~Why We Homeschool

Monday, August 26, 2002

Homeschooling in the News

Florida Homeschooler Surfs to Championship
Karina Petroni, a 14-year-old Florida homeschooler, has won three national surfing titles this summer. Observers say the sport of surfing is seeing a surge in female participants, a trend they attribute to the summer movie Blue Crush. This Fox news story interviews Karina and profiles other female surfers.
Never say homeschoolers aren't well "balanced."

Carolina Homeschoolers Battle Bots
Homeschooled teens in Hendersonville, North Carolina, made up the only local entry for a regional Battle Bot competition, a "gladiatorial-like games where remote controlled robots destroy one another." Homeschooling, says one contestant in what may have been the biggest 'bot event on the East Coast, gives him time to work his schedule around engineering his bot.
Bot building: Violence, mayhem...and a bit of engineering and technology.

Homeschoolers Arrive on Campus
Getting into college used to be problematic for homeschooled children. But that's changing as growing numbers of homeschooled children apply for, attend, and succeed in collge. And high college-aptitude test scores for homeschooled children seal the deal. In 2001, says this Insight Magazine article, homeschooled SAT-takers had higher scores than the SAT-taking population as a whole, with homeschooled students averaging 568 on the verbal test (out of a possible 800) and 525 on the math, compared with 506 verbal and 514 math for the national average of all SAT test-takers. But, says the article, the lack of traditional credentials continues to pose a serious problem for homeschoolers at some colleges.
Fortunately, nobody wants to attend those schools, so it all works out.

Canadian Children Flock Home
An increasing number of Canadian children are being taught at home, says a recent study. This Ottawa Citizen article profiles one family, and describes laws and resources for other parents who might want to educate their own children. The article lists a number of reasons Canadian parents homeschool, including "ensuring children learn certain values and beliefs while avoiding peer pressure about such things as drugs and premarital sex; higher academic performance through one-on-one instruction; and developing stronger parent-child relationships."
As well as training them in the proper pronunciation of the word "Eh."

Homeschooling Gains Popularity in Indiana
More and more Indiana families are choosing to teach their children at home, says an Indianapolis Star report on homeschooling. About 2 percent of the state's 1 million school-age children will learn from home this fall. The paper attributes the dramatic jump primarily to safety concerns. This generally positive article contains a few negatives, including statements from school administrators and even one homeschooling parent that parents who teach their children at home need to be "regulated."
Because regulation brings better results...or...well...something.

Homeschooling Reaches Beyond the House
A San Antonio Express-News profile of Texas homeschoolers provides a positive view of the movement. This report estimates that there are 300,000 homeschooled children in the state, and says the homeschooling families it profiled homeschool for religious reasons, lifestyle compatibility, and individualization. A critic is quoted as saying homeschooling is a retreat from society, and that "We live in a society where a great concern is the weakening of a civic-mindedness."
In a related story, homeschooled children throughout the nation spent the day working in soup kitchens, writing to legislators, campaigning for improved laws, and cleaning up roadside litter -- while their government-schooled peers sat in tiny desks becoming civic-minded and stealing one another's lunch money.

Penn. Family Argues for Access
A Freeport, Pennsylvania, homeschooling family is arguing with the local school board for access to public-school resources for their son. Because they pay school taxes, the parents say, and because the local school district oversees home schooling, their son is entitled to the same benefits the district provides other students. Around the United States, says this USA Today article, hundreds of school districts "routinely turn down requests from home-schoolers to participate in sports, perform in plays, take specialty academic courses or join music programs."
Now what makes you believe taxation should give you representation?

California Increases Pressure on Homeschoolers
Update: Read What Columnist David Limbaugh Has to Say
Columnist Michelle Malkin Weighs In
Homeschool Battle Heats Up in California
For related stories, click here, here, here, and here.
Click here for an interesting profile of California homeschooling.
And click here for a supportive letter from attorney Will Rogers
The state of California has stepped up its pressure on homeschooling parents to put their children back in public school -- a move that California homeschooling leaders dismiss as "blowing smoke." This summer the state's deputy superintendent for public instruction, Joanne Mendoza, sent out a memo to public and private schools warning them not to accept documents or issue a required R-4 affidavit to home schools. The state's complaint? Parents aren't "certified" to teach. "Parents who home-school their children are operating outside the law," she wrote in the memo. Beginning this year, families who wish to teach their children at home must register online with the state.
Yeah that...or move.

California Families Embrace Alternative Education
Families in Escondido, California, are finding that an alternative education program offered by the local school district gives them flexibiity and "phenomenal" support. The district offers a structured home study for students from kindergarten through eighth grade that combines district-provided materials and monthly or bi-monthly meetings with supervising teachers who "closely monitor" the students' progress. About 70 students in the 18,000-pupil district currently participate in the program.
Note to California: Options? Good. Threats? Bad.

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This Week in the Public Schools

Bureaucracy Increases Teacher Shortage
Click here for a related story
While schools around the world complain of overcrowded classrooms and shortages of teachers, a convoluted bureaucracy of red tape overseen by administrators, middle managers and clerks is discouraging applicants. The head of the California Teachers Association, the state's largest teachers' union, said the CTA fields hundreds of complaints about the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing. Teachers find the rules confusing, complex and burdensome, he said. "It's just out of control.... It's a bureaucracy that has just run amok."
Sure is. Just ask any California homeschooler.

Teachers Often Not Educated in Subjects They Teach
A quarter of schoolteachers haven't been trained in the subject they teach -- a statistic that hasn't changed since 1993. And the numbers are even higher in areas that serve poor and minority students. But the situation is about to get more attention as a federal requirement kicks in that requires schools to notify parents within a month about untrained teachers.
Not do anything about it, mind you. Just notify.

Teacher Quits in Exchange for Dropped Molestation Charges
A Pittsburgh-area teacher facing his third trial for inappropriately touching students has agree to quit teaching in exchange for having charges against him dropped. Three female student have told authorities the fourth-grade teacher held them on his lap in the classroom and fondled them. He was acquitted in one previous trial, and faced a hung jury in another. The man had recently retired, and said in a prepared statement "Because I've retired from teaching, therefore a teaching license is meaningless and useless to me."
So nyeh nyeh-nyeh nyeh nyeh.

Florida Board Fires Teacher Arrested for Sex Acts
A Palm Beach, Florida, schoolteacher has been fired for performing sexual acts in his middle school classroom. The school district says the 58-year-old English teacher had phone sex at least 20 times, sometimes while on duty, and allowed a person who had been arrested for having sex in a public park to come into his classroom and take pictures. The man also masturbated in his classroom about a dozen times during lunchtime.
And you should hear what he did on the second day.

