Utterly Meaningless » 2006 » July
  • Why We Should Work Together

    Filed on July 20, 2006 at 10:27 am under by Scott Somerville

    We have our differences, folks, but they are small compared to our shared interests. Here’s evidence:

    New Jersey–Daytime Curfew Defeated!

    July 19, 2006

    Dear HSLDA members and friends:

    Last night the council of the Borough of Washington rejected the proposed daytime curfew on a 5-1 vote. Your help made a difference!

    This defeat is especially important because Washington Borough appears to be the first municipality in the state to attempt to enact a daytime curfew. If it had succeeded, it could have emboldened other municipalities to follow suit.

    Homeschool families turned out to pack the hearing room. The council and members of the press heard nearly two hours of testimony, including the testimony of Mark August, President of the Education Network of Christian Homeschoolers. The testimony was almost exclusively against the ordinance.

    The hearing and the vote were the climax, but it was built on the efforts of many.

    Carolee Adams worked quietly with individual members of the council (and also testified at the hearing) to explain why it should not become law. HSLDA attorney Scott Woodruff sent an eight-page legal memorandum to council members and the council attorney explaining how
    the ordinance jeopardized freedoms protected under the constitution.

    This ordinance appeared to have significant momentum. Homeschoolers worked together with a passion to protect freedom, however, and turned the momentum the other way.

    Thank you for standing with us for freedom.

    Sincerely Yours,
    Scott A. Woodruff, Esq.
    Home School Legal Defense Association

    One of my best friends from high school is on the board of the New Jersey Civil Liberties Union. I’ve talked to him in the past about these daytime curfews. All I can get from the ACLU is a tepid response: daytime curfews are “troubling” but they generally can’t be troubled to do anything about them. Where were they when the Borough of Washington decided to make it a crime to be a child in a public place? I hear them scream about racial profiling–where’s the outrage over this new offense called “walking while young”?

    If the ACLU had the courage of their convictions, we homeschoolers might not need to stick together. I’ve spent years trying to persuade progressive homeschoolers to systematically lobby the ACLU to take on homeschool cases–with no takers. Maybe that’s because they know John Holt tried tried to do just that, way back in the 1960s–with no results.

    WWHS REASON # 7,232

    Filed on at 9:33 am under by dcobranchi

    I really have nothing to add to this editorial. Read it and weep. Literally.


    Filed on July 19, 2006 at 7:37 pm under by dcobranchi

    One of the defaults for this theme is the avatar next to each comment. The way to use them is to first register at www.gravatar.com and choose/upload an avatar. The software will associate your email address with the avatar and automatically insert the picture. WARNING: This is only an experiment. If I see that gravatar is causing the load to slow dramatically, I’ll pull the plug. Hence, don’t spend a whole lot of time tweaking your avatar.

    Here’s mine (when and if it ever shows up). I changed pics as the first one wasn’t square.

    UPDATE: Bunch of comediennes in the comments. 🙂 Here’s a current pic. Same pose as before, but 450 miles South. I have hair; I just mostly shave it off.

    Lebanon as a Homeschool Parable

    Filed on at 11:44 am under by Scott Somerville

    I’m praying for the peace of Jerusalem… and of Beirut. These are not normal times. But the dreadful situation in Lebanon has got me thinking about matters closer to home. The more I consider the whole tangled mess over there, the more familiar it seems. Isn’t Lebanon a lot like our own homeschool community?

    Lebanon is such a beautiful, fragile, hopeful, fearful place. There is both religious and political diversity in Lebanon: 34% identify themselves as Shi’ite Muslims, 20% are Sunni Muslims, 19% are Maronite Christians, with healthy fractions of Druze, Orthodox, Armenian Christians, Greek Catholics.

    Lebanon is enmeshed in other people’s agendas. Israel is on one border, backed by the United States; Syria is on the other, backed by Shi’ite Iran. The Sunnis are the sworn enemies of Israel, but have not moved to keep Jews and Shi’ites from shedding each others’ blood. Perhaps they are troubled by the thought of nuclear-powered Persians.

    When I take my eyes off the Middle East and look around me, I seem to see the same tangle: our fragile and diverse homeschool movement is full of passionate people who are cheering one or the other of the ideological “superpowers.” Can we build a community here, or is our only option to wait for the Israelis (or the Syrians or the Saudis or the US or the UN) to wipe out some homeschoolers so others can “win”?


    Filed on at 7:16 am under by dcobranchi

    I’m obviously not a leader in the “Christian homeschooling community.”

