Utterly Meaningless » 2005 » November

    Filed on November 30, 2005 at 7:46 pm under by dcobranchi

    Let’s “buy” a good review.

    We are looking for 10 bloggers here at HSB to blog a new e-book by Paul and Gena Suarez. It is a book of contributors sharing their secrets for successful homeschooling. The price of this e-Book will be $12.95. If you are interested in helping out or if you would like to purchase the e-book upfront, please email Crystal at BiblicalWomanhood@sbcglobal.net. If you can help us, then we will help you … We want to gift the e-Book to bloggers who will BLOG about it.

    I’ve received a few review copies here at HE&OS headquarters. Not once have I considered it a gift, nor have I felt a need to say “Thank you” to the publisher. Lame-o!


    Filed on November 29, 2005 at 8:01 am under by dcobranchi

    A home educating family lost a young child to a handgun incident. The pistol was apparently kept loaded and unsecured in a bedroom drawer.


    Filed on at 5:39 am under by dcobranchi

    I don’t know what to make of this. HSLDA has managed to get a homeschool amendment into must-pass legislation. The 2006 Defense Appropriation has already passed both houses and is headed for conference. The language is significantly different from the HONDA bill:


    (a) Policy on Recruitment and Enlistment-
    (1) POLICY REQUIRED- The Secretary of Defense shall prescribe a policy on the recruitment and enlistment of home schooled students in the Armed Forces.
    (2) UNIFORMITY ACROSS THE ARMED FORCES- The Secretary shall ensure that the policy prescribed under paragraph (1) applies, to the extent practicable, uniformly across the Armed Forces.
    (b) Elements- The policy under subsection (a) shall include the following:
    (1) An identification of a graduate of home schooling for purposes of recruitment and enlistment in the Armed Forces that is in accordance with the requirements described in subsection (c).
    (2) Provision for the treatment of graduates of home schooling with no practical limit with regard to enlistment eligibility.
    (3) An exemption of graduates of home schooling from the requirement for a secondary school diploma or an equivalent (GED) as a precondition for enlistment in the Armed Forces.
    (c) Home School Graduates- In prescribing the policy, the Secretary of Defense shall prescribe a single set of criteria to be utilized by the Armed Forces in determining whether an individual is a graduate of home schooling. The Secretary concerned shall ensure compliance with education credential coding requirements.
    (d) Secretary Concerned Defined- In this section, the term `Secretary concerned’ has the meaning given such term in section 101(a)(9) of title 10, United States Code.

    Some folks think that this may lead to a national database of all HEKs. I don’t buy that. And, for the most part, this amendment seems relatively harmless. Not so, Section (c). The DoD is going to come up with a single set of criteria to determine who is and who isn’t a home education graduate for the purposes of military recruitng. That’ll be a difficult to impossible task. Given the myriad state home education laws, I can’t imagine what a widely-applicable set of guidelines would even look like. And then there’s the slippery slope, of course. Once defined, there’s no way that other federal agencies won’t glom onto that same definition to determine eligibility for all sorts of things having nothing to do with the military. How ’bout student loans? Or even college acceptance at schools receiving federal funds? This is no good, at all. Unfortunately, I don’t think there’s much if anything we can do about it. I’m sure HSLDA is behind it, and the conference committee is dominated by conservative Republicans.

    We’re screwed.

    UPDATE: Here’s some additional info via HEM-Networking. Basically, the bill is headed for a conference committee. The members of the Senate side of the committee are listed at the link above. The House has evidently not yet appointed its members to the committee. Probably the only way to fight this would be to lobby the members (both House and Senate) of the conference committee. Once it gets out of committee, it will pass both houses overwhelmingly. As the amendment only appears in the Senate version, I’d guess our best shot at killing this would be for home education supporters to encourage their House members to stick with the House version (HR 1815) instead of the amended Senate version (S 1042). Alternatively, we could try to convince a sympathetic Senator on the committee to pull the language in Section 522. This would appear to me to be a long shot as HSLDA no doubt will be riding herd on this one quite closely.

