Utterly Meaningless » 2003 » February
  • OT AND COOL Google

    Filed on February 16, 2003 at 2:56 pm under by dcobranchi

    OT AND COOL Google has purchased Pyra Labs, the company that runs Blogspot. (via Instapundit)

    SOMETHING NEW Homeschoolers have

    Filed on at 11:21 am under by dcobranchi

    SOMETHING NEW Homeschoolers have formed a Junior Toastmasters group in Columbus, NE. Good idea. Public speaking is a great skill.


    Filed on at 11:11 am under by dcobranchi

    SC ATHLETICS A bill to allow homeschoolers to partcipate in high school sports has been introduced in the state legislature. The sponsor is well-meaning but I think a bit naive.

    He said the small number of home-schooled students in the state should make it easier to integrate them on athletic teams.

    “There is no place in South Carolina where students are jumping out of the public system pell-mell,” Fair said.

    “With the high school report cards coming out, if failing schools continue to be failing schools, that might lead some parents to rethink this issue. But I’m not aware of any place where the numbers are growing, either in private schools or home schools.”

    I’d bet any amount of money that homeschooling in SC is growing at a nice clip (just as in the rest of the country). And, the percentage of homeschoolers in SC probably exceeds the national average. There are relatively few private schools and the public schools leave a bit to be desired.

    APPROPOS Here’s a sample

    Filed on at 10:57 am under by dcobranchi

    APPROPOS Here’s a sample reading question from the Florida accountability test. I thought the selection was especially appropriate.


    Filed on at 10:07 am under by dcobranchi

    MY WORLD AND WELCOME TO IT This is the view from my dining room window. For scale, the picnic table is about 2″ thick. It’s supposed to stop snowing sometime Tuesday morning.


    Filed on February 15, 2003 at 7:11 am under by dcobranchi

    IT’S THE THOUGHT THAT COUNTS The UNC-Charlotte student paper has a short article about homeschool admissions policies. It’s pretty obvious that the reporter was not homeschooled.

    Home-schooled students can learn from the same textbooks and have the same tests conducted as anyone attending a public high school.

    Parents can order textbooks and teacher workbooks in order to create educational coursework for their children to follow and learn from.

    After the student has met and fulfilled all of the requirements the state has set for anyone graduating high school, a home-schooled student has the same credibility to apply to any college as the person who graduated from a traditional high school.

    Well, at least they tried.


    Filed on at 6:55 am under by dcobranchi

    EIGHT IS ENOUGH Here’s a light profile of a homeschooling mom of eight. This article has one of the better typos I’ve seen:

    Mihaly, who has no previous teaching background, started home schooling her children because she didn’t like how area public schools taught math and reading, emphasizing sight-reading over phonies.


    Filed on at 6:46 am under by dcobranchi

    NOT BLOODY LIKELY What has Secretary of Education Rod Paige been smoking?

    Paige said public schools must make more of an effort to win back students who have left in favor of private, charter or home schools.

    “I believe we can get them all to come back” by making schools more appealing to communities and students and by increasing academic excellence, he said.

    Maybe a few would go back but I think we’ve reached a critical mass that will self-sustain. When you see how well homeschooled kids turn out, it makes the lifestyle awfully tempting, regardless of your feelings about the public schools.


    Filed on at 6:07 am under by dcobranchi

    PRETTY FUNNY PROTEST UCLA Republicans staged an affirmative action cookie sale.

    The sale, held on Bruin Walk on Feb. 3, offered cookies at different prices depending on the customer’s race and gender. Black, Latina and American Indian females were charged 25 cents for cookies that cost males of minority descent 50 cents. White females were charged $1, and white males and all Asian Americans were charged $2.

    Students selling the cookies were assigned name tags portraying them as “Uncle Tom,” “The White Oppressor” and “Self-Hating Hispanic Race Traitor.”

