Saturday, January 15, 2011

Why aren't you Homeschooling?

My children, my responsibility, my neighbors should not have to pay to educate my children. Why are you allowing someone to bare the burden of educating YOUR children?

The following piece appears on the New website.

Quote of the Day - "Where once a tyrant had to wish that his subjects had but one common neck that he might strangle them all at once, all he has to do now is to 'educate the people' so that they will have but one common mind to delude." - Richard Mitchell, "The Underground Grammarian"

Spelling errors, grammar errors, misuse of homonyms and typos are left as an exercise for my readers.

Two Million Home Schooled, New Study Estimates
A new study from the National Home Education Research Institute (NHERI) estimates that there are over two million children currently being home schooled in the United States. The author of the study, NHERI’s president Dr. Brian D. Ray, analyzed data from both state and federal education agencies as well as private home-school groups, concluding that there are as many as 2.346 million home-schooled students across the nation.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2010 there were about 54 million children between the ages of five and 17 in the U.S., meaning that nearly four percent of school-aged kids — or one in 25 — are being home schooled.

Factored into the study was Ray’s calculation that an estimated ten percent of home-schooled families are “underground,” meaning that parents have chosen not to register their children with the state because of compulsory attendance laws and other concerns.

“Today, home schoolers can be found in all walks of life,” noted a press release from the NHERI, “and with … a proven record of academic as well as social success, home schooling is rapidly becoming a mainstream education alternative.”

Michael Smith, president of the Home School Legal Defense Association, called the latest numbers “remarkable,” noting that “just 30 years ago there were only an estimated 20,000 home schooled children.”

Ray predicts another “notable surge” in home schooling numbers in the next five to ten years, as those who were home schooled in the 1990s choose that education option for their own children as well.

A 2006 study by the Department of Education found that 31 percent of parents who taught their kids at home did so out of concern for the public school environment, citing such issues as “safety, drugs or negative peer pressure.” Another 30 percent said that home schooling offered them the ability to “provide their children with religious or moral instruction.” An additional 16.5 percent of parents cited dissatisfaction with “the academic instruction available” in the public schools, while about 14 percent said they chose home schooling because of special needs of their children.

While public school officials and education “experts” have tried to denigrate the home schooling option as inferior to the tax-funded marvel of public education, both research and anecdotal evidence has demonstrated that children taught at home perform better than their public school counterparts.

For example, a 2009 study by the NHERI found that home schoolers score an average of 34 to 39 percentile points higher than the norm on standardized achievement tests. According to Dr. Ray, who headed up the research, the national average for home-schooled students ranged from the 84th percentile for language, math, and social studies to the 89th percentile for reading.

The study also found that achievement gaps common among public school students do not exist among home schoolers. Among the findings:

• Home-schooled boys (87th percentile) and girls (88th percentile) scored equally well on standardized tests.

• The income level of parents was not an appreciable factor in how home-schooled students performed, with children from poorer households (incomes under $35,000) scoring in the 85th percentile, and those from wealthier homes (income over $70,000) scoring in the 89th percentile.

• Although the education level of parents did have somewhat of an impact on the results, even home schoolers whose parents did not have college degrees scored in the 83rd percentile, well above the national average for public school students.

Research also confirms that the high performance of home-schooled students continues when they reach college. The Journal of College Admission cited a recent report showing that “home school students possess higher ACT scores, grade point averages (GPAs) and graduation rates when compared to traditionally educated students.”

Research last summer by Dr. Michael Cogan of the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota revealed that home-schooled college students fare better than conventional students on a number of levels:

• They earn a higher first-year GPA (3.41) than the overall average (3.12).

• Similarly, their fourth-year GPA (3.46) bests the overall average (3.16).

• They have a higher college graduation rate (66.7 percent) compared to the overall population (57.5 percent).

According to Gena Suarez, publisher of the Old Schoolhouse magazine, on average home schoolers score “37 percentile points above the national average on standardized achievement tests and typically score above average on the SAT and ACT.”

Those numbers have caught the attention of colleges and universities across the nation, particularly private Christian institutions, which often send recruiters and admissions counselors to home school conventions and target families that teach their kids at home through direct-mail campaigns, promotions in home school magazines, and with ads on websites.

Schools such as the prestigious Wheaton College, which boasts that 10 percent of its incoming freshmen are home-school grads, sponsor such events as “Home School College Days,” where potential students can visit campuses and even meet with current college students who were taught at home. Others such as Regent University, founded by Christian media mogul Pat Robertson, flash ads on their websites touting themselves as the “the right choice for home-schooled students.”