    UPDATE: I just spoke to Tom in Senator Joe Lieberman’s office. During the primary season, Lieberman put in an appearance at the Bowlerama in New Castle, DE at the same time as the homeschool outing. IOW, there were a lot of HEKs there cheering him on. I mentioned this to Tom and expressed our strong concern about this bill. Tom is available at (202) 224-4041 Option 2.


    Filed on at 5:18 am under by dcobranchi

    for nominations. Already, Spunky has a ton of blogs I’d never heard of. I guess we run in different circles.


    Filed on at 5:14 am under by dcobranchi

    I’m not sure why I find these PR blurbs so fascinating. Maybe it’s a train-wreck phenomenon:

    One streaming company actively involved in the homeschooling market is United Streaming. A product of Discovery Education, a division of parent company Discovery Communications, United Streaming hosts more than 40,000 video clips. United Streaming divides the site between traditional public and private school customers and homeschooling customers, going so far as to have two completely independent customer service locations for each of these distinct target markets. United Streaming also targets homeschooling families via direct mail brochures, touting access to all of United’s content for an annual fee of $199 per household.

    $199 per year for streaming video. I’d be surprised if they have 50 home educating families signed up.


    Filed on at 5:01 am under by dcobranchi

    The Seattle Times has two Op/Eds up on home education– one positive and one negative. Neither is particularly well-argued but in a split decision, I have to give the victory to the “anti” piece. It seems a Harvard education wasn’t enough to generate a good “pro” article.


    Filed on November 28, 2005 at 9:37 pm under by dcobranchi

    Tenn is organizing a “symposium” on the title subject. She has a good post up already, and I don’t have much to add except to point to Tim’s essay. I think he said it all. (BTW, the comments are worth a read, too.)


    Filed on at 9:18 pm under by dcobranchi

    A few weeks ago, I advised Sara Jenkins to fire her press agent. It appears that she took my advice and hired one who doesn’t speak English.

    With the money back guarantee for three-months offered, this ebook guide by Sara Jenkins was set ready to be popular among the homeschooling enthusiasts.


    Filed on at 9:01 pm under by dcobranchi

    Is this a pro-homeschooling site? Hard to tell from the tone of this piece.


    Filed on at 8:21 pm under by dcobranchi

    The current edition of HEFT is up.


    Filed on at 4:18 am under by dcobranchi

    Go on– click over. It’s not what you think.


    Filed on at 3:47 am under by dcobranchi

    If I’d have known about this girl yesterday, I’d have taken a detour on down to Greenwood, SC.


    Filed on at 3:41 am under by dcobranchi

    It doesn’t translate well but “Enough, already!” is close. Another home educating family is may be featured on Chris’ favorite show. GoogleNews found a blurb that mentions the home education angle, but the blurb has since been edited to omit the reference.

    UPDATE: It appears to be confirmed:

    Wife Swap (7 p.m. on 9): Kelly is a Pentecostal pastor’s wife with a killer schedule that includes home-schooling six kids, seeing to their social lives and her own, hosting Bible studies and leading the family in outdoor pursuits. She swaps homes with Amber, a laid-back mother of three whose husband not only doesn’t believe in God but runs a Web site and hosts an Internet radio show about atheism.


    Filed on at 3:36 am under by dcobranchi

    I never thought I’d write this, but Michael Smith has a WashTimes Op/Ed with which I agree 100 percent. It’s all about the 9th Circuit Court sex survey case (Fields v. Palmdale School District).

    These opinions show that when conflicts arise, the trend in the courts is to side with school officials rather than parents. This is not as far-fetched as it may seem. How could a school operate if every administrative detail was challenged successfully by parents? A school could not function in this type of environment.

    A better way to view public schools is to see them as a benefit provided by the state. Because the state is providing a benefit, it is able to set the rules. Of course, the result is that public schools inevitably act as parents.

    Judge Reinhardt was very clear, and parents across the nation should be aware that in the current legal climate, they are sacrificing almost all their parental authority when they send their children to public school.

