Utterly Meaningless » 2007 » May
  • I’M IN FOR $20…

    Filed on May 11, 2007 at 5:33 pm under by dcobranchi

    if I can figure our where to send the money.

    Can you make an egg fly 850 feet in the air, and then land without it breaking?
    Kaneville Township resident Karl Stough can. Stough, 17, has worked with two friends, 17-year-old Brendan McMillan and 14-year-old Matthew McMillan, to design and build a rocket to accomplish just that.

    The trio will compete in the Team America Rocketry Challenge, near Washington, D.C., on Saturday, May 19. The event features 100 teams of middle and high school students, each of which had to qualify for the right to compete at nationals.

    Stough and the McMillans, who are all home-schooled, have named their team for the street on which the McMillans live, Forest Academy…

    Stough and his friends said there are a lot of advantages to home-schooling. However, one of the drawbacks is that they won’t receive financial support for their participation in the event from an educational institution.

    “If the boys were in a school, the school would pick up their expenses,” said Stough’s mom, Mary.

    They have done odd jobs to earn some of the money they have spent, but they are also looking for sponsors to help defray some of their expenses.


    Filed on May 10, 2007 at 5:40 am under by dcobranchi

    I think the IndyStar gets it right.

    It is not unreasonable for a home-schooling parent to ask the local public school to enroll his or her child for a class or two. After all, the parent is paying a full share of taxes while shouldering most of the work of educating the youngster.

    It is likewise reasonable, however, to let the people entrusted with running the school system decide how best to use their limited resources, and how to make sure their primary responsibility — to fulltime students and those with basic special needs that can’t be met elsewhere — is fulfilled.

    I’m not exactly a fan of part-time enrollment. And I’m especially no fan of attempting to settle the question in the courts.

    IN parents who want this statewide first need to convince the homeschooling community and then the state legislature.


    Filed on at 5:30 am under by dcobranchi

    Kay Brooks points out that AR recently fixed their definition of homeschooling to allow for single-parent families:

    On April 2, 2007, Governor Mike Beebe signed into law House Bill 2394, changing the definition of a “home school” in Arkansas. Prior law defined this term as “a school primarily conducted by parents or legal guardians for their own children.” The new definition for a home school is “a school provided by a parent or legal guardian for his or her own child.”

    Of course, now, families with more than one kid are legally proscribed from home educating. 🙂


    Filed on May 9, 2007 at 8:00 pm under by dcobranchi

    I don’t think they exist.


    Filed on at 5:07 pm under by dcobranchi

    A Rob Reich wannabe?

    Kunzman is in the middle of a multi-year research project exploring home-schooling practices and philosophies across the U.S.


    Filed on at 4:59 pm under by dcobranchi

    Google used to have a link to the definition of your search term right at the top of the page. It’s gone now. Anyone know how to get it back?


    Filed on at 4:50 pm under by dcobranchi

    by this, the Stupid Hed of the Day:

    Home Schooler Takes Home the Grand Prize in Learning By Grace’s “I Have a Dream” Essay Contest

    I never promised, Mimi, not to make fun of stupid press releases.


    Filed on at 1:00 pm under by dcobranchi

    Five years ago to the minute:

    Welcome to my blog. This blog is dedicated to homeschooling and other education articles that I find interesting. It may also include some Delaware-specific “edustuff”. Forewarned and all that.

    :: Daryl Cobranchi 5/09/2002 01:00:00 PM [perma-link] ::


    Filed on May 8, 2007 at 4:58 pm under by dcobranchi

    Wall Street should avoid Las Vegas, as they don’t quite understand what a winning streak is:

    The Dow Jones industrial average closed lower Tuesday, ending its bid to claw out the longest up streak in Wall Street’s history.

    The Dow (down 7.07 to 13,305.90, Charts) ended about 4 points lower, after finishing with record closes for five sessions in a row. The blue-chip barometer has risen in 24 of the last 27 sessions – a feat last achieved almost 80 years ago.

    24-3 is a helluva run, but it’s not a “streak.”


    Filed on at 3:33 pm under by dcobranchi

    since I don’t think everyone needs to master algebra.

    In a world of rapidly rising standards and economic rewards for knowledge, are some American parents actually hostile to education? In my travels I’m seeing evidence that the answer is yes. It’s just bits and pieces so far but worth our attention, because in a globalizing economy, with the question of the U.S.’s competitiveness feeling more urgent all the time, such a shift would be puzzling – and very bad news.

    I was talking some time ago with a group of school superintendents from Maryland. The dominant mood was frustration – a sense that they weren’t making the progress with our kids that they wanted to. A few of the superintendents surprised me by saying they had received complaints from parents who were angry because their kids were being made to learn algebra. Basic objection: “What do they need algebra for? It’s hard!” Just a few days ago I was talking to a middle-school vice principal, this time in Nebraska. She reported the same thing: parents angry over kids having to learn algebra.

    Maybe that strikes you the way it did me – as simply unbelievable.

