Utterly Meaningless » 2003 » October

    Filed on October 24, 2003 at 6:18 pm under by dcobranchi

    According to a TN legislator, homeschoolers should be pleased that they need a 23 on the ACT (compared to 19 for g-school students) in order to qualify for a lottery-funded scholarship.

    Representative Joe Armstrong says, “I think we’re actually creating a special class for home schoolers so I think they’re receiving preferential treatment just the opposite of being discriminated against.”

    Armstrong says that it is special treatment because in many states, including Georgia, the rules only allow for a GPA requirement.

    “So a home schooler would not be eligible for a hope scholarship in Georgia, if we patterned after that they wouldn’t be eligible in Tennessee.”

    Doubly stupid. First, it’s certainly not preferential treatment and, second, he’s wrong about GA’s HOPE scholarship. Homeschoolers are eligible, just after the fact. They just have to maintain a “B” average in their freshman year in order to get the money.


    Filed on at 5:19 pm under by dcobranchi

    Kimberly Swygert has another example of what happens when educrats don’t bother to think. A great quote:

    This is absolutely, bottom-of-the barrel, negative-IQ, no-judgment-involved thinking.

    I’m going to remember that one.


    Filed on at 7:57 am under by dcobranchi

    Read this column out of Detroit. Brian Dickerson is all in favor of providing “free” computers to sixth graders. Why? Because he has a sixth grade son who wants one and now Dickerson wouldn’t have to pay for it. The kid has two computers at home(s) and access to the internet at school. Will a laptop make any difference to his education? Not a bit! But, hey, as long as their “free”, why not?


    Filed on at 7:49 am under by dcobranchi

    The girl who wanted to start a Caucasian club at the inappropriately named Freedom High has left school because of harassment from other students. And, in a related development, several officers at the local NAACP (whose VP accused the girl of racism) have resigned because of the continuing controversy.


    Filed on at 7:07 am under by dcobranchi

    This Bob Herbert Op/Ed about lack of discipline in NYC schools is very disturbing.


    Filed on October 23, 2003 at 7:34 pm under by dcobranchi

    I’ve changed the default font from Verdana to Arial. I got tired of the strange way that Verdana handled double spaces (like between sentences). It also drops numbers down below the line by 1/2 space. On my monitor, Arial appears smaller than the corresponding Verdana font. I’ll try to find where MT puts the font-size. In the interim, you might just want to increase the font size in your browser.

    UPDATE: I fixed the size.


    Filed on at 4:24 pm under by dcobranchi

    Why should the Arizona School Board Association (ASBA) care about homeschoolers? Perhaps it’s the “lost” money they represent. Or, maybe they’re just a bunch of educrats.

    The next issue [Graham County Schools Superintendent Phyllis Bryce] tackled was home schooling in the Gila Valley. “In Graham County, we have 97 students who are homeschoolers,” she said.

    It is not those who are being taught, but rather those who are not that concern her, she said.

    “We feel like there should be some accountability.” A rumble of assent rose from the crowd of ASBA members.

    “If they are getting a really good education, we have no fight with them,” Bryce said. She is pushing for testing of homeschoolers every two years.

    “If students are not showing progress with these tests, we are looking into it.”

    The article, though, is not totally worthless:

    [Safford School Board President Mike] DeLaO was congratulated for receiving his Master’s of Boardmanship with cluster for achieving 120 hours of continuing education.

    Master’s (tee hee) of Boardmanship (LOL!) with cluster (ROFLMAO!). Congrats, Mike and thanks for the laugh.


    Filed on at 9:09 am under by dcobranchi

    Joel Klein, Chancellor of NYC’s schools has penned a scathing indictment of the union rules that prevent education reform. He blasts tenure, rules against merit pay, and seniority-based assignments. He’s right, of course, but that won’t make his job any easier. He closes with what may have been a tongue-in-cheek commentary:

    I look forward to working with the union to create a set of labor-management rules that respect our teachers while simultaneously providing all of our students the quality of teaching they need and deserve.

    His “three pillars” are the union’s raison d’être. Eliminate them and I’d bet union membership would fall by 80 percent. That might well be his goal but it will not be a pleasant negotiation.


    Filed on at 6:51 am under by dcobranchi

    Lydia and the kids will be at Weiss Park today as scheduled. Y’all come out and dress warmly; the high temperature today is expected to be 50° F.


    Filed on at 6:21 am under by dcobranchi

    Dutch homeschoolers need our help.

