Three teachers who took home more than $60,000 in overtime pay last year are under investigation by the Chicago Board of Education...

One of the three teachers, Demetrie Smith, said her $88,000 in overtime is a reward for her hard work, not evidence of wrongdoing.

The Chicago board also will investigate a custodian-engineer who made $138,815 in overtime in 2000, the Tribune reported.
A NEW HSING BLOG I stumbled across.
Amy Kropp is a Catholic home schooling mom who has temporarily set aside her career as an attorney to stay home with her kids. On this site, Amy discusses home schooling, Catholic blogs, Catholic books, and other newsworthy issues. "More Like Mary, Less Like Martha" refers to Luke 10:38-42. Amy strives to be "more like Mary" in this story, attending first to the things that are important, rather than the things that seem urgent.
CLUELESS IN CONNECTICUT HSing is apparently unusual in Shelton, CT.
"I get asked all the time why isn't [Reed} in school," Carol Mayhew said. "I just say we're done for the day." When she tells people that she home schools her children, Mayhew said some people inquire whether it is legal to home-school children.
ONE SMART EX-GOVERNOR This article describing the plans of ex-Gov's ends with this one:
[Maine's Ex-Governor King] has mapped out a vastly different plan - with pins on a large map in his living room. He and his wife bought a 40-foot mobile home and are planning a six-month tour of the country, home schooling their two children along the way.

After that, King's not sure what comes next. The former businessman might teach, he might go back into business, he might write. "My wife says whatever I do, it won't involve a coat and tie."

VACCINES IN THE NEWS More and more parents are not having their kids immunized.
THIS JUST ISN'T RIGHT Parents seeking to get their kids into one of NYC's gifted and talented programs, are told to start preparing two years before their kids are ready to enroll.
In a pinch, parents can turn to consultants like the folks at Smart City Kids, an organization primarily devoted to helping parents get their children into private schools but which also offers workshops ($195 for two and a half hours) geared toward the public schools' gifted and talented programs. Free tip offered on the Web site: "The application process for some of the most selective public schools in New York City often begins a year before your child is scheduled to start school. Allow yourself this year's time to do the research." How many working-class parents can spend a year prenavigating the system?...

The number of good schools and good programs is still tiny. As long as that's the case, most parents who can do so will move mountains on behalf of their own children — mountains of cash for the Jack Grubmans, or of singlemindedness and savvy, with maybe a little bit of string-pulling, for many of us. But what about everyone else?


A DAY LATE The true story of the first Thanksgiving.

THIS IS NOT FUNNY Quotes from a chat room for teachers:
"If you had complete freedom in the classroom what would you do to make your class behave, the more extreme the better."

This brought the response: "I think I would nail their hands to the desk, tie them in their seats and liberally use gaffer tape around the mouths.

"I may also keep a machete handy and talk about how Saudi Arabia gets it right!!"

"A large handgun, which is used to blow the head off of the first pupil who has failed to shut up/do homework/sit properly at their desk/speak politely to me.

"obviously a light-hearted and humourous [sic] thread where people are saying things they don't really mean".
PHENOM This HSer has a pretty impressive resume (at 17) and even more impressive plans:

Well, she is just 17, and ... Karisa Solt already has played two soccer seasons for the New Jersey Institute of Technology and is closing in on a degree in biomedical engineering.

At a time when most teens her age are thinking about the senior prom, Solt is thinking about graduating college in less than four years so that she can attend Bible college before heading off to medical school.


SO, I LIED I can't resist blogging this. We are preparing our Thanksgiving meal to the absolutely gorgeous sounds of the Llewellyn Family. The Llewellyn's are HSers who worship and play some wonderful classical music together. If you have a music lover on your Christmas list, click the link above or drop me an email for the Llewellyn's email address. They also perform at functions.
OTOH I do rest on Thanksgiving Day. See y'all tomorrow.
THE ENEMY NEVER RESTS (not even on Thanksgiving Day) David Broder has a column up extolling the virtues of universal preschool for 3-year-olds.
The special feature of this study was its effort to measure the economic benefits. The Abecedarian Project was pretty expensive, as preschool programs go -- $13,000 per child in current dollars, about twice the cost of the average Head Start program. That is because the classes were small, the teachers well-trained and well-paid, and the curriculum challenging.

But it paid off in multiples, the researchers said. The lifetime earnings of those in the project are projected to be $143,000 greater than those in the control group. The program also involved the mothers of these youngsters, helping them improve their basic skills in reading, mathematics and other subjects. As a result, the mothers' incomes are projected to grow by $133,000 over the years.

Extrapolation is a dangerous thing. The cited study involved low-income families. Extrapolating these results to the population at large takes a leap of faith. But Broder is willing to make it (with our kids and our tax dollars, of course).
That is a huge return on the investment, and explains why the Committee for Economic Development, a leading business group, has endorsed a rapid expansion of high-quality preschool programs, with the goal of making them available for all youngsters starting at age 3.
How long before universal availability becomes compulsory attendance? I'd give it five years or less.
WHAT WERE THEY THINKING? Colby Cosh has a terrific post on the end of schooling as we have known it.
Not just public schools--all schools, or at least all schools that are run on the education-factory model, with 20-plus students per class being taught according to cookie-cutter curricula. Does it ever strike you that the way we teach our children is impractical, antiquated, and, viewed a certain way, sort of shocking?...

When we hear of someone home-schooling their children, we recoil in instinctual horror at the thought of inbred, socially maladjusted kids learning weird and possibly dangerous ideas. But the early evidence from an exploding home-schooling movement is that home-schooled children do very well indeed. They seem to be hugely overrepresented among winners of debate competitions, science fairs, geography bees, and the like. Top American universities fight with each other to get these kids. It seems clear to me that home-schooling is the best choice for most children, under ideal circumstances, if only because it puts the responsibility for that education in the same place where the interest exists. A schoolteacher gets paid whether or not your particular child learns to read. If you're a literate parent you're not going to let that kind of thing slide.
That 2nd graf is the key. No one wants the kids to succeed more than the parents do. The problem is that we, as a society, have been snookered by the educrats into believing that education is so difficult that only a trained, credentialed "professional" could ever hope to succeed.

Cash later goes on to propose a "community school" organized by a few parents who jointly hire a tutor for their kids using public tax dollars. Except for the money, it sounds an awful lot like the co-ops that HSers have been using for years. [reblogged from Joanne Jacobs]

UPDATE: Cosh updated his post here. He has some very nice things to say about HSing.


The Way I See It, petitions by parents who elect to home-school aren't going to go away. Should home-schooled youth be allowed to participate in public school extra-curricular activities within the school district in which their parents pay taxes? That is the question.

Recently, I had an opportunity to discuss the matter with a father who has a daughter who is a gifted athlete. She has played in AAU sports over the summer and fall with public school children, but will be unable to pursue middle and high school athletics if the district chooses to lock out home-schooled children. He was interested in hearing my position as a member of the media.

While I informed him I was open to the situation, I did hint that I'm leaning toward the lock out. Personally, those who find the public school system unacceptable for academics, but permissible for athletics, music and theater, confuse me. I must admit, it appears they want their cake and eat it to.
UPDATE: I've been cogitating on this one all night and I'm still not sure how I feel. Personally, I don't think we would ever attempt to have our kids play public-school sports. But, we live in an area where there are tons of other activities for the kids. Would I still be so sure if we were living in a small town where the high school sports program was the be-all and end-all? I don't know. And, what about the kids who are particularly athletic and potential scholarship candidates?

On the other hand, I can see how allowing HSers to participate could cause problems in the school. There are only a limited number of positions on many teams. What happens when a HSer's participation causes another kid (who actually attends the school) to miss the cut? Is the HSer treated like some kid of interloper? Do the teachers and the PTA get involved? It could get ugly.

That said, I don't see how allowing HSers to participate (or parents lobbying for that "right") could negatively affect HSing freedoms. So, even though I would not choose to have my kids participate, I support the HSing parents in their efforts.
EQUAL TIME Frequent readers of this site know that I have spent a fair number of elctrons railing against know-nothing state legislators, which is why I want to grant equal time to a CA legislator who is on the ball.
Rest assured, if you home school your child, you are not doing anything wrong. Home schooling is perfectly legal in California and has been for more than 100 years. Eastin's assault was simply an attempt to force more kids into traditional public schools, which lose roughly $4,000 for every child who isn't sitting inside a state sponsored classroom...