    I’m sorry, but I disagree that there is this significant body of knowledge that everyone in the country needs to have. Basic civics, yeah. Algebra? Why not trig? How ’bout calculus? Or ODE? One can easily get along with simple basic arithmetic. Here’s the text of the meail I sent the author:

    Education uber alles

    First off– I’m a home educator, so you can rest assured that I “value” education. That being said, there’s a problem with your basic premise. You assume that everyone needs to learn the same things in order to compete successfully in the global market. Those parents were questioning why their children had to learn algebra. For some it might really be unnecessary. Does your auto mechanic need to know how to solve a quadratic equation? Does your plumber need to know chemistry to snake out a clogged drain?

    These are not dead-end jobs. Tradesmen (and women) can earn more than a decent salary. I’ve known a few electricians who were clearing 6 figures easy.

    So why do you (and judging from the increasingly stringent graduation requirements) and society demand that everyone learn algebra? This is one reason homeschooling continues to grow. We don’t assume that all kids need to or want to learn the same basic set of facts. We allow kids to follow their interests. If they need to know algebra in order to do that, they learn algebra willingly. If they don’t need it, it’s just a waste of effort to attempt to force them to learn something they don’t want to learn.

    I doubt I’ll hear back.

    NEW AD —–>

    Filed on at 10:34 am under by dcobranchi

    Charlotte Mason creationism???


    Filed on May 7, 2007 at 4:03 pm under by dcobranchi

    Pretty cool APOD today.


    Filed on at 6:03 am under by dcobranchi

    Katelyn mowing the back 40


    Filed on at 4:51 am under by dcobranchi

    Michael Smith’s column in the WashTimes is actually pretty good.


    Filed on May 6, 2007 at 9:30 am under by dcobranchi


    Dora White of Alamogordo is a home-school grandmother. Her daughter, Chantel Horton, teaches White’s two grandchildren at home.

    “Their environment is good,” White said. “They have the moral standards of their parents, not some school board or superintendent.

    “They are allowed to have a childhood. Home-school girls look like little girls did before Brittany [sic] Spears. They aren’t pierced or tattooed.”

    Anecdotal, of course. I’m sure there are plenty of pierced and tattooed HEKs.

    BTW, I don’t think I’ve ever seen the term “home-school grandmother” before. That one, to me, doesn’t make a lot of sense. Is she defined by the choices her adult daughter makes?


    Filed on May 5, 2007 at 12:23 pm under by dcobranchi

    (I guess via COD) Scott Somerville found a post on Christian homeschooling that he didn’t like. Fight! Fight! Fight!


    Filed on at 9:24 am under by dcobranchi

    that only 30% of the GOP candidates for president are anti-science ultra-maroons.


    Filed on at 6:10 am under by dcobranchi

    Laura Derrick tipped me to a really good article in the Brooklyn Rail. A snippet to whet your appetite:

    The reasons why New Yorkers might choose to home-school are much discussed these days: kids thrive with one-on-one teaching; the best public schools fall in the most expensive zip codes and the lesser ones pop up in the news too often with fresh reports of poor test scores or violence; private schools charge life-altering tuition fees and their acceptance rates are ominously low.

    Better socialization, however, is not usually one of the benefits people associate with home-schooling. In fact, Benny’s mother, a writer and academic in Soho, says that when parents like herself tell other people they have chosen to home-school, the knee jerk response is, “What about friends? How will your kid deal in the real world?”

    Talking to parents in New York’s diverse and growing home-schooling community, these worries seem irrelevant and out of date. “Schools are so antiquated now,” says a mother and NYCHEA member in Williamsburg. “Schools are always the last thing to change as a society evolves.”

    Far from standard notions of home-schooled children as shy and awkward, home-schooling parents in New York think that the experience they’re offering leads to more proficient, socially nuanced, and comfortable children who are better prepared for their cosmopolitan surroundings

    Worth a read.


    Filed on at 4:47 am under by dcobranchi

    Google is your friend. Use it.

    From today’s Wilmington News-Journal:

    Well, as one observer noted, “It was bound to happen.” A school district near Syracuse, N.Y., has decided to outlaw laptop computers in the classroom.

    That’s not significant in itself. What was noteworthy was the fact The New York Times decided it was page one coverage. Are we about to spot a trend?

    Many would-be school reformers have pushed for more technology in the nation’s classroom, in hopes that the electronic boxes would make learning more interesting. Certainly, technology should be a part of schooling. After all, we do live in a plugged-in world.

    But, as with all methods, limits exist. As the school board president near Syracuse said, “The teachers were telling us when there’s a one-to-one relationship between the student and the laptop, the box gets in the way.”

    In other words, laptops can’t replace teachers.

    Awwwww. And now, the rest of the story (from the UPI):

    LIVERPOOL, N.Y., May 4 (UPI) — Liverpool, N.Y., has become the latest school district to drop laptops for the student body after the machines were abused more often than used for academics.