    …As for the name tags of the vendors, Jones said many people would look at a black or Latino student taking part in a Bruin Republicans anti-affirmative action sale and either think to themselves or say out loud that the student is a traitor to his race. Therefore, the Bruin Republicans decided to “turn it on its head” and use the names themselves, before passers-by had a chance.

    Democrats and minority activists were predictably outraged.


    Filed on at 4:49 am under by dcobranchi

    OT AND ASININE THE NYT published an Op/Ed by Dalton Conley, associate professor of sociology and director of the Center for Advanced Social Science Research at New York University, is author of “Being Black, Living in the Red: Race, Wealth and Social Policy in America” and “Honky.” Given the titles of his books, it is not surprising that the subject is race, particularly reparations for slavery. Here’s a classic example of victimization:

    One way is to recognize slavery as an institution upon which America’s wealth was built. If we take this view, it is not important whether a white family arrived in 1700 or in 1965. If you wear cotton blue jeans, if you take out an insurance policy, if you buy from anyone who has a connection to the industries that were built on chattel labor, then you have benefited from slavery. Likewise, if you are black — regardless of when your ancestors arrived — you live with slavery’s stigma.

    I guess black families don’t wear blue jeans or buy insurance. The Perfesser’s solution:

    [The government] could address reparations by transferring about 13 percent of white household wealth to blacks. A two-adult black family would receive an average reparation of about $35,000.

    Right. He then goes on to predict that his proposal won’t be popular.

    The unpopularity of this radical plan would no doubt be unprecedented. There are also no guarantees that reparations would be a magic bullet for lingering racial problems.

    Actually, I’ll offer up two guarantees- 1) This will never see the light of day and 2) Not only would this proposal not solve the “lingering racial problems,” it would exacerbate them for generations to come.

    An Open Letter to Reparations Proponents:
    Get over it. They’re not going to happen. Not now, not ever. They are an unworkable fantasy that would only be counter-productive. Please stop killing trees and electrons pushing this DOA idea. Thank you.


    Filed on February 14, 2003 at 11:08 pm under by dcobranchi

    ANOTHER ONE BITES THE DUST Homeschoolers are having great success fending off bad legislation. Yesterday, Washington state’s effort to tie driver’s licesnses to passing the state accountability test was tabled indefinitely. From the NHEN-Legislative list-serv:

    Dear Sandra,
    Thank you fro your letter regarding HB 1658 titled Linking success on academic assessments to driving privileges for persons under eighteen years of age. This bill declares an intent to increase the attention of middle and high school students on their academic responsibilities by requiring the students to successfully complete an assessment of their reading and writing skills before they obtain a driver’s license. This is a procedure that has been used by insurance companies since 1960 and more commonly known as the “good student discount.”

    However, I think you will be pleased to know, Rep. Talcott (the prime sponsor) has decided not to peruse [sic] any further action on this bill. I am unsure of her reasoning but it may very well have been due to outcry from her constituency. So keep up the good work!

    Thanks for writing Sandra.
    Becky Hart
    Legislative Assistant for
    State Senator Dave Schmidt
    44th Legislative District

    FRY ‘EM Three D.C.

    Filed on at 7:19 am under by dcobranchi

    FRY ‘EM Three D.C. school district employees were arrested last week for sexually abusing students. Here’s a particularly bad one:

    Reginald Robinson Jr., 35, a part-time coach, was arrested and charged with fondling two Brown Middle students last month. He allegedly abused one of the girls in his car and the other in the school gym. One is 13 and the other is 14.

    Robinson worked for the school system despite pleading guilty to a sex offense involving a minor two years ago, and his name was listed on a Maryland database of sex offenders.

    District school system officials have promised to improve the background checks on employees.

    My heart goes out to these kids.

