Utterly Meaningless » 2005 » February

    Filed on February 28, 2005 at 7:39 pm under by dcobranchi

    out of Utah? More to come.

    UPDATE: This from Tad in UT.

    The Speaker of the Utah House of Representatives was showered with confetti and silly string and received a big hug from the Jazz Bear today when Senate Bill 59, Homeschool Amendments, passed by a unanimous 70-0 vote. The bill, which was sponsored by Senator and Homeschool dad Mark Madsen ( R Tooele ) and passed both houses of the Utah legislature unanimously, amends the current homeschool statutes to require that school districts issue compulsory attendance exemptions for children based on an affidavit of their parent that the child will be homeschooled. It also prohibits the local school district from requiring teaching credentials, testing or special record keeping of the homeschool.

    The Utah PTA staged a last minute lobbying effort to amend the bill to remove some of the prohibitions on school districts, most notably the testing prohibition, over the lunch hour with the bill scheduled as the first item of business after lunch. Representative LaWanna (Lou) Shurtliff (D. Ogden) proposed the amendment, but it received little support during the floor debate. The homeschool community responded with a lobbying campaign of their own on Capitol Hill, and a last minute telephone and email campaign.

    Senate Bill 59 is now off to Governor Huntsman for signature.


    Filed on at 11:04 am under by dcobranchi

    AZ educrats are shocked (shocked, I tell you) that HEKs are declining the offer to take the state accountability tests.

    [T]he state offers few incentives for home-schooled students to endure the hassle of AIMS.

    Public school students who exceed state standards on AIMS and meet other conditions will receive automatic full-tuition scholarships at any state university starting with the class of 2006, but Arizona Board of Regents assistant executive director Mark Denke said the offer does not apply to home-schooled students.

    Nevertheless, Denke said, home-schooled students can still benefit by taking AIMS.

    “If they did well, it would be another piece to consider in their favor when awarding scholarships,” he said.

    Is he kidding?


    Filed on at 10:06 am under by dcobranchi

    Chris takes apart Michael Farris’s latest WashTimes column.


    Filed on February 27, 2005 at 3:45 pm under by dcobranchi

    I got my dead-tree version of HEM yesterday. Helen Hegener has included a lengthy segment on the homeschool / home education controversy that we kicked around here last month. Can’t help pointing out that I’m referred to as a “noted blogger.” *SNORT* Sadly, Helen didn’t end up including Tim’s comments, which I found to be the most persuasive.

    Several articles from the March-April edition are available online, but not our little corner. You’ll just have to subscribe (or go to the library).


    Filed on at 2:25 pm under by dcobranchi

    The following account comes from my area of South Jersey and is posted with permission:

    Today [Thursday, 2/24], at about 4:30, a police officer and sherrif show up at my door. Someone had called DYFS [Jersey’s CPS agency] because they had seen my children today — playing OUTSIDE! In our yard! In the SNOW! (Do I even need to say that it was 3:30, and that they had on jackets and hats and snowpants and boots and…)

    They wanted to know if my children had their own bedrooms to sleep in, if they play any local sports, if we belong to any groups…

    Of course, the end result is that they were very apologetic for even having to come by, saying that obviously all was well here, but how SCARY!

    So, having never been in this situation before, I called the neighbors to either side of me, just “checked in” with them. Let them know what happened, told them that though I was sure it wasn’t them (which I’m not at all) that I wanted to remind them that if they ever have a concern or are aware of my boys behaving inappropriately (I’m always aware of when they are outside, and check on them regularly, but don’t sit on top of them every moment) that they are of COURSE welcome to say something to me immediately…

    It may well have been someone I don’t know at all, and if it was, big whoop. I don’t care what they think. Just covering bases with the ones I DO know.

    What else would you do?

    It’s hard to know what prompted the incredibly clueless call — is all the recent media poison actually having an effect on the public perception of home educators?

    The family is interested in hearing feedback on what if any steps others would take in their situation — just let it go? Try to find out who is was and introduce themselves to forestall another incident in the future? Something else?


    Filed on at 7:33 am under by dcobranchi

    A reporter in the St. Paul Pioneer Press understands the difference between cyber charters and home education.

