Saturday, March 18, 2006

Homeschooling works and education reform

Homeschooling Works
I'll be at the Homeschooling Works curriculum fair all day today. My talk on Education Reform is at 1PM. I'm looking forward to getting out and seeing what's new in homeschooling. There's also a used curriculum fair but you have to wear shin guards and boxing gloves just to get what you want. I hope to get in there a little early.

Let the Revolution Begin
The only way to eat back the tide of education reform is for parents and students to stand up and say "NO". They don't even have to say no to public school. Although anyone reading here for very long knows why I think they should. They just need to say "NO" to the testing that is driving the reform. A small handful of informed people in every community who refuse to take the test will bring about true reform.

Control of education will be taken out of the hands of the federal government and put back on the parents. That's going to require a little courage. There's some out there who have that kind of character. Here's a public school gal in Texas who said "no" to the test. Let's find out what happened.

When Kimberly Marciniak first decided to take a stand against standardized testing by boycotting the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills, critics afrom ll sides begged her to change her mind. Since public school students in Texas must pass the test to earn a high school diploma, teachers and guidance counselors worried the intelligent young girl was throwing away her chances for college. A guest on a local radio talk show said she'd made a "stupidly stubborn decision."

Now Marciniak, 18, has the ultimate "I told you so." She has been accepted to her top three college choices and offered scholarships from each one.

Marciniak is part of a growing contingent of students nationwide showing their opposition to high-stakes testing by putting down their pencils. (snip)

A senior at North East School of the Arts — a magnet program at Lee High School — Marciniak has a stellar academic record and spent last school year studying in New Zealand. Despite the advanced placement courses she's taken and the classes she's aced, Kimberly will count among the school's dropouts this year because of her refusal to take the TAKS test.

"I think a lot of people thought when it actually came down to graduation requirements that I would eventually take the test," Marciniak said. "I always felt like if I was doing the right thing and I felt so strongly about it, then no matter what happened, I'd be OK."

Notice that because she didn't take the test she is considered a drop out. To the government educrats its all about testing. Despite the fact that she went K-12 she is considered a drop out because she didn't take a test? It's stories like this that make me skeptical of the growing "crisis" in the drop out rate. Who they label as a drop out affects those numbers. Homeschoolers who don't take the test could potentially be considered drop outs as well.

But in any case I applaud this young lady for her determination to follow her convictions. Many tried to talk her out of her decision telling her that her future was at risk. I hope parents and students begin to see that the sky will not fall when they decide to take back the education of their children. In fact, for this young lady the opposite happened.
"I was so thrilled not only to be accepted but also thrilled that in a sense I proved all those disbelievers wrong. My decision did not hurt my college application process like everyone feared," Marciniak said. "In fact I saw the exact opposite — the colleges I applied to looked on a principled boycott as a positive thing."

So are others willing to put down their pencils and protest the test as well?

Time will tell.

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