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  • A JETSONS NICKEL PHOTO

    Filed at 11:54 pm under by dcobranchi

    The Gadsen County (FL) Times resorts to a modern version of the oldest trick in the book. They also need some serious help with html formatting. I couldn’t read the whole thing without getting dizzy.

    34 Responses to “A JETSONS NICKEL PHOTO”


    Comment by
    COD
    September 16th, 2006
    at 9:54 am

    Apparently the concept of a paragraph has not yet made it to Gadsen FL.


    Comment by
    Valerie
    September 16th, 2006
    at 10:43 am

    Ow!


    Comment by
    maryalice
    September 16th, 2006
    at 11:01 am

    Here is one of the latest conversations that I had with a reporter:
    “Could we come and take a photo of you homeschooling?”
    “The kids are never in the same room except for meals. They are scattered doing various projects.”
    “OK, well could you just put them around the kitchen table?’
    “No, I don’t think so. I’ll think if I can come up with a photo-op.”
    “OK then, what are some misconceptions about homeschooling?”
    “That we sit around the kitchen table and “do school” – which is perpetuated by poor journalism.” The reporter laughed.

    Once an AP photographer wanted me to appear angry or mad. I refused that too. Could you imagine if that became the poster pict for homeschooling? My point is that HSERS are just as much to blame as reporters. Just say no to their ridiculous requests.


    Comment by
    COD
    September 16th, 2006
    at 11:39 am

    Right on maryalice! I’ve made the point many times that homeschoolers are often our own worst enemy when speaking with the press.


    Comment by
    speedwell
    September 16th, 2006
    at 11:50 am

    I could only read the first part of the article by copying and pasting it into Notepad. The whole thing is either written by a junior leaguer with no skills, or with a set intent to give the reader a vague sense of boredom and disgust through a monotonous tone and a lackluster vocabulary. I would use the thing as a great example of propaganda, really.


    Comment by
    JJ Ross
    September 16th, 2006
    at 3:29 pm

    Open Letter to Daryl About the “Oldest Trick in the Book” —
    I met the Knoblauch family years ago at a park day here in Tallahassee, when I was finding my way into home education with a five-year-old I refused to send to school, in the early 90s. HS support then seemed to me starkly divided between a majority of tightly wrapped, rule and convention-controlled conservative Christian school-at-homers who sang in the choir together, and a minority of free spirit, vegetarian, cheerfully late but mostly self-sufficient New Age dabblers who camped and canoed together to commune with nature and each other — not much in between. The Knoblauchs definitely were the latter!

    (See in the story how it says they built their own home – I think they mean with their own hands, in the homestead sense of the phrase, wanna bet it has solar panels and a redwood-barrel hot tub?)

    We visited around and tried to fit in somewhere, but we camp mainly in cool, critter-free, civilized libraries and bookstores, and choose movie popcorn over soybean curd every time. When none of the local homeschool groups fit us we made our own way, and thank goodness we can, isn’t that the whole point of home education freedoms?

    Gadsden County is right next to us here in the capital city, a sparsely populated, impoverished rural area lacking infrastructure and leadership of every kind, unable to turn things around. Democratic in voter registration btw, like DC. The resident population that does enroll in the public schools are overwhelmingly black, the kids trapped with no other options except prison. (Because everyone with options TAKES them.)

    Only four percent of the county’s ps population was white non-hispanic last year, and fully half of those few white kids are on free-and-reduced price lunch, a third of them have identified learning disabilities— the most relevant “virtual” truth I see in Gadsden County is that virtually no families of any race or circumstance choose those schools when some other way of educating their children, ANY other way public or private, is accessible to them instead.

    There’s no tax base or core creative class to build on there, and there won’t be as long as the schools are horrendous — who would choose to move a family there and attend those schools? Nothing that’s been tried for decades, under either R or D state administrations has been able to turn things around. The NCLB school grades are mostly “D” and that’s just because the state can’t politically afford to shut down the whole thing, and wouldn’t know what to do with it to improve it anyway. Income and demographics. Strikingly similar to Washington DC public schools imo, and looking to vouchers, virtuals, God and all other possible escape routes for the same compelling reasons.

    I know about the school system from my public school lobbying days, but over more recent years as unschoolers here, we’ve known several families who live in Gadsden County and dance at our studio, none of whom will consider sending their children to those schools. They go back and forth between homeschooling when parents aren’t working anyway, to paying thousands in tuition when both parents are working and they can afford it, to a huge ultra-conservative ad traidtional brick-and-mortar in Tallahassee called North Florida Christian. The kids wear uniforms and learn uniform stuff on every subject.

