Utterly Meaningless » 2006 » May
  • NEW AD ——>

    Filed on May 18, 2006 at 7:18 pm under by dcobranchi

    It’s the text ad right below the ad to ignore. I could have used some Excel lessons this week as I needed a fair bit of help before I finally mastered pivot tables and pivot charts.


    Filed on at 5:02 pm under by dcobranchi

    Another camping trip starting tomorrow a.m. Back Sunday.


    Filed on at 4:57 pm under by dcobranchi

    This anti-global warming ad is hilarious. Apparently, some politicians want to ban carbon dioxide. Riiiiight.


    Filed on at 4:44 pm under by dcobranchi

    Natalie has reprised one of her “Best of.” I love the “hands to pearls” image, and I’m guessing the American Idol part is current?

    HEY, KAY!!

    Filed on at 4:11 pm under by dcobranchi

    Are you sure you want to work for dolts like this?

    Edwin Harrison – 11:51am May 18, 2006 CST (#10 of 14)

    I am against home schooling of any kind. Home school students are too lazy and too good to attend regular schools like most people. If parents don’t want their kids to attend public schools they should send their children to private schools. Home schooling should be outlawed. As a matter of fact The Metro Council has no business what so ever electing a home schooler to the Davidson County Board of Education. The voters should decide on that issue.

    Too lazy and too good? As there’s a high probability that Edwin Harrison is a product of those same public schools, I’d say Kay’s appointment came not a moment too soon.


    Filed on at 1:09 pm under by dcobranchi

    A stupid comment-spammer has been trying to get through the filters for weeks (without success). I’ve grown tired of the game and have now gone nuclear– all comments with the word “insurance” will automatically be zapped into the aether.

    UPDATE: OK, so it didn’t work.

    UPDATE: Don’t say “mortgage,” either.


    Filed on May 17, 2006 at 5:38 pm under by dcobranchi

    A 9-year-old boy genius (HEK, of course) has published his first novel.

    *The title is meant only to poke fun at the reporter, who wrote this sentence:

    More testing by doctors and college professors confirmed his superior intellect.

    Sue Schultz is obviously not a Star Trek fan.


    Filed on at 5:31 pm under by dcobranchi

    Hey, Kay–

    Can you use you superhero status to find out the real deal here?

    KNOXVILLE (WATE)– Knox County schools and the district attorney are cracking down on parents whose kids miss too much school, issuing eight warrants Wednesday for parents who missed Tuesday night’s final truancy meeting.

    6 News spoke with a mother who was put in jail for keeping her daughter home from school. She’s a single mom who was taken to jail because her six-year-old daughter missed more than 10 days of kindergarten and 30 days of first grade.

    The mom says she has a good reason and told her story only to 6 News. She asked to conceal her identity and said, “They made me feel like a criminal.”

    The mom says she was sleeping as police arrived at her home to make the arrest. “The officer said, ‘You’re being arrested. You need to get up right now and get ready to go.’ I said, ‘Can you tell me what I’m being arrested for?’ He said, ‘Your charge is contributing to (the delinquency of a) minor.'”

    The mother argues that her daughter missed school because of asthma. “So here she’s wheezing really bad and going into the school and having the roughest time and the nurse would say, she can go back home.”

    The mom claims she presented doctors excuses and had already turned in paper work to homeschool her child, but the explanation didn’t work on the arresting officer. She recalls, “I said, but she’s home schooled, I have proof of this, I can show you. He said, it does not matter, the warrant has been issued and I have to serve it.”

    The mother spent 12 hours in jail before being released on bond. Now she is awaiting her trial date. She adds, “I think they’re just making an example out of certain parents and not all parents to probably scare the ones who really don’t send their kids to school, thinking hey, I’m going to end up like them. I’m going to end up in jail, I better send them to school.”

    This mom says she wanted to share her story because she doesn’t think the school system and D.A. look at each case individually and act appropriately. Her biggest fear is that she could serve more time behind bars. The maximum sentence for parents of truant children is 11 months, 29 days in jail.