    That was the same time when WORLD Magazine came out with an article examining Reed’s Abramoff connections. People outside the evangelical world don’t understand how much impact that had on Reed. WORLD is to the Christian homeschooling community what Newsweek is to the rest of America. I don’t know what their circulation is, but they’ve got a real strong readership among homeschooling leaders, and those people would otherwise have been expected to be strong activists for the Reed campaign.

    Spunky? Scott? Does this ring a bell?


    Filed on at 7:04 am under by dcobranchi

    It’s Wednesday, and that means I missed the first day of the carnival. Again.


    Filed on at 7:00 am under by dcobranchi

    and why it’s for the benefit of the Church– an essay from a theologian.


    Filed on at 6:50 am under by dcobranchi

    Google found this swipe at home education from a business school student:

    As I have always asserted, an all rounder will sail higher up than any particular person with specialized skill sets. So what foreign education especially in western countries teaches you is the ability to be a well rounded individual apart from being good at whatever you are learning.

    This changes you as a human being. It brings in those responsibilities in your life, which you wouldn’t have even dreamt about if you would have studied in your home country. I am not trying to say that home education is inferior in any ways, but I just want to claim that it doesn’t make you as much well rounded as you would want yourself to be.

    Then again, he started the essay with these profound words:

    What’s a change? An object or an entity which gets transformed may be, possibly, into a better state of being or existence. Change is something which is never constant. That’s why it’s called change else it would be something else.


    Filed on at 6:18 am under by dcobranchi

    compared to the editors of my local paper.

    Dog Days. In technical terms, it means your part of the planet is about as close to the sun as it’s going to get this year. Mythology offers a more colorful explanation, but mythology can’t kill you, so let’s focus on reality.

    In the Northern Hemisphere, perihelion occurs, of course, in the winter.


    Filed on at 5:52 am under by dcobranchi

    Alt title: INSANITY DEFENSE?

    The evolution blogs are all abuzz over Kent Hovind’s latest. From RSR:

    Kent Hovind, aka Dr. Dino, wanted to plead, now get this, “subornation of false muster” to a 58-count federal tax fraud indictment. The Dino man argues that the United States, the Internal Revenue Service and the U.S. Attorney’s Office don’t “have jurisdiction in this matter.”

    And from The Panda’s Thumb:

    First, I would just like to say that everyone here at PT would like to express their sympathies to the public defender assigned to Hovind. I suppose public defenders see all sorts of weird things, but Hovind will be a handful.

    So, I guess Hovind doesn’t know anything about science or the law.


    Filed on July 18, 2006 at 5:38 pm under by dcobranchi

    I’ll be interested to read this study when it’s published:

    In separate research that Kleinfeld is also preparing for publication, she has possibly gotten to the root of the problem.

    “Here’s a fascinating fact,” she said. “There is no literacy gap in home-schooled boys and girls.”

    “Why? In school, teachers emphasize reading literature and talking about character and feelings,” she said. “This way of teaching reading does not turn boys on. Boys prefer reading nonfiction, such as history and adventure books. When they are taught at home, parents are more likely to let them follow their interests.”

    I imagine that last ‘graf is conjecture, but the previous one ought to be easy enough to check.


    Filed on at 5:34 pm under by dcobranchi

    The homeschooling one was boring, but this one caught my attention:

    “Let me get this straight. The Minutemen get permission to hold a little rally, 200 people, and they’re American citizens. Then 2,000 illegal, I repeat, illegal aliens hold their own rally and start a riot? Let me explain something to you all. You all want to be a citizen, fine. But you’re illegal – you have no rights over here, absolutely none. No rights. What they should have done, they should have gone ahead and gathered up all 2,000 and shipped them all back. No, we’re too nice for that – I forgot.”

    – Hagerstown

    We hold these truths to be self-evident. Not! I guess “inalienable” means “governemt-defined.”


    Filed on at 5:15 pm under by dcobranchi

    I realize that politics is just a game to these folks, but can’t they at least pretend that they’re serious?

    Congressional Republicans on Tuesday proposed a $100 million plan to let poor children leave struggling schools and attend private schools at public expense.

    The voucher idea is one in a series of social conservative issues meant to energize the Republican base as midterm elections approach. In announcing their bills, House and Senate sponsors acknowledged that Congress likely won’t even vote on the legislation this year.

    All the News That Fits

    Filed on at 12:18 pm under by Scott Somerville

    There are those who believe the New York Times only prints news that fits its agenda, and some of us think that agenda is shrinking. The good news, however, is that the paper is shrinking with it:

    The New York Times is planning to reduce the size of the newspaper, making it narrower by one and a half inches, and to close its printing operation in Edison, N.J., company officials said yesterday.

