5/31/2002

I guess we're in the main-stream now. This story about baby-boomers changing the funeral business includes a comment on how boomers changed society:

"Many of the boomers wrote their own wedding vows, demanded rights to home-school their kids, natural birth and made us recycle. They're taking charge of funeral rituals as well,'' said Lisa Carlson, executive director at Funeral Consumers Alliance, a public advocacy group."
This one's pretty funny. Palm Beach County has instituted a county-wide final exam for its history classes. Passing score for this multiple choice test is 23% correct with an "B" set at 39%. Assuming there are 5 choices for each question, random guesses should come pretty close to passing.
It appears that today is Delaware's day to be in the spotlight. Students arrested for poison prank The kids put sodium hydroxide (aka lye) in their teacher's drink. If this was done as a joke they were just plain stupid. If not, they could have been facing murder charges. Lucky for all concerned the teacher didn't drink it.
Another DE-specific article 14% of students taking the DSTP will have to attend summer school this year.

"Of the students headed to summer school, 934 are third-graders, 955 are fifth-graders and 2,746 are eighth-graders."

5/30/2002

Glenn Reynolds (aka InstaPundit) had an interesting article on teen sex which led to this response from homeschooler Dave Thomas (not of Wendy's fame).
80% of 4 year olds flunk kindergarten. Why then is the school district continuing the "experiment" to admit 4 year olds?

"[B]ecause districts didn't want to lose state money that follows students who might attend charter schools that allow younger students. Some also claim the move to 4-year-olds in kindergarten is fueled by parents' desire for free baby-sitting."
This PS teacher endorses unschooling (although he probably doesn't realize it).

"It is only the extent to which students are independent and self-directing that the student can be responsible himself and the teacher can be relieved of responsibility for the class as a whole to become a resource, helping each student individually and letting them be resourceful to one another."

5/29/2002

This op-ed is one of those Delaware-specific ones. Al Mascitti has a short column on the problems the public schools are facing. He mentions homeschooling in the last sentence.
Isabel Lyman links to a couple of excellent articles today. A standout is this one entitled "Can a Feminist Homeschool?"
Year-round schooling for all Well, not really but close enough. It seems that 1/3 to 1/2 of all Baltimore PS students will be required to attend summer school this year. I don't know what to think about this. Why should we believe that the schools will be able to do in 6 weeks what they were unable to do in 9 months?
The Wash Post has a "human interest" type article on graduation tests. The premise: how do you account for learning-disabled students in these make-or-break tests?

5/28/2002

A story out of Dallas reports on homeschoolers having graduation ceremonies (registration required to view the article).
Congressman Bob Barr is proposing to allow teachers (including HSers) up to $3000 in tax deductions and credits. Nice thought. Zero chance it will happen.

5/27/2002

This Boston Herald story laments the state of U.S. history instruction. I have never understood the way our public schools teach history. On this year's NAEP, 4th graders were expected to have covered everything from the colonial period to Martin Luther King, Jr. If they spent more than one day on the Bill of Rights, I'd be astonished. How are kids expected to learn what it means to be an American when we spend so little time and effort on the most important documents and thoughts in our history? The "I have a dream" speech is great; the history of the AIM (American Indian Movement) is somewhat important; Teapot Dome is a sad commentary about the state of politics at the time. All of these pale in comparison to an understanding of the rights and responsibilities that come with being an American.

5/25/2002

The NEA has published the results of a "scientific" poll. This one is a real hoot. The union found that 79% of the respondents would consider a teaching career. And whom, you may wonder, did they poll? An excellent question: they polled the people who visited the union's website. I'd bet that a fairly high percentage (maybe as high as 79%) of the visitors to that site are union members.