    Filed on at 5:20 pm under by dcobranchi

    Wife Swap is looking for another sucker home educating mom to be made to look the fool see how the other half lives. Details here.


    Filed on at 5:06 pm under by dcobranchi

    Tony Beam and Rev. Jim.

    OH KAY!

    Filed on at 5:01 pm under by dcobranchi

    Kay Brooks is now an educrat. But, she’s the good kind.


    Filed on May 16, 2006 at 9:46 pm under by dcobranchi

    Spunky and I come at education and homeschooling from very different directions. But that doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate a well-crafted argument.


    Filed on at 9:29 pm under by dcobranchi

    Would you want the companies who gave your calling data to the NSA to be able to dictate what you could and couldn’t access via the internet? Support net neutrality.


    Filed on at 6:05 am under by dcobranchi

    I’d be willing to bet that Donna M. Dorsey is a conservative, GOP-leaning pro-lifer. Who else could make such a strong economic argument?

    Imprisoning Moussaoui for rest of his life is costly

    Why should law-abiding, tax-payers shoulder the burden of incarcerating crazy mass murderer Zacarias Moussaoui to the tune of $37,000 per year just to keep him miserable inside a jail cell? If he lives for 30 more years, the cost would be well over $1 million.

    It’s much more economical to put him out of his misery and spare us the expense.

    Donna M. Dorsey, Wilmington

    I agree wholeheartedly. Kill all of these economic dead weights. Can I assume that Ms. Dorsey will be turning herself in at the Soylent factory when she becomes Medicare eligible?


    Filed on May 15, 2006 at 7:54 pm under by dcobranchi

    That’s the take-home message in this post from the Director of the Christian Worldview Center. But Christians ought to leave their kids in the g-schools anyway.


    Filed on at 6:05 pm under by dcobranchi

    32 minutes old. 🙂


    Filed on May 14, 2006 at 11:49 am under by dcobranchi

    Right this minute we’re watching the flick Casanova. I think Farris and the authorities at PHC would have been right at home among the Inquisators Inquisitors. So much for a liberal education. (HT: Tim Haas)


    Filed on at 10:47 am under by dcobranchi

    Does anyone have any recs for a Latin curriculum? Computerized is fine but not necessary. One thing– neither Lydia nor I has ever studied Latin.


    Filed on at 8:59 am under by dcobranchi

    Home educators in the other 49 states ought to thank God each day that they don’t live in PA.


    Filed on at 7:43 am under by dcobranchi

    This one, did.


    Filed on at 7:39 am under by dcobranchi

    Kids engaging in a food fight, or educrats lying to the kids?

    Wylie High School students and their parents are still steaming over how school officials handled punishments – including exclusion from most school activities – for a food fight last week that covered the cafeteria.

    …Students said Boone asked several teenagers he thought were involved in the food fight to help clean up and confess, saying their punishment would be less severe. Those who confessed were immediately suspended from school for three days and not allowed to attend a sports banquet that night.

    The ones who confessed got the exact same “alternative punishment” as did those who didn’t confess. And it appears that the administration actually encourgaed the food fight:

    Jacob said Assistant Principal Phil Boone called him and two other students into his office the morning of the food fight because he had heard a rumor it would take place that day. He told the students there would be consequences.

    Jacob said Boone slipped on goggles and pulled out a water gun and a paddle, and jokingly said, ”We’re prepared.”

    ”What kid wouldn’t take that as an invitation?” said Tony Barrera Sr., whose son Tony Barrera Jr. was one of the suspended students.

    A water gun? Shouldn’t he be arrested for bringing a look-alike weapon to school?

    A big hat tip to Myrtle, who tracked down the reporter to clear up some confusing aspects of this story.


    Filed on at 7:05 am under by dcobranchi

    Definitely not home educated:

    A few intolerant people are behind Indian River lawsuit

    I am only 16. I am offended not only by the intolerance of non-Christian minority groups, but the ignorance people have about our Constitution.

    A recent letter writer stated that the Indian River School Board lacks respect for others, including religious minorities. This is not what is happening.

    Actually one or two families lack tolerance for any religion but their own. They and others in similar situations need to practice a little human decency, and stop filing lawsuits attempting to stop anyone who exercises the right under the Constitution to practice their religion.

