Utterly Meaningless » 2003 » April
  • WHAT A SHOCK!A study

    Filed on April 4, 2003 at 5:05 am under by dcobranchi

    WHAT A SHOCK!A study of the government schools in WA found that they could be improved.

    The ideal public school in Washington state pays teachers competitive salaries, has lower student-to-teacher ratios, provides more classroom technology and materials and allows more professional-development days for teachers.

    And it will take an additional $1.7 billion in annual state education spending, according to a Seattle-based bipartisan think tank.

    Bet you can’t guess who paid for the $175,000 study.

    DELAWARE DISCONNECT Delawareans think

    Filed on April 3, 2003 at 10:32 am under by dcobranchi

    DELAWARE DISCONNECT Delawareans think their government schools are doing a much better job than they actually are. Surely, it couldn’t have anything to do with the extensive DSEA “Great Schools” propaganda advertising program, could it?


    Filed on at 10:16 am under by dcobranchi

    LOOK OUT, MI HOMESCHOOLERS Michigan State University educrats are worried that they don’t know who or where you are.

    A Michigan State University report released Tuesday suggests there are thousands of children being homeschooled in Michigan that state education officials don’t know about.

    Parents in Michigan aren’t required to tell the state they’re teaching their children at home.

    …[David] Plank said the state has an obligation to provide an education for all school children. However, he said he isn’t suggesting more state oversight into home-schooling, rather a reporting system that would track where children are receiving their education.

    Plank and Tara Donahue, the other author of the report, said the law should be amended to require that parents register, either with the state or their local intermediate school district, their child’s name and the fact they are being home schooled.

    Keep your eyes open.


    Filed on at 10:09 am under by dcobranchi

    AND THEY’RE OFF This young jockey is homeschooled so he can fit his education around his (and the horses) training schedules.


    Filed on at 10:00 am under by dcobranchi

    ONE BORN EVERY MINUTE Bennett’s K12 company has just secured $20M in venture funding by, at least in part, playing on the 1.7 million homeschoolers who are the “market.”

    [VC] Miller said the deterioration in the quality of public schools, the fiscal crises in many states, the desire of parents to play a bigger role in education, which includes nearly 1.7 million students being home-schooled, are all factors stoking demand for K12’s program.

    It’s not homeschoolers who are using the very expensive K12 program. Instead, it’s the tiny market of cyber-schoolers. Suckers!


    Filed on April 2, 2003 at 7:37 pm under by dcobranchi

    AN EXCELLENT IDEA HSLDA is creating a prayer list of homeschool graduates who are serving in the Middle East. Of the 17 who are currently listed, two (brothers?) are stationed right here in New Castle, DE.

    GOOD LUCK Proposed legislation

    Filed on at 3:05 pm under by dcobranchi

    GOOD LUCK Proposed legislation in SC would have the school districts pay homeschoolers.

    If a student is home schooled in the manner provided by law, his resident school district annually shall reimburse his custodial parent or parents or legal guardian for the cost of his home schooling which is defined as one hundred percent of the district’s per pupil expenditure determined by the State Department of Education based upon the Education Finance Act weightings.”

    SC’s new governor is homeschool friendly so this may have a chance. I’m pretty sure the teacher’s union will be opposed.

    UPDATE: According to the Census, SC spends $8014 per student. Larger homeschooling families could be raking in the dough. I really don’t think this one will fly, not even in conservative SC.

    WWHS A 12-year-old girl

    Filed on at 7:15 am under by dcobranchi

    WWHS A 12-year-old girl was gang raped in a school bathroom for 30 minutes during school hours. Her attackers were between 12 and 14 years old. No one noticed the 7 boys who were missing from class.

    In three cases reported to the Sheriff’s Office during the 2001-2002 school year, three male students at the school were charged with lewd and lascivious acts after female students said they were attacked in school bathrooms, according to police reports. [Spokeswoman] English said five sexual battery or rape investigations were conducted at the school that year.


    Filed on at 7:03 am under by dcobranchi

    DRIVER’S ED A TX legislator wants to impose a $5 fee for a road test in order for kids to get their driver’s licenses. A favorite quote:

    Senate Bill 946, awaiting House consideration, would generate $501,000 for DPS from $5 fees to pay for the road tests.

    “This is Republican 101,” Ogden said of the funding strategy. “We’re not going to raise taxes. We’re going to charge a fee for services.”