If Eastin had focussed her eight years in office upon education fundamentals like reading, writing, math, and history, it seems likely she would not now feel the need to force students back into traditional settings. Instead, while test scores remain dismal, Eastin poured much of her energy into politically correct causes -- diversity mandates, sensitivity training and promoting anything-goes tolerance.

LIBERTARIAN ED ISSUE This is one of those articles where libertarians and social conservatives part ways.
Community opposition to a gay-straight student club is pushing an eastern Kentucky coal-mining county to the forefront of a broader cultural debate, as more of the groups form on school campuses nationwide.

Students staged a walkout and local ministers organized a rally attracting at least 1,000 people this month to protest a decision to allow the student-led Gay-Straight Alliance to meet at Boyd County High School in Cannonsburg.
My view- leave the kids alone.
INTERNET LIBRARY FOR KIDS This new website currently has 200 titles online and completely free (no adverts, either). Eventually, they aim for 10,000 titles. One caveat- you'll need broadband to access the site (although they hope to have a version set-up for dial-up by next summer).
OT- VACCINE CONSPIRACY? The alleged MMR vaccine/autism connection has come up on several HS listservs I monitor, so I'll throw this one out without commentary.
Attorneys for the Bush Administration asked a federal court on Monday to order that documents on hundreds of cases of autism allegedly caused by childhood vaccines be kept from the public.

Department of Justice lawyers asked a special master in the US Court of Federal Claims to seal the documents, arguing that allowing their automatic disclosure would take away the right of federal agencies to decide when and how the material should be released.

Attorneys for the families of hundreds of autistic children charged that the government was trying to keep the information out of civil courts, where juries might be convinced to award large judgments against vaccine manufacturers.
COLLEGE MEN- A THING OF THE PAST? The percentage of males on college campuses in the US has dropped to 43%.
[R]ampant anti-male feminism has made colleges a place where many males feel unwanted and unwelcome...

"At our universities today, you have these sensationalized lies about men that are put out by women's studies departments and women's centers -- and they've become an integral part of the campus culture," Sacks says.
I don't know about "sensationalized lies" but there is little doubt that at least some academics are anti-male.
What is Enlightenment Magazine: Which brings us to another question I wanted to ask you. Sally Miller Gearhart, in her article, “The Future—If There is One—Is Female,” writes: “At least three further requirements supplement the strategies of environmentalists if we were to create and preserve a less violent world. 1) Every culture must begin to affirm the female future. 2) Species responsibility must be returned to women in every culture. 3) The proportion of men must be reduced to and maintained at approximately ten percent of the human race.” What do you think about this statement?

Mary Daly: I think it’s not a bad idea at all. If life is to survive on this planet, there must be a decontamination of the Earth. I think this will be accompanied by an evolutionary process that will result in a drastic reduction of the population of males. People are afraid to say that kind of stuff anymore. [link via Instapundit]
GOOD ADVICE In a conference for parenting "gifted" students, we find this advice:
"You've got to look at the child as whole," she said. "The god of education says, `No child can go to the second grade without knowing how to skip and do a forward roll.' "

Johnson encourages parents to give children responsibilities at home, saying it will help them at school while giving them strong self-esteem.

And don't dare let your child read in lieu of taking out the trash, she said.

"They learn that if they don't want to take out the trash, they go read," she said. "Make them take out that trash. And don't pay them for it. Part of that trash is theirs. Pay them an allowance, but don't pay them to take out the trash."

As well, she said, parents need to be careful not to overbook their children in lessons.

"We have so many gifted kids who are `hurry up and wait,' " she said. "They have too many irons in the fire ... You might be able to afford all the lessons. But that doesn't mean good parenting."

Johnson had other suggestions.

Gifted kids, she said, are worriers, so give them an opportunity to get involved in a cause.

"This gives them something to worry about that they can work on," she said.

Also, parents -- namely mothers, she said -- need to be sure they don't "false rescue" their gifted kids by, for example, taking forgotten homework or an overdue library book to school.

"It weakens children," she said.
All of these should apply equally to all children, "gifted" or not.
I'VE ALWAYS WANTED TO VISIT CHINA This is a first for me- a "Nigerian Scam Letter" from Taiwan. Here's the funniest part:
[M]y proposal is that I will like you as a foreigner to stand in as the next of kin to Mr. Smith Lawrence so that the fruits of this old man's labor will not get into the hands of some corrupt government officials.
Yes, so much better for it to fall into the hands of some corrupt scam artist and his American accomplice.
ONE FOR IZZY This sounds terrible. HSLDA is reporting that a newbie HSing family received the following message on their answering machine from the Superintendent of Revere (MA) Public Schools:
Hi Mrs. [Stillman], this is Dr. Malaiko. Uh, what you sent me is totally unacceptable. Uh, I expect to hear from you sometime today. Uh, if I don't hear from you today, then I'm going to be forced to take action. Uh, I can be rea—Oh, I want her enrolled in school. The telephone number is (781) 485-2748. This is totally unacceptable, and this is disgusting- what you've done to this girl. I am totally appalled.
There is no available info on what got him so upset. HSLDA ends their post with this:
The Stillmans are not the only family in Revere to suffer from Dr. Malaiko's hostility. HSLDA represents another family in town that has had even worse experiences. Please pray for homeschoolers in Revere and elsewhere who face hostile school officials like Dr. Malaiko.


WRONG TARGET This article is about helping kids "bounce back." There are all sorts of suggestions, from Boys Clubs/Girls Clubs to more parental involvement. All good ideas, I'm sure. Only one problem- the lede misses the big point:
Phoenix was 5 when she climbed into the laundry chute and landed in a tangle of towels. She couldn't wait to try it again. When she was 10 and her bike brakes failed, sending her halfway up an oak tree, she immediately strategized ways to get higher next time. But now that she's in that self-concept nightmare called middle school, it takes her three days to rebound from one bad-hair day.
So, how did a rambunctious 5-year-old turn into a young lady so overly concerned with her appearance? Surely, this was learned behavior- learned in school from her age peers. That's a major problem with forced schooling. The kids are segregated by age and one stupid idea can get passed around until it's treated as the gospel truth. Without the influence of older students (or, better yet, adults), the kids grow up like they're living in "Lord of the Flies."
WWHS This is one of those stories that takes you through a range of emotions: frustration, anger, despair.
IT WAS THE end of September when problems began on Samantha Milligan's school bus.

Samantha, 6, rides to an autistic support class at Richmond Elementary School on a bus that primarily carries special-education students.

Autistic children have difficulty communicating. They can't understand teasing. They can't describe harassment.

So you have to wonder what in God's name the school district was thinking when two boys who'd been transferred from another elementary school for disciplinary reasons were added to the bus roster.

The troubled boys, brothers in second and fourth grades who weren't in special education, teased and tormented the vulnerable children on the bus.

"My daughter would get off the bus crying and there are such communication difficulties, she couldn't tell us. She was just crying," said Samantha's mother, Kelly.

Which is bad enough.

But the worst part is that it took seven weeks of relentless, almost daily pressure by Milligan to get the boys removed from the route.

The district said the boys had "rights of due process" and couldn't be taken off the bus until an investigation was complete.

Hell, murder cases are resolved more quickly than that.

Milligan began documenting the incidents involving her daughter and nephew, Richie, who's also autistic, nearly two months ago.

She said her daughter's teacher at the Port Richmond school, Lea Taylor, was "a blessing" to her throughout, keeping her informed and acting as Samantha's advocate.

If only she could say the same thing about everyone else.

"Monday, Sept. 30," her journal begins, "Sam's teacher reported the boys were teasing Samantha on the bus.

"Tuesday, Oct. 1. The boys took Richie's book bag and lunch box and were going to toss it off the bus.

"Wednesday, Oct. 2. Bus aide notified the vice principal that the boys took Sam and Richie's school bags and were calling them names. Called school. Sam's teacher called back.

"Thursday, Oct. 3. Called school several times. Was told Vice Principal Susan Rozanski was handling the problem and would be in touch with me.

"Friday, Oct. 4. Called Rozanski. No reply.

"Tuesday, Oct. 8. Called again. No reply. Wrote a letter to her and Principal Anthony Ciampoli asking them to please get in touch with me."