    Worth a read.


    Filed on November 23, 2005 at 10:29 am under by dcobranchi

    I’m taking off until Black Friday. See you then.


    Filed on at 6:52 am under by dcobranchi

    Next year– Delaney!


    Filed on at 1:19 am under by dcobranchi

    The article is nice enough, but the picture– Yikes! No nickel for this one.


    Filed on at 1:06 am under by dcobranchi

    A former HEK broke one of the cardinal rules of the g-school system– Zero Tolerance. Now he’s been expelled (probably a good thing for him) and in trouble with the law (a not-so-good thing):

    An Ethel student was expelled from school on November 4 for bringing a gun to school to show to a friend.

    Principal Roger Hill said the 14-year-old boy, who had previously been home-schooled, had been given the gun by his grandfather and said he wanted to show it to friends, but meant no harm.

    “The gun was not operational and not loaded,” he said. “But that doesn’t matter. We had a few scared kids over it. We just don’t play with that stuff.”

    Sheriff William Lee said the boy was arrested and turned over to his parents. He is awaiting a hearing in youth court.

    “You just can’t have any kind of weapon on school property,” Lee said.

    An unloaded, non-operational weapon that he didn’t threaten anyone with. The court ought to go very easy on him.


    Filed on November 22, 2005 at 12:39 pm under by dcobranchi

    There’s a new ad to the right (just below HEM). I think I’ll take the money from the ad and buy a shirt.


    Filed on at 10:55 am under by dcobranchi

    You gotta love it when academics poke a big stick in IDists’ eyes.

    LAWRENCE, Kansas (AP) — Creationism and intelligent design are going to be studied at the University of Kansas, but not in the way advocated by opponents of the theory of evolution.

    A course being offered next semester by the university religious studies department is titled “Special Topics in Religion: Intelligent Design, Creationism and other Religious Mythologies.”

    I love how they lump biblical creationism and ID with other creation myths. The course title is apt, as there’s just as much scientific evidence for Gaia and Odin as there is for YEC and ID.


    Filed on at 8:10 am under by dcobranchi

    Is this supposed to be funny?

    Dropout’ now at head of class

    Robert Kennedy Jr. is a high school dropout.

    But don’t let that fool you, the 16-year-old has already earned 60 units of credit at Citrus College in Glendora. He is also studying mathematics at the Harvey Mudd College of Engineering in Claremont.

    The longtime Covina resident, who recently moved to Alta Loma with his family, has never set foot in a school – elementary, middle or high.

    Yeah, he was home educated his entire life. He never dropped out of anything.

    Contact info for the reporter:

    (626) 962-8811, Ext. 2733


    Filed on at 8:03 am under by dcobranchi

    Not! Lew Rockwell’s site has really gone downhill lately.


    Filed on at 3:57 am under by dcobranchi

    The NitwitTimes, er, NWITimes thinks (and I use that term very loosely) it has an issue worthy of the Indiana legislature’s best efforts– home education:

    Here’s another education issue the General Assembly should examine: standards for home-schooling.

    …But left behind in this zeal to improve the quality of education are the 23,455 youngsters in Indiana who are home-schooled.

    Indiana requires little except that the parents fill out a form to register the child as being taught at home.

    After that, parents can do pretty much whatever they want. Resources are available to the parents, but they are not required to use them.

    Some students who are home-schooled excel academically. But others don’t.

    Those are the children who can easily fall through the cracks.

    Some educators worry that parents are only pretending to home-school their children, using the privacy this arrangement offers in order to withdraw their children from public schools and avoid prosecution.

    It’s a legitimate concern. How would anyone know whether those children are learning well in a nontraditional setting?

    The state’s interest in seeing that all children receive the education they need in order to survive in today’s world could easily be addressed by requiring standardized tests like the ISTEP for all children, regardless of where they are taught.

    Parents who are truly teaching their children would have no reason to worry about these tests. They would give an independent gauge of how well their children are performing compared to their peers in the public schools.