    Officials with the Liverpool Central School District have decided to phase out the school-issued laptops starting this fall, after it was discovered that the machines were being used to exchange answers on tests, download pornography and hack Web sites, the New York Times reported Friday.

    Attempts at securing the laptops against abusive behavior failed and teachers failed to notice any increase in students’ academic performance after the computers were issued.

    Additionally, the machines were found to be unreliable, with scores of the machines breaking down every month and the school’s network crashing nearly every morning when students attempted to access the Internet during study hall.

    “After seven years there was literally no evidence it had any impact on student achievement — none,” said Mark Lawson, the Liverpool school board president. “The teachers were telling us when there’s a one-to-one relationship between the student and the laptop, the box gets in the way. It’s a distraction to the educational process.”

    I think the cheating, porn, and hacking issues probably weighed a bit more heavily than the “box get[ting] in the way.”


    Filed on May 4, 2007 at 6:37 pm under by dcobranchi

    Blogads is running their annual survey of blog readers. It takes about 12 minutes to fill out (if you answer all of the optional questions). I’d be much obliged if you gave it a shot. 🙂



    Filed on at 5:31 am under by dcobranchi

    I’m not particularly impressed by a high school senior claiming that she’s in favor of higher school taxes.

    School taxes are preferable to failure among students

    I’m a senior who will be graduating from a Red Clay high school in June. I have come to the conclusion that support of the coming referendum is crucial to Red Clay’s continued success. I have been startled by some apathetic statements made by Red Clay voters.

    As to comments that we will soon be facing problems like New Jersey’s exorbitant property taxes, I would rather face a difficult tax burden than be a Delaware resident facing the fact that four out of 10 high school freshmen don’t graduate with their class.

    New Jersey’s public high school graduation rate is ranked first out of the 50 states. The adage “you get what you pay for” comes to mind.

    Thus, I am proud to assert that my first opportunity to vote will be for the referendum. I have no doubt this vote will reiterate the importance of a solid education to youth.

    Alissa Werzen, Wilmington


    Filed on May 3, 2007 at 1:53 am under by dcobranchi

    If I lived in Cape Henlopen, DE, I think I’d be voting for Conlon:

    School choice
    District officials and board members have often commented that some of the brightest and best students have decided not to attend the district’s public schools. Instead, they choose to go to private schools, attend charter schools or opt for home schooling. This affects the district’s financial base, because part of its funding is based on the number of students attending its schools. What do you intend to do to retain students in the district and to win back some of those who have left?

    Parents choose schools for their children for many reasons (i.e.: religious education) and I respect that right to choose. Cape Henlopen has many of the “best and brightest” who are afforded academically challenging programs, art, drama, band and athletic opportunities. Cape’s teachers are highly certified. Comparing lists of plans for graduating seniors from Cape and nonpublic institutions, I believe Cape would fare very well – showing a high percentage of college acceptance overall and inclusion of schools such as Harvard, Swarthmore and Penn State. Perhaps just better showcasing of our successes and the opportunities Cape Henlopen offers would influence parent choice.

    In order to regain and retain our students in the Cape Henlopen School District, I would inform the parents and students what the school district is currently doing to get our students back and to keep them. I assume and have heard the reasons for leaving are primarily their concerns about the academic challenges and discipline/safety in our schools.

    A committee called Academic Excellence, of which I am a member, is working on the following curriculum enhancements:

    • Adding a foreign language to the middle school curriculum by 2010.

    • Adding an AP foreign language to the high school curriculum by 2014.


    Filed on at 1:48 am under by dcobranchi

    Work hard for the next five years and this could be you.


    Filed on May 2, 2007 at 12:01 am under by dcobranchi

    Alt title: We’re just two lost souls swimmin’ in a fish bowl, year after year.

    Here’s the CoH.


    Filed on May 1, 2007 at 5:47 am under by dcobranchi

    Since we’ve been told for the past 5 years that patriotism and loyalty = STFU, I don’t think I’ll be celebrating this “holiday.”


    Filed on at 5:14 am under by dcobranchi

    Irony is still dead here in Fayetteville:

    Don’t compare Santa to Jesus, who knows us

    I was really hurt in my spirit to read about a chaplain, Maj. Richard Graves, who put a mere man who puts on a red-and-white suit and plays games each year above God (“President reflects on soldiers’ sacrifices,” April 9). Graves said God is “kind of like Santa Claus.” Lord, forgive him.

    Many people lie to their children that Santa Claus brought them what they wanted for Christmas. When the children grow up, they find that it was the parents all the time.

    Later, they tell their children about God and Jesus. The children think no more of Jesus and have no respect for God or man because of the Santa Claus lie.

    It was appalling that the chaplain put Santa Claus above God Almighty.

    If Graves read his Bible, then he would be familiar with “Jesus knew their thoughts” (Matthew 12:25) and “Jesus perceived their thoughts” (Luke 5:22). Psalms 139:1-4 is really good. You see, only God (Jesus) knows people’s thoughts, not Santa Claus.

    Sallie Swanigan
    Spring Lake

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