    WARNING: PERSONAL INFO AHEAD This is hard but I need to get something off my chest. When I was in 3rd(?) grade, I barely escaped being molested by my public-school music teacher. He had me alone in his classroom with my shirt off. Nothing else happened but he was arrested later that same year for molesting another boy in the school. I was naive and didn’t tell anyone until after his arrest. These kids who come forward have a lot of guts. Even after all these years, writing this brings back some unpleasant memories. I just wanted y’all to know why I seem to pick up these stories so frequently.


    Filed on at 6:07 am under by dcobranchi

    WHITE MALES NEED NOT APPLY The state of Texas offers female and minority engineering students $6000/year grants. White, male students are ineligible for these taxpayer-funded grants. The American Civil Rights Institute is looking for plaintiffs to challenge this in court.

    An appropriate knowledge of 642-162 certificate may deem one to go for a 310-302. However, regarding other courses i.e. JN0-310 and VCP-310, it is much better if one also has a 642-055 to his credit. In this context, even a 650-251 professional would work just as well.


    Filed on at 6:01 am under by dcobranchi

    DOT EDU SNOBBERY The Commerce Department has okayed allowing specialty schools (like theology and beauty schools) to use the .edu domain suffix. The current occupiers of that space (typically universities and 4-year-colleges) are miffed.

    “Somebody who goes six months to a beauty school, I would not consider in the same league as somebody who’s even been two years at a community college,” said Ralph Meyer, a retired administrator at Princeton University. “There’s too much dumbing down already.”

    Mike Murphy, director of marketing for Phoenix College in Phoenix, Ariz., said the expansion could confuse prospective students into equating not-for-profit colleges with proprietary training schools.

    This is ridiculous. My URL here ends with .com, just like Amazon.com. Is anyone out there confusing the two?


    Filed on at 5:48 am under by dcobranchi

    ILLINOIS: INTERESTING ARTICLE There is legislation afoot in Illinois to clear up the “Dennison situation“. HSLDA is involved somehow. Illinois homeschoolers are not unanimous in desiring new legislation.

    Jean Kulczyk of Waukegan will be representing Home Oriented Unique Schooling Experience, a group called HOUSE with 124 chapters throughout the state, at the Thursday night meeting.

    “I’m not sure exactly what will be presented to us at the meeting tomorrow night,” Kulczyk said today. “HOUSE’s position is that we do not need any legislative action in Illinois. We are fine with the current provisions for home schooling.”

    OVERKILL An 11-year-old Florida

    Filed on February 13, 2003 at 1:56 pm under by dcobranchi

    OVERKILL An 11-year-old Florida boy used his teacher’s computer to change several of his grades. That’s pretty dumb. But, the school district’s response is even dumber:

    The sixth-grade student was booked into the St. Lucie County jail on a charge of illegally altering data in a computer, a second-degree felony, and then released to his father.

    He faces expulsion and several years in a juvenile detention facility. Come on, guys. This is zero tolerance run amok.

    LOL! Lilek’s Bleat today

    Filed on at 7:55 am under by dcobranchi

    LOL! Lilek’s Bleat today is a classic. A snippet:

    4. I’m Just The Other Woman (remake) – The MSR Singers

    One of the more famous song-poems, and certainly one of the most painful. It’s a first-person account of the life of The Other Woman, and of course it’s sung by a man. To call this performance a falsetto would demean the fine traditions of doo-wop and the castrati; in fact, this song actually sounds as if the singer’s apparatus was being sawed off as the tune was recorded. And remember: the original was worse.

    Trust me on this- you’ll want to read the whole thing.


    Filed on at 7:25 am under by dcobranchi

    BODE MILLER, HOMESCHOOLER Here’s a profile of the world’s best skiier. I didn’t know that he was homeschooled.

    OPT-IN Several school districts

    Filed on at 7:18 am under by dcobranchi

    OPT-IN Several school districts are looking for ways to block the NCLB requirement that they turn over their students’ personal information (including phone numbers) to military recruiters. At least one district is looking to make it an “opt-in” policy rather than the current “opt-out”.

    Opt-in is a good compromise. This way, kids who are completely uninterested in military service will not be harassed by telemarketers recruiters.