    And there’s a small, snooty let-em-eat-cake “day school” in Gadsden County for the few landed rich folks on old plantations to put on airs and stay away from the rabble. I suppose it’s the equivalent of the privates in DC like the one the Clintons sent Chelsea to for the same reason.

    “Oldest trick in the book?” I haven’t been reading you long enough to know for sure what that means, just long enough to venture a guess — virtual seduction of homeschoolers? Nope, this story is about complicated families and communities with multi-dimensional lives and joys and intractable political realities that can’t be “defined” away. Nothing simple and clear about that.

    JJ


    Comment by
    speedwell
    September 16th, 2006
    at 6:47 pm

    *claps politely*


    Comment by
    JJ Ross
    September 16th, 2006
    at 6:59 pm

    Whatever. It was posted on request.


    Comment by
    Jeanne
    September 16th, 2006
    at 7:17 pm

    I think “oldest trick in the book” is referring to the media’s long-time tendency to always put homeschoolers around the kitchen table to take a photo or video. The modern Jetson version of that is to put homeschoolers around the computer for photo-op.

    I think.


    Comment by
    Daryl Cobranchi
    September 16th, 2006
    at 7:23 pm

    Give that woman a cigar!


    Comment by
    COD
    September 16th, 2006
    at 8:02 pm

    I wish I had a nickel for everytime I wondered what the hell JJ is talking about 🙂


    Comment by
    Spunky
    September 16th, 2006
    at 8:10 pm

    I didn’t even bother to read the article it was so poorly done, but I have to say I did enjoy Mary Ann’s comment here.


    Comment by
    Nance Confer
    September 16th, 2006
    at 8:56 pm

    Mary Alice’s comments? Yep, they were nice. A heads up to all of us who might ever give an interview.

    OTOH, given the ongoing ridiculousness about charterhsers, I am surprised that JJ’s perspective on this is not appreciated — or even understood.

    Maybe y’all aren’t real familiar with Florida. We not only don’t know how to count votes. We have pockets of poverty to rival anywhere else in the country. We call some of them counties.

    But if actually understanding the circumstances that might be behind some of the choices families make is not relevant. . .

    And, fwiw, here’s an earlier article on the same family:

    tinyur.../nzbfo

    It’s a lot easier on the eyes. And it says — as does the later one — that the Knoblauch family is using the Florida Virtual School. Not the Florida Virtual Academy (the K12 school). Actually, what it says is the Mom is a teacher for FLVS — maybe the son doesn’t even use that option. You’re certainly not required to.

    Of course, neither article mentions the private school option for homeschoolers here. . .

    Whatever. They have found a way to get the education they want. In one of our least opulent areas.

    Nance


    Comment by
    Annette
    September 17th, 2006
    at 5:37 pm

    Nance wrote:OTOH, given the ongoing ridiculousness about charterhsers

    I don’t see where Daryl was making the entry specifically about the family. Might I suggest that you and JJ consider that is something you both consisently do as it relates to ps-at-home and hsing?

    I will not use the terminology “charterhsers” because I see that as an oxymoron. But somehow that particular position seems to get interpretated by you both as a slap in the face to those individuals who choose home-based charter schools. Would it be possible for you both to keep that particular disagreement about the issue and not about the people? I don’t see people as the problem. Do you, Nance and JJ?

    About FLVS: I do think it would be good for hsers to really understand what is happening in FL with hsing as it relates to FLVS. There is no reason to think that it is just a FL thing. There are reasons that it is a national trend to watch. My focus is on the programs.
    spunky...t.html


    Comment by
    JJ Ross
    September 17th, 2006
    at 8:17 pm

    Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose . . .

    “When none of the local homeschool groups fit us, we made our own way, and thank goodness we can, isn’t that the whole point of home education freedoms?”


    Comment by
    Annette
    September 17th, 2006
    at 8:56 pm

    JJ,
    This won’t be good for Chris, he has a hard enough time trying to understand you when you use the English language. 🙂
    At any rate, I’ll be adding info about separating the people from the problem to the Keeping Homeschool Freedom message board.

    colora...13.htm
    Separating People and Issues
    **snip**
    Fisher and Ury’s first principle is to separate the people from the issues. People tend to become personally involved with the issues and with their side’s positions. And so they will tend to take responses to those issues and positions as personal attacks.


