Utterly Meaningless » 2005 » May
  • NOT HOMESCHOOLING

    Filed on May 7, 2005 at 7:00 am under by dcobranchi

    But an interesting-sounding class, nonetheless:

    North Star Academy is a public kindergarten-through-eighth-grade school that emphasizes small classes and home schooling. Other schools offer unusual classes – San Dieguito High School Academy in Encinitas, for example, teaches welding, silk-screen printing and computer repair – but few offer ham radio.

    …Vista Unified’s first class specifically for ham radio started last January at North Star, then the district’s home-education campus, with about 18 students.

    Enrollment in the introductory class dwindled as students chose drama or other electives instead, Dorey said. But Christoper and classmates Julia Fitzmaurice and Bret Taitingfong came back for the advanced class.

    IF THE SHOE FITS

    Filed on May 6, 2005 at 10:30 pm under by dcobranchi

    Here’s an interesting tale about a charter school operator who is threatening to sue parents over negative postings they made on a website. I can’t imagine why this story struck a chord with me.

    A WORRISOME HALF-SENTENCE

    Filed on at 7:34 am under by dcobranchi

    A U.S. District Judge has held against a MD school district that wanted to teach an allegedly pro-homosexual health curriculum. I don’t know enough about the curriculum to state one way or the other if I agree with his reasoning. I do know, though, that this sentence in his ruling is a gift to the IDers.

    “The public interest is served by preventing [school officials] from promoting particular religious beliefs in the public schools and preventing [the officials] from disseminating one-sided information on a controversial topic,” Judge Williams wrote.

    So merely generating controversy, no matter how contrived, will now be the casus belli for more education wars. When the ID community seizes on this ruling (and they will), I hope someone points out that the “controversy” is entirely self-generated. Within the scientific community (the only one that really matters in this particular case), there is no controversy. Elitist? Possibly. But it’s the only way to make sure that every crackpot (pseudo)scientific theory isn’t shoved down the throats of the g-school students.

    HOME ED IN THE NEWS

    Filed on at 6:15 am under by dcobranchi

    Sort of.

    It seems that Tom DeLay’s golfing buddy Jack Abramoff is a former home educator.

    BUT IS IT A SCIENTIFIC THEORY?

    Filed on at 6:08 am under by dcobranchi

    A Wisconsin school district is considering eliminating Driver’s Ed as part of a cost-cutting process. Good. Let the private market and parents teach it. What caught my eye, though, was this:

    The cost of two full-time theory and behind-the-wheel instructors, about eight part-time behind-the-wheel instructors, and a part-time theory teacher was $377,450 for the 2003-04 school year and summer school.

    The theory of Driver’s Ed? Is that something like Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance?

    MR. ANDERSON

    Filed on at 6:00 am under by dcobranchi

    Anyone who has lived in the Philly area will know of MOVE. They’re the group whose home was firebombed by the police during a stand-off in 1985. Well, they’re in the news again, and we’re in the middle:

    According to Allen:

    • MOVE claims it homeschools its children, but the children stay home and get almost no schooling. Some MOVE mothers are teenagers as young as 13 who can barely write their own names.

    Said Africa:

    • MOVE does homeschool its children.

    MOVE also claims to be anti-technology, but I think this Ramona Africa quote proves that they’ve watched the Matrix trilogy on DVD once or twice:

    “Tony Allen is an agent of the system,” said Africa.

    Too bad Allen’s last name isn’t “Smith.”

    LOVELY

    Filed on May 5, 2005 at 2:56 pm under by dcobranchi

    [/sarcasm]

    Another truancy/home education piece (apparently from a local news show). A couple of juicy quotes:

    “Sometimes the child does not want to go, and instead of forcing them to go, parents will come with an excuse and eventually child gets bigger and you cant force them to go.”

    [Truant officer] Wilson says parents that neglect sending their kids to school can face jail time and fines, b ut he says some parents have found ways to get around that.

    “Some say they will homeschool their child, and it does 2 things- avoids me the chance to prosecute them any further, and #2, it ruins homeschoolers reps that are trying to do the right thing.”

