Sunday, 16 December 2012

08:31 – In the wake of the Connecticut school shooting, I wonder how many more parents have decided to pull their kids out of public school and homeschool them. Parents homeschool for many reasons, but the safety of their children is certainly an important factor for many of them.

A lunatic shooting up the place is by no means the only danger to students. Such incidents grab the world’s attention, but they are extremely rare. As someone commented in a newspaper article this morning, the probability of a child being a victim in a mass school shooting is considerably lower than the probability of that child being killed by a lightning strike. What’s unfortunately commonplace, even in “good” schools, is children being bullied, beaten up, extorted, threatened by gangs, and exposed to alcohol and drugs. Is it any wonder that more and more parents are choosing to homeschool their kids?


80 thoughts on “Sunday, 16 December 2012”

  1. We pulled our older son out due to bullying, which started as early as first grade. It didn’t get really bad until third grade when he started coming home with bruises. We decided to keep our younger son home as well when we realized my husband and I really could provide a better education than what they could get in our local public school. We have been homeschooling for nearly seven years now, and my older son will start taking college classes in the fall.

  2. In reality, most kids are murdered by their own parents, or relations. Even homeschoolers have killed their own kids. Not everyone homeschools for the right reason, and a fair number do so to avoid detection by government agencies.

    Homeschooling is a good option for education, but is only for the few who can deal with their own progeny. Most can’t. It’s HARD work! If you’re going to homeschool so little Johnny doesn’t get murdered, it’s the wrong reason.

  3. I’ve been on record for a real long time now, in fact, dating back to when I was still in high skool, as advocating strongly the dissolution of this country’s publik skool system. Its origins are deliberately obscured but readily available to anyone interested and it has become a millstone around all our necks. But the State’s interest and that of the teachers’ unions and system administrators have always trumped that of parents and children and taxpaying citizens.

  4. We decided to keep our younger son home as well when we realized my husband and I really could provide a better education than what they could get in our local public school.

    The professionals at the public schools are so bad that any amateur can do better.

  5. We share that opinion, but it will never, ever come to pass. Not because our societies would give up a public school education, many of them would in order to stop “Liberals” from polluting their child’s mind with things like thinking about evolution.

    No, the real reason we’re all stuck with this system is day-care, which was demonstrated to me this past September, when the BC Teacher’s Federation pulled some strike talk out of the closet. The local newspaper was full of stories about people scrambling to find daycare for their kids while they worked, and not one of them hired a replacement teacher. That tells me what is important to most parents.

    Homeschooling in BC was begun during a teacher’s strike in the late 80’s. They were out for a month, and it was argued and won in court that parents retained the right to educate their own kids. It’s been growing ever since. My kids have only ever been in a school during elections, when I dragged them along to show them how our political system works.

  6. The above agreement was directed at OFD, SteveF is quite wrong thinking every parent can handle teaching their kid. IMHO, most cannot. Don’t forget, that the vast majority of adults with kids were educated by those “professionals”. I have 18 years of homeschooling experience to back that up, too.

  7. Agreed about the daycare situation, but I would add that most parents who use this have been forced into it by the economic necessity of both parents having to work, and now a couple of generations see this as the natural order of things rather than a cultural aberration. And way too many, of course, simply use it as a baby-sitting service just like they’ve done with the warehousing of their kids in publik skools, many of which actually *look* like the prisons they are.

  8. bgrigg, you’re right that not everyone can do it. I’ll point out that a lot of the professionals in the public schools can’t do the job, either, but that’s avoiding your main point. How about I rephrase it as, of the small and self-selected group who go to the effort and expense of home schooling their children, almost all do better than the public school system.

  9. Much better! I can easily agree with that. As I’ve pointed out to many people in the past, professional only means you paid for it. It doesn’t mean it’s any good. 🙂

  10. The group is not all that small. Millions of US kids are homeschooled. Some are from rich families, of course, and those families often need make few financial sacrifices to homeschool. But the vast majority of homeschool families are ordinary middle-class households, and most of those do make big financial sacrifices to be able to homeschool. It’s usually the mom who quits her job or goes to part-time and the dad who supports the family financially. Nowadays, that often means that the family income is cut in half. Some people think they’re foolish. I think they have their priorities right.

    Bill is right, of course. Some families are not well-suited for homeschooling, either economically or in terms of the parents’ skill sets. Usually, the perceived lack on the parents’ part is in math and/or science, which is why we do what we do with science kits. Yes, there are some who do a terrible job and don’t even pretend to teach their kids. But the vast majority of homeschool parents do a far better job, including on math and science, than all but the best public schools.

