Utterly Meaningless » 2006 » February

    Filed on February 16, 2006 at 6:16 am under by dcobranchi

    A home educating mom of 11 died suddenly last week. The ABJ did a nice job writing about her life.


    Filed on at 6:10 am under by dcobranchi

    Stupid Hed of the Day (in my hometown paper, no less):

    Home-school boys’ team coached by women

    Surprisingly(?) several folks have told them that women shouldn’t coach a boys team.


    Filed on February 15, 2006 at 6:14 pm under by dcobranchi

    I think these folks are trying to do good works, but the language leaves a bit to be desired:

    This Saturday, February 18, the Considering Homeschooling group will be hosting Debbie Feely, author of Preschool at Home: What Do I Do with My Child before Kindergarten? This free event is open to the public and will be held at 5pm at Irvine Community Church at 14804 Sand Canyon, Irvine.

    …”If you can create a safe, loving, educational, Christ-centered home, then with you is where your children need to be,” said Lowers. The group is hosting monthly speakers like Feely who will discuss how to successfully teach young children at home.

    Considering Homeschooling, with several hundred members in its Orange County chapter (www.ochome.org), hopes to counter the epidemic of preschool among Christian families. They are helping start “homeschool evangelism” outreaches throughout California and the nation, which promote the idea that homeschooling beings [sic] at babyhood.

    Babyhood? Why not in utero. I’m not in the “everyone is a homeschooler” camp. And I don’t think that homeschooling begins at babyhood. Homeschooling is a legal term that we use to satisfy the compulsory attendance laws. Last time I checked, the NEA hadn’t (yet) been successful in lowering the compulsory attendance age to “babyhood.”

    They’re babies. There’s no reason to even bring the idea of “school” into the conversation.


    Filed on at 7:05 am under by dcobranchi

    Fail the test. Miserably. On purpose.

    Saying it is only fair, Bethlehem Area School District officials want homeschoolers to take standardized tests if they want to join sports teams or clubs because that is what the public school students must do.

    The school board will vote Feb. 27 on a policy to force homeschoolers to take at least one state-approved standardized test to remain eligible for extracurricular activities during an athletic season or academic calender.

    …[The] Bethlehem policy adds a section that states homeschoolers must ”participate in applicable state academic testing assessments during the period of participation in the activity.” For example, if a Bethlehem-area homeschooler wants to play baseball or softball this spring, he or she will have to take the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment exam because that is the standardized test district students must take in March to be eligible.

    It’s a school assessment. You know, with rankings, and grades, and (sometimes) salaries tied to the results. Let some HEKs score zeroes on a few of these and the policy will change rather quickly. And I wouldn’t try to hide it. Make an announcement of the protest. Dollars to donuts, when the educrats figure out that we can intentionally lower their school ratings, they’ll back down.


    Filed on at 6:55 am under by dcobranchi

    Even the “elites” are doing it.

    Like a growing number of creative-class parents, the Aldriches homeschool Slater, splitting the duties. (Aldrich père, who co-founded interactive learning company SimuLearn, handles math and science; his wife, Lisa, a stay-at-home mom, does the reading and writing. Slater’s friends come over after school and on the weekends for pickup games.)

    No longer the bailiwick of religious fundamentalists or neo-hippies looking to go off the cultural grid, homeschooling is a growing trend among the educated elite. More parents believe that even the best-endowed schools are in an Old Economy death grip in which kids are learning passively when they should be learning actively, especially if they want an edge in the global knowledge economy. “A lot of families are looking at what’s happening in public or private school and saying, ‘You know what? I could do better, and I’d like to be a bigger part of my kid’s life,”‘ says University of Illinois education professor Christopher Lubienski.

    Business Week‘s snooty tone notwithstanding (I guess they know their readership), the rest of the piece is actually pretty good. Of course, there’s the obligatory negative quote from Rob Reich. Is that guy on every reporter’s speed dial? Overall, it’s worth a read.


    Filed on February 14, 2006 at 8:09 am under by dcobranchi

    It’s different over there. Carlotta on a promotional blitz by The Old Schoolhouse magazine:

    The reaction to the news that the people from the Old Schoolhouse Magazine are winging their way over here from the States with quite a number of dates for a promotional tour has been greeted with considerable dismay on several UK Home Education lists. The thing that is causing particular bother is the TOS’s connections with child batterers Debi and Michael Pearl, whose books promoting corporal punishment, even for babies, are sickening in the extreme.

