Utterly Meaningless » 2003 » January

    Filed on January 31, 2003 at 9:46 am under by dcobranchi

    ONE DOWN, TWO TO GO The North Dakota House defeated a state Department of Education plan to force homeschoolers to take the state accountability tests. The vote was 87-2 against. Now, if only Wyoming and Montana will fall into line. (What is it with these Plains states, anyway?)


    Filed on at 3:59 am under by dcobranchi

    WELCOME TO THE REAL, REAL WORLD Eva Tushnet at JWR posted a nice column on the “S”-word. Here’s a sample.

    Homeschooling, by contrast, enmeshes students in the real “real world,” where there are babies to be fed, where people still recall the Great Depression, and where every stage of life and learning is represented. Homeschooling avoids the monolithic teen-culture, providing a wide array of models for kids to emulate. Natural hierarchies like age and experience are much more evident, and so there is less pressure to form hierarchies based on superficial or damaging attributes. Children whose better qualities or talents are overlooked by their peers are likely to find that other age groups are more open to what they have to offer–for example, a shy boy might blossom when teaching a younger student; a girl who often seems defensive and snobby might mellow when she finds an adult who appreciates her intellectual talents.

    Defintely worth a read.

    UPDATE: OK, so I’m slow. Isabel Lyman blogged this one the other day.

    TEE HEE Alice Bachini

    Filed on at 3:46 am under by dcobranchi

    TEE HEE Alice Bachini on the school system:

    [M]aybe the school system as educator is bound to fail because it’s just an outdated Victorian tool of something-ist oppression that is well past its sell-by date in any civilised half-literate country? Just a thought.


    Filed on January 30, 2003 at 9:27 am under by dcobranchi

    WITH GOVERNMENT DOLLARS… come government strings. The NCLB Act requires schools receiving federal money to provide military recruiters a list of their students names, phone numbers, and addresses. Private schools are exempt. Some parents are whining about this:

    Laurie Sellick, the mother of a senior at Firestone High School in Akron, is uncomfortable with the schools’ giving anyone — especially the military — easy access to her son. She is equally troubled that students in private schools are off limits.

    “I believe the (law) should be for all students, across all racial and socioeconomic barriers. If you do it for one, you have to do it for all,” she said.

    Tough! I’ve got nothing against the military but let them get their spam addresses like any other “business”. I’ll do whatever I can to protect my children’s privacy. Besides, the law lets parents of public-schoolers opt out if they choose.

    LOL! Cathy Henderson rips

    Filed on at 8:51 am under by dcobranchi

    LOL! Cathy Henderson rips aparts a Washington State Resolution “recognizing” homeschooling.


    Filed on at 8:29 am under by dcobranchi

    DELAWARE ITEM HB 39 provides for a $500 income tax deduction if the credit is not already taken on the Federal Income Tax form. Don’t bother asking if it applies to homeschoolers- it doesn’t.

    Section 1. Amend § 1106(b), Title 30 of the Delaware Code, by adding thereto a new paragraph as follows:

    “(9) For individuals who are employed in a teaching or teaching support position, amounts not to exceed $500 which have been used for the purchase of goods or services used in or for classroom instruction if the same has not been previously taken by the individual as a deduction on their federal income tax form. For the purposes of the modification pursuant to this paragraph, no documentation shall be required by the Division of Revenue.”


    Filed on at 1:16 am under by dcobranchi

    ALMOST A NEWBIE This young mother of five in Louisiana is considering homeschooling. She’s given it a lot of thought (more than we did before jumping in).

    All these elements converge, and I am left with a deep sense of duty, calling, and mission. Which of these is paramount, I do not know, and this brings me to my greatest obstacle thus far: “Am I considering homeschooling for pure and right reasons?”

    A good blog.

    IT’S CONTAGIOUS Isabel Lyman

    Filed on at 12:09 am under by dcobranchi

    IT’S CONTAGIOUS Isabel Lyman linked to an article detailing how Cal State- Long Beach is bringing freshmen up to “proficient” status in math and English. But check out this quote from the chief academic officer:

    The problem, he said, is the students’ lack “of ability to read critical (sic) and with comprehension. It constitutes 90 percent of the failure of students in this area.”