But it is not just Christian universities that are reaping the benefits of home-schooled students. Suarez cited one successful home schooler, Seth Back, who got his GED at age 15 and is currently a student at Harvard University. Suarez noted that over the past five years, Back has earned “a juris doctor degree, passed the California Bar Exam, earned a master’s degree in church history, and studied at Oxford — all while managing his own consulting business.”

Back credits home schooling for his success, saying that because of it he was “better prepared for certain college situations than students who had been through the public/private school system.”

And what about after college? All indications are that home-schooled students are among the most prepared to take their place as productive members of society. A 2004 study by Dr. Ray and NHERI of more than 7,000 home-schooled graduates found that 71 percent had participated in ongoing community service activities compared to 37 percent of U.S. adults of similar ages, and 76 percent had voted in a national or state election, compared to 29 percent of graduates who had not been home schooled.

“Homeschoolers clearly learn about the real world, possibly more than do their public school counterparts,” commented Dr. Michael Romanowski, an education professor at Ohio Northern University. “While the purpose of public education is to educate future citizens who take an active role in improving the social, economic, and political conditions in society, Ray’s research indicates that public schools, not homeschooling, should be scrutinized for their efforts regarding ‘citizenship training.’ ”

As a relevant side-note, home school proponents point out that when U.S. Representative Jaime Herrera Beutler (R–Wash.) was sworn in for her freshman term on January 3, she became the first home schooler in modern history to be elected to Congress. They are confident that she will not be the last.

Friday, January 14, 2011

School Board Meeting Next Wednesday

Don't forget to mark your calendars school board meeting January 19th, 2011.

Spelling errors, grammar errors, misuse of homonyms and typos are left as an exercise for my readers.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Should schools be giving out tickets?

I have always said respect is earned not commanded. Are schools commanding respect by giving out tickets? Do you think giving out tickets in schools is a good idea or a bad idea? Why? The following piece appears on CBSDFW.COM website.

Quote of the Day - "Common sense is in spite of, not as the result of education." - Victor Hugo

Spelling errors, grammar errors, misuse of homonyms and typos are left as an exercise for my readers.

Schools Giving Tickets, Not Detention Slips, Report Says
January 12, 2011

School lockers at a high school in Houston, Texas. (credit: AP)

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Court has become a deterrent instead of detention for some North Texas students.

The social and economic group Texas Appleseed collected five years worth of data from 22 districts across the state and found young students, including a six year old in Dallas, who received class C misdemeanor tickets for things like disrupting class, leaving school early and school yard brawls that didn’t include weapons.

“Dallas ISD was one of the districts that had a very large number of elementary school students that were issued class C misdemeanors,” said Deborah Fowler, of Texas Appleseed.

Over the course of five years, more than 1200 elementary students in DISD received a ticket.

O.M. Roberts Elementary parent found Abby Amadore found that alarming. “It’s the (school district’s) job to help us as parents to help them determine what’s right from wrong. I don’t think it’s correct to give them a ticket at six years old,” said Amadore.

In 2006-2007, over 4,000 DISD students received tickets but one parents said depending on the student’s age it may not be a bad way to curtail persistent misbehavior.

“It just depends the age and what the student did,” said DISD parent Claudia Diaz.

Data shows the tickets can cost a family as much as $500.
DISD issued a statement on the report, saying “The district’s number one priority is safety and the learning environment should never be compromised. The vast majority of our students are not disruptive. Those who do receive tickets are hopefully learning that their actions have consequences.”

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

School Board Meeting Tonight is Cancelled

No School Board Meeting tonight, it has been cancelled because of the snow.


"We who are engaged in the sacred cause of education are entitled to look upon all parents as having given hostages to our cause." - Horace Mann, first secretary of education in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

We see it, do you?

We see it, do you? A partial list of the many reasons why we homeschool.

The following piece appeared on Betrayed - Why Public Education is Failing.

Quote of the Day - "Together we have come to realize that for most men the right to learn is curtailed by the obligation to attend school." - Ivan Illich, "Deschooling Society"

Spelling errors, grammar errors, misuse of homonyms and typos are left as an exercise for my readers.