    I don’t know anything about the Pearls or their beliefs. Has this been a subject of discussion over here that I simply missed?

    NOTE: It’s a blogspot permalink. Iffy at best.


    Filed on at 5:20 am under by dcobranchi

    The Valentine’s Day installment of the Carnival of Homeschooling is up at Beverly Hernandez’ blog.

    BTW, I’ll be hosting next week’s CoH here at HE&OS. Here’s the relevant submission stuff:

    Email to me the

    Title of Post
    URL of Post
    Name of Blog
    URL of Blog
    Brief summary of the post


    Filed on February 13, 2006 at 9:05 pm under by dcobranchi

    This Wikipedia entry is just fun (in a totally geeky kind-of way). (Via The Presurfer)


    Filed on at 6:19 pm under by dcobranchi

    He’s right, Scott.

    Dane Keil, 14, home-schooled, Charlotte: Freedom of the press is one of our most precious rights, however, it must be used responsibly. When deciding whether to publish an editorial cartoon, both the cartoonist and the editor must consider the impact on the readers and their community. Additionally, the readers should understand that the cartoonist is trying to be funny or trying to make people think about important issues, and should keep things in perspective. The violent responses demonstrated over this issue are appalling and inappropriate.

    I’m really impressed with Dane Keil. This is the second time I find myself quoting him.

    UPDATE: According to this site, “Dane” is a boy’s name. I’ve edited the post to reflect it. Sorry ’bout that, Dane.


    Filed on at 6:44 am under by dcobranchi

    I just wanted to highlight a bit of this article from the WashTimes. It’s just a bit of silliness to get Monday off to a decent start:

    The question of how much home-schooling costs could be one of those math problems that gave most of us nightmares in our adolescent years — the ones that start off, “A train is traveling west at 75 miles per hour.”

    …The teacher-pupil ratio is slightly lower for private schools — about 15 pupils per teacher as compared to 17 for public schools. However, the teacher-pupil ratio for home-schoolers is, of course, far lower than either.

    Well, unless the homeschooling family has more than 15 kids (probably the majority of home educating families), the teacher-pupil ratio should be higher than for the private schools. So, the reporter has problems with numerators and denominators, too.


    Filed on at 4:50 am under by dcobranchi

    Beverly Hernandez is hosting the Carnival of Homeschooling this week and needs your submissions by 6 p.m. tonight.

    Title of Post
    URL of Post
    Name of Blog
    URL of Blog
    Brief summary of the post


    Filed on February 12, 2006 at 5:15 pm under by dcobranchi

    Annette on NCSW found a completely negative Op/Ed on home education. It really is ignorant and sounds like it could have come out of the NEA archives circa 1985.

    On any given day in America, about 1.1 million children are being educated outside of a school, and about 2.2 percent of the total school-age population is homeschooled. This is a slight increase since 1999… Researchers disagree on whether home schooling is academically advantageous. Research has not determined whether students of similar abilities would perform worse or better in a classroom or at home. Experts also disagree about whether home schooling hinders social development, but homeschooled children spend less time with their peers.

    Yeah, a slight increase of 29%. (Souce: NCES Homeschooling Survey of 2003) And I love the Appeal to Authority. Who are these so-called “experts” on home education? Are they merely academic blowhards? Or we also counting the reporters at the ABJ? Truth-be-told, there are no experts on home education (other than the ones who are out there actually home educating). We’re not lab rats. We’re ornery “FODers” (to quote Tim Haas). We don’t answer questions from the government, and we certainly don’t volunteer information on what, why, where, when, and how. Idiots like Professor Bainbridge (William, not Stephen) can pound sand. We’re not going away. And we’re not going to give up the hard-won freedoms we have now.


    Filed on at 2:55 pm under by Tim Haas

    I do hope the future will look back on late 20th- and early 21st-century child-rearing norms as an aberration that was decisively rectified:

    ONE of the world’s most popular parenting gurus is to warn that placing children younger than three in nurseries risks damaging their development.

    Steve Biddulph, whose books have sold more than 4m copies worldwide, says that instead of subsidising nurseries, which do a “second-rate” job, the government should put in place policies to enable mothers to stay at home with their babies.

    The advice signals a reversal of views for Biddulph, an Australian with more than 20 years’ experience as a therapist, whose previous bestsellers include Raising Boys and Raising Girls.

    In his new book Biddulph will admit he has changed his mind because of growing evidence of increased aggression, antisocial behaviour and other problems among children who have spent a large part of their infancy being cared for away from home.


