6/17/2003

GOING OFFLINE FOR A WHILE The inimitable Dean Esmay is helping me to move off the blogger software to MT. As part of this process I need to change hosting companies and possibly the URL. It'll still be cobranchi.com but may be the main page. Regardless, the DNS change will take a couple of days. This page may disappear for a while. Keep checking in, though. I'll be back ASAP.
NOT AN EDU-BLOGGER but Skip Oliva does a fine job of framing the issues surrounding the Bryants case. Definitely worth a click.
A SHARP YOUNG LADY This PA homeschooler won a statewide oratory contest sponsored by a Right-to-Life organization.
Annie said she is not an "in your face" activist, but if the issues of abstinence or abortion come up, "I'm not afraid to say how I feel."

Potential boyfriends know her beliefs from the start. "It helps weed out the good ones from the bad ones."
Good for her (and her 'rents).
LIMBAUGH BACKS BRYANTS Not Rush, but David. I like this close:
[D]espite homeschooling's outstanding academic track record, we can expect persistent opposition from the establishment, sometimes reaching the point of policemen and social workers at homeschoolers' homes threatening to snatch away their children.

But we can also be sure that homeschooling families will continue to resist this oppression. They deserve our support, because they are fighting over the most fundamental rights of a free society: the right to raise and educate children as they see fit. They are carrying the banner of liberty for all of us.
BOO! HISS! Oregon Gov. Ted Kulongoski has vetoed the "Homeschooling Freedom" bill.
“I am deeply concerned that a system with no monitoring or accountability will allow a small number of children to fall through the cracks and to reach adulthood without receiving the minimal education,” he said.
He forgot to add, "that we provide in the government schools." I'm sure that homeschoolers will remember come next election. We are not many but we are very politically active.
THIS IS NEWS The outgoing president of the LAUSD has blasted the teachers' union as "the greatest obstacle there is to improving the city's educational system." School boards tend to be very sympathetic to the positions of the NEA, so when a school board member takes them on, it should make the union shudder- especially in the largest school district in the country.
"The union exists for a really good reason, and that is the teachers got the wrong end of the stick for decades," she said. "But we now have created the beast we deserve for doing that..."

"The bottom line is there are two things that create power in California -- that's money and votes -- and they have both," she said. "That's fine if you favor their policies, but their policies are not necessarily pro-kid."
Well said.
STAY AT HOME MOMS' (AND DADS') ranks are increasing, according to new census data. Since 1994, the number of kids with one parent home is up 18%.
"This is just another indicator that there's this quiet grass-roots movement" among mothers to return home to raise their children, said Brenda Hunter, a psychologist and author of several books, including "The Power of Mother Love..."

And it's not just mothers of babies who are stepping out of the work force; it's mothers of older children," said Mrs. Hunter, who is member of the Motherhood Project at the Institute for American Values.

"Women know that older children need them around just as much as babies, because of the drugs, sex, the terrible influences that are out there."
This is a bad thing in the eyes of the NOW.
Another explanation is that "unemployment is up and it may be that families that used to have two wage earners may be finding they only have one job," said Leslie Calman, executive vice president of the NOW Legal Defense and Education Fund.

"It may also be that they weigh the cost of quality child care against their own earnings and decide for a time to stay home," she said, adding that today the fund is starting a "family initiative" program aimed at getting more and better child care, preschool and after-school services.
God forbid that a womyn would choose of her own free will to stay home and raise her children. It can't be. No sane, intelligent womyn would do that!