    Filed on at 6:56 am under by dcobranchi

    POLITICALLY CORRECT USAT is soliciting nominations for the ALL-USA TEACHER TEAM. Homeschoolers, private-school teachers, and most charter-school teachers are ineligible.


    Filed on at 5:47 am under by dcobranchi

    BEHIND THE TIMES OR AHEAD OF THE CURVE? You make the call. Wales is looking to scrap their early formal childhood education system in favor of one more play-based.

    Some research has suggested that children do not begin to benefit from extensive formal teaching until about six or seven years old.

    Studies have shown that children are given too many tasks to do while sitting at tables, when they would be better off learning through well-structured play, practical activity, and investigation.

    Some sessions have been found to be too long for young people to maintain concentration, while classrooms have been criticised for not providing enough opportunities for practical activities and well-supported play.

    The US, of course, is going in the exact opposite direction.

    GOING, GOING,… DARPA’s Total

    Filed on February 12, 2003 at 11:23 am under by dcobranchi

    GOING, GOING,… DARPA’s Total Information Awareness project is on its deathbed.

    House and Senate negotiators have agreed that a Pentagon project intended to detect terrorists by monitoring e-mail and commercial databases for health, financial and travel information cannot be used against Americans.

    Apparently, Congress wasn’t too impressed with the DoD’s efforts to self-regulate.

    Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa., senior Democrat on the subcommittee, said of the program, “Jerry’s against it, and I’m against it, so we kept the Senate amendment.” Of the Pentagon, he said, “They’ve got some crazy people over there.”

    AMEN! [link via Instapundit]


    Filed on at 9:30 am under by dcobranchi

    THROW ‘EM TO THE WOLVES Someone’s on drugs but I don’t think it’s the students. A school in Indianapolis had three student lockers last year register positive for a drug residue; no drugs were found. This is apparently tantamount to a crisis there, so the school board is bringing in the big guns:

    The School Board has approved a measure to expand the role of police canine units patrolling for drugs and other illegal substances at Zionsville High School and Zionsville Middle School.

    School administrators requested the move after three searches last year found residue in student lockers but no illegal substances.

    “It may have been something that was in the locker months earlier,” high school Assistant Principal Chris Willis said.

    Under the new plan, canine units also will search student backpacks and purses, where administrators say drugs are more likely to be found. Students will not be searched directly.

    Students will either place bags in the hallway during a search or leave the room while dogs search the classroom.

    If an illegal substance is detected, administrators will contact the student’s parents and then question the student without police or dogs present, Willis said.

    The penalty for possession of an illegal substance at school may be considered case by case, Willis said.


    Filed on at 9:15 am under by dcobranchi

    TO COMPEL OR NOT TO COMPEL The Detroit News takes on the state Superintendent of Public Instruction on the issue of raising the compulsory attendance age fro 16 to 18.Two quotes:

    DN: One of the worst ideas raised in Lansing is to raise the dropout age from 16 to 18. All that would accomplish is filling schools with students who don’t want to be there. Just because kids are forced to attend class doesn’t mean they will participate in the learning process.

    SPI: Let’s not forget that this is one social problem with a built-in solution. Under Proposal A, Michigan’s schools are funded by the number of students attending; for every child who drops out, the local school district loses a minimum of $6,700. In Detroit, the foundation allowance is even higher — $6,784. If 100 students drop out, the Detroit Public Schools lose $678,400, and each child loses hope, opportunity, and a future.

    Let’s see- the educrat thinks that money grows on trees and the Detroit News points out you can’t forcibly educate someone.