    Eight-year-old Maddie Hintz needs only to step out of her bedroom, head down the hall and grab a seat at the kitchen table to start the school day.

    …At first glance, this appears to be a typical home-school setting.

    It isn’t — or is not, to draw from Maddie’s lesson on contractions.

    Maddie is a public school student enrolled in the Wisconsin Connections Academy, one of a growing number of virtual schools in Wisconsin.

    The Wisconsin Connections Academy and the 12 other virtual school programs in the state rely on computers and the Internet to provide an alternative educational option.


    Filed on at 7:26 am under by dcobranchi

    This little boy has had a hard life already, having had a heart transplant at the age of three. He’ll be taking immunosuppresant drugs for the rest of his life:

    Mom worries about him eating at the right time; Dad fears he’ll be exposed to other communicable illnesses.

    The family checks to make sure visitors to their home don’t bring with them colds or flu because he’s more susceptible to illness.

    Antiseptic soap always is on hand in Bill Wessels’ car.

    Caution is a very good thing here. But then there’s this:

    The couple don’t want Drew to experience life in an overprotected bubble. Although he may be exposed to more illness by enrolling in school, they don’t think home schooling would be the answer.

    “Drew is so social, I don’t think home schooling is an option,” Bill Wessels said.

    What are these folks thinking!?


    Filed on at 7:18 am under by dcobranchi

    The Chicago Tribune thinks that blogs are the new baby books.

    The sites, with names such as Daddyzine and Bloggingmommies, are this generation’s baby books, although many bloggers also scrupulously record every burp, giggle and bottle in book form as well, which makes you wonder when they have time to actually care for the baby.

    … As you click through the sites, it’s obvious blogs provide an online community for people stuck in the house all day with the kids. But it’s not all discourses on doo-doo. Many writers focus on social and political issues, such as parental leave at work or home schooling.


    Filed on at 7:04 am under by dcobranchi

    From a News-Journal Op/Ed extolling the virtues of full-day kindergarten:

    The disparity is created during the years before kindergarten when children have various forms of care. Some came from a home where they never had to stand in line. Some came from structured preschools such as Head Start. Some came from day care with daily lessons. They all are going to need different types of guidance and education to achieve success.

    Standing in line is an important skill to have mastered? It never ends, does it?


    Filed on February 26, 2005 at 7:54 pm under by dcobranchi

    Texas is unilaterally exempting itself from some requirements under NCLB because otherwise approximately 50 percent of their schools would have been labeled as “failing.” The irony here is that NCLB was modeled closely on the so-called Texas Miracle. Former Ed Sec Paige rode that horse all the way to Washington. Of course, the miracle was later shown to be pretty much a con. Maybe Texas’s rebellion will be the straw that breaks NCLB’s back.


    Filed on at 8:11 am under by dcobranchi

    … that this “charter homeschooling” mother will be hit with a flash of cognitive dissonance after she reads her quote in the paper this morning?

    “Our school allows us to purchase Christian curriculum. I like that freedom,” Danielle said.


    Filed on at 7:59 am under by dcobranchi

    In trying to find a way to contact them about the News problem, I found a couple of features I wasn’t aware of. You can now enter “Movie:xxxxx” where the xxxxx is your local zipcode. This will immediately pull in local movie theatres with their showtimes. And the Google Local feature basically allows for a quick Yellow Pages-like search of whatever you’re looking for. It’s tied into GoogleMaps.

    These services are both available on Yahoo but the Google versions are much more convenient.


    Filed on at 6:53 am under by dcobranchi

    Not financially. Technically. I can’t get beyond the first ten stories in my normal scrape no matter what I do.


    Filed on at 6:34 am under by dcobranchi

    This librarian wants to see ID and creationism taught in the schools. In support of her argument, she uses one of the absolute worst analogies I’ve ever seen:

    “Fair and Balanced.” That promise of Fox News is also a good philosophy for public schools to adopt as they scrutinize and consider how to improve the evolution-creation debate curriculum. As investigative scientific technology continues to advance by leaps and bounds, to continue treating the “theory of evolution” as a sacred cow and newly researched creationist claims as “unscientific bunk” is as irresponsible as putting the Flat Earth Society in charge of Science magazine.