  11. It looks like we have 1.5-2M homeschooled kids in the US versus about 60-65M in the public schools. (The numbers I dug up were highly variable, not quite consistent with other numbers, and sometimes inconsistent within the same report. I just took SWAGs from what I found.) That’s a much higher fraction of homeschoolers than I’d expected, but still just a small fraction of the total.

    Agreed that in terms of ability to impart skills, most parents probably think they’re weak in STEM subjects. However, bgrigg is even more right about personality or organizational skills limiting who can homeschool effectively. eg, I’d be bad at it because my own education was almost entirely self-directed (overcoming the public school I went to rather than supplementing it) and I can’t comprehend or sympathise with a kid who doesn’t work energetically at comprehending the entire cosmos. I make a great mentor and spot tutor but would make a lousy primary educator. There’s also the matter of bureaucratic hoops which many states place in the way of homeschooling. NYS is very bad in that regard, and one reason the parents group together here is to check each others’ record-keeping and other paperwork to make sure the kids aren’t thrown into the public system or even taken away by CPS.

    All of this doesn’t even touch the issue of parents who don’t really want to give their kids a good education for reasons secular or sectarian. These parents shouldn’t be the cause of large restrictions on homeschooling, but of course they provide a wonderful excuse for those looking to ban it anyway.

  12. The best figures I’ve seen put the current population of homeschooled kids at 2.5 to 3 million. There is some overlap in that many primarily homeschooled students take some public school classes in some states. There is also no doubt some undercounting of homeschool students, particular in the most homeschool-friendly states, which don’t even require notification from homeschool parents.

    I think a lot of people who are only slightly familiar with homeschooling have a distorted idea of how homeschooling works. They tend to think of homeschools as just like public schools, only in a home. A parent/teacher standing up at a blackboard and lecturing all day long, and so on. Certainly, some homeschools are run just that way, but the majority are not. Things are much more fluid in most home schools, and teaching styles range from traditional (in the sense of doing things the way they were done 100 years or more ago) to unschooling, which is basically just letting the kids do their own thing.

    A lot also depends on the particular student. Some students are self-starters and require very little intervention by the parents. Others need the parents to keep them on track. A lot depends on the particular parents as well. Some parents teach only what they understand themselves and use other resources for subjects they’re weak in. Others dive in and learn right alongside their kids. I exchanged email the other day with a homeschool mom who’d been very nervous about teaching math. She said her own school experience had ended with 10th grade geometry, and she remembered little of that or even algebra. But she dove in and learned algebra right alongside her kids and then continued all the way through teaching/learning AP calculus. Her kids are both now STEM majors in college.

    The teachers’ unions are implacable enemies of homeschooling for obvious reasons, so take anything they say with a large bucket of salt.

  13. Groups and crowds are always a threat to personal safety, but the magnitude of the overall threat is miniscule. Still, my contention is that the vast majority of people—especially women—see no danger whatever in crowds, and are never on the lookout for trouble.

    Back in the ‘70’s, my job included producing our station’s journalists at the Indy 500. I was nearly crushed once when it started raining, and masses of people headed through the only exit to get to their cars in the infield parking lots. I had anticipated the rain, and was ahead of them all, to get to the press room, but the guards would not open the barriers; several people were crushed. I was lucky. But that was the last time I have voluntarily been in a crowd, and I had a new job the next year.

    My wife was 100% oblivious to any danger in public. I have described here some of the straits we were in, which included a guy not 20 feet from us, wildly waving and shooting a revolver on New Year’s Eve in downtown Berlin. We were in that place at my wife’s desire, when my better judgment told me we should have taken an alternate route in the first place, as it was a fenced in, rather ‘close’ path around construction. “No danger! There are lots of people going this way.” Yeah, and aside from the fact this is exactly how people get crushed, one of them is drunk and waving and shooting a gun. Talk about people running at crushing speed to get away from the guy—that was it, but fortunately, we were at the end of the close path when he pulled out the gun and began shooting. That was the last time she made decisions about our safety. Fortunately, she realized I had been right.

    I agree schools these days are broken. I went to schools that were taught by excellent teachers, and I doubt the education could have been better. But that kind of teaching expertise is rare these days, I believe. And Bill is right—it is not all situations where parents can control their kids to do an effective job of home schooling. My mom refused to teach me how to play the piano, specifically because of that, and while I think I could have taught my own kids into their teen years, I am not sure that would have worked out once they hit about 15 or 16. They were in very good school systems, so there was little worry. I have a good, close relationship with my adult kids these days, but I am not sure that would have been the case, had we home-schooled through their teens.