6/16/2003

G-SCHOOL SPORTS A bill introduced in the PA legislature would allow homeschoolers to participate in all extra-curriculars. I wish they'd fix their awful homeschooling law before tackling peripheral issues like this.
BRYANT UPDATE Possible good news- the DSS cancelled a scheduled court hearing.
FIRE HER! How's this for sheer idiocy: A middle school principal refused to allow several children to walk across the stage for their "graduation" because, in her mind, they were "overdressed." She said one 12-year-old boy, who was wearing a nice pin-striped suit, looked like a pimp. A couple of girls who were wearing long dresses were also excluded.
84% OF AMERICANS POLLED think homeschoolers should not be "required to take government-schools' assessment exams," according to the results from this completely unscientific WorldNetDaily poll. I'm sure the poll was put up as a sidebar to their article on the Bryant Family saga. I really wonder about the 27 people (g-school teachers?) who answered this way:
Yes, professional educators need to have oversight
And, in an interesting juxtaposition, the ad at the bottom of the results page says something about protecting yourself from terrorism: smallpox, dirty bombs, martial law... Nothing about rogue DSS agents, though.

6/15/2003

HOMESCHOOL GRAD A nice profile of a 17-year-old former homeschooler who is getting ready to start his junior year of college.
NCLB Regular readers of this page will no doubt have recognized by now that I am no particular fan of the No Child Left Behind Act. The federal government has no constitutional mandate to be involved in education at all, much less the right to dictate to the states how they will or won't educate their citizenry. That should be left to the states and to the people (those pesky 9th and 10th Amendments again). But, the enemy of my enemy is not necessarily my friend. NoChildLeft.com does a real disservice to their readers with this month's issue. They start off with this howler:
Shock and Awe Campaign Hits Schools

Few people have awakened to the damage likely to result from Washington's current approach to school reform. While the proponents of NCLB (AKA Helter-Skelter) like to claim that its strategies are based on sound scientific evidence, that claim collapses under scrutiny.
Comparing NCLB to both a military doctrine and to a mass-murder is not going to convince many that NoChildLeft.com is an organization which is serious about influencing public debate. The rest of the issue is equally weak. They spend almost the entire column wailing about NCLB and high-stakes tests.
"For the first time, Florida third graders must pass a reading test or be held back, and earlier this month Gov. Jeb Bush announced that 23 percent - 43,000 - had flunked."
Unfortunately, NCLB says nothing about high-stakes testing. It's not mandated and, IIRC, NCLB actually takes a brief swipe at the concept. It gets worse. NCL.com sounds like an arm of the NEA. Here are some of their suggestions for amendments to NCLB.
Devote public money to truly public schools. Be careful not to divert funds to reckless experiments or diploma mills.

Support informed school choice within public systems.

Fund social programs that impact school readiness so that all children actually enter school ready to learn as the first President Bush promised long ago.
Translation, we're ok with choice as long as there isn't any. We want to maintain and expand the current government monopoly on education. The charter school movement is just a sham.

6/14/2003

BRYANT FAMILY UPDATE Here's a transcript of a TV report. Kim Bryant has a wicked sense of irony:
"I think I was threatened by DSS yesterday when the children refused to take the tests. [The DSS oficer] said she was very disappointed with them. She said parents should teach children to obey authority," Kim Bryant said.
Cathy Henderson of EducationalFreedom.com writes of Mrs. Bryant:
Because she would never complain or whine in any way. You never hear her complain about a lack of support. You'd have to know Kim... She is just the gentlest person. Strong and outspoken about what she believes, but at heart so gentle that it still affects me very deeply what the family has done.
I am 100% behind the Bryants in this. Good luck, Bryant family.

UPDATE: Here's a link to HSLDA's take on MA homeschooling law.

UPDATE: The Bryant family saga is the lead story on today's EducationNews.org

6/13/2003

PLEASE READ THIS! This will be the last post of the day so it stays at the top of the page. The Bryant family in Waltham, MA is at war with the local DSS over homeschooling. Yesterday, DSS called the police in an attempt to force the kids to take a standardized test.
George Nicholas Bryant, 15, and Nyssa Bryant, 13, stood behind their parents, Kim and George, as police and DSS workers attempted to collect the children at 7:45 a.m. DSS demanded that the two complete a test to determine their educational level...