    – Take Action — Help Home-education in Holland —
    — Sample mails on http://www.thuisonderwijs.net/support-nl/#samplemail —

    In The Netherlands home education as such is currently not a legal option.
    You may try to get an exemption from school registration, but only for
    deeply felt religious or philosophical reasons. These exemptions are
    recognised with great reluctance, for your child is not considered to be
    educated effectively without school attendance. Once your child has attended
    a school even this option is barred; taking a child from school as a result
    of a change of your opinion about life is in fact prohibited.

    Now only the parents of about a 100 children have been able to avoid this
    trap to secure their freedom. Many more families would like to home-educate
    their kids but are not able to get their way without years filled with
    courtcases and child protection investigations.

    Since some courtcases have been won rather unexpectedly by home-educators
    this year, Maria van der Hoeven, the Dutch minister of Education wants to
    make life even more difficult for them. Despite the fact that the current
    law does not consider home-education to be an effective option next to
    schooling, she wants to put us under tight educational supervision. The
    Educational Committee of the Second Chamber, the Dutch House of
    Representatives, will have a debate on her plan on October 30, at 10.00 AM.
    It can be read in English on

    Since only a 100 Dutch children are exempted from school registration, most
    politicians do not consider this important. The debate has been postponed
    twice already, and now it has even been put into a 1 hour shorter schedule
    than before. But from the attention this small group has drawn in the past
    few years, one might think that the potential interest in home-education is
    far, far greater. Thousands of children are known to be damaged by their
    school-attendance, many more children do not attend school for numerous
    reasons. Many of those would be helped out of if their parents would only be
    entitled to home-educate them.

    We, a group of home-educating parents in the Netherlands, want
    home-education to become a legal option, its effectivity recognised by the
    authorities, and most of all we want parents to exercise a free choice for
    and with their children without unnecessary state interference.

    That is why we ask for your input. We know some members of parliament
    sympathise with us, after having sent them tens of pages of arguments
    against the minister’s view, but all this input has come from a small group
    of activists so far.

    So, after having sent them lots of info about reseach and different
    legislative possibilities we need a lot of your messages to reach the hearts
    of those MPs! Let them know that home-education has become an indication for
    respect of human rights! Let them find out that home-education has grown to
    a worldwide grass-roots movement of responsible families!

    Reading English is no problem for most Dutch people, knowledge of French and
    German is also wide-spread here, so don’t hesitate to express yourself in
    your mother tongue. Perhaps you can include an English summary.

    Send mail
    You can tell the Dutch legislators your own story and opinion using the URLs
    you can find on http://www.thuisonderwijs.net/support-nl/#samplemail . Or
    you can answer one or more survey questions like these:

    – How and why does home-education work for you?
    – Is it a real and viable option in education? Why?
    – Does it work for you family? How?
    – Do you think a teaching certificate is necessary or useful for
    home-educating parents?
    – Do you consider routinely held inspections useful or necessary?
    – What has been your own experience with inspections on your
    home-education, if any?

    Quick Sample Mail
    If you don’t have the opportunity to write down your opinion in detail (we
    know how busy home-educators always are!), then you can use our quick sample
    email which includes the following text:

    subject=Debate about home-education

    Dear madam Minister, dear Committee members,

    Through this message we want to express our concern with the way how
    home-education has been misjudged in The Netherlands so far. We urge you to
    correct this judgement and to remove any obstacles in your law that still
    prevent parents from exercising their responsibilities freely, with or
    without the use of schools.

    Allowing home-education as such has become an indication of respect for
    human rights and fundamental freedoms of both parents and children, since
    its effectiveness has become clear beyond reasonable doubt. Please act in
    accordance with this understanding.

    your name and country

    Email addresses
    Mails should be sent at the same time to the Educational committee of the
    Dutch parliament and to the Minister of Education. A CC goes to our mail
    action address, so that we can make a compilation of your messages and
    present this to the Dutch press. Your efforts won’t be lost! Click this to
    start your mail:

    If you want to keep your identity or e-mail address confidential, please
    send your mail to
    home-education@xs4all.nl?subject=support-nl-confidential, and we’ll forward
    your message without sensitive data.

    Any further questions or remarks? Mail us at

    A thousand times thanks from the current and future home-educators in

    Kind regards from the NVvTO, the Netherlands Association for Home-Education

    Information and updates on this action can be found on


    Filed on at 6:11 am under by dcobranchi

    I was all set to suggest homeschooling until I got to the very end of this Letter to the Editor of the Wilmington News-Journal. Still, I wonder…

    Mother is frustrated at child’s behavior

    I read the letter from a mother whose 8-year-old is being teased. I have the same problem with my 8-year-old son, who is constantly picked on at school and home.

