Homeschool Headline: We are Rich, White and Shifty!

29 05 2009

Making the homeschool parent blog rounds this week is a USA Today screamer: Profound shift in kind of families who are home schooling their children!

Stop the presses! We’ve been homeschooling for two decades and I’ve got the journalism background AND the education background, and I MISSED this?? What the heck happened to profoundly change my peers while I was home being my unshifting self?

Home schooling has grown most sharply for higher-income families. In 1999, 63.6% of home-schooling families earned less than $50,000. Now 60.0% earn more than $50,000.

So 36% of homeschooling families were above that income level in 1999; eight years later, 60% are? But consider, over that eight-year period, what was the change in real value of $50,000? And from another US census report, it looks like U.S. real median income increases by 1% to 2% per year including all families, not just homeschooling families: Read the rest of this entry »

Supreme Umpires? Inside Baseball and the Bench

26 05 2009

Sonia Sotomayor: the Judge Who Saved Baseball

Anybody keeping score of which party controls the first few innings of the confirmation debate should make note of how many times “baseball” gets repeated in the political chatter over the next 48 hours.

When a new President mentions baseball twice in the first few minutes of his first Supreme Court nominee event, it is not a coincidence. To make sure his first nominee makes it through a potentially ugly confirmation process, President Obama is wrapping the debate in one of the most popular symbols of American life: baseball.

Remember the last SCOTUS confirmation process, when now-Chief Justice John Roberts said being a judge was like being a baseball ump, applying the rules and calling each ball or strike fairly for every team and individual, without personal favoritism or animus?

But “umpires do not encounter cases where rules do not previously exist. They certainly do not get to determine what they mean or whether that meaning changes over time with societal developments and scientific advancements. . .”

And Read the rest of this entry »

And Now for Something Completely Cool at School

26 05 2009

. . .sensory stimulation!

It’s one of a handful of similar rooms in South Florida that stem in part from a 1970s Dutch philosophy known as Snoezelen (pronounced snooze-a-lun), which says surroundings can have a meaningful impact on behavior — like reducing stress and improving communication. . .

No kidding! This applies to everyone imo — isn’t this what environmental systems theory is all about? — and I’ve learned both from pleasure and pain, that it’s very important to me personally. Teresa Heinz Kerry knows how important surroundings are to the health of all women and children worldwide (not just in schools):

“Children live what they learn and learn what they live. We have to model the behaviors we want them to embrace, and that includes taking responsibility for our surroundings and caring for our bodies, earth around us, and all creation.

First of all, we can change the status quo if we do simple things together . . .”

Read the rest of this entry »

Tough Case: Church v State for the Life of Daniel Hauser

26 05 2009

Dana at Principled Discovery poses the Question of the Day for thinking parents religious or not: Should Daniel Hauser be allowed to reject chemo?

The specific views in this case weren’t exactly inspired by Christianity, but I guess they considered themselves Catholic as well.

. . . how much did religion really have to do with it? The family submitted to chemotherapy and rejected it only after experiencing its side effects. Perhaps religion was something to hide behind. Perhaps it was something they were driven to in their search for an alternative.

But I suppose the question remains: Is Daniel, a thirteen year old with disabilities related to a difficult delivery, capable of making this decision himself?

Further snooking around through the years:
Right Thinking About Parent Rights: Polygamy and Homeschooling

Does the state have a right to override the parental consent and intervene to prevent the child from entering into this arrangement?

Is there a legitimate state interest to protect the child?

Have the parents or the “husband” committed an act of child sexual abuse?

Is the girl competent to make her own decision in this matter?

Latest Homeschool Freakout From World Net Daily

Pregnant Teen Girls Gone Wild

Teach the Controversy: UN and the Rights of the Child

Parental Rights and Responsibilities

Happy Scopes Monkey Trial Birthday

25 05 2009

Here for reference is JJ’s Evolved Homeschooler Wiki Page .

But eighty-four years ago today, this was the story people would have been blogging [if times back then were more like times now, which they’re not]:

Nashville, Tenn., May 25 — John T. Scopes, young Dayton (Tenn.) high school teacher, tonight stands indicted for having taught the theory of evolution to students attending his science classes in violation of a law passed by the Tennessee Legislature and signed by the Governor on March 21, 1925.

. . . The session followed a charge by Judge John T. Raulston, who interpreted the law and included in his presentation for the reading of the first book of Genesis from the King James version of the Bible, in which the story creation is detailed.

The specific charge of the indictment is that on April 24, 1925, John T. Scopes, “did unlawfully and willfully teach in public schools of Rhea County, Tenn., which said schools are supported in part and in whole by the public school funds of the State, certain theory and theories that deny the story of Divine creation of man as taught in the Bible and did teach thereof that man descended from a lower order of animals.” The penalty prescribed in the law for such violation is a fine from $100 to $500.

Does it sound as if the religious conservative status quo of 1925 was way more committed to the rule of law back when they defined and controlled it?

Telling the jurors that if the statute had been violated, their duty was to find the indictment, Judge Raulston pointed out that it was not within their province to inquire into the policy or the wisdom of the legislation. Read the rest of this entry »

Limbaugh Calls First Black President a Giant Alien Cockroach

22 05 2009

I swear. On his radio show this afternoon.
He likened our elegant, charming, authentically American (and black) president to the giant alien cockroach here to wipe humankind off the face of the earth, in the movie “Men in Black.”

FavD and I both heard his little um, riff, live, and stared at each other. We couldn’t believe he’d said it much less manage to explain in any way however far-fetched WHY he would say it.

Is it possible his deafness isn’t just aural now but increasingly mental — that he’s literally losing his faculties, in some creepy Michael Jackson-Elvis Presley public slide into senility if not madness?