    Filed on at 11:36 am under by dcobranchi

    “Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge: it is those who know little, not those who know much, who so positively assert that this or that problem will never be solved by science.” Charles Darwin. (via Red State Rabble)

    Darwin was born on this date in 1809.


    Filed on at 7:22 am under by dcobranchi

    That’s the hed on this AP piece in the Fayetteville Observer. It’s all about a poll of parents and teachers on their views of the schools. I think the headline is quite misleading, as there seems to be broad agreement on a lot of topics:

    * 73 percent of teachers say they know more than their students about learning tools available on the Internet. On this topic, 57 of parents say they know more than their kids.
    * 71 percent of teachers say class work and homework is the best way to measure academic success; 63 percent of parents say the same. A minority of both groups favored test scores.
    * 79 percent of teachers say high schools do a good job, if not better, in preparing students for college. A smaller but still strong majority of parents, 67 percent, agree.

    Not a whole lot of meat there.


    Filed on at 7:09 am under by dcobranchi

    Should the state have the power to tell opposite-sex partners that they can’t live together without benefit of marriage? According to former HEK David Bass, absolutely.

    Such research is only a microcosm of the many studies showing the disastrous results of cohabitation. With such deleterious side effects, is there any doubt that North Carolin’s statute has a rational, practical basis for existence? The medical and sociological evidence is clear – committed marriages are the only consistently stable relationships. Any other family structure simply fails to pass muster.

    OK, a gedankenexperiment– Let’s assume that two homosexuals adopt a child. Can they co-habitate? Or do they have to marry? In Bass’ world they could do neither. But, I’m sure in his world, they wouldn’t have been able to adopt, either. The fact of the matter is that it is none of the State’s business whether or not two adults have chosen to get married prior to having sex (because, after all, that’s really what all of this is about).

    And one other thing– what about common-law marriage. It’s still around, you know.


    Filed on at 6:53 am under by dcobranchi

    Home education plays only a miniscule role in this piece, but I commend the reporter for playing it straight (and sweet).


    Filed on at 6:31 am under by dcobranchi

    There’s trouble a-brewing in AZ:

    The law of unintended consequences strikes again . . . In what started as an effort to help out a constituent on the remote Navajo reservation, Sen. Albert Hale, D-Window Rock, has gotten himself and fellow members of the Senate Education Committee sucked into a maelstrom known as angry home-school parents.

    Hale’s Senate Bill 1527 would allow high school students older than 16 to register for school without a parent or guardian. Some of the parents on the reservation don’t have cars to get to school with their child (who gets to the school on a bus, apparently). Besides, a 16-year-old can quit school without Mom or Dad’s permission, right?

    Well, a large group of parents who home-school their kids have come unglued. Dozens of nearly identical e-mails to Education Committee members over the past week attack the bill as a “direct violation of a parent’s fundamental right to choose the best education for their children.”

    One parent wrote, “Contrary to the believe (sic) of the NEA (National Education Association) there are competent parents rearing their children that do not have to be associated with public schools nor baby sitted (sic) by the government.”

    OK. But apparently there is a fear that if some home-schooled kids had a choice, they’d sneak right out of the house and register for public school. Well, no need to worry. Sen. Ron Gould, a Lake Havasu Republican who home-schools his children and serves as the committee’s vice chairman, plans an amendment that would exempt home-schoolers.

    Boy, that makes us look good, huh?

    UPDATE: Round up the usual suspects.

    Action Requested:
    Please call and email all the Senate K-12 Education Committee Members listed below and give them this message:

    “Please defeat Senate Bill 1527. This bill directly violates a parent’s fundamental right to choose the best education for their children.

    This bill could be potentially harmful for children who are least able to make the best decision in an area as vitally important as education.”

    Do not identify yourself as a homeschooler, instead you can identify yourself as a concerned parent and taxpaying citizen.

    Baaaa. Baaaaa.


    Filed on at 6:22 am under by dcobranchi

    I think this Q&A originated in the New York Times Magazine. I found it here.

    Board member can send child where she likes

    February 12, 2006

    Q. The president of our local board of education sends her children to the public elementary schools, but when they get to high school, she moves them to private schools. Isn’t it her ethical obligation either to send her children to the schools she sets policy for and espouses as so wonderful or to step down from the board?

    — JoAnne Manse, Rutherford, N.J.