    His self-esteem is destroyed. He cries at the drop of a hat and is easily frustrated. He has been seeing the school counselor since the middle of last year but I don’t see that it helps. I am a single mother who works full time. I don’t know what to do. I know I am not alone.

    Chrysti Maculley, Newark


    Filed on at 5:59 am under by dcobranchi

    An overwhlming reponse to my “No More Dan” pledge (well two folks, actually) has brought me out of retirement. I received the following via email. Original author unknown. (Thanks to Andrea for the note)

    The Dark Side of Homegrown Vegetables – Part I
    [a response to CBS news, two-part series on A dark side to homeschooling and Home schooling nightmares aired October 13 & 14, 2003]

    Good evening, I’m (NAME-OF-ANCHORMAN).

    You’ve seen the success stories: A prizewinning pumpkin at the state fair grown in backyard suburbia. Your Aunt Mary’s squash casserole that melts in your mouth. Smiling faces out in the sunshine surveying freshly tilled earth. Indeed, there are millions of Americans today who garden in their backyard with nothing but the best of intentions. Unfortunately, there are also other stories; stories about backyard gardening turned deadly, even fatal. (NAME-OF-REPORTER) has this report…

    (Photos from a high school yearbook of a smiling young lady)

    Reporter voiceover: At 17 years of age Amy X. had everything in life to look forward to. Validictorian of her senior class, active in glee club, volunteer at the local hospital every weekend. Her sister remembers…

    (Amy’s sister talking from the living room of her house)

    Amy’s sister: “She could always make me laugh, I could sit and talk to her for hours. We never argued. I don’t think she ever had a mean thought in all her life. Everybody loved her.”

    (Photo’s of a college age man)

    Reporter voiceover: Unfortunately for Amy, after she graduated from college she met and fell in love with this man, John Y. At first, at first it seemed a perfect match.

    Amy’s sister: “They were definitely a fun couple. You would always see them together holding hands.”

    (Photo of a young couple at their wedding)

    Reporter voiceover: At first, it was a storybook wedding leading to a happily ever after marriage, but then something went wrong.

    Amy’s sister: Yes, in those first few months I’d run into Amy at the supermarket. She would be picking up and looking at their tomatoes very carefully. John loved fresh tomatoes, you see. Anyway, she would always go on and on about how fulfilled she felt as a wife, how much she loved John.

    (long pause)

    And then, after a few months, I stopped seeing her at the grocery store. I would call her up and ask her what was wrong. She’d just laugh and say how John was starting to grow his own tomatoes in our back yard. I could tell something was wrong, because I’d suggest we get together and see each other, but she’s always say she was too busy…

    (longer pause)


    (Amy’s sister turns away from the camera and hides her face, tears streaming down her face)

    (Reporter in the middle of a large backyard garden)

    Reporter: Yes, here, in their suburban backyard, John started his garden. At first it was only tomatoes and green beans, then he went on to lettuce, broccoli, squash, you name it. Only John Y. had a terrible secret he was effectively hiding from everyone: John really didn’t like tomatoes. He was just using his garden as an excuse to prevent Amy from going to the grocery store. He then started ordering all his canned goods over the internet, and having them delivered straight to his door by UPS. Pretty soon Amy was not going to the grocery store at all. And then the beatings started…

    (Cut to a young, competent-looking police detective)

    Detective: We had several neighbors call us up with complaints about noise, but none of them were specific enough to be able to issue a search warrant. We had the idea that something was going on, but without any actual evidence… (shrugs) We spoke to Mr. Y. several times. He was definitely a typical controlling personality type, we knew that. There just wasn’t anything we could do, until it was too late, until we found out that she had been murdered.

    (Photos from the crime scene, along with voiceover description of the sensational details of the grisly murder. Cut to footage of a defiant John Y. being led away in handcuffs.)

    (Amy’s sister, again sobbing)

    Amy’s sister: If it hadn’t been for gardening, my sister would be alive today!

    (Detective’s office again)

    Detective: I’ve seen other cases like this one, but this one haunts me. Usually, when a victim of wife abuse goes to the supermarket, we get some witnesses who are able to tell us about the huge bruises they see on her face. This time, though, there was no one there to see it. There was just nothing we could do.