    And, perhaps, the other ten percent is due to chief academic officers who can’t speak English? I’m sure he was misquoted. Yeah, that’s the ticket.

    UNSCHOOLERS The Southern Policy

    Filed on January 29, 2003 at 12:44 pm under by dcobranchi

    UNSCHOOLERS The Southern Policy Law Center project “Teaching Tolerance” has a very positive article on unschooling in Tennessee.

    GEEK CHIC Here’s a

    Filed on January 28, 2003 at 12:30 pm under by dcobranchi

    GEEK CHIC Here’s a periodic table that provides lots of info for each of the elements along with some graphics and animations. Pretty entertaining (if you’re a chem-nerd or homeschooling one).

    GO, BOILERMAKERS This article

    Filed on at 12:08 pm under by dcobranchi

    GO, BOILERMAKERS This article starts out recounting how homeschoolers are facing discrimination in college admissions due to confusion among the admissions officers. They really should know by now that the schools will not lose federal funding if they admit homeschoolers. Purdue has apparently gotten the message.

    [F]or those hoping to enroll at Purdue, there is no difference in the criteria that must be met for admission between those who are home schooled and those who attended an accredited high school. Indiana Department of Education dictates Purdue’s admissions policies.

    “In the state of Indiana, a diploma issued from a home school is a recognized diploma,” said Doug Christiansen, director of enrollment. “There is no difference.”

    He said as long as a home-schooled student meets the admissions requirements they are eligible for enrollment.

    “We, as an institution, have evolved to make sure that all requirements are the same for all students,” said Christiansen.

    Joyce Hall, director of the division of financial aid, said the same thing holds true for financial aid.

    “It’s a level playing field,” she said…

    “We are seeing increasing numbers of home-schooled (students) that are very, very prepared.”


    Filed on at 6:52 am under by dcobranchi

    THIS IS COLLEGE? What a waste of tuition money:

    Butler University students taking David Luechauer’s business classes may have to put a colored dot on their foreheads for 10 days — a diversity lesson.

    They may invent the “superhero” they’d like to be. Or perhaps crawl on the floor while making animal noises — freeing their inhibitions.

    They’re asked to write, stage and perform a play and create collages representing their past, present and future…

    In his organizational behavior class, students often break up into small groups to share ideas. When they address the class, they stand. “Hi,” the class says in unison. “Hi, class,” the student responds, After each finishes talking, Luechauer calls for a round of applause.

    On Thursday, the 32 students roamed the room, examining one another’s collages and telling those in their group of their past and whom they want to be.

    This would look stupid if 5th graders were being asked to “perform” this way. At the college level, it’s just criminal.


    Filed on January 27, 2003 at 10:37 am under by dcobranchi

    BLOGGER BUSTED I can’t publish through the normal blogger interface. I’ve gone to a back-up which invariably screws up my archives. Sorry.


    Filed on at 8:55 am under by dcobranchi

    GOOD LITTLE DRONES Here’s another story about how wonderful pre-school is for kids. This school has no data but just knows that pre-K is so terrific they expanded the program.

    “The kindergarten teachers indicate they can identify those youngsters who attended the preschool,” he said. “They are more prepared for group experience.”

    Translation: They do what they’re told and sit quietly at their desks. Bah!

    WHY SCHOOL? There’s all

    Filed on at 7:52 am under by dcobranchi

    WHY SCHOOL? There’s all sorts of interesting info in this short National Post (Canada) article about some schools switching to a four-day week. First off, data indicate that there is no significant difference in student performance between those who attend four longer days and those on a traditional five day schedule. But, there are significant benefits:

    “It’s a no-brainer,” Teresa Rezansoff, board chairwoman, said of the 20% financial savings in custodial and busing costs. Also, teacher and student absenteeism in the first semester has dropped by 40%, student discipline problems by 80%, she said.

    Nevertheless, some parents and educrats are opposed.