    When even a very private sect like the Amish cannot protect their own kids from predators, we do have a societal problem that is not being effectively addressed. Banning guns is not the solution. Passing a law against robbing a bank does not prevent them (had a successful bank robbery in Muncie just a few weeks ago), and a law banning guns will not prevent their use in mass murders. If Nobama really meant what he said after the Colorado movie massacre, then I think he will not propose banning firearms. However, having women teachers trained and openly carrying guns in schools, like the Israelis, is a solution.

    Bullying in schools is a real problem. My own observation is that it is only solved by the kid meeting the problem head-on. But the kid being bullied has to know how to fight, AND has to want to meet the problem themselves. Both of our sons, for whatever reason, were bullied in grade school. But both asked to get martial arts training, and that resulted in both having a showdown that ended forever any further bullying for the rest of their school careers. Unfortunately, it also meant a chipped adult tooth for one, and that was pretty expensive to fix at that time.

    The amazing thing is that bullying continues into adult life in Germany. It is called “mobbing”, and I saw it more than once. Not something that martial arts training can solve, as it involves many co-workers refusing to cooperate with an individual, so the individual finally can no longer accomplish their work. What does the company do—even when they know it is mobbing? Fire the person being mobbed, of course.

  14. Damn, I never heard of “mobbing.” Learn something new every day. And coincidentally was just reading an account of conditions in Germany near ‘the end of the war,” by the late Heinrich Boll. Not a place you’d wanna be at that time.

    Latest ‘info’ I’ve seen on the CT mess is that divorced dad got the news from our heroic reporters at his house; he’s a well-paid exec at GE. They divorced and that probably sent the kid over the edge. Mom had grown up in NH on a farm and was allegedly into the survivalist mode and had turned their $1.5 million-dollar house into a fort, again, allegedly. Kid went to school dressed all in black and carrying a briefcase and wearing a Prince Valiant bowl haircut and known to be borderline/weird for years. Shades of Columbine, of course.

    Naturally the heroic Nanny Bloomberg and the Vampire State governor and Mayor Mumbles Menino of Bawstun are calling for a crackdown on gun ownership. They need to be pilloried, flogged and then run outta town on a rail, tarred and feathered.

  15. I make a great mentor and spot tutor but would make a lousy primary educator.

    That’s how I would have felt about it. There are two other points as well. First, to do it well must require an immense time commitment, unless you can hood up with a group of other homeschoolers and share the duties. Second, but also solved with such a group, is doing justice to fields that you personally may not be any good at, or may simply dislike.

    @Chuck: I hear about “mobbing” occasionally, and wonder: is this really different in Germany than anywhere else? I mean, there are often unpopular co-workers, but do adult really stoop to junior high school levels of maturity? My impression was that this was likely much ado about nothing. Perhaps I was mistaken?

  16. I wish my wife was still alive so she could see all you people agreeing with me. I preen! 🙂

    There are renewed calls for tougher legislation on guns in Canada, due to this latest shooting. Questions of why people “need” automatic weapons (already illegal in Canada) and handguns abound. Mind you, in Canada, automatic weapons have been illegal for decades. We’re actually not allowed to defend ourselves with guns, and if we check that option on the license application we are automatically refused. Especially if a lesser alternative is available. For instance, if you are attacked with a knife, you should use a knife to defend yourself. The theory is that using a gun is using superior force, and the mere display of the weapon should suffice for rendering your attacker disabled. Pause here for the laughter to die down…

    We are also banned from owning bear and pepper sprays, batons and bullet proof vests. We still have school shootings, mind you, just with less victims as any legal ammo clip is restricted to five cartridges. It was recently announced that while gun deaths are down overall, murder by knife and beating has increased by a greater amount. A rather disturbing trend when you consider how intimate you must be to stab and beat someone to death. And of course, the vast majority of the murdered, are murdered by someone they know, not by some wacko on or off his meds.

  17. I wish my wife was still alive so she could see all you people agreeing with me.

    “That’s the wonderful thing about the internet. You can find a group of people who are as big an idiot as you are.”
    — Almost any wife

  18. Slow Sunday evening (DDO server offline, the wife and I are surfing), and I ran across this nice little posting on Volokh.

    Reminds me of my dream for eliminating TSA: Eliminate all but the most rudimentary of security checks; give anyone with a concealed-carry permit 10% off their airline ticket, if they carry on the plane. End of problem, and massively cheaper than TSA.

  19. Just to be clear: my wife would be horrified if she saw my previous post. This is an area where we agree to disagree, and for marital harmony neither of us bring is up. She ignores the two guns I have in the closet; I do not bring them out when she is around.