    (Reporter again in the middle of a large backyard

    Reporter: Home gardening has been legal in this country for many years, and most home gardeners are normal people who garden with the best of intentions. Yet experts warn that an alarming number of people are using gardening as a means of maintaining social isolation in order to hide their spousal abuse.

    (Cut to a man identified as Gilbert Z., president of the local chapter of the home gardeners association. Gilbert Z. has a bad hair cut and looks uncomfortable being on camera.)

    Gilbert: …there are only a few isolated instances; I know of thousands of gardeners who are really nice people. I don’t see how this is connected to gardening…

    {Gilbert’s statement is obviously a sound bite captured from the middle of a long interview.}

    Reporter: No one knows exactly how many gardeners there are out there, much less how many are actually abusing their wives. Until now, there has been no federal mandate to collect data on gardening in America. Its an environment that allows men like John Y. to thrive.

    (Cut to footage of John Y. being taken into court.)

    John Y. is currently serving 5 years in prison, since the charges against him were plea-barganed down from murder to manslaughter. John Y.’s lawyers declined our request for an

    In tomorrow nights report, NAME-OF-REPORTER will tell how nationwide, wives are being put in danger, even killed, while gardening.

    {You now have 24 hours to imagine just what is meant by the word “while”. You probably now have this mental image of a husband and wife out together in the field, the wife smiles and says, “Honey, could you pass me the shovel?”, and then the husband grabs the shovel and hacks her to death with it. What you actually see in the next report, though, shows that “while” simply means that they beat their wives and they happened to have a garden at the time.}

    The Dark Side of Homegrown Vegetables – Part II

    Good evening, I’m NAME-OF-ANCHORMAN.

    It is estimated that there are BIG-NUMBER of homes in America today that have backyard gardens, and the overwhelming majority of these people have only the best intentions at heart.

    Yet home gardening is essentially unregulated. NAME-OF-REPORTER has uncovered dozens of cases of gardening husbands who have been convicted or accused of wife abuse when no one was there to regulate them.

    Reporter: John Q. shot his wife one night and buried
    her in the backyard. Yet since his wife hadn’t been seen in the grocery store in months, no one noticed.

    Charles R. had his wife chained up in the attic for over a year, away from the prying eyes of people at the local grocery store who might have turned him in.

    Both men were home gardeners.

    And then there is the imfamous cases of Bob S. and Harry T. Both had large vegetable gardens at the time of their conviction.

    Detective: The genuine gardener is a person who grows wonderful vegetables. There is, however, a subgroup within this group that is only using gardening to cover up their wife abuse.

    Gilbert Z.: …I don’t see any trend here. There’s no connection. These are definitely isolated cases that have nothing to do with the gardening community…

    Reporter: Yet no one knows exactly how many cases there are, because at present there are few government regulation covering home gardening. Home gardening is legal in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, with only the requirement that the gardener refrain from growing marijuana, opium poppies, and certain types of mushrooms. All but seven states have no zoning restrictions outside of major cities which require reporting gardening activities to local governments. No states require FDA approval, permitting, and monthly inspections of each and every home garden, or any other requirements that are currently in place to cover commercial farming activities but for some strange reason have not yet been applied to people who just want to grow a few squash at home. Until these garden inspections start uncovering hidden cases of wife abuse that are not being uncovered by the grocery stores {darn that fourth amendment anyways} this cycle of violence will undoubtedly continue.

    John Q. now faces life in prison. The question remains for us how to prevent tragedies like this from ever happening again ever anywhere no matter what the cost.

    {Oh, and I note in passing that even though dozens of cases have been related which involve those “convicted or accused of wife abuse”, only four cases were mentioned which actually involved conviction. How many of the rest were spurious unsubstantiated accusations remains a mystery.}


    Filed on October 22, 2003 at 6:36 pm under by dcobranchi


    Filed on at 6:21 pm under by dcobranchi

    Here’s an OT post that’ll bring a smile to the face of every harried, I mean married, man. (via Carnival of the Vanities)


    Filed on at 1:55 pm under by dcobranchi

    *There ain’t no such thing as a free laptop.

    Some MI school districts are opting out of a program to “give” every 6th-grader a wireless laptop. It seems the “free” computers are going to cost the cash-strapped districts a lot of money for infrastructure upgrades and maintenance. Whodathunkit?


    Filed on at 1:23 pm under by dcobranchi

    A 13-year-old girl in TX has been suspended under a zero tolerance policy for bringing a “weapon” to school. The weapon is this case turns out to be a traditional Korean pencil sharpener which her mother purchased for her during a trip to Seoul.