    A. It is not. It is the obligation of board members to strive mightily to make the public schools so good that even parents with the means to opt out choose to remain. If the public schools are not yet that good, the president may honorably send her kids elsewhere — indeed, her duty as a parent compels her to. Even where a public school is excellent, parents may seek programs it does not offer — religious instruction, for example.

    Enrolling her own kids at a school she administers can give a board member intimate daily insight into how her policies are working out, a real advantage in doing her job. Yet voters must select board members not on the basis of where they send their kids, but on how well they manage the schools. And remember: Some excellent educators have no kids at all. Ultimately, a board member can home-school her kids for all I care (as long as she doesn’t do it in my home); if she is savvy, dedicated and effective, she gets my vote.


    Filed on February 11, 2006 at 9:27 am under by dcobranchi

    The educrats have apologized. Sunlight really is the best antiseptic.


    Filed on February 10, 2006 at 7:22 pm under by dcobranchi

    This should have been the Letter of the Day. It’s right out of my hometown paper, the Fayetteville Observer.

    The Bible is the only sacred book

    Enough of this foolishness … “intelligent designer, a higher power,” and all of these nonsense names for Jesus are not going to cut it! Time has come for spineless, mossy-back Christians to take a stand and identify with “Whom” they profess to represent. It’s high time to stop compromising with the enemy, that is, the red infidels of the satanic communist ACLU, the leftist news media and liberals who are doing everything within their power to destroy this country! This is not a Christian nation — never has been, never will be!

    Thanks to the founding fathers, a Navy Christian chaplain recently was rebuked for closing his prayer in Jesus’ name. Didn’t hear much of this in the news, did you? It’s not true that all of the founding fathers were Christians and wrote the Constitution from a Christian perspective. Most of them were deists. This is not compatible with the Christian faith. Nowhere in the Constitution do you find the name Jesus Christ. We all have a god, even the infidels.

    As Christians, we have a written text to guide us in making decisions. The Bible, the word of God, is not exclusive or changeable. It has stood the test of time. Other documents, such as the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and all the amendments are trivial and insignificant compared to God’s word. Christians, especially the religious right, must acknowledge that the Bible is the only sacred book and not the founding documents.

    Carl A. Hinson Sr.

    Yeah, I don’t fit in well around here.


    Filed on at 7:14 pm under by dcobranchi

    Another cool pic from the folks at NASA. It makes an excellent desktop background.


    Filed on at 6:58 pm under by dcobranchi

    OK, Chris tagged me the other day and I finally got around to finishing my response.

    Four jobs I’ve had:

    – Concrete smasher at an engineering firm. I still carry the scars from this one.
    – Mainframe ops technician. This was debugging crashed jobs and mounting tapes.
    – American Legion baseball umpire
    – Chemist

    Four movies I can watch over and over again:

    – The Matrix
    – Predator
    – Any of the Harry Potter movies (always with the kids, of course)
    Ong-Bak This last one should be seen by anyone who enjoys martial arts films. Unbelievable action sequences.

    Four places I’ve lived:

    – Taylors, SC
    – SLC, UT
    – Wilmington, DE
    – Fayetteville, NC

    Four TV Shows I love:

    – Stargate SG-1 with Richard Dean Anderson. I haven’t gotten into the show as much with Ben Browder in the lead. Sorry, Ben.
    – The West Wing (now cancelled)
    – Myth Busters
    – ??????

    Four Places I’ve vacationed:

    – Daytona Beach, FL
    – Daytona Beach, FL
    – Daytona Beach, FL
    – Daytona Beach, FL Yeah, we’ve been there a lot.

    Four of my favorite dishes

    Saag paneer (Indian)
    Aglio e olio (Spaghetti with garlic and olive oil)
    – Anything with Italian sausage in it
    – Roast pork Lo Mein

    Four blogs that I visit daily:

    Political Animal
    -Whatever else shows up in my Bloglines

    Four places I would rather be right now:

    – Someplace warm
    – And sunny
    – With an ocean
    – Hey, I know—Daytona Beach

    Four bloggers I am tagging:

    Sarah Poppins
    – Joanne (aka The Happy Homeschooler)
    Diane Patterson


    Filed on at 6:27 pm under by dcobranchi

    I haven’t posted an ID letter in a bit. This guy really doesn’t understand science, ‘tall. And he’s just a wee bit ethnocentric:

    Public education, for instance, has proclaimed the standard of scientific truth to be the scientific method, and since an intelligent designer cannot be empirically verified by the scientific method, “it belongs in a comparative religion class and not in a science classroom.” Yet if the scientific method is the only way to know truth, then the scientific method cannot be true because the validity of the scientific method cannot be confirmed by the scientific method! The reliability of the scientific method assumes things that are religious in nature – the reliability of the laws of nature and the laws of logic, and the immorality of falsifying data. It can be shown that only Christian theism supports the presuppositions of the scientific method.