NEA Commemorates 9-11: Blame America, Exonerate Islam
Update! Click here for George Will's comments on the NEA curriculum
Michael Medved weighs in
America's largest teaching union recommends to its members that in commemorating the September 11th terrorist attacks, public-school teachers focus on discussing "historical instances of American intolerance," and that they avoid suggesting "any group is responsible" for the deaths of more than 3000 people. A Washington Times article written before the National Education Association site was open to the public has drawn the ire of the union, which complains that the Times didn't hold its story until after the NEA site went live. "Lies and distortion about the National Education Association are nothing new. Most of the critics of this September 11 website have been bashing public school teachers and the NEA for a long time. But using this national tragedy to score political points is a new low."
But pretending the union is a victim isn't?

News Briefs

Sunburn Mom Fights Back
A woman whose three children were sunburned at the county fair is fighting authorities who jailed her for eight days and held her on $15,000 bond. The children, a 2-year-old and 10-month-old twins, got sunburned faces in 90-degree weather. Early reports that the children suffered second-degree burns and that one had a collapsed lung from crying, have turned out to be untrue. According to the woman's attorney, paramedics who treated the children at the fair told the arresting deputy that the children were fine, but the deputy decided to have them transported to the hospital anyway and arrest their mother. The twin with the undeveloped lung had been born prematurely, and medical records showed his lung condition predated the fair.
Here's an idea: Let's jail every parent whose children have ever been sunburned. And the three people left in America can run the place all alone.

Boston Teacher Faces Additional Assault Charges
Click here to read about a British parallel
A Boston-area high school teacher has admitted having four different sexual encounters with a female student, but claims the relations were consensual. The 24-year-old woman, a choir teacher at East Catholic High School, was charged with three counts of second-degree sexual assault. Massachusetts law says teacher-student sexual relations are never consensual.
Not even if consent is offered in a perfect first soprano voice.

Iowa Man Pleads Guilty in Abuse Case
A 20-year-old Norwalk, Iowa, man who sexually abused young boys at his mother's day-care center pleaded guilty to to two counts of third-degree sexual abuse and a charge of assault with intent to commit sexual abuse. In 1999 he was charged with sexual harrassment in connection with a 12-year-old neighbor boy. He is likely to be paroled in three to four years.
Somehow it doesn't seem like three years of group showering is going to cure this guy.

Monday, August 19, 2002

Homeschooling in the News

Canadian Homeschooler Inspires Courage
Eleven-year-old Ottawa homeschooler Patrick Quesnel had seven major cardiac surgeries before he was five years old, and faces another, but he continues to approach every activity and person with a heartwarming smile, says this Ottawa Sun profile. The young man has had a pacemaker since he was an infant -- though it has been replaced three times. "With a maturity far beyond his precious years," says the reporter, "Patrick says it's important to find positives. He hopes other children will do the same."
With or without the pacemaker.

Newspaper Praises Homeschooled Teens
A Knoxville, Tennessee, newspaper profiles two homeschooled teenagers, and has nothing but praise for the kids and their family. The reporter lists the many accomplishments of the first teenager, a 16-year-old boy, and asks him whether he thought being homeschooled had helped him succeed. "He said that was part of it. 'The Lord has helped me the most...But being home-schooled has allowed me to pursue my goals because the schedule is so much more flexible.'"
And so is his very supportive mom.

Homeschooled Columnist Urges Revolution
A 13-year-old homeschooled columnist for WorldNetDaily is calling for all families to follow the lead of his parents and remove their children from the public schools. "American parents are becoming aware of what is happening in our schools and reform has just now begun to take shape," writes Kyle Williams. "What's this reform I speak of, you ask? It's the reform that is taking place by responsible American parents taking their children out of government schools...I call upon parents to take their children out of public schools, ensure their ability to perform in the business world as an adult, and choose the greatest form of education: parents teaching their children at home."
Out of the mouths of babes...

Turning Home into a Schoolhouse
A Boise State University education professor offers advice on designing a home for learning, in this Twin Falls Times-News article. The professor, who formerly directed the Child Development Laboratory at Utah State University, has been studying homes-as-schools for more than a decade. She advocates variety and choice, to promote resourcefulness on the part of the child. Establishing activity areas calls for planning, she says. ''It is particularly important that not all resources be utilized at once. The storage closet may be nearly full, but the materials displayed for use can be much more limited." She also advocates giving kids an area where they can leave their projects sitting out. "It is frustrating to have to terminate an activity and clean up because the table [they have] been using must be reverted to family usage.''
You mean there are families who don't eat dinner standing up?

School Choice

Virtual Schools Take a Hit from Homeschoolers
Click here for the original story
Virtual public education -- where children get tax-funded computer access to curriculum materials from home -- are generating controversy from an unexpected source: homeschoolers. "Where do these schools then recruit their students?" asks one Wisconsin parent who opposes the system. "It's not public school families that they are approaching. It's homeschoolers. They are attempting to end homeschooling as we know it and suck us all into the failing public school system." Virtual public education is also under attack from the NEA, but for entirely different reasons. Said one NEA spokesman: "To simply suggest that we're going to spend public funds for a child to be taught at the kitchen table by someone that is not a qualified educator is ... sort of counter to everything else we're saying about what we want in public education."
Whoever "we" is.

Ohio Virtual Schools Drop Non-Workers
More than half the students enrolled in Cincinnati's Virtual High School have been dropped because they did little or no work. “To be successful, a student must be self-disciplined enough to come to the school or to do work online regularly,” said the school's principal. “For the most part, that did not happen.” Administrators are planning a $1-million districtwide "instructional management system" to track students and their grades. This year the school also plans to require virtual-school students to check in for weekly face-to-face meetings with teachers.
Alternatively, you could just offer interesting material.

From Our Mailbag

Got an interesting letter this week from a Harrisburg, Pennsylvania-area homeschooler who tells us about a mural in the stairway leading down to the children's room in the New Cumberland Library in Cumberland County, Pennsylvania. "The mural, for those of you who haven't seen it, includes many little children involved in various activities like reading, skating boarding, etc. Every child, on their shirt, is labeled with the name of a New Cumberland area public school. These children are all happy. One somewhat sad child is labeled with the private school St. Theresa's. The HOMESCHOOLED child (the words are painted on his shirt) is sitting on a bench, a bench which has been recently painted. This child is not happy at all! There is a sign which clearly states 'Wet Paint' on the bench."
We wrote to the local homeschooling support group to ask about the mural. They replied: "It was a nasty little mural...and lucky for them, it has been changed. However, the change was to eliminate the homeschooled child altogether (as opposed to changing it so the homeschooled child looked happy like the other children). I personally am writing letters to the New Cumberland Board members stating some very positive statistics about homeschoolers and expressing my disappointment that our choices were to portray the homeschoolers negatively or not at all."
If you'd like to praise the library for responding to complaints, share your polite, positive thoughts about homeschooling, or express your opinion about the duty of libraries to be supportive of their homeschooling constituents, feel free to visit the library's website for email addresses.