    Comment by
    JJ Ross
    September 17th, 2006
    at 10:38 pm

    Hey Chris,
    Send me a bill, and the routing sequence for your checking account!:)


    Comment by
    Annette
    September 17th, 2006
    at 11:11 pm

    JJ,
    Here’s a little secret: I really do hope that FLVS’s situation (large homeschooled enrollment) will not eventually lead into some loss of independence for homeschoolers in Florida.

    ncsw.h...board/

    Don’t bother explaining Osceola County, such as demographics to me. I get it that you see something pretty positive in FL hsers participating in FLVS. I just hope while being very skepitcal.


    Comment by
    JJ Ross
    September 18th, 2006
    at 11:53 am

    So the new homeschool protection theme is to keep people separate from their own education problems and issues, the better for ill-informed strangers to solve those problems for them impersonally, in legalistic ways.
    Seriously?


    Comment by
    Annette
    September 18th, 2006
    at 1:02 pm

    new homeschool protection theme

    ???
    Since you and I have been having these types of discussions(?), I have been of the position that using clear terminology was important.

    to keep people separate from their own education problems and issues

    How am I keeping anyone separate from their own education problems by having a yahoo group and a blog where all information about issues is public, and I welcome differing viewpoints on my blog and on my yahoogroup?

    to solve those problems for them impersonally, in legalistic ways.

    I’m not trying to solve any problems for anyone. I am quite realistic about my own capabilities. I am involved in watching ps-at-home issues nationally. Watching, blogging, discussing doesn’t equal solving anything.

    As to what I am serious about: I don’t consider the topic and the time I put into it, a joke. I consider it productive.


    Comment by
    Nance Confer
    September 18th, 2006
    at 1:13 pm

    Annette, I seriously doubt you have much of an idea what Daryl intended. Or what JJ meant. Or what I meant. Or how FLVS operates.

    And, of course, you are dead wrong. The whole idea of homeschooling, homeschooling freedoms, choice, options, etc., is that individuals do matter. That individual circumstances matter. That custom-fitted education arrangements are available and are chosen by different families, in different combinations for different reasons.

    No, I am not afraid that FLVS is somehow going to erode my ability to hs. Currently, there are over 230 students enrolled in the private school for homeschoolers that I run. I would guess that about 30 of those students take 1 or more courses through FLVS. I know this only because I have to click a button to add the parents to the sign on page. After that, I am not involved at all. All 230 students go about the business of learning ungoverned by me or anyone else. EXCEPT — now pay attention, this is complicated — once a quarter, the parents send me an “attendance” report. Remarkably, the students have terrific attendance! 🙂

    As for the spread of FLVS, not only is it a possibility, it is a reality. FLVS has been contacted by many states asking how they can set up similar programs. If you go to the FLVS.net and read under Products & Services, you will see a tab called National/International.

    I wouldn’t say FLVS is the best thing since sliced bread or that it fits every kind of hsing. Or every belief system. Or every child — one of mine is interested and the other has turned his nose up.

    But it is not a threat to my right to homeschool. In any way, shape or form. And it is very much about each individual family making choices, changing and adjusting, dealing with their reality, as they homeschool.

    You and Spunky can be as distrustful of this option as HEMthink directs, but the rest of us look at what an option offers and decide whether to use it, or not, based on the facts.

    Nance


    Comment by
    JJ Ross
    September 18th, 2006
    at 2:29 pm

    The link and quote is just above, empahsis added:

    I’ll be adding info about separating the people from the problem to the Keeping Homeschool Freedom message board.

    Separating People and Issues
    **snip**
    Fisher and Ury’s first principle is to separate the people from the issues. . .

    Yes, I read the whole “Getting to Yes” link provided. I also read the entire book in the 80s when it came out, because I was a professional policy and education issues negotiator. I may still have a copy in a box somewhere. Good stuff then and now, even if it does seem cheerfully quaint in today’s post 9-11 world.

    But their clear predicate is understanding what’s a negotiation and what is not, who the legitimate parties are and getting them to the table, versus who has no standing, agreeing to defer to presiding mediators if any, the format, process, rules of engagement, etc.

    Homeschooling has none of that. We are sovereign individuals who apparently can lack enough interests even for a civil conversation, much less negotiating treaties or defining education law.

    To me it’s confusing to conflate political blogging with negotiation, kinda like confusing animal training with education or car sales contracts with marriage. And it could confuse the public in a very negative way if we are heard to say homeschool issues are not about people!

    It’s not actual laws or programs or education news stories that are confusing imo, any more than Bible verses are confusing — it’s different people defining reality for all of us based on their own interests and ends, often with advice from dubious or even dangerous authority, that makes the Law of (either man or God confusing.

