Utterly Meaningless » 2005 » December

    Filed on December 9, 2005 at 3:10 am under by dcobranchi

    Maybe after HSLDA finishes playing around with the military we can get them to lobby Congress to pass a law forcing the NCAA to accept HEKs.

    Malia O’Neal was watching the UA women’s basketball practice Thursday when she received the news she waited three months to hear.

    O’Neal, the Wildcats’ highly touted freshman guard, could join the team after originally being ruled academically ineligible.

    …O’Neal was intermittently home-schooled in high school. O’Neal and the UA contended the compliance problems stemmed from the clearing of transcripts from those home-school periods.


    Filed on December 8, 2005 at 7:53 pm under by dcobranchi

    Thanks to all the folks who pointed me to where I could buy this. Lydia got a big kick out of it.


    Filed on at 5:55 pm under by dcobranchi

    Incompetent Design. Accurate and funny. BONUS: Hear the Worst. Singing. Ever. (HT: COD)


    Filed on at 4:27 pm under by dcobranchi

    Workers in NYC digging a subway tunnel hit a section of the original wall for the city. Battery Park sits 9 feet above the real battery.


    Filed on at 5:49 am under by dcobranchi

    ‘Cause it’s obviously not the kids. Skip Oliva passed along this disturbing tale of a bunch of educrats who apparently don’t give a damn about sexual assaults that occur on school buses.


    Filed on at 5:23 am under by dcobranchi

    Here’s an interesting column about a divorce case touching upon our favorite topic.

    This case is all the more tragic because Bud sued to force his wife to stop home-schooling their four children. When he succeeded, Bai MacFarlane refused to comply with the court order. All the children were then given, by the court, over to Bud’s custody, three were put into the local Catholic schools, the fourth — a child who was a mere two years old — was placed in day care.

    The devastating results in this case were predictable. The no-fault divorce culture has no affection for home-schooling. The default position of no-fault is that the family structure is broken after divorce proceedings begin, and each party is left to fend for himself or herself as an autonomous entity — the children being split before these modern-day Solomons.

    Since home-schooling is dependent upon a father who works, the default is to end home-schooling. Since home-schooling allows the home-schooling parent a great degree of time with the children, it must be rejected for institutional schools. And, since home-schooling usually involves a religious perspective contrary to no-fault divorce, the children must be taken to a place where no judgments are made about divorce.

    Indeed, the home-schooling culture is so alien to the no-fault divorce culture that in any modern divorce, only one can survive.

    I don’t buy the argument that the system is antipathetic to home education. I seriously doubt that family court judges look at home educating parents and see rebels that need to be brought back into the g-school fold. The truth is quite obvious and McNally hints at it with his point that “home-schooling is dependent upon a father who works.” It’s All About the Money. Courts are loathe to impose the kind of alimony that would allow a SAHM to stay a SAHM. So, mom goes to work and the kids go to school (or daycare). Pretty sucky but no conspiracy.


    Filed on at 5:00 am under by dcobranchi

    This has to be the lamest news column that I’ve ever seen– let’s ask three young g-schoolers about home education.


    Filed on December 7, 2005 at 7:55 pm under by dcobranchi

    Our house.  In the middle of our street.

    This is one of my first shots with a new digital camera– a Panasonic DMC-FZ5. Pretty nice camera. 12x optical zoom with a 5-megapixel sensor. It has essentially all of the functions of an SLR (except for manual focus). I shot the photo above in full manual mode, underexposing it a bit to emphasize the lights.


    Filed on at 3:09 pm under by dcobranchi

    New ad——->


    Filed on at 9:36 am under by dcobranchi

    Jiggy, bling, prostate, and IRA. OK.


    Filed on at 3:08 am under by dcobranchi

    USAToday has several responses to the Cal & Bob show. My favorite:

    OK, let’s debate topic

    Cal Thomas and Bob Beckel propose a public debate on the scientific merits of intelligent design, and Beckel wonders whether “the Darwinists will show up.”

    You bet we will! In fact, we’ll host.

    We challenge the top “intelligent-designists” to a debate of the scientific evidence for intelligent design, to be held at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland the first week of January.

    “Doubting Thomas” Cal’s nihilistic suggestion to subject the Bible to scientific analysis is too big a project for this event, but an hour or so sounds like just about how long it should take to dispatch any scientific claims for intelligent design.

    The question is, will the designists show? Calls go out every day to present scientific data at scientific conferences. The designists are always busy that decade. Meanwhile, the scientific data supporting evolution continue to pour in on a daily basis and produce spinoff applications that create new medicine, more productive crops, cleaner water and better living for billions of people worldwide.