  20. Mobbing in Berlin was real. Not only did I see it up close twice, our son was once the object of it. Yeah, in the US, some people are disliked, but not to the extent that others cooperate in seeing to it that the person cannot do their job. In the US, I never knew of a situation where a whole office of people refused to speak with someone, but I saw it in Berlin. I was even told by my boss, about one class where a person in the company was being mobbed. My boss informed me, just so I would be aware, but I was instructed not to say anything about it, and not to treat that person any differently than any other student. The woman broke down crying in class one day. After about 6 weeks, she was gone from the company. Mobbing is seldom resolved in any way except by firing the person being mobbed. Very ugly. Nothing like it in the US that I ever saw. But it is real, not imagined or exaggerated.

    Our son was mobbed when he had a disagreement with the big boss (a woman). She told him she was going to fire him. Then she found out that he had passed the tenure point to becoming a Beamter, and she could not fire him (Beamters have lifetime jobs). The whole office then quit speaking to him. Now the fact is that our son had—by the company’s own measure—closed more deals than all the others in positions similar to his, combined.

    Next grandchild was born, and he took a year off (as either parent is allowed to do in Germany) and in the interim, the big boss was fired, in part for letting their most successful deal producer leave active work. One of his early mentors was put in charge, so when he returned, the whole organization had changed dramatically. He has had no problems since, and continues to lead the company in their measures of employee success.

  21. Mobbing is seldom resolved in any way except by firing the person being mobbed. Very ugly.

    So, Germans are still the cowardly sheep who were “just following orders” of two generations ago. The US probably should have let the Soviet Union eat them.

  22. I’m not sure at all that mobbing per se would work here in this country; it is extremely ugly, but then again, teenage grrls do it all the time. In a workplace, I just dunno. Probably only against straight Caucasian Christian married males with extra shit for war vets. I had an extremely minor case of it against me while I was a grad student/TA in the humanities at two large East Coast universities. More or less like being the Invisible Man. Fuck them all.

    Also been ruminating a little on earlier posts in regard to what we would more likely get jammed up about in this country these days; they let violent criminals out all the time now but screw around with your taxes or make noises to other people about not paying them or resisting and they will come after you with hammer and tongs. Inappropriate speech and thought crimes are becoming targets, though not as badly yet as in Canada, the UK and France, evidently. I can easily see where several guys on this board could get jammed up, including me.

    We know from history, and recent history at that, that in established and well-ordered totalitarian regimes there is no shortage of volunteers or just regular employees for the positions of informer, camp guard, Gestapo, executioner, and torturer, and we saw in Germany after the war and in the Eastern Bloc the gauleiter types simply became commissars and so forth. The Western countries have not reached this stage yet but the ground work has been done and they are ratcheting it up bit by bit. When times get tough, look to your neighbors for both assistance and comradeship, but also the occasional informer and spy. And the store clerk or mailman may happily or unhappily (yet still do it) throw the switch on your ass or get you sent to whatever our version of the gulag will be.

  23. Mobbing, also known as “sending to Coventry”. I’ve never heard of it being used as a company policy but it was a rare occurrence at school. It never lasted very long.

    When I was at McMaster in ’64, I remember Terry Campbell (at student on the university paper and a rabid Marxist-Leninist at the time) described the university as “a nursery school for unemployable adolescents”. This now applies to high school as well.

    I am very ambivalent about a widely armed populace. The thought of armed people around me that are as competent with their firearms as they are with their automobiles would not make me feel any safer.

    I should point out that the “long gun registry” in Canada is dead and gone. Quebec will implement its own registry but there will be no federal support. All the other restriction still apply but the registry is gone.

    The point about sheep, wolves and sheep dogs is well taken but the sheep dogs must be trustworthy.

  24. Rolf makes a good point about competency, but that argues for more rigid driving licensing protocols, than gun laws. I’ll argue that the average gun owner is a better shot than they are a driver.

  25. Yeah, in response to SteveF, the Germans are still as willing to mind your business as their own. I noted not long ago, stepson upset a neighbor in the apartments next door, who was ragging on him about something related to our property. After repeated confrontations, Stepson told him to eff off. Problem with that, was that we did not know the guy worked for the Ordnungsamt. After that episode, we got citations for not raking leaves, parking in front of the house (which was legal), and we were investigated for having dogs that were outdoor-only (with their own dog house and access to the garage in the coldest weather).

    In the US, I have never seen or heard of anything like the mobbing I witnessed for myself in Germany. Jeri saw it too, at a place or two where she taught. However, I think the equivalent bullying does take place in school situations in the US, but adults in the US are just too independent to join a gang that is out to purposely exploit somebody else in the workplace. The closest thing I have seen is what we used to call “the walking dead”. Several times during my active TV station years, the word got out that somebody was going to get the axe—or perhaps already had, and they were working through a temp period while looking for a new job. Those people were like someone with leprosy; no one wanted to get near them or have anything to do with them. I was once in that situation, myself. People would not even say hello in the mornings.

