Monday, December 13, 2010

A Mother's Heartache

Please pray for Dana Hanley of Roscommon Acres (formerly blogging at Principled Discovery) as she struggles with the loss of her sweet son, Mattias. He passed away December 12. Mattias was born on February 23, 2009.

Dana, just as many of us rejoiced with you when you shared the arrival of Mattias, many are now grieving with you as you say good-bye. But this good-bye is only temporary, one day you will see him again. That heavenly reunion will be sweeter than the present sorrow. But for now your love for Mattias is poured out in tears. Each tear is stored in a special place, close to the heart of our Heavenly Father and cherished by Him. Stay close to the Father and you will forever stay close to your little boy. We love you Dana.

Update: Dana shares in her own words, What Happened.

For those that would like to send notes to Dana, Renae Deckard has information on where to send them at Life Nurturing Education.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

The 12 Days of Winter

This clever video addresses the political correctness that has pervaded our schools in a very memorable way.

via: Hotair

Friday, December 10, 2010

Tea Party -vs- Obama on Education

Will homeschooling tax-credits, parental rights, and the abolition of the Dept. of Ed. be the showdown issue between the Tea Party and Obama in 2011? Dana Goldstein of the Daily Beast thinks so.

As Obama seeks to tighten federal control over local schools and boost accountability, he faces a tough battle with incoming GOP lawmakers, who advocate "parental rights" and tax credits for homeschooling.


From influential freshmen Senators Marco Rubio and Rand Paul to new House members Rick Berg and Kristie Noem, a number of incoming freshmen ran as advocates of the homeschool and parental-rights movement, and oppose almost every federal effort to regulate or improve schools. They favor closing the Department of Education and have no problem thumbing their noses at the Republican Party’s recent history of support for expensive, top-down school reform efforts such as No Child Left Behind.

According to the article, "Rubio and Paul ran for Senate supporting tax credits for homeschoolers." I sure hope they reconsider their support for this idea. You can't have it both ways, wanting the federal government to stay out of education and at the same time supporting a policy that invites more federal involvement.

I am not thrilled with the idea of the federal government meddling with any of this while Obama is in office unless it is to abolish the Department of Education. But that's not going to happen. I don't trust the President or most Republicans on this issue and swapping the reauthorization of NCLB or some other proposal with homeschool tax credits is NOT a win for homeschooling. Once we allow the federal government to "help ease our financial burden" they will begin to use it define and regulate us. No thanks. I hope I never see the words homeschooling, home educator, or any other such term on any federal document. It just doesn't belong there.

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Saturday, November 27, 2010

Homeschooling to the Marines

The Marines makes it real easy for a homeschooling mother to know exactly when her job is done. Congratulations Jason, I'm proud of you and blessed because you're my son!

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Monday, November 01, 2010

The Last Supper

Courtesy of Drudge we see Obama and his disciples celebrating their last supper together...tomorrow comes judgment day. Those that were nearby heard this prayer being repeated,

"Our President, who art in the White House.
Obama be thy name.
The Tea Party's come.
Their will's being done,
Across the fruited plain.
Give us this day, your daily talking points.
That are delivered via teleprompter.
And lead us not to a Republican Congress,
Who will cut off all our spending.
For thine is the stimulus we're depending.
In thy name we pray, Amen."

P.S. All of my spare writing time has been devoted to writing letters to my son in Marine bootcamp. He graduates in three weeks; so, hopefully I'll return to blogging then. But with another son leaving shortly, who really knows. I miss blogging but I miss them more and they need my letters right now.

© SpunkyHomeschool, 2010. All rights reserved.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Government- Run Facebook

The next time you're irritated by Facebook or Mark Zuckerberg just remember it could be worse, the Federal government could be running it. It could have happened something like this...

After considerable debate, Congress passes the Universal Facebook Act of 2010 and is launched.

Obama goes golfing. Biden announces that Bush deserves the credit.

Initially, participation in is voluntary but quickly becomes compulsory as the Feds realize that some Americans, fearing a loss of privacy, are opting out of Facebook.

The Tweet Party is born.

In a rare Oval Office address to the nation, Obama announces the creation of the Department of Facebook Security (FBS) to oversee the daily operations of No one watches.

Congress passes the No Facebook Left Behind Act (NFLB Act) requiring all users over the age of five to log on to every day and write "present" as their status. ( The Amish are exempt.)

Users who fail to post "present" for three consecutive days receive a comment on their wall from a truancy offer with the Department of FBS. Three unexcused absences requires the user to do 100 hours of community service and "like" the IRS.

Hidden within the NFLB Act is a provision allowing all government workers to take a mandatory one-hour Facebook break every half-hour. (Obama is exempt.)

Obama goes golfing. Biden is excited because he finally has something to do and logs on to

The American Facebook Liberty Union (AFLU) files a lawsuit against the Department of FBS citing separation of church and state after reading a religious status on SpunkyHomeschool praising God for the right to home educate.

Spunky -vs- AFLU goes all the way to the Supreme Court of the United States.

In a landmark decision, the court decides against Spunky and all Christian language and symbols are purged from

Obama goes golfing. Biden "likes" Sarah Palin and becomes mayor of YoVille.

In protest, the Tweet Party hosts a "Restore the Wall" march on DC. Palin, Beck, and Spunky update their status with the words "In God We Trust" in front of the Capitol Building.

Instantly, millions of users copy and paste "In God We Trust" as their own status, temporarily shutting down

Sensing a threat to her status, Nancy Pelosi forces Congress into an emergency session to pass the Facebook Neutrality Act (more widely known as the Palin Pill) limiting all users to a 100 friends max at and no more than 20 comments per post. (Biden is exempt)

Obama goes golfing. Biden accepts a friend request from Paris Hilton but ignores Hillary Clinton.

First lady, Michelle Obama, launches "Operation Mini-Feed" against Facebook induced obesity and requires all Facebook users to post their BMI monthly to insure that users are getting enough exercise and not just sitting on Facebook all day drinking lattes.

Anyone attempting to deactivate their account receives an unannounced home visit by the FBBI (Facebook Bureau of Intelligence) demanding they friend Joe Biden and watch a video of Obama giving a two-hour speech before the Counsel of Facebook Relations.

Unexpectedly, illegal users begin to cross the wi-fi border and log on to The Department of FBS requires all statuses to be written in English and Spanish..

Frustrated users update "No Comprendo" and refuse to "friend" the illegals.

The Department of FBS is eventually forced to admit that the servers cannot handle the influx of new users but staunchly refuses to secure the wi-fi border with a firewall and deactivate all illegal users.