    The Darwinists show up to work every day in thousands of labs around the globe. Mr. Thomas and Mr. Beckel, your guys are the ones who don’t show.

    January. Cleveland. The “science” of ID. Put up or shut up.

    I’m betting they don’t show. They can’t afford to as there is no scientific evidence for ID. All they can do is throw stones at evolution. Put up or shut up, indeed. (via The Panda’s Thumb)


    Filed on at 2:33 am under by dcobranchi

    Reason #3,239,003:

    A boy whose jaw was broken during a beating in a Hercules high school restroom has filed a lawsuit against the West Contra Costa School District for negligence.

    …Berg said a student who took part in the May beating “roughed up” Rahgozar in April in a school locker room. After being suspended for the locker room incident, the student returned to campus on May 6.

    The school took “no precautions” regarding retaliation, according to Berg.

    The school also “dropped the ball” by allowing 18-year-old Eric Guillebeau, a non-student, onto campus on May 6, Berg said.

    “Not only did that kid retaliate but he brought along” Guillebeau, Berg said.

    But, remember, “schools are the safest place for students to be.”


    Filed on at 2:25 am under by dcobranchi

    Or is it au natural? (Yes, it’s work safe.)


    Filed on at 2:20 am under by dcobranchi

    but no answers.

    This blog post drags out the dead socialization horse and beats it a few more times. It appears the commenters gave much more thought to this issue than did “Rob on the Road.”


    Filed on December 6, 2005 at 9:41 am under by dcobranchi

    Hell’s leading daily paper has two consecutive posts at least indirectly about home education. Both are positive. I hear wailing and gnashing of teeth.


    Filed on December 5, 2005 at 7:40 pm under by dcobranchi

    16-year-old HEK Michael Viscardi has won first place in the prestigious Westinghouse science and math competition.

    “He is a super-duper mathematics student,” said lead judge Constance Atwell, a consultant and former research director at the National Institutes of Health. “It was almost impossible for our judges to figure out the limits of his understanding during our questioning. And he’s only 16 years old,” she said.


    Filed on at 6:37 pm under by dcobranchi

    I’ve changed the fonts to be straight Arial. If you don’t have Arial on your system, I have absolutely no idea how it will look. I’ve obviously reduced the white space, too. The blue bars at the top aren’t quite right (again, obviously). I haven’t been able to find the correct spot yet to fix that one. Ignoring that, is this any better? Fonts, brightness, etc.?


    Filed on at 2:38 pm under by dcobranchi

    Not quite as bad as I expected:


    This is indeed a bill worth supporting. It would remove the requirement that a student receive a high school diploma or its equivalent before receiving a state scholarship grant to college.

    It wouldn´t affect graduates of Pennsylvania Homeschoolers Accreditation Agency or it´s five sister organizations because their diplomas are already recognized for state scholarship grants, but it would help dropouts, recipients of parent-issued diplomas, and those who enter college before high school graduation.


    I love the rough equivalence between dropouts and those who have parent-issued diplomas. At least he came out in favor of the bill. Small favors.

    UPDATE: I can’t help but highlight this Section 522 note:

    National Home Education Legal Defense (NHELD) opposes Federal House Resolution (HR 1815) a bill that is being promoted by Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) in order to overcome the effects of the decision by the military to move homeschoolers from the high school graduate category (tier 1) to the GED category (tier 2).

    The problem is that many drop-outs call themselves homeschoolers in order to enhance their resumes, and there is no accountability in most states that would prevent them from doing so. Only in Pennsylvania and South Carolina can homeschool organizations protect the reputation of homeschool diplomas.

    Even though real homeschoolers on average score much higher than school students on tests, the group of “homeschoolers” being enlisted in the military actually score a bit lower on the military´s aptitude test. In fact, those homeschoolers who score average or below tend to drop-out of the military at a rate similar to those who once dropped-out of school.

    If this bill passes as is, homeschoolers would be enlisted just as heavily (the bill says “no practical limit with regard to enlistment”) as school graduates.

    However, NHELD holds that this bill would let the Secretary of Defense regulate home school graduation and so opposes it. They are suspicious about what would be in the Secretary of Defense´s policy, which would have the force of law. They are also opposed to the word “home school” appearing in federal statutes for fear that it lead to a federal definition of homeschooling that could in and of itself regulate what homeschoolers would have to do.

    I favor HSLDA’s bill because it would solve an important problem. Currently the U.S. Army is enlisting homeschool graduates on the same basis as school graduates — but that is because they are having trouble meeting their recruitment goals. The other services are discriminating against homeschoolers. Without a bill like this one, all of the services will discriminate against homeschoolers once peace comes.



    Filed on at 8:42 am under by dcobranchi

    Check out Andrea’s Christmas design.