    … When students become truant, they miss out on the joys of education and districts lose portions of money from the empty desk. If students are not attending when there is a state count, the school could lose some funding from the state.”

    So, it’s only mostly about the money.

    TIM PAYS

    Filed on at 6:14 am under by dcobranchi

    The picture that accompanies this terrific article is so good, that Tim ought to pay a nickel into the fund. Who needs a kitchen table, anyway? One really interesting factoid– according to the article 70 percent of home educating families are members of the Family Resouce Center. Here’s their FAQ.

    FENG SHUI IN THE SCHOOLS

    Filed on at 6:00 am under by dcobranchi

    The article is really not worth reading but I thought the hed funny:

    6 principals are reassigned in effort to bring ‘harmony’

    AND SPEAKING OF PRESS RELEASES

    Filed on at 5:56 am under by dcobranchi

    Here’s a blurb on cyber-schools that really are home educating.

    UPDATE: The link is fixed.

    INSURANCE AND TAXES

    Filed on at 5:48 am under by dcobranchi

    I think this AP story has been picked up by every paper in the intermountain West. It seems that the Mormon church hierarchy has told the local stakes and wards that they are no longer to allow HEKs to use their facilities for group activities:

    “The letter indicated that to help avoid safety and tax liabilities, meeting houses should not be used as home-school or day-care facilities, or for hosting home-school activities,” church spokesman Dale Bills said in an e-mail statement.

    I understand the liability issue; these days it’s something we all have to deal with (unfortunately). The tax situation is a mystery, though. I guess it would depend on how the group of HEKs is structured. If, for example, the co-op was really a taxable co-opt, the church could face some questions.

    It’s really too bad although I’m sure home educators will find new places to meet.

    SCOPES, PART II?

    Filed on at 12:21 am under by dcobranchi

    For once, an evolution post that is not OT. A couple of home educating families were nearly the only witnesses who testified in favor of a Missouri bill that sure sounds like it was a push for the teaching of ID in school biology texts:

    The evolution bill would represent a departure for Missouri, which typically leaves most all decisions on textbooks up to local school districts. The bill would require all textbooks sold to school districts to contain at least a chapter “containing a critical analysis of origins.”

    Assuming that Ann Ihms was one of the home educators, this doesn’t make us look good:

    Ann Ihms, who traveled from her home in Indiana to testify, said the Columbine killers had a disregard for life that could have rooted from the view that humans evolved from lower species.

    “What does that cause children to think?” she asked. “If I’m from a monkey I might as well act like a monkey.”

    Evolution equals mass murder? Sounds like someone needs a bit of help with “critical thinking.”

    Regardless, the bill appears to be dead as the session is nearly over.

    IN HONOR OF THE CHICKENS

    Filed on May 4, 2005 at 6:26 pm under by dcobranchi

    The world’s biggest burger.

    THE EMAILS

    Filed on at 4:35 pm under by dcobranchi

    Scott gave some good lawyerly advice; I should let y’all make up your own minds. Here are the emails I’ve exchanged with Mrs. Rothschild. I’ve fixed the formatting but any typos are in the original. I’ve also crossed out a couple of things for the sake of privacy. Those will be obvious. Mrs. Rothschild’s comments are in bold.

    Dear Daryl,
    Today it was brought to my attention that your website contains a posting that contains very hurtfful and very untrue statements. I am writing to request that you remove it from the web at your earliest convenience.

    Please see a cut and pasted version of what you are being currenly publishing at: http://www.cobranchi.com/archives/004987.html

    I look forward to hearing from you. If you wish to discuss any of the statements made in this article or in the link to Elizabeth’s Stone you posted under “wacky folks”, I would be delighted to address your concerns. I can be reached at 215-487-xxxx ext 105.

    Yours,
    Mimi Rothschild
    CEO, Learning By Grace, Inc.
    www.learningbygrace.org

    And what part exactly do you disagree with? That Einstein crashed and
    burned? Or that there just might be a trademark infringement battle between you and K12.com?

