Friday, May 02, 2008

How to get a master's degree .......................

have you Dad elected Governor.
Six months after his inauguration, President Mike Garrison is struggling to hold his administration together - and keep his job - amid a scandal that erupted after the school granted Gov. Joe Manchin's daughter a master's degree she didn't earn.

Assault on PA Public School Playground

A 10-year-old girl admitted in juvenile court that she assaulted a classmate by pulling her off a set of monkey bars and stomping on her, breaking the victim's hip.

Co-Ed Dorm Rooms

Erik Youngdahl and Michelle Garcia share a dorm room at Connecticut's Wesleyan University. But they say there's no funny business going on. Really. They mean it.

At least two dozen schools, including Brown University, the University of Pennsylvania, Oberlin College, Clark University and the California Institute of Technology, allow some or all students to share a room with anyone they choose - including someone of the opposite sex. This spring, as students sign up for next year's room, more schools are following suit, including Stanford University.

By Way of Sunnimom ~ Homeschooling: A Growing Option in American Education

I was over at Sunnimom's blog A Woman On Purpose and I found her post Home Education- Facts Instead of Fear with a link to Homeschooling: A Growing Option in American Education by Dan Lips and Evan Feinberg. Dan Lips is Education Analyst and Evan Feinberg is a former Research Assistant in the Domestic Policy Studies Department at The Heritage Foundation.

Homeschooling: A Growing Option in American Education
While scientific research is limited, the available evidence suggests that homeschooling provides a positive learning environment for the estimated 1.1 million American children who are being educated at home. Homeschooling families are making a valuable contribution to American education with­out relying on taxpayer assistance, saving taxpayers as much as $4.4 billion to $9.9 billion annually by forgoing taxpayer-funded public education. Many families make significant financial sacrifices to homeschool their children after paying federal, state, and local taxes that support public education.

Policymakers should take steps to protect all par­ents' right to teach their children at home and implement reforms to facilitate homeschooling.

Oh those dangerous public schools

The lack of a label does not mean a school is without crime, but rather that there is not enough to merit the designation. There were nearly 700,000 violent crimes in America's schools in 2000, the most recent year for which government numbers were available.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Hoist with your own petard ~ Edutards!

I guess we better start with a few definitions for the edutards.

hoist with your own petard
to be harmed by something that was intended by you to harm someone else. The most enjoyable moment in any action film occurs when the villain is hoist with his own petard.

Etymology: based on the literal meaning of hoist by your own petard (= blown into the air by your own explosive device), an expression made popular in Shakespeare's play, “Hamlet”
See also:

Edutard - Someone whose thoughts are constricted, tradition bound, unable to think outside the box, incapable of original thought.

OK, now that we have those pesky definitions out of the way, we can get down to business. I did a parody of The Homeschooler Mind Set called The Edutards Mindset (this is a parody) . Apparently Natalie Wagner , the real cmf , Carlie & Greg have no idea what the definition of edutard is as they chose to take great offense to the title. Their ignorance and willingness to jump to conclusions is amusing if a bit old hat. The edutards are all to willing to mischaracterize, bash, harass and belittle homeschoolers. They seem to think it's their GOD given right to pontificate on any topic no matter how ignorant of the topic they are. They also seem to think that homeschoolers are just suppose to put up with their mean spirited attacks. How dare we fight back, how dare we point out their flaws...........that's now fair, that's not cool, that's unacceptable............... I mean don't we all know that it's politically correct to bash homeschoolers and religious fundamentalist but everyone else is off limits. Get with the program.

I have had it with their attacks, harassment and mischaracterization as far as I am concerned they can hoist with their own petard. They have no legitimate reason to concern themselves with homeschoolers. On the other hand they should be concerning themselves with the underachieving public schools their tax money goes to support. So why don't they.

  • They are so entrenched in the public school mentality they can not think of a 'better way' to do things.
  • They firmly believe that while the public schools may not be doing a great job we should all have to be crippled by their inadequacies. How dare someone escape the system.
  • They are terrified of choices. If parents are free to choose the best educational option for their children then they only have themselves to blame if they make a bad choice. On the other hand if everyone is forced to send their kids to public school then obviously no one can blame them if their child receives and inadequate education. These are the same people that want mandatory public school uniforms. Choosing what to wear in the morning is just to hard for them.
  • They feel guilty. Homeschooling parents invest time and money into their children's education while public school parents are getting a 'free ride'. Deep down they suspect they may be failing their children. Instead of examining the educational choices they made for their own children it's much easier to attack homeschoolers. Labeling them WEIRD, ELITIST, STIFLING, FUNDIES, BACKWARD, and other unflattering terms means they never have to seriously consider homeschooling.
  • They view anyone who makes a different educational choice then public schools as attacking them. Apparently they really aren't learning tolerance and respect for diversity in the public schools. What they seem to be preaching is everyone must conform to their vision of what the world should be like.