    Filed on at 5:53 am under by dcobranchi

    I don’t know what led the Kinston (NC) Press to write about HEKs playing on the g-school teams, but the reporter did a good job. Hal Young is quoted.


    Filed on at 5:13 am under by dcobranchi

    A couple of quick notes–

    1) Huge shout out to Andrea & Ron for switching the blog over. WP is much easier to deal with than my creaky version of MT. And, BTW, if you’re a blogger who needs a site update they’re available for hire. Hey, Andrea, can you handle Blogspot? If so, I know a senora who is in desperate need of a makeover. A site makeover. Senora Lyman is quite lovely.

    2) RSS– The link for the feed has changed. The new link is feed:http://cobranchi.com/?feed=rss2 I’ve tested it on Bloglines. No problemo.


    Filed on December 4, 2005 at 9:31 pm under by dcobranchi

    Jason Wright passed along this cute “tail.” (Sorry)


    Filed on at 9:17 pm under by dcobranchi

    How’s this lede?

    While her peers are busy fine-tuning their taste buds for specialty coffees and lattes, 19-year-old Kaely Roe of Severndale bought more than a cupful – she just purchased her first coffee shop.

    Severna Perk, formerly Waterman Joe Coffee, re-opened Nov. 17 under Ms. Roe’s ownership.

    It comes just three years since she started “working coffee” for Kerry Duffy, co-owner of the City Dock Coffee chain.

    “Because of her age, it surprised me a lot. Because of who she was, it didn’t surprise me at all,” said Ms. Duffy, who sold the Benfield Road location to the partners behind Waterman Joe as part of a shift into the wholesale side of the business.

    “As young as she was she was just so capable. She handled herself with maturity and became my ‘go to’ person to get things done.”

    A home education grad, of course.


    Filed on at 9:08 pm under by dcobranchi

    It appears that the NEA president has been posting under a pseudonym at RedState.org:

    One final note: home school can NEVER provide all of the necessary laboratory sciences, language experts, performing and visual arts specialists, and home schooling can never provide an athletic team, a world famous choir, a competitive gifted and talented program, or all of the other components of a quality, well-rounded educational program necessary for success in today’s world. As a product of the public schools, I am proud of the achievements of all of our students. Despite this organized effort to discredit public education, great things happen every day in the public schools.

    One guess what the poster does for a living.


    Filed on at 4:36 pm under by dcobranchi

    Actually, I’m pretty sure I know exactly what the home educrat would say. Which is why I think I can safely support this bill without even reading it.

    UPDATE: A quick search of Howie’s site yielded zero hits for “1085.” I can’t imagine why he’d be silent on this important home education bill.

    UPDATE II: Yes, I read it. It will enable regular HEKs (as opposed to pahomeschoolers.com-approved HEKs) to be eligible for some kind of college tuition aid.


    Filed on at 4:31 pm under by dcobranchi

    I feel like Flounder. Andrea & Ron did an absolutely awesome job moving the blog over from an ancient version of MovableType to WordPress. Let me know what y’all think of the new, cleaner look.

    IT’S F.U.D.*, ELMER

    Filed on at 10:38 am under by Tim Haas

    Oh, look, yet another site purporting to offer objective editorial content about home education that actaully undermines parental independence and confidence to the benefit of advertisers:

    Many homeschool families are turning to distance learning education as the foundation of their curriculum. Most of the schools offering the courses are fully accredited, which can take some of the pressure off parents who are thinking about long-term obstacles, such as applying to colleges.

    While most colleges are recognizing and accepting homeschooled students into their programs, it is still a new enough concept to be of concern to many parents that homeschool. By taking courses from an accredited distance-learning program, students can earn official diplomas from the school that will be recognized by colleges and higher learning institutions.

    * Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt


    Filed on at 6:26 am under by dcobranchi

    This is one that MO home educators seem to have well in hand.

    [A] Missouri official is challenging the state’s hands-off arrangement, issuing a report that draws a connection between child neglect and substandard home schooling. In the process, she’s being schooled in the fierce political opposition against even mild regulation.

    …Mary McEniry, director of the state’s Office of Child Advocates for Children’s Protection and Services, calls for at least minimal curriculum standards for home schooling in cases where neglect is suspected. Her report cites two cases in which children as old as their teens essentially lacked all formal education.

    McEniry is a political appointee, and the governor has already come out on our side. I hope her résumé is up-to-date.


    Filed on December 3, 2005 at 3:43 pm under by dcobranchi

    This time I really mean it. I have to close all the comments for a bit of housekeeping. It’ll be obvious when they’re back up.