    There are many weak arguments that intolerant people throw out to get some secularist point across, such as the argument that if we all followed the Constitution as written, we would have Wiccans or practice demonic rituals.

    We all have the right to practice or ignore rituals and not participate. That way no one’s rights are violated, and the Constitution is upheld.

    I do not think that it’s un-American for the Indian River school board to fight for its rights when someone is attempting to violate them.

    Donald Laub, New Castle

    For the record, the board members are fighting over their “right” to open public meetings with explicitly (and exclusively) Christian prayer and were, until recently, doing the same about praying at school events. The ACLU is party to the suit.


    Filed on at 4:23 am under by dcobranchi

    Chris (not COD) needs some help, here. I know what I’d write, but I’m really curious about your opinions. Anyone want to chime in? Please comment here.


    Filed on at 4:17 am under by dcobranchi

    Lynx points to this excellent essay on learning Latin. All of the colleges around here require a minimum of two years foreign language study, so Anthony (our oldest), who would be in the ninth grade, needs to find one to study. Latin might be the ticket.

    Our earlier attempt at Arabic didn’t work very well. Rosetta Stone may be great for learning conversational Arabic, but it doesn’t help you learn to read. Instead, it assumes you can read the language already. That’s a major problem with any language that doesn’t use the Roman or Greek alphabet.


    Filed on at 3:50 am under by dcobranchi

    This Joanne Jacobs line just appeared in my bloglines feed:

    Motherhood sharpens the brain and senses, says Mommy Brain author Katherine Ellison, interviewed in the Washington Times.

    The very next blog? One-sixteenth, whose tagline is

    Each Pregnancy Robs You of Half Your Brain.

    Joanne agrees more with Lynx and notes that some of us have hearing loss to look forward to, also.

    Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there, but especially to those who take on the additional joy/task/insanity of educating your own.


    Filed on May 13, 2006 at 1:21 pm under by dcobranchi

    I think that was a compliment. 🙂

    I’ve added it to the sidebar, nonetheless.


    Filed on at 6:59 am under by dcobranchi

    I’m sure Californian Joanne Jacobs will be all over this one:

    A California judge struck down the state’s controversial high school exit exam Friday, potentially clearing the way for thousands of seniors who have failed the test to graduate with their class next month.

    Alameda County Superior Court Judge Robert B. Freedman issued a preliminary injunction against the mandatory testing requirement, ruling it places an unfair burden on poor and minority students who attend low-performing schools.

    …With graduation ceremonies weeks away, the decision throws into question the fate of many of the 46,700 seniors statewide — roughly one in 10 — who have failed the two-part test. It is certain to reignite national debate over the fairness of such exams.

    State Supt. of Public Instruction Jack O’Connell, who wrote the legislation mandating the exam in 1999, expressed deep frustration over the ruling and reiterated the state’s plans for a speedy appeal.

    As I don’t have a dog in the fight, I haven’t stayed up on research exploring the effectiveness of high stakes tests. Logically, it makes sense that kids will try harder to learn the material if there’s some payoff (as in a diploma). But, as always, the devil is in the details. If the tests are full of trivia (What explorer is America named after? In what year did the Battle of Hastings occur?) that would have no bearing on a graduate’s ability to function in society, then I’d just as soon scrap ’em.


    Filed on May 12, 2006 at 7:47 pm under by dcobranchi

    I’m sure this decision has made the school much safer.

    We now know the fate of the 10 year old boy who got into big trouble for taking a squirt gun to school.

    The Penn Hills School District has decided to expel Jokari Becker until 2007.

    Jokari hasn’t been to school since April 5, when he was suspended.

    His parents got a phone call from the superintendent Wednesday saying the fifth grader has been expelled until at least January 2007, for violating the school code of discipline and responsibilities.

    In part, the district’s discipline code says a weapon is defined – but not limited to – a knife, firearm, shotgun, or a look-alike gun.

    A weapon can be any tool or instrument capable of inflicting serious bodily damage.