    That’s among the dumber paragraphs I’ve seen on this topic. Science doesn’t make any claim to “truth” (or “Truth”). It makes a claim for plausibility. It makes a claim for predictability. Truth (either capitalized or not) we leave to the philosophers and the ministers (and, perhaps, the D.O.s) And that last sentence is just bizarre. Science presupposes an orderly universe that we can observe and then make predictions about. Muslims, Hindus, Jews, and atheists can’t do that? Not in my universe.

    I do have to give him credit, though. None of this namby-pamby “we don’t know who the Intelligent Designer is” for Johnston. He’s a dyed-in-the-wool creationist and proud of it.

    In the battle of worldviews in our public institutions, we must do something novel and defend Christian theism instead of going out of your way to hide it! Christian conservatives must pick a battle-line upon which victory will actually glorify the God we claim to serve. A theory of intelligent design that deceptively goes out of its way to exclude an Intelligent Designer and is consistent with any unbiblical theory of God or gods does not please the authentic Intelligent Designer, the Creator described in the Bible, for He hates Baal as much as he hates atheism. Neither will it please a circuit court Judge who can see through our sophistry.

    And, yes, he’s a home educator.


    Filed on at 12:32 pm under by dcobranchi

    By a six-year-old:

    BROCKTON, Mass. (AP) — A 6-year-old boy is getting a lesson on the meaning of sexual harassment long before he’ll be able to spell it.

    The first-grader was suspended for three days for sexual harassment after he put two fingers inside a classmate’s waistband, school officials told his mother, Berthena Dorinvil. The boy told her he only touched the girl’s shirt after the girl touched him.

    …The Brockton School Committee defines sexual harassment among students, in part, as “uninvited physical contact such as touching, hugging, patting or pinching.”

    There’s something missing in their definiton– “of a sexual nature.” Geez. Based on this, I sexually harass every member of my family most every day.


    Filed on February 9, 2006 at 4:43 pm under by dcobranchi

    A proposal to allow HEKs to play is dead in an Alabama legislature committee room.

    A proposed law that would give home-schooled and private school students the right to participate in public school extracurricular activities such as sports and band essentially was shelved by state lawmakers Wednesday.

    …Opponents of the bill, which included public school heavyweights such as the Alabama Education Association, the Alabama Association of School Boards and the Alabama High School Athletic Association, lined up against Galliher’s bill, essentially dooming it.

    If they’re agin’ it, I’m fer it.


    Filed on at 4:09 pm under by dcobranchi

    Henry Cate passed along a couple of FSM cartoons. This one is especially apropos in light of the debate over at Scott Somerville’s place. And the second.


    Filed on February 8, 2006 at 12:18 pm under by dcobranchi

    Mike S. pointed me to a comic strip, Cow & Boy, that riffed on the “S” word yesterday.


    Filed on at 10:37 am under by dcobranchi

    President Bush’s budget proposal calls for a change in Social Security that, depending on how it is worded, could affect some home educating families:

    The second change Bush proposed would terminate monthly survivor benefits for 16- and 17-year-olds who do not attend school full time. Current law requires 18-year-olds to remain in school to receive their benefits. Survivor benefits are paid in cases in which a parent has died.

    Scott Milburn, a spokesman at the administration’s Office of Management and Budget, said, “Children who have lost a parent need every assistance and encouragement we can provide, and everything the federal government can do to encourage them to stay in school and get an education makes it that much more likely that they can succeed.

    “Linking benefits to school attendance provides that encouragement and is, in fact, currently the rule for 19-year-olds. We think more children can be helped by lowering that age to 16.”

    The chances of there being any changes to Social Security during an election year are quite slim. Still, it’d probably be worth keeping an eye on the progress of these proposals as the bills get written.


    Filed on February 7, 2006 at 10:38 pm under by dcobranchi

    I’ve always thought that “eclectic” meant “a little bit of this and a little bit of that.” HSLDA President Mike Smith seems to disagree:

    About 150,000 children are “unschooled” – that is the child discovers subjects on her own and in some instances sets her own schedule. Mike Smith of the Home School Legal Defense Association calls unschooling “informal.”
    “As they go along, mom and dad are imparting wisdom and as they see learning experiences, they use them. It doesn’t mean they don’t have some kind of curriculum, but it probably is not one store-bought curriculum; it’s what they call eclectic.”