5/24/2002

A lame-brained judge decided that it's ok for a female teacher to have sex with a 13-year-old male student. "I really don't see the harm that was done and certainly society doesn't need to be worried," Superior Court Judge Bruce Gaeta said. "Maybe it was a way for him, once this happened, to satisfy his sexual needs."
The Madison Press News reports on "Evolution vs. Intelligent Design" A quote: "Some members of the state board of education want to balance the theory of evolution in science texts with an alternate view. Others hold that there is no alternate view which is scientificly (sic) proven." [emphasis added] Err, guys, there's a reason it's called the theory of evolution.
The Denver post reports on a study that complicates the neighborhood schools movement- average student achievment goes up when schools are economically integrated (i.e., poor kids and rich kids go to school together).
Here's an interesting factoid: NY and NJ spend over $10k per student for public schools. Sen Christoper Dodd (D- Conn) has a somewhat worrisome quote: "A child's education should be determined by the size of their dreams, not the numbers of their ZIP code." I don't know if he is implying that there should be a federalization of public schools.

5/23/2002

Sigh! Teacher arrested after aiding students with prank
The Excessive-Homework Backlash When exactly did homework become mandatory? I may be showing my age but I don't remember having regular homework (other than book reports) until high school. One of the main reasons we are HSing now is the inordinate amount of time homework "stole" from our then 3rd grader. Hours per night despite multiple parental complaints. Now the kids are done by noon and have time for karate, dance, gymnastics, etc., etc., etc.
This story is another one of those that just makes me wonder if ANYONE is using the brains God gave them.
Follow-up to Jesse Ventura's threatened (now complete) veto of a Pleadge of Allegiance bill.TEXT OF VENTURA VETO MESSAGE OF PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE BILL:
This is an older article but I don't believe I ever linked to it. T. C. Pinckney is the 2nd V.P. of the Southern Baptist Convention. A favorite quote: "What Should We Do?— The ideal, most biblical solution is for parents to teach their children, to be homeschoolers. All our churches should welcome and openly encourage home- schoolers."
If you are interested in homeschooling issues, you should really check out this blog. Isabel Lyman finds some really good stuff and is a real writer (as opposed to the stuff I throw out here). Enjoy!

5/22/2002

A 10-year-old homeschooler won the National Geography Bee today. It doesn't say in this article but several of the ten finalists were also homeschooled including the 3rd place finisher.
Legislation to Fight Obesity May Hit Congress Soon Public schools will be "encouraged" (read "bribed with federal tax $) to promote more physical activity for kids. Weren't these same schools cutting recess last year so that they would have time to do all the really important things that they do for 6 1/2 hours per day?

5/21/2002

WorldNetDaily: Home-schoolers find intact dinosaur skeleton
I hope that no teachers take this seriously. Psychobabble BS.
A shocker here! The NEA was found to be violating the rights of their own members who disagree with the unions positions on social issues. "The EEOC's action further underscores that the nation's largest teacher union is systematically persecuting people of faith,"

5/20/2002

It appears that today is the day that the single-sex school idea gets hammered. Another good column.
Ellen Goodman has a good column in opposition to single-sex schools, equating it with re-segregation.
This story is just strange. A Mass school district last year offered full-day kindergarten. This year, facing a tight budget they decided to charge parents $2,000 for the "privilege" of sending their little ones away for 6 hours per day.

5/18/2002

This teacher pointed a starter's gun at rowdy students and may not face any charges. In fact, he was placed on paid leave.
Why does this story sound so familiar? Don't these teachers have any brains?
A good op/ed from USA Today. A favorite quote:

Even the director of the National Association for Year-Round Education, Marilyn Stenvall, points out that ''we no longer have 'summer school,' a heterogeneous affair with students of all abilities learning together in the same system. We have summer prison (for) youngsters (who) have committed the crime of failure.''

Someone needs to tell these parents about homeschooling.
Lost exams upset kids The students had to re-take the state make-or-break tests one day before graduation.

5/17/2002

Vt. Considers Rejecting Ed. Funds From the Guardian (UK) "Calling President Bush's education plan ``a terrible mistake,'' Gov. Howard Dean on Thursday asked superintendents from around Vermont to consider rejecting nearly $29 million in federal education funding."

Go Vermont!
How come it seems everyone is wearing a black hat? School antidrug adviser arrested

From The Boston Globe Online: "A New Bedford man hired to help parents combat drug abuse in that city's schools resigned yesterday, two days after he was arrested as he allegedly picked up 44 pounds of marijuana shipped from California."
A long (21 pages printed) academic article on trends in homeschooling can be found here. Nothing earth-shattering, perhaps, but worth a skim.
DE-specific item: A follow-up to the Georgetown CS mess It says 152 of the ~600 students ended up being homeschooled.
Reader TraciE pointed me to this article about the student who was suspended for drawing a picture of a teacher with an arrow through her head. If you skim the article, make sure you read the last couple of paragraphs. It makes me mourn for the kids in the PS.

