Utterly Meaningless » 2005 » December

    Filed on December 19, 2005 at 7:03 am under by dcobranchi

    This one will be a little different. In light of recent events, I’ve come to the conclusion that home education needs another voice on Capitol Hill. The self-appointed one certainly doesn’t speak for me. So, I’m curious if folks would be willing to support (financially) an organization whose sole purpose would be to work to protect homeschool freedoms. There’d be no lobbying for or against any bills that were not directly tied to home education. No gay marriage. No UN declarations. No partisan politics.

    Please, in the comments section, anonymously post an amount that you’d be willing to pledge each year. If that amount is zero, please post that. What I’m looking for is to see if there’s any interest at all, or if I’m completely out in left field.


    Filed on at 6:38 am under by dcobranchi

    Bloglines is reporting that they’ll be going down for about 6 hours today, beginning at 2 p.m. PST.


    Filed on at 5:52 am under by dcobranchi

    Mike Smith’s column at the WashTimes is all about reaching out and preaching the gospel:

    One of the most effective ways of growing the home-school movement is for home-school families to spread the word about what they have discovered. They should be equipped with facts and figures that support home-schooling. They should be able to point people to “getting-started resources” and local support groups.

    This is a challenge for all home-schoolers, because if we do not look for opportunities at our church or at work to make the case for home-schooling, then too many families will fail to understand that home-schooling is a viable option. Also, previously home-schooling families could be enticed back under the public system via ever-increasing subsidies, without existing home-school families who are willing to lend a hand.

    There are millions of parents who would benefit from making this important choice. In order for home-schooling to fulfill its potential and revolutionize education in this country, home-schooling parents need to persuade other parents that the benefits of home-schooling outweigh the burdens. This is one of the most important challenges facing home-schooling today. I trust that the home-school movement will choose to go the extra mile and ensure that home-schooling continues to thrive.

    I’ve written before that I wasn’t sure I liked the idea of preaching the Good News of home education. Now, Mike Smith wants to take this and extend it further, to “revolutionize education.” Now I’m sure I don’t like it.

    I don’t care to revolutionize education. I don’t see home education as a “movement.” I’m of the “leave me the hell alone” bent. That’s directed at both the government and homeschool advocates who want to use homeschooling to further their personal political agendas. (Yes, Scott, I’m talking about HSLDA. You can call me judgmental, again, if you wish.) So, I’ll fight for homeschooling freedoms (to ensure my own) and ally myself with like-minded folks. I have nothing but disdain for the “movement” folks who see homeschooling as a means to an end, the end being political power for themselves (Yes, Scott, I’m talking about HSLDA).


    Filed on at 5:25 am under by dcobranchi

    Natalie has all of the contact info for the House conferees. As they worked over the weekend on the bill, I’m not sure it isn’t too late. It doesn’t hurt to try, though.


    Filed on December 18, 2005 at 4:54 pm under by dcobranchi

    I know there aren’t too many HSLDA members among the community here, but I’m hoping that somehow this will be picked up and spread to the folks who need to see it. From Mary McCarthy:


    I have always felt that HSLDA has a right to exist, and if that’s what you want to spend your money on, I’m happy you have the financial means to do so. However, recent events have caused me to re-think my position. I was wrong to think that because I was not a member HSLDA did not affect me.

    When HSLDA re-introduced their HoNDA legislation in the US House and Senate, they added a section related to the recruitment and enlistment of homeschool graduates to it. When it appeared HoNDA was stalled in committee they requested Senator Rick Santorum of PA to add a section that would give the Secretary of Defense the authority to identify for the purposes of recruitment and enlistment homeschool graduates to The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2006.

    Scott Somerville of HSLDA recently wrote, “IF we fail in our effort to get section 522 signed into law, we’ll try something else, but we won’t give up. It’s been seven years already; it may be seven more years before we feel like homeschool grads have a level path to military service.”