Obama goes golfing. Biden "likes" Rush Limbaugh's wedding photos and wonders if SwagBucks are considered taxable income.

Congress revises NFLB adding a provision requiring all users over the age of 40 to appear before a Facebook Deactivation Panel that decides which users are allowed to remain active. All users over the age of 50 are immediately deactivated.

Obama goes golfing. Biden's account has been deactivated.

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Race For the Test

As I have previously predicted many times over the last five years, the push for a national test will quickly follow the passage of Common Core State Standards. That day has finally come. With a $330 million carrot dangling in front of one group of states and another consortium of states receiving $170 million, the federal government is wasting no time bribing cash-strapped states into replacing their individual state exams with one national test.
Exams in math and English would be rolled out across the country in 44 participating states for the 2014-2015 school year. When that happens, state tests that cost billions to produce would become obsolete
And once states have adopted a common national test, the next move will be toward common curriculum and a single national diploma. Not surprisingly, the foundation is already in place to introduce a credentialed national diploma by ACHIEVE. ACHIEVE is the same organization that was heavily involved with the development of Common Core State Standards. (For more info on credentialed diplomas see The Employability Olympics.) ACHIEVE was also selected as the project manager for PARCC, one of consortium of states awarded the federal funds.

This is not welcome news and in the long run spells T-R-O-U-B-L-E for homeschoolers and should be vehemently opposed by conservatives and homeschoolers. But time is quickly running out. Where are the national speakers and organizations rallying against the federal take over of education? Shouldn't this at least be as big an issue as healthcare, auto bailouts, or immigration?

Remember, what is tested is what is taught. What is taught is what is thought. Does anyone really want the thinking of DC politicians to be the thoughts of your children? Aren't our children's minds just as important as the car we drive?

Thursday, July 01, 2010

State-Led or Obama-led standards?

One of the biggest lies spread about the land regarding Common Core State Standards is that the education standards are "state-led."
"Today, the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices (NGA Center) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) released a set of state-led education standards,"
Charles Finn, Jr. of the Fordham Foundation believes the lie that they are state-led and is involved in a project allegedly to keep the standards from the clutches of the federal government by
"devising a workable governance structure for the “common core” that keeps it firmly in state—and lay—hands over the long run."
A project to keep the feds out of education now is like BP promising to keep oil off the beaches in the Gulf of Mexico. It ain't gonna work because it's already happened.

Even HSLDA seems to believe it
"These standards are being developed by the states. The concern, however, is that the federal government appears to be pressuring the states to adopt these standards by using federal education funds (ie. Race for the Top) as a carrot to incentivize the states to adopt these standards."
The Obama administration has done a great job of keeping their fingerprints from appearing on the standards, giving Common Core the ability to claim they are state-led. But today, Obama let the cat out of the bag and claimed credit,
"We launched the most aggressive education reforms in decades, so that our children can gain the knowledge and skills they need to compete in a 21st century global economy."
Since Obama is taking credit for launching the most aggressive education reform in decades, let's stop pretending that these are "state-led" standards and call this what it is - the federal takeover of education.

Obama has taken over banks, student loans, health-care, and car companies, does anyone really think that he's going to leave education in states' hands? If you do, I've got some pristine beach front property in the Gulf of Mexico to sell to you. As long as you stick your head in the sand, you'll never notice the feds splashing in the water nearby.

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Tuesday, June 22, 2010

MI adopts National Standards

Michigan says good-bye to local control of education.
The State Board of Education unanimously adopted today the Common Core Standards - a set of rigorous, college and career-ready K-12 curriculum standards that states across the nation are considering adopting to bring consistency in education across the states.

With this action, Michigan formally adopts the final Common Core Standards that are internationally benchmarked in English Language Arts and mathematics, formalizing Michigan's agreement to integrate the standards into the state's public education system.
The standards will determine the curriculum and the assessments given to students and will be fully implemented by 2014 and the federal takeover of parents primary responsibility, the education and discipleship of their children, will finally be complete. Unless of course parents rise up and refuse to take the state wide exams that are central to implementation of these standards. I'm not optimistic but I'll keep blogging anyway.

For an understanding of how this will affect homeschoolers, read The Employability Olympics.

Here's a list of states that have officially adopted the Common Core (as of June 18, 2010)

Hawaii, Kentucky, Maryland (adopted draft standards 5/25), Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Utah, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming

Fordham's Chester Finn, Jr. thinks those that oppose this are "paranoid." He is currently working on a project which is

"devising a workable governance structure for the “common core” that keeps it firmly in state—and lay—hands over the long run."
We already have a workable governance structure and it's called the US Constitution and the Tenth Amendment which says
"The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."
Education isn't a federal issue and federal dollars shouldn't be spent, including Obama's Race for the Top. Period. If the US Constitution isn't good enough to protect us (and it apparently isn't) then I don't hold out much hope for something Flinn and the Fordham people devise.

HSLDA accepts the notion that these are standards are developed by the states (I don't) and says,
"HSLDA has worked with Congress to include language in federal education legislation that completely exempts homeschoolers from federal control. This language also protects homeschoolers from being required by states or local school districts to take tests or use curriculum that has been created for public schools. If a concerted effort were ever made to force homeschoolers to align their curriculum to national standards, HSLDA would lead the fight to stop such an egregious attack on parental rights in education.
But that is a very narrow view. Even if homeschoolers are exempt from the national standards, we will still be affected by the standards. As I previously established, employment and training opportunities will be based on a child's performance on the standardized tests which are based on curriculum and "soft skills." Those that are without the credentialed diploma will be at a strategic disadvantage in college and career placement.

Many homeschoolers in Michigan are voluntarily taking the state test (a combination of ACT and WorkKeys) even though we're not required to do so because there is money available for college. With student loans now a part of the federal bureaucracy even more pressure will be put upon homeschoolers to comply just as they are currently putting pressure on the states to adopt the Common Core Standards.

I hope HSLDA works as diligently as they did in the early nineties where they didn't wait but instead helped inform homeschoolers and identify the "dangerous pitfalls" of national standards and eventually defeated them.

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Monday, June 21, 2010

Time to Stand Up to National Standards

The Heritage Foundation is speaking up against National Education Standards.
"National standards would also further remove parents from their children’s education. Instead of being able to petition their local school boards or state leaders for changes in academic content, parents would have to lobby bureaucrats in Washington, DC, if they wish to see changes in what their child is learning.

This is perhaps the most worrisome part of the shift toward national standards. If imposed, parents and taxpayers will no longer be able to retain one of their most significant tools for education reform: the power to shape their schools’ academic content, standards, and testing.