    Victoria resident Jaime Matten, a single mother, juggles parenting and working full-time. Her seven-year-old daughter, Ellah, is in Grade 2.

    “I have a lot of sympathy for the school boards in that they’ve been dealt a crappy budget, but I don’t think this is going to assure the quality of education. It’s solving short-term budget problems and causing long-term problems…. It’s hard enough to make ends meet now, not to mention a full day of daycare.”

    Schools in Halifax and Prince Edward Island considered the four-day school week, but decided against it.

    “I see the four-day school week as an economic measure almost exclusively. I don’t think it stands the test of being good for kids academically,” said Bob Brown, superintendent of the Regina School Board.

    He said inconvenience on families is a real issue.

    So, we see the real reason for having public schools- “free” child care.

    This issue would make for an interesting debate: Parents of kids in the public schools would likely favor keeping the current system; parents of kids in private schools, homeschoolers, and empty-nesters would probably go the other way because of the significant tax savings. The deciding factor might be the teachers’ unions. Would they opt for the status quo or prefer to have the kids four days with one day for “teacher planning, professional development and some extra-curricular activities?”

    A NEW BLOG I’ve

    Filed on January 26, 2003 at 5:19 pm under by dcobranchi

    A NEW BLOG I’ve added Alice Bachini’s blog to the blogroll. Check it out- interesting stuff.

    DELAWARE ITEM The News-Journal

    Filed on at 4:49 pm under by dcobranchi

    DELAWARE ITEM The News-Journal has an op-ed today on the state’s budget mess. Some of the ideas are pretty good (including vouchers) but at least one makes no sense to me.

    Stop building and funding libraries that aren’t part of neighborhood schools. This has caused a costly duplication of resources.

    What does one have to do with the other? Public libraries are open to all. School libraries obviously aren’t. Public libraries may not be mentioned in the Constitution, but they do date back to the founding of the country. They are integral to having an informed citizenry. This is just a dumb idea.

    A RIDDLE Q: When

    Filed on at 4:20 am under by dcobranchi

    A RIDDLE Q: When can a student opt-out of a “high-stakes” test? A: When the reporter is confused.

    Although it is their right to choose not to participate in the high-stakes test, school administrators do not like to see students opt out, because a large number of waivers would compromise the school’s standing in a statewide “accountability system” based solely on test scores.

    I think this is a mis-use of the term “high-stakes”, which, AFAIK, refers to the ramifications for the students. If they can opt-out at will, this is a “no-stakes” test.

    TENURE DEBATE The Atlanta

    Filed on at 3:57 am under by dcobranchi

    TENURE DEBATE The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has an interesting aticle on the pros and cons of granting tenure to public-school teachers. It’s labelled an “opinion” piece but I couldn’t figure out which side the paper was taking.

    A ROLE MODEL Here’s

    Filed on at 3:08 am under by dcobranchi

    A ROLE MODEL Here’s what a pro-life activist had to say about the future of the pro-life movement.

    Weyrich sees the fight over abortion more in terms of the larger skirmish over American culture. “We cannot put our faith in the Republicans or anyone else until we change the culture,” he said.

    Change might require that the pro-life community “do what the home-school movement did,” Weyrich added. “They withdrew from a completely deficient environment and spared their children the dreadful things that are going on in public schools today.”

    “We can’t expect to send our kids to the movies produced by Hollywood today and think that it won’t affect them,” he added.

    While homeschoolers aren’t looking to change the culture, I (now) understand the analogy, although I’m not sure it’s 100% on target. Weyrich believes the abortion battle is going to be a long one and won’t be won until the culture is changed through the kids. He wants to “protect” children from the culture at large in order to eventually win the abortion fight when these kids grow up. Now, I’m all for protecting kids from a harmful environment; that is a major part of homeschooling. Where we part ways, though, is that homeschoolers aren’t necessarily doing this to further some political end 20 years from now.

    NOTE: I have purposely tried to keep the tone in the post neutral. This blog is not “about” abortion, so let’s not start any flame wars, ok?