    Filed on at 9:40 am under by dcobranchi


    Pitching ‘Narnia’ to Christians a delicate affair

    The story (which is pretty much an Easter allegory throughout) is perfect fare for Christians. Why would Disney have any trouble pitching it? Secular folks? Well, that might be another story.


    Filed on at 6:27 am under by dcobranchi

    Helen and Traci Merritt have already clued y’all in to this new series of articles on home education. I don’t want to beat a dead horse, so I’d like to change the subject a bit. THE WRITING! Ugh! My eyes! Check out this (buried) lede:

    Across this vast nation, a trend is taking shape that began in the 1980s with a handful of dedicated parents who felt it best for their children to be removed from the educational systems of the country in favor of the mother and/or father educating them at home.

    That’s Bulwer-Lytton material, there.

    It seems it’s awards season, so I’m going to start another one– Worst Writing in a Home Education Piece. Nominations will be taken until Dec. 1, 2006 with the “winner” announced at the end of the year. In this early going, Bob Haney looks like he’ll be a strong contender. Oh, if you you want, I’ll take suggestions for a snappy nickname for the contest.


    Filed on December 2, 2005 at 7:07 pm under by dcobranchi

    Scott Somerville is doing a Q&A on his blog. This ought to be interesting.


    Filed on at 8:48 am under by dcobranchi

    Durham, NC is seeking to reduce truancy by recruiting the citizenry to phone in tips:

    The Durham County Sheriff’s Office and Durham Public Schools officials have launched a hotline to cut the school district’s school truancy rate, which ranks among the worst in the state.

    “We need these kids in school. We need them to get an education. We don’t need them to be on the streets during school hours,” said Tracey Meier, a deputy with the Durham County Sheriff’s Office.

    Meier is one of two deputies hitting the streets to pick up truants based on tips phoned into the hotline, which is averaging about four calls a day.

    Durham’s attendance rate ranks 105th out of the state’s 115 school districts. During the 2003-04 school year, about 94 percent of the district’s students attended class on any given day.

    “Often times, truancy is the first step in children falling off the path to success,” said Sgt. Will Oakley, of Durham Juvenile Services.

    City residents agree the hotline is needed to help improve school attendance.

    “Some parents are working, and some parent don’t care,” one man said. “This lets the children know someone cares about them.”

    Anyone who sees a school-age youngster on the street on a school day in Durham is asked to call the truancy officers at (919) 697-9024 or (919) 697-9025.

    I guess Durham doesn’t have any private schools, year round schools, kids on early release, or HEKs who have a legitimate reason to not be in school on a “school day”. Papers, please?


    Filed on December 1, 2005 at 9:45 pm under by dcobranchi

    Valerie’s new email addy?


    Filed on at 6:50 am under by dcobranchi

    Lydia and the kids spotted a bumper sticker yesterday that read “CAUTION” Unsocialized homeschoolers on board.” A quick Google search yielded multiple hits but no place to purchase one. Anyone know where we can get one? (Or, even better, a magnetic “ribbon”.)


    Filed on at 6:40 am under by dcobranchi

    CAL: I think ID should be taught in the g-schools.
    BOB: So do I.

    Morons, both.

    I’ll try to explain this using only two-syllable words so that Bob and Cal can understand.

    The debate is about what science is. People who do science for a living [that’s “scientists” for poly-syllabic folks] are not trying to censor other people who do science for a living who want to study ID [can’t call it “Intelligent Design”– too long]. We think they are wrong. But that is the way science moves ahead [advances, for the folks who graduated 8th grade]. We do research and they do research. We all publish it and fight about it at meetings [conferences]. The best idea wins. The ID folks want to go around [circumvent] the normal process and declare ID “science” by legal fiat. They may well win that battle (see, Kansas). But that does not make ID science. Only folks who do science for a living get to make that call. So, Cal and Bob, Annette and Dave, leave science to the folks who do science for a living. We’ll get back to you in 50 years or so.


    Filed on at 6:22 am under by dcobranchi

    Another HEK is in serious trouble with the law. So far, home education seems to be generating little to no press interest. Just one to keep an eye on. And, yes, I feel terribly for the parents of both kids.


    Filed on at 6:05 am under by dcobranchi

    I understand NHELD’s fixation with the 10th Amendment. I’ve even exchanged emails with Deborah Stevenson over where the freedom to home educate originates. We’ve agreed to disagree. Fine. But why do they have to bring an irrelevant argument about the Constitution into an online petition opposing Section 522 of HR 1815? Telling Congress that they have no right to do what they obviously have done hundreds of times over is not how you win friends and influence legislation. A much better approach would have been to delete the entire first section. And the call for “REPEAL” of other bills, too. More irrelevancy.

    « Last