Milligan said she got little more than promises and reassurances from the school. So she began calling everyone else she could think of, and got bounced from bureaucrat to bureaucrat, from one department to another.

She called the bully hot line, the transportation department, Central East regional headquarters, the Office of School Climate and Safety, Superintendent Paul Vallas and state Rep. John Taylor - all of it documented in her journal.

Not one of those calls helped.

On Nov. 5, Milligan said, one of the boys held her daughter while the other tried to hang her from her coat hood.

Schools spokesman Paul Jackson said that the boys were suspended from the bus for two days and that the official report says only that they pulled Samantha's jacket.

On Nov. 13, Milligan seized the opportunity to confront Paul Vallas when he was a guest on a call-in radio show. He said he'd call back when he was off the air.

He didn't.

Instead, Vallas called Claudia Averette, deputy director of the safety office. And she subsequently called Milligan to say that the boys were to be removed from the bus the following week.

Averette defended the school district's handling of the situation.

"I do believe the cry-out by Mrs. Milligan wasn't going unheard, but it does take that long to get all the parties to come forward to provide a statement, and to culminate all of that into an investigation," she said.

Richmond's principal also was using "progressive discipline" with the boys, she said, by imposing increasingly harder penalties for each infraction, rather than just ousting them from the bus.

In other words, the school was following protocol that was focused on protecting the troublemakers rather than their victims.

There clearly was no sense of urgency about the situation or it wouldn't have taken seven miserable weeks to get resolved.

Unfortunately - as too many parents can tell you - Milligan's infuriating experience with the school district is hardly unique.

Peace finally returned last week to Samantha Milligan's school bus.

But the ordeal has left her mother without peace of mind.

"I can't believe I had to go through all this to get this done," she said.
SWEET A HS team from Kansas won the National BEST (Boosting Engineering, Science and Technology) robotics competition.


BAD NEWS, GOOD NEWS Allen Reece has decided to take down his blog. OTOH, Allen has found a new edu-blog that is worth reading.
GO, SPEED RACER Shelby Howard, a 17-year-old HSed race car driver, will be featured on ABC's "20/20" this Friday.
A USEFUL SITE for fellow bloggers with limited HTML skills (like yours truly). HTML 4 Newbies has some simple lessons and links to color and symbol charts.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT This Bill Hanlon column pushes the notion that we are not always consistent in the demands we place on the public schools.
On the one hand, many people will argue that students who are distractive, disruptive, dangerous or just plain mean should be booted out of school. But when kids are removed from school, the schools are criticized for having a high dropout rate. That's contradictory.

Another example is the idea that all kids should be able to reach new, more rigorous standards and graduate high school. In my opinion, if standards are developed that all kids can attain, then the standards must not be very high. But again, if students don't achieve the new standards, particularly on the first attempt, the public doesn't praise the schools for beefing up standards; instead, they're blamed for failing to provide an adequate education.
He may be right. I'm going to have to do some soul-searching (and archive reading) to see if I've been guilty of this.
AND THEY SAY I GO OVER THE TOP The lede from this weeks' Center for the Study of Jobs & Education in Wisconsin And the United States screed is impressive in its over-the-toppedness.
How can supposedly intelligent and educated people (many with advanced graduate degrees, including U.S. political and education leaders at the highest levels) be so dim-witted about the teaching of mathematics, science and standardized testing? They advocate senseless high stakes testing and elimination of social promotion based on standardized testing that is destroying poor children for no rational reasons. An intellectually challenged popular media gleefully perpetuates the war, without challenge, against public education by well-funded Machiavellian organizations and political and business leaders that erroneously use K-12 public education as a scapegoat for the social and economic problems of the United States.
I am no fan of high-stakes testing as I feel there should be some input based on the kids' actual classroom perfomance. That said, social promotion is just a bad idea. What purpose does it serve to promote children who can't do the work? Is providing a false sense of security and self-esteem really helping them in the long run? Far better to work with those who are struggling to help them learn the material. Isn't that what schools are supposed to do?


GEOGRAPHY LESSONS are apparently lost on many American students.
A recent National Geographic survey found that only one in seven Americans aged between 18 and 24 could find Iraq or Iran on a map. While 58 percent knew about Afghanistan, only 17 percent could find it on a world map.

When asked to find 10 specific states on a map of the U.S., 89 percent could locate California and Texas, but only 51 percent could find New York. On a world map, Americans could only find seven of 16 countries in the quiz. Eleven percent couldn't even find the U.S. on the map, and 29 percent couldn't find the Pacific Ocean.
There have been many similar articles in recent weeks. In fact, we've been inspired to add more explicit geography instruction to our kids' homeschool assignments.
SLOW NEWS DAY IN VA Several Virginia newspapers picked up this story on the large increase in the number of African-American HSers. Interestingly, it is very similar to an article that appeared in the Richmond Times-Dispatch several weeks ago.

UPDATE: The Baltimore Sun ran a similar article today.
SPAM-BLOG? BLOG-SPAM? I don't know what to call it but I received spam email promoting a new edu-blog. They're newbies so I'll forgive the spam and pass along a link and a quick comment- it's "Bleat," not "Beat."
We have greatly enjoyed the best of the blogosphere -- from the unsurpassable Lileks Beat, the unending stream of instapunditry by Glenn Reynolds, to the many excellent anti- and pro-war political blogs. We hope to add our, thematically distinct, voice to the choir.
DEAR DR. LAURA I don't often listen to her show but when I do, it seems that every other call starts off with "I'm facing an ethical dilemma." Well, Allen Reece is under some pressure to take down his blog and is facing that proverbial "ethical dilemma." A supervisor has suggessted that it is improper for him to blog about the schools as he has. He is looking for help. Click on over and then, if you feel so inclined, drop him an email (his site doesn't have comments). His addy is at the bottom of the blog linked above.


24/7 CRADLE TO GRAVE Check out these two ledes from articles this week and tell me the educrats don't want total control of our kids:
Educators long have known that high-quality childcare pays off in better classroom performance and later on in better jobs. Now new research indicates it also pays off in actual dollars, an attractive carrot for taxpayers, according to a new report released by a Rutgers University think tank.

There is growing evidence that good afterschool programming makes a difference in kids' lives. Studies in child development and education suggest that attendance at afterschool is associated with better grades, peer relations, emotional adjustment, and conflict resolution skills. Children who attend programs also spend more time on learning opportunities and academic and enrichment activities than their peers.
Coincidence? You make the call.


PSA We interrupt our regularly scheduled blogging to bring you this Public Service Announcement. I get Nigerian Scam Letters at least once per week, as I'm sure many of y'all do, too. Clayton Cramer pointed out that the Secret Service has a website dedicated to dealing with these. The critical grafs follow:
If you have been victimized by one of these schemes, please forward appropriate written documentation to the United States Secret Service, Financial Crimes Division, 950 H Street, NW, Washington, D.C. 20223, or telephone (202) 406-5850, or contact by e-mail.

If you have received a letter, but have not lost any monies to this scheme, please fax a copy of that letter to (202) 406-5031.
We now return you to our "Selections of Light Bulgarian Dance Music, " already in progress.
HUH? Any formatting errors are blogger's fault. This time I haven't even touched the template.
DITTO This column succintly states the case for parental control over education. David Kirkpatrick of SchoolReformers.com even cites my favorite SCOTUS decision.
MARY HUD A really nice article profiling Mary Hudzinski in PA. Typically, she scores points concerning the existing PA law.
If there is a drawback to homeschooling, it is the state-mandated requirements that Hudzinski and others like her feel are unnecessary. They cost homeschooling families in terms of dollars, and stress, she says.

Most importantly, Hudzinski feels they interfere with the freedom of parents to raise their own children as they see fit...

“The most ridiculous one (subject) is that we have to teach the dangers and prevention of fire every year ‘til our children graduate,” Hudzinski says.
THE NEXT CALIFORNIA? More on the IL situation. A regional superintendent in Illinois is going above and beyond what state law allows to harass HSers.
The only statute relating to home schools requires that children ages 7 to 16 be taught coursework equal to their counterparts in public schools, and that instruction be in English.

However, the law does not specify courses or qualifications for teachers, and includes no regulatory or enforcement authority.

[Superintendent] Dennison cited case law in his effort to check on attendance, curriculum and teaching standards at home schools in his area that he suspects might fall short of acceptable educational standards.

