Saturday, March 13, 2010

Public School Teacher accused of sex crimes against student

Public School Teacher accused of sex crimes against student - Crime & Courts -

A $60,000 bond was set Friday for a St. Martin teacher accused of engaging in sex acts with a minor girl who attends the school, Jackson County Sheriff Mike Byrd said.

Robert Griffin, 39, of Ocean Springs, was arrested Thursday and charged with one count of molestation of a child under the age of 16. On Friday, sheriff’s investigators charged Griffin with an additional count of sexual battery for allegedly having sexual relations with the student.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Public School District computer technician faces child porn possession charges

Public School District computer technician faces child porn possession charges - Crime & Courts -

A computer technician for the Jackson County School District has been arrested on a charge of possession of child pornography, with additional charges pending, according to Jackson County sheriff’s investigators.

Those Fundie Public Schools

Betcha thought I was going to say homeschoolers. While some liberals are wasting their time harassing homeschoolers the Fundamentalist are taking over the Public Schools.

The Texas Board of Education on Friday approved a social studies curriculum that will put a conservative stamp on history and economics textbooks, stressing the superiority of American capitalism, questioning the Founding Fathers’ commitment to a purely secular government and presenting Republican political philosophies in a more positive light.

The conservative members maintain that they are trying to correct what they see as a liberal bias among the teachers who proposed the curriculum. To that end, they made dozens of minor changes aimed at calling into question, among other things, concepts like the separation of church and state and the secular nature of the American Revolution.

Cynthia Dunbar, a lawyer from Richmond who is a strict constitutionalist and thinks the nation was founded on Christian beliefs, managed to cut Thomas Jefferson from a list of figures whose writings inspired revolutions in the late 18th century and 19th century, replacing him with St. Thomas Aquinas, John Calvin and William Blackstone. (Jefferson is not well liked among conservatives on the board because he coined the term “separation between church and state.”)

Guess IF you want your child to get a liberal education in Texas you will have to homeschool. Read the rest of the article here.

Alasandra's Place: Dog Murdered for Defending His Home

Alasandra's Place: Dog Murdered for Defending His Home:

"The officer was at the home investigating a complaint of children not attending school and was trying to find a parent when he went to the door of the house, Wallace said.

While investigating, Wallace said, the officer was told a 2-year-old was possibly inside the home unattended. When the officer opened the door to go inside, the dog bit him.

The officer then fired his weapon and killed the dog, Wallace said. It turned out there was not an unattended child inside the home.

Don't POLICE OFFICERS have to knock and wait for someone to open the door? What right did this Police Officer have to invade someones home and kill their pet????????"

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Are public school teachers stressed?

Sound Off of the Day for March 11
“The stress level among faculty members at school is going through the roof. Elevated blood pressures, migraines, chest pains, hives and exhaustion are taking a serious toll on both administrators and teachers. Educational professionals: Please get your rest and take care of your health.”

Miss. school prom off after lesbian's date request

A northern Mississippi school district decided Wednesday not to host a high school prom after a lesbian student demanded she be able to attend with her girlfriend and wear a tuxedo.
Read more @

Miss. school prom off after lesbian's date request - Regional Wire -

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Lesbian battles to take her girlfriend to high school prom ACLU has threatened litigation if she’s barred from attending - Education -

Lesbian battles to take her girlfriend to high school prom ACLU has threatened litigation if she’s barred from attending - Education -

The anti homeschoolers are always talking about how public schools are more like the "real" world. What struck me from reading this article was this

Biloxi Superintendent Paul Tisdale and Gulfport Superintendent Glen East said it’s the same in their districts. They added you have to be a student at the high school to go to the prom or get permission if your date attends another school.

In the "real" world how many of us work at the same place as our date/spouse. I remember awhile back a girl had to fight for the right to take her fiancee who was in the Army to the prom. The public schools are clearly in the wrong and I hope the girl is allowed to wear a tux and take whoever she wishes to the prom. I also hope that students who are involved in relationships with people from other schools are allowed to take their significant others to the prom without jumping through hoops. It is ridiculous you have to "ask" permission to take someone to the prom if they don't go to your school.

Not your stereotypical homeschoolers

Musings, Thoughts, and Ponderings: Why I Do and Do Not Homeschool

Pioneer Woman ~ Homeschooling: Why I Homeschool, and What My Approach Is

The Chicago Tribune paints a more accurate picture of homescooling in their article Co-op creates community for home-schooled kids.I too belong to an inclusive homeschool group (PEAK) that embraces all beliefs and life style choices.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Homeschool Report Finds: 80% were homeschooling for non-religious reasons

A poorly written and researched AP article Top Homeschool Text Dismiss Evolution spread across the Internet like wildfire bringing the anti-homeschoolers out in droves.

