GIRLS RULE Joanne Jacobs has a excellent post about how boys are shortchanged in the public school system.
I'VE GOT TO GET OUT OF HERE I really did post these this morning. For some reason blogger just decided to take the day off. MT here I come.
NOT A TYPO GoogleNews found an article that said some homeschoolers "rode on top of houses." I thought it must be a typo and that it should have been "horses." Nope. The kids were helping their father move houses and they were actually riding atop the homes.
EXIT STAGE LEFT? Exit exams are generating more pushback from parents as large numbers of kids fail these tests and are subsequently denied diplomas. The WaPo has a pretty balanced piece on the pros & cons of high-stakes testing.
HOMESCHOOLING IN IN FortWayne.com has a series of articles on homeschooling. The one on socialization is excellent:
"At high school, it's teenagers raising teenagers," Worman said. "I wanted to have some input in how (my daughters were being) raised."

Socialization, one of the major arguments against home schooling, has become a big reason why families turn to personalized education. Home-school critics have said students who study at home lack social skills to interact with other children.

It's that same interaction that has many home-schooling parents wary of traditional or even parochial methods. They fear what their child could learn outside the classroom.
The whole series is worth a read. Click on the link above. The other articles are linked from there.


EXAM SCAM II A FL teacher has been fired for copying and distributing last year's FCAT as a practice for this year's test. The state reuses items and does not release old tests.
EXAM SCAM Wrightslaw.com is urging parents whose kids fail the state exit exam to beat the system by essentially "enrolling" the kids in a diploma mill.
Private school students do not have to pass state exit exams. Home schooled students do not have to pass state exit exams.

The easiest way to eliminate the exit exam obstacle is to apply your child's high school credits to a private school diploma.
They recommend the North Atlantic Regional Schools (NARS) in Maine.
The child registers at the school. NARS requests the child's records from the public school. The public school sends the records to NARS. If the child's transcript shows the child has earned the required credits, NARS awards a high school diploma. If the transcript does not show the required credits, NARS can tell you how to obtain the missing credits.
So, it's not quite as bad as the spam-diplomas. Still, NARS caters to homeschoolers, and this scam would tend to devalue any diploma that NARS awards.
WAY OVERKILL Some kids in a Denver High School threw water balloons after a school end-of-year assembly. For punishment, the principal has banned 20 of them, including the class valedictorian, from attending graduation.
VIRGINIA POLITICS This one is slightly OT but an interesting piece on local politics in Northern Virginia. Michael Farris and the homeschooling community figure prominently.
OREGON EDU-CRATS are up in arms about the Homeschool Freedom bill which is going to be passed this year. The bill would end mandatory testing for homeschoolers. This, of course, is a bad thing:
Rep. Elaine Hopson, D-Tillamook, a former public school district superintendent, said she supports a home schooling option but opposes dropping the test requirement.

“Education is both a right and a responsibility,” she said. “There are some parents who don’t accept that responsibility.”

Rep. Jeff Barker, D-Aloha, said children’s welfare is more important than the possible inconvenience of having to give a child a test every three years.

State School Superintendent Susan Castillo also opposes the bill.

If mandatory testing is eliminated, she said in a letter to legislators, “there will be nothing to prevent an irresponsible or incompetent parent from simply keeping a child out of school and providing no education at all.”
And I suppose the best way to protect kids from "irresponsible or incompetent" parents is to put them in the care of the loving and caring teachers.
SPELLING BEE FINALS An 8th-grader from Dallas won the Nationals yesterday. CNN didn't report where he goes to school but they did mention that the runner-up is homeschooled.

UPDATE: The WashTimes reports that the winner attends St. Mark's School of Texas.


BURNED IN TENNESSEE Homeschoolers are discriminated against in the just-passed TN lottery bill. The original proposal had a requirement that public and private schoolers had to have both a 3.0 GPA AND score 19 on the ACT. Homeschoolers, because GPA is not necessarily a valid measurement, would have had to score 23 with no GPA requirement. At the last minute, "AND" was changed to "OR" but no change was made in the ACT requirement. Thus, everyone in the state except homeschoolers are eligible with a score of 19. Legislators claim it was an oversight that will be fixed before the first scholarships are awarded in 2004.


OT: A GOOD CAUSE Here's one of those stories that makes you feel good. MedSend pays off doctors' student loans so they can go into the missionary field. My in-laws are retired career medical missionaries so this one is near-and-dear.
NYT BLOWS IT The NYT has a lengthy piece about cyber charters. It's pretty good except that they call it "homeschooling" throughout. They point out that the homeschooling community has some problems with cyber charters but I think they miss the reason.
Online schools also have detractors among parents who school their children on their own and who say that a set curriculum discourages independence.
Lots of homeschoolers use set curricula. The problem is not the curriculum; it's having to be accountable to the state for following the curriculum. That and newspapers confusing cyber charters with homeschooling.
A CYNICAL VICTORY Jeb Bush wins by losing. The other day I criticized FL Governor Jeb Bush for caving in to a boycott threat. Bush proposed legislation that would allow seniors who failed the FCAT to substitute SAT or ACT results in order to graduate. The bill has died in the Senate as the session has ended. This whole situation just doesn't pass the smell test with me and comes off as a cynical ploy by Bush.
Senate President Jim King said Tuesday that the bill needed to go through a committee for study and that Bush shouldn't expect to put a bill in on a Friday and be approved four days later.

"At this late date, it doesn't make any sense," said King, who noted that the bill could come up during a second special session starting in June to address medical malpractice. "The Senate does not lend itself to immediacy."
I'm sure that Jeb Bush is shocked that a Republican-controlled Senate won't take up a bill supported by the Republican governor. Sure.
TESTING, TESTING The NYT profiles a FL kindergarten teacher who is hanging up her fingerpaints due, at least in part, to the mandated tests.
Ms. MacLeish, 53, sent a letter home saying this would be her last year teaching kindergarten. It was no ordinary goodbye letter. Ms. MacLeish was m-a-d. Her tears were not pink [i.e., happy]. She fears that the kindergarten world she knows and has raised to a fine art is being destroyed. "A single high-stakes test score is now measuring Florida's children, leaving little time to devote to their character or potential or talents or depth of knowledge," she wrote. "Kindergarten teachers throughout the state have replaced valued learning centers (home center, art center, blocks, dramatic play) with paper and pencil tasks, dittos, coloring sheets, scripted lessons, workbook pages..." This year, for the first time, Ms. MacLeish had to spend two days giving state tests to kindergartners to establish base-line scores.
There is a point at which standardized testing becomes counter-productive. Two days of tests in kindergarten may have passed it. I'm still not even convinced that early academic training is always useful or even appropriate. Our younger daughter was ready for it at age 5 (she's an insatiable reader at 6). I'm not sure our younger son (who's an insatiable PS2er) will be.