Both sides agree that the children are in no way abused mentally, physically, sexually or emotionally, but legal custody of the children was taken from Kim and George Bryant in December 2001. The children will remain under the legal custody of DSS until their 16th birthdays...

Pontes said that a possibility exists that the children will be removed from their home, but that was a last course of action.

"No one wants these children to be put in foster homes. The best course of action would for (the Bryants) to instruct the children to take the test," said Etscovitz.
This is all about the DSS demonstrating its power over parents. I hope homeschoolers in MA (and across the country) continue to rally to the Bryant's defense. This could be any of us.
PC UPDATE The Executive Director for the Institute for School Innovation takes exception to an article about PC (personal computer)-free schools first blogged here. I'm not impressed with her column as she presents absolutely zero data to refute the points made in the original article. She does, however, get emotionally overwrought with this diatribe:
Rosemond maintains that computers prevent children from developing creativity and problem-solving skills, and cause them to develop poor social skills. He claims there is research to back this up. He advocates home schooling as the way to prevent exposure to computers at public school.

Extremist views like this do a disservice to children and their parents, and are a slap in the face to public schools. Computers are wonderful learning tools for young children and a great support for teachers.
How is it a slap in anyone's face (except perhaps Bill Gates) to say that PC use might be harmful to younger kids. And labeling someone an "extremist" is about as lame a rhetorical device as you can imagine. Before Ms. Butzin writes another column for a newspaper, she ought to spend some time observing a debate class at one of those high-schools we like to slap in the face.

6/12/2003

WOULD YOU KNOW YOUR WIFE & CHILDREN? This poor homeschooling mom was arrested and held in jail for six days in a bizarre case of mistaken identity. She was accused of kidnapping her own kids and fleeing from France to the US. The husband of the missing woman swore in court that she was his wife and the kids were his. DNA evidence proved otherwise.
MALCOLM IN THE MIDDLE star Frankie Muniz is homeschooled.
“Why? I'm going to like the Emmy's, the Golden Globes, the Grammy's,” says Frankie. “I’m meeting all my favorite celebrities. I have the opportunity to do that, and why would someone pass that up to go to a high school prom?I'm extremely happy and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.”
LOCAL WWHS The lede says it all:
Two boys - a 14-year-old middle-schooler and a 12-year-old elementary student - were arrested after being caught with loaded handguns Tuesday. That same morning, a 13-year-old girl was allegedly raped after being abducted on the way to her Northwest school, police and school officials said yesterday.
Superintendent Paul Vallas' solution leaves a bit to be desired.
Vallas - who was at a White House ceremony with President Bush when this spate of schoolhouse crime was going on - yesterday called on parents to help keep the schools safe by checking their children's bookbags for weapons.

APPLE-A-DAY Allen Reece's blog archives are still available on blogspot. For those who were late to the party, Allen was a first-year teacher who chronicled his experiences at a school in Louisiana. His bosses eventually got word of his blog and he was let go. The archives are an interesting history. Here's the first one. You'll have to manually change the date in the URL to get to the others.

6/11/2003

ATHLETICS A school board in South Dakota made the right decision to forbid homeschoolers from participating in school sports, argues this editoral. What caught my eye was this stunning bit of (il)logic:
Granted, the parents of home-schooled children do pay local taxes that support the school districts, but taking their kids out of the schools also removes roughly $4,000 per head in state aid. For the Yankton district, that amounted to about $250,000 this past year, which is not an insignificant sum.
OK, the school district didn't get the quarter mill for the kids they weren't educating. That also means that the state didn't have to collect that money in taxes. Which probably means that the taxpayers in North Dakota won't have to pay the quarter million in taxes. Which means that homeschoolers kept money in the pockets of the readers of the newspaper. Why is it so hard for people to understand that homeschooling does not COST school districts anything but instead SAVES them the expense of educating them?
DAYTIME CURFEWS Jackson and Perry Counties in Illinois want to impose a daytime curfew. Naturally, homeschooling parents are opposed. Curfews are such a bad idea. They don't work and unjustly punish the completely innocent.
CIGARETTES, BOOZE, AND OREOS Walter Williams has a pretty good column on just how ridiculous some of these anti-obesity nannies have become.
Oreo cookies should be banned from sale to children in California. That's according to Stephen Joseph, who filed a lawsuit against Nabisco last month in California's Marin County Superior Court. Oreo cookies contain trans fat, an ingredient that makes the cookies crisp and their filling creamy. Joseph says that trans fat is so dangerous that our children should be protected from it...