On another subject: We're looking for stories from readers about funny homeschooling moments. If you have a story to share about something amusing that happened while you were homeschooling, we invite you to share it with us, so we can tell the world! Please limit your submission to about 75 words. We look forward to hearing from you!

This Week in the Public Schools

Missouri Suit Alleges Graphic Sex Instruction
A Missouri mother has filed suit against a teacher who gave graphic sexual instruction -- including descriptions of her first sexual experience, methods of masturbation and instructions for performing oral sex -- to sixth graders. When parents complained, says the mother, school officials did nothing. According to the lawsuit, the teacher told children about "her first sexual experience and … what a wonderful experience it was," how girls can use washing machines and bananas for self-gratification and the meaning of the term "69."
Who has time to teach math or science, when there are so many interesting things to teach?

Oklahoma Teacher Arrested for Exposure
Authorities in Oklahoma's Delaware County have arrested a 52-year-old teacher on allegations he exposed himself to a 13-year-old girl. According to the affidavit, the man was alone with the girl in his house and told her to take off her clothes. He also took off his clothes except for his shirt and exposed himself to her.
"Hey, Mom. My teacher wants to 'hang out' with me this afternoon. Is that OK?"

Washington Teacher Admits Sex Charges
A Tacoma band teacher who allowed students to drink alcohol on a field trip in March has pleaded guilty to two counts of having sex with a student last year. The 38-year-old man has been sentenced to 28 days of community service and two days of jail for his sexual relationship with a 17-year-old student.
Nothing like a harsh sentence to send out a message to child molesters.

Minds for Sale: Schools Sell Ad Space for Money
An increasing number of public schools are selling advertising space -- on everything from vending machines to athletic stadiums to broadcast announcements at sporting events. Says one Chicago-area critic of the trend: "This is a town that's slapping a 'For Sale' sign on its school and its students. Where is this going to end? When principals put patches on their backs advertising Rust-Oleum?"
Nope...not as long as kids still have bare skin available for tatooing corporate logos.

Do the Math: California Botches School Index
Click here for more on the API
Defects in California's $1 billion index of failing schools have resulted in millions of dollars being awarded to undeserving schools. The Academic Performance Index, or API, awards money to schools with static or improving test scores, but the index has an error rate of 20 percentage points -- meaning small changes in test scores (the basis for financial awards) are statistically meaningless. Moreover, an Orange County Register investigation found that about 20 percent of students aren't even included in the state's performance testing system -- dramatically distorting test scores.
Maybe it's time to homeschool legislators and administrators who designed the system.

Nebraska Teacher Fired Over Oral Sex Incident
Click here for the original news story
Authorities in Lincoln, Nebraska, have recommended termination for an elementary-school teacher whose five-year-old students performed oral sex on one another in the classroom. School administrators said the 31-year veteran teacher has a record of insubordination and negligence, including multiple incidents of failure to properly supervise students at recess and in her classroom. The woman is fighting the recommendation.
With a little more energy than she uses to supervise kids.

Schools Cut Summer Short for Exam Prep
Across the United States, schools are moving up the opening day of school to prepare students for standardized exams given in late winter or early spring. Schools facing stiff penalties for failing to meet testing goals hope the extra time will give their students an edge on test day. In Florida's Pinellas County, school opened 15 days earlier than last year. When more than 14 percent of the students failed to show up as expected, school officials sent a social worker to knock on the doors of absentees.
In a related story, pitbull sales in Pinellas County have soared since mid August.

California District to Implement Gay Tolerance Program
Update: Click here for a nearly identical story in Reno, Nevada
As part of a legal settlement with a gay student who was taunted by students and a teacher, the Visalia Unified School District has agreed to provide three years of gay-tolerance training for staff and students. The agreement also included a monetary award for the student. According to the student's complaint, a teacher made a joke using the word "faggots," and fellow students spat upon the student and used numerous anti-gay epithets. The teacher has been reprimanded and continues to work at the school. In May, a former Oceanside biology teacher who had been harassed by co-workers for being a lesbian won a $140,000 settlement and mandated district tolerance training.
Meanwhile, homeschooled kids stay home and learn math.

Parents Brace for Next Wave of Education Fads
It's time for another round of teaching trends, says the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. But that's nothing new. A long list of educational experiments -- including block scheduling, whole language, open classrooms, new math, year-round schools, and the DARE program -- have all faded into oblivion. When a trend sours and gets dismissed as a fad, says the AJC, educators look like fools and parents get frustrated. An education professor at the University of Georgia/Athens says that too often teachers are directed to adopt a theory or a program that has not been thoroughly researched and field-tested the way a new drug would be before being distributed to consumers.
If it's only a passing fad, who has time for research?

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Keep the news coming! Recommend our books to other families!

Homeschooling Step-by-Step
Everything you need to know about how to homeschool legally and effectively! How does your state rank? What's your child's learning style? What about college? Find teaching tips, teaching strategies, and more than 100 solutions to homeschooling's toughest problems!

Homeschool Your Child for Free
More than 1200 free resources for teaching your child at home. Includes a complete scope and sequence, and information about teaching every subject from kindergarten to college.

Make a Donation
Your small donation helps keep this page operational. Help us help the homeschooling community document our successes!

International Report

British School Employees Arrested for Murder of Students
London police have arrested a school caretaker and his partner, a teaching assistant, for the abduction and murder of two 10-year-old girls. The female teaching assistant worked in the girls' classroom until July. The girls disappeared August 4. Two bodies assumed to be those of the missing girls were found Sunday about 30 km from the girls' homes.
Perhaps they assumed nobody would notice two missing children.

Israeli Teacher Convicted of Indecent Acts
A high school teacher in Israel has been convicted of performing indecent acts on three students. In one incident, the man took a female student to the beach, stripped off his clothing, and sat behind her with his legs wrapped around her body, after which he attempted to unbutton the girl's pants. The man will be sentenced at a later date.
Surfin' Safari is a song, dude, not an invitation.