PC UPDATE SysAdmin Ron Harrington pointed me towards a 1997 article questioning the value of computers in the classroom. This quote had me pulling out what little hair I have left:
In a poll taken early last year U.S. teachers ranked computer skills and media technology as more "essential" than the study of European history, biology, chemistry, and physics; than dealing with social problems such as drugs and family breakdown; than learning practical job skills; and than reading modern American writers such as Steinbeck and Hemingway or classic ones such as Plato and Shakespeare.
History and biology- sure. I can buy that. But chemistry?! What are we coming to? Seriously, I've long felt that computer training was supplanting education. In our pre-homeschooling days, our oldest was taught "keyboarding" in the 1st grade. What a waste of time! Teach them to read first.

BTW, Ron Harrington doesn't let his kids use the computer. His rationale seems pretty, er, rational to me:
[I]t's because they need to be prepared for a fast-changing high-tech world. For that world, they need to be able to read well, think logically and creatively, and solve problems. There's no evidence computers will help them aquire those abilities, and considerable evidence computers will do harm.
BASKIN-ROBBINS Homeschoolers come in many flavors these days. This positive article out of Washington state depicts several. As an aside, Washington has a pretty crappy homeschooling law.
The state law requires parents to have completed the equivalent of at least a year's college or be certified to teach in a qualifying course, register annually with their school district as home-schoolers, and have their children take annual standardized achievement tests. Family records of compliance should include test scores or assessments by a qualified teacher.
PC-FREE SCHOOLS? Not "politically correct", but "personal computers." Psychologist Jane Healy's book "Failure to Connect" makes the claim that allowing kids younger than age 7 access to computer-aided education actually stunts brain development.
This is not to say that children so exposed for significant periods of time will suffer loss of general intelligence (IQ), but they may suffer significant loss of ability in one or more discrete "intelligences" such as creativity and social skills, and gain little of enduring value in the process.

Healy recommends that children would be significantly better off if computers were withheld until age 7, and even then used conservatively...

Unfortunately, about the only way today's parents can prevent their children from having access to computers before the fifth grade is to home-school. There are exceptions. The Calvert School in Baltimore adheres to the "no computers in the classroom until grade 5" principle. The accelerated performance of Calvert School students, drawn from across the socio-economic spectrum, more than affirms what Healy has found and the warning she issues.
The author of this review makes the common correlation-causation error, but the premise is interesting. I may try to pick up a copy of the book.


SPELLING BEE INFO According to this article, 31 of the 251 contestants in the Nationals are homeschoolers.
THE O' KEEFFE'S Here's a nice article about a homeschooler in the National Spelling Bee. And, yes, her last name really is O' Keeffe.
OT: SUPERCOMPUTER ON THE CHEAP Scientists have designed and built a supercomputer by stringing together 70 Sony PS2s. This could come in handy for when your homeschooler decides to design his own shoulder-fired SAM.


RI BEE Another homeschooler is on his way to the National Spelling Bee in D.C.
TOLD YA SO Guess why the teacher's union in TX is opposed to a virtual charter. (See answer in the previous post).
HOMESCHOOLERS NEED NOT APPLY Florida legislators have voted to start a virtual charter school for up to 1000 students. Interestingly, homeschoolers are ineligible.
Lawmakers attached several conditions: Courses must follow state standards, teachers must be certified in Florida, and students must take the FCAT and have attended public school the previous year.
This is probably a smart move, politically. One of the most common complaints (by the teachers' union) about virtual charters is that the school district is just paying for homeschoolers. Of course, the union is undeterred:
"It sounds like a cross between homeschooling and vouchers in many ways," said Marshall Ogletree of the Florida Education Association. "If you've already made the decision to homeschool your child, it's not a whole lot different, except the state is going to buy your computer for you."
A foolish consistency...
OVERWROUGHT Check out this headline from the Detroit News: School exit exams wreak havoc. One tiny bit of info here: according to the paper, kids in Florida have six chances to pass the FCAT. The paper still takes the position that exit exams are tantamount to child abuse.
OT: SPAM! The NYT has a series of short interviews with technology experts on the subject of stopping spam. I'm an earthlink subscriber so will be trying the SpamBlocker technology when it's released next week. Hopefully, no more Nigeria scam letters or breast enlargement ads will get through.


OH, YEAH Apologies for the small number posts this past week. I was in Las Vegas from Sunday through last night (on business). Internet access from my room was minimal (and expensive).
ALMA MATER Here's a new homeschooling blog I found in the referrer logs. She's(?) also a newbie homeschooler. A double welcome, Stacy.
DOUBLY INSULTING Here's more from Utah. Jordan School District is considering implementing a random drug-testing policy for all students involved in extracurricular activities. The program, which would cost an estimated $86,000 per year, would be paid for by increasing student activity fees.
BUSH CAVES So much for bold leadership in Florida. Jeb Bush is now pushing for a quick law that would allow for some students who failed the FCAT to graduate anyway.
Among the changes Bush seeks: a quick study by the state Board of Education that would determine what scores on college entrance exams such as the SAT and ACT are equivalent to a passing score on the FCAT. Students who failed the FCAT this year but performed well on the entrance exams would be awarded a diploma if lawmakers agree to the fix.

The governor's demand that legislators tackle the issue before the end of a special budget session Tuesday comes a day after thousands protested outside his Miami office, decrying the state policy that prevents students who fail the new Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test from receiving a diploma.
Of course, it's all about the children.
The governor's defense of the FCAT amid growing unease among blacks and Hispanics has angered even members of his own party, who have noted that Hispanic voters have been critical to the governor's election victories and are being courted for next year's presidential election.
OT: AN INTERESTING HEADLINE This one surprised me coming from the Mormon-church-owned Deseret News: School spirit: Christian students join forces to strengthen each other
OBE? Lynn Stuter has a column up concerning homeschoolers and outcome-based education (OBE). Ms. Stuter is very concerned that the government is attempting to bring ALL homeschoolers back into the system.
As such, there is a movement afoot to pull homeschoolers back into the system. This is being done by offering homeschoolers incentives such as computers, money for curriculum, testing, supervision and assistance in weak areas ... this type of thing.