Monday, January 3, 2011

"What I see" - Parent volunteer tells heartbreaking tale
By Breann Treffry, school volunteer and parent of three, Spokane, WA

We’ve heard much recently about the United States slipping in the education ranking of developed nations. Having been a product of the American public school system, I knew, like many other American parents, that the education it provides is, shall we say, lacking in certain areas. What I didn’t realize - until I enrolled my own children, immersed myself in their schools, classrooms, curricula, and classmates, attended school board meetings, and heard the stories of other concerned parents and teachers - is just how lacking that education truly is.

From home, it can be hard for parents to understand the damage that’s being done to our kids until it’s too late and our children suddenly require remediation, tutoring, or have their hopes for their future crushed when they discover they’re woefully unprepared for college. When I initially began volunteering at my kids’ school, I admit, it was to monitor the education my own kids were receiving. In these last years, however, the education all our kids are receiving has revealed itself as the train wreck from which I can’t look away. Moral duty compels me to share what I have seen that every parent should know.

While I have either personally witnessed or have reliable sources who have witnessed these atrocities within Spokane Public Schools, they are in no way isolated to this little town in eastern Washington. The trend is nationwide.

1. Cursive writing is no longer taught.
2. I see high schoolers who cannot read cursive because they were never taught to write in cursive.
3. I see math curricula that do not teach standard algorithms, but rather create dependency on calculators and technology.
4. I see curricula that drive a wedge between students and their parents by fostering a dependency on peers through excessive group work.
5. I see math curricula that prevent parental involvement by excluding the methods we were taught and teaching only “new math.”
6. I know parents who can’t help their elementary age children with math homework because it doesn’t make sense to parents or students.
7. I’ve seen the light come on for students who have struggled for years - after their tutors or parents show them standard algorithms.
8. I have heard teachers ask parents to “please, please” not teach their children standard algorithms.
9. I know teachers who have offered classes for parents on how to understand the “new math.”
10. I know kids who “get in trouble” in class when they use the algorithms they learned at home.
11. I’ve heard parents and teachers remark that math has “changed so much” since we learned it; but, of course, math doesn’t change. Two plus two still equals four.
12. I see 12-year-olds who cannot add or subtract, let alone multiply or divide, yet have been pushed through to the next grade regardless.
13. I’ve heard teachers telling students, “You have to draw pictures to show your work” in math.
14. I see third and fourth graders who draw literally hundreds of marks or pictures to figure a single math problem because they haven’t been taught efficient methods, and still get the answer wrong.
15. I’ve seen eleventh graders who cannot divide a 3-digit number by a 1-digit number without a calculator.
16. I see elementary school classrooms with a calculator in every desk.
17.I know teachers who have been told not to try to engage struggling and difficult students in lessons but to let them be content with picture books in class.
18. I know teachers who have been reprimanded for criticizing district curricula or policy.
19. I see teachers paranoid and intimidated over teaching traditional math like standard algorithms and facts drill in their classrooms.

20. I’ve heard district administrators openly discussing “problem teachers.”
21. I see students in classrooms where the teacher taught algorithms and drilled math facts excel the following year over students from classrooms where the teacher did not.
22. I know volunteer tutors who’ve been refused because they teach traditional math methods rather than “fuzzy” math.
23. I see students who are “good at math” in tears over their math homework.
24. I’ve heard a teacher tell students, “Abraham Lincoln fought and died in the Civil War.”
25. I see an appalling rate of high school graduates who require remedial math courses in college.
26. I’ve seen students who successfully test into college-level math ultimately struggle and learn that they need remediation after all to fill in the holes in their math education.
27. I see kids being taught daily to a level far beneath their capacity, and being told that they just have to sit there.
28. Alternately, I see teachers struggle to provide additional challenges for those kids using only “district-approved curricula.”
29. I see third graders singing preschool songs as a class.
30. I’ve seen district-provided material that tells teachers to spend more individual instructional time with lower-performing students than with higher-performing students.
31. I see students who mock and taunt adults in the school, with no significant consequences.
32. I see students with multiple truancies that result in no consequences.
33. I see unexcused absences that go undisciplined.
34. I see late work given full credit.
35. I see students receive extra credit points through no effort of their own, for example, when the teacher calls them by the wrong name in class.
36. I’ve seen implementation of a grading system where it’s often impossible to achieve either the highest or the lowest grade.
37. I’ve seen materials that tell teachers to train students not to question teachers or other students, not to raise their hand when they have the right answer, and not to take the lead in groups.
38. I see academic learning time used for social exercises designed to make sure everyone a) feels good and b) realizes that they’re a small part of a large group.
39. I’ve learned that - despite what the district has claimed - the WASL (now the MSP or HSPE at the high school level) is not required, not at any grade level and not for graduation in the state of Washington – rather, there are several ways to meet the graduation requirement.
40. I see students’ love of and excitement for learning turning to drudgery and perceived failure.