The comments at Think Progress were particularly nasty. On the other hand the debate at Pharyngula's was extremely interesting and for the most part civil. I have to say I was surprised by PZ Myers stance on Homeschooling.
I'm one of those people who thinks we ought to be consistent and require everyone to attend an accredited school, public or private, and that private schools ought also to be required to meet certain secular standards, such as that their science education ought to address the evidence reasonably.

For some reason I expected him to be a homeschool supporter, oh well at least he can sing. And who knows maybe after reading the comments from the secular homeschoolers he will change his mind.

The big hang up for a lot of the anti homeshcoolers was the result of this poorly worded survey
Federal statistics from 2007 show 83 percent of home-schooling parents want to give their children "religious or moral instruction."
As one of the Atheist commentators (LadyShea) pointed out even Atheist may have checked this answer because most parents want to provide their children with some sort of moral instruction. So it didn't necessarily mean that 83% of homeschoolers were religious zealots as most of the anti homeschoolers assumed.

Also the study was preformed by the National Home Education Research Institute which is linked to HSLDA (Homeschool Legal Defense Association run by the Evangelical Fundies). See Milton Gaither's post Brian D. Ray and NHERI, part 2 for more information on the link between NHERI and HSLDA

Another survey Tapestry of Homeschool Survey Report paints a far different picture of homeschoolers.
  • 90% of the respondents were married, 4% were single, a little over 3% were in domestic partnerships.
  • 80% were homeschooling for non-religious reasons.
The Tapestry of Homeschooling Survey Report was conducted by Learning is for Everyone. Because these statistics don't jibe with the anti-homeschoolers misconceptions some of them  were loath to accept the survey.

The sources the AP article cited are
Apologia Educational Ministries:
Bob Jones University Press:
Jerry Coyne's blog, "Why Evolution is True":

Jerry Coyne is a scientist and his only contribution to the article was to give his opinion on the textbooks. I personally think he was to kind to the publishers as their textbooks are truly awful in my opinion.

Apologia Educational Ministries and Bob Jones University Press are two Christian Publishing Companies that have a vested interest in convincing people that if they homeschool they must buy their products. Did the AP reporter really expect them to say "Oh, some homeschoolers do use textbooks from Secular Publishers"?  Why were no Secular Publishers who cater to the homeschooling market interviewed. Saxon a well know Publisher of Math Textbooks has a site just for homeschoolers Saxon Home School.

Now thanks to sloppy reporting by the AP many people have come away with a false sense of what homeschooling looks like. I can just hope the truth about how diverse the homeschooling community truly is will travel across the Internet as quickly.

Another Teacher Sounds Off

Makes sense
I am a local public school teacher. Cutting five days off the school year would work. After we take our state-mandated MCT2 tests in May, we have five to six days left of school. These children’s minds are now closed. We have poked, prodded and done all except take blood from them. After the “tests,” they don’t hear a thing except how many days are left before their summer vacation starts. As long as the “tests” were given the last days of school, removing the five days would work.

Public School Superintendent accidentally fires gun during class

Superintendent accidentally fires gun during class - Nation Wire -

Let's Party !!!!!!

Drop by Homeschool Bytes to read this weeks Carnival of Homeschooling ~ The Party Edition.

Monday, March 08, 2010

A ? Answered

Marlis said...

Alasandra, there is an interesting article about a 4 day school week being considered in some areas to combat dwindling budgets. The above link appears to be over all convinced that it is a positive change which wouldn't affect students at all. Admittedly I skimmed over it since I haven't found enough time to read it yet. I wanted to forward this to you since I found this so entirely appalling. Let us know what you think about this.
My answer is probably going to surprise Marlis. IF I had young children and they were in PUBLIC SCHOOL I would be in favor of the 4 day school week. Mainly because my husband has a 4 day work week and I just think it is easier for families if everyone has the same schedule. When my husbands company went to the 4 day work week our homeschool went to a 4 day week too. Although if we didn't get the work done Monday through Thursday due to sickness or a field trip we used Friday to catch up.

That being said I really hate the 4 day work week. By the time Friday rolls around my husband is so exhausted from the 10 hour days and shortage of sleep that Friday is basically spent recuperating.  But I do see how a 4 day work/school week would be better for the environment, save a company or school district money and provide workers/students with a day to keep business & doctors appointments.  So I think it would be a matter of some families would like it and others wouldn't. There would be some drawbacks but there would be some advantages. Like much of life there would be pros and cons.  Unfortunately public schools are not able to do what is best for each individual child and must make their decision on what is best for the community as a whole. Parents who choose to homeschool are free to tailor their child's schedule to suit their families needs.

Teachers Sound Off

According to one retired Coast teacher.
Test scores rule
As a recently retired Coast teacher, I can tell you that the only motivation for superintendents and their districts is test score results. Teaching children to think and be creative is not an issue. Teaching for the spring test begins the first day of the school year, and that is the yearlong learning theme of all classrooms. The joys of teaching, and the joys of learning, have been taken away.

