Utterly Meaningless » 2003 » April
  • A TOUGH KID This

    Filed on April 13, 2003 at 6:59 am under by dcobranchi

    A TOUGH KID This 13-year-old has had a difficult time but doesn’t give an inch. Definitely worth a read.


    Filed on at 6:42 am under by dcobranchi

    A GREAT IDEA A 5th-grade class has recorded books on tapes for distribution to young kids who are hospitalized. This sounds like something homeschool groups could emulate.


    Filed on at 6:33 am under by dcobranchi

    THAT’S THE POINT One day after being harassed for participating in the “Day of Silence” protest, a 16-year-old girl was attacked on the street and severely beaten, possibly with a baseball bat. The school insists there is no connection between the two events. WWHS.

    DAY 7: 224.0 Delta:

    Filed on at 6:23 am under by dcobranchi

    DAY 7: 224.0 Delta: -0.5, Net: -7.0

    Barely made it. I expect now to drop 2-3 lbs per week.


    Filed on April 12, 2003 at 9:32 am under by dcobranchi

    LIBRARY WOES A TN county wants to cut all funding for its libraries.

    “Hmm, that’s the first I’ve heard of it.” The news came as a shock to library spokesman Bobby King. “That’s not cool at all.”

    Homeschoolers are likely to be impacted. But, I’ve been re-thinking my position on public libraries. I’m not sure the county isn’t taking the right position. Communities should be able to (voluntarily) fund their own libraries without the coercion of taxes.

    DAY 6: 224.5 Delta:

    Filed on at 9:18 am under by dcobranchi

    DAY 6: 224.5 Delta: 0.0, Net: -6.5


    Filed on at 9:17 am under by dcobranchi

    FIRST AMENDMENT VS. FIRST AMENDMENT These kids don’t quite get what the First Amendment is all about:

    Administrators of the St. Paul college are “being hypocritical,” [Senior Maria Retounotes] said after the 30-minute lunchtime rally, for blocking an unofficial campus organization of secular humanists and atheists from meeting at the school on Wednesday.

    It’s a Catholic school.

    UNIVERSAL PRE-K The Orlando

    Filed on at 8:21 am under by dcobranchi

    UNIVERSAL PRE-K The Orlando Sentinel editorializes today in favor of local governments offering universal pre-K. They quote a Chicago study which found a $7 return for ervery dollar “invested.” There are any number of concerns here: 1) The Chicago study involved only “at risk” kids. There is no guarantee that the 7:1 return is scalable. 2) Universal pre-K can easily become a form of “free” daycare for middle-class families. 3) “Voluntary” pre-K can quickly morph into “compulsory.”


    Filed on at 8:02 am under by dcobranchi

    ONE FOR “OUR HORRIBLE CHILDREN” This is nearly unbelievable.

    A lunchtime fight at Alain Leroy Locke High School in South Los Angeles exploded into a major disturbance Friday, with teenagers allegedly swinging pipes and bats at one another, school and police officials said. As many as 300 students participated in the melee, which was the second such disturbance at a Los Angeles Unified School District high school in as many weeks.

    Good socialization they have out there in LaLa Land. WWHS.


    Filed on April 11, 2003 at 8:36 am under by dcobranchi

    VERY SMART AND VERY DUMB An 11-year-old came in second place in the Washington State High School Science Fair. The kid is a prodigy.

    At 2, he was assembling Legos into giant robots as tall as he was. At 6, he was mastering multiplication and reading Daniel Defoe. At 9, he was taking high-school French.

    The schools didn’t know what to do with him so they locked him up.

    In the fourth grade, Issaquah School District teachers didn’t know how to keep Andrew from being bored, and decided to put him in a separate room with advanced math and science books for a few days.

    Wisely, the parents chose homeschooling, instead.

    “We just provided a lot of materials, lots of books,” said David Hsu, 43, a software engineer who makes educational videos. “We took him to the science center, the aquarium, so he could be stimulated from different angles.

    He expects to enroll in college at the age of twelve.