Instead of moving toward a system of rigid national standards, which would represent an unprecedented federal overreach into education, states should empower parents with information about school performance and increase transparency about academic achievement. And ultimately, parents should be able to use that information to choose a school that meets their child’s needs. We know what works in education, and it begins and ends with parents–not the federal government."

Amen and amen!

I'm excited to see a prominent conservative group like Heritage speak up. Common Core State Standards is moving forward with individual states deciding whether or not to adopt the standards. I just hope it's not too little, too late.

I've talked to many think tanks and politicians and they all seem to think this is "inevitable." Not me. I believe this can be defeated but it won't happen unless parents and professing conservative politicians and others begin to speak up and say, "enough."

(HT: Debbie for sending me the link)

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Wednesday, June 09, 2010

The Employability Olympics

Many states are beginning the process of adopting national standards renamed Common Core State Standards to make them sound "state-led" as their new education standard. Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm has expressed her support for the standards in a video on the CCSSI website.
"I strongly support the Common Core State Standards Initiative because all students - all students - no matter where they live deserve access to rigorous, internationally benchmarked standards that is going to enable them to compete in the global economy. Common standards that are consistent across states that allow us to share best practices and better align resources within and across states." (emphasis added)
All students means all. Once these "best practices" are in place homeschoolers will eventually be forced into accepting the "internationally benchmarked" standards or be isolated from consideration in college and career placement necessary to compete in the global economy.

Diplomas will come with a distinction levels (gold, silver, or bronze) which, based on tests and curriculum, will indicate to universities and employers the student's academic level and their next step in the pathway from school to career and their aptitude at the "soft skills" necessary to compete in the global economy.

Here's a quote from the Michigan Department of Energy, Labor, and Economic Growth that explains more about the credentialed diploma and what it will do.

"The Michigan Certificate is based on WorkKeys® assessments developed by ACT, Inc., the nation's leading job skills assessment system and focuses on three "real world" foundational skills that employers view as critical to success in the majority of jobs in today's workplace: Applied Mathematics, Locating Information, and Reading for Information....

Levin said Michigan has exceeded ACT's national worker credentialing standards by adding Employability Skills training in ‘soft skills" such as teamwork, communication, conflict resolution, critical thinking and problem solving.The Michigan Certificate complements any traditional academic credential such as a high school diploma, postsecondary degree or certification, or GED. It's a portable credential, recognized by thousands of employers worldwide for more than two decades. Certificates are awarded at four levels based on an individual's performance. Individuals with higher scores are prepared for a greater range of jobs or training programs.

This isn't just specific to Michigan. This is happening in every state at various levels. Forty-eight states agreed to the draft of standards and are now seeking going through their state's approval process.

Any guesses where a dogmatic conservative Christian homeschooler will place on the "soft skills" assessment? We're not even going to qualify for the employability Olympics because the only way to get the credentialed diploma is to submit to the state exam based on the Common Core State Standards. But that is exactly why we homeschool and fought to keep our rights as parents to direct the education of our children free from busy-body politicians who think they know what's best for my children.

I don't educate my children to compete in the Employability Olympics to get a job in the global economy. That may be your goal Governor Granholm and President Obama's goal, but it isn't my goal. My children are not commodities to be tracked like cars on an assembly line and shipped to various locations as workers in the global economy. They are people with dreams and their dreams will not bow to to your standards.
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Thursday, June 03, 2010

Prayer for Sono Harris

Please pray for Sono Harris who was recently diagnosed with Stage IV colon cancer. Her son, Joshua Harris, has more information on his blog.

She's also doing all she can to fight the cancer. Mom is pursuing alternative treatment (a special diet called the Budwig Protocol that has met with some success) and all of us remain hopeful that by God's grace she can and will beat it.

Right now the future is completely unknown. There's no timetable, no certainty. I've thought many times during the past few weeks that this cancer has simply highlighted and heightened the reality that is always true of our lives: we never know how much time we have and each day is a gift. So as 1 Peter 1 puts it, we're grieved by this trial, but we're rejoicing in the living hope we have through the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Regardless of what happens in Mom's body, the new life she has through Christ that first transformed her 37 years ago is imperishable and grows stronger day by day.

On a personal level, the Harris family has touched me from the very beginning days of my homeschoooling to the early days of blogging. Gregg Harris's book and workshops introduced me to the idea of "delight-directed learning" and challenged many of my ideas about education. And in 2006 Alex, Brett, and the army of Rebulutionaries rallied to my defense and we nearly defeated a prominent liberal edu-blogger in the Wizbang blog awards.

The best-selling Christian books Do Hard Things and I Kissed Dating Goodbye written by the Sono and Gregg's sons have also been read by most of my children and have encouraged and challenged them on many levels.

It's my privilege to now stand with them and cry out to God for Sono's healing and grace upon the Harris family.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Nightline on Unschooling

Last night, ABC's Nightline aired Free Range Children, with JuJu Chang the same reporter from Good Morning America story, and a different family (although there is a small clip from the GMA family fighting on the lawn.)

Chang prides herself but doesn't show the child missing on his multiplication. So what! I once asked a public high schooler in our area when the War of 1812 was and he stared at me blankly as my own sons broke down in laughter and helped him. Putting a child on the spot doesn't prove anything about what they know and more importantly what they'll become.

My thoughts unschooling are unchanged after viewing this video (you can read it here), but I do wish more homeschoolers and unschoolers would just pass on doing these shows. There's really nothing to be gained and much to lose by participating in edited stories produced by a reporter with an agenda to shape public opinion against homeschooling.

Children are not trophies to be displayed nor are they performers ready on cue to validate our parenting or persuade others. I suggest we stick to doing what we do best, spending lots of time enjoying our kids, the results will speak for themselves.

You can leave a comment about this segment on the Nightline Facebook page.

(Thanks Nancy from Facebook for the tip!)

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Tuesday, June 01, 2010

National Standards Out June 2

Common Core State Standards, otherwise known as National Standards, will be officially released tomorrow. All other previous content from the website has already been removed leaving a single message,
"The Common Core State Standards will be available at this link Wednesday, June 2 at 10 a.m. Please check back at that time."
Now it will be up to individual states to adopt the standards. With dollars in hand, the Obama administration is working overtime to get the states to "compete" for the money and to adopt the standards. Maryland has already decided to adopt them but Virginia has opted out. Time will tell what the others will do.