Another teacher critizes the budget cuts
Cuts will cost
I am a local public school teacher and worry that parents don’t realize the effect the budget cuts will have on our children. Possible cuts could include the loss of lead teachers, assistant principals, resource officers, teaching assistants, special education programs, extracurricular activities, and school days. There are between 27 and 30 children per room in most schools and these numbers are expected to increase. These cuts are coming. I don’t need to have technology, chalk boards, books, paper, pencils or desks, but is that how you want your child to learn? Is your child going to be safe when there are no security personnel on campus? This kind of school was OK when you were a child, but in today’s society I would wonder. What do you want for your child? You no longer have a choice, because this is what your school is being forced to become.

Another retired teacher offers a solution
Cut administration
I was a teacher for 25 years and the “cuts will cost” Sound Off hit home with me. Perhaps for the wrong reasons. When began school there was a teacher in every classroom and each school had a principal and a secretary. That’s all. I don’t remember the number of people in the superintendent’s office but I don’t think it was more than five. There were about 30 children in each classroom and by all indications, our teachers did a fine job of educating students. Now there are lead teachers, assistant principals, resource officers, special education program directors and heaven knows the multitudes in the superintendent’s office! The schools today are over-administered. Perhaps a budget cut will cut some administrative positions.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Secular Homeschool Textbooks Not That Hard to Find

According to Dianna Narciso

Atheist, secular, and religious homeschoolers who have no argument with evolution, struggle to find homeschooling books that accurately present science. Unfortunately, they often have trouble finding textbooks in all subjects that aren't saturated with Christian doctrine.

Well at least she realizes all homeschoolers aren't Christian Fundamentalist (sigh). But no, we don't have trouble finding secular textbooks just do a Google search for Secular Homeschool Textbooks and voila.

I have to agree that I did generally wind up using the same textbooks public schools used or at least the same publishers. But really wasn't a problem, and yes the books were pricey. But I am perplexed by the people who seem to think it is nearly impossible to find secular textbooks to use for homeschooling. I do agree that there is a market for secular homeschoolers and it is growing every day, perhaps some bright young homeschool entrepreneur will fill the niche.

The Raw Story Gives Homeschoolers A Raw Deal

According to The Raw Story Top US home-school texts dismiss evolution. REALLY!!! What is the top homeschool text?  Homeschoolers are a diverse bunch and I assure you we do not all use the same textbooks. Far from it, the beauty of homeschooling is we can search out the best text to fit our children's needs.

Home-school mom Susan Mule wishes she hadn't taken a friend's advice and tried a textbook from a popular Christian publisher for her 10-year-old's biology lessons.

Mule's precocious daughter Elizabeth excels at science and has been studying tarantulas since she was 5. But she watched Elizabeth's excitement turn to confusion when they reached the evolution section of the book from Apologia Educational Ministries, which disputed Charles Darwin's theory.
As a Homeschool Mother I reviewed each textbook I choose for my children, I didn't just blindly buy a book because so and so said I should. When I asked for advice concerning textbooks I asked people whose educational philosophy was similar to my own. There is no way I would have used Apologia Educational Ministries for anything. And how could Susan Mule not know what was in the book if she was preparing lesson plans for Elizabeth. You don't blindly stumble into a chapter, when you homeschool you prepare for the chapter in advance.

Christian-based materials dominate a growing home-school education market that encompasses more than 1.5 million students in the U.S. And for most home-school parents, a Bible-based version of the Earth's creation is exactly what they want. Federal statistics from 2007 show 83 percent of home-schooling parents want to give their children "religious or moral instruction."

Christian based materials do not dominate the growing home-school market contrary to what  is stated at The Raw Storey. Many homeschoolers choose to buy textbooks from mainstream publishers. The same publishers that furnish textbooks to public schools. Also while 83% of homeschoolers my want to give their children "religious or moral instruction" the 83% are not necessarily Christians; Muslims, Pagans, Buddhist and those of other religions also homeschool and wish to pass their "beliefs" on to their children. Also MANY Christians Homeschoolers do believe in evolution and teach evolution to their children.

"The majority of home-schoolers self-identify as evangelical Christians," said Ian Slatter, a spokesman for the Home School Legal Defense Association. "Most home-schoolers will definitely have a sort of creationist component to their home-school program."

Those who don't, however, often feel isolated and frustrated from trying to find a textbook that fits their beliefs.

First off I doubt the majority of home-schoolers self identify as evangelical Christians. H$LDA has a vested interest in promoting this fallacy. I also fail to see why any homeschool parent should feel isolated or frustrated while looking for a textbook.

Secular Homeschool Curriculum
Saxon Math
I was very happy with Amsco School Publications, Inc. for Science and EMC Publishing for Literature and Language Arts. For those publishers who do not sell directly to homeschoolers most textbooks can be found at the Homeschool Supercenter or

What another Homeschooling Mom has to say on the subject Homeschooling and Evolution.