  26. Regarding lepers, mobbing, and so forth: Much of my career has been as an IT consultant, and much of that has been in government offices. Usually the permanent employees are less than fully cooperative and forthcoming and helpful. “Downright resentful” is often the best way to put it, especially regarding the government “workers”. If this ever had any kind of emotional impact on me, it was so long ago that I’ve forgotten it, but then, I don’t give two shits about what anyone thinks about me. There have been many cases where lack of cooperation has impacted my ability to get my contracted task done, but a habit of getting everything in writing whether or not they want it in writing will address much of that.

  27. From OFD:
    “And here’s a commie sumbitch wannabe totalitarian piece of shit in NYC who right away wants to outdo Nanny Bloomberg, Cuomo and Menino, our Unholy Troika of Northeast Megalopolis ass-hats:”

    Worse, yet this SOB cannot control his mouth coming or going. You do know that he weighs 300+lbs. And he wants to control our lives but cannot control his?

  28. I wasn’t thinking about being able to hit a target, I’m more concerned about actually paying attention to what is happening. I’m a big city boy and I live in downtown Toronto. 90% of the drivers are almost completely oblivious to what’s going on around them. They are counting on the other driver to look out for them. These are the not the people I want to see armed.

    Steve is right. Nobody wants to deal with mental illness because nobody knows how to deal with it. There was a time when anybody “strange” or suspected to be a danger could be locked up indefinitely. And the process was abused. In Ontario you could be committed under a lieutenant-governor’s warrant and never heard from again. A twentieth century oubliette. This wasn’t eliminated until ’82 and the repatriation of the Canadian constitution. But locking people up is expensive. When the psychotropic drugs became available in the ’60s the province figured it was cheaper to dump everyone out on the street and give them prescriptions. As if the drugs were a cure. And of course these people can be counted on to take their medication. There are some very dangerous people wandering around and nobody knows what will set them off or when. If we are very lucky they will die in obscurity. We need a way to identify those that would be a threat. This needs to be done on firm medical grounds, not through some sort of magical thinking political correct agenda. This needs to treated as a public heath issue. I have no idea how this can be done.

    The feminization of boys is a critical problem. I don’t think this is going to turn sheep into wolves but I’m afraid that it may turn sheep dogs into sheep. And we are very short of sheep dogs. Sport used to be one way of getting boys to learn to work together and work for common cause and community. But sports seems to have become over regulated and career path rather than learning to cooperate. full disclosure, I have never been interested in participating in team anything. I have always been something of a loner. I follow Marx’s dictum “I would never belong to any club that would have me as a member” so my comments are made as someone on the outside.

    Whenever the question of mental health comes up, somebody brings up the subject of psychopaths as a reason why nothing can be done or why it is too hard to do anything. And it is true, they seem to be completely invisible in society, like Bundy or Olsen, until they make a mistake. But they make up a very small part of the problem. Most of these killers have had long histories of problems but nobody seems to care enough to actually do something to minimize the risk.

  29. Does anyone here remember a comic strip from around 1970 called The Almost Human? I’ve been Googling for it without much success.

  30. This story states that Adam Lanza was partially home-schooled when he started having psychological problems in high school. Home schooling isn’t always the right option, and often can be the wrong one. What are the chances his mother refused him psychiatrist sessions?

    Greg, I feel better knowing that!

  31. I’m staying at my sister’s place over Christmas, and have been discussing the massacre and home schooling with her. She was completely amazed at the picture of the Israeli mum with a rifle guarding those kids.

    She’s also been a school teacher for over 40 years in the state system, and is skeptical of both private schools and home schooling. Well, skeptical isn’t a strong enough word for her views of home schooling. She’s lucky in that she teaches at a good school with quiet, studious kids. I don’t agree with her views on private schools, if I had kids I’d want to send them to one, or a good selective state school. She’s concerned about socialisation of home schooled kids, and I’m concerned that my knowledge isn’t broad enough to cover the whole curriculum. Plus I don’t think home schooling is economically efficient.

  32. Socialization is the red herring teachers use the most. Utter and complete bullshit. This is the best argument that “professionals” can use? They can’t trot out statistics proving that a qualified teacher can teach any better than non-teachers, so use this lame-0 argument.

    Adam Lanza was socialized in school. So were the other school shooters. So much for socialization.

    It’s not always about money, Greg. In fact, I think money is a piss-poor goal.

  33. Just a brief personal note/addendum to the mobbing/sending to Coventry thang; I’d mentioned my experiences as a grad student/TA at a couple of universities, but that was nothing and to be expected; someone like me fits in at those places like Mohammed at a bar-mitzvah.