    OK, bringing a look-alike gun is likely to result in a serious punishment. It’s just that I’ve never seen a real gun that looks quite like this one.


    Filed on at 9:33 am under by dcobranchi

    to have a law in Hell named after me.


    Filed on May 11, 2006 at 9:23 pm under by dcobranchi

    This is a tempest in a teapot story– a FL teacher has been taking grief for posing for the USA National Bikini Team website. I don’t remember any teachers like Erica “Lee” when I was in school.


    Filed on at 5:42 pm under by dcobranchi

    Talk about rising to the bait


    Filed on at 7:19 am under by dcobranchi

    I’ve a guest post here.


    Filed on at 6:49 am under by dcobranchi

    I wonder who Townhall.com favors in the primary contest for GA Lieutenant Governor:

    Editor’s Note: Townhall.com is previewing the Lieutenant Governor’s race in Georgia, as it is one that has garnered national attention. A feature on Casey Cagle, the Democratic candidate, will run Friday.

    Ralph Reed, former Chairman of the Georgia Republican Party and first Executive Director of the Christian Coalition, is running against Georgia state Senator Casey Cagle in the state’s most heated primary, for the office of Lieutenant Governor.

    Casey Cagle is a Republican.


    Filed on at 6:42 am under by dcobranchi

    The new (35 minutes) longer SAT is bringing out the whiners and the naysayers:

    College Board officials say they expect as much as a 5-point average score decline in the math and verbal sections of new SAT test, leading many high school counselors to conclude that the longer exam is wearing out test takers and hurting their performance.

    A whole 5 points out of a possible 1600. And, of course, there could be plenty of other resaons for such a tiny decline:

    College admissions officers and testing experts offered several other possible explanations, such as fewer retests, more difficult material on the verbal and math sections, and more anxiety about the new exam.

    All of which is really irrelevant. Who cares if the average score went down by 5 points. Kids who took the test this year largely aren’t in competition with kids who took the older, shorter test. Those kids are already in college.

    No, the people who should be complaining are those who took the old test. When my kids get around to taking it, my old scores won’t look so good on the new 2400-point scale. 🙂


    Filed on at 3:18 am under by dcobranchi

    is open for business.


    Filed on May 10, 2006 at 10:23 am under by dcobranchi

    I thought this comment deserved some pub. Sharon knocked it out of the park.


    Filed on at 6:10 am under by dcobranchi

    Oh, how I miss those golden days on blogspot. Not!


    Filed on at 5:37 am under by dcobranchi

    Henry Cate’s interview with former Holt Associate’s Pat Ferenga is quite good.


    Filed on at 5:27 am under by dcobranchi

    and a dollar short.

    I forgot to link to this week’s CoH yesterday. I claim mental fatigue from our t-ball game last night.

    You might want to skip PunditGuy’s piece, as it’s completely OT and offensive to some.


    Filed on May 9, 2006 at 9:21 am under by dcobranchi

    A new edu-blog.


    Filed on at 6:26 am under by dcobranchi

    in Legos. Unbelievable. Make sure you take the tour (but watch out for the stripper factory.) (HT: Jeanne)


    Filed on at 6:16 am under by dcobranchi

    Joanne Jacobs reports that “free” daycare universal pre-K doesn’t work. Whodathunkit?


    Filed on at 5:30 am under by dcobranchi

    Deborah Stevenson (NHELD) has a fairly long column up arguing that homeschooling was never illegal.

    Nothing makes me angrier than a lie, except when a lie is repeated so often that people believe it to be truth. I’m sick of lies, distorted truth, spin, and revisionist history. Can we just get back to reality? Can we just hold people accountable for their purposeful distortions?

    Can we just set the record straight?

    The lie that makes me the angriest is the lie that “It’s legal to homeschool “now.”” The implication in that statement is the lie. The implication is that it wasn’t legal to homeschool before, or that homeschooling only became legal in the past 20 years or so. Nothing could be farther from the truth.