    Advantage: Detroit News


    Filed on at 3:13 am under by dcobranchi

    LIBERTARIAN = BLONDE? According to this WSJ editorial, “Libertarians have more fun–and make more sense.” Susan Lee succinctly points out the difference between conservates and libertarians:

    But perhaps the single distinguishing feature between conservatives and libertarians is that libertarians are concerned with individual rights and responsibilities over government–or community–rights and responsibilities. Consider how conservatives and libertarians divide over cultural issues or social policy. Libertarians are not comfortable with normative questions. They admit to one moral principle from which all preferences follow; that principle is self-ownership–individuals have the right to control their own bodies, in action and speech, as long as they do not infringe on the same rights for others. The only role for government is to help people defend themselves from force or fraud. Libertarians do not concern themselves with questions of “best behavior” in social or cultural matters.

    Heh. Maybe the Free-State will be DE and I won’t have to move. Just kidding.

    BOOOORING!! No, not Izzy’s

    Filed on at 2:21 am under by dcobranchi

    BOOOORING!! No, not Izzy’s blog (which is terrific, as always) but the picture that accompanies the article. I promise we’ll never be caught “posing” like this. I’d rather see a photo of a homeschooler doing something out in the community.


    Filed on February 11, 2003 at 7:09 pm under by dcobranchi

    ANOTHER TAX BREAK FOR TEACHERS Georgia is proposing a $250 tax credit for out-of-pocket expenses. But, get this, homeschoolers would be eligible!

    “Considering the home-school parents are already paying taxes for public schools, I think we ought to look at giving them the same deal as teachers employed by the state,” [Rep.] Rogers said

    As long as there are no strings attached, why not?


    Filed on at 10:36 am under by dcobranchi

    IT’S NOT THAT HARD! Virginia homeschool parents want to be able to teach their kids to drive. This is apparently a shock to the “system”. Here’s the stupid comment of the week:

    To some the idea may sound a bit over the top, parents actually taking the place of driving instructors, but not to [homeschool mom] Wendy [Shields].

    We can teach them calculus and chemistry, but not Driver’s Ed? Gimme a break!

    400:1 At a public

    Filed on at 9:33 am under by dcobranchi

    400:1 At a public hearing for Montana’s proposed anti-homeschooling bill, 400 people spoke out against it. The only one who spoke in favor was the bill’s author. I’d guess that this has little chance of making it into law.

    POOR TEACHERS The state

    Filed on at 8:31 am under by dcobranchi

    POOR TEACHERS The state of California has suspended a tax credit for teachers due to state fiscal crisis. Not surprisingly, teachers are complaining because they spend their own money on school supplies. But, this program was poorly designed- documentation for the claimed expenses was not required and it is a dollar for dollar credit based on seniority. Long-time teachers could get a $1500 credit even if they didn’t spend a dime of their own money. Time to start over.


    Filed on February 10, 2003 at 9:04 am under by dcobranchi

    MATH CHALLENGED OR WHISTLING PAST THE GRAVEYARD Here’s a positive article on homeschooling in CO. I found the educrats’ defensiveness pretty funny:

    [S]chool officials said the increase of home-schoolers simply mirrors the student population growth. Student enrollment increased from 14,437 students in 1998 to 17,610 students this year.

    Elsewhere, we find that

    This year, 200 children in Greeley-Evans School District 6 are being home-schooled by their parents, guardians or other relatives. In 1997, 88 students were home-schooled.

    So, public-school enrollment is up 22% in four years and homeschooling “enrollment” is up 127% over five years. Close enough for government work-(ers), I suppose.


    Filed on at 6:25 am under by dcobranchi

    IN DEFENSE OF CHARTERS The Winter edition of Education Next includes a deconstruction of the AFT’s “research” into charter schools.

    The schizophrenic personalities of the teacher unions are on full display in Do Charter Schools Measure Up? A decade ago, the AFT is fond of telling us, the AFT claimed the mantle of reform by advocating charter schools as a way of promoting innovation and sidestepping administrative bureaucracy. But now that the charter school movement has grown to a point where it actually threatens the monopoly of unionized school districts and the salaries and perks of teachers, the AFT is changing its tune. This is unfortunate. As scholar Bruce Fuller points out, charter school proponents need “a devil’s advocate, a loyal opposition,” a role played by the RAND Corporation and by academics like Fuller himself. But whereas RAND calls for more experimentation so that more evidence can be gathered, the AFT, revealing its real purpose here, wants charter schools to be choked off in their infancy. The scary thing is how powerful their lobby can be. But so far, parents appear to be more powerful.