    There is a lot to think about in those two arrogant sentences. HSLDA will not give up trying to push federal legislation into law that affects MY child. That’s personal. That has nothing to do with a Christian’s right to homeschool their children, something I would be first in line to protect. It’s an attempt to target my child for recruitment and enlistment in the United States Armed Forces by a group of self-appointed, fundamentalist Christians pursuing an agenda they have determined to be part of their personal religion. Of course, they have a right, as individual Americans and as a lobbying organization, to do so. But I also have a right – as well as a responsibility – to protect my child from overly zealous political actions. That is the reason we have ELECTED representation, so the people can decide whether they want their children targeted by military recruiters or not. In a representative government, it’s not the purview of a handful of zealots to make any decision for my family.

    Section 522 does not delineate between `homeschool students’ and `homeschool students whose parents are members of HSLDA’. This is personal and oversteps the bounds of representing a paid membership by an advocacy organization. It will affect every homeschool student/family in America, HSLDA member or not. HSLDA could not operate without the dues of its membership. It is what pays the salaries, builds the buildings, and – yes – funds the lobbying. Membership dues are funding the effort to identify for purposes of recruitment and enlistment MY child. Membership dues are funding the proposal which will give the United States Secretary of Defense the authorization to define what a homeschool graduate is. The members of HSLDA are ultimately responsible for the actions HSLDA and its paid agents take.

    I cannot influence HSLDA decisions because I am not a member, so I have to plead my case to the members. Therefore, I do not think it unreasonable to respectfully request HSLDA’s members accept responsibility for the actions of their paid representatives and use their checkbooks to take back the power they have ceded to HSLDA. YOU have the power. I know many of you, and I know you are good, responsible parents who will `do the right thing’. Thank you.

    Mary McCarthy


    Filed on at 7:19 am under by dcobranchi

    I was just clicking through the “Current Events” list and found this interesting post on the NSA case. It’s on damned blogspot. If the permalink doesn’t work (almost a certainty) just try going to the Dec. 17th post.


    Filed on at 6:04 am under by dcobranchi

    I’ve always viewed “homeschooling” mostly as a legal term. I think of “unschooling” as a flavor of homeschooling. Others seem to disagree:

    It’s this same style of unstructured, holistic ‘education’ that I raised my son with, thinking I was ‘home-schooling’ him and not even knowing that I was actually un-schooling him. I had no formal programme, and I just did what seemed necessary at the time to teach him what he needed. Most of my work was done by reading books to him.


    Filed on December 17, 2005 at 5:41 pm under by dcobranchi

    I need a copy of Mao’s Little Red Book.

    What happened to America?


    Filed on at 3:32 pm under by dcobranchi

    We get letters.

    This one pissed me off just enough to point it out. Armstrong Williams, I ain’t:

    Dear Daryl,

    I found your blog today and thought homeschooling dads like me would be interested in reading what you are posting. I was wondering if you had heard about a magazine produced especially for homeschooling families called The Old Schoolhouse Magazine. As you may know, homeschooling is a tough job that requires the whole family’s support. Even then, it’s not always easy for parents to find the answers to the challenges that are as unique as children themselves. The Old Schoolhouse is their partner; they give helpful advice and encouragement in the work they face every day.

    I am seeking bloggers like you willing to mention The Old Schoolhouse as a Christmas gift for the wives of your readers. If they sign her up for a subscription, they will be sending a message that they support their wives in the important work of educating the next generation. It’s like giving her a trade journal for her life’s work. What better way to remind them through the year of how much they appreciate their work?

    As a way of showing my appreciation for your post suggesting The Old Schoolhouse, I would like to get your family a subscription to the magazine at no cost to you. If you would like to take this offer, please reply to me with a link to the blog entry and your name and mailing address for the subscription. That’s all you have to do! But the post must be done in the next few days to qualify.

    If you have any questions about this offer, please let me know.


    Steve Walden
    Marketing Services Consultant
    The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, LLC



    Filed on at 2:04 pm under by dcobranchi

    In response to the DMN Op/Ed:

    Districts need accountability

    Re: “If home-schooling counts, make it accountable,” Tuesday column by Joshua Benton.