One "incentive" that has reached across the nation is William Bennett's K12® Virtual Academy program...The system must include everyone. To that end, homeschoolers must be drawn back into the system. This is to be accomplished in one of two ways: 1) offer the homeschoolers incentives (carrots) sufficient enough to encourage them back into the system whether they know they are back in the system or not; 2) force the homeschoolers back into the system.
Her chief concern seems to be Goals 2000/OBE. But, I thought the NCLB Act effectively did away with the last remants of Goals 2000. Am I missing something here?
PSA I received this email which I re-print here in its entirety:
I am planning a homeschooling Prom in Ohio. The event will take place in Columbus, Ohio and I am trying to get an early word out. The time will be April 24, 2004. I am trying to guage the interest from Ohio homeschooling teens that might travel to an event like this. I am a homeschooling mom of 5 years and I have a teenage daughter. This is my drive behind the Prom. Could you help me spread the word? Those interested could e-mail me at scifigal@insight.rr.com. I am in the process of getting a web site together for the event.

Thanks Alice Everage


HOME EDUCATION WEEK... down under. This article reads like a press release from HSLDA but it appears to be mainstream press. I found this sentence funny:
Home education is the modern term for used to be called homeschooling and, yes, it is legal.
I guess we're archaic here in the US. Besides, what do you call kids who are being "home educated?" The paper apparently doesn't have an answer and refers to them as "home schoolers." US 1 AUS 0.
WILLIE AND ME I'm on the road again. See y'all tomorrow.
BOYCOTT BEGINS Miami community groups protesting the state high school exit tests have begun to boycott several FL industries in an attempt to get Gov. Jeb Bush to change the policy.
''For this school year, it needs to be total amnesty, because the state did not prepare these families for this punitive measure,'' said Wilson, D-Miami.
No way. Florida gave several years warning that this day was coming.
WE'RE ALL DISADVANTAGED NOW According to the USAT, colleges have been implementing an affirmative action program for all males, since females have higher grades and test scores. TYhis 'graf made we gag:
The admissions preferences allow schools to maintain the diversity that enriches campuses where 56% of all students at four-year colleges are female. By using less-rigorous academic standards for male applicants, colleges keep freshman classes from swinging too far out of balance. They also provide needed recognition that grades and test scores provide an incomplete picture of what boys can contribute to a school.
There may be a silver lining here. If women are being hurt by AA programs, maybe some pro-AA groups will start to re-think their position. Or, is this a cynical ploy to try to influence SCOTUS and save college diversity programs?


VICTORY IN CALIFORNIA Here's the text of a letter that CA homeschoolers received from the Homeschool Association of California:
Dear Homeschool Family,

I have wonderful news to report. This evening I was sent an email by the California Department of Education Deputy General Counsel Michael Hersher that the CDE is no longer telling anyone that "homeschooling is not legal in California." It has taken various documents off its website and is taking the position that filing an affidavit does not
represent any certification by CDE about the filer. Its position is that only local school districts have authority to decide that a child who attends a private school is truant. Mr. Hersher stated that the CDE is not trying to influence local discretion in truancy matters in either direction.

I checked the website to confirm that the references to home schooling had been removed. Since most, if not all, of the truancy problems suffered by homeschoolers in the past several years have been a direct result of the CDE's position regarding the legality of home based private schools, this is a major victory.

This result shows how important it is for homeschoolers and homeschooling organizations to work together for our common good: The ability of each of us to choose the best educational option for our children.

Congratulations to each of you and all of us.

Linda J. Conrad, Esq.
Legal Chair
HomeSchool Association of California (HSC)

O'KEEFES PREMIERS TONIGHT The show that had HSLDA in an uproar airs tonight on the WB Network. Check your local listings.
DUMB QUESTION The NCLB Act provides that school districts must allow students to transfer out of "unsafe" schools. A local politician doesn't really get it.
Sen. James Rhoades, R-Schuylkill, wondered whether home-based instruction, either through homeschooling or enrollment in an online charter school, was acceptable for students in districts that could neither provide transfers to another local school nor find a neighboring district that would enroll them.
Pennsylvania politicians tend to be anti-homeschooling. But, we're "ok" when we can help them out of a jam.


I'VE HEARD THIS QUESTION Here's a cute column by a homeschooling mom of seven. We only have four kids but still get the strange looks and occasional dumb questions about having "so many" children. One time, a snooty business woman asked Lydia if she were going to go back to school to get her GED when all the kids are in school. Lydia holds a Master's in Psychology.
HOT OFF THE WIRE Homeschooler James Williams just won the National Geography Bee. This is the second year in a row that a homeschooler has won the competition. The winner gets a $25,000 college scholarship.
INTERESTING FACTOID From a WashTimes article on the practice of tithing in America.
Catholics are among five segments of the population who paid less than one-tenth of one percent to their church, Barna reports; the other four groups are: Hispanics, liberals, downscale households earning less than $20,000 a year and not being headed by college graduates, and parents who home-school their children.


HAPPY BIRTHDAY Today the love of my life turns something. I'm on the road and will miss the big day. Lydia, if you read this, know that I love you and miss you and want the whole world (or at least the 100 or so who hit this site) to know.
DEPRESSING NEWS A couple of studies of the sexual behavior of kids were released yesterday. The results are not pretty. 2/3 of the kids are sexually active before they graduate and a good percentage of the ones who haven't had intercourse claim to have been "intimate" with a partner. Also, 1 in 5 kids under the age of 15 are sexually active. One more reason to homeschool.
RE-MOTIVATED The school which was going to give a zero to a girl who sang at a presidential visit has relented. The power of the net.


SEGREGATED GRADUATIONS The WaPo has a piece on colleges hostong ceremonies that are racially or ethnically segregated. This is a disturbing trend that I have been remiss in covering. Fortunately, Izzy and Kim are on the ball.
BACK LATER I'm in a meeting until 9 p.m. See y'all then.
GRADUATION DAY Here's a brief article on the graduation ceremony some homeschholing parents organized. Nice idea.
FINALLY! More OT- Delaware Governor Minner signed the Sunday liquor sales bill last week and stores were allowed to open on Sunday for the first time ever. The NYT reports that there is a growing trend among the states to bring down one of the last vestiges of blue laws. The purpose for the change is to increase tax revenues.


NICE PROFILES An Iowa homeschooler is profiled here. The article also includes a summary of Iowa's homeschooling law: pretty bad law, IMO.