    Flat Earth Society? Is there any side in this debate that even resembles the Flat Earthers?

    I have no problem with kids learning about creationism. During Sunday School! It has no place in the public schools. It’s religion. More specifically, it’s the Christian Bible. And ID is just a somewhat modern cover for creationism. Neither ID nor pure creationism pass the sniff test for science. Even if they were granted the title “theory,” they are so far out of the scientific mainstream that they wouldn’t deserve mention in a high school level science class. If kids go into evolutionary biology in grad school (assuming that ID hasn’t been laughed off the stage by then), they can study all of the supposed shortcomings of evolution.

    I’ve said it before many times. Creationism isn’t science. Keep it out of the science classes.


    Filed on at 5:32 am under by dcobranchi

    Boston sports fans must be a bunch of wimps. It seems that the owners of the Fleet Center in Boston (where the Bruins sometimes play) have been auctioning off naming-rights-for-a-day on eBay. A Yankees fan won the March 1st auction. That’s where the fun begins:

    Kerry Konrad’s dream – let’s call it a mischievous wish – was that on March 1, the FleetCenter in Boston would be renamed the DerekJeterCenter.

    “My goal was to have the ultimate bragging rights with my buddies up there and tease my friends about the day I named it the DerekJeterCenter,” said Konrad, 47, a Yankees fan who attended Harvard with certain members of Red Sox Nation.

    …After two days of deliberation, the arena ordained yesterday that the Jeter name was rated X in Boston. “We consider it a curse word in Boston,” Krezwick said. “Anything initiating from the blue and the pinstripes would probably be considered offensive by Boston fans.”

    So, they won’t allow it. Even after winning the Series, Boston fans still have this inferiority complex when it comes to New York. Good! See you in October.

    And before anyone says that Yankees fans wouldn’t put up with it either, click here.


    Filed on February 25, 2005 at 5:49 pm under by dcobranchi

    An Olympic gold and a world record are fine, but just can’t compare to the g-school life:

    A magical two weeks last August left Dana Vollmer with an Olympic gold medal dangling from her neck and a world record to include on her résumé. But all the years of arduous training in a swimming pool did little to prepare Vollmer, 17, for what was next: her first day of classes at Granbury High School.

    … Two years of home school to accommodate an aggressive training schedule culminated in Vollmer’s Olympic experience, but it deprived her of the typical high school life she craved.

    Geez! I hope that’s just poor reporting.


    Filed on at 11:44 am under by dcobranchi

    The first words I hear out of Alex this morning: “Dad, do we have a copy of Atlas Shrugged around?”

    Ah, sweet serendipity — found out later that he’d been reading the Jon Stewart textbook satire America, which has this fake blurb on the back: “This is similar to my works in that anyone who reads it is sure to be an a****** for at least a month afterward.”

    I’ll get back to you on 25 March.


    Filed on at 6:26 am under by dcobranchi

    I’ve mostly tried to avoid the SS debate, but came across this little blurb via a homeschooling article. The juxtaposition struck me as funny:

    God on the Quad
    By Naomi Riley

    TAE contributing writer Naomi Riley visited 20 of America’s religious colleges over a two-year period and found that students there really are different. And their ranks are swelling enough to change the nation.

    An Ownership Society Evolves
    By William Tucker

    Who says indivualized accounts are a better way to solve social problems? The laws of nature. The power of decentralized spontaneous order will be on George Bush’s side as he attempts to reform Social Security.

    Spontaneous order? I thought that violated the Second Law of Thermodynamics.


    Filed on at 6:13 am under by dcobranchi

    SC’s “Put Parents in Charge” proposal keeps getting worse all the time. Proponents, recognizing that the proposal as written was DOA, have just alienated some of their key supporters:

    Supporters of a tuition tax credit bill in the S.C. House have changed course and reinserted two key accountability measures to a revamped version of the so-called Put Parents in Charge bill.

    If the legislation passes, private schools would be required to release academic performance data of their students for comparison to public school students. Some private schools and home school groups had opposed that perceived intrusion into how they educate their students.