The Washington-based Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) also demands government control of what we eat. It calls for excise taxes on fatty foods, additional taxes on cars and television sets, and a doubling of the excise tax on beer. By making cars and televisions more expensive, it thinks it will force people to walk more and stop being couch potatoes.

CSPI's Michael Jacobson said, "We could envision taxes on butter, potato chips, whole milk, cheeses (and) meat." CSPI wants the tax revenues earmarked for government-sponsored exercise programs.
Williams has a sarcastic suggestion:
Maybe as an alternative to taxes, there might be a call for laws similar to what's called the Dram Shop Act in some states, which prohibits the sale of alcohol to intoxicated persons. Applied to food, that law might ban the sale of hamburgers and fries to a fat person, or a mandate that scales be placed in front of cash registers where a customer is weighed prior to a sale.


SHE'S GOT GAME Kim Swygert is on a roll with at least a trio of really good posts. Start here and scroll down.
PSA Received via email from NHEN-Legislative listserv:
From: Christine Webb
Contact: retromom@earthlink.net
Topic: Governor to act on "Homeschool Equity" Bill

SB 761 is on the Governor's desk. He has five days to either sign or veto the bill, or he can allow it to become law without his signature.

Oregon residents who support this bill are encouraged to send a letter, postcard or e-mail to the Governor ASAP. He can be e-mailed through his website at: http://governor.oregon.gov/contact.htm A brief, polite message asking him to please sign SB 761-A into law would be appropriate. Those working on the bill have asked that the Governor's office NOT be phoned about this bill, at this time, as that can have a negative effect.

The Governor has made noises about possibly vetoing the bill, lately, but, when he met with the bill's sponsor, he expressed concerns about the bill but did not say he would veto it. There is hope and the most positive action at this time is "friendly contact" to encourage him to allow this bill to pass into law!
I believe the "Homeschool Equity" bill is aka the "Homeschool Freedom" bill.

6/10/2003

CHILD ABUSE Someone call Child Welfare. This homeschooling mom MUST be breaking a law somewhere.
She home schools her daughter and three sons, who begin classes each year on Aug. 1 so they can take a break during grafting season from mid-April to early June. Her husband and children often help her.
See? She FORCES her kids to be outside in the springtime instead of locked away in some windowless government-school building. Oh, the humanity!
OBEY ME! I don't consider myself a Right-Winger but found this liberalslant.com piece highly entertaining:
[T]he Far Right, understandably, has no stake in a public that is informed and which has acquired critical intelligence through a liberal education. Such individuals make very poor serfs. Neither is the Far Right much interested in an integrated public. "Divide and conquer!" So instead of continuing our traditional support of public education, they offer us privatization (“vouchers”) and home schooling, which can only lead to social disintegration and blind obedience to authority.
Homeschooling leads to blind obedience? Then, how come I can't get my kids to pick up their toys?
A MUST READ Here's a powerful essay about the parallels between school choice and the civil-rights movement.
Desperate times require desperate measures. When I hear advocates say that school choice is the new civil-rights issue, I wonder how much they believe it. Despite the talk, I haven't seen them adopting the tactics of the civil-rights movement. It will take action, not armchair radicalism, to convince policymakers that parents really want more educational choices.

There's no better place to look for guidance on the strategy of the civil-rights movement than the "Letter from Birmingham Jail," written 40 years ago by Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. In response to clergymen who had criticized him for leading demonstrations in Alabama, King outlined the steps for nonviolent social change...