And, this article, does a very nice job summarising the reasons several families in Florida have chosen to homeschool. There are no negative or snarky comments. Included among the families is a stay-at-home dad.
A MUST READ Kim Swygert has an excellent post about supposed racial bias in the SAT. Psychometrics is a fascinating field, even if I sometimes don't quite get it.
WHY IS THIS SO HARD? The Boston Globe reports today that the national high school drop-out rate is approximately 25%, roughly three times higher than previous estimates. I don't understand how the earlier numbers could have been so far off. If you merely counted incoming freshmen and then the number of graduates four years later for all high schools, you'd have a pretty good idea.
OT: I HAVE NO LIFE The NYT today has two articles that hit close to home. The first is all about blogging. The second, while focusing on Google, includes this throwaway line:
The beauty of the Web, after all, is that it enables us to draw on the expertise of people who take a particular interest in a topic and are willing to take the trouble to set down what they think about it. In that sense, the Web is a tool that enables people who have a life to benefit from the efforts of those who don't.


YOUNG ENTREPRENEUR This is just laughable. A high school student was fined $1.2M for an running an internet scam. His school then kicked him off the baseball team. He's now suing the school for $50M for ruining his baseball career. He's representing himself in the lawsuit, once again proving the old adage about being your own lawyer.
PRO-CHOICE PETE Former DE governor Pete DuPont has a school choice column in the WSJ's OpinionJournal.
The reason our public education system is failing our children is that monopolies don't work. Insulated from competitive pressures--with a guaranteed student body and annual income, as Mr. Finn noted--school-board, state administrative and union bureaucracies govern the educational system.

American education needs choice and competition and the freedom to innovate if it is going to improve. The rising tide of educational mediocrity so startlingly revealed in 1983 has not ebbed, and until the market forces that have propelled America to the top in other endeavors replace the establishment public education bureaucracies, it may even continue to rise.
Worth a click.
POLITICALLY MOTIVATED? A high school student who sang with the Indianapolis Children's Choir at a Bush speech has been told the absence will not be excused. She will not be allowed to make up any missed work and will receives zeros for the day's assignments.
Superintendent Mark Keen said the absence didn't fit within the school's policy -- even under the excused category of "other educational activity."

The policy defines "other educational activity" as "relevant to the child's academic growth and equivalent to the child's school activities and experiences."
OTOH, I bet these kids had no problem getting their absences excused.
FOX ON BOX FoxNews did a TV piece on homeschooling. They've posted something on the web but it doesn't appear to be a transcript. A couple of factoids stood out that seem questionable.
Thirty states mandate regular testing for homeschooled students; 42 states require a set curriculum; parents in Michigan who teach their own kids must first earn a teaching credential...
(DRUG) TESTING The NYT reports on a large-scale study that shows that drug-testing public school students does little or nothing to reduce the use of drugs.
The study, published last month in The Journal of School Health, a peer-reviewed publication of the American School Health Association, found that 37 percent of 12th graders in schools that tested for drugs said they had smoked marijuana in the last year, compared with 36 percent in schools that did not. In a universe of tens of thousands of students, such a slight deviation is statistically insignificant, and it means the results are essentially identical, the researchers said.

Similarly, 21 percent of 12th graders in schools with testing said they had used other illicit drugs like cocaine or heroin in the last year, while 19 percent of their counterparts in schools without screening said they had done so.

The same pattern held for every other drug and grade level. Whether looking at marijuana or harder drugs like cocaine and heroin, or middle school pupils compared with high school students, the fact that their schools tested for drugs showed no signs of slowing their drug use.
The Supreme Court had justified drug- testing, in part, by its effectiveness in reducing the use of drugs by young people. This study dramatically calls into question that rationale.


LAUGH O' THE DAY I feel sorry for this columnist. She met perfect homeschoolers and couldn't handle the pressure. I think I'll invite her over to our place; she'd feel right at home.
BRAINWASHING Here's a good column on how edu-crats use youngsters to further their political agenda.
They say a picture is worth a thousand words. That was certainly true of a recent photo of a little 7-year-old boy holding a sign demanding more money for the schools and holding his fist in the air.

He was part of a demonstration organized by his teachers, and including parents and other students, all of whom were transported to California's state capital in Sacramento to protest budget constraints brought on by the state's huge deficit.

There was a time when taking children out of classes to fight the political battles of adults would have been considered a shameless neglect of duty. But that was long ago.

The little boy with the sign and his fist raised in the air is just one of the millions of victims of a shameless education establishment.
Read the whol ething.


LATE AGAIN More HazMat this a.m. and then it's down to Dover for the Senate Education Committee meeting where SB103 (the "Homeschools Defined" bill) is on the agenda. Blogging may resume tonight but more likely tomorrow.
AMERICAN GIRL Ideas on Liberty magazine has a nice article on how American Girl Dolls "sell" kids on history.
the company has a successful product. My daughters' school "social studies" books drain the life from American history. The Revolutionary War and Civil War become the opportunity for dry recountings of dates and names, mixed in with "inspiring" vignettes of diverse ethnic groups. These vignettes are, to be blunt, dull as dishwater because committees determined to offend no one wrote them. The American Girl books, on the other hand, are lively and engaging. Because they're fun to read, they get read-over and over and over. My daughters have undoubtedly absorbed more American history from the American Girl books-including more of the social history of "underrepresented" peoples that school text-selection committees seem to value so highly-than from their textbooks and social-studies classes combined.
My real girls have several of the plastic ones and last year Lydia used the book series in teaching history. There was no way our son was going to read an American Girl Doll book, but he didn't seem to mind having Lydia read them aloud to everyone. (via Cathy Henderson)
AMEN! Cathy Henderson nailed one yesterday concerning the Laney Case.
HOME-SCHOOLERS DEFEND RIGHTS"As the home-schooling New Chapel Hill mother accused of killing two of her children sits in a Smith County Jail cell, other parents who home school their children defend the right and argue cases such as the one against Deanna Laney are not the norm." And this quote from a homeschool parent: "This takes a great commitment and not everyone can make this type of commitment..." (TX 5/13)

Just a small suggestion. Part of the unintended consequences of carrying on and on about the "unselfishness", the "sacrificing" and the "commitment" required, along with the "not for everyone" comments from homeschoolers, is that it results in just the reputation requested. I don't "sacrifice" any self-interest; taking full responsibility for the education of my daughter is as selfish as anything I've ever done, as rewarding, as joyful, as any experience of my life. I raise my daughter and guiding her education is part of the job. Yeah, there are tough spots, but sometimes parenting is a little tougher than at other times, and parenting _is_ a commitment. It's not nearly as hard as watching a public school make mincemeat out of childhood. Homeschooling isn't a factor in pushing into madness. I do believe that concentrating a little less on the self-sacrificing-martyr deal is in order.