    It’s a nice concept, but I don’t buy it. Yes, no legislature ever passed a law that said parents couldn’t teach their children. That’d have been absurd, and under that strained definition of “homeschooling,” Stevenson would be correct. But that’s not the legal definition or understanding of homeschooling. Instead, in most states, it’s a way of satisfying the compulsory attendance statutes. So, sure, prior to the legal battles in the ’60s and ’70s, one could have homeschooled their kids. But they’d still have had to send them to a public or private school, too. In 1924 in Oregon it was the law that only public schools could satisfy the compulsory attendance requirement. Were private schools illegal, then? No, they were just redundant. Pierce v. Society of Sisters allowed that private schools could also serve to satisfy society’s demand for compelled education. It was only some 50 years (and numerous court battles) later that homeschooling was allowed that same legal status.

    Stevenson’s a lawyer, and I hope that I’m not trying to teach my grandmother to suck eggs. But, this one seems pretty clear to me. Until courts ruled that homeschools were equal to private schools in their ability to satisfy the compulsory attendance requirements, homeschooling was indeed “illegal” most everywhere. (via Izzy)


    Filed on May 8, 2006 at 7:39 pm under by dcobranchi

    Tammy7140 passed along a nice piece on unschooling. Only one negative quote from the local educrat. OTOH, the comments are just plain loony. My favorite:

    Letting a child dictate what their schedule will be in any aspect is asking for an unhappy child. Of course it might seem like it’s a great thing for him/her, but as a parent, I know that children need structure. Children need someone to be in charge. They need that security! How scary would it be to be only 4, 5, 6 years old and be the boss? Children need someone to take them by the hand and say, “Okay, I’m going to show you what to do. You can count on me!” By not setting boundaries and limits including bedtimes and scheduled lessons etc, you are hurting your child more than you know. In fact, I have to wonder why these children even have parents.
    I must ask this question: Have you ever been to a public place and seen the mom whose kids are out of control? She sits there among the screaming chaos, calmly saying,”Now, Joey, I’m going to count to 3 and then it’s time out for you. One. Two. I really mean it, Joey, I will put you in time out. Do you really want to go in time out? Don’t make me say ‘three’. Two and a haaaallllfffff……..”
    If you haven’t seen this parent, that probably means that YOU ARE THAT PARENT!
    What happened to real parenting? When did consequences and schedules and school become taboo?????? Let me tell all of you something that parents of home schooled children don’t want to hear: Your kids are WEIRD! They have no social skills! They lack proper communication skills! They expect the world to revolve around them much as you do, and, guess what? It doesn’t work that way!
    I know that that is harsh, and I have no doubt in my mind that I’ll have several angry parents writing nasty replies to what I said, but I think it had to be said! Trust me, I’m doing you a favor. It’s like when you go out with your friends and you have something stuck in your teeth and no tells you. Then, when you get home, you notice that you have a bright green piece of broccoli hanging from your front tooth and realize that it’s been there ALL NIGHT LONG!!! How awful that your friends didn’t tell you that!! Well, I’m not going to do that to you! You’re kids are the broccoli stuck in your teeth. Perhaps you should get some floss…and send your kids to school. (Gretchen7878, May 8, 2006 09:44AM)

    I think Gretchen may need some mental floss.


    Filed on at 6:01 am under by dcobranchi

    This video of the descent of the Huygens probe is utterly fascinating. Hint: Make sure your sound is turned on. (Via APOD)


    Filed on at 5:48 am under by dcobranchi

    Edspresso has an interesting guest-post up on education monopolies.

    I never noticed before, but we have the same market share as the Mac OS.


    Filed on May 7, 2006 at 3:56 pm under by dcobranchi

    I agree with the school– a 14-year-old shouldn’t be living in the dorms.

    A 14-year-old prodigy graduating from high school this spring has decided to attend the University of New Hampshire after university officials in Maine, her home state, denied her request to live in a college dormitory.

    Lauren Lazarus of Hiram is valedictorian of her Sacopee Valley High School senior class. She has been admitted to UNH, Colby College and the University of Maine.

    Colby and UNH were willing to allow Lazarus to live in campus housing, but Maine decided it was inappropriate for a girl her age to live in a dorm.