    Daryl,
    Thank you for responding to my request. The story behind The Einstein Academy Charter School is a very long and complex one that began in 1999 and is still pending today. There were a number of forces that were opposed to what Einstein was offering, including the majority of Pa. School districts, the PSBA, the PSEA, the NEA, K12, competitors such as William Bennet and Michael Miliken and others. I am in the process of writing a book which will expose the true story. It will be fascinating to all of us who are concerned with promoting freedom in education and making sure that all children have quality educational choices.

    There was never a trademark infringement battle between K12 and Einstein that I am aware of. I do not know what you are referring to.

    If you wish to discuss any of these issues further, please feel free to call me at 215-487-xxxx ext 105.

    Thank you for your consideration of these issues.

    Yours,
    Mimi

    PS I am a homeschooling mom of 8 who began homeschooling back in 1985. I founded the Massachusteets Home Learning Association in John Holt’s offices and have always been very devoted to homeshooling and have worked very hard to help to ensure that children receive an education that is truly worthy of them. I have written a number of books for homeschoolers and on the use of education and the Internet.

    The trademark battle I was guessing at would be between Christian K-12 Online… and K12, Inc. which, of course, markets online education services. My readers knew exactly what I was referring to; check the last comment.

    Daryl,
    Further research has show that there is another posting on your website which questions our motivations. People who homeschool have many options for curriculum and resources to help them accomplish their goals. The Academies and solutions that Learning By Grace, Inc. offers have been extremely well received by tens of thousands of families because we meet their needs.

    Einstein was not run into the ground; it was closed by the Department of Education for many reasons, most of which were untrue and invalid, and had much more to do with maintaining the public school monopoly on education than anything Einstein did or didn’t do wrong. There is much more the public is not aware of regarding this situation that I am not at liberty to discuss.

    I am very interested in chatting with you about these issues as I suspect tat we would share much more in common; there are many misconceptions and rumours that people have developed over the years since Einstein was around and I hate to see more untruths propagate which only serves to distract and impede the truth. One of the truths to which I refer is the fact that my husband and I remain committed and devoted to choices in education such as homeschooling and feel that people need positive, life giving solutions to help them through it.

    A FACTOID THAT ISNT?
    OK– this is from a press release, and they’re marketing cyber home education. But I’d be really interested in learning the source for this:

    “Of all parents who begin to homeschool their children, approximately 50 percent drop it within a few months because of how difficult they found it to be,” Augstroze said. “An online academy makes it easier than ever for parents to provide a high-quality Christian education at home,” he said.

    UPDATE: Ah– now I get it. Learning by Grace appears to be affiliated with The Grace Academy. These are the same folks who ran PA’s Einstein Academy cyber charter into the ground (and multiple lawsuits).

    I trust that you will remove these posts which are harmful to the pursuance
    of peace and justice.

    Yours,
    Mimi

    With all due respect, I don’t see anything I have written (as opposed to linked to) that is untrue. The K12 reference was just a guess.

    Daryl,
    If I am correct in assuming that this response means that you are refusing to remove the libelous and false information you have published on your website, please be advised that we aggressively prosecute those who use the Internet to defame and libel our work.

    We brought litigation against Elizabeth Stone whose real name is xxxxxxx.

    Once again, I respectfully request that you cease and desist from publishing material that libels and defames my husband, Howard Mandel, myself, Mimi Rothschild and our organizations. We believe very strongly in the importance of the services and materials we offer and will aggressively protect them against those who would maliciously seek to destroy.

    If my husband or I or any of our organizations have every wronged you in any way that you perceive, please communicate to us about that issue and we will gladly address it. Throughout the day, I have also offered to share with you further information about the Einstein situation.

    If the offending posts which I have identified are not removed in a reasonable timeframe, please understand that you will have left us with no choice but to pursue legal and corrective action. We will not only seek injunctive relief, legal fees, but damages as well since your refusal to remove the materials appears to be willful and malicious.