    The changes, to go into effect in April 2008, will be accompanied by a phased-in redesign of the paper and will mean the loss of 250 production-related jobs.


    Filed on at 11:27 am under by dcobranchi

    The Right’s War on Data continues apace.

    He Said/She Said Journalism

    Filed on at 10:32 am under by Scott Somerville

    Here’s an example of the difference between “reality-based journalism” and the old “he said/she said” approach. Today’s big flap is over a claim that federally-funded crisis pregnancy centers are misleading women with false information about a link between abortion and breast cancer.

    The Washington Post gives one side of story and then allows a spokesman for the CPCs to give the other side of the story. The report, which was prepared by Democratic staffers at the request of Congressman Henry Waxman, says:

    The report said 20 of 23 federally funded centres contacted by staff investigators requesting information about a pregnancy were told false or misleading information about the potential risks of an abortion.

    The crisis pregancy center response was:

    Ms Ford said she agreed with pregnancy counsellors who tell women that abortion may increase the risk of breast cancer, infertility and a condition described by anti-abortion groups as “post-abortion syndrome”.

    “We have many studies that show significant medical problems associated with abortion,” she said.

    If I understand the concept of “reality-based journalism,” the new school of journalist would say it is sufficient to report that CPCs are misleading women, without hearing their side of the story.


    Filed on at 5:37 am under by dcobranchi

    Janine is creating a list of why some folks seem to really get bent out of shape at the concept.


    Filed on July 17, 2006 at 1:09 pm under by dcobranchi

    courtesy of Ron & Andrea. I think they did a terrific job.

    Are Libertarians Divided?

    Filed on at 12:29 pm under by Scott Somerville

    Daryl long identified HE&OS as a “libertarian-leaning edublog.” I noticed he changed it to “democratic-libertarian,” but didn’t have a chance to ask him why. I suspect it’s because the war is causing deep divisions in our political world.

    Joe Lieberman was Al Gore’s running mate in 2000; now he may be run off the Democratic reservation in a primary fight. Glenn Reynolds (who may be the world’s most influential modern libertarian, due to the popularity of Instapundit), champions same-sex marriage, women’s choice, and other socially liberal causes. But because Glenn supports the war in Iraq, some of my favorite libertarians have written him off. I could go on and on with specific examples, but you can probably fill them in yourself.

    I hope the homeschool movement can avoid being ripped apart over this war. It won’t be easy. Our instincts on something this important will be to (1) try to persuade other homeschoolers that our position is right and (2) to write other homeschoolers off if we can’t persuade them. I don’t think there are enough homeschoolers in America to afford us to write any of us off.

    We’re in a volatile political environment. A few more bad breaks, and we could have Speaker Pelosi filing articles of impeachment next January. A few lucky breaks in Iraq and an “October Surprise” or two and Bush might get a filibuster-proof Senate. I’m going to do everything I know how to build bridges with homeschoolers on the other side of the political fence right now, not burn them down.


    Filed on July 16, 2006 at 9:03 pm under by dcobranchi

    Pics from today’s 4H outing.

    I see you.

    8 inches wingtip-to-wingtip
    Biggest dragonfly outside of Jurassic Park. 8 inches across.


    Leaves of three...  Dammit, I knew I shouldn't have picked them for my leaf collection!
    Leaves of three… Dammit, I knew I shouldn’t have picked them for my leaf collection!

    Oh, Monkeyboy…


    Filed on at 5:53 am under by dcobranchi

    I have to confess that when I read this AP piece my first thought was “I hope they aren’t homeschooled.” They’re not.

    Acting on a 911 call from a neighbor who wanted to remain anonymous, officers at the scene found the boys, ages 8, 7 and 5, in a state of starvation, looking “extremely thin and very weak,” according to the incident report. The 5-year-old weighed less than 20 pounds and was described as looking like a “skeleton.”

    Two of the boys told officers that their aunt and uncle [their adoptive parents] had used zip ties around their hands to keep them away from food.

    …The two older boys are enrolled at Wellford Elementary School and completed the second and third grades on May 24.


    Filed on July 15, 2006 at 12:04 pm under by dcobranchi

    It’s not homeschooling, but the teacher’s unions seem to be reading from the same playbook they use for opposing us:

    The union contends the online setting would violate a state school code that mandates “non-home based” charter schools. Virtual Academy president Sharon Hayes denied the program would be “home schooling children” since they would learn in the classroom as well.

    The planned school would enroll students citywide and serve physically disabled and gifted students or those from underperforming schools as part of the city’s Renaissance 2010 initiative. Students would work primarily from home with the help of a parent or another responsible adult.