    We needn’t negotiate with each other for our freedom, thank god AND reason. That’s the whole point. We have no hold on each other so no reason to lock horns or bargain.

    And no binding arbitration provision, which is why this poor horse is abused ad infinitum . . .

    If this homeschool-charter school definition thing is a problem for opposed parties who can be legally defined and formally represented, they certainly can negotiate any way they want as far as I’m concerned, because I am NOT concerned. But who would have standing in that hypothetical negotiation — I don’t think any of us is empowered to negotiate against ps or each other “for homeschooling.” (If someone claims such power, THEN I am concerned.)

    Absent clear and universal definition of the problem, the parties, the solution, and designated representatives to negotiate compromises we can all live by, and if none of us as real people are supposed to apply our own thoughts or feelings about it as individuals, then what the heck IS it being talked about until horses drop and the lights go out?


    Comment by
    Annette
    September 18th, 2006
    at 5:23 pm

    JJ,
    Well, no surprise you said so much and none of it is relevant for me to reply to.
    I don’t want to negotiate anything with you or anyone else. I don’t want any problem solved. I could build a case based on past discussions where you and Nance see *people* as the problem–even here on Daryl’s blog comments. I’d like you to consider that. That was why I included the snip. You switch from the issue to the person quite frequently. Nance did it with HEM comment above–as if HEM is the problem. HEM translates into people.

    You disagree with me on something. To tell you the truth, I don’t know what that is. I can guess that I want to use clear terminology as it relates to ps-at-home programs, and you do not. I would say public school has a definition and therefore, it can’t be homeschooling too. You would probably disagree. So what? Why does this have to be an ordeal? We can agree to disagree and move on.


    Comment by
    Nance Confer
    September 18th, 2006
    at 5:36 pm

    I don’t see all people as a problem, Annette. Just some. Like you.

    But people like the ones in the article that started this thread are not a problem. They are not hsing the way I do. But they are making choices to meet the needs of their family.

    And they call it homeschooling.

    And if you have a problem with that, too bad.

    And if you can’t see that all of this is about individuals not kowtowing to your definition, or anyone else’s definition, or your handwringing calls for clarity, as defined by you of course, then too bad.

    Move on, indeed.

    Nance


    Comment by
    JJ Ross
    September 18th, 2006
    at 6:16 pm

    NO. And no, and no and no . . .
    We both happen to be English-speaking moms who don’t send our kids to public school. Period. So the only point over all these years, is that this one common characteristic is obviously not sufficient basis for productive communication, much less agreement — on anything from religion to politics to parenting and education.

    Homeschoolers don’t HAVE to agree, or understand or like each other, or even TOLERATE each other, to responsibly mind our own family business and protect our own homeschool freedoms as we individually see fit. We don’t have to resolve our differences to some cheesy compromise or shut up one or the other or both of us, to be able to cross paths in homeschool circles once in a while without going into a frenzy of horse-beating.


    Comment by
    Annette
    September 18th, 2006
    at 6:37 pm

    Nance,
    I don’t see how anyone’s comments here were negative about the family or negative to how they choose to homeschool and blend psing with that.

    Repeatedly, you tell me what I think and what I’m doing. You’re not even close to reality. For some reason, you have a goal to misrepresent me.
    Me thinketh you two doth protest too much.


    Comment by
    Nance Confer
    September 18th, 2006
    at 6:45 pm

    Me thinketh you are wasting my time, as always.

    Bye bye.

    Nance


    Comment by
    Annette
    September 18th, 2006
    at 6:52 pm

    JJ,
    Again, I’m not looking to resolve any differences with you. I’d like to be able to post my comments without the drama that happens when you and Nance come along. You posted something totally absurd and nonsensical as it related to me at 11:53 am today. Can you see where we are disagreeing without trying to misrepresent who I am, what I think and what I am doing? You make it all about me and not the issue. Again, I don’t know what your issue is. I just know that because of my position on an issue, you both react to my comments as though I’m a threat to be dealt with. My thought is that your negative communication tactics are a method of trying to contain the damage being done by the truth being presented.


    Comment by
    JJ Ross
    September 18th, 2006
    at 7:31 pm

    This thread was about a family and a local situation I know imtimately, thousands of miles from where you’ve said your home is. But I shared my information and perspective with Daryl privately, because I was concerned you would use it as an opportunity to rerun the drama if I posted it openly. No, he said, don’t be silly, that wouldn’t happen, post it please. So I did, and then you did and here we are, again.