    A worse experience for me was being given a wide berth when the matriarchy at my state gummint job where’d I’d been for four years ten years ago began persecuting me, and there is no other word to describe it. They were trying to drive me out and they eventually succeeded. Mrs. OFD got it a bit worse, with ten years working for the state; they moved her out of her office and away from the staff she supervised to the third floor of an old house at the state gummint complex that was otherwise empty, nice on a dark winter night and returning to one’s car in the parking lots out there, adjacent to the state “mental” hospital wing. Then her boss moved the whole operation to an office park thirty miles northwest. Then they moved her out of her office there and out to a desk by the exit door, with no computer and no phone. In both cases, other employees that we thought were friends, and with her there were staff she mentored and got promoted to much better positions; treated us like we were radioactive lepers. She finally left and everything she’d done for the state, including bringing in millions in grants, was either forgotten or upper management took full credit for. Including programs in effect right now that successive governors have taken credit for implementing.

    The fear and politics and backstabbing is endemic nowadays, not only in government jobs but also corporate employment; at my last corporate gig there were two women who spied and reported on us to management continuously, and they had very nice flexible work schedules, basically full-time pay plus bonuses for barely part-time work, wherein we constantly bailed them out of problems they were having.

    As former President John Silber of Boston University said many years ago of the English department there “…it’s a goddamned matriarchy…”

  34. If it was necessary to home school I would, and hang the expense. But I don’t think it is *usually* necessary. I am just expressing my preference, which is for me and my hypothetical partner to work and for our hypothetical kids to go to a private or good selective state school.

    If home schooling works/ed for you I’m perfectly happy for you.

  35. But it is also equally not necessary to send kids into places where no-one can defend them properly. Schools, and theaters, are gigantic targets for individual sickos, and also for terrorists. I recall the Oklahoma bombing had the truck bomb left parked next to the daycare center for the government workers. Coincidence or planned? Are you sure?

    You weren’t just uttering your own opinion, Greg. I already know that well. You were mouthing your sister’s words and repeating the oft-told lie about socialization.

    Have you asked her how much socialization all these funerals will provide for the survivors of Sandy Hook?

    I look the other way when people send their kids off to school, but I consider the public school system a great menace to society. And the school shootings are but one of the warning signs that people just aren’t seeing. Or ignoring.

  36. Bill, please don’t use words like ‘lie’ when speaking about my or my sister’s views. She or I may be ignorant, or mistaken, but we are not liars. Being called a liar is one reason I no longer post at Jerry Coyne’s website.

  37. Speaking a lie doesn’t necessarily make one a liar, and I didn’t take Bill’s comment to imply that you or your sister were liars. But a lie repeated out of ignorance is still a lie.

    The truth is that most homeschooled students are in most respects better socialized than most public schooled students. Of course, there are exceptions. It’s true that most homeschooled students lack some social skills that are learned by most public school students, such as how to appease a bully by coughing up your lunch money, how and where to buy drugs, what to do during a drive-by shooting, and so on.

  38. But it IS a lie, Greg. It just isn’t true. What else should I call it? It’s not like she or you created it, you just repeated it.

    There isn’t an absence of socialization outside of school, nor is school socialization preferable to any other kind. Does your sister think we kept our kids in a cage and never interacted with anyone? That they didn’t join sports teams, martial arts, music bands, drama classes? Home schoolers don’t cram 35 kids in a class than tell them not to talk to each other. We encourage communication! When our kids got together (in the summer almost daily, winter not so much other than winter sports) they weren’t isolated into like aged groups.

    I used to joke that in order to give my kids the same form of socialization you get in school, I had to beat them up and take their lunch money once a week, and then threaten them with job action.

    But I don’t anymore. After hearing “socialization” ad nauseum for the past 18 years, I don’t find it amusing anymore, and rather disingenuous.

    Here’s an example of what socialization nets you in schools these days. My son Tomas is in a rock band (the only home-schooled kid), and they put on a for pay concert and invited their friends to attend. Tomas had 25 homeschooling friends show up, and the other 6 members had about 4 or 5 each, all of whom are schooled. Tomas’ friends danced and had a great time, while the schooled kids all sat around texting each other. Which is the better form of socialization? Actually talking and interacting with your peers, or peering into a miniature TV screen?

    What she really is saying is “home schooled kids don’t get the socialization we want them to get”. I don’t call that socialization, but indoctrination.

  39. I don’t call that socialization, but indoctrination.

    Exactly. One of the primary purposes of public schools is and always has been to turn out docile little sheep who don’t think for themselves and who unquestioningly obey whatever the government tells them to believe and do.