5/15/2002

Edison again! The Philadelphia News worries that Edison is facing Chapter 11. You may recall I made the same point several weeks ago!
The Leave No Child Untested law is causing several states to consider declining federal education dollars in order to opt out of the federally mandated testing.
The Education Intelligence Agency analyzes some more NAEP data (scroll down to section 2). Interestingly, there was a strongly negative correlation between classroom computer use and history test scores. IOW, the more the computer was used in the classroom, the worse the students performed. NOTE: The link above is not a static link. After 5-20-2002 the article should be archived here.

5/14/2002

This is completely OT but I couldn't resist pointing out that Newsweek has a story about blogs.
Morning Edition (NPR) had a piece (audio only) on the affirmative action/color blind admissions debate. This time, the school is a public high school (apparently a magnet school) in Fairfax Co, VA.
An interesting story on CNN.com today: Some colleges are offering American Sign Language (ASL) courses that satisfy foreign language graduation requirements.
School fund sham? This charter school is being accused of intentionally mislabeling students as "special needs" in order to obtain additional funding. This may be a tip of the iceberg- type story as I have seen (somewhere on the web) schools accused of playing the same game with "at risk" labels. I'll try to find more info.

5/13/2002

The Washington Post editorializes in favor of the Bush plan to allow single-sex education.
The National Review reports that the Six Year Plan is becoming the norm on college campuses.
Here's a follow-up to the story about the administrator who checked that her female students weren't wearing thong panties prior to entering a school-sponsored dance.
The San Antonio News has a light-hearted take on the recent U.S. History test results.
This story is a classic example of zero tolerance run amok. WARNING! Personal anecdote ahead When my eldest son was two, one of his favorite "games" was to bite one corner off a piece of toast and then yell "Put up your hands!" He could get expelled for that these days.

5/10/2002

Sample questions


And in case you're wondering what types of questions were asked, click here and then choose U. S. History in the "Quick Search" pull down menu.
This story was reported on the national news last night. A couple of details that the "Executive Summary" omits is that over 50% of 12th graders achieved the lowest grade and that the average score for all 12th graders was in the "failing" category.

The Nation's Report Card: U.S. History 2001 (Executive Summary) Average U.S. history scores for fourth- and eighth-graders were higher in 2001 than in 1994, while the performance of twelfth-graders remained relatively stable.


Score increases were evident among the lower-performing students at grade 4 (at the 10th and 25th percentiles) and for both lower- and higher-performing students at grade 8 (25th, 75th, and 90th percentiles).


Results of the 2001 U.S. history assessment show 18 percent of fourth-graders, 17 percent of eighth-graders, and 11 percent of twelfth-graders performing at or above the Proficient level -- identified by NAGB as the level at which all students should perform.


At grade 4, the percentage of students performing at or above Basic in 2001 was higher than in 1994. At grade 8, the percentages of students performing at or above Basic, at or above Proficient, and at Advanced increased between 1994 and 2001. At grade 12, however, the percentages performing at or above each level remained the same as in 1994.

5/09/2002

If anyone ever asks me the "college" question again, I'm going to steer them here.
This is one of those stories that just makes you want to smile.
CNN reports on a story out of CA where "[m]ore than 3,700 seniors at eight San Fernando Valley high schools cannot take part in graduation ceremonies unless their future plans include college, military service or trade school." The PS wanted to encourage the students to apply to college. The students don't have to enroll- just be accepted. What about kids who have accepted a job offer? Or who are going into the family business? Or whatever?! What arrogance!
Everyone reports today that the Bush administration reversed 30 years of federal policy by promoting single sex education. Two of the better reports are found at the Christian Science Monitor and the NYT (free registration required)
Welcome to my blog. This blog is dedicated to homeschooling and other education articles that I find interesting. It may also include some Delaware-specific "edustuff". Forewarned and all that.