    One of the union’s biggest concerns is that students would be hindered socially and academically.

    Yeah, they actually invoked the “S” word. Hilarious. (via CRAFT)


    Filed on at 8:05 am under by dcobranchi

    Another newbie has gotten her wings.


    Filed on at 4:37 am under by dcobranchi

    Another LttE (though not from the Fayetteville paper):

    U.S. should emulate Israel’s no-nonsense approach

    Today, I have read, heard and seen the small state of Israel’s response to those evil forces that would do it in: Hamas, Hezbollah, Syria.

    I only wish that our country would have the same straightforward, no-nonsense, no-crap stance against the foreign states that “threaten” us, i.e. North Korea for starters.

    I am a Republican conservative and a Christian but have the greatest respect and admiration for the small Jewish state of Israel.

    Hugh Horning, Wilmington

    I’m not quite sure what to make of that last sentence.


    Filed on July 14, 2006 at 9:00 pm under by dcobranchi

    The New England Homeschool & Family Living Conference is running today and tomorrow. Details here.


    Filed on at 7:25 pm under by dcobranchi

    Frequent tipster Jason is posting pics of his all-expense-paid “vacation” in beautiful downtown Kabul. It looks nice, but I’m not sure I would even want to visit there.


    Filed on at 12:12 pm under by dcobranchi

    Uber creationist Kent Hovind has been arrested for tax evasion and a host of other charges. Kent is playing(?) dumb:

    A Pensacola evangelist who owns the defunct Dinosaur Adventure Land in Pensacola was arrested Thursday on 58 federal charges, including failing to pay $473,818 in employee-related taxes and making threats against investigators.

    Of the 58 charges, 44 were filed against Kent Hovind and his wife, Jo, for evading bank reporting requirements as they withdrew $430,500 from AmSouth Bank between July 20, 2001, and Aug. 9, 2002.

    At the couple’s first court appearance Thursday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Miles Davis, Kent Hovind professed not to understand why he is being prosecuted. Some 20 supporters were in the courtroom.

    “I still don’t understand what I’m being charged for and who is charging me,” he said.

    Kent Hovind, who often calls himself “Dr. Dino,” has been sparring with the IRS for at least 17 years on his claims that he is employed by God, receives no income, has no expenses and owns no property.

    “The debtor apparently maintains that as a minister of God, everything he owns belongs to God and he is not subject to paying taxes to the United States on money he receives for doing God’s work,” U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Lewis Killian Jr. wrote when he dismissed a claim from Hovind in 1996.

    Wow. If I call myself a minister of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, could I escape all taxation too? On what day of Creation did God create prison cells?

    I Knew It!

    Filed on at 11:43 am under by Scott Somerville

    You heard it from me first, but here’s the smoking gun:

    According to well-placed insiders on the Times’ Board of Directors, a shaken Sulzberger made that announcement in a hastily convened meeting of the Board of the Times’ parent company, The New York Times Corp. Sulzberger reportedly told the board that the discovery was made last week.

    “During an internal investigation, we reached the regrettable conclusion that Karl Rove has been running this newspaper since at least August, 2002,” Sulzberger reportedly stated. “His intention is clear – to ruin the reputation of the newspaper and the party that our editorial policy supports.”

    The White House denies it (what would you expect). Here’s their side of the story (courtesy of the old-fashioned “he said/she said” school of journalism):

    At the White House, Presidential Spokesman Tony Snow stated that he had spoken to Rove about the charges and that Rove is mystified.

    “Karl Rove has a whole planet to run,” said Snow with characteristic understatement, “he doesn’t have the time or inclination to run a parochial newspaper with a declining stock price and diminishing readership.”

    (Note: the byline reads “Satire News Service.)


    Filed on at 6:59 am under by dcobranchi

    and let God sort ’em out.

    Life in Fayetteville:

    What were the Israelis supposed to do?

    It is very impressive that Dennis Endre can quote Sun Tzu. However Sun Tzu was not dealing with terrorists (“Israel’s tactics kill innocents,” July 11). I, too, am a Vietnam veteran but have a far different approach than Endre. What were the Israelis supposed to do? Thank the terrorists who kidnapped their corporal?

    I agree with Endre on one point: The Israelis are dealing with the terrorists improperly. What they should do is bomb one city block into oblivion per day until the corporal is returned unharmed. If the terrorists kill him, then they should step it up and bomb five blocks per day until the terrorists are handed over to the authorities.