Neal McCluskey, Associate Director, Center for Educational Freedom at the Cato Institute was asked by Education News, "Is it safe to call these standards Federal standards as opposed to state standards?"
They definitely will not be state standards, if by that we mean standards set by each state. States that adopt the standards have to take them all, and the standards must constitute at least 85 percent of an adopting state’s overall mathematics and English language arts standards. It is probably also not entirely accurate to call these federal standards as they are not being written by the feds. They are, however, much closer to that than national-standards advocates would have us believe: It is federal money that is pushing many states to sign onto the CCSSI effort, and we have seen since the ESEA was first passed in 1965 that what Washington funds, it ultimately tries to control.
To coincide with the unveiling of the new national standards, The Cato Institute has scheduled a debate tomorrow to discuss the question, "Is there good reason to believe that national standards will improve educational outcomes?"

It's an interesting debate to a question that should have been asked a long time ago; however in the in the end, the answer won't matter. Too many people aren't paying attention and those that are largely support the reform. This isn't about improving education but an effort to improve Obama's image in the short-term and to increase federal control in the long-term.

And once national standards are place it will then be the federal government's duty to make sure that all children receive an education that is "college and career ready" and adequately prepares them for a job in the global economy. Anyone want to guess what will happen to homeschooling?

Update: Valerie Strauss at the Washington Post had a list of other states planning to opt out of the Race for the Top money which may make them less inclined to adopt Common Core State Standards. The states are Alaska, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Minnesota, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, West Virginia and Wyoming.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Tracking From BIRTH to Career

With bogus claims that education reforms are "state led" the Obama administration is buying their way into twenty states and forcing them to adopt student tracking systems from BIRTH through career. My home state of Michigan will receive $10.6 million, Washington State will receive $17.3 million and Pennsylvania will receive $14.3 million of the $250 million in economic stimulus money to track students.

Arne Duncan shared his dream last year "“I want to be able to track every child throughout their educational trajectory, so we know what they are doing." He reiterated his vision again in a recent press release,
"Tracking student progress from birth through college helps teachers in the classroom, helps principals manage and improve their schools, and helps parents better understand the unique educational needs of their child,"

Thursday, May 20, 2010

A Candidate After My Own Heart

Rand Paul has captured the Republican nomination for Senate in Kentucky and the attention of the nation. Valerie Strauss of the Washington Post calls his views on education "extreme." based on his answers to an NEA questionnaire. The questions were all various forms of what do you think about federal involvement in education. His answers were spot on.
“Revenue for education should be local. Once you allow the federal government in, you lose control."

“There is no Constitutional enumeration for federal education. The Constitution allows states and cities to participate in education; period.”
And specifically in regards to parental rights and homeschooling Paul writes,
As the Federal Government has increased the size and budget of the Department of Education, test scores and scholastic performance have markedly dropped. More money, more bureaucracy, and more government intervention are eroding this nation’s educational standards. Meanwhile, home-schooled children continue to excel as evidenced by their test scores and rapidly growing admission rate into some of the nation’s most prestigious educational institutions.

Rand proposes to restore the parental right to be responsible in educating children. He supports reduced taxes so that parents can allocate more of their own funds to homeschooling, if they so desire. He seeks to prevent the Department of Education from regulating homeschooling and will fight to keep the Federal Government’s hands out of this promising alternative to conventional education. Rand recognizes the potential and scholarly prowess of homeschooling and will ensure that homeschoolers are allowed the freedom to compete alongside those who attend public and private schools.

His views don't sound extreme, they sound like someone who has actually read the Constitution! If I were in Kentucky he'd probably be getting my vote.

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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

ID Check!

Despite being elected President of the United States, Barack Obama has refused to publicly show proof of citizenship or his actual birth certificate. For the privilege of shaking hands with the president at their high school commencement next month ID is required - including citizenship status.
Seniors are being asked to provide their birthdates, Social Security numbers and citizen status to the Secret Service so background checks could be performed. Such a check is required for anyone who gets within an arm’s length of the president, students were told at their senior breakfast Friday.
I'm not a birther but golly gee whiz, don't you think the POTUS would at least be humble enough to do what he requires of those who are blessed to be in his presence?

In related news, In answer to a second grader's question on immigration, Michelle Obama said,
"that they have to make sure people living in the United States have the proper citizenship papers."
Everybody except President Barack Obama that is.

When my son joined the Marines they went waaay back into his history. They knew he had eye surgery when he was less than two years old and required documentation (costing us $150) to demonstrate it did not adversely affect his eye sight today. I also had to produce a letter authorizing that as parents we were allowed to home educate our son and I signed it! Yet to be Commander-in-chief of the military he didn't appear to show anything.

(HT: Drudge Report)

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Monday, May 17, 2010

Compulsory Service for Education

The New York Times repeats what I've also been saying for years....
“This administration’s education vision is a very activist, expansive role for the federal government,” said Terry W. Hartle, senior vice president at the American Council on Education, who has watched education policies evolve in Washington for nearly 30 years. “We’re never going to be like France, where the education minister can look at his watch and tell you what every fourth grader is doing. But inevitably, with more federal education initiatives, more federal money, comes more strings, more federal control.”
And according to Duncan no one is opposing this massive takeover of our child's mind.

“Zero,” he said. “And as hard as we’re pushing everybody else to change, we’re pushing the department to change even more. There’s just an outpouring of support for the common-sense changes and the unprecedented investments we’re making.”
And just what "common-sense" changes are they making with their "unprecedented investments"? Along with national standards and tracking children from cradle-to-career (including their weight), how about a plan to tie education at all levels to "voluntary" community service.

The Departments of Treasury and Education are currently studying the requirement to tie 100 hours of community service to a $4,000 tax credit, thanks to a provision in the stimulus package passed by Obama last year. And we don't have to guess as to what their findings will be.

Obama said in 2008,

"I am running to be that President. And that's why I'm proposing a comprehensive plan to give every American child the chance to receive the best education America has to offer - from the moment they're born to the day they graduate college. As President, I will put the full resources of the federal government behind this plan."
And in another speech said,
"So when I'm President, I will set a goal for all American middle and high school students to perform 50 hours of service a year, and for all college students to perform 100 hours of service a year. This means that by the time you graduate college, you'll have done 17 weeks of service."
Now, with "zero" opposition Obama's making good on his promise. We may never become exactly like Germany or France but it's looking less and less like America, the land of the free and the home of the brave, every day.

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Saturday, May 15, 2010

College and Career Ready

While I'm here looking at the INCH Homeschool convention chatting with parents about education and their vision for their family, Washington DC is dreaming about making our children "college and career ready" to compete in the global economy.

That phrase is often repeated by politicians of both parties; yet they're not really sure what it actually means.
"College and career ready?" asked Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.). "Or do you mean college or career ready? Do you mean every student goes to college?"