    The decision by Maine upset Lazarus’ family. Her mother, Joanne deKay, said the university is discriminating based on age and made its decision without knowing much about Lazarus.

    “Essentially, by denying my daughter housing on campus, they are denying her the full-tuition scholarship that she earned and deserves,” deKay told the Portland Press Herald.


    Filed on at 6:58 am under by dcobranchi

    All social workers are power-mad bureaucratic busy-bodies who hate parents.

    That is all.


    Filed on May 6, 2006 at 2:51 pm under by dcobranchi

    I never realized fixing the schools would be so easy:

    Sloppy, baggy dress impedes education of children in public schools

    Eugene Mercier, Nashua

    Published: Saturday, May. 6, 2006

    These are my thoughts on the recent he airing before the state Legislature regarding the question of raising the school age from 16 to 18.

    For some years I’ve been reading items in magazines and newspapers about our educational system, and what’s wrong with it. Not to mention being confused about all of the different aspects of the system itself.

    I’ve read about large schools, small schools, charter schools, home schooling, security in schools, schools next to schools, whether to have kindergartens or not, and a “No Child Left Behind” program, whatever that means.

    We’ve always had children who couldn’t make it in school, even when I was a schoolboy in the late 1930s and early ’40s.

    These subjects have been discussed in countless meetings, symposiums, conventions, PTA squabbles, and what have you. And, in all of this muddle, no one seems to have a clue on what’s really and basically wrong.

    And what is wrong, I really believe, is what the most experienced, supposedly learned experts in education have overlooked-and it’s right in front of them, and has been for a number of years. That’s the disturbing problem of proper dress in school.

    It’s a psychological fact that a person who dresses well feels better all around. Think how different you feel when you’re wearing sloppy, baggy clothes to work in the garden or go to church, and how good you feel when you wear your better outfits and are properly groomed to go to a wedding or a party.

    If you go to school dressed like a ragbag every day, your mind, conduct and your general well-being will be affected. This includes your attitude towards your fellow students, teachers and the unchecked use of foul language, just to name a few of the byproducts.

    This is so of many school children of all ages, who very early acquire an attitude of indifference or even non-interest in school responsibilities and life in general. Many may dispute this assertion, but the countless talks, as listed above, have never come up with a solution.

    Take a look at the Catholic schools. They require their pupils to wear uniforms, and their teachers handle classes of 30-35 children with little or no problems, and they turn out more than average students every year.

    Admittedly, the following solution is a radical one – put the boys back in suitcoats and ties, or neat sweaters and trousers, and forbid the wearing of hats in the classrooms.

    Put the young ladies in proper dresses or skirts, and have everyone get rid of multi-colored hairdos, and nose and mouth “jewelry.”

    In short, “Stop the animals from running the zoo.”

    Do this and the students will look and act like human beings again, have more pride in themselves and each other, and then they will be more inclined to stay in school.


    Filed on at 2:26 pm under by dcobranchi

    I’m stuck with a 4 hour layover in ATL and this cute little girl (maybe 2 yo) has been hovering over my shoulder (and eventually climbing up in my lap) as I cruise the net, so I’ve been viewing the Sesame Street website. Thus, the inspiration for the title.

    Frederick Schwartz at Hell’s leading daily writes an open letter to the Democratic Party. I guess I really am a lefty– I support just about every one of his suggestions:

    The next thing is don’t be John Kerry. He could have won but he wanted to be all things to all people. Impossible. Alienate those who want to stand in the way of progress in America, support a clean environemnt, support a parent’s right to educate their children in their own homes, support immigrant rights, sup[port minority rights, support gay marriage, support stem cell research, support a woman’s right to choose whether she bears a child and call it abortion. Support everything that makes the religious right cringe, Ralph Reed cry and falwell and Dobson go into convulsions speaking in tongues but for Patrick Henry’s sake stick to your fucking guns. Give middle class Americans the country back and it won’t matter who pulls up to a church with a shiny bus and a powerpoint presentation saying the entire nation is going to Hell. It is anyway they might as well go with a full belly, a healthy retirement, and a Prius in every garage.

    Home education, of course, cuts across the left/right divide. But that’s just picking nits.

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