    It is unbelievable that the way terrorists are being handled is tantamount to a concerned pat on the butt. There is a reason they are called terrorists, that is all they understand!

    This approach could also be used in Iraq by our military, but alas, I fear it will enrage the liberal masses far too much to be considered.

    Mike Leonard
    Retired Navy veteran

    Hell, let’s just nuke Iraq from border to border on Day 1! None of this namby-pamby incrementalism.


    Filed on July 13, 2006 at 8:31 pm under by dcobranchi

    Today’s EPOD is a pretty cool shot of a circumhorizontal arc, a type of fair-weather “rainbow.” But it’s nothing compared to the one I just received via email from Jason.


    Filed on at 7:54 pm under by dcobranchi

    I’m looking for a post on one of the HE&OS regulars’ blogs. It was would be a perfect illustration of what Scott and I have been arguing about. The post had a line in it something along the lines of “Mary [made up name], who thinks she’s a bagel, has had a serious break with reality.” If that strikes a chord and you could provide a link, I’d be very appreciative.


    Filed on at 6:06 pm under by dcobranchi

    I love Bluegrass, so homeschooling family Cherryholmes is right up my alley.

    They’re scheduled to appear a couple hours away in September. Might be time for a road trip.


    Filed on at 5:32 pm under by dcobranchi

    From MSNBC:

    Meerkats ‘home-school’ their kids

    Unschool, eclectic, or school-at-home?


    Filed on at 11:42 am under by dcobranchi

    Scott Somerville, who duties at HSLDA aren’t keeping him busy enough (See? We’ve said all along that there was no need for that organization.), has decided to hang his shingle hat here at HE&OS for a while longer.

    Forewarned and all that.

    Diversity Training

    Filed on at 11:15 am under by Scott Somerville

    I’ve been learning a lot in the comment threads to my various complaints about the New York Times. I’ve admired people like Daryl, Chris O’Donnell, JJ Ross, and Nance Confer, and I assumed that the fact that I admired them meant I understood them. This discussion of media bias has been a real eye-opener.

    The biggest surprise was the degree to which these members of the “reality-based community” believe that the media should not even bother reporting the religiously-based point of view on various issues. I had assumed that there was general agreement that good journalists should cite opposing views on every subject. I’ve learned I was wrong about this.

    I take religious viewpoints seriously, even when I think they are in error. I’ve been honored to be invited to speak at Muslim homeschool conferences, Mormon homeschool conferences, a United Methodist church, etc. I’ve had the privilege of defending New Age families in court and before school boards. I’ve learned a lot about the things that bring homeschoolers together–and the things that separate them.

    In my opinion, based on my experience, we do well to listen to what religious people are saying, even if we devoutly believe that their theology is complete nonsense. If they are sincere believers, they will tend to express their ultimate concerns in religious terms. Thus, my Catholic friends may talk about family issues in terms of what would honor the Virgin, while my Muslim friends explain the same things in terms of total submission to the will of Allah. As I listen hard, I begin to see that these very different people both have a sense of something sacred in their role as parents–something too big for the government to regulate.

    I spent last weekend at the Catholic Family Expo, where I got a chance to meet black nuns, celibate priests, parochial school teachers, pro-life activists, and the like. I didn’t let my disagreements with Roman Catholic doctrine keep me from seeking out our shared concerns–and there were plenty.

    I don’t think there are enough homeschoolers for us to indulge in division. I’m not asking the hardcore Darwinists here to start teaching Creationism–but I would like to encourage reality-based homeschoolers to keep listening to the faith-based folks.

    And vice versa.


    Filed on at 6:59 am under by dcobranchi

    And the “winner” is…

    “Detective Bart Lasiter was in his office studying the light from his one small window falling on his super burrito when the door swung open to reveal a woman whose body said you’ve had your last burrito for a while, whose face said angels did exist, and whose eyes said she could make you dig your own grave and lick the shovel clean.”

    The results for the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest are available here. Not for those weak of stomach.


    Filed on at 5:57 am under by dcobranchi

    More press bashing:

    Why print so much negative news?

    I have for a long time been puzzled as to why your newspaper prints so much negative toward the military.

    Case in point: The July 10 front-page headlines said, “4 more charged in Iraq rape.” We know that this is really bad, but there are bad people doing inexcusable things everywhere, including in North Carolina.

    Hidden on Page 8A on July 10 was an article of the utmost importance to all Americans, a plot uncovered for a New York bombing of the Hudson River tunnels. This should have been a front-page headline.

    A newspaper in a military city should be a little more military-friendly. If your intentions are to influence readers to your opinion, then you are doing a great job.