    Filed on at 8:27 am under by dcobranchi

    KEEP YOUR MONEY The New Hampshire budget includes a line-item of $400,000 for homeschooling. The governor had requested $2M. I’d just as soon see it set at zero. With government dollars…

    SIGH! This could have

    Filed on at 8:16 am under by dcobranchi

    SIGH! This could have have bad. A school nurse mixed up phone numbers and sent a young girl home with an 89-year-old man who was not her grandfather (evidently the man didn’t realize the girl was not his graddaughter). The little girl realized the mistake and ran home. No harm, no foul. Of course, the mom is suing.

    CHEAP PROTEST A high-school

    Filed on at 8:04 am under by dcobranchi

    CHEAP PROTEST A high-school sophomore boycotted the MA exit test yesterday.

    To prove the point that she’d prefer not to graduate than take the MCAS test, Brookline sophomore Sara Skvirsky left school yesterday rather than take the exam.

    Big deal! She has multiple chances to take the test over the next two years. If she boycotts ALL of them, then I’ll be impressed with her courage. Several seniors also boycotted the test but they’ve already been accepted into several colleges and universtities. All ring pretty hollow, IMHO.

    DAY 5: 224.5 Delta:

    Filed on at 4:53 am under by dcobranchi

    DAY 5: 224.5 Delta: -1.5, Net: -6.5

    Off to a good start. My 1 week goal is 7 lbs.


    Filed on at 3:47 am under by dcobranchi

    PAIGE THREE The NYT is all over EdSec Paige today on its Editorial page.

    That Education Secretary Rod Paige is a Christian eager to declare his fervor publicly is undoubtedly a source of personal strength to him. But for the nation’s chief steward of public education to go further and state, as he recently did, that he personally finds Christian schools preferable for the values they teach is an appalling gaffe that cries out for condemnation.

    …The secretary of education needs either to do some fast fence-mending or step down.

    Expect press conference #2 with apology #1 soon.


    Filed on April 10, 2003 at 1:16 pm under by dcobranchi

    OT: DELAWARE ITEM Joe Biden slipped the anti-civil liberties RAVE Act into Amber Alert legislation. The RAVE Act would hold business owners liable for any drug use on their property- even if they make good-faith efforts to stop it. This is similar to the awful Clean Indoor Air Act which does the same thing if someone lights up in a bar or restaurant. (link via Instapundit)


    Filed on at 12:41 pm under by dcobranchi

    HOMESCHOOL ATHLETE The Sarasota Herald-Tribune profiles a homeschooler who participates on the local public-school sports teams. Florida law allows homeschoolers across the state access to extracurriculars.

    BACK LATER I’m off

    Filed on at 5:24 am under by dcobranchi

    BACK LATER I’m off to Dover to meet with the DOE to discuss homeschooling legislation.

    DAY 4: 226.0 Delta:

    Filed on at 5:21 am under by dcobranchi

    DAY 4: 226.0 Delta: -0.5, Net: -5.0


    Filed on at 5:14 am under by dcobranchi

    DISRUPTIVE HAIR An 8th grade boy was excluded from his class photo because he has long hair, bleached blonde with black streaks. School officials said his hair was disruptive. Except, his hair has been that way all year; he get’s A’s and B’s; and, the only time they’ve said anything to him was the day of the photo. Once again, this is the school deciding appearances are more important than what a kid is.

    PAIGE UPDATE EdSec Paige

    Filed on at 4:59 am under by dcobranchi

    PAIGE UPDATE EdSec Paige continues to take shots for for comments about Christianity in the schools. Yesterday he attempted to “clarify” his remarks:

    “I understand completely and respect the separation of church and state,” Paige said at a hastily called news conference.

    ..Paige, former superintendent of the Houston Independent School District, said his comments were taken out of context because he was referring to universities and not public elementary and secondary schools.