    A good read for anyone interested in charter school successes.


    Filed on at 2:45 am under by dcobranchi

    THE “S”-WORD IN THE UK The UK newsletter Freedom in Education has a brief column about socialization. Apparently, “home educators” there face the same questions as homeschoolers here. I like this graf:

    When home educators are asked about the ‘social aspect’ they usually give a standard answer along the lines : “Our children have many other home-educated friends”, “Our children are in lots of clubs”, “Our children mix with all sorts of people of different ages”, or “Our children have lots of friends who go to school”. Whilst these answers may be factually correct, they obscure the real truth, which home educators barely dare admit to themselves and which other people are certainly not prepared to hear: children are happy to be at home with their families. They do not particularly want to go to clubs, to schools, or to meetings, and they are not consumed with a desire to make friends with people of their own age. Surprisingly enough, when home-educated children get together with children who go to school, the school children never ask the home-educated children about friends, they simply say how wonderful it must be to not have to go to school and to be able to be at home with your mum and dad.

    This is food for thought. Virtually all of our kids’ non-homeschooled friends have expressed jealousy about our kids being homeschooled. I guess it could be for any number of reasons: no homework, being finished with “school” by noon, etc., but I hadn’t really considered that it might be the very aspect of leaving home each day that they would reject if possible.


    Filed on February 9, 2003 at 8:00 pm under by dcobranchi

    CALIFORNIA ATHLETICS A reader wrote and asked about opportunities for his natural-athlete 15-year-old homeschooled son. They’re in the San Francisco area. Any ideas? Joanne Jacobs- that’s your neck of the woods, right?


    Filed on at 7:14 am under by dcobranchi

    GOOD LETTER TO THE EDITOR A pro-voucher letter appeared in yesterday’s WaPo. This graf says it all:

    We must complete the civil rights movement by giving every child the opportunity to learn in a good school. We must allow competition for students to raise the standards of all educational institutions. We must see that all students achieve to their full potential so that we won’t be arguing about affirmative action for the rest of our lives. We must stop one more child from reaching high school without being able to read, write and do basic math. We must have school vouchers in the District now.


    Filed on at 7:05 am under by dcobranchi

    STUPID QUOTE OF THE WEEK Early childhood education is in the news again- this time in Michigan. The governor there wants to “re-define” education as beginning at birth. But, the educrats may have tipped their hands and revealed their true motivation:

    [Early childhood education] would mean more productive citizens who make more money for themselves and their families, and create more revenue for the state…

    Follow the money.

    Actually, I don’t think this is the main reason for the sudden push. IMO, it’s all about control. The educrats want good little robots for political reasons. The best time to “program” them is when they’re young. That’s one reason they hate homeschooling.

    RECYCLED More blacks are

    Filed on at 6:02 am under by dcobranchi

    RECYCLED More blacks are homeschooling. And more Hindus, Muslims, Christians, atheists, Wiccans, whites, Asians, Pomeranians (ok, I’m kidding about Pomeranians). There’s more of every racial and ethnic group. There’s one factoid in this article that I’m not sure I believe:

    Blacks now make up nearly 5 percent of the estimated 1.7 million children who were home-schooled last year, according to estimates by the National Home Educators Research Institute in Oregon, a non-profit organization devoted to research on home-based education.
    That’s about 85,000 black children — almost 10 times as many the federal government estimated in 1999, when blacks made up only 1 percent, or 8,500, of the estimated 850,000 home-schooled children.