South Africa Teacher Wanted for Fraud
Authorities in South Africa are investigating a teacher who has been drawing a salary for nine months -- despite being absent from the classroom and being wanted by the police for attempted murder. The man, an elementary-school teacher, fled an outbreak of violence between rival political factions in Ladysmith in November, 2001, but continued to collect his monthly salary.
Hey, if they're giving it out...

Japanese Teacher Sells Sex Tapes
An elementary-school teacher from Japan's Oita Prefecture has been arrested for selling videos of him and a 14-year-old boy having sex in his car. The man met the boy at a video game center, paid him to have sex, videotaped the sessions and then sold the tapes to a pedophile network.
Just supplementing his income, one supposes.

Bullied Pupil Sues Scottish Council
A Scottish teenager is suing her local city council for psychological damage suffered when she was "systematically and repeatedly" bullied at school, and neither the school nor the local authority did anything to prevent it. Although the 13-year-old was elbowed in the stomach, kicked in the leg, had coins thrown at her and was regularly verbally abused, "the matters have not been reported to police, not one bully has been suspended, let alone expelled," says her suit. "As far as I know, there have not even been letters sent to their homes about their behaviour."
To get a letter sent home, you actually have to be admitted to hospital.

News Briefs

Music Teacher Pleads Guilty to Rape
A 33-year-old private piano instructor who bragged to associates about having a "young" girlfriend has pleaded guilty to raping his 12-year-old student. Four months after the Williamsburg, Virginia, man began giving the girl private lessons at her house, she started sneaking out at nights after her parents were asleep, says the local prosecutor. He would pick up the girl down the street and take her to his house. On one of those occasions, they had sex. The mother called police after discovering letters from the man to her daughter.
So...he can write and play the piano.

Beauty Pageant Winner Resigns Over Photos
Miss North Carolina -- currently on leave from her job as a sophomore English teacher -- has resigned her position after a former boyfriend contacted the Miss America organization about nude photos he has of her. The woman said he took the pictures while she was changing clothes, and that they show her nude from the waist up. She hasn't decided when she will return to teaching.
But what a relief, knowing that she will return to teaching.

CDC: School Buses Cause Obesity
The US government's Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says one factor in childhood obesity is that only a fourth of American schoolchildren walk or bike to school. When parents were surveyed on why they don't send their children to school on foot, they said they were worried about traffic, weather and crime. The number of overweight teens has tripled since 1980.
Our children, on the other hand, walk to school every morning -- after which they go back upstairs and change out of their 'jammies.

Monday, August 12, 2002

Homeschooling in the News

Alabama Newspaper Features Homeschooling Family
A Birmingham family is the subject of a long, and very positive, article on home education in the state of Alabama. The article follows the family through its homeschooling day, and accurately describes homeschooling law in the state. Said the mother interviewed for the article, as she and her children worked on assignments barefoot: "Homeschooling is a much more relaxed day."
Sure, 'til the snow falls and your feet get cold.

Homeschooling is Key to Teen Athlete Success
Fourteen-year-old Atlanta tennis player Ally Mueller needed more time to practice her sport, so her parents decided to homeschool her. Today, says this Atlanta Journal-Constitution article, more players want more court time, but not necessarily at the expense of leaving family. Homeschooling is one solution. When Mueller's coach started his coaching job in 1996, he didn't know of a single local player who homeschooled for the sake of tennis. Now, he says, there are 10 to 15 in his academy alone and probably another 30 elsewhere in the city. Among the homeschooled graduates of tennis academies: Andre Agassi and Monica Seles
Tennis: Where love means nothing, and fifteen times three equals forty.

Homeschooled Kids Take on 'Living History' Project
A Florida homeschooling family learns history in an unusual manner: They interview people who lived it. The Curet family, with five children ages 7 to 19, has arranged a field trip with other homeschooling families to interview a 92-year-old antique-car-museum docent about his life.
So next time you do volunteer work at a senior center, go ahead and call it history class.

Teachers Get Tax Help with Out-of-Pocket Costs
Click here for the official IRS view
Federal tax legislation passed in March allows teachers, aides, counselors and principals to subtract $250 in classroom expenses when calculating their adjusted gross income. The tax break is good for the 2002 and '03 tax years. To qualify, you must "work at least 900 hours during a school year in a school that provides elementary or secondary education, as determined under state law."
But you've got to wonder: Is the paperwork really worth the hundred bucks you might save?

Pennsylvania Plan May Relax Homeschooling Laws
Update: More on Pennsylvania Homeschooling
Click here for more on the Penn. Plan
A bill just introduced in Pennsylvania's General Assembly would eliminate many of the burdensome mandates of the commonwealth's 1988 homeschooling law. If the bill passes as proposed, homeschoolers would no longer be required to participate in standardized testing, or maintain assignment logs and year-end evaluations of student work portfolios. Despite the higher academic achievement of homeschoolers, though, public-school educators continue to agitate against alternative education. "You have to recognize that not everyone who is homeschooling is capable of doing it or is doing it for the right reasons, said Paul Houston, executive director of the American Association of School Administrators. "We are required as a society to properly protect those among us who are least able to protect themselves. When you start providing no oversight, you are putting the children involved in some jeopardy."
Close your eyes and chant: "Strangers are safer than parents. Strangers are safer than parents."

California Senate Considers Dropping College Age Requirement
California's Senate Education Committee has passed a bill that could make it easier for highly gifted students to enter college early. The bill would eliminate the age-16 requirement for the high school exit exam, allowing children with an IQ above 150 to take the test regardless of their age. Another bill would provide financial assistance to help pay for tuition and books.
Ditch the exit exam, and we'll be really happy.

From Our Mailbag

All sorts of interesting goodies in this week's mailbag, including a donation from a loyal reader who covered an ice-cream run to Dairy Queen. Thanks for keeping our kids motivated! Also, several of this week's story ideas came from great readers who even included URLs in their submissions. Good job, staff! (wink)

Jim, a homeschooling father of four, sent us our first dad letter! He writes: "I recently found your website and I absolutely love it! I was especially surprised to find SO MANY stories of sex abuse in public schools that just aren't reported other than in local papers. Can you imagine the outrage in this country if each of these stories were reported by the major press as if they were PRIESTS doing the molestation? But of course we won't hear that since apparently the NEA is a darling of big media and the media will protect them from scrutiny. But what a shame it is to have teachers teach classes on safety yet no one knows enough to teach kids to be careful around TEACHERS!" It never stops amazing us, either, Jim! (For what it's worth, Jim also thanks us for including "positive and inspiring articles on homeschooling families [that] are encouraging and heart-warming as well. Please keep up the good work. I will continue to spread the good news about your website!")