    Blame me, or charters, or god’s plan to torment us both with each other for eternity. You have the perfect freedom and right to blame anything you like. As do I. And I happen do see ignorance and extreme conservative literalism (especially powered by the divine) as a very real political threat to be dealt with, by all thinking, reasoning homeschool families. Yes. At least I finally have clearly communicated that.


    Comment by
    JJ Ross
    September 18th, 2006
    at 8:17 pm

    Weird, just saw this at Scott’s new blog, same point except blaming the opposite POV for being clueless:

    Being generally reasonable and tolerant of diversity, liberals should be especially sensitive to the dangers of religious literalism. But they aren’t.”


    Comment by
    Annette
    September 18th, 2006
    at 9:06 pm

    JJ,
    First, I have to reject the label that you would like to put on me. You don’t listen enough to be able to explain anything about me.
    There isn’t a “bad guy” in this situation. Not me, not you. I have objected to some of the communication tactics you have used against me that’s all.

    Beyond that I see something here that I didn’t see before:
    When you posted about the family, I received it as you thought the family needed to be defended and have their reasons justified for choosing to participate in FLVS. Actually as I now see, you saw the power of story. Great. But my perspective is that I won’t look at people’s reasonings for choosing to participate in public schools or public school programs. Out of respect for them and their choice and for parents knowing their own children, I don’t think it is any of my business to look at their personal situations. I would even think that families wouldn’t want their personal situations put on the internet unless they offered it themselves.

    You see me as a threat. However, if someone who shares the same position as I do (“public schooling is already defined and it can’t be hsing too”), engages in “you’re not a hser” online debate that I’m aware of; then I would and have turned to that person and said, “Let’s not look at the labels people decide to wear. Instead let’s turn our attention to the public school program.”
    The parents by making a ps educational choice for their children are not a problem or a threat to hsing. If the problem is one where a parent is not informed, usually the “who is a hser” debates wouldn’t be too productive in getting a person to listen to the other’s viewpoint.
    In my opinion, I have brought something positive to the online discussions. I stand on a principle that a hsing focus should be on the program, not on who uses them. I don’t want to burn bridges with those individuals who choose the ps programs instead of hsing. I suspect that in my state if there were ps-at-home programs being offered to homeschooled students, it would be popular with hsers. I try to deal in facts and what is possible based on those facts.


    Comment by
    Annette
    September 20th, 2006
    at 9:43 am

    ncsw.h...lists/
    >>>If “literalism” means “seeking the plain meaning without exaggeration, distortion, or inaccuracy”, and separating the facts from someone’s ideals, then yes, I would classify myself as a literalist when it comes to seeing the necessity in aknowledging the distinctions between homeschooling and public school-at- home programs….>>>>


    Comment by
    JJ Ross
    September 20th, 2006
    at 2:07 pm

    I ACKNOWLEDGE THE DISTINCTIONS BETWEEN HOMESCHOOLING AND PUBLIC SCHOOL AT HOME! Literally! Case closed, problem solved? This is a plain literal fact, for all the good it does out of educated context and humanl application, which isn’t much imo.

    Knowledge management pros operate vast fact-based literal-thinking computer systems dealing only in technical data, just the facts, right? Then surely if any group can, they can define their OWN program terms plainly?

    While I’d hesitate to suggest that we have ‘officially sanctioned’ definitions of buzz words (who would decide?), but it should be obvious that we at least agree to stop using buzzwords as if they had an agreed upon definition.

    Over the years I’ve developed an amusing, informative and often unintentionally cruel habit. If I’m in a meeting and someone uses a buzzword, I ask the outrageous and I guess, socially incorrect question, I ask the speaker to define the word/phrase they just uttered.

    Typically this prompts a round robin discussion of what the term really means. Sometimes, it becomes very embarrassing, as the person who voiced the term is totally incapable of offering a definition. They *literally* don’t know what they’re talking about.


    Comment by
    JJ Ross
    September 21st, 2006
    at 7:49 am

    So I concentrate on distinctions that matter much more to freedom, for example:

    It helps my own understanding to sharply distinguish school as institutional place, from education as personal goal/ attribute. What we compel is showing up at the place, not becoming an educated person.

    After Abu Ghirab, a Stanford psychologist detailed how “place” can win over “person” through concepts like institutionalization, escalating dehumanization, stress and stereotyping, the seduction of boredom, the evil of inaction and much more. Sounds too much like what’s gone wrong between school and education — we’ve institutionalized thinking and learning and productive work, and lost the individuals we meant to inspire and empower in the process. . .