  40. We home schooled our son for grades 10 to 12 here in The Great State of Texas. For the harder subjects, we hired teachers who held weekly or semiweekly classes for students such as Calculus and Chemistry. These are easy to find in the Houston area and just required driving to the teachers home. The classes were 3 to 5 students and he had nowhere to hide and had to perform. Bob, you might consider doing this on the side if needful.

    It was incredibly easy to buy curriculum and books that were much better than the public schools. And my wife is much smarter and tougher than me in schoolwork issues. I would get home from work and he would still be writing papers for her at the dinner table – and he hates writing. He scored 1350 on the old 1600 SAT test so I would say that we did OK.

  41. Mrs. OFD went to Catholic parochial schools and I went to the State skool system back in the day both when nobody really knew any better in regard to home schooling and also when we were still at least taught the basics pretty well and accomplishment at scholastic matters meant something and was rewarded accordingly. Still, it is as Robert and others have said; indoctrination and forced socialization of herds of sheep, who will provide the warm bodies for Moloch and Mammon as controlled by said State. Do not question why: yours but to do and die. And the words that rhyme with “die.” Buy. Lie. Buy as much worthless junk as possible and lie to your kids about everything.

  42. There is a misconception (is that a Greg approved word?) about home schooling that needs to be cleared up. The typical home schooler doesn’t have any issues with individual teachers. Some of them even are teachers. We’ve hired teachers for many subjects! I count a number of teachers as my friends, and I’m even going to a Christmas dinner at teacher’s house.

    We have an online school in BC that teaches distance education that we’ve used for many subjects. If you have enough kids (usually 6 or more) they would hire a local teacher and hold workshops at someone’s home.

    Teachers are just people, and there are good ones and bad ones, and I personally believe that there are even more good than bad ones. It’s the system that’s the problem. The idea that little Johnny is better served by an institution is foreign to my thinking.

  43. I like the 80-2o Rule: 80% of any occupation are pretty much average regular schmucks just trying to get through their work day as painlessly as possible. 10% are angels and saints and heroes and heroines. And 10% are scheisskopfen and evil bastards who go out of their way to mess things up and fuck over other people.

    The State has no business educating our children. Period. And it has no business doing vastly MOST of the stuff it does now.

  44. RBT saiid “Exactly. One of the primary purposes of public schools is and always has been to turn out docile little sheep who don’t think for themselves and who unquestioningly obey whatever the government tells them to believe and do.”

    Now, there’s another statement that turns out not to be the truth.
    Public schools didn’t useta be like that. When they started out, their general aim was basic education – the 3 R’s, plus maybe history, geography, social studies, maybe classic literature.
    Granted, they’ve changed, and they certainly are now as Bob said; except sometimes, in individual classes, where individual teachers care enough to step beyond the mandated (or womandated- persondated?) bounds of the syllabus and guides to its interpretation, and open things up.

    I think the change occurred when the teachers were no longer accountable, one to one, to the parents.

    I got what I regard as an adequate education, and it was in the public system, but I had the privilege of attending a one-teacher country primary school. Often, we had to be left to teach ourselves, or to teach other kids. The teacher needed of necessity to leave me to my own devices while he spent a lot more time on others – they needed it, I could progress on my own. Or consolidate what I knew by teaching others – a process that nothing common currently offers adequately to the students. Which is why I managed to be a year ahead of others when I left primary, despite having had to spend many months out of school with various health issues.

    Basically, I don’t believe any particular system of education is either necessary or sufficient. Education certainly is, in some form. What is essential is parental (or some reasonable facsimile thereof) involvement in the process. I think kids can manage to get an adequate education out of even the worst public system, if their parents help them and oversee them in attaining standards at home, maybe overseeing homeworking and helping the kids to see what the subjects are getting at (NOT doing the work for them, but guiding them in understanding).

    I can see where sometimes pulling kids out of an out-of-control system with bullying and criminality run riot, by students or occasionally by teachers and other staff, and homeschooling them, is necessary. That certainly does happen. I did suffer some of the “mobbing” and bullying at school, because of the obvious effects of my illnesses. What the bullies overlooked was that I was still a farm kid, physically damaged and trussed up in a harness or not, and I still had some muscles. After I talked it over with my parents, I picked my moment, a certain (copious) amount of blood was shed, and the bullying stopped rather abruptly. It didn’t alter the fact that I was still a solemn little git, but it became known that I was not a safe solemn little git. Happened again in high school, with a blow-in from the city, but he turned blue for a minute or so and I was left alone after that. I got known as safe and even pleasant if not angry, and after that all bets were off. These days I would definitely support teaching kids martial arts – aikido for preference, which offers opportunities for non-damaging applied agony, or total unconstrained unarmed violence, or any degree of armed violence with weapons that could be picked up ad-hoc.