And Carrie, a homeschooling mom from ... oh, the town of Juno.com...brightened up a bad week with this one: "I love your wry comments--they always make me chuckle. I use reading your column as a reward for myself for accomplishing tasks I've been procrastinating!" Well...I can't make a tune on a piano, but I can always make a tuna on wry.

Finally, you may have noticed the signature line on this week's Why We Homeschool column. The folks at eCriteria.net (who must be vastly smarter than me) are now hosting our free educational databases -- some of which will soon be available to you on line. eCriteria is this really, really cool database website that lets webmasters (or anyone else) skip all the development headaches and export data straight to the Web. I've been struggling for two years trying to write scripts to put all my useful data onto the Web. I fiddled with eCriteria's utility for about half an hour, and got further than I had in all my previous efforts combined. Watch this space for an announcement about our free online educational resources!

Now back to our regularly scheduled programming.

Testing, Testing, Testing

Teachers Cheating in Record Numbers
A record number of Utah teachers have been investigated and disciplined for changing students' answer sheets and otherwise cheating on statewide tests during the last school year. About 15 teachers were investigated for compromising test security in the first year of Utah's school accountability movement. Most were disciplined, but none lost their licenses over it. Education officials say there may have been any number of additional cheating incidents, but since there's no audit for infractions, they have to rely on whistle-blowers to catch cheating. Numbers also don't reflect incidents that have been handled internally.
So when I assure you I don't want my children tested by public-school administrators, I hope you'll understand.

Sob Your Way Into College
Update: Click here for more on this story.
Critics are outraged over a University-of-California policy called "comprehensive review," which gives priority to applicants who tell an especially moving "hard-luck" story. Using a system of extra points, admissions officials can increase (or decrease) a student's chances for being accepted to a particular school based on the hardships described in student essays. Opponents of the system say it's nothing more than a dodge to get around the voter-passed prohibition against racial preferences.
Forget SAT scores. Your pet rat died? You're in. Your polo pony died? You're out.

School Choice

Homeschooling Parents Submit Charter Application
A group of San-Diego-area homeschooling parents has applied to open a second charter school to combine homeschooling with classroom instruction. The first campus of Classical Academy was approved by the Escondido Union School District in 1997. The academy supplements homeschooling with two days of optional on-campus instruction in language arts, math, science and Spanish. On Fridays, labs are open to all students in music, art, sign language and computers. The school provides textbooks and materials. Credentialed teachers are on call seven days a week for parents to consult on curriculum issues. There are presently 600 children enrolled in the program. The second school would enroll 145 its first year.
This better not get around. Other people might want to participate.

Support Rises for Ohio's Online Charter Schools
Now that thousands of Ohio students are enrolled in four online charter schools, dozens of Ohio districts have expressed interest in starting their own digital charter schools. According to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, at least 192 organizations have expressed interest in applying for startup funds for charter schools. At least 63 of those are districts proposing a "digital academy." More than 120 charter schools are expected to be open this fall, enrolling about 30,000 students and receiving about $166 million in state funding. Charter schools are privately run, publicly funded schools free from some state regulations. Online charter schools typically provide computers for students to use at home, a full grade-by-grade curriculum and instruction supervised by certified teachers. According to an Ohio Department of Education spokesman, schools are starting to see that online education can be done successfully and want to do it themselves.
Meddle, meddle, meddle....

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This Week in the Public Schools

Mom Sues After School Rejects Son's Letter to Jesus
When Ohio seventh-grader Phillip Vaccaro was was told to write a friendly letter to someone who dramatically changed his life, he obeyed.
He wrote to Jesus.
Not acceptable, his teacher said. "She told him he could not write that letter because Jesus wasn't a real person -- that he didn't exist," said Phillip’s mother. "How dare they throw their atheistic values upon my child?" The school district's attorney is backing the teacher, of course, saying the purpose of the assignment was to prepare a letter and mail it, with the hope of generating a response. He excused the decision by asserting it would be difficult to get a reply from Jesus.
Not that he's ever tried.

NY Family Sues Over Pressure to Drug
An upstate New York family that was intimidated into drugging their "rambunctious" son to appease school administrators is now suing for the physical and mental suffering the boy endured. The school began pressuring the boy's mother to medicate him when he was six years old. When the Ritalin he was prescribed seemed to make things worse, the school suggested more medicine. Soon the boy was suffering from insomnia, lack of appetite and anti-social behavior, and suffered such anxiety he began chewing on his own shirt sleeves, collars and pencils. "My son was becoming psychotic with these drugs . . . He was out of control," said the mother. She stopped medicating her son when he pleaded, "Mom, make it stop -- there's a person inside my head telling me to do bad things." That decision didn't sit well with school officials, who filed a medical-neglect and child-abuse complaint against his mother with the Department of Children and Family Services, banned him from attending classes unless he was drugged, and then accused his mother of educational neglect. A later physical examination showed the boy had a heart murmur, which is believed to have resulted from the drugs. Heart murmur is recognized as a rare side effect of drugs similar to Ritalin.
Watch: This suit is just the tip. The Ice Berg Riseth...

Florida County Trying to Fire Abusive Teacher
The Broward, Florida, school board is having difficulty firing a teacher accused of using excessive discipline. The family of one of his victims is refusing to cooperate, saying that despite committing "battery and child abuse" against their son, the teacher is a "father figure" to the student. Among other things, the man is accused of hitting the boy with a closed fist, threatening to hit or knock out students who did not do their work, refusing to allow a student to call his mother about medication, calling students derrogatory names, yelling at students using the words "hell" and "bloody," shoving a student out of a portable classroom, and ignoring some students and explaining work to only a few.
To raise a child, it takes a village [idiot]...

Philadelphia Teacher Sets Classroom Fire
The Pennsylvania teacher who set fire to a newspaper inside a high-school classroom has been found guilty of possession of an instrument of crime and reckless endangerment, and sentenced to two years' probation. The judge who oversaw her case lectured the woman: "When young children, who are our future...go to school, they look to you as a role model." The judge also called the woman's behavior "disgraceful," and said she should be ashamed. The woman testified that she had warned her world-history class that she would destroy any outside work -- newspapers or homework for other classes -- that she caught them doing in her class. On May 9, when two girls passed a newspaper between them while the woman was preparing to hand out an essay test, she lost her cool, she said. She grabbed the newspaper and set it on fire. "I never intended to scare them," she said.
Technically, of course, that's exactly what you intended.