ALMOST PERFECT A homeschooling dad has penned a terrific column on his family's homeschooling experiences. If not for the emphasis on certification, it'd be perfect. One to file.
LATE BLOGGING TODAY I have more HazMat training scheduled all day. Blogging will resume tonight.


THIS THEORY IS CRAZY In a story about the Laney case (where the mom killed her two young sons), CBS News predicts homeschooling will play a role in any trial:
[B]oth women home-schooled their children – a factor that doctors in the Yates trial focused on as one of a few that pushed her into madness. If we ever see a Laney capital murder trial – if there is no plea deal for a life sentence – look for home-schooling to play a role in any insanity defense offered by her attorneys.
HOMESCHOOLERS AND THEIR 'RENTS This short article is mostly about the homeschooling parents but the kid's music is briefly mentioned. The parents sound interesting. They run a catnip farm.
For many years, the Baslers sold their catnip wholesale to Cosmic Catnip of Maryland. Now they own their own Mountain Lion Catnip Company, which sells raw catnip as well as catnip mini-pillows, chin scratchers, and other whimsical cat toys.

“We made political dolls during the elections,” Basler said. “The idea is that you order the doll that you didn’t want to win, and we’d put catnip in the neck, so your cat gradually rips its head off.”
DEFINITELY TV Isabel Lyman points to a really scary column by a teacher who breaks the world down into TV people and Print people:
"Print People do what they are told to do, almost all the time.

TV People do what they are told to do, less than half the time."
The author claims in her bio that she is "the owner of 'The Learning Clinic,' where real reading, and real math, are taught effectively and efficiently." Maybe not as effectively as she thinks.
One day I stepped in front of a hall-roaming TV Person who was ignoring my request that he return to class, and stated, "Notice! I am not a TV, and you do not have a remote control! You may not like my 'channel' but it is the one you get to watch at this moment!" I might have saved my energy. He missed the point, looked at me as though I had lost my mind, and detoured around me to continue his out-of-class adventure. I noted not one touch of conscience, guilt, respect. The lights are on, but the reception is poor.
Print people good; TV, bad. She claims that homeschoolers are Print people but I think she's wrong. We're definitely TV people. Shoot, the pioneers in the movement broke the law in order to do what they thought right. That's not only questioning authority. It's rejecting it, outright. That's one of the real lessons our kids will learn from our choices. I'm sure that thought would terrify Ms. Taylor, but I think it's just fine.


A FISH TALE Here's another reason to homeschool- so Dad can go fishing.
Most professional bass anglers love their jobs, although they hate leaving their families for extended periods, sometimes months...

Spousal careers and school responsibilities keep many families home while pros hit the road for long periods. Alton Jones and his wife, Jimmye Sue, solved this problem. When Alton readies for a trip, the entire Jones family piles into a very large vehicle...

Jimmye Sue home-schools the three children, Alton Jr., 11, Kristen, 8, and Jamie, 5. To share the road with her husband, Jimmye Sue gave up a $50,000 a year job as a nurse, at times the sole support for the family.
ANOTHER WHIZ KID This homeschooler will graduate from community college with 2 Associate's degrees at the age of 15. A cute anecdote:
There were a few bumps along the way.

A Sinclair prof last year asked English 112 students to write about a first in their lives, such as getting their first driver’s license, going out on their first date, first time going into a bar, etc. The professor didn’t know Harry was 14 and hadn’t experienced any of those firsts just yet. Harry wrote about his first class at Sinclair instead.
BILL O'REILLY GETS IT RIGHT... for once. I rarely agree with the stances that the Fox commentator takes but he's spot on with his denouncement of GA politicians who wouldn't even condemn an all-white prom in Taylor County, GA. It's a private party so the ignoramuses have the right to hold the event. Politicans, though, should have been screaming that this is simply intolerable.
POLITICAL BLACKMAIL "Community activists" in Miami are threatening to boycott Florida's tourism, sugar, and citrus induxtries unless Gov. Bush changes their high-stakes test so that fewer minority students will fail. To show just how clueless these people are, here's a quote from one of the leaders.
''We will not continue to support a government economically that will not educate our children,'' Bishop Victor Curry said.
How will lowering the standards assist in educating their children? I think it would accomplish just the opposite.
PC RUN AMOK The University of Mass.- Amherst is considering replacing it's Minutemen mascot because, at least in part, "the nickname is too violent (real Minutemen carried guns), too sexist (there were no Minutewomen) and too ethnic (all those white English people). "


HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY to all moms but especially to those who have the hardest job in the world, homeschooling moms.
SAD NEWS A homeschooling mom has killed two of her children in what sounds like an eery replay of the Yates case. This one is also in Texas.
HOMESCHOOLING IS BORING In Southern Illinois homeschooling must be so common that it is no longer newsworthy:
The couple is also home-schooling their children, which doesn't sound like a big deal -- after all, more and more families are choosing to home-school these days.

But then you hear how many children the Cherrys have: nine, ranging in age from 8 months to 18 years.
WHO'S THE LOSER? A Dallas middle school teacher had students who failed to do their homework write essays which began "I'm a loser because..." This teacher sounds a bit wacko. CHeck out some of her rules for the classroom:
Stay away from Mrs. B's desk unless I am giving you permission to get something," and "Remember that I am the teacher. You are the student. You do not have as many rights as you think you have."
DAY 35: 209.5 Delta: -1.0, Net: -21.5

OK, made my intermediate goal of 210 by 5/13. Next goal- 200 by 6/11.


COINCIDENCE? The NY Post has an update on the Massapequa High students who went to a strip club. Interestingly, on the same page is a semi-nude Victoria's Secret ad. If it were any paper other than the Post, I'd say coincidence.
Boston police and school officials are investigating allegations that a seventh-grader at the John D. O'Bryant School of Mathematics and Science, one of Boston's three exam schools, poisoned his teacher yesterday by pouring household cleaner into the teacher's coffee mug, said school officials.


A PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT Traffic today has tripled because people are Googling "glenbrook hazing video" and ending up here. Not that I don't appreciate the traffic, but you really want to use GoogleNews. Click here for the correct search.
DAY 33: 210.5 Delta: 0.0, Net: -20.5
ONE FOR SNEAKING SUSPICIONS Fritz Schranck likes to award "Claudes" for headlines that leave a bit to be desired in the imagination department. Here's a candidate: Tuition hikes might outpace inflation rate Wow! That's only the 800th year in a row that this has happened. Stop the presses!
WANTED: GROWNUPS Yesterday Isabel Lyman blogged a story about a parent taking 15 Massapequa High School baseball players to a strip club. Today, we learn that the Chicago hazing incident may have been fueled by beer purchased by parents. Hey, parents, you're not their buds. Grow up!