    Can we agree yet that home educators ought to fight against this proposal?


    Filed on at 6:03 am under by dcobranchi

    The NYT has a very sympathetic piece on a youngster who has decided to boycott the state accountability tests. The kid may be held back for refusing to take the test.

    In Texas, students like Macario who do not pass a state assessment test can be promoted only if a panel of the child’s parents, teachers and principal all agree to make an exception.

    This puts the principal in a very interesting position. The exception was written in as a way to promote kids whose performance on the test (for whatever reason) was deemed to not represent their actual knowledge and abilities. It certainly wasn’t put there to allow the promotion of test rebels. So what does the principal do? Does he flunk the kid and bring further attention to this? Or does he pass him and run the risk of hundreds or thousands of kids trying this next time?

    Now I’m no particular fan of testing. We don’t test our kids, and I’d fight like hell if the State tried to impose any requirements. (I haven’t yet decided how I’m going to handle NC’s testing requirement.) But the kid is engaging in an act of civil disobedience. Good for him! The problem, though, is that one must be willing to pay some price for the act. Exploiting a loophole isn’t going to change a bad system. Negative publicity might.

    But all this CD talk begs the real question- Is it a bad system? Is the kid correct when he asserts that “I think we should be doing other creative things that helps kids express their imagination. We don’t do any art. We don’t get enough recess”? If it’s as bad as he claims, why are his parents keeping him and his brothers there? There’s an easy solution. Just pull him out.

    Macario said he wanted to be careful how he spent his day of protest. “I didn’t want to do something that makes me look like I’m wasting time,” he said. He ended up going with his father to visit his grandparents at their nearby farm in Elsa to play with their goats and sheep and try out some chili recipes – he is a pepper devotee. And he read about the abolitionist Frederick Douglass.

    Tip credit: Heidi


    Filed on at 1:59 am under by dcobranchi

    Out of the UK:

    ALL parents in Scotland who help out at school events such as discos, fetes, sports days or cycling proficiency tests have been advised to have police checks.

    There is concern that this could reduce the numbers coming forward.

    …”Anyone who volunteers to help with the activities of a school would have the best interests of the pupils at heart and will understand why this is being done. As parents themselves it will be of comfort to know that other volunteers have been checked.

    Why not? What are you hiding?

    This would absolutely keep me from volunteering. No way would I ever voluntarily give the government a fingerprint. One more reason to home educate– no background checks.


    Filed on at 1:23 am under by dcobranchi

    An Arizona elected official wants to kill two birds with one stone:

    Pima County attorney Barbara LaWall is calling for tougher rules regarding homeschooling in lieu of this investigation.

    LaWall says the system should require that children who are homeschooled take performance tests in a public forum. That way the state would not only know that the child is being properly educated but it could expose any abuse the child may be suffering.

    If we set some things in motion, and have some requirements that people need to comply with perhaps it will be easier to identify those families that aren’t complying and then we can start an investigation from that point on.

    Who said government was always inefficient? Ignoring for the moment that the ones who weren’t complying probably wouldn’t go for naked testing, I think she’s onto something. A minor upgrade– how ’bout they take the tests naked while performing a headstand or other gymnastic feat? This way we can be assured that the HEKs are also getting their government-mandated exercise.

    Here is the contact info for LaWall (in case you come up with a way to kill more birds and want to let her know):

    By Mail:
    Pima County Attorney’s Office
    32 N. Stone, Suite 1400
    Tucson, Arizona 85701

    By Phone:
    Main Number (520) 740-5600
    Victim Witness (520) 740-5525
    Bad Check (520) 740-4100

    By Email: web@pcao.pima.gov

    HE DID?

    Filed on February 24, 2005 at 5:38 pm under by dcobranchi

    In the middle of an overview of school choice (in the broad sense), there’s something I never heard before:

    Legislators may restrict and regulate nonpublic options to make those options less appealing and more difficult. Former President Clinton argued against all evidence to the contrary, that home schooling might be considered parental neglect. For that reason, as well as to ensure that children are really learning, he said there should be state and federal regulation of home schooling.