That 1974 federal court ruling says regional superintendents can seek proof that a home-school curriculum is adequate and even require examinations to gauge children's level of achievement.

Dennison acknowledged that the ruling provides no enforcement authority but said his office could use the state's truancy law to push compliance.
OTOH, IL has at least one really sharp state legislator.
State Rep. Dan Rutherford, R-Pontiac, said it's unlikely the legislature will consider tougher laws for home schooling. Teaching your children, he said, is a fundamental right.

"If the government starts regulating what parents do with their children, it starts to be what many of us would consider massive overstepping of its boundaries," Rutherford said.
UPDATE: Here's another article about IL. This one has more (and scarier) details.
Home-school advocates say that beginning in October, Bruce Dennison, regional superintendent of schools of the three-county area, sent a truancy officer, accompanied at least twice by police officers, to the residences of home-schoolers. They demanded proof of attendance and compliance with a curriculum that corresponds with public school policy...

One home-schooling family said the situation has made their boys afraid.

"They hear anyone on the deck, and the little one heads for the upstairs bedroom, and the bigger one heads under the bed," said Roger Channell, father of Spring Valley fifth-graders Aaron and Chris.

The boys were correcting mistakes on a spelling quiz at 10:45 a.m. Oct. 3, when [truan officer] Horwedel knocked on the front door, Channell said...

Channell said Horwedel demanded to see the boys' attendance record and school curriculum, and he refused.

"He said, 'You know, I can have your children taken away from you,' " Channell said.
These educrats should lose their jobs.

UPDATE II: WND has picked up on the same story.
EVERYTHING OLD IS NEW AGAIN HSing started out on the fringes and eventually became mainstream. Well, it appears we may have shot right through the middle and back out again:

Aug. 23-Sept. 22

Even though your planetary ruler, Mercury, has moved into lucky Sagittarius, plans may not go exactly as you had visualized, especially regarding home projects, room expansions, travel and parental figures. Home schooling for a better career could also transpire, or maybe you're planning to live abroad. Visits to the doctor and secret associations with co-workers or someone under the sign of Pisces or Sagittarius are shown for November 25. Good news concerning health and job issues are also seen at this time. Beware of overeating, overwork and incessant talking.

Adam Smith, 18, of Randolph, skated competitively for much of his youth. This year, he decided to turn professional and audition for Disney On Ice.

The decision to join the ensemble of "Disney On Ice Presents Princess Classics," which comes to the Continental Airlines Arena Tuesday through Dec. 1, was a good one, he says...

Smith was home schooled and lived in the Hibernia section of Rockaway and in Morris Plains before moving to Randolph two years ago. He began ice skating at age 8 and spent countless hours practicing and working with a coach at the Mennen Arena in Morris Township. Since he had to practice whenever the ice was available, between two and six hours a day, home schooling became a necessity, he said.

FUTURE JOURNALIST Check out this well-written account of political bias at a CA high school.
I am a senior at Santa Monica High School. We have student assemblies run by the school Activities Committee and the administration, at which guest speakers come to address the students. In my experience at the school, these speakers have all been members of the political left. It was last March that my friend, Chris Moritz, first came up with the idea of inviting David Horowitz to speak to our school. In December, we had invited widely celebrated ABC radio host and best-selling author, Larry Elder, to address students. As far as I know, he was the first libertarian ever to speak at Santa Monica High, and yet the school authorities stipulated that if he were to come he would have to be balanced by a left-wing speaker. The school administration failed to make any such demand for the left-wing speakers that both preceded and followed Mr. Elder, many of whom attempted to recruit students for their causes.

Our motivation for inviting Mr. Elder was our desire to offset some of the left-wing bias at our high school. Not only are all the speakers invited to campus left-wing, but several teachers impose their leftist views in the classroom and recruit students for demonstrations such as the October March against the war with Iraq. Union organizer Dolores Huerta was a speaker at our school and recruited students to march on union picket lines against a localDoubletree Hotel, adjacent to our High School campus. Police were already present on the picket site because of the ongoing threat of violence. This is certainly not the only time students have been led by their teachers onto the picket lines, escorted by administrators -- as though this is part of their educational curriculum.
There's lots more; well worth a click. [Reblogged from Chris O'Donnell]


HOME STRETCH EAS finishes this afternoon. With a little luck, I'll be able to start getting caught up this evening.
SEND IT TO ZOOM! The following editorial appeared in the Lebanon (PA) Daily News on 11/17. It was sent to me via email by a reader who has Lexis-Nexis access. As it is not available on the web, I have included the editorial in its entirety with my comments interspersed. Yes- it's time for a fisking!

Parents should have the right to homeschool their children.

We believe that, as we believe generally speaking that individual rights and freedoms should not be trumped by unnecessary government rules and regulations - as long as the individual's actions do not victimize or infringe upon the rights of another citizen.

OK. So far; so good.

And while we believe that Pennsylvania is correct to seek to ease its regulations for homeschoolers, we cannot fully support the legislation sponsored by state Rep. Samuel E. Rohrer, R-Pa.


Rep. Rohrer's legislation would very nearly eliminate all government oversight of homeschooling. Considering our opening premise, one might expect that we would view this as a good thing - favoring individual freedom over the state. We don't, in this case. There's too much chance of creating a victim.

This is standard nanny-state lingo. "Irresponsible gun-owners might shoot someone. Irresponsible speech might hurt someone’s feelings. Irresponsible homeschoolers might victimize their kids with an inadequate education. To prevent all these hypotheticals, you good gun-owners (speakers, homeschoolers) shouldn’t mind a little preemptive regulation. We’re only going after the bad guys. This will hardly affect you."

Under the proposal, homeschoolers would not need to keep student records, obtain year-end evaluations from a state-approved assessor or participate in standardized testing. They would only be required to carry out 180 days of instruction and teach certain subjects at certain grade levels to children of a given age.

This places too much personal freedom into the hands of the parents, and does not do enough to protect the rights of the children. Therein lies our objection.

It is, first and foremost, the parent’s responsibility to protect the rights of our children. We are responsible for their lives and liberty until they reach majority. The Supreme Court, in Pierce v. Society of Sisters held, "The child is not the mere creature of the state; those who nurture him and direct his destiny have the right, coupled with the high duty, to recognize and prepare him for additional obligations." The state should not interfere unless parents abrogate those responsibilities.

First of all, let us state that from our observation, most parents who choose to homeschool do so with the best of intentions, and many do it quite well, at least in the child's elementary years.

But the fact is that without oversight, it would be quite possible for parents who are misguided or incapable of educating their children to use the homeschool option to deny their children a basic education.

Just because it rarely, if ever, happens is no excuse. We have to prevent victimization by any and all means.

What's wrong with that?

Let’s throw stones at the straw man. Make some outrageous claim; attribute it to your opponents; and, then, debunk it.

As a society, we have assumed a responsibility not only to provide for the education of every child, but to ensure that every child gets it. It's the child's right. That's why special education evolved for special-needs children. It's why school enrollment by a certain age became mandatory in the first place. It's also why parents are held accountable for truant schoolchildren.

No, the history of compulsory attendance laws shows school became mandatory in order to create a ready supply of workers for the newly industrialized country. But, that is a history lesson best left for another day.

There are good parts to Rep. Rohrer's legislation. He's correct that we should not make homeschoolers jump through a bunch of hoops set up by an overwrought bureaucracy, so certainly the thing should be made as simple as possible.

But some oversight, either by the local school district or the state, is in order. Homeschooled children should be assessed, if not every year, then every second or third year, to make sure that their parents are actually teaching them - with at least a minimum of competence.

Back to preemptive regulation, again. There are too many things left unsaid here. How are the children supposed to be assessed? And, by whom? To what standard of performance are they to be held? And, what is the enforcement mechanism if they don’t achieve it? And to what end? How many homeschoolers are really going to let their kids sit around and do absolutely nothing for two, three, or more years? 1 per cent? One-tenth per cent? So, the nanny-state is going to inconvenience and harass 99+ per cent of homeschoolers on the off chance that they’ll catch the "bad" homeschoolers.

No, homeschooled kids, on average, should not be expected to perform to the academic level of those who are being educated by professionals, any more than a shirt made by a plumber should be expected to fit as well as one stitched by a tailor. But they should be able to meet certain minimum standards.