The issue goes back to a U.S. reluctance to "track" students, as European countries do, said Whitehurst, former director of the Institute of Education Sciences at the Education Department. German students, for instance, can decide at a relatively early age whether they're headed for academia or a trade school. That gives them an advantage, he said.
It's an advantage, all right...but not for the students. Children deciding at an early age what they want to be when they grow up is solely for the benefit of DC bureaucrats whose goal is to "track" our children from preschool through career (p-16). And the bogus"state-led" Common Core standards is the vehicle to make German style education a reality here in the US.

Parents do you really want your child's future determined by some DC bureaucrat?

I didn't give birth to a child just to have the state treat them as a commodity in the planned economy. My child's dreams will be determined by God as they follow Him, not the demands of the state as they follow my child from cradle to career.

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Thursday, May 13, 2010

Mom's On the Computer

I'm frantically getting ready for the INCH Homeschool convention in Lansing this weekend, but attendees at my workshop, iHelp for the eHome online at the Schoolhouse Expo have emailed and asked where they can get a copy of my poem, Mom's on the Computer that I read. I'll probably get a few more requests after this weekend, so I'll just repost it again. Here you go....

Mom's on the Computer (to the tune of Cat's in the Cradle.)

My computer arrived just the other day,
It came on the porch in the usual way
So many blogs to read and games to play
My child learned to walk, while I twittered away
And he was talkin’ for I knew it, as my friends list grew
He’d say I’m gonna be like you mom
You know I’m gonna be like you

And mom’s lost on the computer, lettin' dinner burn
Little boy wanders, he just wants to learn
When you getting off mom?
I don’t know when, but we’ll get together then
we're gonna have a good time then

My son turned ten just the other day
He said "thanks for the wii, mom, come on let’s play"
"Can you teach me how it works?" I said “Not today”
"I got a blog to write" he said “that’s okay”
And he walked away while the computer never dimmed
He said, “I’m gonna be like them, yeah”
You know I’m gonna be like them

And mom’s lost on the computer lettin' dinner burn
Little boy wanders, he just wants to learn
When you getting off mom?
I don’t know when, but we’ll get together then
We're gonna have a good time then

Well my son came home just the other day
iPod in his ears, while he texted away
"Son, I'm proud of you, can you sit for a while?"
He shook his head and he said with a smile
"I'd really like to Mom, but talkins' not my thing"
"Check my status, for what's happening"

And mom’s lost on the computer lettin' dinner burn
Little boy wanders, he just wants to learn
When you getting off mom?
I don’t know when, but we’ll get together then
You know we’ll have a good time then

Well my blog's retired and my Facebook out-of-date
My son texted, “Hey mom, I just can't relate"
I said, "I'd like to see you if you have some time."
He said, "I'd love to mom but skype if you don't mind."
"You see my website's down and my workload just grew."
"but it's nice texting with you, mom"
It's been sure nice texting with you."

And as I typed “c u later” it occurred to me
He'd grown up just like me
My boy was just like me

© 2010 SpunkyHomeschool All Rights Reserved

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Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Rednecks clinging to our iPods

This past weekend, Obama hit on a major theme of my new workshop, iHelp for the eHome, in a commencement address at Hampton University,
"With iPods and iPads; Xboxes and PlayStations -- none of which I know how to work -- information becomes a distraction, a diversion, a form of entertainment, rather than a tool of empowerment, rather than the means of emancipation," he told a class of more than 1,000 graduates. "All of this is not only putting new pressures on you. It is putting new pressures on our country and on our democracy."
His point isn't unique. Long before Al Gore invented the internet, Neil Postman made the same observation in his book Amusing Ourselves to Death. And like most parents today, Obama might be wondering how to get a handle on the status of technology in his daughters' lives.

But what I don't understand is why Obama,the President who gave the Queen of England an iPod, is all of a sudden railing against technology and infotainment? Michelle Obama has a distraction device and it's not loaded with Obama's speeches of empowerment and emancipation but Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, Rihanna, Beyonce, Usher and Sting.

And despite his self-deprecating assertion that he doesn't know how to use an iPod, Obama revealed his playlist in 2008,
In an interview with Rolling Stone magazine, to be published this Friday, the Illinois senator said he had "pretty eclectic tastes".

The list of bands reads like the acts at a summer music festival, with the Rolling Stones, Sheryl Crow and Ludacris all in the mix.

Maybe Obama and his speechwriters think we're too distracted with our iPods or Xbox to actually Google his assertion but Obama is NOT dumb when it comes to modern technology. Before the election, Obama chastised Americans for clinging to their guns all the while he was clinging to his Blackberry. Shortly before the inauguration he told the New York Times, "They’re going to pry it out of my hands.”

His handlers even created an Obama app for the iPod Touch and the iPhone!

So what's up? Is Obama trying to gin up another "crisis" to control? He's put Michelle in charge of obesity so maybe this will be Biden's new gig? I don't know.

But I do know that I'm already emancipated and my freedom allows me to use an iPod for entertainment and empowerment or any other "ment" I want. Enough with the fatherly lectures. President Obama was elected to run the country not dictate our playlist.


My workshop iHelp for the eHome will be presented today at The SchoolHouse Expo which is sold out. But you can buy all the workshops for only $19.95 here. Or if you're in for a road trip, I'll be speaking at the INCH convention in Lansing, Michigan this weekend.

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Tuesday, May 11, 2010

They're getting suspicious

Due to an increase in the number of homeschoolers in Texas, experts are getting suspicious about who is really homeschooling.
Texas' lax documentation and hands-off practices make it impossible to know how many of these students are actually being taught at home. It also opens the door to abuse of the designation, which could help school districts avoid the sanctions that come with high dropout rates, experts said.

I've seen the similar dropout arguments made by legislators and educators in Michigan as well as in other states with "lax" regulation on homeschooling. But no matter what the claim or who's to blame, the proposed solution is always the same and results in increasing regulation or scrutiny of all homeschoolers.

Homeschoolers in every state should watch their own state's news headlines and thwart every attempt to equate homeschooling with the term dropout.

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Monday, May 10, 2010

I Pledge Allegiance...

Enough already!!!

When are parents going to realize that the schools are NOT on their side. Maybe it's time for teachers in our public schools to take some sort of an oath before they can serve in our nation's schools? After all it is this no good, rotten, totally offensive country that pays their salary.

Why parents keep sending their children to these institutions of indoctrination is something I'll never understand.

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Federal Money = Federal Control

Last week in a comment defending homeschoolers who accept government money to help pay for their educational materials a friend wrote on my Facebook,
"If my end game is to educate my children, be with them, teach them our values, allow them to learn at their own pace, protect them and prepare them to be in a world with an eternal view rather than temporal, than I don't see the damage in allowing the state to foot the bill for some materials. Afterall, taxpayers certainly pay for them."
My rebuttal was in part,
"Because just like you, the government has an "end game" as well. And they're willing to throw out a few freebies to some for the eventual control of all homeschoolers.
This isn't just hyperbolic speculation either. Federal money equals federal control.

