adams…

    Daubert of Rosenberg was an assistant band director at Lamar Consolidated High School when she began a sexual relationship with the 15-year-old girl in the fall of 2000, the prosecutor said.


    Filed on at 8:49 am under by dcobranchi

    THEY SHOULD KNOW BETTER The CS Monitor has posted an editorial with some supposedly good news:

    The poll’s findings dispel a widespread myth among the intelligentsia that Americans are ignorant of the Constitution and would throw away the Bill of Rights if left to their own devices, says Deborah Wadsworth, president of the group Public Agenda that conducted the poll of 1,520 citizens.

    Unfortunately, it’s not quite as simple as that.

    Just how ignorant are Americans of their Constitution and Bill of Rights?

    Not very, according to a poll that found two-thirds of Americans say it is “absolutely essential” to have detailed knowledge of the nation’s constitutional rights and freedoms.

    OK- so 2/3 believe it’s important to know what is in the Constitution. How many of them actually do know? The CS Monitor is completely silent on this rather crucial point.

    SLIGHTLY OT I don’t

    Filed on September 18, 2002 at 3:46 pm under by dcobranchi

    SLIGHTLY OT I don’t often read Dawn Olsens’ blog as it’s a bit “blue” but I followed a link from Instapundit and found this very nice post about her 3 year old daughter.

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