This is laughable.

Because here's the thing: Children are citizens, too. And while parents should have the right to homeschool their child, they should not have the right to deny that child an education. The student's right to an education trumps the parent's right to homeschool.

I don’t believe any homeschooler has ever claimed the right to deny an education to our children. If we wanted to do that, we’d send them to the public schools. The "tailors" there do a wonderful job of not-educating. No, what homeschoolers claim is that it is our responsibility to educate our children. We also claim that the state has shown no compelling interest in the education of same. Absent that, "rights guaranteed by the Constitution may not be abridged by legislation which has no reasonable relation to some purpose within the competency of the state" [Pierce v. Society of Sisters].


THE RIGHT DECISION This blog won't win me too many friends in the HS community and may lose me some readers, but I think the 6th Circuit Court made the correct ruling.
The Adams County/Ohio Valley School Board must remove the Ten Commandments from the grounds of its four high schools while it appeals a ruling that they're unconstitutional, a federal appeals court here ruled Tuesday.
INVOLUNTARY SERVITUDE In response to the 13th Amendment story from the other day, Skip Oliva pointed me to this WashTimes article. The last graf is a killer:
Mandatory community-service learning in schools — in which students not only perform public service, but write and talk about it — is essential, Mr. Culbertson added. Learning about what causes the problems "engages kids — that's what gets them excited," he said.
This is nanny-statism at its worst: "We want kids to be engaged. We want our kids to volunteer. How can we do this? Force them under threat of not graduating."
THIS TAKES THE CAKE Of all the idiotic, lame-brained statements I have read concerning public schools vs. HSing, this is the absolute dumbest (have I gone over the top yet, Fritz?):
The amount of state aid was of concern both during the general discussion of planning for the district’s future and later discussion of efforts under way to bring about a long-term co-op sports agreement with the Park Falls School District.

During the general discussion, Mertig recalled that the school enrollment in 1981 was 316, compared to 218 presently. He said he has nothing against home schooling, but noted that there are 18 students in the district who are being home schooled and it would help the district considerably in terms of eligibility for more state aid if those students would enroll in the school instead. He suggested anyone present who knew people who were home-schooling their children to try to convince them of the importance of enrolling their children in the school.
I think I can pretty much guarantee that anyone who goes to the trouble of HSing will not give it up so the school district can get more money. If I could figure out a way use HSing to take money out, I would. As long as the educrats essentially have unlimited funding, schools will never improve. It is only the threat of competiton and the concomitant loss of funding that keeps them honest.


LA PRESIDENTE I'm off to the President's Reception at EAS. The conference starts tomorrow at 7 a.m. so I probably won't be able to blog anymore until tomorrow evening. See y'all then.
ACCOUNTABLE TO WHOM? This article aims at an even-handed discussion of HSing issues but fails badly. They got off to a bad start with this headline:
Accountability lacking for home-schooled students
SEVEN IS ENOUGH The McCaughey septuplets are going to be HSed when they turn five this year.
I'M JEALOUS AN IN HSer's Harry Potter fan page generates 80,000 hits/day*. It's been called the best site of its kind.

*We're just slightly under that figure here by about 79,950 hits/day.
Patrick Henry College, founded in 2000 with a strong homeschool student base, has received initial accreditation from the American Academy for Liberal Education.


QUOTAS FOR RIGHTIES As a protest of Tuft University's diversity policies, as conservative has claimed "oppressed minority" status and demanded (un)equal treatment. Not surprisingly, he was turned down.
''This was from the get-go an attempt to demonstrate how ridiculous the notion of diversity seats is,'' he said the other day. ''They are nothing more than a way of giving preference to favored groups on campus.'' And what better way to prove the point than for a disfavored group to apply - citing exactly the criteria used to justify other ''diversity'' set-asides - and get turned down? That is exactly what happened late last month when the student senate voted to deny Hertzberg's request.
THIS MAKES ME ILL A PS superintendent in Illinois is harassing HSers with police cars and threats of legal action:
Christine Fortune told WND that two squad cars showed up at her house in Geneseo, Ill., in Henry County, in late October to deliver a letter demanding that she appear at a "pre-trial" hearing.

One police cruiser pulled into her driveway, another parked on the street. One policeman then accompanied a truant officer and case worker to her door, while the other police officer waited in his car.

"I was very angry," said Fortune, who homeschools her 14-year-old daughter Stephanie. "[My children] were really perplexed why the police were coming for me. It was way overkill for something that was not even a certified, subpoena kind of letter. It was just something they could have popped in the mail."
According to the HSLDA, the super is exceeding his authority. HSers in IL don't have to prove anything to anyone.

P.S. Sorry about the bad pun; guess I've been reading SneakingSuspicions too much.


An alarming majority of Ontario Grade 12 students have not performed the 40 hours of volunteer work they need to graduate this year, schools say — an oversight that could cost them their high school diploma.
I really dislike this involuntary "volunteerism." This story is out of Canada so I don't know about their laws but I'd bet we would have all sorts of interesting federal lawsuits (13th Amendment anyone?), if a student were denied a diploma for lack of "volunteering."
QUIZ OF THE DAY Guess where this quote originated:
The success of xxxxxxxx's private schools is the best way to convince the skeptics of the benefits of privatization. Though the government spends per student in government-run schools double the amount paid for a child in a private school, the quality of the education in government schools is much inferior to that received in private schools.

Classrooms in private schools are not crowded; teaching methods are better and the campus more attractive. If the government decides to allocate half its educational budget to the private sector, most students will find a better educational atmosphere than what they are presently used to. Such a move would save half the government’s budget as well.

The present situation in our schools also suggests the following question: Why is the government not getting a return from its schools proportional to the amount of money it invests in them? In fact, this is a problem faced by all governments. Privatization is the solution on the assumption that private entrepreneurs operate efficiently without being weighed down by bureaucracy and they are also accountable for their actions.
Give up? See below.

Answer: Saudi Arabia
R2D2 A middle school (age) HS group took first place in a local robotics competition. Not a huge deal and I might not have blogged it, but I love this part:
"The field is defined by a white floor, with the wall black," said Schultz. "Most of these things have photo cells. They can tell when they're on the black and they know not to go forward."

The color barrier meant nothing to the robot fielded by Helfrich Park Middle School's Chilly Chickens team. The robot, possibly reacting to an embarrassing score of zero in Round 1, opted out of Round 2. When turned on, it raced across the white, through an opening in the black wall, recovered its balance on the carpeted floor, and headed for the exit.

"The robot has left the building," intoned the announcer.
STOP THE PRESSES The Billings (MT) Gazette reports that "Children can learn outside schoolrooms." That's the headline on this story. The lede goes a step better.
Learning doesn't need to stop when kids aren't in school - whether because of a teachers strike, vacation time or just regular hours outside the classroom.
The article is actually about a teacher's store.
LESS FILLING, TASTES GREAT Blogging will be late and lighter than usual over the next several days. I'm off to the Eastern Analytical Symposium in Somerset, NJ. I have a cool job at the meeting; I'm the official (very amateur) photographer. So, I'll be running around all day and most evenings playing shutterbug. I'll be able to blog from the hotel and, with a little luck, maybe even post some digital shots of beautiful Somerset.
BY REQUEST A larger font size. If y'all still find this hard on the eyes, drop me a comment or email. Changes are fairly easy now.
ED-WEEK ARTICLE The CEO of the Calvert School has a nice piece on HSing here. The article takes the tone of an open letter to public-school teachers but I'm not sure how many it will convert.