    Sorry- I’m not buying it. Here’s the original (out-of-context) quote:

    All things equal, I would prefer to have a child in a school that has a strong appreciation for the values of the Christian community, where a child is taught to have a strong faith… The reason that Christian schools and Christian universities are growing is a result of a strong value system. In a religious environment the value system is set. That’s not the case in a public school where there are so many different kids with different kinds of values.

    Does this sound like he’s talking about students at a university? And it’s not like the Southern Baptist Press would have been a hostile interview. Nope. Paige pulled a Lott. He opened his mouth without fully engaging his brain and told his audience what they wanted to hear. Unfortunately, as EdSec, the audience is a lot larger than the Southern Baptist Convention. The days of a politician getting away with this are long past. The ‘net assures that.

    My prediction- we’ll see one or two more clarifying press conferences with perhaps a couple of apologies thrown in before this one dies away. I don’t think Paige will lose his job over the issue but if he continues to follow the Trent Lott model of damage control, he very well might.

    EMAIL Carmon Friedrich pointed

    Filed on April 9, 2003 at 4:43 pm under by dcobranchi

    EMAIL Carmon Friedrich pointed out that she had re-blogged the story about some CA parents “censoring” their kids’ books. I especially enjoyed this ‘graf:

    I’m not into saving the government schools. I’m one of those radicals who thinks the whole behemoth ought to be shot and quickly buried to stop the stench.


    Filed on at 6:35 am under by dcobranchi

    IRAQ, HOMESCHOOLING, & DELAWARE The Wilmington News-Journal has a nice piece on homeschool grad J. B. Hogan. PFC Hogan drives a Bradley Fighting Vehicle and is somewhere in Iraq.

    UPDATE: I should have mentioned that I’ve crossed paths with Maggie Hogan (the Mom) a few times. DE is such a small state that the homeschooling community is just automatically tight. In fact, Maggie was one of the featured speakers at last week’s ORCHID conference here. She made a big impression with my wife. I haven’t ever met her son but hope to shake his hand when he gets back. An impressive family.


    Filed on at 5:53 am under by dcobranchi

    DAY OF SILENCE Joanne Jacobs has a nice take on the Day of Silence protest against discrimination and violence aimed at gays.


    Filed on at 5:45 am under by dcobranchi

    THAT DIDN’T TAKE LONG On Monday, EdSec Paige was quoted as saying “All things equal, I would prefer to have a child in a school that has a strong appreciation for the values of the Christian community, where a child is taught to have a strong faith… The reason that Christian schools and Christian universities are growing is a result of a strong value system. In a religious environment the value system is set. That’s not the case in a public school where there are so many different kids with different kinds of values.” I was surprised to hear a government official express this; it sounded more like something James Dobson would say. Civil liberties groups, as well as a teachers’ union, are calling for Paige to recant (or at least clarify) his position or to resign.

    The Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, said Paige’s remarks showed “an astonishing mix of disrespect for both America’s religious diversity and the public schools.” In a letter faxed to the Department of Education yesterday, Lynn urged Paige to repudiate the remarks or step down.

    DAY 3: 226.5 Delta:

    Filed on at 3:53 am under by dcobranchi

    DAY 3: 226.5 Delta: -1.0, Net: -4.5

    WHAT GIVES? Isabel Lyman

    Filed on April 8, 2003 at 8:52 am under by dcobranchi

    WHAT GIVES? Isabel Lyman has a Blogspot ad for “Catholic Home Schools” while I have one for “Standard Deviants.” Is blogger try to tell me something?

    NICE QUOTE[Music teacher Thomas]

    Filed on at 7:08 am under by dcobranchi


    [Music teacher Thomas] Engler was pleased with his students’ performance at the Texas Federation of Music, District 9 Junior Festival sponsored by the National Federation of Music Clubs.

    “I am very impressed with the dedication of these students,” Engler said. “Many of them are homeschooled, and they always do more than I ask of them.”


    Filed on at 6:51 am under by dcobranchi

    FUTURE COLLEGE PRESIDENT A young lady wants to start a Bible Club in her government school. Her chosen name: Truth Bible Club. The Student Council rejected her request based, in part, on the name.