    A BAD BILL When

    Filed on January 25, 2003 at 1:16 am under by dcobranchi

    A BAD BILL When the legislature’s in session, keep your eyes open- you never know when a state will challenge Pennsylvania for the dubious distinction of having the worst homeschooling laws. Stepping up to the plate today is Wyoming Senate File Number 110 [pdf file]. This proposal is so bad (how bad is it?), that the best thing I can say about it is that major portions would be thrown out as a violation of the NCLB Act. Here’s the offending section:

    It shall be the responsibility of every person administering a home-based educational program to submit a curriculum to the local board of trustees each year showing that the program complies with the requirements of this subsection, specifying the name and grade level for each child receiving home-based instruction, program content areas and the student performance standards for each content area included within the curriculum. In addition to the curriculum, the person administering the program shall file with the local board a portfolio for each child receiving home-based instruction, providing evidence of academic achievement at the end of the first semester of each academic school year.

    (c) In addition to subsection (b) of this section, if a child is withdrawn from public school and placed in a home-based educational program, the parent or guardian of the child shall within ten (10) days after the child is withdrawn, notify the appropriate local board in writing of the withdrawal and grade level of the child. Notice shall include the home-based educational program curriculum, program content areas and sequence plan for implementation, as specified under subsection (b) of this section.

    (d) Each child receiving home-based educational program instruction shall be assessed under the statewide assessment system in the subject areas and at the grade levels specified under W.S. 21-2-304(a)(v).

    JERK! What makes this

    Filed on January 24, 2003 at 11:15 am under by dcobranchi

    JERK! What makes this Univ. of Wisconsin professor an expert worth quoting?

    “I support the right of people to educate their own children, but I strongly believe it has very negative effects on society,” Apple said. “I would not want home-schoolers to be admitted [to college] with any less evidence over another student.”

    …He noted the problems with standardized tests being that any student could theoretically take test preparation courses and receive a high score, which does not necessarily qualify an individual for admittance. He did stress, however, the importance of using a wider array of evidence in admissions decisions when dealing specifically with home-schooled students.

    Test-prep courses are that good? This should be news to the psychometricians in the audience.

    In a way, I agree with the professor. With the exception of transcripts/diplomas (which are meaningless), hold homeschoolers to the same admissions criteria as the public-school graduates. I have no fear that on a level playing field, homeschoolers will shine.

    For a bonus quote, we have this:

    UW professor Beth M. Graue oversees admissions within the School of Education and said she has never seen an application of a student who was home-schooled during their high school years. However, she strongly believes that the “very same criteria” should be used when deciding whether to admit a student to the university regardless if he or she has been home-schooled or not.

    There’s probably a reason that the Ed School doesn’t get any homeschoolers. Maybe because the kids are too smart to fall into the public-school morass?


    Filed on at 10:39 am under by dcobranchi

    TESTING REALLY IS BAD FOR KIDS It burned down this kid’s house and got him arrested:

    A 14-year-old Long Island boy – who defiantly set school tests that he had failed on fire and tossed them out his suburban bedroom window – accidentally torched his home when the wind blew the blazing embers back into his room.

    Take that Kim! 🙂


    Filed on at 7:16 am under by dcobranchi

    BETTER DEAD THAN RED Er, Green. This UK school has banned teachers from marking students incorrect answers in red ink and will use green, instead.

    Critics have condemned the change as “politically correct” and “trendy”.

    But Penny Penn-Howard, head of school improvement for Sandwell Council, said: “The colour of the pen used for marking is not greatly significant except that the red pen has negative connotations and can be seen as a negative approach to improving pupils’ work.

    What about kids who are red-green colorblind? They might still feel the “negative connotations”. Let’s just do away with marking incorrect answers completely; that way no one can have their feelings hurt.

    BURY IT North Dakota

    Filed on January 23, 2003 at 9:43 am under by dcobranchi

    BURY IT North Dakota wants to force homeschoolers to take the state accountability tests. Not surprisingly, they don’t want to. The article waits until the very end, though, for this:

    [T]he No Child Left Behind act specifically says that state assessment testing cannot be required for home schoolers. So..the bill is expected to fail in the house… and that’s good news to Barbara Jo’s family… and the hundreds of others like hers in the state.