BACK FROM THE BEACH Nice party. Met a few bloggers, ate some good food, drank some really good beer. Lots of fun. Thanks, Fritz.
TIME OUT I'm off to Rehoboth for the Blogger's Beach Weekend. I'll post more tonight.
OT- OF GREENS & LIBERTARIANS This NYT Op-Ed pisses me off. John J. Miller of the National Review blames Libertarian candidates for causing Republicans to lose several Senate races in recent years. Apparently, Mr. Miller feels that somehow the Republicans should have some kind of lock-hold on the right, just as Dems complain that Greens are siphoning off their votes on the left.
There's a similar explanation for Mr. Thune's 524-vote loss: a Libertarian Party candidate, Kurt Evans, drew more than 3,000 votes. It marks the third consecutive election in which a Libertarian has cost the Republican Party a Senate seat. If there had been no Libertarian Senate candidates in recent years, Republicans would not have lost control of the chamber in 2001, and a filibuster-proof, 60-seat majority would likely be within reach.
And, if there had been no Republican Party, maybe the Libertarians would now be in control of the Senate. There's also a bit of new, new, new math going on here. Even assuming that all three Senate seats had gone Republican (a dubious assumption, at best), that would put the GOP at 54, quite a ways from the "filibuster-proof, 60-seat majority." But where is this birth-right enframed in the Constitution, to which the Republicans swear fealty? They're as bad as the Dems whining about the Greens.
Yet Libertarians are now serving, in effect, as Democratic Party operatives.
Miller doesn't understand that it is the Republicans who have moved to the left, leaving behind their Libertarian allies. The Democrats did essentially the same thing, moving towards the right. So, we have the two major parties basically trying to operate from the same ground, both wondering why their political bases didn't follow the shift. Why should we? We don't agree with it; voting to support it seems a bit counter-productive to me.
The next time they wonder why the Bush tax cuts aren't permanent, why Social Security isn't personalized and why there aren't more school-choice pilot programs for low-income kids, all they have to do is look in the mirror.
No, Mr. Miller, you look into the mirror and tell me that you still see a small-government Republican in the reflection. This is not the best way to convince me to vote Republican. I may just have to vote straight-party next time (and not for the GOP) just to spite Miller!


A BIG JUMP The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports on an increase in the number of African-American HSers. Some African-American activists are none too happy:
Robert Pratt, author of "The Color of Their Skin, Education and Race In Richmond, Virginia, 1954-89," said black parents should work to improve public education instead of opting for home schooling.

"It's our responsibility to see what changes need to be made to get our needs met," said Pratt, an associate professor of history at the University of Georgia. "I don't see pulling your child out of the school system as much of a solution."
But Sonya Wright is much brighter than the author.
She said she wasn't willing to sacrifice the education of her kin while schools are improved.

"This summer, I learned that they didn't know who Chopin or Beethoven were," she said. "They didn't even know who the NAACP was."

After having her children tested for admission to Landmark Christian School, she realized they were two years behind private-school children.

"I couldn't believe it," she said. "They were bringing home honor-roll report cards, but they weren't really top students."
What parent in their right mind would sacrifice their childrens' educations to some liberal ideal of great public schools? I'm not African-American and so, perhaps, cannot appreciate the strides the black community has made since Brown v. Board of Education. But, I do know there is still a huge gap in the quality of education that African-American (and Hispanic) kids receive compared to whites. The fastest way to bridge that gap is to HS them. We HSers are all a minority and African-American HSers fit right in with the rest of us. [reblogged from Chris O'Donnell]

OTOH this article throws out a bunch of negatives and stereotypes, including the "S"-word. Great quotes from an educrat:
UT Professor Dr. Mary Jane Connelly agrees the Mason kids will learn to socialize without school, but she's not sold on the way they teach their kids.

"Teaching children is a real art. Parents have an innate ability to communicate with their children. That doesn't necessarily mean to teach them," said Connelly...

"I know as children get older and get into 7th and 8th grade and high school, the subjects are very complicated and I'm not sure all of them are ready to teach. I'm not ready to teach all of them myself," said Connelly.
What a bunch of crap! It's so hard to teach 7th and 8th grade subjects you must have had to major in them in college, right? But wait- one-fourth of certified public-school teachers are teaching outside their fields. And since "field of study" is only relevant for 6th or 7th grade and beyond, I'd bet that means 1/2 of these teachers are out of their fields. How do they do it?

There are so many resources out there that any parent should be able to HS their kids successfully all the way through 12th grade.
FUNNY MAN Comedian and former HSer Dave Russo will be performing his HS bit in WI.
CUTE I like this quote from yet another positive HS article:
[T]he elder Shapiros are able to monitor their children's conduct around the clock, seven days a week. "I don't have to wait for a parent-teacher conference to find out about a behavior problem; I can take care of it right then," Denise said, grinning. "And the 'principal' finds out about it every night when he gets home.
NEW, NEW, NEW MATH This mathematician rails against traditional ways of teaching mathematics and, instead, is promoting reform" math.
Performances over the past 30 years on the National Assessment of Education Progress and the International Mathematics and Science Studies document that traditional mathematics curricula and methods of teaching have not been effective. However, research is emerging that shows reform mathematics is increasing student learning.
The problem, here, is that we haven't been using "traditional mathematics curricula" for the last 30 years. Instead, we've had "new math", which was replaced by "new, new math", and, finally, "reform" math ("new, new, new math?"). Maybe "reform" math is an improvement, but over which of the other flavors of mathematics pedagogy? Mathematics is a science- the purest one, in fact. Mathematicians, as scientists, should know to control as many variables as possible in order to draw proper conclusions. Right now, there are way too many uncontrolled variables to say that "reform" math is the way to go. Until the "professional" math teachers do a better job as scientists, our HS will be sticking with "old" math.
BAD NEWS The PA HS bill died in committee. OTOH, PA may soon have only the second-worst HS law in the country. Puerto Rico may race it to the bottom with this proposed legislation:

Compulsory attendance age from 5-21, although if you have completed the high school exit exam, you are then exempt from compulsory attendance.
And establishing a Homeschool Board of paid members who must have at least 10 years teaching experience, and this board

(c ) Will authorize the Homeschool Program.
(d) Will establish the study plan.
(e) Will select the educational materials and text books.
(f) Will evaluate the Program students through uniform examinations.
(g) Will certify by grades those students that may have been homeschooled
(h) Will employ a teacher or a supervisor that will visit the families four (4) times a year
(i) Will be responsible for data compilation, such as: exam and evaluation results to analyze and evaluate it.
(j) Will examine the annual evaluations of the children in the Program,
I received this via email and don't have a link yet. I'll try to find the bill online and will update.

UPDATE: It's worse than I thought. Here's the bill and here's HSLDA's take on it.
The following is a list of requirements that will be imposed on homeschoolers if H.P. 3048 becomes law:

Parents must have a college degree OR be supervised by a certified teacher.

An annual affidavit to apply for home schooling must be submitted 60 days prior to the beginning of school year.

The annual affidavit will require such as information as: names and ages of the children with their social security numbers, vaccination evidence, and a certification that the teacher and all adults living in the home have not been convicted of breaking a "moral depravation law" within the last five years.

The curriculum or study plan shall comply with the basic elements in the schools of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico as determined by a five-member board appointed by the governor. The board members must have at least ten years teaching experience.

Parents will have to maintain a register containing evidence of materials used with educational purposes, writing samples, worksheets, exam grades, uniforms, students' jobs, vaccination record, and a register of days and hours of study.

Each homeschool schooled student will be evaluated by way of an interview annually by licensed psychologist or teacher certified by the state.

The homeschool board will decide whether academic progress of the student is "poor" based upon an evaluation by a licensed psychologist or teacher certified by the state of the annual register and test results from the annual examination of the students.

Each student will have to annually take uniform examinations created, approved, provided, administered and supervised by the board and the department of education.

The homeschool board, amongst its powers, will employ a teacher or supervisor that will make a home visit to the families four times a year.

The department of education will have the authority to establish regulations to regulate the home school programs and the date on which the uniform exams will be taken.

Should the parents not hold a college degree, they must be supervised by a private tutor that must be a certified teacher, or a private school, but the parent must still submit to all of the above requirements as part of the homeschool program requirements. The supervisor must have weekly contact with the homeschool family.


TOO LATE? Is it too late to vote out all of PA's legislators? I think that PA should just start over because the ones they have now are just plain idiots. In addition to having the worst HSing law in the country, they're now trying to mandate the "Pledge of Allegiance" for all public, private, and parochial schools. It gets worse- the SCOTUS has held that students have a fundamental right not to participate. It would take a strong kid to face the peer pressure and not buckle. Not to worry, PA has a "solution" for these strong kids. They are going to have a letter sent home to their parents. Just what are these people thinking? Cut their pay and send them home.
WWHS PART INFINITY A public school teacher has been fired for firing a gun into her empty classroom.
Norvella Susette Gibson, who taught language arts and reading, still faces charges of carrying a weapon into a place where possession of a firearm is prohibited. She faces two to 10 years in prison if convicted...