School choice is said to be a civil-rights issue. Furthermore, some school-choice advocates compare choice opponents to the white segregationists King was fighting.
I'm not sure that the system can be fixed short of getting the state out of the ed business. But, in the short run, allowing parents to decide what is best for their kids surely would be an improvement.
STOP THE PRESSES Today seems to be the day for obvious headlines. Here's another earth-shattering announcement care of the Detroit News Op/Ed page:
Teachers unions delay education reforms
I thought that was their raison d'ĂȘtre.
1ST AMENDMENT, 2ND AMENDMENT- WHO CARES? A CA middle school student was upset that there is an advertisement for the NRA (placed by a grandfather of one of the students) in her school yearbook. Even though she "graduated" with a 4.0, she should have paid more attention in civics class:
"School is supposed to be a place where kids should be safe from hearing about weapons," she said.
And I thought it was a place where they were supposed to learn (including what those pesky amendments are all about).
THREE AND OUT! Florida is going to experiment with allowing a few kids to graduate after only three years in high school. Sounds good to me (but you already knew that). What makes this blog-worthy is this quote:
[H]undreds of high school students already take dual enrollment classes at a community college or at the University of South Florida to earn both high school and college credit. Some earn a year's college credit while still in high school.

``If they leave [high school] after they earn 18 credits, they'll end up paying for an extra year of college,'' she said.
I don't get it. Surely the kids who are dual-enrolled have to pay for the community college. Anyone in Florida know the real story?
DUH! Here's a headline for SneakingSuspicions:
Researchers verify reading ability gets a boost from phonics
Is this really surprising?

6/09/2003

TEACHER PAY Education NExt has two articles up arguing whether teachers are overpaid or underpaid. Both are pretty good with no edu-babble.
WHINE, WHINE, WHINE Pity the poor teachers who have it SO HARD
Those who carp about the supposed "good life" of teachers and their in-built "summer benefit" don't realize that teaching is probably the most demanding interpersonal profession; think of it...one teacher face to face with 20 to 30 students from 8:30 to 3:00 every day.

Most teachers are not equipped with the stamina of the Energizer bunny. The need to recharge our individual batteries -- not to mention our psyches -- requires more than ritual weekend breaks. The summer downtime constitutes a significant opportunity for vital renewal.
No other "profession" gets 2 1/2 months off to renew and refresh (plus 2 weeks at Christmas and 1 at Easter.) What makes teaching harder than engineering, or accounting, or, or, or ...? What a bunch of whiners.
OTOH Here's the lede from an editorial in today's Boston Globe:
Some 55,000 members of the class of 2003 -- the first to face the state's high-stakes exit examination -- are now departing their high schools with well-earned, meaningful diplomas in hand. Their efforts, and those of their teachers, resulted in a 92 percent pass rate, reason enough to leave behind the bitter debates about the fairness of the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System tests.
FCAT BOYCOTT The St. Petersburg Times has some more info on the Miami-area boycott of FL businesses. There are some real beauties in here:
The first caller [to the talk-radio show hosted by the protest's chief organizer] said he avoided the Florida Turnpike even though it meant being late for a meeting. His family has switched from Florida orange juice to apple juice...

"I think the governor is going to look at that ... and say, "Those Negroes aren't going to do nothin', " Wilcox, the organizer of PULSE, People United to Lead the Struggle for Equality, said Tuesday in his windowless office in Miami's Overtown neighborhood. "But I got news for them boys this time..."
I feel for the kids who haven't passed the test. They've got a tough row to hoe. But, if there are going to be high-stakes tests, some graduating class is going to have to be first. If Bush caves, the boycotters will be back arguing that next year's graduating class shouldn't have to face the consequences of not passing.