    The parents who are failing to teach their children well, if at all, would have a reason to stop procrastinating on their children’s lessons.

    And educators who worry about students who are withdrawn from public schools would know that the state hasn’t written off those children because they are outside the system.

    Indiana should make sure that all children should learn at least the very basic skills needed to survive in today’s society — including balancing a checkbook and reading signs, general-interest magazines and newspapers.

    Requiring all students, even ones schooled at home, to take a standardized test each year would be a good way to measure progress toward that goal.

    Your opinion, please

    Should children taught at home be required to take a standardized test each year to measure how much they are learning?

    Share your thoughts at http://www.nwitimes.com/youropinion

    I think I’ll send a comment.

    UPDATE: I love the smell of snark in the morning. My LttE (which will never see the light of day):

    Dear NitwitTimes editor,

    Just a couple of quick comments about your proposal to test all homeschoolers–

    1) You acknowledge that the IN public schools are “dismal.” Is not the standardized testing an integral part of the system. It appears to be not working. Why do you think this is a good idea to propagate these same tests to homeschoolers?

    2) You fail to mention private schools, which also don’t take the ISTEP. How come? Afraid to take on a larger constituency?

    3) Your proposal to force homeschoolers to take the ISTEP is illegal under federal law. That’s right. NCLB exempts homeschoolers from having to take the state accountability tests.

    But, other than these minor flaws, I think your proposal is a fine idea. I’m sure you’ve done your public school teachers proud today.

    BTW, I have decided to include reading your editorial as part of my homeschooled children’s lessons for today. You see, we’re studying The Fallacy Detective and I’m sure we’ll be able to spot at least a half-dozen in this brief piece. Thanks for the free real-world lesson.


    Filed on November 21, 2005 at 6:17 pm under by dcobranchi

    Home educators, Luddites, and racists– three peas in a pod.

    On a Friday last April, Trinity’s parking lot filled with SUVs and luxury sedans as about 400 faithful gathered inside the sanctuary. The church was host to Restore America, a rally to “celebrate faith and patriotism” sponsored by Christian publisher American Vision. In the lobby, neatly blue-blazered youths were hawking So Help Me God, Roy Moore’s account of his dethroning as chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court. Tables were piled with textbooks for homeschoolers, tomes denouncing evolution, booklets waxing nostalgic for the antebellum South. That afternoon the congregants, who’d come to the conference from conservative churches around the region, would hear from Sadie Fields, president of Georgia’s Christian Coalition, and they’d sway in rhythm as country crooner Steve Vaus sang “We Must Take America Back.”

    OT: WHY?

    Filed on at 1:42 am under by dcobranchi

    Just ’cause I like her style. Another good post at 50 Books.


    Filed on November 20, 2005 at 4:31 pm under by dcobranchi

    I’m really not sure that these folks are worth the effort, but what the hell (pun intended).

    Reasoning skills in the nether regions appear to be on a par with ed-school grads, as they seem to think that a link from a racist site is an indictment of home education. (Tip credit: COD)


    Filed on at 10:10 am under by dcobranchi

    New York has made its home-ed regs .0001 percent less insane, and we’re apparently supposed to feel grateful:

    New York’s Regents have expanded college graduation options for home-schooled children, easing what had been rancorous relations between parents who teach their children at home and the governmental agencies charged with overseeing New York children’s education.

    Home-schooled teens can take the state’s five Regents exams, take regular college coursework credits or use an already-earned college diploma to qualify for a New York college sheepskin, options that had been denied them under rules created in the 1980s but not enforced until about two years ago.

    “It wasn’t changed as much as we hoped,” said Pam Stauter, president of the Home School Association of New York. “But we aren’t hearing from our people that their kids are having a problem.”

    Yeah, you read that right — you can go through four years of philosophy at NYU with a 4.0 and not be allowed to graduate if you don’t have a freaking piece of paper from high school. How many brilliant HEKs are New York colleges losing every year to this absolutely asinine regulation?