During a hearing last month before attorney Robert J. Thomas, who was appointed as an independent examiner by the Texas Education Agency, Thomas said the school district was wrong in terminating Gibson...

Gibson, who had been on paid leave since the Nov. 30 incident, appealed the board's decision to the TEA which resulted in last month's closed hearing before Thomas.

Thomas recommended that the school district reinstate Gibson because the district had failed to conduct its own investigation and relied on "hearsay which was arbitrarily provided" by police.
What a shock- an "independent" examiner hired by the teacher's union backed the teacher. This is such a sick joke. The woman has been on paid leave for almost a year. Your tax dollars at work.
PART III Here's the final installment. I particularly like this quote:
"I am these children's mother. Who has a better right to teach them than me?"
Who, indeed.
WHO LET HSLDA INTO THE EDITOR'S OFFICES? That's the only explanation I can come up with for the slew of postive HSing articles I'm finding. Here's another nice one.
It's the middle of September and the Schwarz family is on their way to California. Mark and Barbie, along with their daughters Amy and Emily, are enjoying the stops and learning experiences. It's part of the girls' education process.

"That's what you can do if you homeschool," Barbie said. "You get the whole family involved, and if you go on a trip, you can stop and see things related to what you're studying or will be studying."
DOCTORS AND NURSES AND VPs, OH MY To quote Phil Rizzuto: "Holy Cow!" The Canton Repository profiles three career women who put their careers on hold to HS. The reporter and editors deserve kudos; there are no snarky comments and the women come off as intelligent, thoughtful people. The reporter twice notes how quickly the kids grow up. I bet Lisa Reicosky HS when she has the chance.
ANARCHY Well, you just never know where HSed kids will show up. This one ended up as anarchist "Public Enemy No. 1."


FROM BOARDING TO BACH Here's another family that uses HSing to allow their kids to pursue their interests.
TWO POSITIVE HS ARTICLES Here and here. The 2nd is entitled "Homeschooling Happiness."
A MUST READ If you are pro-vouchers or on the fence, click here to go to a really good treatise on "Why Conservatives and Libertarians Should Support School Vouchers." Somewhat surprisingly, perhaps, the main thrust of the paper is aimed at Marshall Fritz.
OH YES THERE IS Time has a review of "Girl Culture" that doesn't paint a pretty picture of Amercian girlhood.
A gentle warning: this is not a book for parents desperate to maintain their naivete about what's happening in their daughters' lives: these accounts show you more than you've ever imagined about the sexual and social habits of girls. Greenfield's photographs are accompanied by narratives from the girls themselves; the stories they tell, which are unflinchingly raw and honest, are often difficult to read. No matter how well you think you understand what goes on in adolescent life, it can be shocking to read first-hand accounts of the jealousy, pettiness, meanness and general anxiety that characterize female adolescence...

If there's anything to learn from this book, it's that there's simply no escape from the ordeals of girl culture. "Fat" girls get picked on, too-skinny girls get laughed at, popular girls spend their time worrying they'll stop being popular.
Call me Johnny-one-note, but I think there is an escape. Where do these girls learn and experience this "jealousy, pettiness, meanness and general anxiety?" You guessed it- in the public schools. I haven't ever seen or heard of this kind of behavior among HSed young ladies. Maybe the sociologists should have interviewed a few of them. (reblogged from Isabel Lyman)

UPDATE: Chris O'Donell via comment concurred and mentions that he blogged it the other day (I swear I missed it). Here's the permalink- defintely worth a click. (And I'm jealous of all the traffic his site will now generate. The only oddball hits I ever get here are for "Allen Iverson Fingerband" for which I'm number 1 on Google.)
LIBERTARIAN EDU-BLOG Fellow blogger Steven Gallagher reminded me to check out Brian Micklethwait's edu-blog. Brian is one of the principals at Samizdata and a fine writer. Just glancing through the last few days of posts, I noticed lots of red meat. Here's a bit from yesterday:
If you subject all types of children to an education best suited only to "Students", said Blankertz, then you will not maximise educational achievement. The way to do that, as most sane educators acknowledge even if they may not all care to trumpet it too loudly, is to give each different child the different kind of education that will enable him or her each to make the most progress.

But how do you know what that is going to be? Do you let the parents decide? That's probably better than trusting the state to get it right. But what if some parents, perhaps through an ambitious refusal to face the facts about what sort of child they really have, want their "Craftsman" child, say, to be treated as a "Student", on the grounds that this will turn their child into a Student for real, but will in fact only turn him into a badly educated Craftsman? Blankertz's answer is for the children themselves to have more freedom of choice in the matter.
Absolutely. Not everyone needs or wants to go to college. Skilled craftsmen and craftswomen will always be in demand and can easily support a family. Insisting that all kids must be in the college-prep mode is snobbery, period. I'm adding Brian's blog to the roll.

BTW, That list to the left is getting longer so I'm going to try to organize it later today. Let's hope I don't break my brittle template again.
PART II of WND's series on HSing is here.


SHREDDING DOWN UNDER One of the top snowboarders in Australia HS three months each year in order to spend more time on the slopes.
In fact the whole family takes three months out in winter and heads to Perisher to give the boys as much time on the slopes as they can.

"We still do our schooling, we do home schooling when we are not on the slopes so we don't miss out on anything," Mitch said.

Mother Margot said the move works well.

"The boys improve so quickly when they are on the slopes all the time, but they know if they don't complete their studies, there is no snowboarding, so believe me the work gets done," she said.

Mitchell's obvious talent for the sport has been recognised, when he was asked to trial for the Australian Winter Olympic team for Italy in 2006.

But he chose to forgo that dream for the moment to ensure he completes his education.
HAIL, QUEEN TAM! Tam Newlin fixed my template. Friends in high places...
AN INTERESTING COMMENT In an update to the PA HS law debate we find this graf:
But local school districts have an obligation to ensure that all children are being educated in healthy and safe settings, whether they learn at home or in a public school, said Carol Saylor, president of the Pennsylvania Association of School Administrators.
Healthy and safe settings? Since when is this the purview of the educrats? I thought their reason for opposing the new bill was because they need to assure themselves that we're not keeping the kids home to run the family business (or whatever). Is this the true motivation to keep the existing onerous law- to enable home inspections? All the more reason to dump it!
I'M BATTING .500 The search is working but I still can't get the table to the left formatted correctly. For some crazy reason the archive links show up before the "Archive" label. I've exhausted my very limited knowledge of HTML. If anyone can make sense out of the source, please feel free.
NOT SO TOUGH This newspaper tried to give its readers a sample of their local accountability test. Unfortunately, they've highlighted all the correct answers. Hey, this could be the answer to meeting our national goal of increasing test scores.
PART I of a three part series on the "Homeschool Revolution" is up on WND today. The article quotes James Dobson:
Do you understand what a stem cell is? A stem cell is a cell – in the human being at least – that in the very early stages of development is undifferentiated. In other words, it's not yet other kinds of tissue, but it can go any direction depending on the environment that it's in.

The stem cell, if it's in the brain, develops into a nerve cell or into the substances between the nerves. Or if it's in the heart, it becomes a heart cell, or if it's in the eye, it becomes an eyeball cell. Wherever it is, it takes on the characteristic of the surrounding area.

Do you understand that children are the stem cells for the culture? The environment that you put them in is what they grow up to be. And if you can control what they hear, if you could control what they're told, if you have access to their minds … you can make them into just about whatever you want them to be.
Yep- that's WWHS.


SERVES ME RIGHT I'm trying to add a search box to the site and was fiddling with the template. Now the formatting is screwy. Everything works but it will take me a while to get the search up-and-running and the appearance repaired. In the interim, please bear with me.
SOUNDS ABOUT RIGHT Lileks has a bit on HSing. Typically, it's pretty funny.
The other day I was talking with a Democrat friend about the election. She’d remarked, with equal amounts of sarcasm and good-natured ribbing, that the GOP had two years to build utopia. I thought about that later while walking Jasper around the block, and thought, no; they’re not about building utopia. Personally, I’m interested in keeping other people from building Utopia, because the more your believe you can create heaven on earth the more likely you are to set up guillotines in the public square to hasten the process. But we were exploring her opposition to the GOP, and she mentioned “Home schoolers, the religious right. They drive me nuts.”