Florida Judge: Hire Back Coke-Using Teacher
A Florida judge is requiring the Escambia County School Board to rehire a teacher it fired after he arrived at school high on cocaine. The man was fired after he reported to work Aug. 10 and was found to be almost 50 times above the cutoff level for positive test results. The judge said his "hands are almost tied" by laws requiring "progressive" discipline, rather than firing, for teachers who violate their contracts.
Fifty times? Will the guy be teaching from prison?

Virginia Teacher Pleads Guilty to Cocaine Charges
A Norfolk, Virgina, high school teacher has been jailed after pleading guilty to a drug-conspiracy charge. The 50-year-old special education teacher, along with another man, were accused of receiving large quantities of cocaine through the mail from California and then selling it locally. The teacher's home was used to store drugs and he acted as courier, according to information filed in court last week.
"Close your eyes, kids, while I brush this white stuff off the front of my shirt."

California Teacher Pleads Guilty in Sex Case
Click here for details
A California teacher who spent three days in Las Vegas with her 15-year-old student has pleaded guilty to kidnapping, sexual misconduct, and statutory sexual seduction. The woman apparently began her affair with the boy while he was a student in her high school class in San Bernardino. She took the boy to Las Vegas in May, where they had sex eight times in Las Vegas motel rooms. According to the prosecutor, the boys' parents spent four days not knowing "if he was alive or dead."
So is it safe to guess she didn't get a field trip permission form?

Wisconsin Teacher Pleads Guilty to Sex Assault
An Oshkosh, Wisconsin, high school teacher has pleaded guilty to assaulting a 17-year-old boy with whom she had an eight-month sexual relationship while he was living in her home. She was charged with sexual assault of a student by school staff, a felony carrying a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine. The 39-year-old English and drama teacher, who asked for a plea agreement to avoid "the embarrassment" of a trial, may not be required to register as a sex offender.
Because she teaches English really well

Grand Jury to Hear N.C. Teacher Sex Case
A Wentworth, North Carolina, grand jury will hear the case against a high school English teacher who is accused of performing a sex act on one of her students. Police say the 27-year-old teacher has confessed to performing oral sex on an 18-year-old male student and having conversations with him of a sexual nature. A conviction carries a possible jail sentence of between eight months and three years. During testimony, the student said the woman phoned him in either February or March and invited him to her apartment, where the incident took place.
Here-here's to you, Mrs. Robinson...

Queens High School Teacher Charged with Rape of Student
A Queens, New York, high school teacher has been arrested on a charge of rape for having sex with a 15-year old female student. According to police, sexual incidents between the girl and the 27-year-old man took place at both his home and the student's home in early July. The girl was a student in the man's history class at Benjamin N. Cardozo High School in Bayside.
Thank heaven school's starting soon. It'll keep teachers off the streets.

Indicted Chicago Teacher Blocked from Teaching
A Chicago high-school teacher who was indicted for having sex with a 16-year-old girl has been suspended from his teaching job. The 36-year-old history teacher and athletic coach is charged with four counts of criminal sexual assault and one count of official misconduct. Joliet police arrested him last week.
Is there a "How to Seduce Young Girls" course in the history-teacher-coach certification program?

News Briefs

Boston-Area Music Teacher Charged with Rape
A Newton, Massachusetts, private-school music teacher has been charged with the statutory rape of a 14-year-old student, and of smoking marijuana with him and and another student at school. According to investigators, the 46-year-old teacher shared marijuana with the two boys and spoke to them frequently about her marriage and her private life. Authorities say she later had sex with the teenager in a school classroom during a rehearsal for a musical performance. The incident went unreported until this year when he told a girlfriend, who urged him to tell law enforcement authorities. The teacher is charged with two counts of statutory rape of a child and one count of contributing to the delinquency of a child. She denies the charges.
On the grounds she was too stoned for sex.

Georgia County Bans Peanut Butter Sandwiches
Click here for an update.
Elementary schools in Cobb County, Georgia, have outlawed peanut-butter sandwiches in sack lunches. They've also banned peanut butter crackers and cookies, peanut butter cups and anything else containing the state's best-known agricultural product. The ban is a nod to children who have life-threatening allergies to peanut products and even the dust from peanuts.
Which won't be a problem after county peanut farmers are required to hire full-time hazmat teams.

High School Hazing Leaves Three Injured
Five adults and eight minors took part in a brutal New York high school fraternity hazing last month that left three teenage boys injured. Authorities said all 13 either participated in or were present when the three incoming freshmen boys, ages 14 and 15, were "initiated" into the fraternity. The initiation consisted of blindfolding the boys, taking them to a wooded area, and striking them 30 times with a wooden paddle. The boys had to be treated at a hospital. The adults are all alumni of the high school fraternity. All 13 perpetrators were charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and hazing. The adults were additionally charged with child endangerment.
The adults were there to keep things from getting out of hand.

NY Police Questioning Teen in Summer School Stabbing Death
A 19-year-old student walking to summer school was stabbed to death outside of a high school in the Kingsbridge section of the Bronx Thursday morning, after getting into a fight with another student. Police took 17-year-old Joseph Martinez into custody in connection to the stabbing. The younger student, who was being questioned by detectives, has apparently had an ongoing dispute with the victim.
Like rats in a cage...

Flunking Out of School? Get a Lawyer
Flouting traditional beliefs about parental responsibility, parents around the United States are suing teachers for giving bad grades and preventing students from graduating. In an Ohio case, a mother and daughter sued the girl's district and 11 teachers for $6 million, saying the school’s grading practices punished the girl for her frequent lateness and absences even though she had excuses. In Arizona, the family of a student who plagiarized work, failed a paper and did not attend makeup sessions threatened to sue if their daughter didn't graduate. The school caved in and permitted her to retake a test five hours before graduation and receive her diploma. Said one critic of the trend: "It's no way to run a schoolhouse and it's a terrible lesson in itself to teach kids."
One of the many advantages of homeschooling: Anyone who threatens to sue the teacher can just go to bed without supper.

Critics: California Ducks Requirements for Teachers
Click here for more information
The number of unqualified "emergency credentialed" teachers in California will rise from 42,000 to 65,000 in the next two years -- despite a new federal law that says teachers must, at a minimum, hold a teaching credential and a major in the subject to be taught. According to the Sacramento Bee, critics -- including the ACLU, the United Farm Workers, and a democratic legislator -- say that teachers with emergency credentials tend to end up at poor schools or schools with many children of color.
It's sunny California. Isn't every kid a "child of color"?