    Now, I didn’t get into this game till ’96 or thereabouts, so maybe this happened in Clinton’s first term and never registered in my mind. Or was it later but not widely discussed because it was pre-blog?


    Filed on at 5:35 pm under by dcobranchi

    Final Simpsonville update. All charges dropped and the cop was fired!


    Filed on at 5:21 pm under by dcobranchi

    I’ve been betting that James Lileks would homeschool when the time came. Looks like I lose:

    Last night my wife went to the local public school where we hope to send Gnat. I don’t want her bussed anywhere; I want her to see the school as part of the local community, part of the small safe world nestled within the larger city.

    I hope it works out for Gnat, though I’m pretty sure those “local community” schools have gone the way of the dodo.


    Filed on at 5:16 pm under by dcobranchi

    I’m sure Chris can better deliver the musical verdict on neo-Southern rockers Kings of Leon, so I’ll just stick to exposing myself to charges of hypocrisy by gratuitiously mentioning that they were home educated on and off:

    While Leon [the band members’ father] preached at churches and tent revivals throughout the Deep South, the boys attended services and were occasionally enlisted to bang on some drums. They were home-schooled or enrolled in small parochial schools. Except for a five-year stretch when they settled in Jackson, Tennessee, the Followills spent their childhoods driving through the South in a purple 1988 Oldsmobile, decamping for a week or two wherever Leon was scheduled to preach.

    (Warning on the link: rock star pottymouth ahead.)


    Filed on at 4:47 pm under by dcobranchi

    Reading through a piece on “traditional schools” — apparently a voguish term for old-fashioned “3 Rs” institutions — I got tangled in this skein of self-justification:

    Stanfield home-schooled her three children until she realized that a traditional school could support her views of the importance of communication between home and school. As a parent who takes a 24/7 approach to education, the stress of not knowing what’s happening in the classroom has lifted.

    Um, let’s see … take away the eight hours the kids are in school each day … doesn’t this mean she’s taking more of a 16/5 approach with immersion on the weekends?

    She sees a high level of communication from the principal’s office, to the teacher, the classroom and to parents.

    “I feel connected to the school and I’m an important part of the puzzle in order for my kids to succeed,” Stanfield said.

    So, hearing a lot about how your kids are doing is better than guiding them and seeing it firsthand? Did the reporter fundamentally misunderstand something, or is this parent just fooling herself?


    Filed on at 2:38 pm under by dcobranchi

    I’ve been noticing this kind of thing a lot lately:

    Homeschooled until the third grade, Bode [Miller, a championship skier] was a high school tennis champ but opted to focus on skiing. In 2002 he won two silver medals at the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics.

    What gives? What relevance does a few years of elementary home education have when one is discussing an adult? Why does this still seem to carry such a whiff of exoticism for journalists?


    Filed on at 2:21 pm under by dcobranchi

    I think we now have incontrovertible proof that the NEA is secretly bankrolling ABC’s Wife Swap — a third home-educating family was on last night:

    Doreen Flummerfelt is a working mother who has two sons, Marques Banks, 17, and Rashad Hamilton, 12, from her two previous marriages.


    LaShelle Bray – the Baltimore woman she replaced for a week – is a stay-at-home-mother who is schooling her five children, ages 2 to 9, at home.


    Doreen Flummerfelt quickly learned that she wasn’t prepared for the swap.

    “The biggest change for me was, one, the kids, two, how dirty the house was, and three, she was a housewife who was home-schooling her kids,” she said.

    “I go to work every day, and I come home and my family all shares in the chores,” Doreen Flummerfelt said. “I’m a take-charge person, but she is told what to do. And even when my house is dirty, my friends always say it’s clean.

    “This woman had a George Forman grill that still had grease it in from October, and this was December,” she said. “The ceiling fans were dirty. For two days, I did not eat in that house.”

    TV-besotted, 15-minute-seeking home educators of America — for the love of God, money, or common sense, KNOCK IT OFF!