    Filed on at 6:37 am under by dcobranchi

    WHO’S RIGHT? The TX teacher’s union claims that the dropout rate in Tarrant County is 1%. The IRDA, an advocacy group, claims that 40% of 9th graders don’t graduate four years later. So, which is it? Is the dropout rate insignificant or is it a huge problem? Actually, the truth is probably somewhere in between. The IRDA data includes students who left schools because of transfers and homeschooling. The TEA considers kids who left schools and later got a GED as non-dropouts. It’s all just a political football.


    Filed on April 1, 2003 at 11:19 am under by dcobranchi

    DELAWARE ITEM REMINDER- the ORCHID conference/ curriculum fair is scheduled for this Friday.


    Filed on at 10:57 am under by dcobranchi

    IDLE THREATS I was just reminded of this PERSONAL ANECDOTE. Read at your own risk.

    The local YMCA has long-offered a Homeschool Swim class. The class consists of 30 minutes of instruction time and 15 minutes of free-swim time. The “Y” also cuts us a small break on the price. The regular swim classes don’t include the extra 15 minutes. Some non-homeschooling parents complained that it wasn’t fair that they paid more and got less. They even suggested that they should homeschool so they could save the few dollars represented by the discount. What a joke! Well, the “Y” caved and eliminated the discount and the extra 15 minutes. So, my wife is leading an exodus of homeschoolers across town to the very homeschool friendly Boys & Girls Club.

    The end result: the “Y” will have a nice, empty pool during the day and the membership price at the “Y” will likely rise to cover the loss of revenue. Couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch of people.


    Filed on at 8:56 am under by dcobranchi

    LIGHTEN UP, MIKE HSLDA Pres. Mike Smith needs a vacation; he’s taking things way too seriously.

    Mike Smith, president of the Homes School Legal Defense Association, told Agape Press the 30-minute WB network comedy “The O’Keefes” unfairly insinuates home schoolers lack social skills.

    …Smith said home schoolers test higher than any other group of students in terms of socialization and has asked Warner Brothers CEO Barry Meyer to revise the show’s content.

    It’s a SITCOM!

    DEATH SPIRAL This school

    Filed on at 8:52 am under by dcobranchi

    DEATH SPIRAL This school district had to cut 13 days from the school year due to budget constraints. Parents are angry and are considering homeschooling, which “would take even more money from the school district.” Darn!

    LET’S ROLL Our troops

    Filed on at 8:36 am under by dcobranchi

    LET’S ROLL Our troops are short on toilet paper. This high-schooler is helping out. The publication date is April 1st. Nahh- couldn’t be.


    Filed on at 8:05 am under by dcobranchi

    THE PROBLEM WITH VOUCHERS Some FL legislators are proposing legislation that would force voucher-accepting schools to take the FCAT (FL’s state test). This Op/Ed argues against it.

    Imposing this conformity on private schools by requiring that they administer the FCAT would prevent those schools from offering meaningful alternatives to the type of education offered in state schools. Not all children learn in the same way and not all families share the same philosophy of education. Allowing a diversity of approaches is precisely one of the most important benefits of having alternatives to public schools available through voucher programs.

    Though private schools do not follow the state standards, we need not be too concerned that private schools are failing to adhere to adequate standards. The market forces them to have meaningful standards in order to entice parents to choose their school. Furthermore, since almost all private schools already administer nationally respected standardized tests, we can judge the value of a private school’s standards by how well they perform on these tests.

    Read the whole thing.

    WAY OT Lileks has

    Filed on at 3:32 am under by dcobranchi

    WAY OT Lileks has some new additions to the MEAT! Gallery. Some of these were so funny I had tears streaming down my cheeks. Make sure you click through them all. SOme of the funniest ones are towards the end.


    Filed on at 3:02 am under by dcobranchi

    TEACHING THE TEST Michael Lopez has a nice post on the difference between teaching the material annd teaching the test. A couple of quotes from the original article:

    There is a fine line between preparing students and overemphasizing tests, said Carlton Jordan, a researcher for Ed Trust, a Washington-based research group.

    And this school seems to have crossed it.

    At least twice each month, all third- and fourth-grade students spend three hours taking a practice standardized test modeled after annual state and city exams.

    More than two-thirds of the third- and fourth-grade students arrive at school by 8 a.m. every Saturday to attend four-hour classes on test-taking strategies and problem-solving drills. There are similar two-hour sessions after school three times a week.

    I don’t have a problem with practice tests. Some kids get “test anxiety” and don’t test well. Whatever the schools can do to remove the stress is good, as it allows the kids to show what they know. But, as Lopez points out, multiple choice tests aren’t real life. Spending months learning how to “game the system” is unproductive in the long run.

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