Monday, August 05, 2002

Homeschooling in the News

California Attacks Homeschooling
The state of California is continuing its efforts to harrass and intimidate homeschoolers. [Editor: Do what I did. Call the California Department of Education and ask any question about homeschooling. You'll be told, emphatically and unapologetically, that it's illegal. Persist, and you'll be transferred to the department's attorneys, who'll make vague, intimidating threats about taking legal action if you homeschool -- until they discover you live out of state.] On the CDE's Web site, state Superintendent of Public Instruction Delaine Eastin, a strident opponent of parental-choice options, writes that home schooling “is not an authorized exemption from mandatory public school attendance.” But the laws she cites put her on shaky legal ground, says this Pacific Research Institute article. Despite what the writer calls the "dubious foundation" for the department's position," the CDE has been increasingly successful in pushing county offices of education to force children back into public schools.
Look, kids. They're coming to take you away, ha-ha, hee-hee, ho-ho...

Scottish Authorities Face Legal Challenge from Homeschooling Parents
If the Scottish Executive goes ahead with contentious new controls for parents who have their children educated at home, it'll face a well funded international legal challenge, says a major newspaper. Parents are concerned over a proposal to use census information, birth registers, health visitor records, and nursery enrolments to track down children not attending schools and "hound" families. There may be up to 5,000 schoolage children outside Scotland's state education system.
Have these people been vacationing in California?

Minn. Homeschoolers' Private Records Open to Public
Click here to read the Department of Administration ruling on the non-privacy of homeschool records.
Update: Legislator Proposes Shield Law
If you're a public-school student in Minnesota, your report card is between you, your teacher and your parents. Not so, says the Pioneer Press, if you're homeschooled and that report card has been shared with the local public school district. Any data collected about homeschooled students by public schools is public information, the state says, and is available to the public on request -- a policy that has local homeschool advocates in a tizzy. At least one homeschooling leader suspects private information has already been improperly distributed to pollsters who have contacted local homeschooling families seeking opinions.
Okay. Tell us one more time how much you care about the rights of children.

Oregon Homeschoolers Open Resource Center
When an Oregon homeschooling mom realized parents needed a more convenient way to share materials, lesson plans and educational outings, she went to work. Lori Walker, a Beaverton mother of two, thought parental tax dollars should benefit their children directly, so she worked to forge a partnership between a group of homeschooling parents and a public school district. She and six other parents are creating Village School Home Education Resource Center. The private program could offer classes, curriculum and field trips for families throughout the Portland area. It would be paid for with tax dollars distributed by a school district. According to this Orgonian article, the Village School -- set to open in January -- represents a shift in some home-schoolers' mind-sets. For many, the discomfort of partnering with a school district is eased by the possible access to public dollars.
Yeah, when the school-tax bill arrives the day before a pricy curriculum fair, you get a bit stressed!

More Muslims Homeschool Their Children
An increasing number of Muslim parents are educating their children on their own, says The Washington Times. And their reasons will be familiar to most homeschooling families: improving academics and controlling social interactions. Muslim parents say they're homeschooling because of a value clash between public-school teachings and Islamic beliefs, combined with the dearth of Muslim schools in many communities. ArabesQ.com, a popular Muslim homeschooling site, says it has served an estimated 30,000 Muslim-American homeschooling families since September 1997.
Durn. It just gets harder and harder to stereotype homeschoolers.

N.C. Homeschools Sustain Growth
The number of North Carolina families choosing to school their children at home jumped this past year by 19 percent, says the Raleigh News & Observer. It's part of the sustained growth of nontraditional education across the state. According to figures released last week by the state's Division of Non-Public Education, there were 23,909 registered home schools across North Carolina, an increase of 3,796 from 2000-01. (The state registers every homeschool but does not count every homeschooled student.) In Wake County, a growth in charter schools and private schools cut the public schools' share of the county's schoolchildren to 83.3 percent this past year, down from 84.7 percent the previous year and 90 percent in 1996. Another study to be released this week correlates the Division's findings. Said the editor of the magazine publishing the study: "But the public schools are chugging steadily along. They're still educating 90 percent of the state's children."
Yup, we've got our work cut out for us.

Minnesota Turtle Project Takes Shape
A Minneapolis-area homeschooling family and their backyard biology project are profiled in this very positive article on homeschooling. The family carefully numbers, names and notches the 85 turtles living in their backyard pond, measures them and records pertinent information on a big wall chart. Turtle 101 started in the summer of 2000, says this writer, when the family's oldest son -- out in the paddleboat -- caught a turtle with his bare hands. He's the family's nature kid, and he had wanted to begin an elaborate butterfly project. His mom talked him into a turtle project instead.
Help me, Mr. Wizard! (And if you caught that reference, you watched too much tv as a child.)

Home Works

It's the SAT Scores, Stupid!
In a characteristically pointed editorial, Dr. Laura Schlessinger says working mothers who abandon their children to outsiders are "learning the hard way that [they have] been sold a bill of goods by a society only too eager to sacrifice the well-being of the family on the altars of consumerism and political correctness." Sacrificing for kids, she says, means "being a lot poorer for a while, foregoing one's own desires when they [conflict] with the wants and needs of the child, [and] being there for the child no matter what the cost."
OK mom, you can gloat for a minute or two. Now go fix dinner.

Private New York Literacy Program Encourages Parents
Practicing the activities in books is one of the concepts taught during "Read to Your Bunny," a new program offered by an upstate-New York chapter of Literacy Volunteers of America. The program is held in the Catholic Charities Service Center of a municipal housing development in Buffalo, and targets parents of preschool children who are below the poverty level. The program is designed to encourage parents to read to their children through reading in a group setting and then reading separately with volunteers, organizers said.
A service-project idea for your local homeschooling co-op.

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Everything you need to know about how to homeschool legally and effectively! How does your state rank? What's your child's learning style? What about college? Find teaching tips, teaching strategies, and more than 100 solutions to homeschooling's toughest problems!

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More than 1200 free resources for teaching your child at home. Includes a complete scope and sequence, and information about teaching every subject from kindergarten to college.

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This Week in the Public Schools

Treasurer Steals 62 Grand from PTA Funds
The treasurer of a Caroll County, Maryland, elementary-school PTA has admitted to stealing $62,505 from the organization's coffers. In addition to his duties as treasurer, the man -- a banker -- spent time in fourth- and fifth-grade classrooms teaching children how to organize savings programs and manage money. "He would attend all of the field trips, and whenever a teacher needed someone to do something, he was there," said the school principal.
With that kind of income, where else would he be?

Man Gets 7 Years for Looting Schools
A Chicago-area man who stole $390,000 from two of Illinois' poorest school districts has been sentenced to seven years in prison. But not only is he not required to make any restitution for the stolen funds; the schools who were ripped off are paying the legal bills for the man and others who were involved. The man was supervised by two school board trustees--one a relative, another a neighbor.
It's nice, isn't it, keeping it all in the family?