BTW, Massapequa is near-and-dear to my heart; I grew up there in the 60's and 70's (yes, I'm that old). It's very typical post-WWII suburbia. In fact, the original Levittown is just down the street.
WHAT A WASTE OF MONEY St. Paul cops are "enforcing" the city's reading program by stopping kids at random and asking if they've read "the book."
Beginning today, about two dozen St. Paul police officers will randomly ask students and other residents about their reading habits. Those who've read "The Watsons" will be rewarded with a T-shirt saying, "I Got Caught Reading by the Saint Paul Police."

Those who haven't read the book will be let off easy — this time. They likely will be handed — not thrown — a copy.
I'm all for encouraging reading but this is just dumb. Police officers are government law enforcement agents. They're sending the message that not reading the (politically) "correct" book borders on criminal behavior.
LATE BLOGGING I'm up in Somerset, NJ again all day. I'll post some more this afternoon.
DELAWARE ITEM: WE HAVE A NUMBER Sen. Dave Sokola filed the proposed homeschooling legislation yesterday. It's SB103. A quick glance didn't find any differences from the DOE proposal but I'll be going over it line-by-line later this afternoon.
VALEDICTORIAN UPDATE A federal judge has ruled that Blair Horstine, the girl suing her school about her valedictorian status, will get to fly solo. Joanne Jacobs picked up on this story today and really blasts Horstine. Kim Swygert's blog from last week continues to generate very interesting comments (including several by Horstine's classmates). I think I had her pegged from the start.


365 AND COUNTING Today marks the end of one year of blogging. Here's my first post:
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.
Except for my occasional forays into libertarian land, I think I've pretty much stuck to the original format. I leave it as an exercise for the reader to determine if that is a good thing or not.
USA PATRIOT ACT If accurate, this is downright scary.
A month ago I experienced a very small taste of what hundreds of South Asian immigrants and U.S. citizens of South Asian descent have gone through since 9/11, and what thousands of others have come to fear. I was held, against my will and without warrant or cause, under the USA PATRIOT Act. While I understand the need for some measure of security and precaution in times such as these, the manner in which this detention and interrogation took place raises serious questions about police tactics and the safeguarding of civil liberties in times of war.
Read the whole thing.
DAY 32: 210.5 Delta: -0.5, Net: -20.5
LUCKED OUT A 14-year-old student brought a loaded pistol to school in March, claiming he was going to kill the principal, vice principal, and several teachers. He even showed the gun to several of his friends, one of whom finally told police this week. WWHS.
THE BEATINGS WILL CONTINUE UNTIL MORALE IMPROVES Here's an example of how NOT to use state accountability tests.
A fifth-grade teacher punished four pupils last week because they didn't write a long-enough essay on their AIMS tests, the father of one of the students said.

Joseph Estrada, 11, and three of his Cheyenne Elementary School classmates weren't allowed to watch a movie or play outside late last week after they turned in short essays on the Arizona Instrument to Measure Standards test, Daniel Estrada said...

Results from the high-stakes test determine schools' labels, which in turn can affect everything from a school's funding to curriculum. Cheyenne Elementary has the second-highest label: "improving."
Got to keep those ratings up.


TWO, TWO, TWO PUNS IN ONE Someone at Reuters has been smoking something funny.
Cops hang up pot phones

Marijuana-scented cell phone covers pulled from tech show after joint protest by authorities, PM.

SYDNEY, Australia (Reuters) - Marijuana-scented cell phone covers caused such a buzz in Australia that the company selling them had to pull them out of a technology fair in Sydney Wednesday.
SHELTERED UPDATE Here's some more info on the football game turned hazing.
Amateur videotape shot at the scene, of what was supposed to be an initiation for Glenbrook North High School junior girls, shows several students huddled together on the ground while others throw objects at them, including large plastic buckets.

One girl walks behind the seated girls and slaps them on the back of the head. Another girl holds up what appears to be an intestine. At least one girl reported having a pig's intestine wrapped around her neck...

"Basically it started out as a fun hazing like our initiation into our senior year," one girl who had been injured said. "About 10 minutes into it, everything changed -- buckets were flying ... people were bleeding. Girls were unconscious..."

"When I looked up and I saw blood, I knew that this wasn't right," another girl said. "This is from a paint can being thrown at me," she said, pointing to her shoulder. "Tabasco sauce, vinegar and stuff like that [was put] in my eye."

Witnesses also reported urine, feces and fish guts were thrown, and others said they had been forced to eat mud.
I don't think this was what Cyndi Lauper had in mind.
GOOD LUCK, DOC I hope this homeschooling dad and physician makes it; he sounds like a nice guy.
After graduating medical school at Pennsylvania State University, Rumbaugh moved to Pequannock with his wife, Suzanne, and set up shop on Newark Pompton Turnpike. Until last year, Rumbaugh had a successful practice that was 12 years strong.

But in June 2002, he and Suzanne moved to Honduras to participate in mission work for seven months. They also took their four children with them. Before leaving, Rumbaugh sold most of their belongings and closed his office. He referred his patients to several colleagues.

"Being a missionary was something both my wife and I found infinitely important. The Lord has blessed us, and we need to return the favor," said Rumbaugh, a part-time family-life pastor at Cornerstone Chapel in Pequannock. "We also felt it would be important for our children to really learn the meaning of giving back."

Suzanne, who holds a bachelor's degree in education, homeschools all of their children, a practice she began a decade ago in Germany. Rumbaugh was a flight surgeon in the U.S. Air Force, and his assignments brought the family to different camps from Europe to the Middle East.

"There weren't any schools to put our children in, so Suzanne did it," Rumbaugh said. "Our children excelled, and we kept it up."

The family returned from Honduras in January and Rumbaugh had to rebuild his practice from the ground up. He bought a beat-up Ford Taurus that works sporadically (on the other days he rides his bicycle), and started a family practice.

"This time around, I needed a niche," Rumbaugh said. "At first I thought I'd start a physician hot line, where people could call in and ask questions. Then I thought I'd start a nighttime-hours practice to cater to working people after 5 p.m. But then the house-calls idea hit me."