    Newspapers are a powerful tool, but should be unbiased.

    Nancy L. Scholz

    Yep. We need more of that unbiased happy talk.


    Filed on July 12, 2006 at 11:17 pm under by dcobranchi

    And speaking about reality vs. perception, here’s some more from one of the leaders of NCHE:

    I am sorry to read you are appalled by NCHE’s policy. Personally, I am not offended by your comments and therefore trust you will not be offended by my comments/viewpoints.

    1. NC homeschool law is the best/easiest in the nation BECAUSE of relationships NCHE has with legislators and DNPE. Thanks to the MD experience, we learned how to work behind the scenes better than the MD group. Thus, for 10 years now, this system has worked. You are absolutely correct that legislators/DNPE will come and go based on elections, etc hence the reason why we monitor, remain vigilant, and stay connected with our elected leaders who have the power to change the law. Why you don’t see the value of relationships in a political sense is beyond me, I guess. But that’s fine, we all have different perspectives, values, and priorities.

    2. All NCHE board members are members of HSLDA and quite frankly, this is the ONLY issue we disagree on. I think that says a lot about how both work together to support homeschooling on a national and state level. Just as they catch legal issues we miss sometimes, they likewise miss issues occurring in NC sometimes i.e…the near passage of placing NC homeschoolers under the authority of the NC Public School Administration (biblically, this is not much different than disagreements Paul and Barnabas had at times). The NCHE board prayerfully considers this position every year and are always open to a different viewpoint, there are plenty on the board. At this point, we have not seen a need to change what we consider a good defense but as you stated, times and legislators change, so we will remain vigilant.

    3. I am sorry if you felt “threatened” by my mere suggestion of another possible outcome of following the “law to the letter.” However, I could say that I felt just as threatened by your example of what occurred in MD. I just wanted to merely suggest another possible result and action, that has been revealed to NCHE by inside sources, if everyone followed the law to the letter. I believe both the MD example and the strict compliance with the law could lead to more homeschool laws in NC IF people like you, me, NC homeschoolers, NCHE and HSLDA do not remain vigilant. Believe me, there is not one board member of NCHE who rest or not march on Raleigh if any change was pending on the NC homeschool law. Myself, I do not find it “burdensome” to submit by mail, my choice, my opinion.

    4. The NCHE, nor I, are against you for not submitting by mail…your choice. Our promotion of the submission is strictly due to inside info that tells us that this voluntary approach has kept the anti-homeschool/NEA groups at bay. Why would anyone ignore advice from lawmakers who tell us this mail process helps them to help us? Again, we will probably have to agree to disagree.

    5. Last, your concluding paragraph is a bit naive if you think that you don’t need friends in Raleigh or the legislature. Homeschoolers are a definite minority of the vote in NC, let alone the country, and it is by the grace of God that we fend off the 2-3 bills that are entered every year in NC that seek to restrict or regulate homeschoolers more in NC. You are right, people need to know the law but people also need to know that most legislators are never satisfied to make a law and then not make amendments to it. State laws, national laws are constantly being amended as you know and if you like to have a run down about all the laws that NCHE has thwarted for the past 20 years, please let me know. I have lived in PA, NY and know how restrictive homeschool laws can be and tough it is to homeschool in those states. That is why I’m extremely thankful unto God I was moved here to educate my children. There is nothing I, nor the rest of the NCHE board would do to jeopardize the freedoms we have to homeschool in NC. I am just sorry to read that you think we bully or scare NC homeschoolers…nothing could be further from the truth.

    6. I enjoy debate and this is more than I wanted to write but I thought I needed to respond to some of your comments, just as you responded to mine. If there are more details I can provide for you, PLEASE let me know.

    Respectfully, Scott Anderson, NICHE Director, HOME member

    Where does this mythology that NC has excellent homeschooling laws come from? I keep hearing it, and it just isn’t true. Off the top of my head I can name three states on the East Coast that have better laws (DE, NJ, and CT if anyone’s asking). Yeah, he’s homeschooled in three states, two of which happen to be the worst in the country. So, sure, by comparison NC looks great. Except last time I checked there were 50 stars on the flag.

    And, yes, he has been guilty of trying to scare homeschoolers into over-complying.

    It appears the leadership of NCHE is badly in need of a shake-up (not that I’m volunteering).


    Filed on at 6:46 pm under by dcobranchi

    No, this has nothing to do with Scott.

    From a summary of VA’s new laws going into effect:

    Allow parents with only a high school education to teach home school. Prior to the new law, home-school parents were required to hold a college degree.

    That’s wrong, of course. High-school grads could always home educate. They just had a couple additional hoops to jump through.