New NEA President Offers his 'Vision' for Education
The incoming president of the National Education Association -- the country's largest teachers' union -- has an agenda. In an interview with the Boston Globe he said, among other things, that his goals are:

  • To have "all" children attend schools that are "free from harassment and intimidation and are conducive to good learning."
  • To have "people who are involved with education" create meaningful reform.
  • To "try and renew" the respect and cooperation parents show to teachers.
  • To face the challenge of "dealing with this voucher mess. It's important to get people to see these vouchers are not what they seem to be," he said.
    When asked what's gone wrong with public education, the new president replied "What's wrong is the funding system. Public education does not have the financial support it needs to be a success."
    And yet...there's that pesky unfunded homeschooling movement that keeps showing us up. Hmmm.

    In Education, Money Not the Whole Story
    A Boston Herald editorial refers to last week's landmark Beacon Hill Institute study (which found that increasing teacher salaries "generally worsens'' MCAS test scores), and reminds parents "how limited the role of money is in improving education."
    Boston: The tea party continues.

    Cameras Patrol California Schools
    Orange County, California, has budgeted nearly half a million dollars to pay for cameras to monitor high-school hallways. The Orange Unified School District Board of Trustees has earmarked $485,045 of its state safety grant for the cameras. Last year, vandals entered the Orange High School main office and damaged five computers and some office furniture.
    Which cost the insurance company about $2,000 to replace.

    Florida County Bans Pajamas in School
    Schools around the country are banning a variety of wearing apparel, from flip-flops and skate shoes to sexually provocative clothing and gang apparel. But the Hillsborough County, Florida, prohibition on pajamas is causing an unexpected fuss. Students argue that sleepwear is appropriate school attire during cold weather and on exam days. And seniors often wear their bed clothes to school near the end of the school year. If students do wear pajamas to school they'll be required to call their parents and ask for a change of clothing for a first offense. Repeat offenders will face punishment ranging from in-school detention to suspension.
    Meanwhile, homeschooled children -- for whom pajamas are actually a required uniform -- are laughing their well-educated heads off.

    California School Official Posts Bail
    A San Jose-area high school vice principal who asked a 17-year-old boy for sex has posted bail on a misdemeanor charge of annoying a minor. The 41-year-old man allegedly made sexual advances toward the boy during two outings off campus and outside of school hours. The youth rebuffed both advances, then reported them to authorities this month. On July 22, the boy phoned the man from the sheriff's department, and asked "why the things between them had transpired.'' The man replied that he wasn't thinking clearly because he was on medication for depression, according to the sheriff's report. The student told police the man never used force or threatened him, but he did ask him to never tell anyone about the propositions.
    Because that would make him really depressed.

    School Choice

    Governor: Vouchers Aren't Practical in Georgia
    Georgia Gov. Roy Barnes has come down firmly against school vouchers, declaring they do not represent a practical solution to Georgia's education problem -- a move expected to endear him to the state's teachers' unions. "I'm opposed to school vouchers. Let me lay it to you out front," he told congregants at Kol Emeth synagogue in east Cobb County. "Ninety-three percent of the [1.5 million] children in this state go to public school. There is not a large private school system in this state ... So I don't think vouchers work, they're not practical. There's simply not enough capacity."
    Sure there is. Every home in the state has "capacity."

    Mass. Numbers Support Charter Schools
    Although opponents say charter schools would be havens for middle- or upper-income students and exclude poorer ones, statistics from the Massachusetts Department of Education show that many of the schools serve significant numbers of low-income students. In some cases, the numbers show the charter schools have higher percentages of low-income children than their home school system. Of the 20 "school districts" with the biggest percentages of poor children, just over half are charter schools, according to 2002 figures from the DOE. (Though smaller than most school systems, the state's 42 charter schools are counted as school districts.) Charter schools are publicly funded, independently run private schools that operate free of many state regulations. (In some locations, charter schools provide an "umbrella" for homeschooling.) Massachusetts opened its first charter schools in 1995.
    The arguments just get thinner and thinner.

    Michigan Educators Propose Dumbing-Down Standards
    When Michigan educators realized that 1,513 elementary schools were failing, and it was going to cost them money, they decided to take action. A coalition of six major educational associations and unions, a Department of Education committee, along with the head of public education, have proposed lowering the standards by which a school is judged. Under a new federal program, the state would be required to transport students in failing schools to schools with better test scores.
    My proposal for saving LOTS of money: Transport students right back to their kitchens, stop taxing their parents into a second job, and let mom and dad teach their kids at home.

    News Briefs

    Colorado Kids Blame Violence on Intolerance
    Colorado children blame violence in their lives on a "culture that celebrates sameness, the one right way to be 'in,'" says a new study that polled 1,000 Colorado students in fifth through twelfth grades, along with 1,000 children in those grades in other parts of the country. Two-thirds of the respondents said they experience teasing, put-downs and cruel gossip. Almost half say they have experienced physical violence.
    "There'll be no intolerance here," he said, making a fist.

    Wisconsin Teachers Sentenced to Prison
    A former Wisconsin Lutheran High School religion teacher and soccer coach was sentenced Monday to 18 months in prison after he pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting two 15-year-old female students on and off school grounds. The 29-year-old man, a married father of two, touched both girls indecently beneath their clothing in a variety of instances. In a similar case, another private-school teacher, who had repeated sexual contact with her 16-year-old student after school, was sentenced by the same judge to one year in prison followed by three years of community supervision.
    Maybe it's something in the cheese.

    No-Parent Welfare Homes On the Rise
    A rising number of children, particularly urban Black children, are turning up in no-parent households, dumped with relatives, friends or foster families. Researchers say they cannot pinpoint the forces driving parents and children apart. But among them, they said, may be the stresses of the new welfare world -- few benefits and low-wage jobs at odd hours.
    In my upside-down dream world, tax dollars will support at-home parents and penalize faceless kiddy warehouses.

    Boy's Family Sues California School
    A 42-year-old man who helped coach boys' basketball at the private Mountain View Academy, faces criminal child molestation charges in Santa Clara County, California. The jailed man is accused of molesting, harassing or sexually battering nine boys from 1998 to 2000. The deputy district attorney said most of the victims were around the age of 15. The family of one of the boys has filed a civil lawsuit seeking to hold the coach, the high school and its parent Seventh-day Adventist church liable.
    Heck, why not sue the construction workers who built the basketball court while you're at it?

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