Last week we had the absurd story a third grader punished with a detention for possession of a Jolly Rancher because school officials were worried about losing federal funding. And now we have a nursing home in Savannah, Georgia telling its seniors they can't pray before meals because Uncle Sam pays part of the bill,

Tim Rutherford, Senior Citizens Inc. vice president, said some of his staff recently visited the center and noticed people praying shortly before lunch was served. Rutherford said his company provides meals like baked chicken, steak tips and rice and salads at a cost of about $6 a plate. Seniors taking the meals pay 55 cents and federal money foots the rest of the bill, Rutherford said.

“We can’t scoff at their rules,” he said of federal authorities. “It’s a part of the operational guidelines.”

I guess it's time not only to get kids out of the schools but granny out of the nursing home. Oh and by the way, Uncle Sam now wants to buy your kids dinner after school. Any takers?

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Saturday, May 08, 2010

Let's Evict!

From the Wall Street Journal, Moms to the Barricade,
Forget "angry white men." In the male-dominated world of conservative politics, the tea party stands out as a movement of energized and organized women. In particular, moms....

Dana Loesch, talk host and co-founder of the St. Louis tea party, believes the tea party movement is the modern conservative version of "the personal is political."

"Motherhood itself has become a political act," says Ms. Loesch. "And the tea parties are an extension of our need as moms to protect the future for our children."
I agree with Loesch, motherhood has become a political act. And like the future of our children, we're also about protecting the future of motherhood. We're smart, active, and perhaps a little angry when someone invades our territory.

Michelle Obama grows a garden of arugula on the White House lawn and orders "Let's Move"and the nation jumps. But Michelle Obama doesn't make the food decisions in my house, I do. Her authority stops at the end of the White House driveway. And the same goes for Pelosi and her House too. The Tenth Amendment was written for a reason.

Just this week a third grader in Texas was given a one-week detention for possession of a Jolly Rancher! School officials feared that if they didn't follow the state guidelines they'd lose federal funding. Since when did an individual student's weight become a federal issue?

I say it's time to start a competing campaign, "Let's Evict" and get government out of our houses once and for all! It's time our elected officials started fearing momma.

Happy Mother's Day!

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Thursday, May 06, 2010

An Education in Tolerance

Teaching tolerance in America's public schools means students can't wear an American flag on Cinco de Mayo in California,
Galli says he and his friends were sitting at a table during brunch break when the vice principal asked two of the boys to remove American flag bandannas that they wearing on their heads and for the others to turn their American flag T-shirts inside out.

When they refused, the boys were ordered to go to the principal's office.They said we could wear it on any other day," Daniel Galli said, "but today is sensitive to Mexican-Americans because it's supposed to be their holiday so we were not allowed to wear it today."
but school administrators can exclude white students from participating in a field trip to hear an African American rocket scientist in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
According the elementary school principal, “The intent of our field trip was not to segregate or exclude students as has been reported, but rather to address the societal issues, roadblocks and challenges that our African American children will face as they pursue a successful academic education here in our community.”
Apparently, racial profiling is okay only when you're a white American student in an American public school. Welcome to Obama's post-racial America where discrimination against whites is social justice and an educational opportunity.

Update: The California principal apologizes to flag wearing students.

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Tuesday, May 04, 2010

What is a Teacher?

In honor of Teacher Appreciation Week, I'd like to dedicate one of my favorite posts to the dedicated mothers in America who sacrifice so much each and every day to home educate their children.

What is a Teacher?

A teacher is someone who can....

....Give a hug without getting arrested.
....Bandage a knee without calling the school nurse.
....Change a light bulb without calling the custodian.
....Make the children wash the bathrooms without union approval.
....Have a relationship with the principal without getting fired.
....Teach a child's mind while capturing their heart.
....Teach what they believe in and believe in what they teach.
....Meet the child's needs and not worry about meeting state guidelines.
....Commit to a lifetime of work without pay but receive rewards that last a lifetime.
....Pray in class, out loud, with the children and the ACLU can't say a word.

There is only one that can fill that job description...

....A teacher is a mom.

"Hear my son, your father's instruction, and do not forsake your mother's teaching."
Proverbs 1:8

The Old Schoolhouse Magazine has a free download Homeschooling 101 digital supplement featuring many of the speakers in next week's Schoolhouse Expo! It includes my poem Mom's on the Computer. You can download it all here.

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Saturday, May 01, 2010

Palin Thanks My Son

I was privileged to ask Sarah Palin the first question during a break out session this morning at the Defending the Dream Summit.

I asked her as the mother of a son in the military what advice she'd give to a mom whose son is about ready to leave for Marine Boot Camp? She gave me the same advice she said Cindy McCain gave her, "Spend a lot of time on your knees." praying for God's hand of protection. Then she told me to thank my son for his "selfless" service. This short video clip picks up the last portion of her remarks. Thanks for my young homeschool friend for capturing the memorable moment for me.

A very memorable moment indeed.

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Palin in Michigan (w/updates)

While Obama supporters and University of Michigan graduates are getting soaked in Ann Arbor, I'm comfortably waiting indoors for Sarah Palin to arrive at the Americans for Prosperity Defending the Dream Summit.

It's 8:15 now and Palin's scheduled to speak at 9:15 AM. Following her speech in the general sessions, Palin will give a special address to high school and middle school students.

Should be a fun event, I'm hoping to get some pictures up and blog throughout the day.

Update: 11AM.
Sarah gave her speech. It seems the same in person as she is in video. Very genuine and energetic. Her speech hit all the major themes that you'd expect, "We shouldn't be working for the government, government should be working for us."

She then gave a breakout session for the youth. I was able to sit up close and she didn't go on stage behind the podium, so it was very personal. I was able to ask her the first question. I asked what advice she'd give to a mom with a son about ready to go into the Marines. She gave me the same advice Cindy McCain gave her, "spend a lot of time on your knees." She thanked my son and me for his willingness to serve his country.

The second question addressed her pro-life stance and she took the opportunity to talk about the birth of Trig and her first grandson, Tripp. She was very gracious, personal, and humble. She was real.

She answered a few more questions and then stood around taking pictures and autographs. I was able to get a signature but my camera failed me. Not sure what happened. Oh well. I brought a few kids with me and I'll post their shots later today.

Update 12:30 PM - The Detroit Free Press has an article on this event with a very "interesting" picture of Sarah. She didn't come across as mean-spirited but this photo sure makes it seem that way.