He printed fliers and advertised in town. His ads read, "Remember the Good ol' days when doctors made house calls? They're here again! Introducing The House Caller M.D."
House calls should be popular with homeschooling families who don't want to drag a herd of kids to the doctor's office. I know Lydia would welcome it. Perhaps he should advertise in homeschooling newsletters.
CHARTER COMPETITION WORKS? I heard this on WDEL-AM this morning driving in to work. The Colonial School District in New Castle County (DE) is hoping to start a Junior Air Force ROTC program by Fall 2004. Why do I find this interesting? Because a nearby school district has chartered the Delaware Military Academy which will be organized as a Junior Navy ROTC and opens this Fall. The new charter has been very popular and is already oversubscribed (Disclosure: My niece will be attending). Coincidence? You make the call.
DAY 31: 211.0 Delta: -2.0 (2 days), Net: -20.0

20 pounds in a month. Not bad at all.
I'M SO CONFUSED This is way OT but Joanne Jacobs and Isabel Lyman have been following the Smith College female pronoun story and I don't get it. Izzy links to an article that closes with this:
According to [transgender specialist Julie] Mencher, most of the students she counsels do not see themselves as transsexual - that is, they are not necessarily interested in using medical means to change their bodies so that they appear as the opposite sex. Rather, she said, they are exploring their gender.

"There are a lot of students here who identify as transgender but don't identify as male. They identify in a more gender-ambiguous way," explained Mencher. "They have come to a campus where that's very much supported."
OK, I understand not wanting to undergo surgery but isn't gender an either/or proposition? How could an anatomically female transgendered person not self-identify as male?


EDU-BLOGGERS WANTED Michael Lopez has organized the web-ring linked above and is recruiting volunteers. He apologized about the lame name. Clink on the link to add your site.
NEWARK (OH) ADVOCATE, DAY THREE The last of the series focuses on getting homeschoolers through high school and into college. In a sidebar there's a Q&A with an admissions officer at Ohio State. She claims only 15 homeschoolers have enrolled there in the last three years. I find that stat hard to believe. Last I heard, there were ~80,000 students. In the other two homeschooling articles published today, they profile a homeschooler who made National Merit Finalist and another who is in college and studying to be a middle school teacher. The fact that he has a black belt in karate will likely make it easier to control the kids.
OUR POOR, SHELTERED KIDS Steven Kulisek pointed me to this article showing just what homeschooled kids are missing out on.
"Powder puff" football, a high school homecoming tradition pitting junior girls against senior girls, was anything but puff and fluff Sunday during a game in a forest preserve that sent five Glenbrook North High School students to the hospital.

...A senior girl, who did not want to be named, was not at the game but said it is an annual "initiation" of junior girls involving "a lot of alcohol."

Certain senior girls select junior girls to play; guys watch on the sidelines, she said. "If you do it junior year, you organize it senior year," the student said. "It's hazing, pretty much. . . . I think it's the most degrading thing going on."
Football, alcohol, and teens- a lethal combination.
ALMOST GOT CAUGHT At first I thought this was a parent writing about his homeschooled daughters. I was ready to write a scathing rebuttal but will just limit my comments to this: Pretty dumb satire. Give it a read and let me know what you think.
STRIKE! No- we're talking neither unions nor baseball here, but bowling. Fourteen-year-old homeschooler Melanie O'Grady will be turning pro next year. She'll be the youngest female professional bowler in history.


PEACEFUL PLAYGROUND PROJECT Kim Swygert is steamed about a PA school district that wants to make recess politically correct. I've got to agree; it sounds dopey.
DAY 29: 213.0 Delta: +0.5, Net: -18.0
NEWARK (OH) ADVOCATE, DAY TWO Three more articles posted about homeschooling. It's obvious that the reporter is pro-homeschooling.

Experience can be best teacher

Religious education key for Houser family

Homeschoolers' progress measured

The last one goes into Ohio's homeschooling law a bit. The evaluator/teacher/homeschooling parent comes off as a bit of a snob:
Leslie Smith is a certified teacher and regional representative for Christian Educators of Ohio who reviews portfolios. She makes sure all subjects have been covered, and she looks for pictures and certificates from classes attended, volunteer work completed and workbooks.

She often tells parents where their teaching is deficient.

"No certified teacher is going to put their license on the line if they're not doing the work," Smith said. "It's not worth the hassle."
DON'T CHEAT. COMPETE! Boulder Valley (CO) school board members are "shocked" that they're losing students (and the money that goes with them) to charters. Their solution- no more charters. Parents are rightly angry and have contracted with another local district to start a new charter just across the boundary line.
The proposal has angered some members of the Boulder school board, which was forced last week to close three schools and consolidate several programs in other buildings to solve budget problems.

More importantly, it casts a huge spotlight on the question of whether conventional school districts can coexist with charters that pick off students by targeting niche markets, such as parents who want more science in the curriculum, said Boulder Valley school board President Bill de la Cruz...

Board member Stan Garnett says he's not sure how the district can compete.

"School districts are large and complicated entities, and charter schools are like commando raids," Garnett said.

Garnett said school districts are at a big disadvantage in the competition with charters, which can latch on to the latest educational trends.

"We don't always just quickly change to what Parents magazine recently wrote an article about," he said. "We try to do it in the most thoughtful and professionally appropriate way, whereas a charter school may just get a whole bunch of parents who want to have, like, a phonics-based curriculum, and they rush off and they do that."
Sounds like Garnett needs to be voted out of office.
DUH! This article has one of the dumber headlines I've seen:
Parents have ways to aid kids' reading
The main topic is how to help your kids if they struggle with reading. This 'graf, though, is a pretty strong indictment against the teachers and an (unintentional?) endorsement of high-stakes tests:
Teachers tell me testing is important because it's possible for a student to get decent grades in English and still struggle with reading. That is because a teacher takes many factors into account when determining grades, including behavior and how hard a student tries.
Grades should be based on the quality of the work. How hard the kid tries is irrelevant.


DVD REVIEW We just finished watching the BBC series "The Blue Planet: Seas of Life." The roughly 4 hours of video are simply beautiful and very educational. There are some parts that might be disturbing to younger children (e.g., a baby grey whale being attacked by orcas). Anyone doing a unit study on the oceans would be well-served by checking this one out from the library. Of course, it's available for purchase.
Q & A The Newark (OH) Advocate posts a FAQ about homeschooling. I think they blew the first "A."
Question: What is homeschooling?

Answer: Simply educating a child outside of a formal school.

UPDATE: The Q&A is part of a series that they are doing on homeschooling. Here's part one of the series. Only one questionable quote, and that from a homeschooling parent:
Now, there's an influx of homeschooling refugees, families who educate their children at home because they don't like public schools, said Leslie Smith, a regional representative of Christian Home Educators of Ohio who lives in Granville Township.