6/08/2003

SPELLING BEE Last one, I promise. Here's a neat article profiling a homeschooler who made it to the third round of the Nationals.
KAFKAESQUE Diversity has now become the be-all end end-all of school "reform," even to the point of harming black students.
Bestowed with options their parents never had, many African-American students who were involuntarily bused to schools in white Pinellas neighborhoods are choosing to remain closer to home.

The change signals the promise and potential peril for the county's school choice plan that starts this fall. More black children will attend school near their homes when classes begin Aug. 5. But administrators at the schools they left behind are bemoaning the loss of cultural and social diversity.
Horrors! Parents are choosing to enroll their kids in neighborhood schools instead of chanting the "diversity" mantra and busing their kids across town. Parent involvement in the schools is a good thing, right? Who's more likely to be involved- a parent who has to drive 45 minutes to the school or one who could walk there? This is just beyond aggravating. Just scrap the whole damned system!

UPDATE: Reader TraciE suggests that it may be "all about the money." Schools receive extra federal funds for warehousing (not serving) poor children. These edu-crats may just be looking at the bottom line. Food for thought.
WWHS
A 12-year-old boy arrested at school with a loaded .357 Magnum revolver in his backpack may have pointed it at other students after all and even threatened to shoot a staff member, police said yesterday.
FUNDAMENTAL RIGHT? Texas has just deregulated the UT system to allow the schools to charge what the traffic will bare. Students aren't happy thattuition will likely be going up.
"Most students I know would not be for an increase in tuition. It's going to squeeze a lot of people out of school (who) can't afford it," Patterson said. "I'm an out-of-state student and my tuition is already high. I think somebody should stand up and say something about it."
I'm really not too sympathetic, as I don't believe the state shouldn't be in the university business at all. If the state quit subsidizing tuition and sold the college infrastructure to the private sector, we'd be able to determine what a college education should really cost.

6/07/2003

NO SURPRISE HERE A group of homeschoolers in San Francisco have been taking a special class on epidemiology. For the final class, the school staged a mock epidemic. The kids had to figure out who the "carrier" was.
What happens when the speeding neurons of young teens collide with an epidemic like SARS?

They get answers fast -- faster than adults expect.

That was the outcome in the Berkeley hills this week when a handful of 12- and 13-year-old students were confronted with a mystery disease that had raced through the staff at the Lawrence Hall of Science.

Like a pack of small-scale Sherlock Holmeses in hyper-drive, the six youngsters quickly brought the origin of the mock epidemic to bay.

"Usually, it takes people a little bit longer," said their surprised instructor, Ann Moriarty, who devised Thursday's exercise for a special class on epidemics for homeschooled children.

The challenge perplexed many grown-ups in the room.

6/06/2003

A MATCHED SET This will go perfectly with my DIY shoulder-fired SAM.
BIZARRE I found this blog in the referrer logs. Parts of it are written in Sanskrit.
BUT, THEY'RE PROFESSIONALS If teachers want to be treated as professionals, they have to act as professionals- FIRST!
Teachers on strike at a northwestern New Jersey school district defied a judge's order yesterday, refusing to work for the second day in a row and forcing the district to close school today.
A REALLY DUMB IDEA At least 11 members of DE's legislature think the solution to a shortage of substitute teachers is to require edu-crats to drive all over the state filling in for up to 10 days per year. HB 207 has got to be one of the more idiotic bills considered by Leg Hall (that's our Capitol) this year.

SYNOPSIS

Delaware currently faces a substitute teacher shortage, and school districts and charter schools confront daily the difficulties of replacing teachers with effective and qualified substitutes. Moreover, as school reforms take hold, it is important that Professional Employees employed by the Department of Education maintain a close connection with the classroom teacher. This bill satisfies both needs by requiring Professional Employees to spend a small amount of time each school year working in the State’s public schools.

"§ 1231. Substitution Requirements for Professional Employees.

The Secretary shall establish and keep current a roster listing all Professional Employees of the Department, together with contact information for each such employee. As used in this Section, Professional Employee means each employee having a degree in education or holding or having held any teacher License or Certificate in any subject.