    District officials said they had no choice but to follow their zero-tolerance policy to the letter, however.

    “If we vary from the rules, that’s when the rules fall apart,” said Christopher B. Gilbert, an attorney for the district.

    Christina Lough, a straight-A student at Garland McMeans Junior High School, was punished after a teacher saw the sharpener in class on Oct. 8.

    In addition to being ordered to attend a special disciplinary class for seven days, the girl was removed as president of the student council and honor society.


    Filed on at 9:21 am under by dcobranchi

    I’m sure the parents who have kids here would swear that this is a good daycare.

    A Middletown-area parent has accused an Odessa day-care center of inappropriately punishing her infant daughter.

    Joseph Smack, a spokesman for the state’s Division of Family Services, said Munira Johnson filed a complaint last week against Children’s Castle Child Care Center Inc.

    Smack said Johnson accused the day-care center of putting her 19-month-old daughter in a supply closet because she was crying too much.


    Filed on at 6:32 am under by dcobranchi

    Drew’s Animals is a new (to me) website set up by a homeschooling family. It’s kind of a journal blog. A nice feature is an applet that generates a math worksheet with random numbers. You can pick the range of numbers and the operation. It will also spit out an answer sheet. I’m not going to deep-link it; you’ll have to go to the main page and then click on “Math Work Sheet Generator.”


    Filed on at 6:23 am under by dcobranchi

    Yankee relief pitcher Chris Hammond briefly retired in 1998 to “help his wife Lynne home school their three children (ages 4 to 7).” He came back with Atlanta last year and signed up with the Yankees before the ’03 season.


    Filed on October 21, 2003 at 1:35 pm under by dcobranchi

    I’m not sure what this means but GoogleNews just found (again) an MSNBC story on homeschooling from Aug. 28th. The article has the same URL as the one I blogged here. Maybe MSNBC re-posted it in response to Dan?


    Filed on at 1:26 pm under by dcobranchi

    At least one advertiser pulled its ads from Part 2 of the CBS smear.


    Filed on at 6:28 am under by dcobranchi

    Joanne Jacobs found an excellent Reason.com discussion on the new voucher program in Colorado. It seems the government is vetting private schools in order to make sure their beliefs are politically correct. The “incorrect” schools are kicked out of the program. Make sure to read all the comments.


    Filed on October 20, 2003 at 7:07 pm under by dcobranchi

    How did this site end up in my referrer logs? I realize that homeschooling is a radioactive topic in some circles but I never thought the IAEA would get involved.


    Filed on at 5:08 pm under by dcobranchi

    The Dartmouth Online (Dartmouth’s student paper) reports that homeschoolers applying there have an easier time than at many other colleges. Dartmouth treats homeschool grads like all other applicants.

    [T]he Georgia Institute of Technology strongly recommends that home schooled applicants take at least 3 SAT IIs — Writing or Literature, Math-Level IIC and Chemistry — on top of their SAT I or ACT. Traditionally-schooled students are just required to submit their SAT I or ACT score.

    The University of Michigan similarly requires home-schooled applicants to submit five SAT II scores, and Michigan warns that additional tests and academic records might be required; applying early is strongly suggested. Other applicants are not required to submit any SAT II scores.

    Something to keep in mind if you happen to hit the Maryland lottery.


    Filed on at 5:00 pm under by dcobranchi

    A homeschooling family are the proud owners of one of the newest Habitat-built homes.


    Filed on at 4:57 pm under by dcobranchi

    The AP has a report on the vast databases that the two big political parties (Or is it one party with two names? I’m never quite sure) have accumulated on voters.

    “We can tell you exactly which house on which street we need to get out the vote, because we know that the issues they are concerned about are Democratic issues,” party Chairman Terry McAuliffe said. “And we know what to say, and we know what not to say.”

    The DNC has 306 pieces of information attached to every name, he said.

    Well, since Terry continues to send me requests for money, I can guarantee that their database is not 100 percent accurate. Actually, it’s probably my fault. A while a go I signed up at “New Democrats Online” so I could keep an eye on them.


    Filed on at 11:43 am under by dcobranchi

    There’s a good Letter to the Editor in today’s News-Journal:

    Why do schools start so early in the day?

    Sometimes I wonder why school has to start so early in the morning. When the alarm goes off this time of year at 6 .am., it is still dark. I’ve spent the last eight school years in a dreadful anticipation of that 5:59 a.m. morning broadcast.