    Filed on at 9:29 am under by dcobranchi

    COMPULSORY ATTENDANCE A Montana bill would increase the compulsory attendance age from 16 to 18. Homeschoolers are worried that it will interfere with their efforts to homeschool.

    HEHD UPDATE CNN.com picked

    Filed on at 12:07 am under by dcobranchi

    HEHD UPDATE CNN.com picked up the “dads involved in homeschooling” article for their Education page. It’s the same article as before but this is the first time that I recall CNN even mentioning homeschooling.

    TAKE COVER! This headline

    Filed on January 22, 2003 at 10:05 am under by dcobranchi

    TAKE COVER! This headline is ominous: Homeschoolers, cyber students targeted. The article is about a school district marketing on-line courses to homeschoolers. Whew!

    PHENOM This little girl

    Filed on at 9:57 am under by dcobranchi

    PHENOM This little girl will graduate as valedictorian from SUNY- Stony Brook at the age of 13. In her spare time she’s a concert clarinetist and has earned a black belt in karate.


    Filed on at 9:45 am under by dcobranchi

    FIRST AMENDMENT UPDATE The straight-A student who was facing suspension for for making a racist remark on the internet has been granted a reprieve. He will not be suspended.

    Houston Independent School District spokeswoman Heather Browne said the school backed away from suspending Huang because officials wanted to protect his right to free speech…

    Nonetheless, Browne said, the principal could have suspended Huang based on a provision in the student conduct code that prohibits any activity that disrupts class.

    “The fact that what he wrote was copied and distributed was technically a disruption of the educational day,” she said.

    Huang has been ordered to write an apology.

    Huang, who did not attend classes Tuesday, said he agreed to write a statement for teachers to hand out in class.

    Let me get this straight. He faced suspension because something he wrote was copied and handed out in the school, thus disrupting the class. Yet, he is being ordered to write something that will be copied and handed out by the teachers, thus disrupting the class. Makes sense to me!


    Filed on at 8:37 am under by dcobranchi

    I WONDER IF SHE KNOWS any homeschoolers. This Mom is at the end of her rope. Her third-grade son is struggling and is already in special ed classes.

    I know he’s healthy, sweet, and cooperative. I know he has a creative mind that processes information differently.

    Yet, I also know that the milestones of school have confounded him at every step. I sigh when I find his spelling lists and homework sheets in his backpack, knowing that it’s going to be another long night.

    On especially challenging days, I let my dread of the looming homework mingle with my rising fears. How will he ever learn calculus and Shakespeare if he struggles so in third grade?


    Filed on at 8:21 am under by dcobranchi

    AN ALMOST GOOD IDEA WARNING: There are lots of caveats and assumptions ahead. OK, assuming that we are going to have public schools and that the federal government is going to be involved in the same, using a market-based approach to fill the chronic shortage in math and science teachers is probably a good idea. Assuming, of course, that the teachers who agree to teach math and science actually know a thing or two about the subject.

    President Bush wants to more than triple the aid offered to college graduates who agree to teach math, science and special-education classes in poor schools, enough for many to wipe out their federal student loans.

    Bush’s coming budget proposal for fiscal year 2004 would forgive up to $17,500 in debt for teachers who enter fields known for chronic teacher shortages and fast turnover.


    Filed on January 21, 2003 at 7:00 am under by dcobranchi

    ANOTHER GOOD REASON TO HOMESCHOOL USAT has a column up on how poorly the public schools serve extremely bright children. Middle schools can identify these kids but typically have no classes or programs advanced enough to satisfy them.

    With all of the talk of failing schools these days, few consider that schools can shortchange their highest scorers, too. When I recently asked several former talent-search participants who scored more than 1,000 on the SAT what their schools did with their scores, most seemed puzzled by the question. A typical response: ”What could they do? I was already in honors math.” These bright students expected to be horribly bored, even in courses aimed at the top quarter of the class.