    Filed on at 1:46 pm under by dcobranchi

    Henry Cate and the Carnival of Homeschooling can help.


    Filed on at 8:51 am under by dcobranchi

    Scott Somerville has come out in favor of publishing derogatory cartoons of Mohammed, calling it “courageism.” Sounds like “truthiness” to me.


    Filed on at 6:10 am under by dcobranchi

    Here’s an interview with the HEK who gives voice to the fawn.


    Filed on February 6, 2006 at 7:59 pm under by dcobranchi

    I know very little of CT homeschooling law, but I understand there are very few regulations. One school district seems to have missed the memo:

    If the changes are approved, the procedures for home school instruction proposals would also be deleted. Now, during a meeting between parents and school administrators, the parents of home-schooled children must provide an outline for each of the subjects they teach, the number of hours per day spent teaching, and number of days per year that instruction is given. They also need to provide the name and qualifications of the teacher, and the frequency and methods to be used to evaluate educational progress. An assigned principal reviews the progress and sends a report to Jerry Belair, the associate superintendent for curriculum and instruction.

    They are revising their policy, but it still seems more restrictive than I think is required (or allowed).


    Filed on at 7:04 am under by dcobranchi

    That’s what the NitWit Times wants. The nitwits-in-chief really don’t understand home education at all.

    Indiana lawmakers are tinkering with the ISTEP exams again, this time to move them to the spring instead of autumn.

    …As the Indiana House was considering House Bill 1240 last week to make this change in the ISTEP, state Rep. Duane Cheney attempted, but failed, to amend the bill to include ISTEP tests for home-schooled students, too.

    Give him credit for trying to do the right thing, even though he suspected the chances for success were slim.

    …All too often, children who are being taught at home are failing to learn what their counterparts in public or private schools are supposed to be learning.

    …So how can it be determined that the children are actually learning if they don’t take the same standardized test that other students — those taught in a public school or a private school — must take?

    Too often, parents attempt to teach their children at home and then find they aren’t able to do it well. Then when the children are put back into a public school setting, they have fallen behind their classmates.

    There are home schooling success stories, but there are failures, too. Having home-schooled students take the ISTEP at the same time as students in private schools would give the parents teaching them the guidance they need to see how well their children are learning and what they might need extra help with.

    What’s so bad about that?

    It is unfortunate that home-schooled students won’t be tested, but at least Cheney helped raise awareness of that gap in the law. As Cubs fans know all too well, there’s always next year.

    Your opinion, please

    How can they not understand that homeschoolers do not necessarily follow the same scope & sequence as the g-schools? How many g-schools teach logic? Or Latin? Or teach from Great Books? Or just let the kids be kids and learn how they learn best? Forcing HEKs to take the state accountability tests is just a plain dumb idea. And it will be just as dumb next year.


    Filed on February 5, 2006 at 6:43 am under by dcobranchi

    An interesting editorial in the Middletown, OH paper:

    But, beyond raising the district’s performance to the highest levels possible, should taxpayers be footing the bill for a marketing campaign to convince parents to change their minds about where their kids go to school? Should the tax dollars that pay the salaries of Price and his staff be spent to convince charter school parents that they’ve made a wrong choice? School officials have not yet said how a marketing campaign would be funded, so these questions may be premature.

    …While a publicly funded campaign to promote Middletown City Schools may be in the town’s best interests, we believe it’s still a question the community must examine fully and think through. If successful, such a campaign could effectively put private businesses — i.e., charter schools — out of business. Should public funds be spent to undermine the private sector?

    Marketing, though, is a direct result of school choice. It’s hard to see how you can hope for competition to improve the g-schools and then expect them not to compete as any other business would.


    Filed on at 6:27 am under by dcobranchi

    I really wish I could attend this talk.

    George F. Howe, editor of the scientific journal “Creation Research Society Quarterly,” will be speaking to a group of Ridgecrest home school students Monday night. The meeting, which is open to the public, is scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. at the Ridgecrest Church of the Nazarene, 571 N. Norma St.

    Howe will be describing the differences between” Scientific Creationism” and” Intelligent Design” and will then discuss the scientific evidence supporting both models.