    According to “Roger,” the problem belongs to Child Protective Services. He would rather complain of state regulation than use the avenue that is available to him right now.

    Is that how his daughter ended up flitting around California with his granddaughter? If she is his daughter-in-law (or son’s girlfriend), where is his son? He is afraid to make a stand. Did this mother graduate from a state-regulated school? Did it improve her future? Did it produce a productive adult who is an active contributing member of society? This is a parenting problem, not a home-school regulation issue.

    The firsthand reference Mr. Benton cites is a commentary on the school system and not an argument to regulate home-schooling. The school system, as stated in the article, was about to produce yet another dropout. Mr. Benton states that since his friend was heading toward dropping out, the boy’s father put him to work and taught him a trade. Should he have left him on the slippery slope or shown him what hard work is? Where would regulation have changed this situation?

    Regarding the commentary on high schools suggesting that parents remove their children and sign forms stating their intent to home-school, once again, this is not a home-school issue. It is an issue of regulating what public institutions can or cannot do.

    They should not be able to suggest the forms as an option so that their numbers are improved; it should be parent generated. It is obvious that they are more concerned about how they appear to be performing than what they actually produce. The numbers are astounding:

    In Dallas ISD, out of 14,485 freshmen, only 6,935 remain in their senior year, yet the school system claims a mere 1.8 percent dropout rate. The statistics are from Mr. Benton’s article. Quoting the article, schools “have gotten miscounting dropouts down to a science.”

    Is the question really where these students are going? If so, the question itself is faulty – it should be why are they leaving? It is a powerful commentary on the school system.

    The issue should not be about regulation of home-schools, but about overhauling the system so that it truly produces reasonable, literate, responsible adults; perhaps then so many parents would not be leaving the system, and the children in the system with disinterested parents at home would have more of a chance.

    Lynn Beam, Plano


    Filed on at 1:20 pm under by dcobranchi

    Authorizing illegal wiretaps (30 times, no less) surely qualifies.


    Section 4. The President, Vice President and all civil officers of the United States, shall be removed from office on impeachment for, and conviction of, treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.

    Yeah, that’s where we’re headed.


    Filed on at 12:36 pm under by dcobranchi

    Valerie has the House conferees. Call ’em all.


    Filed on at 8:23 am under by dcobranchi

    A couple of home educating families lost their homes in fires– Decatur, AL and Abbotsford, BC.


    Filed on at 8:10 am under by dcobranchi

    Part III of the Salem Times-Commoner homeschooling series has what I hope is a misquote by the reporter:

    Rebecca Hoard has two children, ages 4 (almost 5) and 2 (nearly 3). Hoard has a teaching degree, mainly because she wanted to be prepared if she chose to homeschool. She taught in a Christian school for one year and during that time, she told the parents that they know their kids better than she did and she wanted to work with them.

    Hoard said, “I am taking the other side of the fence now, in that I know my kids better than anyone else – both strengths and weaknesses. I believe it is a responsibility I have. The Bible says to teach them when to rise up and when to sit down.”

    That’s from the Authoritarian King James version, I guess.


    Filed on at 7:30 am under by dcobranchi

    Valerie surveys a bunch of bloggers’ comments on Section 522. Of course, throughout his whole debacle, Valerie has been the go-to gal with more pertinent information than the rest of us combined. I know for a fact that Valerie was/is better informed on the ins and outs of military recruiting than a certain nameless organization that decided to push execrable federal legislation despite the fact that no one really seems to want it (other than a certain former GOP candidate for VA lieutenant governor.)


    Filed on December 16, 2005 at 4:38 pm under by dcobranchi

    I got an email from eSchool News touting their Education Blog Awards. I’m less than impressed with their categories:

    # Best Classroom Instruction Blog

    # Best K-12 Administration Blog

    # Best Higher Education Management Blog

    # Best Education Theory Blog

    I don’t think either of my two favorite edu-blogs, Joanne Jacobs and Kimberly Swygert, would qualify. Do we need a Festivus Awards?