    I trust that you will not escalate this matter further.

    Sincerely,
    Mimi Rothschild
    CEO< Learning By Grace, Inc.

    I would be more than happy to delete any passage that you can show is false. As far as I know, Einstein was shut down by the state at least in part to fraudulent practices (i.e., copyright infringement). The conjecture of a possible legal entanglement with K12, Inc. was simply that– conjecture. As far as libel goes, I believe the worst I said was that y’all were “wacky folks.” As that is merely an adjective synonymous with silly, I think it is hardly libelous (as your press release was certainly silly). The offer stands– point out one factural error that I have written and I’ll be happy to delete it. The ball is in your court.

    Upon re-reading your last email, I’m still confused. Are you claiming that my link to the Google cache was libelous? And I thank you for your offer to speak on the phone but since you’re threatening to sue me that would probably not be wise on my part.

    I will try to be very clear about which part of the post is inaccurate and defamatory.

    The headline states that there is a “LAWSUIT IN PROGRESS”. There is no lawsuit in progress that I am aware of as you alluded to in the body of the post.

    I meant this tongue in cheek. Not that you were actually being sued, but that the statement at the bottom about Christian K-12 Online opened you up to charges of trademark infringement. I could have phrased it as a question. I’ve renamed that post and deleted the first sentence.

    The first sentence suggests that Mr. Bennett (of K12) obtain a lawyer because the “wacky folks who drove Einstein into the ground are at it again.”

    See above. “At it again” refers back to the other post on Grace Academy (the one that said that 50% of home educators quit in a few months).

    The suggestion that there is something we are doing wrong and therefore should be sued by K12 is false.

    It was trademark, nothing more. And it was a complete guess.

    The characterization of us as “wacky” is malicious and inaccurate and damaging.

    “Wacky” is synonymous with “silly.” I had already (accurately) used that term to describe your press release.

    The statement that we “drove Einstein into the ground” is not true. Einstein was closed for many reasons. There was never any conviction or formal charge that concluded or even alleged that we were ever involved in any fraudulent practices.

    Were you not sued numerous times over the Einstein debacle (including for copyright infringement)? I did not allege criminality, only that it certainly was an interesting way to run a company. Do you disagree?

    We submitted our resignation a full 18 months before Einstein was closed.

    I’m not sure how this is relevant. The troubles with Einstein were certainly evident while Tutorbots was in charge.

    The statement that we “are at again” is untrue, of course.

    “Again” refers back to the press release. If you wish, I could hyperlink “again” back to that earlier post to make it explicit.

    You or your readers have apparently believed the propaganda initiated by the education monopolists who sought to take away from the children of Pennsylvania a powerful and much needed resource. From reading the other posts on your blod, it seems that your interest is exposing them, not perpetuating their myths.

    Yes- I’m a home education supporter and generally opposed to educrats and others who would damage in one way or another home education. Your first press release falls into that category, in my opinion.

    Willy’s post, which you are publishing on your website, also contains untrue and libelous information that misleads the public and distorts the truth. We are not “up to our eyeballs in litigation” and most certainly are not “preying on the Christian market”. This is malicious and will cause damage, if it hasn’t already.

    Comments are neither edited nor monitored and are the responsibility of the commenter. It’s in the disclaimer at the bottom of the right column.

    Tell you what, Mimi. Here’s an offer that your won’t get from the Inquirer (yes, I’m from the Philly area). Write up your side of this debate including how you think I’m wrong (I’d be especially interested in seeing the source for the claim that ½ of home educators quit in a few months). Whatever you write, I’ll post it on my blog without change (other than necessary formatting). Here’s your chance to get your story out.

    I have no desire to see this escalate to the legal realm.

    Looking forward to your response.

    Daryl Cobranchi

    BUILDING TRAFFIC

    Filed on at 3:03 pm under by dcobranchi

    There’s a new ad to the right (just beneath HEM’s) —–> Interestingly, it’s to another blog. I’m way too cheap to buy an ad trying to boost traffic, but I admire the Woodcock Foundation’s moxie.