"That's not a good reason to homeschool," said Smith.
Other than that, an excellent article. OTOH, here's the negative flip side from the edu-crats point-of-view. Here's a criticism of homeschooling I haven't seen before.
"If you really believe in the American dream of an interwoven fabric, there's a potential threat there," he said.
Bua-ha-ha! And, finally, here's a profile of a homeschooling pioneer family. Now, IMO, this is the way to homeschool:
Some days, Jennifer would do her work in her tree house behind the red pole barn her father, Mark, had built and converted into a house.
DAY 28: 212.5 Delta: -0.5, Net: -18.5


UNSCHOOL GRAD Here's a really nice profile of a young lady who unschooled her "high-school" years. She sounds like the kind of person you'd want your son to meet.
After earning her diploma from the correspondence school, Caroline initially looked into going to college immediately - to Smith, Mt. Holyoke, Hampshire, or Amherst.

"But I realized that going directly from home schooling, where I'd basically been very close to my family, to a major four-year college would be too much of a transition," she said.
A POX ON BOTH YOUR HOUSES Joe Crankshaw is unhappy with the Florida legislature. He thinks the 'phants anr just as bad as the donkeys. What caught my eye (as well as GoogleNews') was this 'graf:
Both houses tried to adopt a plan that would allow almost any students to opt out of the public school system using tax-paid vouchers. The kicker is this: The kids don't even have to go to a school. They can attend via a "virtual school" on television or on the Internet. No one is charged with ensuring that the private schools are accredited, accountable or functional, and nothing is done to ensure that parents have the skills to really home-school via the "virtual school." The upshot is the public schools lose revenue at a time they need it.
Joe pulls off a two-fer here. He manages to confound homeschooling with the virtual charter and he also makes the assumption that homeschooling parents somehow owe it to the state to prove themselves capable. I say a pox on Joe.
ARRGGHH! Sorry for the late blogging. I'm in the process of moving the blog to a new URLand it's going slower than I had hoped. For now, I'll still be using the damnable blogger software (the editor was down again this morning). Eventually I'll be moving to MT.
DAY 27: 213.0 Delta: -0.5, Net: -18.0


GIMME A BREAK A New Jersey high-school senior is suing her school district for almost $3M because they want to name her co-valedictorian. She wants to fly solo.
Because of an immune deficiency, Hornstine is classified as a disabled student and has taken a class load that doesn't include physical education and involves her spending part of her school day studying at home.

The two other Moorestown High School seniors with nearly perfect grades could not match her grade-point average, officials said, because classes like gym receive less weight in calculating the GPA.
Guess what she wants to be when she grows up (which, evidently, will be a good long while).

UPDATE: Kim Swygert picked up the same story. She's backing the girl.
PROPOSED DELAWARE HOMESCHOOLING LAW Here's a link to the DOE proposal. It is expected to go before the Senate Education Committee next week.
HOMESCHOOLING = CHILD ABUSE An Ohio legislator and an edu-crat are concerned that some abusive parents are "hiding" behind the homeschooling statute. There have been two documented cases of abuse by "homeschooling" parents in the last two years. The solution to this "crisis" is to further regulate the remaining 66,500 homeschoolers. Ohio already has a fairly instrusive law, requiring mandatory testing every year. What's left, other than home inspections from edu-crats? Besides, how many Ohio teachers were accused of sexual abuse in the last two years? I'll bet it's more than two.

UPDATE: Here's a link to the horrifying situation that is sparking the current interest. It seems to me that the main problem was that the Child Services Board didn't do their job. Homeschooling is just an easy scapegoat.
REALLY UGLY EDU-STATS The WSJ OpinionJournal parses the results of a Public Agenda poll. The conclusion: everyone agrees that the government schools are in horrible shape.
Please join me for a tour of the second circle of hell. George Bush has a plan of action called No Child Left Behind, but if Saddam's weapons of mass destruction were sufficient reason to invade Iraq, he should now send in the Marines to occupy and reconstruct the nation's dysfunctional public schools...

How the schools got this way--how respect for teachers died, disorder rose, basic learning fell, bureaucracy rose, why the best teachers quit, parents stopped caring and why professors think freshmen are academically delusional--is a subject for another column and maybe another lifetime (it takes more than one paragraph to explain how Supreme Court justices with high IQs render legal decisions reflecting no common sense).

But for now, amid the overwhelming agreement found in the Public Agenda surveys, I have one small, recurring question: Tell me again why we're supposed to think charter schools and school choice are bad ideas.
Definitely worth a read.
NOSENSE MA Governor Romney has floated two education-reform trial balloons. The first would allow pricipals to fire poor teachers in failing schools. Wonder-of-wonders, the teacher's union doesn't like this common-sense proposal.
[O]fficials from the Massachusetts Federation of Teachers and the Massachusetts Teachers Assocation, the state's largest teacher union, called the governor's proposal ''nonsense.''

''There is no need for this because principals can already fire incompetent teachers for just cause,'' said Anne Wass, vice president of the MTA. ''There is a whole process in place which requires teachers to be evaluated, and teachers who are performing poorly can ultimately be fired.''
There's a whole lot of weasel-words in that 'graf: just cause, evaluated, and ultimately. In other words, you can fire a bad teacher when Hell freezes over.

Romeny's other proposal really does sound like a bad idea.
The union also blasted another Romney plan to require parents in underperforming school systems to attend a training program before sending their children to school.
Mandates are a no-no.

UPDATE: At Izzy's request, a photo. A good-looking guy but I like the background.

DAY 26: 213.5 Delta: -1.0, Net: -17.5


A LITTLE HELP, PLEASE I've decided to register cobranchi.com and need to find a registrar/webhosting company that is comfortable with blogs. Any bloggers out there with some hints? TIA.
Parents don’t trust schools
A nationwide survey has found that parents want their children taught at home instead of at school. A poll of 1,200 adults, either with children under five or expecting children this year, revealed that 61% do not trust Britain’s education system. Some 31% said they would like to take their children out of the education system, for home schooling ‘at some point in their lives’.
I.D.E.A. REAUTHORIZED The reauthorization included a provision that homeschoolers do not have to be tested for learning disabilities against the will of their parents.
A BAD IDEA Florida edu-crats want to impose some kind of accountability test on the state's public colleges and universities. Students might be required to re-take the SAT shortly before graduation but there would be no direct impact on the students. Only the school's state funding would be impacted by low scores. How dumb can you get? College seniors are not going to take the test seriously and no meaningful data would be generated. This would be just a huge waste of (Florida taxpayers') money.
DAY 25: 214.5 Delta: 0.0, Net: -16.5