Palin Parenting Pregnancy Pomp (and Circumstance)

22 05 2009

2009-05-21-bristolpeople teen mom glam

Good for her, plucky Bristol Palin somehow managed to “finish high school” as an unwed teen mother. Here she is on the cover of People magazine role-modeling in vivid glossy glam to show young girls what it’s like to have it all at the age of 18.

So now, the Palins are fabulously dressing up their daughter’s situation. After all, the Gov. has her eye on a future White House run.

Governor Palin fabulously dressing up for a White House run? We remember that drill, baby.

Is R-E-S-P-E-C-T in Dress?
For instance:

And let’s not even get started on the recent object lesson of conservatives like oh, Sarah Palin for instance, putting undue emphasis on and investment into wardrobe, instead of knowledge and ideas!

See also Dress for Success Power of Story.

There’s only one moment in Bristol’s People interview that actually sounds heartbreakingly real. She admits that she skipped her prom — ” I don’t have that kind of time. And the dress is, like, $400, and the shoes, hair, makeup, it’s way too expensive.”

Wow. Her mom enjoyed a free $150,000 wardrobe and $50,000 worth of makeup during the presidential campaign, and she wouldn’t babysit and fork over the money to get her daughter a dress for a once in a lifetime prom. As Bristol admitted, “It kind of sucked, to tell you the truth!” Read the rest of this entry »

New Pew Poll: American Electorate’s Radical Shifts in Attitudes, Values

21 05 2009

New out this morning as the current president and past vice-president make their starkly contrasting terrorist torture speeches about what it REALLY means to be American:

In seven short years, the American electorate has radically changed, as voters’ priorities have shifted . . .according to a comprehensive survey released Thursday morning by the Pew Research Center.

Pew Graph by Party ID as Independents Rise

The title describes it well:
“Independents Take Center Stage in Obama Era
Trends in Political Values and Core Attitudes: 1987-2009”

It’s crammed with all sorts of data and trends to think about. Our attitudes on schools firing teachers for “morals” (homosexuality) happened to be the last thing mentioned in the commentary I just read:

On cultural — as opposed to economic — matters however, the country appears to be moving decisively towards greater social tolerance. . .

The percentage of people who say “school boards ought to have the right to fire teachers who are known homosexuals” has fallen from 51 percent in 1987 to 28 percent this year. At the same time, the percentage who do not think school boards should be empowered to fire gay teachers has grown from 42 to 67 percent.

Obama’s speech transcript here. Video here.

Cheney’s speech both video and transcript here.

Fun and Freeing Homeschool Interviews for Families

21 05 2009

Way to go, Deb! Smart and funny do go together and this is the latest evidence.

If you’re a Thinking Parent of any stripe, you have GOT to go to this blog, “Homeschooling: Freedom and Fun for Your Family” — you’ll recognize lots of the names already up and the ones to come, including Pam and Sandra, Betty Malone (writestuff) and Valerie, Nance and me at some point — and then add the interview link to your blogroll, keep it handy for the next time some Ladenblather pretends to want to know about homeschooling and unschooling life.

And if you want to play along with your own interview, I’m assured you’d be most welcome. . .

Guess Who Told College Grads Real World Beats Google and YouTube?

20 05 2009

“Turn off your computer,” he told the Class of 2009. “You’re actually going to have to turn off your phone and discover all that is human around us. Nothing beats holding the hand of your grandchild as he walks his first steps.”

The complete speech is available on YouTube.
But Mr. Schmidt, whose company owns the video site, would probably recommend that you don’t waste a lot of time watching it.

—Josh Fischman
Chronicle of Higher Education, The Wired Campus

Salute When You Call My Son a Cross-Dresser!

19 05 2009

JJ’s comment today at teacher Darren MacFarlane’s conservative education politics blog, about kilt-wearing Utah schoolboy mistaken as cross-dresser — by his own (shockingly ignorant) principal!

Gavin’s father, Preston McFarland, hopes the incident leads to discussions and education about Scottish heritage, an important part of the history of Weber County.

“I’m just kind of shocked,” he said. “Living in Utah, so many of our ancestors are from that area.”

Ben Lomond Peak was named by Scottish settlers and Ogden boasts a high school where students are encouraged to wear kilts — Ben Lomond High School.

The school’s bagpipe corps endures some occasional teasing from other schools when it competes or travels outside of the Ogden area, said adviser Cory Jensen, but generally the kilts are viewed with respect and an appreciation for Scottish culture.

“Here at the school, they are completely supportive,” Jensen said. “They are looked at as a manly thing.”

Students of Scottish heritage will wear kilts occasionally even if they aren’t in the bagpipes corps, he said.

Here We Go Again With The Kilts“:

Mrs. C just mentioned your stupid-school-principal post when she saw photos of my 13-year-old son in his Ross family tartan kilt Saturday, playing his D Naill great highland bagpipes in his first Scottish games.

My career was in public schooling but he’s never been sent to school, always happily unschooled, and this is the best example I’ve seen lately of WHY! 🙂

Although in a wicked twist of ethnocentrism, I can report that there was another piper about Young Son’s age, whose dad Read the rest of this entry »

His Pipes, His Pipes Were Calling

18 05 2009

Saturday Young Son played the pipes in the Tallahassee Scottish Games for the first time, and cut such a dashing figure (and had such a fine mentor, of course) that he was invited to march with the massed bands in the opening ceremony, too. Like Shakespeare’s Juliet, this was “an honor he dreamed not of” and very exciting for us all!

Then the ceilidh (dance party) at Gill’s Steakhouse & Tavern that night held more surprises I’ll tell you about too, but it’s not an illustrated story, so it can wait a bit. 🙂

Young Son with John and Katie McIlroy preparing to march in the "massed bands" opening ceremonies