For the record I am not attacking public schools or public school teachers. There are some really terrific public school teachers out there and the majority of them will go out of their way to give homeschoolers a helping hand. BUT public schools are not 'right' for everyone. Parents are the ones best able to determine if their child would be best served by attending the local public school, a private school or being homeschooled. And whatever their choice may be, it's no one else's business. And if the edutards are honest public schools have plenty of problems for them to write about to their hearts content. Not all public schools are created equal and not all public school teachers are great.

Instead of bashing, harassing and belittling homeschoolers the edutards would be better served by turning their attention to the public schools their tax money goes to support. Since they are funding them they have a legitimate reason to be concerned with them. On the other hand homeschooling is none of their business and they should butt out.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The Edutards Mindset (this is a parody)

Public schooling is probably a really good idea for a lot of people, but only for a certain (unknown) percentage of people who actually graduate. And, among those who do manage to graduate from public school, I would guess that the effectiveness of public schooling varies from pretty good to dismal because many teachers are doing it for the wrong reasons, in some cases for just plain bad reasons, and/or they really don't know what they are doing.

I have yet to meet a college professor who would claim that they are generally happy with what shows up at their classroom door from Public Schooling Land ... even though most college professors with whom I have had this conversation are actually in favor of public schooling in principle. The point here is that it is probably pretty easy to execute the process poorly and damage the child.

One could say that public schooling is like this ... a version of education that ideally would be much better than the "private" approach, but in practice, is often (how often, we don't know) executed poorly.

The reason that I think a lot of public schoolers are not doing a great job is because their motivations are not really in the interest of the child. Their motivations are often political . The children are being dragged along in the adults' efforts to make some point, play some game, avoid some personal discomfort, get their jollies in one way or another, etc.

Public Schooling In The Eyes Of Connecticut State Law
A Superior Court judge last year determined that the state's (Connecticut) constitution did not guarantee a right to an adequate or suitable education, the position taken by the state.

Public schooling critics, haven't they learned anything?
Now honestly, I don't give a shit what anyone thinks about public schooling. I send my four children to public schools for reasons that make sense to ME, because they're MY children, not the governments, not society's, and not Jack's. Why shouldn't I shove my kids out the door and onto a school bus so I can enjoy some peace.

Please don't tell any of the public schoolers I wrote this post. They will get mad at me and never leave me alone.

I hope you enjoyed my parody of The Homeschooler Mind Set. It's as poorly researched as the original. But hey it was fun to write.

7 of the nation's top universities want homeschooled teen

Chelsea Link defied the odds to get accepted into Yale. Then Harvard.

Then came the fat envelopes from Princeton, Columbia, University of Chicago, Stanford and Northwestern University.

Making that feat still more extraordinary, Link has been home-schooled since age 5.

HT: O'Donnell Web

Sadly Greg has jumped back on the bashing homeschoolers bandwagon with his post The Homeschooler Mind Set. One would think a scientist could come up with something better then this drivel. No facts, no data, no statistics just "I feel" and "so and so said". I feel it deserves a F-

Another Pro Homeschooling Article

OP-ED: Homeschooling an option by Tatiana Tripp

In Defense of Homeschooling

This was in my local paper.

Myths threaten the future of home-schooling by Stefan Merrill Block, the author of "The Story of Forgetting,". Stefan Merrill Block was home schooled in Plano, Texas.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Make sure all the public schools fall in line before you start harassing homeschoolers

Lately some homeschool critics having been insisting that homeschoolers must teach evolution. In fact some fellow homeschoolers have even joined the chorus. So I found Give me the lesson without the spin ironic.

In my junior year of high school in New Jersey, my U.S. history teacher used the first week of class to preach his religious beliefs. He told students, among other things, that they "belong in hell" if they reject Jesus as their savior, that evolution and the Big Bang are ridiculous and unscientific theories, and that there were dinosaurs on Noah's Ark.

Maybe they should make sure all the public schools fall in line before they start worrying about homeschoolers.

There are many reasons to homeschool

Watcher engages in homeschool bashing with the post 57 Stupid Reasons to Homeschool. Watcher seems particularly down on Fundamentalist Christian Homeschoolers and doesn't even seem to realize there are many secular and inclusive homeschoolers today.

First there is the same old tired socialization bugaboo.

The biggest one, obviously, is socialization. Yes, I know homeschoolers have friends. Yes, I know there are activities they can join, but playing with other kids on weekends doesn't begin to match the same kind of cooperation learned by being around them in a structured environment 5 days a week.