    Their schools, flaunting honors English and maybe seventh-grade pre-algebra, were also blasé about providing more. Stephen Shueh did well enough on the SAT as a seventh-grader to be able to cover algebra and geometry during a talent-search program he took the next summer. He came back to eighth grade — and went right back into algebra class.


    Filed on at 6:32 am under by dcobranchi

    THEY ALREADY ARE The SF Gate has a tongue-in-cheek proposal to turn the schools into prisons since the Correctional Department is not facing budget cuts.


    Filed on at 6:23 am under by dcobranchi

    YOU SAY POTATO Just as our Kindergartens and pre-K’s are becoming more-and-more academically rigorous, Singapore is heading in the exact opposite direction:

    All pre-schoolers will soon be taught through play, activity, discovery and experiment – methods already in use at many private kindergartens here.

    …Pre-school teachers say the new programme may produce children who do not write or colour as neatly as the typical PCF [public school] product.

    But it is likely to turn out more confident children, eager to learn and able to communicate easily with teachers and classmates alike.

    I think this is a perfect example of my problem with the schools. One of these two government school systems is wrong. Either 5-year-olds learn best by playing and being kids or by being good little drones sitting at their desks doing worksheets (Does my bias show through here?) But, that doesn’t stop the educrats from plowing ahead at full speed. I imagine that the truth lies somewhere in between: Some kids will prosper with withsheets while others need to play. One size clearly does not fit all. This is why homeschooling works so well. We can tailor the “school” to the kids, instead of the other way around.


    Filed on at 6:09 am under by dcobranchi

    ANOTHER FLAVOR This is a pretty positive article about a private school in which the kids work at home two days a week. At the bottom of the article is a decent FAQ (Florida based).


    Filed on January 20, 2003 at 9:33 am under by dcobranchi

    49 MORE AND WE’RE SET The President of the Montana state Senate is a homeschooling dad. He and his wife pulled their kids out of the government schools while he was school board chairman. And, how’s this for a homeschool civics lesson– he often has his son at the Senate chambers running legislative errands.


    Filed on at 9:23 am under by dcobranchi

    IRONIC, AIN’T IT? A teacher named Browning has been fired because he allowed a student to bring in a toy gun for use in an art class. The irony here is that John Moses Browning was the inventor of several machine guns in the early 20th century. No word if the toy gun in question was an automatic weapon nor if the teacher is a relative of the inventor.

    APATHY I’m sure I

    Filed on at 3:58 am under by dcobranchi

    APATHY I’m sure I should be all worked up about the North Carolina Child Fatality Task Force Final Report. But, I’m not.

    Of the five recommendations concerning home schools that were discussed, four involved the collection of data about the potential abuse that may occur in home schools. Members say this research is a way for the committee to determine whether home schools are harboring abused children, and to decide whether future legislative action is necessary. These recommendations include: 1) In any case of abuse, including fatalities, the Department of Social Services (DSS) should record what type of school (public, private or home) the child under investigation attends and this information should be placed in the Central Registry for future analysis; 2) Medical examiners should include the type of school a child attended in their report of a child’s death; 3) When Child Protective Services (CPS) is conducting an investigation of a home school family, they should ensure that all state requirements for home schools are being met, including whether the school is registered and has attendance records, end of year tests and immunization records. If these requirements are not met, the home school should be reported to the home schooling office and noted as a risk factor for children; 4) Staff at the state home schooling office should receive training in recognizing and responding to neglect and abuse. The task force unanimously agreed to pursue these recommendations.

    The fifth recommendation, one that would require legislative action, was not approved but was set aside for further research. It would require all home schooled children to receive the same number and type of physical examinations as other school children. The mandated examinations were characterized as a way for an “objective observer” to examine children who, if being abused, may not be seen by anyone outside the family. After deliberating, the committee decided that this idea requires further study before being recommended to the General Assembly.

    UPDATE: I just realized that this is not the Task Force’s Final Report but recommendations from a sub-committee with the awful name “Intentional Death Committee.”


    Filed on January 19, 2003 at 1:23 pm under by dcobranchi

    JUST BECAUSE YOU’RE PARANOID… Here’s yet another story on mandatory pre-schools– this time for 3-year-olds in “state care”.