    Filed on at 5:46 am under by dcobranchi

    Another reason to avoid the entanglements that come with g-school sports:

    Will homeschoolers be vaccinated, too?

    While the law recently signed by Gov. Ed Rendell that allows home-schooled children the opportunity to participate in public school extra-

    curricular activities is admirable and fair, there is one aspect of homeschooling that I haven’t seen addressed.

    More than a few parents of home-schooled children eschew most, if not all, vaccinations for their children for one reason or another. When the new law becomes effective in January, I hope safeguards are in place that will protect public school children from any diseases possibly carried by their home-schooled counterparts.

    This can be done by requiring the proper documentation of immunizations that would otherwise be necessary for admission into the public school system. I really don’t think a simple, written statement by the parents would suffice, because they may believe the immunizations are detrimental to their children’s health.

    Ronald Pizarie

    East Allen Township


    Filed on November 19, 2005 at 9:47 am under by dcobranchi

    A suggestion– Fix the horrible SC homeschooling laws first.


    Daryl Cobranchi ’84


    Filed on at 9:43 am under by dcobranchi

    If this young lady decides to go into politics, I’m contributing to the campaign of her opponent.

    Stefanie Bright, a Bentonville senior attending Hendrix College in Conway, was among a group of Hendrix students who recently won second place at the 2005 Congress on Human Relations.

    Bright, a member of the Hendrix Student Congress Delegation, is the daughter of Donna Bright of Bentonville.

    Bright’s proposed bill, which required that all parents of home-schooled children be required to pass an annual home inspection conducted by the Department of Health and Human Services, won third place.

    If you want to comment, here’s the link.

    THE 4 Rs

    Filed on at 7:12 am under by dcobranchi

    Or is it 3 vowels and 2 consonants?

    The proposed [charter] school would integrate learning in both a community and independent environment, operating on a year-round alternative calendar blending classroom hours with independent learning and field trips. It would focus on the traditional fundamentals of education, as well as incorporating resourcefulness, responsibility, risk taking, and relationships into the curriculum to equip children with the necessary tools to succeed in a society with a broad world view, Kivirist said.

    She said the K-5 school also would blend elements of four other schools of educational thought:

    * Montessori, a discovery and sensory learning curriculum focusing on individual learning pace and peer-to-peer learning and teaching;

    * Enki Education, a multicultural, arts-integrated immersion program;

    * Charlotte Mason, a literature-based philosophy highlighted by short lessons, independent learning and time outdoors;

    * The United Nations International School, advocating human and equal rights, tolerance and acceptance, ethics and moral issues, and peaceful resolution.

    …”I think we should cautiously look at it and explore the idea,” [Superintendent] Jefson said. “It would have to be either financially neutral or beneficial to the district and academically sound. But financially there’s money out there for charter schools.”

    …Jefson said it’s the district’s responsibility to educate all children and the elementary charter school might be a way to bring kids back into the district who are homeschooled.

    “It could also bring in kids from the surrounding area, and the more students we have in our schools the more money there is to go around,” he said.

    Yep, IAATM. As an aside, I think this has to be the dumbest, least-focused charter proposal I’ve seen. Charlotte Mason and Montessori?


    Filed on at 2:29 am under by dcobranchi

    Chris found some folks who are really clueless. And I hope the purveyors of the site have a special place reserved for home educrat Howard Richman. Checks and balances my ass!


    Filed on at 2:10 am under by dcobranchi

    Fire away:

    The excuse that would have been offered — that David Ludwig is a lone loon — has been undermined before the home schooling movement could present it. The problems in Lititz are not about one or two home schoolees. As the investigation expands, other children and young adults who were aware of Ludwig’s activities are likely to be implicated…

    I have no objection to educational aspect of homeschooling. If a parent is qualified to teach a child better than the public or private schools, fine. After all, many parents tutor their schooled children. My qualms arise because of two non-educational aspects of the homeschooling movement: elitism and segregation. The message many homeschoolers are sending, usually politely, is: My children are better than yours. Expand that. They’re saying their children are too good to be exposed to most of their peers. As a result of that attitude, homeschooled children are segregated from the norm. Not only do they not attend school, they are encouraged to associate only with other home schoolees. The result is a very heterogeneous, cult-like environment that doesn’t prepare children for the heterogeneity of contemporary American life. It is a fecund environment for extremist views to take root. We are getting a glimpse into a homeschool community because of the Borden murders. Much of what we are seeing is evidence of what is wrong with the homeschooling movement.