    PSA: THE SKY IS FALLING

    Filed on at 1:42 pm under by dcobranchi

    I don’t know how this crept up on me.

    United Poultry Concerns Proudly Announces

    International Respect for Chickens Day

    Wednesday May 4, 2005

    “They would rather die for their chicks than seek safety in flight . ..” Aldrovandi – 16th century

    Chickens are cheerful, intelligent birds. The mother hen tenderly cares for her chicks, and roosters protect their families and flocks.

    Please do an ACTION for chickens on May 4. Show the world that chickens are people too! Ideas:

    * Write a letter/op-ed to the editor

    * Get on a radio talk show

    * Table at your local mall

    * Arrange a library display/video presentation

    * Have a Respect for Chickens Day celebration at your school

    * Leaflet at a busy street corner/ your local university

    * Have a We-Don’t-Eat-Our-Feathered-Friends Vegan Party!

    * Show Chicken Run!!!

    Contact UPC for posters, brochures, videos.

    United Poultry Concerns, PO Box 150, Machipongo, VA 23405

    757-678-7875 Karen@upc-online.org www.upc-online.org

    International Respect for Chickens Day May 4, 2005

    A day to celebrate chickens throughout the world.

    _____

    United Poultry Concerns, Inc.
    PO Box 150
    Machipongo, VA 23405-0150
    757-678-7875
    FAX: 757-678-5070
    www.upc-online.org

    I guess celebrating with a big chicken-fry would be inappropriate, eh? (Tip Credit: Jason)

    LAWSUIT UPDATE

    Filed on at 11:57 am under by dcobranchi

    I heard from the “aggrieved” party and as a result have changed slightly one of the two posts. Not because of the fear of the lawsuit (which I’d win, of course) but because her interpretation was not what I had intended. Regular readers know that the first sentence of a post, if set off by a blank line from the rest of the post, refers to the title and nothing else. That was the format I had used in the post about K12 and Christian K-12 Online. To the unitiated, though, it could have read a little differently. So I deleted that first sentence and renamed the post for clarity.

    Call me a wimp.

    THAT’S NICE

    Filed on at 7:28 am under by dcobranchi

    Sometimes commenter Ann Lahrson-Fisher’s latest book on home education has made the “Small Press Bestseller” list. PR is here.

    ONE FOR ANNETTE

    Filed on at 7:24 am under by dcobranchi

    Answers in Genesis is building a creationist version of a natural science museum in the Cincinnati area.

    A POL WHO GETS IT

    Filed on at 7:20 am under by dcobranchi

    Texas Gov. Rick Perry, addressing a home education convention:

    “And for those who choose to teach at home, government regulation must always stop at your door,” he said. “Home schools work. They work because of parental involvement. … Home schools – it also works for another reason, and that’s freedom. Home schools work because of that freedom parents have to teach their children according to their values.”

    There goes the NEA endorsement.

    IS THERE A LAWYER IN THE HOUSE?

    Filed on May 3, 2005 at 8:52 pm under by dcobranchi

    I’ve been threatened with a lawsuit for defamation AND libel over a couple of old posts: http://cobranchi.com/?p=4885 and http://cobranchi.com/?p=4816

    As far as I can tell, I’ve done nothing wrong. I posted a brief comment about a silly press release and linked to a Google cache of a rant about the Einstein Academy. Heck, I never even named names. Hardly libelous.

    HIC HABEMUS, AMICE, CALOREM TUUM LUCEMQUE*

    Filed on at 7:45 pm under by dcobranchi

    In a comment at Victoria’s, Nance Confer of Parent-Directed Education points out a vintage debate about cyber-charters and home education on NHEN’s forums, in which I found this link to a “controversial issues” page with quite a bit of in-depth commentary on the whole topic, prompted originally by the “We Stand for Homeschooling” petition. Nance also mentions a YahooGroup, National Charter School Watch List, run by frequent HE&OS commenter Annette.

    Phew! I do believe that’s a personal best for most links in one post.