    Kern County was recently the focus of a fight for academic freedom which took place in the tiny community of Lebec, where their school board dropped a class on Intelligent design. Come and hear what so many evolutionists and atheists don’t want you to know, come and ask Howe the big questions about origins whether by evolution, scientific creation, or intelligent design.

    HEKs can grow up to be just as scientifically ignorant as any other folks.


    Filed on February 4, 2006 at 4:49 pm under by dcobranchi

    I wish the Bush Administration took the War on Terror as seriously as it appears to be taking the War on Science:

    The Big Bang memo came from Mr. Deutsch, a 24-year-old presidential appointee in the press office at NASA headquarters whose résumé says he was an intern in the “war room” of the 2004 Bush-Cheney re-election campaign. A 2003 journalism graduate of Texas A&M, he was also the public-affairs officer who sought more control over Dr. Hansen’s public statements.

    In October 2005, Mr. Deutsch sent an e-mail message to Flint Wild, a NASA contractor working on a set of Web presentations about Einstein for middle-school students. The message said the word “theory” needed to be added after every mention of the Big Bang.

    The Big Bang is “not proven fact; it is opinion,” Mr. Deutsch wrote, adding, “It is not NASA’s place, nor should it be to make a declaration such as this about the existence of the universe that discounts intelligent design by a creator.”

    It continued: “This is more than a science issue, it is a religious issue. And I would hate to think that young people would only be getting one-half of this debate from NASA. That would mean we had failed to properly educate the very people who rely on us for factual information the most.”

    Yes, it’s a theory. It’d be nice if the folks who are attempting to make science policy in this country bothered to look up the definition for “scientific theory.”

    HO HUM

    Filed on at 12:30 pm under by dcobranchi

    A local (alleged) pervert in the local g-schools.

    An assistant principal at Pine Forest High School was charged Friday with taking indecent liberties with a student.

    The assistant principal, Elazzoa McArthur, 32, is accused of engaging in sexual acts with the student, a 17-year-old girl, since November, court documents say.

    McArthur was suspended without pay Thursday, McPhaul said.

    That “without pay” thing is somewhat unusual. I wonder if it’s because he’s a vice principal and not a classroom teacher.


    Filed on at 12:14 pm under by dcobranchi

    Voters in a DE school district voted down a $112M school tax hike. It wasn’t even close– 4,798 to 2,921. The result was probably fore-ordained when it was revealed that $12M of the taxes would go for a parking garage for one of the high schools. According to the school district website, there are approximately 1200 students of driving age attending the high school. That’s a cool $10,000 per parking space.


    Filed on at 8:28 am under by dcobranchi

    Izzy passed along this word of warning. And just now on the Today Show, there was a similar (identical?) story.


    Filed on at 7:00 am under by dcobranchi

    Not from she who shall not be named, though. Haley Price objected to the way she looked in the Charlotte Observer. Her letter is pretty funny.

    My name is Haley Price and I am writing you in response to the post on your “blog site” on January 4th, 2005 concerning an article that I wrote in the Charlotte Observer. As I’m sure you are very aware, I was not quoted correctly, nor was the other young girl to whom I was compared. I have consulted with not only my advisors but also the Charlotte Observer on this matter and have come to a final decision on how to proceed. It is my deepest desire that you write and post a retraction to that article on your website and not only un-edit the fabricated article that I was said to have written, but also inform your readers that you doctored both articles to fit your agenda. Should you fail to comply with this simple request, I will be forced to proceed with a lawsuit in which you will, among other things, be sued for libel and defamation of character.

    I am appalled that a site dedicated to the education of youth would stoop so low as to edit an article written by a 19-year-old just to prove some point. You should be ashamed of yourself. Not only have you discredited any reputation that you might have had, but you have also damaged my impeccable record and name. I hope that as an educator, or advocate of education, you find it in yourself to teach children better than you copy and paste onto a website. Should you find this letter offensive, and I hope you do, I wish that you would respond with an answer. You are a disgrace to the name of education and I only pray that not too many people have been affected by your poisonous message.

    Thank you,
    Haley Price
    Appalachian State University

    For the record, I copied the “letter” in its entirety from the Charlotte Observer‘s website. If she has a complaint about being mis-quoted, I’ll gladly print the Observer‘s retraction, when and if it appears.

    Ahhh, what the heck– she’s a kid. OK Haley, I hereby retract whatever you wrote or didn’t write for the Observer. Happy?

    UPDATE: Down the memory hole? It appears that the Observer has attempted to re-write history. In addition to the link provided above, they also have this in their archives. It is much abbreviated and cleaned up.