    Filed on at 10:51 am under by dcobranchi

    We’re all still waiting for HSLDA’s Sherman. I’m sure Farris is typing it up as we speak, right?


    Filed on at 10:26 am under by dcobranchi

    Heifer Int’l —–>

    And I’d bet that more than 10% goes to the folks who need it.


    Filed on at 5:41 am under by dcobranchi

    This press release actually got me to click over with this:

    The good will aspect of Christmas has apparently vanished this year in favour of commercial exploitation. This is the conclusion of a 13 year old boy who set out to raise funds for charity, only to discover that few are prepared to give even £1 (less than 2 dollars).

    His venture, www.TreeOfNames.com has attracted over 70,000 visitors, yet few have taken the next step and paid the nominal fee. Nicky John from South Wales devised the website to raise funds towards the Noah’s Ark Appeal building the first dedicated hospital for children in Wales and for specialist education provision.

    …Being home educated the project started as an exercise in business studies. “The final model evolved after many trials”, Nicky explained.

    “Without having to deal with traditional international boundaries the Tree Of Names has unlimited scope for expansion”. His goal; “a forest of trees, containing names and messages from every continent”.

    An HEK raising money for a charity? Sign me up. I clicked around the site trying to find out what the charity does, and this is what I found:

    Noah’s Ark Appeal

    10% of all income to this site will go towards funding The Teenage Cancer Unit in the New Children’s Hospital in Cardiff, Wales. This is part of The Noah’s Ark Appeal (charity reg number 1069485).

    He’s pocketing the rest. So far, it appears that he’s cleared over $130k.


    Filed on December 15, 2005 at 8:46 pm under by dcobranchi

    It appears that there will be Bobs again this year.


    Filed on at 8:25 pm under by dcobranchi

    Not for Spunky’s awards but for the Homeschool Blogads Network. Any homeschool blogger can join as long as you can run an adstrip on your site. Drop me a line.


    Filed on at 7:04 am under by dcobranchi

    The MSM still doesn’t get the web. Check out today’s lead editorial in the Wilmington News-Journal:

    New crime Web site gives residents a way to protect themselves

    New Castle County has given its citizens a useful safety tool. They can now use computer technology to track crimes in their neighborhoods.

    The Web site shows the block-level crimes from the past three months. Residents can spot where a crime occurred and how close they were. The Web site is worth the effort even it just reassures some residents that their neighborhoods are quiet.

    But the site offers more. As the saying goes, knowledge is power. Residents can spot trends and take protective action, whether it’s a string of burglaries or car thefts. The site balances information with genuine privacy concerns.

    County Executive Chris Coons and Public Safety Director Guy Sapp are to be commended for a good idea. Other jurisdictions should follow their example.

    Check out the site. It’s worth taking a look even if you don’t live in New Castle County.

    A URL would have been helpful.


    Filed on at 5:15 am under by dcobranchi

    Debbie Clark has a column up over on LewRockwell.com about g-schools “sharing” personal data with the military. The column is ok, but what really caught my eye was Ms. Clark’s bio:

    Debbie Clark [send her email] is a former US Army criminal investigator, a member of Veterans For Peace, and a researcher for Antiwar.com. She is the mother of two children, now in college and high school, who she homeschooled to the ages of 11 ½ and 6 at which time they were taken from her by court order and placed in public school due to her non-compliance with the home study provision of the Georgia compulsory school attendance law.

    I don’t get this. I’m about as ornery as they come when complying with unnecessary rules and regulations. But I’d have pulled up way short of allowing my family to be ripped apart. Pyrrhic victories are still losses. What’s needed here is a bit of context. Anyone know anything about this decade-old tale?


    Filed on December 14, 2005 at 11:05 am under by dcobranchi

    What the heck does this mean? Scott Somerville noted on Kay’s listserv that they still hope to get Section 522 enacted into law. Let’s hope not.

    UPDATE: Valerie has a lot more info.