    * As promised in the comments last night, a Latin headline: We Got Yer Heat and Light Right Here, Buddy.

    LETTER OF THE DAY

    Filed on at 7:01 am under by dcobranchi

    Stumbled across this one looking for a home ed letter on the same page. That letter was not worth blogging, but this one (and several more on the same topic) deserve mention:

    I just read in one of our national newspapers here in Ayr, Scotland, about the pupil who was banned from the high school prom because he wore the kilt. As a Scot I find this absolutely despicable. The U.S. always acknowledged the Scots’ contribution to your country, from the significant number of signatories to your Declaration of Independence, to dying in the Alamo and dying beside brave U.S. servicemen in Iraq. This is a despicable piece of behavior.

    JOHN MCGUIRE

    Ayr, Scotland

    It’s hard to believe that an educrat would be that tone deaf to “diversity” that he’d ban the kilt. I wonder if the decision would have been the same if the kid had been a cross-dresser.

    THE PROBLEM WITH ID

    Filed on at 3:16 am under by dcobranchi

    Here it is a a nutshell from the CSM:

    [T]o many teachers, “teaching the controversy” means letting ideologues manufacture controversy where there is none.

    This is science class, remember? Among the vast majority of scientists, there is no controversy. ID is so far out of the mainstream, that it doesn’t rate any more mention than a flat earth would in a course on astronomy. Let the IDers do the heavy lifting of real science. If they’re right, science will self-correct as it always does, and ID will be taught in the schools. Right now, they’re not even close.

    So, ID proponents, here’s the deal– if you really think that ID will eventually be (or already is) “science,” you ought to be pushing to keep it out of the g-schools. It’s not ready for prime time and appears to be just a way to teach creationism without running afoul of the Supreme Court.

    PIE IESU DOMINE, DONA EIS REQUIEM

    Filed on May 2, 2005 at 9:00 pm under by dcobranchi

    Max Goss pointed out an interesting Graeme Hunter post on home education. Hunter calls home ed the new monasticism, in that it may be the salvation of civilization the same way the monks saved (or at least, conserved) Western Civ during the Dark Ages. It’s a complicated thesis and not really excerptable, but definitely worth a read. The comments are excellent, too.

    BONUS: Props for getting the movie reference. It’s pretty easy.

    UPDATE: Here’s a thoughtful (if incorrect) response from the same site. Roger Scruton pits home education against “civil society,” as if it’s an either/or proposition. This, I think, is the nut:

    Civil society, which flourishes through cooperation, emulation and a forgiving acceptance of talent greater than your own, does not make room for the resentful. Hence, since education is dedicated to achievement, knowledge and the growth of human potential, it should be entrusted to civil society and not to the state. This means that we should encourage the growth of private schools, which will rescue not only the children of the wealthy and the highly educated, but the children of everyone. Home schooling aims to recapture for the family children who had been confiscated by the state. It is, it seems to me, only an interim measure, which must make way, in due course, for the private school.

    Perhaps British private schools are signficantly different from their American counterparts. But they’re still schools— institutional, bureaucratic, and beholden to a lot of outside influences. Better, in theory, than the government quasi-monopoly but only in degree. Home education is in a different universe. For many home educators, the loss of freedom would not offset whatever gains may come from enrolling our kids in private schools.

    So, maybe we are antisocial misfits. There always have been and always will be folks who don’t quite fit in, and perhaps that means that the home education movement will be self-limiting. Who knows? Maybe we’ve already reached our asymptotic limit. Hey– it’s kind of fun being on the fringe. We can be the eccentric old uncle (though without the money). (Can you tell it’s almost 3 a.m. as I write this?)

    ATTENTION ILLINOIS HOME EDUCATORS

    Filed on at 4:54 pm under by dcobranchi

    See NuclearDruid’s informative follow-ups in the comments here.

    BEST EDU-BLOGS?

    Filed on at 6:12 am under by dcobranchi

    Alexander Russo (Who?) has a list of his favorite edu-blogs. I’m not sure he knows what a blog is as he lists EducationNews.org. Good stuff there, but definitely not a blog. Russo also failed to link to a single one of his favs. What a poseur!