    10X in four years would be quite an increase. What seems more likely to me, is that one or both of the estimates were off. Regardless, any growth in homeschooling is welcome and anything that gets kids out of bad schools is a good thing.

    DARN SNOW! With the

    Filed on February 8, 2003 at 4:22 pm under by dcobranchi

    DARN SNOW! With the snow yesterday I fell behind in my reading and missed this story from the Del State News:

    FELTON, DELAWARE—A first-grade teacher at Lake Forest North Elementary School was arrested Monday for reportedly taping a student’s mouth shut.

    The Dover Newszap reports that Felton police charged John A. Duffy Jr., 24, of Rehoboth Beach, with offensive touching in connection with the Jan. 29 incident.

    Felton Police Chief Levi Brown said Mr. Duffy was arraigned at Justice of the Peace Court 6 in Harrington and released on $500 unsecured bond.

    The incident was brought to the school’s attention by the student’s parents. Mr. Duffy was placed on administrative leave.

    According to court documents, the victim told authorities that Mr. Duffy had warned him stop talking in class or he would tape his mouth shut.

    This is just awful but it might not be illegal. Under DE law, teachers are permitted to issue corporal punishment pretty much when and how they choose. The DE ACLU lobbied last year to end this but SB 149 died in the House.

    Thanks to Skip Oliva for catching this.


    Filed on at 7:14 am under by dcobranchi

    NOT “ALMOST” ANYMORE Ailina has started homeschooling. Her first couple of days sound pretty typical. Worth a read.

    BTW, I’ve added her to the blogroll.


    Filed on at 6:12 am under by dcobranchi

    WHAT ARE THEY TRYING TO HIDE? I love the irony here- the DoD formed two panels to supervise their Total Information Awareness program in order to “keep Congress from supervising the program closely.” The parallels between their opposition to Congressional oversight and American’s privacy concerns are apparently lost on them.

    WOW! Tulsa homeschoolers have

    Filed on February 7, 2003 at 4:42 pm under by dcobranchi

    WOW! Tulsa homeschoolers have been taking some abuse from a school superintendent. In today’s Tulsa World, a homeschooled “sophomore” responds. This young lady is a terrific writer with a bite!

    Dr. Sawyer, you’ve been fiddling while Rome burns. Please spend your time and energy bringing your own students out of the quagmire.

    Sincerely, home-educated students are always looking for community service activities. What can we, as home-educated students do to help teach your students to read? We could tutor them, but we’d have to use our own tried and true curricula.

    Ouch! Definitely worth a click.

    PA’S PLEDGE LAW which

    Filed on at 8:05 am under by dcobranchi

    PA’S PLEDGE LAW which mandates a daily recitation for all public and private schools was scheduled to take effect today. It’s been placed on hold pending resolution of a lawsuit filed by the ACLU.

    TOXIC TEENS Here’s one

    Filed on at 7:51 am under by dcobranchi

    TOXIC TEENS Here’s one of those WWHS stories- a 13-year-old girl, who had lost a leg to cancer, was being bullied and harassed by a group of girls.

    Henderson said her young daughter was called a “whore” and warned to “watch your back.” One message carried the sentiment, “Die bitch, die,” the anxious mother said.

    Where do they learn this behavior?


    Filed on at 7:34 am under by dcobranchi

    ARE YOU STILL BEATING YOUR WIFE? An Edison school is being investigated by the FBI for allegedly padding their student roles to bring in more money. Bad stuff, if true. I had to chuckle, though, at this:

    When asked if falsifying of attendance records was still going on the Westport Charter School Board President Duane Fox said, “the board is confident that attendance is currently being accurately reported to the state.”

    Nothing like a loaded question.


    Filed on February 6, 2003 at 8:29 pm under by dcobranchi

    HEAVEN, I’M IN HEAVEN Well, they don’t get too much better than this– a civil liberties and a homeschooling victory in the same article.