    Filed on at 6:44 am under by dcobranchi

    Here’s the lede from another bad press release:

    (openPR) – Be personally Home Educated and mentored by a proven success who created $3,244,842.32 in online sales in only 27 months….

    Do people really get paid for writing these?


    Filed on at 6:33 am under by dcobranchi

    Nice hed:

    Home Schooling on the Rise Among More Black Families

    70’S MUSIC FOR $200, ALEX

    Filed on December 13, 2005 at 8:48 pm under by dcobranchi

    This was Fleetwood Mac’s best-selling album.

    What is Rumours?

    Something may be up with Section 522.

    UPDATE: A well-informed source has it that 522 is going to be removed. (Fitzgerald can subpoena me if he wants, but I will not reveal my source.)


    Filed on at 11:39 am under by Tim Haas

    Surely that’s the next step in Pennsylvania:

    District Superintendent Richard Slack has said the new policy [for participation in extracurriculars] will adhere as much as possible to the guidelines that now apply to regular students so there is consistency in rules applying to home schoolers and enrolled students.

    Home schoolers will have to meet the same eligibility requirements as regular C-L students, including academic requirements assessed on a weekly basis.


    Filed on at 8:39 am under by dcobranchi

    I’m sick of Christmas. Or, more precisely, I’m sick of all the nonsense surrounding the so-called “War on Christmas.” Check out the LttE of my local paper today. Five out of six. What a waste of electrons. I blame Fox News.


    Filed on at 6:50 am under by dcobranchi

    Just heard as a teaser on the local NBC affiliate:

    More people are staying home due to the high cost of childcare. Are they holding back North Carolina’s economy? [possible paraphrase]

    God forbid anyone stays home to take care of their kids.

    UPDATE: Here’s the news story on which the video report was based.


    Filed on at 4:04 am under by dcobranchi

    Just kidding. The polls are open over at Spunky’s. Only one vote per category. Honor system, I think.


    Filed on December 12, 2005 at 6:36 pm under by dcobranchi

    This is sweet. The Op/Ed’s author (I didn’t see a byline earlier) has a blog. Comment away.


    Filed on at 5:55 pm under by dcobranchi

    Prof. W. A. Pannapacker has penned a truly wonderful essay on why home education appeals to some professors. It’s long and really not excerptable but absolutely worth a read. (Hat tip: The Professor himself)


    Filed on at 5:37 pm under by dcobranchi

    Ads for re-runs? ——>

    UPDATE: Perhaps I was a tad hasty. Check out MSNBC’s big BlogAds buy. (Work safe but not by much)


    Filed on at 12:10 pm under by dcobranchi

    It sounds more interesting than marching through Borgia. Check out Scott’s reply here.


    Filed on at 6:56 am under by dcobranchi

    The Dallas Morning News has a long editorial lamenting the fact that TX homeschools are largely unregulated. It seems that some folks are abusing the system. The solution? Regulate everyone.

    To the legitimate home-schoolers out there, the ones who work hard to give their kids the one-on-one attention they can’t get in a classroom: Hold your e-mail fire. This isn’t about you.

    It’s about people abusing the system, both schools and parents. And it’s about a state education bureaucracy that, under law, can’t do a thing about it.

    Under Texas law, home-schooling is essentially unregulated. Once a parent tells a school district a child will be home-schooled, the district’s jurisdiction ends.

    State regulations say that parents should teach basic literacy, math and citizenship – but that’s it.

    And state officials don’t even have the authority to check whether those minimal requirements are being met. As one home-schooling Web site puts it: “If you live in Texas, you are in the BEST state in the union for home-schooling! … The best part is that you are not required to prove that you are doing any of [the state requirements]!”

    …But those same legitimate home-schoolers have resisted the kinds of laws that might help weed out the bad apples. In 2003, state Sen. Gonzalo Barrientos proposed a bill requiring new Texas home-school parents to pledge, in writing, their commitment to “adequately teaching the child based on a curriculum designed to meet basic education goals.”