    Do I care at that point in the day about anything less than totally shocking? How about some easy music. My children are slumbering lumps in pre-dawn dreamland as I approach their rooms and pull up the shades. I switch on the 100 watts, not their brains.

    We hurry and scurry, rush and fuss, decide to pack or buy lunch, ultimately making the deadline. It always feels so unnatural. Why can’t school start a little later? Who says school can’t be more enjoyable by letting kids and parents sleep until the sun comes up?

    Suzanne Gallo, Yorklyn

    What do you think? Should I write in and let her know how late some homeschoolers sleep?

    SO WHAT?

    Filed on at 11:32 am under by dcobranchi

    The Wilmington News-Journal makes a big deal over the fact that a study of the Maryland lottery shows people with less education and lower incomes are more likely to play. Lots of hand wringing here.

    The study finds that districts that sell the most lottery tickets per person have more poverty, more minority residents and more high school dropouts than elsewhere. Many of those districts are in Prince George’s County and Baltimore, but they also are in rural areas.

    “We are basically oblivious to what is going on with the Maryland Lottery,” said Delegate Luiz R.S. Simmons, a foe of legalized gambling who requested the study. “Over the last 30 years, the lottery has become a sharp instrument to harvest a horrible amount of money from our poorest and most vulnerable communities.

    And the implication is what? That poorer people are too dumb to realize that the lottery is a bad bet? I doubt anyone playing really thinks they are going to win. It’s the longest of long shots. Everybody (even lower income folks) knows that. If someone chooses to dispose of their, er, disposable income by playing the lottery, so be it.


    Filed on at 6:14 am under by dcobranchi

    This column in response to CBS has been picked up by multiple conservative publications. Not a whole lot that’s new but it’s probably worth a click.


    Filed on at 6:03 am under by dcobranchi

    Head-lice policy nit-picking issue for parents, schools


    Filed on October 19, 2003 at 7:41 am under by dcobranchi

    I’m going to diverge from the normal format at H&OES and write about one of my kids. Forewarned and all that…

    Chelsea, our third child, may be the scholar in the family. She basically taught herself to read at age 5 and is doing the ten books per week thing from the library. She’s six now and loves homeschooling. The weekends are a waste of time to her because we don’t “do” school. Yesterday, she figured out a way out of her “problem.” She made up her own schoolwork.

    She created a page each of math problems and an art/writing assignment. When those were done, it was time for reading. Big problem, though- she needed a reading assignment. Not to worry; she wrote it herself. I’ve reproduced it below. The spelling and grammatical errors are in the original:

    School Work Day

    Its a school work day. I like scoohl its fun. Its so fun every day i can’t wait to do school work to come. even though sometimes i dont like the book. But its stiil fun. the end

    Anyone know if Border’s is hiring? I think I’ll need the employee discount.


    Filed on at 7:27 am under by dcobranchi

    Andrew Sullivan has a really good column in the New York Times about being gay in the Catholic church.


    Filed on October 18, 2003 at 7:27 am under by dcobranchi

    This article combines two of my great passions- homeschooling and good coffee.


    Filed on at 6:30 am under by dcobranchi

    Call Dan Rather. I found another example of terrible parenting.

    A woman who acted as getaway car driver in a bank robbery pulled off by her twin 14-year-old daughters was sentenced to 15 years in prison Friday, after tearfully pleading for leniency.

    …The twins, who pleaded guilty, are serving four-year terms in a juvenile facility for girls.

    OK, I promise- no more digs at Dan.


    Filed on October 17, 2003 at 12:47 pm under by dcobranchi

    Great quote from a homeschooler who plays on an 8-man football team in Atlanta. The team is comprised of 27 homeschoolers, the first such team in Georgia. I really like these folks; they dream big. There’s already talk of forming a league and playing for a state championship. Go Lions!


    Filed on at 6:40 am under by dcobranchi

    SepSchool.org focuses on getting government out of the job of K-12 education. As evidenced by this proposal, Washington needs to stay away from the colleges, too.

    Putting educators on notice, one of the Republican lawmakers overseeing higher education legislation in the House introduced a bill yesterday that would withhold federal money from colleges that raised tuition much faster than inflation, a category that could include hundreds of universities…

    In their defense, colleges and universities argue that most of their costs are driven by expenses over which they have no control, like double-digit jumps in health care premiums or utility costs.

    Beyond that, public universities contend that putting sanctions on them would be particularly unfair, since their tuition is mainly going up to compensate for deep cuts in state spending on higher education. They also point out that most public universities do not even control their own tuitions, but have them set by governors, legislatures or other publicly appointed bodies. Yet Mr. McKeon’s bill would penalize them anyway.