    WE’RE DOING JUST FINE

    Filed on at 5:46 am under by dcobranchi

    A Texas home education leader doesn’t want to see the law changed to allow HEKs to partially enroll in the g-schools or to play g-school sports:

    By taking certain classes in public schools, such as foreign language or chemistry, or participating in public school activities, such as band or a sport, home-schooled students would, of course, become part of the public school system. Currently, public schools have no authority over home-schooled students, but once the home-schooled student enrolls in even one public school class, that question of authority becomes much less clear.

    … Home education is clearly a lost revenue stream for the Plano Independent School District, and it is obvious that the recouping of that lost revenue is the driving force behind this legislation.

    I’m not so sure of the second point as I haven’t seen that educrats and teachers were pushing for this change. That’d be a sure indicator that IAATM. The first point, though, is obvious. Take the king’s gold… I’m sure Chris E. doesn’t have a problem with that; as for me and my family, we’re steering clear of all manner of entanglements.

    A WASTED EFFORT

    Filed on May 1, 2005 at 11:24 pm under by dcobranchi

    Izzy pointed to a white paper on the “social movement” aspects of home education. It sounded fascinating, so I took a look. Alas, the author didn’t know what he was doing:

    Home schooling is both a means of educating children according to parental standards and an alternative social movement embracing a unique set of cultural norms and values. Little is known about the movement aspects of parents’ choosing to abandon the public schools and teach their children at home. In this article we analyze survey data from a substantial home schooling sample in an effort to assess the extent to which these parents perceive themselves as social movement participants and to identify the factors contributing to such beliefs.

    …A California charter school (to which we have given the pseudonym ‘‘Home Charter’’) provides the context for this study. Homeschoolers have always founded support groups and organizations, schools are the next logical organizational step. Home Charter is part of a growing movement to institutionalize home schooling by creating formal organizations that help parents plan and execute educational programs and provide educational services that families want but cannot provide for themselves (see Stevens 2001).

    You can’t tell me that the motivations and attitudes of charter parents aren’t going to differ from home educators. Damn! Best laid plans…

    FULL CIRCLE

    Filed on at 8:01 pm under by dcobranchi

    I usually see the articles how more blacks, Muslims, Hindus, etc. are home educating. The unspoken assumption, of course, is that these folks have been underrepresented in home education. So I find it interesting that Newsday thought this was newsworthy:

    Home-schooling drawing more evangelical Christians

    The article quotes the HSLDA factoid that 70 percent of home educators are evangelical Christians. That may or may not be true (I don’t know their data source). But even if it is strictly speaking accurate, that really doesn’t mean that 70 percent of home educators are in it for religious reasons. After all, we’re Baptists, by definition evangelical. But for us it’s a lifestyle choice– not a religious decision. I’m sure there are lots like us.

    THIS CAN’T BE RIGHT

    Filed on at 7:52 pm under by dcobranchi

    Chris forwarded an interesting article on how some colleges may be “discriminating” in their admissions process against kids who’ve been taught an exclusively creationist/ID viewpoint. I find this part hard to believe:

    What brought this to mind was the Associated Press report that the state of Kansas was ready to take up the debate again over what should be taught in secondary school science classes – intelligent design or evolution. It could be that an entire state of teenagers could in the future have problems getting into college because of what they learned in science class.

    Surely it’s not an either/or. Right now ID is at best an idea. Not even a hypothesis, much less a theory. When and if (a VERY BIG if) it gets to the point of scientific theory, then it will be time to discuss it in the g-schools. Until then, Kansans would be best served teaching and learning the orthodox theories.

    SO BAD IT’S AWFUL

    Filed on at 4:28 pm under by dcobranchi

    Letter of the Day just doesn’t do this one justice; it really deserves an all new category. I almost gagged by the third ‘graf. Just go ahead and read it. If you can come up with a good description, post it in the comments:

    Let teachers know how important they are

    Each spring, we observe Teacher Appreciation Week (May 1-7). At the heart of this annual observance and certainly at the heart of the Cumberland County schools are our teachers.