    Assuming that Mr. Diva was g-schooled, I think we have evidence of the poor reasoning skills taught there. He extrapolates from one disturbed kid to an indictment of home education. And, as far as we know, it was only one. There are no mentions in news reports that Samuel P. Lohr was home educated. Nor anything about “apocalyptic views” or “survivalist inclinations” among any of the folks in this sad tale. Indeed, everything I’ve seen indicates that from outward appearances, these were the kids next door.

    Mr. Diva doesn’t have comments on his site. He does, however, post his email address.


    Filed on at 1:40 am under by dcobranchi

    Check out the first comment at the end of this post.


    Filed on November 18, 2005 at 12:32 pm under by dcobranchi

    Joanne’s book (which is in the Top 1000 at Amazon.com) was reviewed yesterday in the WSJ. Joanne is available for interviews but has vetoed gingham. I’ve suggested a denim jumper instead.


    Filed on at 12:28 pm under by dcobranchi

    Paul Chesser gets the Ludwig/Borden story exactly correct.

    Frankly, ABC News did the right thing by recognizing the significance that the two teens were homeschooled. This was out of character from what most Americans have come to expect from homeschooled children: that they are mostly intelligent, polite, respectful, well-behaved, quiet, and mind their own business. They are a threat to no one (except teachers’ unions).

    Sadly, Ludwig and Borden are two of our own. Atypical. But HEKs. And it’s not necessarily a slur when the MSM makes note of it. From the coverage I’ve seen, the homeschooling angle has not (yet) been pushed. As Chesser notes, if someone (CBS? ABJ?) does go overboard, then we can blast away. Until then, we can quietly grieve with the family and town. Thanks to Hal Young for the tip.

    I’M BACK…

    Filed on at 8:39 am under by dcobranchi

    and exhausted. Blogging will resume this evening.

    HEY, M.A.

    Filed on November 16, 2005 at 2:32 pm under by dcobranchi

    Here’s a pretty typical piece on the new PA law mandating that school districts allow HEKs to play. Of note, Mary Alice is extensively quoted:

    Although the legislation is important, don’t expect to see a rush of home-school students joining district activities, says Maryalice Newborn of Mur-rysville.

    Newborn, who teaches her children at home, is the founder of Family Learning Opportunities, an organization that helps provide a variety of opportunities for home schoolers in the East Suburbs.

    Family Learning Opportunities offers weekly activities such as pick-up baseball and soccer games. It even plans visits to cultural activities such as symphony and opera performances.

    “I think it’s good legislation because it makes everything fair from one district to the next,” she says. “But it probably won’t affect most home schoolers.”

    Newborn emphasizes the importance of equality from district to district.

    Living near the Penn-Trafford district border, she felt it was unfair that her children had the opportunity to participate in extracurricular activities while a home-school child just one block away in the neighboring district was prohibited prior to the new law.

    “My family won’t be participating because public schools don’t really do anything for us,” she says. “We’re happy with the choices we’ve made — the world is our classroom!”

    She estimates that maybe 5 percent of home-schooled students will take advantage of the new law because most enjoy their separation from public schools. But, she notes, it is nonetheless an important opportunity for many students.

    “Participating in competitive sports will be good for families with gifted kids because it opens up opportunities for athletic scholarships,” she says.

    However, she doesn’t expect the law to have much of an impact on her organization. Some students participate in district sports and help coach younger children in the Family Learning Opportunities’ activities.

    “We’re satisfying a different need with non-competitive sports,” she says.

    UPDATE: The paper has about a half-dozen articles on home education. There’s nothing online to indicate why.