    Filed on at 11:59 am under by dcobranchi


    This Is What I Mean By Media Bias

    Filed on at 11:22 am under by Scott Somerville

    In an effort to help Daryl understand how the New York Times appears to people like me, consider today’s headline on the Administration’s new memo about the treatment of prisoners. Here’s Powerline’s write-up:

    Today’s New York Times has an article on the fallout from the Hamdan decision titled In Big Shift, U.S. to Follow Geneva Treaty for Detainees. It would be possible to write a more misleading headline, but it wouldn’t be easy.

    The Times purports to report on the administration’s efforts to comply with the Supreme Court’s ruling to the effect that Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions applies to all GWOT detainees. But the paper fails to note that the administration has always treated the Geneva Conventions as applicable to the conflict in Iraq. To quote Don Rumsfeld:

    Iraq’s a nation. The United States is a nation. The Geneva Conventions applied. They have applied every single day from the outset.

    Further, the Times writes that “The Pentagon memo, issued last Friday and released today, orders that all detainees be treated in compliance with what is known as Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions, a passage that requires humane treatment and a minimum standard of judicial protections for prisoners.” The paper notes the administration’s observation that this memo did not constitute a reversal in policy, but the article’s headline, trumpeting a “big shift” in policy, explicitly rejects that observation.

    So–the Bush Administration says, “We were already applying the standards of the Geneva Convention to Gitmo detainees, even though we didn’t have to.” The New York Times reports this as a “big shift.”

    Daryl–what, exactly, was the “big shift”?


    Filed on at 2:34 am under by dcobranchi

    to disband the DHS?


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

    Syd Barrett has died. (There’s someone in my head, but it’s not me.)


    Filed on at 7:22 pm under by dcobranchi

    the CoH must be up.

    A Measure of Media Bias

    Filed on at 11:43 am under by Scott Somerville

    This elegant study uses think tanks and elected officials to construct an objective scale for measuring the political tilt of various media outlets.

    According to this research, the New York Times scored a 73.7 (23.7 points left of the average US voter baseline of 50.0), and Fox News Special with Brit Hume scored a 39.7 (20.3 points right). This is why the “newspaper of record” seems to be less “fair and balanced” than Fox News to me.

    The Political/Media Spectrum

    The methodology for this study was very clever. They used elected officials to construct an ideological scale, and then used think tanks to find a common referent for the media and the politicians. Thus, if Henry Hyde (R-IL) routinely cites the National Right to Life Association and the Washington Times cites NRTL just as often, one may reasonably assume they share a roughly similar perspective when it comes to abortion. The authors of the study used the Americans for Democratic Action scorecard for their numerical scale.

    Take a lot of think tanks and a lot of politicians, and you can quantify the political spectrum. Then all you have to do is go count how many times each media outlet refers to various think tanks.

    NEW AD ——>

    Filed on at 2:06 am under by dcobranchi

    What’s bellycasting?

    UPDATE: Nevermind.


    Filed on at 12:48 am under by dcobranchi

    A psychiatrist, on home education:

    ‘Schooling’ vs. ‘educating’

    In its debate on schools and homework, USA TODAY might have mentioned those who never go to “school” at all: the home-schoolers. They, in my view, are on top of the heap socially, psychologically, physically, intellectually and academically.

    As for children in traditional schools, coercion, homework, testing, report cards and a forgettable curriculum tend to make those passive, bored and sullen kids “hate” school, their teachers, learning, books and then their parents.

    What’s more, about a third of college graduates are proficiently literate, down from 40% in 1992, according to the latest National Assessment of Adult Literacy.

    The solution — stop schooling and start educating by:

    • Abolishing all quizzes before those necessary final exams.

    • Stimulating students with lessons involving art, music, theater, sports, museums, good books, periodicals and technology, along with math games, choral reading and assisted writing.

    The only “problem”: I, and many prison guards, are then apt to be unemployed!

    Dr. Robert E. Kay, psychiatrist


    It might work as a bumper sticker: Put a psychiatrist out of work– homeschool.

    It needs some polish, I think.

    Tip credit: Jill


    Filed on July 10, 2006 at 9:58 pm under by dcobranchi

    The LotD (from a g-school grad, I presume):

    Put losing candidate in line to become next president

    Attorney Richard Albert feels that there is a need to change the manner in which we choose our vice presidents. Here is another idea, a completely different one:

    Our present (for all practical purposes) two-party system has demonstrated that the party in power usually is more interested in what is good for the party than what’s good for the country.