    BET ME

    Filed on at 1:46 pm under by dcobranchi

    Fairfax Co. (VA) looks likely to approve allowing HEKs to take up to two courses at the local g-school. At least one home educator thinks this is a wonderful idea:

    Adrienne Albers said she suspects many Fairfax County homeschool families will participate.
    Albers, who also president of the Northern Virginia Homeschool Network, said it would be a good idea for everyone.
    “If a child needs an advanced biology course, why not let them take it?” she said. “This would be a win-win situation for everybody.”

    I’m guessing that NVHN is not affiliated with VAHomeschoolers.org


    Filed on at 5:47 am under by dcobranchi

    We’ve touched on plural marriage a couple of times before, but never in relation to home education. The school district in Colorado City, AZ/ Hildale, UT is flat busted. Why? Apparently some poor financial decisions hurt, but the polygamists’ pulling 2/3 of the kids out for private schools or home education crushed the district.

    One statist politician (a Republican this time) thinks that the State should use the g-schools as a weapon to force the community into abandoning plural marriage:

    Sen. John Huppenthal, R-Chandler, said state funding of Colorado City’s public schools props up the polygamist community’s economy and that lawmakers can’t ignore the nature of that community.

    ”The real problem here is the victimization of young women,” said Huppenthal, the father of two daughters. ”This is really about creating pressure on you … to coming closer to the norms of modern civilization.”

    Left or right- it doesn’t matter. They’re all statists.


    Filed on at 4:28 am under by dcobranchi

    That’s according to a new report by the National Conference of State Legislatures. The report claims that NCLB usurps the states’ roles in education. No kidding. IAATM, though. No school or district can opt out because the feds hold the purse strings. Same old, same old.


    Filed on February 23, 2005 at 1:11 pm under by dcobranchi

    Are these PS begathons going to become a trend?

    The Myrtle Point School District is embarking on a marketing campaign.

    It needs at least 40 new students to commit to enrolling in its schools within the next few weeks to stave off having to lay off teachers for 15 days at the end of this school year, Superintendent Robert Smith said this week.

    And if an additional 60 students don’t enroll by next school year, Smith said, the district will have to cut 36 days out of the coming school year.

    “The more students we get in here, the less we have to take from everybody,” he said.

    The district finds itself staring down the barrel of a $500,000 budget deficit, due to a 37-percent decline in enrollment over the last few years, a 16-percent reduction in state funding since 2000 and a projected 6- to 12-percent increase to employee retirement accounts, Smith said.

    But I’m not too sure this audience is going to be tuning in anytime soon:

    Of the estimated 1,000 home schoolers on the South Coast, Smith said there are about 40 to 50 in the Myrtle Point School District. Teachers and administrators have approached many of them either through face-to-face visits or via letter, Smith said. He also wants to draw some evangelical Christian home schoolers to his district – even if just on a part-time basis – by offering biblical literature taught by his English department. The lessons will be taught similarly to those already offered at community colleges within the guidelines established by state law, Smith explained.

    Why do I get the feeling he’d have better luck offering free car washes for a year and a tote bag?


    Filed on at 12:56 pm under by Tim Haas

    I’ve come to believe that Google scrapes are a window on one’s personal alternate universe:

    Cars are available for rent at the Sears Automotive Center at Chico Mall.

    Avis-Rent-a-Car has opened a counter at the local Sears store, East 20th Street and Forest Avenue.

    Agency operator Tim Haas has recently taken the post, and has a variety of cars from compacts to mini vans.

    Actually, it is true that I have a variety of cars — one that runs, and one that doesn’t.

    (* Name that tune and artist.)


    Filed on at 12:49 pm under by dcobranchi

    I heartily wish these folks luck. I tried to start a magazine once — the economics of print are brutal:

    While searching for a new home business that would bring the family together full-time, cut out Dad’s hour-each-way commute, and sustain the family – they decided to focus on a project that would compliment their home education. The original plan was to form an organization for other home educators where parents and children could come and participate in challenging classes and workshops as well as educational tours allowing families to explore independently, then come together to have interesting discussions with each other over a group dinner.

    Having previously investigated publishing a magazine, it seemed an interesting idea again, and one that was a natural compliment to the Gadbois’ other plans. They spent over a year developing a vision for the magazine. It was based on a need they had that wasn’t being answered by any publication. There were – and are – several publications for “homeschoolers” on the stands. The publications already in production were either poorly written, poorly produced, stagnant, or religiously focused. They wanted to speak to readers who appreciate well-written in-depth articles with an educational focus (rather than a litany of how-to advice), beautiful photography, and quality resources.