The home-schooling part I didn’t quite get. There seems to be some who believe that this is a typical day in a home-schooling classroom:

“Alright, Ezekial, Rebecca, Simon, Mary, put away your snakes and come over here for natcheral science. Ezekial, how old is the earth?”

“It’s six thousand years old!”

“That’s right. Rebecca, did the dinosaurs come afore man, or at the same time?”

“Uhh . . . at the same time?”

“No, Rebecca, there were no dinosaurs. You’re going to have to get a paddlin’ for that, and remember: God wants it to hurt.”
FAIR AND BALANCED No, not Fox News (which is neither), but this article on K12. There's tons of good info in here.

With all of the heat the K12 has generated, I don't think I've ever seen a review of the curriculum. How does it compare to Switched-on Schoolhouse, for instance? What do you get for $1200? Has anyone among the 3 or 4 of y'all who read this blog used it? How 'bout a comment or two?
WILL VS. BLAINE George Will has a nice column giving some background on Blaine Amendments, which voucher opponents are using as a last-ditch defense. BlaineAmendments.org has still more including a very interesting bio of Senator Blaine.


WHERE TO BEGIN? There are so many unspoken assumptions, stupid comments, and other inanities here that I'm not sure what to highlight. A sampling:
Having parents do the homework subverts a major national educational goal: Raising test scores. And whose test scores do we want the kids to exceed? The parents', of course.
Where is the evidence that homework improves test scores? And since when did the goal become "raising test scores?" I thought the goal was to provide a better education; the scores were only an indicator. If the goal is to increase the scores, I have a suggestion: cheat! Give all the kids the answers ahead of time. 1600 SAT scores, here we come.
But if the parents are doing the teaching, their kids are probably going to get the same scores as Mom and Dad.
An inadvertant(?) swipe at HSing? There's more.
HOW THOROUGLY MODERN! Some FL school libraries carry slightly dated books.
CONSPIRACY THEORY The NCLB Act mandates that school districts have to allow students in the (formerly labelled) "failing schools" to transfer to better schools. Even worse, the school district would have to pay for the transportation. Well, it's probably no great surprise that school distrcts aren't real keen on the idea and have opened up little space in the better-preforming schools. What to do?
In recent days, some conservatives have said the No Child Left Behind Act should be reviewed, citing early difficulties in carrying out the law's demands that children attending failing schools be given the option to transfer to better schools in their district...

Krista Kafer, an education analyst at the Heritage Foundation, said that if Congressional hearings showed that most school districts did not give children in sub-par schools the option to attend better schools, a "correction" could be made to the law that would allow the private sector to step in, thus reviving vouchers.
The school districts' responses were predictable. Does anyone else think this was all part of the plan to get past the Dem's opposition to vouchers? BTW, there are no more "failing schools".
[The Department of Education] has stopped referring to these schools as failing schools, and is urging educators and the news media to distinguish between schools that might be lacking in a minor way, and those that have chronic problems. The law, however, makes no such distinction.
Thank you, Mr. Orwell.
SARCASM AT THE NYT A really biting opinion piece in the Technology section of the NYT today. The objects of ridicule are Applied Digital Solutions and their implantable VeriChip.
There is more good news. This nascent fusion of corpus and computer may pave the way for further integration of circuitry and self. After all, things can become only so convenient if we wear or carry tiny headsets, radios, televisions, phones and pagers...

THE NASDAQ PACEMAKER Why wait 10 or 15 seconds for stock prices to download to a mobile device? This new internal stock ticker will send constant updates to your brain as your 401(k) plummets in value. It will also give you an electronic shock to keep your heart going.
There are more suggested "improvements". Well worth a click.

UPDATE: Here's another article on the same topic. These must be a privacy advocate's worst nightmare; they certainly set my libertarian alarms ringing.
By the time ADS mass markets VeriChip, bureaucrats will likely have scared young parents into microchipping their babies — right now, today, before your child gets swapped, stolen, kidnapped, into an accident, or lost! Will an "adult microchip," like today’s beginners’ driver’s license, then become a rite of passage for teenagers?...

The new generation of ID implants holds a sizable paragraph of information. That one paragraph, however, is also capable of being linked with other information systems, and search-engine technology is outstripping the best expectations of even the experts. More ominous, information thought to be anonymous is readily identifiable. The term "confidential," in a legal context, has come to mean "need to know."
It gets worse. I hope that this is exaggerating the dangers; I fear it is not.


THIS IS NEWS? The NYPost reports that schools are forcing out marginally-performing students.
The report said the new state Regents exam requirements and merit pay to high school administrators for performance might be encouraging principals to "force out" struggling students.
This has been happening for years; we call the kids "refugees".


PA HSERS RESPOND Some great letters to the editor in response to yesterday's article. Here's a favorite quote:
Susan Richman states that she thinks a change in the law will increase the legal problems for home educators while Dee Black, a lawyer, states that the new law will decrease disputes between parents and school districts. I choose to believe the lawyer’s assessment of this bill over a person who derives their income from the current home school law. She has a financial interest in the law not being changed.
This conflict of interest has been neatly ignored by all of the papers who quote the Richman's as disinterested parties. The newspaper editorializes against the bill today.
We strongly support the state requiring the occasional testing of home-schoolers; it helps ensure that a child is getting a decent education. In fact, we would support more frequent testing of home-schooled children for that very reason.
I've said it before- I would NEVER move to PA because of their STUPID HS laws. I know I'm not the only one who feels this way. I wonder how many tax dollars are fleeing to the surrounding states. PA residents, call your legislators and remind them of this. And then consider moving to DE or NJ.
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY As a commentary on the Mother Jones article blogged below, EducationNews.org links to this article from 2001. Here's the nut graf:
So why are some home schooling parents, who have opted out of the public schools for a multitude of reasons, trying to get laws passed so they can opt right back in again to participate in public school extra-curricular activities, special lab or classes, or have access to public school libraries? And why are some private and church schools willing to accept government monetary enticements, so they too can be planned, programmed, and budgeted by a central controlling agency? To parents who have been paying taxes to support government schools it sounds wonderful to be able to reap some benefit from that. But stop and think: The state has its fangs into private and home schools now. What will it be like when home and private schools participate in public school activities and accept government favors? “How much imagination does it take to see what is coming? Can you imagine the kinds of controls in store for schools that are set up to permit an escape hatch for the crumbling state educational monopoly–the most horrendous visible failure of socialism in America?”

The truth of the matter is, once home and private schools become part of government-financed facilities or programs, they can no longer remain “private,” because through government laws, regulations, and conditions of funding they will be nationalized and homogenized with their public counterparts. “And therein lies the trap! It will be government’s way of harnessing ‘all the stray cats,’ in order that they may be conditioned to think and act alike as wholly owned subsidiaries of the state and a bureaucratic agency for the propagation of ideology and the enforcement of ‘standards.’ And standards will be devised by the same old coalition and manufacturers of gimmicks and publishers of pseudo-books who do know exactly what they want, and exactly how to get it.”
YOU'RE IN THE ARMY NOW Mother Jones is reporting that the DofD now has access to private info on every public school student in the country.
Sharon Shea-Keneally, principal of Mount Anthony Union High School in Bennington, Vermont, was shocked when she received a letter in May from military recruiters demanding a list of all her students, including names, addresses, and phone numbers...

But when Shea-Keneally insisted on an explanation, she was in for an even bigger surprise: The recruiters cited the No Child Left Behind Act, President Bush's sweeping new education law passed earlier this year. There, buried deep within the law's 670 pages, is a provision requiring public secondary schools to provide military recruiters not only with access to facilities, but also with contact information for every student -- or face a cutoff of all federal aid...

"The only thing that will get us to stop contacting the family is if they call their congressman," says Major Johannes Paraan, head U.S. Army recruiter for Vermont and northeastern New York. "Or maybe if the kid died, we'll take them off our list."
Still one more reason to get the Feds out of public-school funding (and yet another reason to HS).
Home schooling is rapidly expanding worldwide as families search for options to guide their children's education amid growing concerns over lax educational standards and increasing violence in government-run schools.
The home schooling movement continues to grow in the United States, with an estimated 1.7 million students in 2000 . That year, the movement gained enough credibility that Internet media giant www.Amazon.com created an online store for home-school families.
I wasn't aware of a HSing store at Amazon. I did some searching and found it (I think). Click on the link above to go directly there.