The roster created in Subsection (a) above shall be sent by the Secretary to each public school district in the State and to each charter school in the State. Upon a timely request to the Department by a school district or charter school, the Department shall make a Professional Employee available to substitute teach. Each employee appearing on the roster shall be made available as a substitute teacher; provided, however, that no such employee shall be required to substitute teach more than ten (10) school days in any one school year.
CURFEW Here's a pretty good piece on a TX town that is considering imposing a daytime curfew. The article does a nice job of summarizing the reasons the town is considering to justify the curfew. Homeschooling parents were opposed and managed to get the ordinanced tabled.
IT'S THAT TIME AGAIN Prom season, that is. The NYT has a piece about the lengths that some school districts are going to in order to prevent (or at least curb) underage drinking. Some of the solutions include mandatory buses, parents having to drop off the kids and pick them up, and banning limos. Perhaps the prom is a tradition that has outlived whatever usefulness it once had. Yet another reason to homeschool.

6/05/2003

LAST DAY I'm still on the road so further blogging will have to wait until tonight when I get home.
BOOKMARK THIS A teacher was fired because her kids were not enrolled in the government schools. She sued and won. No big shock there. That issue was decided in 1925 in Pearce. What is newsworthy is this:
Gary Beckner, with the Association of American Educators, said public education is not the only means to an educated public.

"We don't believe that there's just one system that can provide that education," Beckner said.

While most of his group's members are in the public schools, he said the emphasis should always be on what's best for each family.

"We support all schools — parochial, private, public and home schooling," Beckner said.
YOU DON'T SEE THAT EVERYDAY The Charlotte Observer includes an Op/Ed from regular contributor Danny Brooks that includes this astounding line:
One recent story should make parents strongly consider home schooling over government schools.
I never thought I'd see the derisive "government school" label used in a Big Media paper. Very interesting.
SPELLBOUND This Academy Award-nominated documentary follows a group of youngsters as they fight their way through regional events and eventually to the Nationals. I heard an interview with the producer and the director of the film and am looking forward to seeing it (it's available on VHS and DVD). Napur Lala, one of the stars of the movie and the eventual winner of the whole tournament, was homeschooled. The St. Petersburg Times has a nice feature on her and how the Bee and the movie have affected her life.

6/04/2003

THIS JUST IN! Here's the latest earth-shattering headline from the NEA:
Poll Finds Teachers' Support for Unions Is Strong
I hope they didn't spend too much money on that poll.
ANOTHER DAY, ANOTHER ALL-DAY MEETING Later.
STATE'S RIGHTS Oregon Gov. Ted Kulongoski is apparently a dyed-in-the-wool statist. He is threatening to veto theo Homeschool Freedom bill:
But Kulongoski, in a letter distributed to lawmakers, raised the threat of a veto on grounds that eliminating the tests would remove the only way to ensure students are being adequately taught at home...

Kulongoski said that current state laws on the subject balance the rights of parents to teach their children at home with the state’s right to have minimal levels of testing.
The state doesn't have rights to regulate. It has raw power. People have rights- the right to be left alone among them. Just not in Oregon, I guess. Unfortunately, the Democratic governor was just re-elected, so he'll be there for a while.

6/03/2003

EDU-SPAM I just received this spam from a group affiliated with the Public Education Network which, as far as I can tell, is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the NEA. The spam is a hoot:
Dear friend,

America's kids are suffering! Politicians are slashing education budgets across the country and their cuts are hurting our kids’ educations and limiting their futures.

Our kids are paying the price for these unfair decisions -- class sizes are getting bigger, language classes are being cut, after school programs are being abandoned, school safety is being overlooked, and many schools have even started charging students for busing.

You can help by acting now! Click here to send a FREE letter asking your state legislators to protect your state's schools.

Time is short, so please take action now. These are the kinds of problems that will not go away...