    One thing, though — I certainly hope they’re not including HEM in their list of poor publications.

    (* Home Education on Dead Trees)


    Filed on at 8:32 am under by dcobranchi

    Anne, in the “Half Full” thread, asked when it’s acceptable (i.e., legal) to leave a child alone. Good question. It seems to vary state-by-state. In DE, I was told by DFS that they do not prosecute anyone who leaves a 13-year-old alone. Below that age prosecution was handled on on a case-by-case basis. The girl who was locked in her room was 10, so the parents would likely face charges here, too. And locking the door would definitely compound the problem. (What if there had been a fire?)


    Filed on at 8:08 am under by dcobranchi

    Four out of five editorial writers agree that a regular program of standardized testing will purify the hearts of criminals and eliminate child abuse:

    There are also tragic cases, in which ill-prepared parents use home schooling to avoid the hassle of daily public school or parochial school education. An example of this appears in this morning’s Omaha World-Herald. A 10-year-old girl, who was supposedly being home-schooled, was found locked inside a bedroom with the door locked from the outside.

    The girl weighed 59 pounds, which is about 29 pounds below average for a girl her age

    As terrible as that case is, local authorities said rural areas, including McCook, are not immune from isolated cases of neglect by a small percentage of parents who home school. There have been at least two similar cases in McCook. In one instance, the odor was so bad inside the home that it caused authorities to retch. Worse, officials found no books inside with which to teach.

    In another case, after neighbors reported children at home throughout the school day, authorities found an itinerant family that had fled from Alliance after being reported to school authorities there. The same thing happened here, with the family packing up and leaving after being checked on by authorities.

    Although neglect of home schoolers is an isolated problem, it is serious and needs to be addressed. Attention should be focused on the problem by the Nebraska Legislature, which needs to consider testing standards to make certain that home school students are progressing adequately in core academic subjects, such as reading, writing and arithmetic.


    Filed on at 7:07 am under by dcobranchi

    Today’s APOD is way cool (literally). It’s a series of photos of a huge iceberg floating around and then crashing into Antarctica. The chunk of ice is about the same size as Long Island.

    You’ll have to click on the picture to get the animation started.


    Filed on at 6:39 am under by dcobranchi

    The hed and sub-hed say it all:

    Classical Kids denied charter

    MENIFEE: District trustees vote against the campus designed for home-schooled students.

    Based on this pdf, I think Joan Peace,the “founder” of the now defunct charter school, was/is a home educator.

    Why would anyone in their right mind give up home education freedoms in order to lock other families into the “state standards” game?


    Filed on at 5:53 am under by dcobranchi

    Kimberly Swygert had a terrific post on home education the other day: Socialization, opportunity costs, the teachers’ unions.

    I’m still betting that when the time comes, Kimberly’s kids’ shadows will never darken the schoolhouse door.


    Filed on at 2:12 am under by dcobranchi

    One of the fathers from the homeschool group posted a comment over at Zero Intelligence. Still nothing in the G’ville News, although WND and AgapePress have picked it up.

    WHY NOT?

    Filed on February 22, 2005 at 6:32 pm under by dcobranchi

    Reader Mike S. thinks our switch to “home education” vice “homeschooling” was timely. As evidence he cites this news report. The last graf is a classic:

    Now it’s unclear if the child’s mother will attempt to enroll him this fall. He’s currently being homeschooled by DCS. Police have arrested the boy’s 19-year-old brother. Officers say Dustin Lee Wade showed the boy how to use the TEC-9, then left it out for the boy to take to school.

    If the Department of Children’s Services can be considered “homeschoolers,” then we’ve definitely lost control of the word.

    UPDATE: The post originally referred to the “Division of Child Services.” I’ve since learned that it’s “Department of Children’s Services.”


    Filed on at 5:44 am under by dcobranchi

    Montana appears set to offer state scholarships. Supposedly, HEKs are eligible. The interesting part? The scholarships will be “administered” through the local private schools and g-schools. I’m sure that HEKs will get a fair shake, though.