    Filed on at 10:55 am under by dcobranchi

    Here’s a pretty funny Boondocks courtesy of Heidi.


    Filed on November 15, 2005 at 3:58 pm under by dcobranchi

    Too little and far too late:

    U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum said Saturday that he doesn’t believe that intelligent design belongs in the science classroom.

    Santorum’s comments to The Times are a shift from his position of several years ago, when he wrote in a Washington Times editorial that intelligent design is a “legitimate scientific theory that should be taught in the classroom.”

    But on Saturday, the Republican said that, “Science leads you where it leads you.”

    He means scientific polling data, of course.


    Filed on at 3:40 pm under by dcobranchi

    Yes, I’m following the PA story. I have nothing to note other than my profound sorry.


    Filed on November 11, 2005 at 8:09 pm under by dcobranchi

    It’s that time of the year, again. Still in Somerset. But now I’m Vice Chair for Arrangements. Which means I’ll be working to help make sure that all of the little things (like chairs, projectors, food, etc.) happen the way they’re supposed to.


    Filed on at 6:47 am under by dcobranchi

    Don’t visit Dover, PA in the near future as religious broadcaster Right-wing wacko Pat Robertson seems to be convinced that a disaster is coming:

    “I’d like to say to the good citizens of Dover: if there is a disaster in your area, don’t turn to God, you just rejected Him from your city,” Robertson said on his daily television show broadcast from Virginia, “The 700 Club.”

    “And don’t wonder why He hasn’t helped you when problems begin, if they begin. I’m not saying they will, but if they do, just remember, you just voted God out of your city. And if that’s the case, don’t ask for His help because he might not be there,” he said.

    How can anyone listen to him anymore? From praying away hurricanes to Chavez and now ID, every time he opens his mouth he appears to be a raving lunatic.

    UPDATE: It gets better:

    Pat Robertson responds to media requests regarding previous statements made.

    “I was simply stating that our spiritual actions have consequences and it’s high time we started recognizing it. God is tolerant and loving, but we can’t keep sticking our finger in His eye forever. If they have future problems in Dover, I recommend they call on Charles Darwin…maybe he can help them.”

    And finally, I almost fell for this. I wish I still lived up that way so I could go spend some time and money in Dover in thanks for booting out the 8 board members.


    Filed on at 6:26 am under by dcobranchi

    I’m way behind on this– The Nov.-Dec. issue of HEM is up. Andrea of the atypical sites (See? I can be taught.) has a nice piece on home education blogging.


    Filed on November 10, 2005 at 10:06 pm under by dcobranchi

    PA Gov. Ed Rendell signed the bill forcing all school districts in the state to allow HEKs to participate in extracurriculars. Rah!


    Filed on at 7:26 am under by dcobranchi

    I don’t think I’ve linked to an “Earth Science Picture of the Day” in a while. Today’s is pretty cool.


    Filed on at 2:11 am under by dcobranchi

    Spunky links approvingly to a list of “Truths” about home education written by the Bluedorns. Number 2 might have been safe in 1994 when the list was compiled. No longer:

    2. All Parents are Homeschoolers

    The second undeniable truth of Homeschooling is that all parents are Homeschoolers. It’s just that some parents Homeschool more than others.

    I’m sure the g-school at home folks would love to see that quote bandied about on homeschooling lists. It just ain’t true (or Truth). (And, in case you’re wondering, I’ve evidently been banned from commenting on her post. I’m not sure why.)

    UPDATE: I R A IDJIT! I never realized that Spunky had two nearly identical blogs. What happened– I first saw her post via a Google search. I commented and then went back later to check on the discussion. But this time I used the link in my blogroll. Wrong blog. Of course my comment wasn’t there. I thought I must have offended her somehow with my typo. Please accept my apologies, Spunky. Here’s the link to the post where I did comment.