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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Should Unschooling Be Illegal?

The blogosphere is all a buzz, both positive and negative, because ABC put out an obviously biased and heavily edited piece on "unschooling." Many who spoke against unschooling in various comment sections worried about about whether the parents thought through the consequences of their "lazy parenting" and whether these poor children were going to get into college or get hired. MomLogic sums up the negativity when she opines,
"Sounds like this kind of hands-off training should be illegal, right? It isn't."
Just as some may believe the parents in this clip haven't thought through the consequences of this, I don't believe many who oppose them have thought through the logical consequences of making this illegal.

How do you make unshcooling illegal? Do you write a statute into each state saying "unschooling" is illegal. Well what is unschooling? Is it those who don't use textbooks but are guided by the family's interests and the parents' principles? Or is those who don't use textbooks and the children select all the activities based on their interests alone? Or what if it's a combination of the two would that be acceptable and legal? Who decides?

And if we ever come upon a legally acceptable definition, how do we enforce it? Do we allow state officials to come unannounced to a parents home and search around to see what the kids are doing and that they're getting the proper training? Can't do that without a search warrant, so that won't work.

I know, let's test the unschooled kids to make sure they are thinking exactly what the state thinks they ought to be thinking. Well that's a possibility, but what if they flunk because the parent doesn't teach to some arbitrary standard set by some politician. Do we make them go to public school? Well then what do we do with all the kids who are in public school who flunk the state test? Make the parents homeschool because the state failed to adequately train them? But for some reason we can't call the teachers lazy; no, instead we blame the parents and everything else but the teachers and the public school system.

Honestly, what's going on in many inner city schools should be of more concern than what's going on in the small minority of homes who unschool. These kids are at least play fighting in this video, it's real and it's deadly in the Detroit Public Schools and the graduation rate is less than 30% last time I checked. And they are doing it all with taxpayer money. This family is footing their own bill for their "folly."

Can these unschooled kids turn out any worse than Dylan Klebold who was an excellent student but became one of the Columbine killers? He even wrote an essay just weeks before the shooting displaying utter contempt for his school mates. It was read and graded by his teacher. A huge massacre and yet no one is calling for public schooling to be illegal! Why not?

In fact, violence in our schools is become so common it rarely makes headline news anymore. And it's not just violence but all sorts of behavior. Just yesterday I read about middle and high schoolers sexting at school. Where's the outcry against too much free time and activity in the public schools?

Yet, let a parent exercise a little more freedom than what other parents find acceptable and we demand government intervention and a ban on unschooling.

ABC puts out an EDITED clip of what THEY want you to think and right on cue they get exactly the response they desired. George Stephanopoulos and the accompanying reporter set up the bias from the very start and most viewers lost all objectivity.

But look at the clip and the update again and you'll see normal teenagers actually enjoying each others company in the same house. That's POSITIVE. You'll see two teenagers making eye contact with the reporter and responding well in a pressure situation. That's POSITIVE. You'll see a home filled with activities, plants, games, and parents who love them. That's POSITIVE. It's not the perfect home, but it's much more pleasant than many other homes with two teenagers.

It may not be what you or I want for our home or our child's education, but it is far from criminal and most certainly should not be illegal.

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Monday, April 19, 2010

Another Unschooling Story (updated w/new video)

About once or twice a year we can count on the main stream media to focus on unschoolers as if it is some new phenomenon within homeschooling. It's not. But given the crisis-driven policy decisions we're seeing come out of Washington lately, I wouldn't be surprised if this sparks a demand for more uniform standards among these "extreme parents" who homeschool using any method.

Honestly, it's too bad we didn't have this much investigative reporting of President Obama and his schooling. He won't even let us see his transcripts. For all we know, he may have stayed home and played all day too!

The story was updated today on GMA with the couple providing added context. Of course, the first concern was...can these kids get a job? Is that the only purpose of education anymore? I thought the couple handled themselves well. Pat Farenga makes a guest appearance and defends unschooling toward the end of the clip.

(Thanks to my friend Nancy for telling me about this story and Lorraine for the update.)

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Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Midwest Invasion Highlights

I was encouraged, inspired, informed, and exhausted by the time the Midwest Homeschool Convention in Cincinnati, Ohio closed on Saturday evening. The Duke Energy Center certainly was buzzing as over 13,000 homeschoolers shopped the vendor hall and attended various workshops on topics ranging from sibling squabbles to parental rights.

The highlight for me was meeting these two dear sweet mothers (I don't even know their names) who wandered by The Old Schoolhouse Magazine table uncertain about whether or not homeschooling was the right choice for them.

They wanted to attend my workshop, The ART of Homeschooling, but arrived at my room late and by mistake a note was left on the door saying "Do Not Disturb, Taping in Progress." When they entered the booth and found out I was "Spunky" both ladies simultaneously bent to my eye level (they were both very tall) and begged me to give them a shortened version.

They came by the table the next day a whole lot calmer and confidently announced that they are going to homeschool. I'm proud of them both and think they are going to do just fine.

Another high point was meeting attorney David Gibbs from Homeschool Legal Advantage. He spoke on the Constitution and why the Parental Rights Amendment is not the best solution to our soothe our parental anxieties. I agreed and hope to talk more about his organization and and his views very soon. His talk followed Cathy Duffy's workshop on the history of education and the standards movement. The two talks complimented each other very nicely.

Other notable moments were...

Meeting my college roommate and her 13 kids after not seeing her for nearly 25 years. Priceless.

Spending time wandering the vendor hall with my daughter, Katie. Expensive.

Sharing my heart for homeschooling. Fun.

Tim Hawkins
and his one-man comedy routine. Hilarious.

Brennan Dean definitely knows how to put on a great convention! I hope to see you there next year.

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Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Education by the ELITE

In today's Wall Street Journal, Craig Barett, a former CEO of Intel Corp. and co-chair of ACHIEVE made his case for national standards in education.
Fifty different sets of standards make no sense. It is much more efficient and less costly for states to mutually develop standards and then work together on the tools needed, such as tests and textbooks, to ensure the standards reach classrooms, teachers and students.
If cost and efficiency are now the primary objectives of government then it makes absolutely no sense to have fifty states at all. If we really want to reduce costs why not abolish Congress and the idea of a representative republic and instead commission an unelected board appointed by a supreme leader to determine what the laws and regulations should be for everyone. We could call the board ELITE! Once established, the ELITE! can work with us to make sure we have the tools needed to ensure that everyone becomes a good citizen and follows the ELITE! standard. And let's benchmark the ELITE! standard internationally so that leaders in countries such as Venezuela and Cuba don't feel left out of the American governing process.