    Filed on at 5:33 am under by dcobranchi

    SC Gov. Mark Sanford’s “Put Parents in Charge” proposal, that is.

    State Rep. Ronnie Townsend had a receptive audience Monday as he spoke to the Anderson County Board of Education about his concerns regarding a tuition tax credit proposal before South Carolina lawmakers.

    Rep. Townsend, R-Anderson, stressed that in his view, the tax credit plan would not be a vehicle for improving public education as some supporters of the bill have suggested.

    …”I think you’re preaching to the choir,” county board member David Draisen told Rep. Townsend at one point during the meeting.

    Sanford is also a Republican. The governor does not seem to have too many friends in his own party. PPIC is DOA.


    Filed on at 4:49 am under by dcobranchi

    Was Rafael Palmeiro even more guilty than Jason Giambi? Giambi took steroids. Palmeiro pimped for Viagra:

    “The thought of Medicare wasting vital resources on performance-enhancing drugs is unconscionable,” said Representative Steve King, Republican of Iowa. “The focus should be on providing coverage for needy seniors.”


    Filed on at 4:33 am under by dcobranchi

    Fox News did another segment on this. Not a whole lot that’s new:

    Simpsonville Police Chief Charles Reece says an internal affairs investigation is underway and the officer in question is on administrative leave. “Whether it was an overreaction to a response, we’ll find that out when we do the internal affairs thing.”

    …Chief Reece says, “We’re looking at all aspects of the case and we’re going to let internal affairs division run their investigation and we’ll make the appropriate call when it happens. I’m going to do what’s right and the city’s going to do what’s right.”

    Chief Reece says he expects the investigation to be completed by the end of this week. It’ll be up to the Solicitor whether or not the charges are prosecuted.

    Yeah, got to do that IA thing. This whole story is just plain weird. Fox News is still the only organization that has picked this up.


    Filed on February 21, 2005 at 9:42 pm under by dcobranchi

    Eduwonk has taken the edublogger’s version of the Boeing and signed on to the Virginia State Board of Ed. Ahh, Wonk, we hardly knew ye. Congrats. I guess.


    Filed on at 9:13 pm under by dcobranchi

    I think this editor believes he’s on our side.

    Should there be standards for home schools? Surely. But should there be a school-district overseer in every home where parents are teachers? That’s a little too Draconian.

    Should home-school students be tested? Of course. But making them take standardized tests that are designed to evaluate schools seems out of line. We need reasonable testing of basic skills such as reading and mathematics to ensure that graduates of home schools are equipped to function in our complicated world.

    But that needs to be accomplished in a way that makes sense to home-school families as well as to the Legislature. It can’t be forced on them willy-nilly — or it will have the unintended consequence of forcing them out of the system and further away from reasonable monitoring.

    One overriding principle to remember in this debate is that the state and schools are not the bosses of parents — it’s the other way around.

    Well, at least he got one sentence right.


    Filed on at 8:40 pm under by dcobranchi

    Mike Farris, founder of a “national home-schooling advocacy organization,” testified in VA in favor of a consitutional amendment that would have allowed kids to pray in the g-schools. What’s that, you say? Kids can do that already? Yes, but Farris thought that the exercise would be good for the people of VA (never mind the hundreds of thousands of tax dollars that would be spent on it). Fortunately, wiser heads in the state Senate prevailed, and the amendment went down badly. Can you say “Awwwwww”? I thought you could.


    Filed on at 3:19 pm under by dcobranchi

    At least the mom made the right decision in the end and brought her home.

    Jim Peacock chronicles the idiocy of an attendance policy that basically deems parents too stupid to decide when their kids are too sick to go to school.

    Why the insistence upon doctor’s notes? It comes down to parental disenfranchisement. Parents are not trusted to determine when their children are sick. It must be verified by a doctor (or, apparently, the school nurse). If the school gets a doctor’s note they can count the child as an excused absentee. Without the note they must count the student as an unexcused absence, a black mark for the attendance office.

    Yes, as usual, IAATM.

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