    Filed on at 1:32 am under by dcobranchi

    Today is Buy Joanne Jacobs’ Book Day. (And, before you ask, I’m not getting a cut of any sales. Joanne is an internet “friend.”) It’s not all about the money every time. 🙂

    Our School: The Inspiring Story of Two Teachers, One Big Idea and the School That Beat the Odds (Palgrave Macmillan) tells the story of a San Jose charter school that prepares students who are “failing but not in jail” for four-year colleges.

    It really is an inspiring story. The average Downtown College Prep student comes from a Mexican immigrant family and enters ninth grade reading at a fifth grade level; 100 percent of graduates have been accepted at four-year colleges and 97 percent are on track to earn a bachelor’s degree. DCP now scores well above the state average on the Academic Performance Index, ranking in the top third compared to all high schools, including affluent suburban schools. DCP follows what I call the work-your-butt-off philosophy of education. Its leaders analyze what’s not working, adapt quickly and waste no time on esteem inflation or excuses.

    While I discuss the charter school movement as a whole, Our School isn’t written for wonks. I think it’s a good read, sort of Tracy Kidder meets Up the Down Staircase.

    My favorite part of the book is the part I didn’t write. The book includes Pedro’s rap, essays by Gil and Emilia, Roberto’s speech, a discipline report on Hector, a teachers’ list of DCP jargon, the principal’s e-mail conversations with teachers, a phony field trip permission slip created by a girl who wanted a parent-free weekend and a copy of the school’s budget.

    After 19 years as a San Jose Mercury News editorial writer and columnist (syndicated through Knight Ridder), I quit in 2001 to report and write Our School. I also started what may be the first education blog at joannejacobs.com, and now draw about 1,300 unique visitors a day during the week. I’ve freelanced stories and columns for the Christian Science Monitor, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia Daily News, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, All Things Considered, Stanford Magazine, Tech Central Station and FoxNews.com.

    — Joanne Jacobs

    My favorite blurbs

    Our School is wonderfully written and wonderfully informative. I cannot think of another book that provides such a close and honest look at a successful charter school serving immigrant kids in grave danger of striking out in American life. The fascinating story that Joanne Jacobs tells zips along like a good novel, but it also delivers an important and optimistic message to educators who want to rescue kids.”
    –Abigail Thernstrom, co-author of No Excuses and America in Black and White

    “Joanne Jacobs has written a ground-breaking book about the most interesting, and potentially important, change in American schooling in the last 15 years.”
    –Jay Mathews, Washington Post education columnist, author of Harvard Schmarvard, Escalante, and Class Struggle

    Our School is today’s Up the Down Staircase. It’s not often a book about my profession gets it right.”–Robert Wright, teacher, Morrill Middle School, San Jose, California

    From Publishers Weekly
    The cofounders of the school had a clear mission: to take failing students and prepare them to attend college and do well. Students would have to break with gang culture and adopt DCP’s mantra: ganas (motivation), orgullo (pride) and communidad (community). . . DCP is enthusiastically experimental. When something’s not working (e.g., trying to teach algebra when kids don’t know fractions), they try something else. As Jacobs tells the story of DCP’s amazingly committed teachers and their (mostly) courageous students, even hardcore opponents of charter schools may soften. Some useful data (DCP’s student stats, funding summaries) and a listing of resources for people thinking of starting a charter school round out this fascinating case study. (Dec.)
    Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


    Filed on November 9, 2005 at 8:12 pm under by dcobranchi

    Anti-ID, and funny. (Tip credit: Ulrike)


    Filed on at 12:03 pm under by dcobranchi

    The mother of the HE family on Monday’s Wife Swap reveals that she was just trying to be an “intellegent & articulate antipreneur & activist” by exposing her life to national ridicule (scroll down to the last entry):

    So we DID this stupid show last month. We knew it was going to be difficuilt at best, but it turned out much worse. Our episode airs on the 7th of November. We started out thinking what a great scam, then got excited by the idea of putting memes forth in a freegan “let them pay for the airtime to put our words out there” kind of spirit and ended up feeling bruised by the monster….

    She goes on to fisk ABC’s press release about the episode. Hard to feel too sorry for her, though.

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