    [S]tate Sen. Frederica S. Wilson said Saturday that she would introduce a plan in the upcoming legislative session requiring all 3-year-olds in state care to attend preschool.

    Her idea, she said, is to add another person who would be keeping tabs on the child.

    And who’s keeping tabs on the teachers?


    Filed on at 1:17 pm under by dcobranchi

    NO MORE P0RN I already get enough p0rn spam so I hesitated to blog this article. The subject is an important one and on-topic so I’ll put up a link and hope for the best. WARNING: The article is fairly frank in its discussion of youngster’s sexual practices.


    Filed on at 12:51 pm under by dcobranchi

    FOREWARNED IS FORE-ARMED The rhetoric for mandatory pre-school is starting to ratchet up. Some claims-

    — Preschool graduates have fewer referrals to special education or remedial classes.

    — Preschool alumni are less likely to repeat a grade and more likely to graduate from high school than non-preschoolers.

    — Children who attended preschool show greater social and emotional maturity than peers who didn’t. They have lower incidence of illegitimate pregnancy, drug abuse and delinquency. They are more likely to play sports, attend church and participate in volunteer activities.

    The article provides no data to back any of these and I find them difficult to believe. And, then there’s that pesky correlation/causation problem. Even if all of the claims were true, there is no guarantee that pre-school is the causative agent. Assuming that there are any data to back up these claims, I’d like to see that they controlled for other external factors such as income.

    I have come to the conclusion that there is an organized effort to force the compulsory attendance age lower and lower. I am not normally a conspiracy theorist but this trend has me worried.


    Filed on January 18, 2003 at 1:15 pm under by dcobranchi

    ONE FOR MICHAEL PEACH Here’s a profile on how dads are becoming more proactive in homeschooling. Included in this article are several “Home Educating House Dads”.


    Filed on at 12:58 pm under by dcobranchi

    WHAT 1ST AMENDMENT? Schools continue to trample on students’ First Amendment rights: A Houston student faces suspension and possible loss of his staus as class valedictorian because he made racially insensitive remarks about several Hispanic automobile mechanics. Did he do this at school? Nope. On his website? No again. He made the comment on an instant messenger board. He claims to have regretted it and immediately retracted the statement. Too bad. He is labeled “politically incorrect” and must be “re-educated.” I hope the ACLU picks this one up.


    Filed on at 2:51 am under by dcobranchi

    IDIOTIC. STUPID. UNINFORMED. That’s what homeschoolers labeled an editorial on homeschool “accountability.” Well, this follow-up editorial, like most sequels, is no better than the first:

    The point of the editorial was that current state law does not require parents who are home schooling their children to notify the state or local school districts they are teaching their children at home. The editorial called for the law to be changed at minimum to require parents to notify the state they are schooling their children at home. We also recommended that a curriculum be followed.

    …[I]f I were home schooling my children, I would want to make certain my students were competent in the core subjects that are expected for post-graduation.

    I would welcome the accountability and can’t help but wonder why home school parents wouldn’t welcome it as well.

    Ms. Allen fails to understand the difference between her choosing to be “accountable” (to whom is not clear) and the state coercing homeschoolers to take some test and to follow some curriculum. I have attempted to set her straight in the comments section (not yet online). Feel free to do the same.

    ‘TAIN’T SO Interesting developments

    Filed on January 17, 2003 at 9:00 am under by dcobranchi

    ‘TAIN’T SO Interesting developments on the other side of the Atlantic. On Brian’s EdBlog, Julius claimed that “Home education in England and Wales (and to a lesser extent, Scotland) is probably easier than almost anywhere else in the Western World. By ‘easier’ I don’t mean that British children are genetically predisposed to learning at home. I mean that the State puts very few obstacles in the way of British home educators.” In the comments section, Michael Peach pointed to a draft of guidelines for how their LEA’s (apparently some kind of truant officer) are supposed to deal with homeschoolers. After reading through the guidelines, all I can say is “BOO!! HISS!!”