    Every time the government tries to “fix” a problem, it manages to create two more. Incompetence or an evil power grab? You make the call.


    Filed on at 6:31 am under by dcobranchi

    Not mine but Ann Lahrson-Fisher’s. HEM’s News & Commentary is up and well worth a read.


    Filed on October 16, 2003 at 11:54 am under by dcobranchi

    Here’s a family to counter the CBS smear. Normal folks. Just like 99.999999999 percent (ok, maybe a few too many nines) of all homeschoolers. (link via Kimberly Swygert)


    Filed on at 5:20 am under by dcobranchi

    Way OT-

    I don’t really know why EducationNews.org linked to this piece about Rita Hayworth but I learned a few things.

    1) I guess I really can claim to be Hispanic.

    Until a few years ago, “Hispanic” referred to countries that had been conquered by Spain, and where Spanish was spoken, but not to Spain itself. Hispanic nationalists then decided to eliminate the distinction between conqueror and conquered, as regards Spain, replacing it in the role of conqueror and colonial power — history be damned — with the U.S.

    2) Rita Hayworth’s family was every bit as “melted” as my own. Her mother was of Anglo/Irish descent; her father, a Spanish Jew. My story is similar. My maternal grandparents were both Jewish immigrants . My grandfather left Spain around the same time as Hayworth’s. My grandmother left Poland sometime between the wars. My father’s side is Italian.

    What’s the point? That the labels don’t mean a whole lot. I think of myself as an American. If I had to hyphenate, I guess I’d be an Italian-Spanish-Polish-Jewish (I know Judaism is a religion)-American. Not very practical. Just like the rest of the racial separatist movements.

    There’s nothing wrong with being proud of your heritage. Just don’t let it blind you to the fact that (for the most part) our parents and grandparents chose to be Americans. Don’t dishonor them by forgetting the “American” part.


    Filed on at 4:34 am under by dcobranchi

    Joseph Farah has a pretty good column up on World Net Daily about the CBS fiasco. He misstates the number of homeschoolers (claiming 3 million) but the rest is spot on.

    Pull your children out of the clutches of the government schools.

    It’s the right thing to do for your kids and for your country.

    Some 3 million kids in America are now being taught at home – a direct result of the declining standards of government schools.

    When that number reaches 5 million, critical mass will have been reached. The whole system will begin to implode. It will mark the beginning of the end of the government monopoly on schools in America.

    Sounds familiar (scroll all the way to the end of the article).

    DISCLAIMER: Via email Skip Oliva pointed out that Farah has taken some positions that, at the very least, are contrary to my libertarian politics. The homeschooling column is the first of seen of his work. I certainly don’t endorse everything he’s written.


    Filed on October 15, 2003 at 5:58 pm under by dcobranchi

    Here’s a pretty good spoof of the CBS “News” series. I especially like the view of their backyard.


    Filed on at 3:57 pm under by dcobranchi

    From one of the homeschool listservs:

    Viacom/CBS has a phone # setup to take responses to the homeschool
    program they ran last night. The # is (212) 975-5005.


    Filed on at 3:12 pm under by dcobranchi

    This is hard to believe!

    It’s not easy raising a child with autism, Washington, D.C.-area resident Juli Feissner said, admitting that the joy of parenthood can be tempered at times by anxiety and a longing for respite.

    She and her husband, a firefighter in Montgomery County, Md., decided to home-school 13-year-old Justin after he went into anaphylactic shock twice because a teacher put Reese’s Pieces in his mouth. The teacher never read the written warning about peanuts from the Feissners.

    How can school employees make this mistake twice? Better give Dan Rather a call; I smell an “Eye on America” expose’ here.


    Filed on at 3:07 pm under by dcobranchi

    This School Board candidate manages to lose both the homeschool and private school voters at the same time:

    Matuscin said parents who are home schooling their children are sending the wrong message to the school district.

    “You should go to public schools. If the school’s a good school, you’re going to get a good, sound education,” Matuscin said. “If that’s what your family chooses to do, there are consequences that go along with that.

    “When you’re doing that, you’re basically telling the school you don’t provide a good enough education for my child. Then, in turn, why would you want to play sports or be involved in anything else if that’s the way you look at things?”

    I actually agree about the sports.


    Filed on at 9:01 am under by dcobranchi

    This woman would have definitely failed the IQ test.