As much I want to spare my own children from these wrongs, it’s just as wrong for adults to sit quietly by as the next generation, with eyes wide and full of hope and excitement, receives what has become the empty promise of an American public education. The essence of public schools is education for all, yet our schools are falling far short of the claim that they will prepare students to compete as adults, let alone in a global market.

I ask parents and teachers, what have you seen that just doesn’t sit right with you? What have you been told to teach or not to teach? What have your kids brought home that didn’t make sense, but you feel you can only assume that the schools must know best? Any one of these seemingly little things as an isolated incident might not mean much but for our children’s sake, do not discount it. These incidents add up to one giant failure across the country, putting the United States at the bottom of the list.

Parents and teachers, you are not alone. Get together, talk, stand up for our children. It’s their future and our nation’s future that are at stake.

Monday, January 10, 2011

SAU Meeting and School Board Meeting this Week

Just a reminder there is a SAU meeting Tuesday night and a School Board Meeting, Wednesday night.

Spelling errors, grammar errors, misuse of homonyms and typos are left as an exercise for my readers.

Are you Worthy?

"Any fool can and will live DOWN to the standards of socialism. Our challenge is to inspire people to live UP to the far loftier requirements of liberty. The question every human being needs to ask of himself is this: 'Am I worthy of living in freedom or am I just another loser with lousy character who can't keep his hands off other people's lives and pocketbooks?'" -- Lawrence W. Reed

If conservatives and libertarians truly want to be free, they need to free their children and themselves from Taxpayer Funded Socialist Indoctrination Centers aka public schools aka government schools. Now is the time to prepare your family financially so you can either homeschool or send your children to private schools starting Fall, 2011.

"Our schools have been scientifically designed to prevent over-education from happening. [...] The average American (should be) content with their humble role in life, because they're not tempted to think about any other role."William Torrey Harris, U.S. Commissioner of Education, 1889

Sunday, January 9, 2011

You Can't Have a Free Society with Compulsory School Attendance

In New Hampshire we are fighting for homeschooling freedom. We will not have homeschooling freedom until the State stops interfering with how we educate our children. The Homeschool Legal Defense needs to man up and put a freedom Bill on the table if they insist on interfering with our laws if not butt out.

The following piece is long but well worth the read. If parents took responsibility for the education of their own children, not only would literacy and educational outcomes improve but we would save taxpayers billions upon billions of dollars every year. The following piece appears on The New

Quote of the Day - "True individual freedom will never be regained in this country until educational freedom is restored. " ~ SAM BLUMENFELD

Spelling errors, grammar errors, misuse of homonyms and typos are left as an exercise for my readers.

Is Compulsory School Attendance Compatible With a Free Society?
THURSDAY, 06 JANUARY 2011 22:00

Is America still a free country? We like to think so, even with ObamaCare. Yes, we can get into a car and drive wherever we want. We can go to the mall and buy whatever we want. We can read whatever we want, and we can say whatever we want.

But when it comes to education, suddenly we are confronted with compulsory school attendance laws, compulsory property taxes to pay for the government schools, compulsory testing, compulsory inoculations, forced busing, restrictions against prayer, forced sex ed, death ed, and drug ed. And now, every day, four to six million children are forced to take Ritalin, or some other powerful mind- and mood-altering drug, if they want to attend public school.

Through the efforts of the Home School Legal Defense Association, the right of parents to homeschool their children without interference from the state has been established by the setting of court precedents and rulings. However, the National Education Association is still determined to put homeschooling out of business through onerous regulation.

Educational freedom means getting the government out of the education business and the idea of compulsion out of education. It means parents providing for their children's education in the same way that they purchase any other service in a free society.

The idea that parents can afford to pay rent, buy a car, feed the kids, and buy their clothes but can't pay for their education is preposterous. If parents had to pay for education, they would budget their finances to include that expenditure. And they would have the money to do so, because they would not have to pay the high taxes that now support the present wasteful government-owned-and-operated system.

That's the kind of educational freedom that existed in colonial times and the early days of our republic. Imagine how different our history would be if King George III had set up a sytem of government schools, with compulsory attendance laws, and a curriculum that would have brainwashed the children to become loyal and obedient subjects to the King. Would we have had a Declaration of Independence? Would we have had such independent-minded founding fathers as George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, and James Madison? Probably not.