1/3 of all school districts in Massachusetts have started charging middle and high-school students for busing.
Schools in Santa Monica, CA were just forced to lay off more than 200 staff members due to a $13.8 million budget cut.
Oregon is scrapping its writing, science, and math tests in some grades because they're just too expensive to administer.
Schools in Muskogee, OK can no longer provide field trips or spring sports travel to their students. The cuts will hurt basketball, baseball, soccer, golf, tennis, and track teams.
Can this mess really be America's public education system?

Things are bad now, but they will only get worse if we don't act RIGHT AWAY. Please join us to help make sure our schools get the funding they so desperately need – and encourage your friends to do the same.

Click here to help - send your FREE letter now. Don't our kids and our society deserve better?

And once you've sent your letter, please forward this message to 10 people. Together, we stand a chance of saving our schools.

Thank you for acting now to make a difference.

Sincerely,

Eve Fox
Online Campaign Coordinator
www.GiveKidsGoodSchools.com
AND YOU THOUGHT YOU HAD IT HARD This is really homeschooling on the edge.
"Bringing up my family in the bush has been one of the most extraordinary experiences of my life," says Kate. "Being a mother, I was constantly worrying; are they going to be eaten by a lion, bitten by a black mamba or trampled by an elephant - concerns our ancestors would have had. But we worked as a team, the children and I - as equals learning together."
The homeschooling mom studies lions in the wild.
LIGHT BLOGGAGE I'm on the road again and will not have net access until late this evening. See y'all then.
OREGON NEWS An OR TV station has a short piece up on the Homeschool Freedom Bill. There's a good quote from a homeschooling dad but this line was news to me.
Despite support in both houses, Governor Kulongoski is expected to veto the bill.
I hope the station is wrong.

6/02/2003

A LOCAL, STUPID PERVERT I resisted blogging this story about the local teacher who was caught with child pornography- until I read how he was caught. The idiot took sexually explicit photos of a 15-year-old boy and then took the film to the drugstore to be developed. I guess if we're going to have perverts teaching in the schools it's probably better if they're stupid enough to get caught. Kind of like the Darwin Awards.
RUN AWAY! Democratic hopeful Howard Dean was preaching to the choir of government-school teachers when he came up with this gem.
He supports early childhood development programs, such as one in his state that sends a social worker to the bedside of every woman who has just given birth.
If that really is his policy, in my mind that automatically disqualifies him. I can just imagine what Lydia and I would have to say to a social worker who found out we were planning on homeschooling. Well, actually, I can't because there is no way that I'd allow a social worker within 100 yards of my family.
O CANADA A Canadian study finds that traditional school uniforms make girls uncomfortable. The girls felt that men were staring at them. If true, this should probably be addressed. What caught my eye, though, were these concluding 'grafs:
The study fits into a relatively new academic focus, dress studies, which examines dress as a way of explaining culture and behaviour.

The school uniform paper was presented alongside papers on the prom dress, the influence of Britney Spears and "little girls in sexy clothes," and the pedagogy of shoes at the Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences in Halifax.
Pedagogy of shoes? Your (Canadian) tax dollars at work.

6/01/2003

GRAMMATICALLY INCORRECT The NYT has an interesting column on grammar and politics.
But that's what "correct grammar" often comes down to nowadays. It has been taken over by cultists who learned everything they needed to know about grammar in ninth grade, and who have turned the enterprise into an insider's game of gotcha! For those purposes, the more obscure and unintuitive the rule, the better.

Pity the poor writer who comes at grammar armed only with common sense and a knowledge of what English writers have done in the past — they're liable to be busted for violating ordinances they couldn't possibly have been aware of.
As even a casual reader of this blog is aware, I'm not exactly a stickler for grammar. That said, even I know that you're not supposed to end a sentence with a preposition. :-)
WWHS This brief article exhibits numerous reasons to homeschool: violence, a disruptive student, a whiny teacher, and a lawsuit.