    “The name ‘Truth’ implies that everything else is a lie,” said Camron Barth, 17-year-old junior vice president and friend of Stewart. He voted “nay.” “We want to celebrate our diversity. I support the club, but the name should be changed.”

    Celebrate Diversity! I see. Diversity is the new god we must all bow down to. I’m pretty sure it says somewhere in the Bible not to do that.

    DAY 2: 227.5 Delta:

    Filed on at 5:11 am under by dcobranchi

    DAY 2: 227.5 Delta: -3.0, Net: -3.5


    Filed on at 4:12 am under by dcobranchi

    OT: HOT FUSION The NYT reports that scientists at Sandia National Lab have produced controlled nuclear fusion by compressing deuterium (a form of hydrogen) with a shock wave initiated by a burst of x-rays. This is way cool if a little impractical. The instrument is capable of producing one shot per day, producing enough power to light a 40 W bulb for 1/1000 second. I still find this fascinating, perhaps because of this PERSONAL ANECDOTE: I was in the Chemistry Department at the Univ. of Utah when Stan Pons announced he had acheived “Cold Fusion.” In fact, I worked for Pons for a brief period before moving next door (literally- we were also in the basement labs next to Pons’ labs) into Ted Eyring’s group. Ever since, I’ve tried to keep up with developments in the field. Fusion holds the potential to wean ourselves off fossil fuels. The deuterium in the oceans would be able to supply the world’s energy needs for thousands of years. The trick is to generate the kinds of temperatures seen in the middle of the sun. That’s what the Sandia researchers have done.

    PHILLY BLOG-BASHWhat: First [?]

    Filed on April 7, 2003 at 4:00 pm under by dcobranchi


    What: First [?] meeting of Philadelphia area bloggers
    When: Saturday, April 12, 8pm
    Where: Xando/Cosi coffee house, 325 Chestnut Sts, Philadelphia
    Please RSVP to nicole@thegofish.com


    Filed on at 7:06 am under by dcobranchi

    COMMUNITY COLLEGES USAT has an interesting piece up about CC’s and dual-enrollments. I find this stat hard to believe, though:

    In the 1980s, 1 in 12 students attended college while in high school; that grew to 1 in 8 in the ’90s, says Cliff Adelman, a Department of Education senior research analyst.

    A couple of homeschoolers receive passing mention is the article.


    Filed on at 6:57 am under by dcobranchi

    MORE ON MICHIGAN Check out this ugly quote:

    The state does not require home-school families to register, which makes getting an accurate count difficult. But based on Census data and statewide enrollment figures, more than 5 percent of Michigan’s students may be schooled at home, Michigan State University researchers estimate.

    “If you live in Michigan, chances are you know somebody who is home schooling his or her children,” wrote the study’s authors, Tara Donahue and David Plank. “And, if you do, chances are you know more about the education those children are getting than the state of Michigan does.”

    Good! What gives the state the right to know anything about what our kids are learning in our homes paid for with our dollars?

    WWHS A 9-year-old boy

    Filed on at 6:51 am under by dcobranchi

    WWHS A 9-year-old boy with epilepsy is now being homeschooled to keep him away from the bully who beat him up because of his epilepsy.

    INSANE! According to the

    Filed on at 6:45 am under by dcobranchi

    INSANE! According to the UK Independent 25,000 California teachers are facing layoffs at the end of the school year. To make matters worse, CA ed schools are expected to graduate another 24,000 new teachers this year.

    A GOOD IDEAIn an

    Filed on at 6:26 am under by dcobranchi


    In an effort to better communicate with parents, Desert Christian Schools has launched an Internet-based system that lets parents look at their children’s school records, find out what assignments are due and what grades they have received, and even check attendance.

    The school has taken some good precautions to assure security. This should help parents stay in touch when the teachers might not be physically available.