Most of the activities homeschoolers engage in involve more then weekends. Here is another edutard who assumes that homeschoolers sit at home all day, nothing could be further from the truth. We belong to recreational soccer teams, robotics teams, scouts, church groups, homeschool groups, 4-H the list is endless. Many homeschoolers join homeschool co-ops, others take art history classes at local museums, science labs at local colleges that have classes especially for homeschoolers the list of opportunities for homeschoolers to socialize is endless.

Next he takes issue with this

Public schools can destroy your children’s self-esteem, destroy their ability to read, strangle their love of learning, put them in
physical and moral danger, and wreck their future.
Uh, yeah, I'm gonna need a cite for that. "Put them in physical and mortal danger?" Is he serious? Anyway, here's a sampling of the points to this crazy agenda. (Again, not all the reasons on this list are bad, but some are truly warped. Those are the ones I've gone into here).

Apparently Watcher doesn't watch the news much. Go here for a depressingly long list of school shootings. They have 56 listed and that doesn't include the recent school shooting in Mobile, AL March 6, 2008. "Mobile County Spokesperson Nancy Pierce addressed the media this morning after 18 year old Jajuan Holmes shot himself in the Davidson High School Gymnasium. "

Then there is the bullying, and the beatings, among other things. I don't think anyone in their right mind would believe that students today are not in "physical and mortal danger" from their fellow classmates. The scary thing is you have no way of knowing what public school is going to be the scene of the next tragedy. You can't blame any parent for trying to minimize the danger their child is in as much as possible.

* A commenter pointed out that the original quote says moral danger. I personally don't see kids being in any moral danger in the public schools. I do see plenty of physical danger to worry about.

5. Be totally aware of the state and progress of your child’s education.
Now that sounds innocuous enough. And it truly may be, but I still get this feeling like it's included here because Laura and Joel want to watch their kids like hawks, so they never have to worry about learning things their parents don't want them to. Again: STIFLING.

The majority of parents want to be totally aware of the state and progress of their child’s education. I can't tell you how many public school parents have expressed frustration to me because they didn't know their child was struggling in a subject until it was too late to bring the grade up. This isn't meant to be stifling as Watcher maintains, but rather a tool for ensuring your child has mastered the material taught.

9. Make learning fun.
As if that were possible! And don't you think teachers try to do this as much as they can?

The sad thing here is that Watcher doesn't think learning can be fun. This is more of an indictment against public schools then anything a homeschooler could have written. And yes public school teachers do try to make learning fun but with large class sizes, discipline issues, worries over testing, NCLB and other mandates their attempts to make learning fun get harder and harder. I am proud to say I have fostered a LOVE of LEARNING in my children and that we do find LEARNING FUN!

10. Make learning as “experiential” as you want
You mean like performing science experiments in a lab? Which, unfortunately, most houses don't have, but public schools do?

This shows how behind the times Watcher is. We have a very nice microscope here at the house. We have also done dissecting. But for those homeschoolers who don't want to tackle these things at home or want to add to what they do at home, colleges are offering all sorts of science labs for homeschoolers. Other homeschoolers are forming co-ops and banding together to buy lab equipment. Perhaps Watcher should take his own advice, "Why don't you do some research before you start accusing people of things? "

13. Teach your child without any “assumed limitations.” Teach multiple languages, develop one skill or subject—the sky’s the limit.

What "assumed limitations?" My schools had all kinds of extracurriculars and gifted and talented programs that kids could participate in. From first through third grade, there were three different levels of reading group.

Unfortunately all public schools are not created equal. Public schools vary not only from state to state but from district to district. Just because one public school has something doesn't mean they all do.

16. Avoid educational “labeling”

Does this mean, if your kid has ADD, you can happily pretend that he doesn't? It's fun what you can do when there are none of those pesky "experts" around to tell you things you'd rather not hear!

This one doesn't apply to my family, but I am going to tackle it anyway. I know homescoolers who have chosen to homeschool because their child had a learning disability and would have been labeled and stuck in a special education class. They don't 'pretend' the disability doesn't exist but their child isn't singled out as 'different'. A sure way to get picked on in public schools. The current vogue these days is to to put the learning disabled student in regular classrooms but send them to 'special education' classes for certain subjects. This seems a good idea on the surface as in former days those stuck in 'special education' classes often were taught less advanced subjects then those children in regular classes and were kept separate from the 'other' kids for their entire public school sojourn, but one of the flaws is the bullying they endure from the 'other' kids they are now classmates with.

19. Allow your child to do, think, discuss, and explore in ways not possible in a rigid classroom setting.
Yeah? then why do so many pro-homeschooling fundies want to quash this so badly?