    Filed on at 6:25 am under by dcobranchi

    A New York Times Op/Ed makes the old correlation/causation error in its support for NYC’s smoking ban.

    The citizens of Helena voted in June 2002 to ban smoking in all public buildings — including restaurants, bars and casinos. Soon after, doctors at the local hospital noticed that heart-attack admissions were dropping. So they, in conjunction with the University of California, San Francisco, did a study to measure the potential short-term effects of a smoking ban…The study showed two trends. First, there was no change in heart attack rates for patients who lived outside city limits. But for city residents, the rates plummeted by 58 percent in only six months.

    Yeah, but… This is merely anecdotal evidence and may signify nothing. It certainly doesn’t prove, as the op/ed claims, that “secondhand smoke kills.” I can think of all sorts of problems with this “study.” Like, why the disparity between city-dwellers and suburbanites? Does no one who lives in the suburbs work in the city? Or, vice versa? And, since the ban affects previously smoke-filled bars, are heart attacks there way, way down? I think this is very likely a statistical quirk from a relatively small study. There is no there, there.


    Filed on at 5:54 am under by dcobranchi

    I’ve been thinking about CBS News’ call for increased regulation and supervision of homeschoolers. They’re right- not a single state does background checks for prospective homeschoolers. Maybe they should. But, not just homeschoolers. Laura suggested below that all parents should have checks. I agree. After all, as Live form the Guillotine notes, many kids who aren’t homeschooling have been hurt or killed by their parents.

    A logical time to do this test would be upon applying for a marriage license. Anyone who failed would not be allowed to get married unless they first submitted to mandatory sterilization. No problem, right? After all, if they’ve got nothing to hide no one could object.

    And, I think the engaged couple should also take an IQ test to make sure they’re smart enough to have kids. After all, they may someday choose to homeschool. If they fail the IQ test, no kids. There would be a booby prize, though. They’d then be eligible to work for CBS News.


    Filed on at 5:31 am under by dcobranchi

    The Scotsman has a pair of vitriolic anti-homeschooling screeds in their Education section. The first is a fairly straight news piece covering some pronouncements from the head of the teachers union.

    PARENTS who take their children out of school have been accused of “kidding themselves” they can educate their children from the kitchen table…Pat O’ Donnell, a Scottish official of the NASUWT teaching union, insisted that the Executive should adopt a strong line on home education.

    Gone are the days when well-educated parents could do at home what teachers do at school. They’re kidding themselves they can educate their children from the kitchen table.

    “This is a movement driven by romantic anti-establishment views of the world.”

    Evidently, the teachers in Scotland haven’t read Rudner’s study. Or, more likely, they have and are whistling past the graveyard. The union rep then drags out a familiar argument:

    Highlighting the potential for abuse to go undetected, the SPTC calls for a register of home-educated children. Estimates of numbers vary between 350 and 5,000. Edinburgh officially records only 18 children.

    Let’s see- Homeschooling=isolation=potential for abuse. Therefore, we need more supervision. Where have I heard that before?

    The second piece, an op/ed I think, is far, far worse. Written by a teacher, we finally learn what they really think about parents:

    To be fair, parents already do a wonderful job when their kids are young. They encourage literacy skills by reading bedtime stories, albeit abridged versions as they miss out every other page to ensure the bonding experience ends in time for the start of EastEnders. Other kids have numeracy skills developed at a very early age, e.g. when dad walks out of their life, 2 minus 1 equals single parenthood.

    Mater and pater could theoretically teach certain aspects of the curriculum. I’m certain that some hard-bodied, toned-up pecs parents would be able to pass on physical fitness techniques but what about the teenagers of the chocoholic, chain-smoking chumps trudging the shopping malls in search of the nearest McDonalds? It’s a recipe for an even greater rate of obesity among the young.

    If this sneering attitude is common in Scotland, it’s no wonder that 30 percent of parents want to homeschool. (Thanks to Andrea for the tip.)


    Filed on October 14, 2003 at 8:06 pm under by dcobranchi

    Diana at Beyond the Whispers kindly linked to H&OES. I’ve returned the favor. She’s at the Univ. of Tennessee where Glenn reigns supreme. BTW, Chris, she’s rooting for the Sox.

    CBS, DAY 2

    Filed on at 6:57 pm under by dcobranchi

    This one probably wasn’t as bad as last night’s. EXCEPT, they actually noted that not one state requires a criminal background check in order to homeschool. Oh, the horror! Utter nonsense.

    UPDATE: Here’s the transcript.

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