    A home schooling family has settled its case against Erie County social workers and Vermilion police for the coerced entry into the family’s home on Feb. 21, 2001…

    Paul and Linda Walsh filed a lawsuit after police and caseworkers entered their home without a warrant and without permission. The social workers said they were acting on an anonymous tip about unspecified “hazards” in the home, and claimed they had a right to enter the home without a warrant.

    Read the whole thing. And, then, click here for a great primer on how to handle the DSS.

    Thanks to Tony R. for the link.


    Filed on at 12:37 pm under by dcobranchi

    GET A GRIP An 11th grader is suing his “school principal, superintendent and all seven school board members” because he only got an “A” instead of an “A+” in a work-study assignment that only gives up to an “A”. He is worried that losing out on the “+” will hurt him in his quest to be valedictorian. Wonder of wonders- his mother’s a lawyer.

    YEE-HAH! Wyoming Senate File

    Filed on at 10:42 am under by dcobranchi

    YEE-HAH! Wyoming Senate File 110 has apparently been tabled. The website is not available right now so I have no details. I’ll update ASAP.

    UPDATE: Although the bill has been tabled, Sen. Sessions is not giving up. She wants homeschooling parents to work with the DOE to “be part of the solution, not part of the problem.” From here, it appears that the problem is an over-reaching educrat/politician who doesn’t understand NCLB. The only “solution” is for her to tuck her tail between her legs and withdraw this bill. If she insists on pushing this, it will cost the state big bucks to defend and they’ll still lose. And, homeschoolers will remember come election time.

    HEM ONLINE The January-February

    Filed on at 1:16 am under by dcobranchi

    HEM ONLINE The January-February edition of “Home Education Magazine” is up. Larry and Susan Kaseman have a good column on privacy, one of my personal bugaboos. (OK, I recognize the incongruity of a blogger worrying about privacy. And, I even blog under my real name. Sue me.)

    People need privacy to preserve a sense of integrity, personal worth, and self-respect. When we do not or cannot maintain our privacy, we feel used, violated, exposed. We begin to lose our sense of being responsible people managing our own lives.

    WARNING: PERSONAL ANECDOTE AHEAD! This homeschooling thing really works. The other day I was discussing the Total Information Awareness project with my wife. Our oldest son was in the room. I asked him if he saw a problem with a government agency collecting information on what books you read and how you spend your money. His answer: “No privacy!” Smart kid. I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have come up with that answer at age 11. But, 30 years ago, there would have been no TIA to worry about.

    SWEET! A homeschooler won

    Filed on February 5, 2003 at 6:22 pm under by dcobranchi

    SWEET! A homeschooler won a regional spelling bee in NC. What really caught my eye, though, were the last three grafs:

    When Marshall rattled off cacophony for the win, his 5-year-old brother, Tanner — sitting still and quiet for the entire two-hour bee — couldn’t hold it in any longer. He scrambled on stage and jumped into his brother’s arms for a celebratory hug.

    Marshall didn’t mind sharing the spotlight, since he considered the win a family affair. “My mom helped me, too — she quizzed me a lot,” he said.

    Since both brothers are taught at home, “they get to spend a lot of time together,” said dad Eric Winchester. “They’re best friends.”

    That’s homeschooling!

    FLORIDA FOLLIES Florida expects

    Filed on at 5:06 pm under by dcobranchi

    FLORIDA FOLLIES Florida expects approximately 1 in 5 third-graders to fail the state test and be held back this year. What is unusual here is that students can pass other normed tests in place of the FCAT. There’s a catch though; the students have to score much higher on the alternative tests in order to be promoted.

    [A] third- grader at FCAT level one would score in about the 30th percentile on nationally normed alternative tests. But if a student does poorly on FCAT and wants to use one of those national tests to qualify instead, the state demands a score in at least the 51st percentile – which is better than 49 percent of test-takers across the country…[I think this is an error- the 51st percentile is better than 51% of test results]

    The state has considered that discrepancy, but it’s sticking with its rules.

    A foolish consistency…

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