We've been led to believe that without compulsory school attendance, we'd have illiterate, ignorant children sitting at home and watching TV all day or roaming the streets and committing crimes. But the glaring fact is that, despite compulsory school attendance laws, we now have more illiteracy, more ignorance, and more delinquency among young Americans than before such laws were enacted. In 1993, a survey of adult literacy in America sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education, revealed that half the adult population of the United States can barely read or write. That's what 150 years of government schooling have given us!

Indeed, the reading problem is now so severe that the National Endowment of the Arts issued an alarming report, Reading at Risk, in November 2007, revealing the precipitous decline of literacy in America. According to the report, the number of 17-year-olds who never read for pleasure increased from 9 percent in 1984 to 19 percent in 2004. About half of Americans between the ages of 18 and 24 never read books for pleasure.

Endowment Chairman Dana Gioia stated: “This is a massive social problem. We are losing the majority of the new generation. They will not achieve anything close to their potential because of poor reading.” The survey found that only a third of high school seniors read at a proficient level. “And proficiency is not a high standard,” said Gioia. “We’re not asking them to be able to read Proust in the original. We’re talking about reading the daily newspaper.”

Back in the days of educational freedom we had 99 percent literacy. In 1812, DuPont de Nemours, the Frenchman who founded the DuPont chemical company, published a book entitled National Education in the United States of America. He wrote:

The United States are more advanced in their educational facilities than most countries. They have a large number of primary schools; and as their paternal affection protects children from working in the fields, it is possible to send them to the school-master — a condition that does not prevail in Europe. Most young Americans, therefore, can read, write and cipher. Not more than four in a thousand are unable to write legibly — even neatly.... In America, a great number of people read the Bible, and all the people read a newspaper. The fathers read aloud to their children while breakfast is being prepared — a task which occupies the mothers for three quarters of an hour every morning. And as the newspapers of the United States are filled with all sorts of narratives ... they disseminate an enormous amount of information.

Obviously, back in the early days of the republic, education was a family affair closely connected to religious practice. A nation built on Biblical principles had to be a highly literate one. And all of this high level of literacy was achieved without any government involvement, without any centralized bureaucracy, without any professors of education, or accrediting agencies, or teacher certification. And, most significantly, without any compulsory attendance laws.

The fact that millions of young Americans now emerge from twelve years of compulsory schooling unable to read, write, spell, do basic arithmetic, or speak grammatically, means that the purpose of public education is no longer education but something else. What is that something else? It is politically-correct socialization. But even that doesn't work, since so many of these victims of the system become anti-social delinquents.

What our nation needs now, more than ever, is a return to educational freedom, so that the American people can apply their ingenuity and unbounded energies to the creation of alternatives to the present debilitating system. Technology has now made compulsory school attendance obsolete. One can now learn much more at home than in any public classroom, and at less cost to everyone.

The goal of homeschoolers, Christian educators, libertarians, and conservatives in general should be the repeal of all compulsory school attendance laws, which have become the most powerful weapons the education establishment can use to thwart the competition and force parents to do the educators' will.

These laws not only violate the parents' unalienable right to determine how their children are to be educated, but they violate the 13th Amendment, which prohibits involuntary servitude. No child should be forced to serve the state and the interests of the education establishment. No child should be forced to undergo brainwashing and indoctrination by a self-serving monopoly of facilitators and change agents.

True individual freedom will never be regained in this country until educational freedom is restored. The nature of a society is determined by the way its children are educated. The present atheistic, immoral education system has produced the Columbines, the violence and vandalism than now plague our public schools. The ultimate aim of the system is to lead us into a New World Order in which parents will be deprived of the right to control the education of their children.

If you're not sure what the New World Order will be like, just read the yearly resolutions of the National Education Association and get hold of the Student Data Handbook (NCES 94-303) which describes the scope of information that will be gathered on each child and put into the federal computer in Washington for the purpose of social control.

The compulsory attendance laws are the linchpin of the whole totalitarian plan. Such laws have been used by every modern dictator and tyrannical government to control their people and mold the minds of the children. Such laws are not only not needed in a free society, but ultimately lead to its demise.

Only when Americans get themselves solidly back on the road to freedom will they be able to transfer to the next generation the true legacy of liberty left to us by our founding fathers.