    The Home School Legal Defense Association fought back, flooding his office with calls and e-mails, because the association felt it opened the door to potential further regulation. The bill died.

    Perhaps he’s right. [/sarcasm] But, of course, the “bad apple syndrome” is not restricted to home educators. In fact, I read once that a newspaper editorial writer was a mass-murdering, embezzling pedophile. Now, the DMN editor is probably ok, but you never know for sure. Perhaps he should be required to turn over all of his banking records and his laptop to the FBI so they can check. I’m sure that he wouldn’t have any problem with that.


    Filed on at 6:34 am under by dcobranchi

    The AP discovers black home educating families. It’s terrific whenever any group of folks takes their kids’ education seriously, so I’m more than happy that the MSM is noticing that home education is not a W.A.S.P. phenomenon. Of course, the trend that the AP has discovered is 10 years old. Better late than never.


    Filed on December 11, 2005 at 8:12 am under by dcobranchi

    I don’t know if this one really has a home education angle or not.

    COLUMBUS, Ga. – A couple was arrested for keeping their four adopted children in a house filled with vomit and feces and for not enrolling them in school.

    …Police were called to the home to assist Department of Family and Children Services officials who were executing a court order to take custody of the children because they were not enrolled in school. The home was not licensed for home-schooling the children, Columbus Police Sgt. Rick McMahan said.

    That licensing thing is incorrect; GA doesn’t require a license to homeschool. It probably means that they hadn’t filed the intent forms.


    Filed on at 8:02 am under by dcobranchi

    The Kansas City Star has an interesting piece on how state school board elections affect what is taught in the schools. It seems that states that have direct elections of board members are much more likely to be anti-Darwin. It raises a good question: When it comes to what’s taught in the public schools, who gets to decide? For most subjects I’d argue that if the parents want to (collectively) teach their kids that the world is flat or that the Holocaust is fiction, that’s their right. Where ID crosses the line is its religious basis. IDists can argue until they’re blue in the face, but there is absolutely zero doubt that ID was started as a ruse to get around SCOTUS restrictions on teaching scientific creationism in the classroom. I read a bunch of SC literature in the early ’80s. Same story, different title.

    So, in the end, I’m still opposed to teaching ID in the secular g-schools as a violation of the Establishment Clause. As a scientist, I’m opposed to calling it “science” when it hasn’t (yet?) earned the label. When ID loses in Dover and the Kansas school board is voted out (again) ID will die a quiet death. Or at least go back to sleep sleep for another generation.


    Filed on December 10, 2005 at 1:54 pm under by dcobranchi

    At the half–

    Furman 23
    App 21

    5:13 left in the 3rd, same score

    At the end of 3, same score but App is driving. Furman should have scored a TD but the QB slipped on a patch of ice at the one. They went for it on 4th and goal and got stuffed.

    2:11 left in the 4th, App up by 6, 29-23. Furman has the ball at their 37 with 2 time outs remaining.

    1st down on the 43, 1:03 left.

    1st down of the App 36, 0:43 left.

    Furman fumble. App wins.



    Filed on at 10:15 am under by Tim Haas

    From a piece about a BoE meeting in Isle of Wight, Virginia, on access to extracurriculars:

    Olin said she researched school policies throughout the state and on Thursday presented them to fellow board members. Some require part-time students to participate in extracurricular activities.

    You vill haff fun!

    (Yeah, no doubt this is just bad reporting.)


    Filed on at 8:42 am under by Tim Haas

    Is there any other way to take, in an otherwise interesting and heartening piece about black families and home education, this bit of finger-wagging from one of the second-tier HE critics?

    [Michael] Apple, the [University of] Wisconsin professor, acknowledged that home schooling benefits a limited number of black children but said improving public education for the greatest number of students depends on mass mobilization by concerned parents.

    “They’re trying as hard as they possibly can to protect their children, and for that they must be applauded. But in the long run, protecting their own children may even lead to worse conditions for the vast majority of students who stay in public schools, and that’s a horrible dilemma.”

    Statist to the core, this one.