Barett then goes on to handle this objection,
I realize that some critics worry that common state standards will lead to federal standards and a big government encroachment on matters traditionally the domain of states and localities. But as a conservative businessman, I can't agree with these arguments. The common core effort has been 100% voluntary. And while the federal government hopes to incentivize states to adopt common standards, the effort has been entirely state-led, with no federal funding or exertion of influence over their content.
If this were 1910 then Barett might have a legitimate argument, but this 2010 and recent events prove just the opposite . Who would have predicted that in a single year the federal government would have taken over student loans, General Motors, and health care? This is sufficient proof to me that any state which accepts federal "incentives" eventually yields to federal control.

As I recently pointed out here and here and David Mundy at Education Week emphatically confirms Common Core State Standards are nothing more than Outcome Based Education repackaged and brought to you by Marc Tucker and his comrades at the National Center for Education and the Economy.

Unlike when Outcome Based Education was introduced under President Clinton, the reception to Obama Based Education has been largely favorable. Barett takes note in the WSJ,
The reaction to them has been positive from across the political spectrum, from teachers unions (the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers) to conservative governors such as Georgia's Sonny Perdue and Indiana's Mitch Daniels.
Why are politicians of both parties, unions, corporate CEO's, and others who usually can't agree on anything so willing to accept national standards and eventually federal control? Because they share the belief that our children are nothing more than a commodity which must be trained to be good citizens in the global economy. Bartlett tips his hand,
"Of course, education reform is not merely about creating future workers. Making sense of retirement options, health-care plans and mortgages—not to mention bills pending in Congress—requires a sophisticated level of knowledge and skills. We have an obligation to prepare our students to be capable adult citizens."
That part about making sense of bills pending in Congress is comical. Nancy Pelosi said Congress had to "pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it..." No sophisticated level of knowledge or skills are required to do that! (Rep. Hare of Illinois provides the evidence.)

Let me be clear, parents not politicians and CEOs bear the responsibility for our children's education and should set the standard that will prepare their offspring for adulthood. The state is neither our nanny nor our partner in that task. It is "we the people" who hold our government officials accountable and not the other way around. That principle was once a core American value commonly held by all citizens, amazingly it was widely accepted without federal "incentives."

Homeschoolers still know and believe in that principle . If we don't speak up against national standards no one else will do it for us and we'll only have ourselves to blame when we too are controlled and regulated by the ELITE.

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Monday, April 05, 2010

More on HSLDA & National Standards

It's not my intention to beat up on HSLDA but reader MRL contacted HSLDA regarding their delay in issuing an e-alert and Common Core State Standards and received an odd response,
Spunky, just talked with HSLDA. They said the reason they sent the e-mail so late was that they didn't know about it until then. They explained to me that they have people who watch state and federal law and this is being proposed through the National Governor's Association (they don't make law) and it was only brought to their attention by a lobbying group. As to not being able to comment, the only thing they said was that it was probably because there were so many people commenting that the site crashed, but they could not verify that. Of course the NEA is behind this and we are going to have to watch our individual state legislatures to make sure it doesn't get passed in our individual states.
Seriously, if the stakes weren't so high I'd laugh at the absurdity of HSLDA admitting that it was brought to their attention by another lobby group. This isn't new and HSLDA shouldn't be relying on another lobby group when so many homeschoolers rely on them for information.

(As an aside, I talked to someone at HSLDA in 2007 about common state standards when I questioned their endorsement of Mike Huckabee for President. I blogged about it here. And in 2006 I was jokingly called a "sucker" by then HSLDA attorney Scott Somerville for talking about the move toward national standards and the expanding role of the federal government. He later admitted I had a legitimate point.)

The move toward national standards hasn't exactly been kept a secret since Obama won the White House either. In March of 2009, in a speech before the National Science Teachers Association Conference Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said national standards benchmarked internationally was the goal of the new Obama administration.

First, we are encouraging states to adopt rigorous standards that are internationally benchmarked. A nation without true career- and college-ready standards is lying to its children. A nation with low academic standards is telling students and parents that our kids are doing well—when, in fact, they are not.

A nation that does not benchmark its standards against the highest international standards is crippling our children in the competition for jobs.

Their "encouragement" came in the form of money through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and Race for the Top. Governor's struggling to balance their state budgets .
drooled over the pot of cash and are doing all they can to get the funds.

The fact that the NGA doesn't make law is irrelevant to the push toward national standards. HSLDA doesn't make law either but it would be ridiculous to think we should disregard them and their ideas because they don't write the actual laws.

The NGA is a very influential group that carries a lot of weight on Capital Hill and routinely testifies before Congress on various issues, including Common Core Standards. In December of 2009, Bill Ritter the Governor of Colorado testified the following,before the
U.S. House Education and Labor Committee committee. He said,
"Through the creation of the Race to the Top Fund, Congress and the Administration took the first step in shifting the focus of federal policy from a punitive, mandate-driven compliance system toward a federal-state partnership that supports state-led innovation. For example, the Race to the Top Fund competition provides carrots—not sticks—to voluntary state adoption of common standards."
All this demonstrates to me is that the Governors are now in agreement with the federal government that national standards benchmarked internationally are now the best thing for our country and are willing to work together to make it happen. During his testimony Governor Ritter also talked about opening up comments after the standards were unveiled in early 2010. Was HSLDA watching what was happening in the Congressional committee charged with creating education policy? It appears not otherwise they wouldn't have needed another lobby group telling them about it and would have alerted their membership sooner.

But the issue isn't entirely the lapse in HSLDA alerting its members to the comments section but the wonderment that HSLDA is virtually silent against the push for national standards and the implementation a European style educational system here in America. We know they're watching Europe and their various legislative committees. In regards to Sweden, HSLDA wrote,
"In just one year the climate for homeschooling has changed dramatically."
In a decade or less, we could be writing the same sentence about homeschooling here in America. Michael Donnelly obviously understands how damaging a socialist mindset can be to our freedom to homeschool and wrote, "
It is important that we help Swedish homeschoolers so that the stereotypical view of homeschoolers can be stopped from spreading to other nations—including our own."
If they want to help Sweden that's their business, but if what is going on in Sweden could affect us then certainly what is going on with the National Governors Association is at least equally important to us, isn't it? The socialist mindset of centralized state control of education is already spreading to our nation, yet we hear virtually nothing from HSLDA. They didn't even post anything about it on their Facebook page with over 12,000 fans.

The educational climate in this country has changed it's time we all start paying closer attention. The comments section still appears to be open so go ahead and tell the Governors what you think.

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