    The most important thing, even from before the inauguration, seems to be ensuring that the next election be won. Suppose that we were not to elect a vice president. Suppose that the losing presidential candidate with the most votes were to become our new vice president.

    I certainly have not thought out all the ramifications, and there are probably at least a dozen reasons why this would not work at all, but it seems to me that it might just force the president and the vice president to work together for the good of the nation, and that the role of the party would be diminished, at least until the next election.

    One obvious snag would be the succession of power in the event that the president dies or is forced from office. In spite of all the faults of the present system, this has not been a problem in recent times. In England, for example, the leader of the opposition does not assume power if the prime minister should die in office — the ruling party elects a new one, and that system also works well.

    Benjamin K. Raphael, Newark

    My Evil Plan Is Working

    Filed on at 3:22 pm under by Scott Somerville

    NYT: Declining Stock Prices


    Filed on at 3:18 am under by dcobranchi

    NCHE has evidently been co-opted. From one of the leaders of the North Carolinians for Home Education:

    I read Miss Dawns email and opinion/experiences in MD in regards to following the law to the letter. As a member of the NCHE board of directors, I thought I may shed a little different light on the matter. Ultimately, I believe it could be a catch22.

    1. NCHE, unlike HSLDA, has a long standing, good relationship with not only the DNPE but MANY legislators in the NC Senate and House. It was due to these relationships that we get early warnings on any potential changes to homeschool requirements in NC and then NCHE “nips them in the bud”, so to speak. This occurred just a year ago when NCHE got word from our friends in the House and Senate that the Governors Budget was going to put DNPE under the Public School umbrella. NCHE mobilized homeschoolers throughout the state, who responded by flooding the legislators emails and phones with calls. Just as important, according to the legislators, was that when they asked us to stop because they got the message, NC homeschoolers stopped in days, vs. weeks. This impressed the legislators the most and they told NCHE how impressed they were with the homeschool movement in NC. I believe this is different from the environment that was in MD and prevent a similar fate.

    NCHE should not be relying on friendly legislators to “tip them off.” It should be developing its own resources to monitor legislation. Yes, having allies is nice. Betting the farm on them, particularly if you have to roll over in order to do so, is just plain stupid.

    2. Although, you mention you have nothing to hide (most of us don’t), the legislators who don’t like homeschoolers would be even more suspicious of us if DNPE did not have the voluntary test results and attendance records at hand. NCHE has been told by inside sources that because a majority of NC homeschoolers do submit voluntarily, it gives ammo for the pro-homeschool legislators to fight for us and “prove” that homeschoolers have nothing to hide and they are educating their children (usually better than any public or private school). HSLDA is right on what the law states, but in order to avoid the scenario you presented, we believe this voluntary submission keeps DNPE in a friendly vs. adversary role when legislators call that office.

    So, our allies like us to be good little homeschoolers because it makes their jobs so much easier.

    3. DNPE has hired several new staffers whose job will be to visit homeschools who do not submit voluntarily. I agree there are too many for them to visit all those who request it. However, being they are a government agency, if they observe anything contrary to government reg on school conditions, children’s health, etc…there is a good chance they would report such info to social services and then all the hassles that go with such involvement would occur. Of course HSLDA would be there to support us….but why risk this?

    I apologize to Scott Somerville and HSLDA for all of my previous “sheeple” comments. I can’t imagine HSLDA going this far. This is scaremongering at its absolute worst. And from a home education advocate. An official in the group that purports to represent all home educators in the state. Bah!

    4. NC has one of the easiest homeschool laws on the books

    Utter bullshit! NC’s laws are middle of the road, at best.

    and thanks to our relationships, NCHE legal staff and lobbyist, we have the “option” to be inspected by mail or by personal visit. The personal visit costs DNPE money and they would prefer not to do them.

    Yes, I’m sure that it is inconvenient for the state educrats to drive all over the state checking to make sure that we’ve been good little homeschoolers. Perhaps if NCHE wasn’t encouraging people to over-comply, DNPE might throw up its hands and we could get the law changed. More freedom! Nah! We wouldn’t want that.

    However, there is a trend for people not to”work with DNPE” on voluntary submission

    Let’s hope so.

    so people who are following the law to the letter, may cause what they fear….new laws and requirements, something we at NCHE are actively trying to avoid at all costs…as noted above.

    And if the State tries to impose new regs, go to war! Jeez, what a bunch of complascent “leaders.”

    Anyway, we probably have to agree to disagree on this matter but I thought you would be interested in another viewpoint and some background. Please email or call me if you want to discuss further.

    Scott Anderson, Reg 10 Director, Greenville, NC

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