    Filed on at 7:11 am under by dcobranchi

    Here’s an interesting quote from Christian blogger Phillip Johnson:

    Christian homeschoolers need to guard diligently against allowing their movement to become just one more vehicle for the kind of ecumenism that surrenders vital distinctives of classic Christianity while making unholy alliances in the name of impacting the culture, upholding high moral standards, opposing secularism, or whatever.

    His main point is that Christian home educators ought not associate with Mormon home educators, for fear of polluting the “true” gospel. The extension to secular home educating families is obvious.

    UPDATE: I couldn’t figure out why the name “Phillip Johnson” seemed so familiar. This explained it:

    First off, Phillip R. Johnson is not the Phillip Johnson who wrote Darwin on Trial. That’s Phillip E. Johnson.* (It’s a fine book nonetheless.)

    Phillip E. Johnson is the father of Intelligent Design. Small world.


    Filed on at 6:52 am under by dcobranchi

    The second part in the Salem Times-Commoner‘s series on home education is out. Other than another nickel for Tim, there’s not a whole lot new. No new candidates for a “Snoopy,” though.


    Filed on at 6:24 am under by dcobranchi

    You’re right; you don’t.

    Home-schooling not sufficient for teens

    Regarding home-schooling, how could parents of a teenager consider themselves capable of giving their son or daughter anywhere near the same benefits available at area middle schools and high schools in the state of Maine?

    Keeping a kid in school and working with the person when he or she needs help is what raising kids is all about. So why home-school? I don’t understand.

    John Young



    Filed on at 5:27 am under by dcobranchi

    Joanne Jacobs found a terrific example of the fine folks who are (allegedly) teaching the next generation:

    KANSAS CITY, Kan., Dec. 8 — Most of the time, 16-year-old Zach Rubio converses in clear, unaccented American teen-speak, a form of English in which the three most common words are “like,” “whatever” and “totally.” But Zach is also fluent in his dad’s native language, Spanish — and that’s what got him suspended from school.

    “It was, like, totally not in the classroom,” the high school junior said, recalling the infraction. “We were in the, like, hall or whatever, on restroom break. This kid I know, he’s like, ‘Me prestas un dolar?’ [‘Will you lend me a dollar?’] Well, he asked in Spanish; it just seemed natural to answer that way. So I’m like, ‘No problema.’ ”

    …[Principal] Watts, whom students describe as a disciplinarian, said she can’t discuss the case. But in a written “discipline referral” explaining her decision to suspend Zach for 1 1/2 days, she noted: “This is not the first time we have [asked] Zach and others to not speak Spanish at school.”

    This is just nativist bullshit! The district has wisely rescinded the policy, but they need to go a step further: Watts must go.

    UPDATE: I just can’t stop thinking about the lunacy. This is a high school. Do they not offer any foreign languages there? Perhaps even (God forbid) Spanish?


    Filed on December 9, 2005 at 8:32 pm under by dcobranchi

    I’ve gone to a 2-column format. Is it too bright again?


    Filed on at 6:19 pm under by dcobranchi

    This argument just doesn’t hold water.

    Jim Gapp, a Burnsville parent who has home-schooled six children, said home-school parents shouldn’t have to pay more taxes to lengthen the public school year.


    Filed on at 6:01 pm under by dcobranchi

    Chris points to a tale of what appears to be a miscarriage of justice– a man sits on death row for defending his home and family. Chris is right about the death penalty. The State screws up way too often to give it this kind of power. And another thing– if a cop ever breaks down my door in the middle of the night, he’d better announce his presence and show his badge. A .12-gauge at close range is a nasty weapon.


    Filed on at 3:18 am under by dcobranchi

    How’s that “Sherman” coming?*

    *UPDATE: In case you’re wondering– I’m convinced that Section 522 is a power grab by HSLDA angling to be declared some kind of official DOD-approved certifier of home education status. Scott insists they’re merely trying to serve their members. So, I’ve called for HSLDA to take a Shermanesque vow. So far, Virginia’s pretty quiet.

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