    Monitoring Agreement LEAs must investigate the nature of the education being provided for a child when they become aware that the child:

    · Has been de-registered from mainstream school;

    · Is not in school;

    · Is not registered as being home-educated, and

    · Is not registered as being home educated and has a statement of SEN. [that it, is a “Special Needs” student]

    The Department expects LEAs to:

    · Make initial contact with the home educating parents;

    · Review the education being provided;

    · Identify support required.

    The initial contact should be supportive of parents who have made the decision to educate their children at home, guidance should for instance emphasise that: “the Authority will be pleased to support parents who opt for home education once it is satisfied that adequate provision is being made.”

    Access to home

    There is no obligation for parents to give the LEA access to their home and parents may choose to meet an LEA officer at home or a neutral location (e.g. a library), Frequency After 1st contact, when LEAs are satisfied with the education being provided for the child, they will then decide on the frequency of follow-up visits, most likely on an annual basis. However, LEAs may increase the frequency of their visits if not fully assured of the appropriateness of the education being provided.

    LEAs should inform the parent of a home-educated child of a visit well in advance, and in writing.

    These are just awful and, if enacted in the US, would easily place right up (down) there with Pennsylvania as some of the worst laws in the country. Sorry, Julius, here’s how homeschooling works in Delaware: Each October we tell the state the names of the kids and their ages. Each July we tell the state we homeschooled for 180 days. That’s it. No tests. No visits. No other requirements at all. And, there are several states that have even better regs.

    I hope homeschoolers (“home eddors” over there) do everything they can to block these proposed regs from being enacted.

    E-MAIL Woo-hoo! All sorts

    Filed on at 3:06 am under by dcobranchi

    E-MAIL Woo-hoo! All sorts of neat stuff coming in via email. “Jay Van Nostrand, Homeschooling Parent ” pointed to a letter about changing school starting times. One graf caught my attention as it appears the author may need another dose of Kool-Aid:

    And it’s true that the school administration knows more about how best to provide education than do parents, whose views tend to be sharply focused on their own children and those children’s needs, not the student body as a whole. Finally, it’s true that selling change to your customers can be time-consuming and expensive, and if you operate what is pretty close to a monopoly, you may not be motivated to sell your customers. After all, what choice do they have?

    Come on. You’re almost there. Just follow the logic. It is a monopoly and they don’t care about your kid. But you are not the customer. You are just a “stoooopid” parent PITA who complains about things by writing Letters to the Editor. The customers might be the teacher’s union or maybe the bus driver’s union. Or perhaps the state DOE. Whoever can make the administrators lives’ more difficult- they are the “customers”.

    So, the administration (who, BTW, probably knows less about real education than you think) doesn’t care about your kid or your life. They really don’t want your input but will go through the motions for the sake of the next bond issue vote. The only solution is to get out. Trust me- that will make them happier, too.

    CORRECTION: Jay Van Nostrand pointed out that the link is to an editorial, not a Letter to the Editor. Same difference.

    “BIG BULLY” UPDATE There’s

    Filed on at 2:42 am under by dcobranchi

    “BIG BULLY” UPDATE There’s been a positive resolution to the “Big Bully” story from the other day. Michele at A Small Victory emailed that her son had somehow befriended the bully. Click on over to read the whole thing but skip the comments- they get way OT (and coarse).

    “S” WORD Steve Gallaher

    Filed on at 2:28 am under by dcobranchi

    “S” WORD Steve Gallaher found a disturbing article about some bullies down in Texas. Not only did they beat a child, they filmed themselves in the act.

    With their video camera rolling, five teenagers beat, kicked and laughed at a special education student as he waited at a bus stop, police said. Then, they said, the attackers “laughed hysterically” as they sped away.

    Steve points out that homeschoolers miss out on this type socialization. Thank God!


    Filed on January 16, 2003 at 3:02 pm under by dcobranchi

    NORTH DAKOTA UPDATE As I predicted, the (illegal) proposal to force homeschoolers to take that state’s accountability tests was DOA. The House Ed Committee voted it down 14-0.

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