    Filed on February 2, 2006 at 5:24 pm under by dcobranchi

    In an article on HEKs using the public library:

    He described the extensiveness of the POWER library’s several searchable databases as “a little overwhelming,” but said that users can find scholarly and news articles on myriad topics.

    Yeah, it’s a real word but still…


    Filed on at 5:17 pm under by dcobranchi

    Home educators ought to clean up on these.


    Filed on at 5:05 pm under by dcobranchi

    but not on a full stomach. CNN has a report (video) on kids imitating pro wrestlers. Unlike the pros, this mayhem is real.


    Filed on February 1, 2006 at 7:35 pm under by dcobranchi

    The Bush War on science continues apace. Biology Professor P.Z. Meyers reports on what Bush really meant with last night’s comment about man-animal hybrids. (Tip credit: COD)

    BONUS: The lyrics to the song alluded to in the title are just too perfect, so I’m going to spill the beans. Yes, it’s another song by the Floyd. Make sure you read down to the third verse; Roger Waters must be psychic.

    Pigs (Three Different Ones)

    Big man, pig man, ha ha charade you are.
    You well heeled big wheel, ha ha charade you are.
    And when your hand is on your heart,
    You’re nearly a good laugh,
    Almost a joker,
    With your head down in the pig bin,
    Saying “Keep on digging.”
    Pig stain on your fat chin.
    What do you hope to find.
    When you’re down in the pig mine.
    You’re nearly a laugh,
    You’re nearly a laugh
    But you’re really a cry.

    Bus stop rat bag, ha ha charade you are.
    You fucked up old hag, ha ha charade you are.
    You radiate cold shafts of broken glass.
    You’re nearly a good laugh,
    Almost worth a quick grin.
    You like the feel of steel,
    You’re hot stuff with a hatpin,
    And good fun with a hand gun.
    You’re nearly a laugh,
    You’re nearly a laugh
    But you’re really a cry.

    Hey you, Whitehouse,
    Ha ha charade you are.
    You house proud town mouse,
    Ha ha charade you are
    You’re trying to keep our feelings off the street.
    You’re nearly a real treat,
    All tight lips and cold feet
    And do you feel abused?
    …..! …..! …..! …..!
    You gotta stem the evil tide,
    And keep it all on the inside.
    Mary you’re nearly a treat,
    Mary you’re nearly a treat
    But you’re really a cry.


    Filed on at 7:13 pm under by dcobranchi

    Valerie Moon has organized a YahooGroups list-serv whose purpose will be to develop a packet for DoD recruiters that explains what an HEK is. You can thank HSLDA for putting us in the situation where this is necessary. And you can thank Valerie for picking up the ball and running with it.


    Filed on at 7:21 am under by dcobranchi

    An interesting proposal out of the SD legislature:

    A measure aimed at encouraging school districts to let home school students take part in sports, music and other activities won approval Tuesday from a South Dakota House committee.

    HB1160 would give a school district extra state aid if it allowed home school students to participate in activities and get other school services. For each home-schooled student in such a district, the district would get 25 percent of the state aid provided for a public school student.

    I don’t see how the schools could oppose this. There’s no way that a significant percentage of HEKs will participate in g-school activities. For the schools, this is free money.


    Filed on at 6:50 am under by dcobranchi

    That’s which section of the Boston Globe this article on the business side of home education landed. Nothing Earth-shattering but here are a couple of quote-worthies:

    Though still rare, the number of home-schooled children has been rising for the last several years.

    Whether home education is “rare” is debateable. We’re at 2-3 percent of the school-age population. Is that rare? And what’s with the “last several years”? Last several decades would be more accurate.

    Eduventures, a research and consulting firm, estimates the home-school market is around $650 million, and has been growing about 8 percent in the last few years.

    However, Wiley and others said catering to the market isn’t always easy. Parents sometimes decide to stop home schooling or change curriculums. Wiley also noted distributing products through mail typically brings many logistical problems.

    So, that’d mean that the average homeschooling family spends around $500 per child per year. I guess that depends on what’s included in the “industry.” For instance, we consider dance instruction for Katelyn and Chelsea an integral part of their education. Does Eduventures take all of the “extracurriculars” into account? Or are they only looking at schools in boxes?

    I have no idea about the difficulties folks have marketing to us. Are there any “pros” out there who can comment?

    UPDATE: I just realized it’s an AP piece. The fuller version makes a good bit more sense. Gena Suarez from TOS is quoted.

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