    We have over 3,500 competent and caring teachers who every day work with over 53,000 students of whom we are very proud. Their hard work, enthusiasm and dedication to education are responsible for the great achievements our school system is making.

    No other profession places such high demands on filling the gaps for America’s youth as friend, parent, disciplinarian, confidant, nutritionist and referee. Cumberland County schools’ 2004-2005 Teacher of the Year Jovan Z. Jones said it best: “We (teachers) must be compelled by a love for our students and for teaching in order to withstand the demands and pressures of the profession. Every enduring teacher I have ever encountered was driven by a powerful desire to share, to love, and to care.”

    Many teachers are asked to juggle numerous demands in the classroom before their own personal needs are met; yet, we often fall short of giving teachers the status, support and recognition they deserve.

    In the Cumberland County schools, we celebrate what we value and we value our teachers. Please join our school system in celebrating Teacher Appreciation Week by thanking a teacher.

    We depend on teachers to let students know they are important and that they can succeed. Now, it is our turn to let teachers know just how important they are to us and to future generations.

    Bill Harrison, Superintendent, Cumberland County schools, Fayetteville

    SAFER AT SCHOOL?

    Filed on at 4:01 pm under by dcobranchi

    Can’t really say if your child never gets there:

    A 6-year-old boy spent seven hours on a school van after being left there by the driver, his mother said, and public school officials and police were investigating the incident.

    Chris Bundy said her son, a first-grader who gets help at school with his speech, was picked up at home at about 7:45 a.m. CDT Wednesday and taken to Central Elementary school.

    He did not get off the bus at the school and was not discovered until about 3 p.m., when the driver retrieved the van from the district’s bus barn to take students from school to their homes.

    “My kid was seven hours, no drink, no nothing,” Bundy said. “He came home…he was scared and he was petrified.”

    I’ll contribute New Rule #1 for free — check the seats after you park the bus.

    MORE FROM ILLINOIS

    Filed on at 3:41 pm under by dcobranchi

    Commenter NuclearDruid, an Illinois home educator, passed along a link to a different piece on the just-filed criminal truancy charge I blogged on Friday:

    [State’s attorney Charles] Garnati said that it is certainly legal to homeschool a child if it is done in the proper manner for the good of the child and not simply to avoid prosecution.

    “Unfortunately there is no specific law in Illinois that criminalizes improper homeschooling,” he said. “It’s my understanding that there is no requirement that parents have a teaching certificate and to my knowledge there are no other requirements whatsoever, they are not even required to have GED.”

    There are certain requirements that homeschoolers have to follow as far as hours of instruction and that certain subjects are included in the curriculum and the law does allow the Regional Office of Education’s truant officer, Mickey Sullivan, to investigate homeschool situations.

    “If I see a homeschool child on the street I can go to the home and ask the parents to show me their curriculum, show me their instruction materials and show me how they are allotting their time.”

    Is Ms. Sullivan right about the extent of her powers? Given what I’ve heard about the Illinois law private school law, I tend to doubt it. Curiouser and curiouser.

    The mother’s first court appearance is scheduled for May 12th. ND and other Illinoisans, please keep us informed.

    BULLSEYE

    Filed on at 8:26 am under by dcobranchi

    Guns and HEKs— a match made in heaven.

    STRANGE AND PRETTY SCARY

    Filed on at 4:22 am under by dcobranchi

    A couple of folks (thanks, y’all) sent me links to a really bizarre tale out of Philadelphia. This version seems to be the most complete. It seems that a 3rd grader brought in one of her mother’s diabetes finger-prick needles. She then went on a bit of a spree, jabbing her classmates over the course of a morning. The scary part is that one of the kids has tested positive for HIV in a preliminary test for the virus. If the positive test is confirmed, the kids who were subsequently poked may be at risk.

    So far educrats seems to be handling this as well as possible.

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