Watcher is making an assumption here, where is the evidence to back this assertion up?

20. Constant positive reinforcement and gentle correction. No abusive words or actions that scar your child’s psyche.
Bullshit. Teachers spend years learning corrective discipline techniques. A good teacher can easily be better at positive reinforcement than most parents.

Yeah right. That's why we read about all the public school teachers male & female having sex with students, physically abusing students & verbally abusing students ( Many adults mention past incidences of verbal abuse by the teacher as the most overwhelming negative experience in their lives. The present study examined (1) the course and stability of verbal abuse by the teacher from kindergarten through grade 4 and (2) the link between verbal abuse by the teacher and children's behavioral, emotional, and academic adjustment.).

22. Develop your child’s life skills such as cooking, cleaning, and organizing that are easily learned with the additional time spent at home.

Ah, I see. We won't waste no time with all that book-learnin'! We's got to teach our kids how to be house slaves!

What an ignorant statement from Watcher. I don't know of any homeschooling parent who short changes their child academically in order to teach them life skills. On the other hand I know numerous public school graduates who are unable to make change or balance a checkbook. Why? because they didn't learn it in public school and their parents perhaps assuming they did learn it in public school failed to teach them. Besides academics children need life skills in order to survive. Some things all children should know how to do cook, clean, do laundry, put gas in the car, change a tire, change the oil, make change, balance a check book, manage money. Why? because when they are out on their own they need these skills.

26. Never have your child beat up by a bully. Teach self-defense skills that will enable him (her) to deal with any situation, but not until he (she) is mature enough to handle the emotional aspects of confrontation.

What confrontations? You're keeping him chained up in the basement, remember? He'll never have to deal with being beaten up!(Oh yeah, and what about girls? Don't they need to learn self-defense also?)

I doubt Joel Turtel intended to exclude girls from the self-defense lessons, but it gets tiresome having to type him/her, he/she so ignoramuses won't accuse you of excluding one sex or another. Again Watcher assumes homeschoolers don't interact with others, to the contrary homeschoolers often have public school children, private school children and other homeschooled children as friends. And Gosh Watcher I don't even have a basement.

33. Develop your child’s imagination and teach diverse problem-solving skills, instead of one institutionalized method of thinking.

Have you two idiots ever actually been in a public school?

I graduated from the public school system. In the majority of my classes imagination and diverse problem solving skills were not utilized. In fact rote memorization seemed to be the preferred method of teaching.

34. Unlimited possibilities for extra curricular activities that interest your child.

Woo-ee! That sounds like a lot of fun! All kinds of clubs and activities that give you the opportunity to hang out with the same three people! Your parents and your little brother!

Poor Watcher just can't get it through that numb skull that homeschoolers hang out with a variety of diverse people not just their family or other homeschoolers.

37. Avoid traditional school “group activities” that may leave one student doing all the work or ruining it for everyone else.

You know, the point of group projects is so that kids who don't have cooperative skills can learn them. All this would do is make sure the kids never learn.

Really as a product of the public school system I can assure you no one in my high school learned cooperative skills from all those stupid group projects. What we did learn 1.) If you don't want to do the work you don't have to do anything. The students who actually care about their grades will do the work for you. You'll still get an A 2.) The teacher doesn't care that only two of the students in the group did any of the work the whole group gets the same grade no matter how much or how little effort they put into the project. 3.) Make sure you have some smart students in your group so they will do all the work and you'll get an A and 4.) If you are one of the smart students be prepared to do everything yourself. Even if student X promises to do _______ more then likely he/she won't and unless you are willing to settle for a bad grade you need to have ______ done yourself just in case.

45. To make sure your child doesn’t end up graduating without knowing how to read or knowing other basic skills, due to educational failings of your local schools.

I went to public school and I can read just fine, you arrogant prick.

The sad fact is too many public school graduates do graduate without being able to read or knowing other basic skills. See John Stossel's "Stupid In America".

49. To easily pass on your unique heritage or language to your child.
Now, at first, this actually sounds somewhat reasonable (as long as you discount the fact that you can do this whether the kid's in school or not). Passing on your heritage is important, especially if you're a minority. That was my thought at first. And then I started to consider the source. These jackasses don't care about minorities! Knowing what I know, this comment is probably a veiled swipe from the usual racist ideology; the one that thinks Spanish is invading our pure, white, English-speaking nation through schools.

There Watcher goes making assumptions. Watcher for your information many minorities homeschool.

There are many reasons to homeschool. Some are shared by the majority of homeschoolers and other are unique to the individual homeschooling family. Parents who choose to make the commitment of time and money to homeschool their children should be supported not criticized by the Watchers of this world.