    Filed on at 6:13 am under by dcobranchi

    WHO’S YOUR DADDY? The SacBee has an article about parents “censoring” what their kids are reading in school. The teachers aren’t happy:

    A group of parents who want a stronger voice on curriculum matters say they are worried that some material is unsuitable and that their children don’t have adequate alternatives.

    Meanwhile, teachers fear their control over the classroom is being wrestled away.

    “The big issue is who is going to pick the curriculum: educators or special interest parents?” said Janice White, an English teacher at Oak Ridge High School in El Dorado Hills.

    The parents’ crime? Reading the same books as the kids and publishing reviews on the internet. Good for them.

    BTW, the SacBee has the coolest little web tool on the page. You can change font size o print it out right in the page. Neat trick.

    DAY 1: 230.5 Delta:

    Filed on at 3:39 am under by dcobranchi

    DAY 1: 230.5 Delta: -0.5, Net: -0.5


    Filed on April 6, 2003 at 1:59 pm under by dcobranchi

    NOT PARANOID, AFTER ALL Back in October, I predicted that within a year, the drug-testing fad would morph into schools having mandatory cholesterol screening. My timing was good- I only missed the disease.

    Diabetes is on the rise in this country as Americans, including children, struggle with obesity, but that doesn’t justify a bill that would require every student enrolling in a Louisiana school for the first time to be tested for the disease.


    Filed on at 1:43 pm under by dcobranchi

    THROW AWAY THE KEY A NJ elementary teacher has been accused of having sex with a 13-year-old boy. The male teacher is HIV-positive.


    Filed on at 1:31 pm under by dcobranchi

    WHERE ARE THE STUDIES? I’m really tired of diversity/affirmative action proponents coming up with a variation of this quote:

    “I hope they leave things the way they are.

    Diversity has been shown to enhance the academic environment,” said [Univ. of Utah President] Machen, whose pro-diversity position always has been clear.

    What studies? Enhanced for whom? Under what conditions? How ’bout a little data so we can judge for ourselves?


    Filed on at 1:09 pm under by dcobranchi

    THIS WILL BE FUN The National Archives are now available online here. So far, some 50 million records including family histories and genealogical records are available.

    DAY 0: 231.0 lbs

    Filed on at 10:12 am under by dcobranchi

    DAY 0: 231.0 lbs

    DIET BLOG This is

    Filed on at 10:10 am under by dcobranchi

    DIET BLOG This is so far OT that only I will care about it. I finally purchased a new bathroom scale. I am not happy. My diet starts NOW. I’ll be using the Atkins Diet. I am going to record my weight here each day, so that I will be externally motivated to not cheat.


    Filed on April 5, 2003 at 11:50 pm under by dcobranchi

    ONLY IN UTAH A Spanish Fork (pronounced “Fark”) teacher faced firing because she is lesbian. Not because she pushed an agenda or came on to a student. Just because she is. The UT Supreme Court denied a lawsuit from some parents that would have declared her not to be a “good role model” and forced her removal.

    INTERESTING ESSAY This teacher

    Filed on at 5:19 pm under by dcobranchi

    INTERESTING ESSAY This teacher of 33 years is retiring in May. The essay covers his take on the state of the schools in FL. It’s not a pretty picture but it is thought-provoking.

    GEO BEE The MN

    Filed on at 6:31 am under by dcobranchi

    GEO BEE The MN state champ is homeschooled.


    Filed on April 4, 2003 at 11:08 am under by dcobranchi

    ZERO TOLERANCE I was going to blog this but Michael Lopez has said everything that needs to be said. And, BTW, the kid who got suspended was correct. I’ve heard kids use “gay” as a synonym for “dumb.” It might not be PC, but it hardly seems fair to suspend the kid for using the word the same way all the other kids are.

    NICE PROFILE The Naples

    Filed on at 5:24 am under by dcobranchi

    NICE PROFILE The Naples (FL) News has a terrifically positive profile of the homeschooler who conceived of and organized the homeschool prom there. The reporter apparently spent the entire day following this young lady around as she prepared for the big night. Well-worth a click.

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