  45. “It’s true that most homeschooled students lack some social skills that are learned by most public school students, such as how to appease a bully by coughing up your lunch money, how and where to buy drugs, what to do during a drive-by shooting, and so on.”

    “Exactly. One of the primary purposes of public schools is and always has been to turn out docile little sheep who don’t think for themselves and who unquestioningly obey whatever the government tells them to believe and do.”

    Oh Please!

    You’re starting to sound like a godless anarcholibertarian gun nut.

    Oh, wait. You are a godless anarcholibertarian gun nut.

    Seriously, did Jasmine go to a public school? Did she turn out that way? What about the guy who’s thinking of becoming a car mechanic? What about all the others?

  46. OFD wrote:

    “The State has no business educating our children. Period. And it has no business doing vastly MOST of the stuff it does now.”

    If parents want to send their kids to state schools that’s there business. It’s not my first preference, but then neither is home schooling.

  47. Bill wrote:

    “But it IS a lie, Greg. It just isn’t true. What else should I call it? It’s not like she or you created it, you just repeated it.”

    Bill, she’s been teavhing for 40 years so she’s entitled to her opinion. I don’t happen to agree with her but she’s got tons of experience in the area. She’s not a timeserver either, and parents try very hard to get their kids into her classes. What makes you think she’s just parroting the union line? You offer that without proof. She’s been doing this long enough and thinking about it long enough that I think she’s entitled to her opinion.

    “What she really is saying is “home schooled kids don’t get the socialization we want them to get”. I don’t call that socialization, but indoctrination.”

    Oh Bullshit! That’s just your ideology talking Bill.

  48. Teachers are just people, and there are good ones and bad ones, and I personally believe that there are even more good than bad ones. It’s the system that’s the problem. The idea that little Johnny is better served by an institution is foreign to my thinking.

    I agree. I know a teacher who teaches at a school who teaches at a well ranked elementary school. Even she admits there are teachers at the school where she teaches who aren’t good enough to teach her daughter.

  49. Now, there’s another statement that turns out not to be the truth.
    Public schools didn’t useta be like that. When they started out, their general aim was basic education – the 3 R’s, plus maybe history, geography, social studies, maybe classic literature.

    Public schools have always been as I said. Those topics you mention have always focused on turning out what the government defines as “good citizens”.

  50. That has been the whole purpose of State education and indoctrination from the very beginning; to manufacture docile and tractable human beings who will serve in the labor force and the military for the State’s endless wars around the world. Its origins are in Germany, oddly enough; check it out. And parents may technically have the “right” to send their children to state indoctrination institutions but it is morally reprehensible and a bad mistake these days. The sooner the majority bail out from this rotten system, the sooner we can totally dismantle it and close 90% of the colleges and universities as well.

  51. Yep. Even when I was in elementary school, I understood that this was state indoctrination. We had to stand up every morning, clasp our little hands to our hearts, and recite the Pledge of Allegiance. How much more evidence do you need?

  52. Please Greg, enlighten me on how a child is BETTER socialized in an institution run by unionized strangers, in exchange for pay, than being socialized by their family and friends, for free?

    That’s just her ideology talking. Mine doesn’t cost me union dues.

  53. I miss the editing feature and didn’t realize I made a double post. Bob, can you delete one or the other?

  54. Please Greg, enlighten me on how a child is BETTER socialized in an institution run by unionized strangers, in exchange for pay, than being socialized by their family and friends, for free?

    In general children are not better off if they are socialized by a bunch of unionized strangers. However, there are a bunch of kids whose parents are not capable of properly socializing them. Socializing them in groups makes them all trend toward a mediocre middle.

  55. Perhaps so, but the point is that most homeschooled students have at least as much opportunity as public school students to learn social skills by interacting with other children. I think a lot of people who don’t know much about homeschooling think of it as a mom/teacher working with her own kids and only her own kids all day long every day. That’s not what it’s like in the vast majority of home schools. Typical homeschool students participate in co-ops, sports, field trips, and other group activities.

    One difference is that homeschool group socialization activities are normally better supervised than public school activities. Public school teachers can’t watch every kid all of the time, and a lot of the socialization activities that occur in public schools are not of the sort than any sane parent would wish for.

  56. Bill, it’s late (2.35 am) and I’m tired. I thought I’d let it wait till the morning, but since you’re so keen I’ll say a bit now.

    Your objection to unionised strangers is worth squat. We all have to learn to deal with strangers, so why not start early? What’s wrong with being unionised? I’m a union member and it hasn’t turned me into your or Bob’s worst nightmare. The teachers union doesn’t run state education here, the Department of Education does. It’s a great walruses of a thing that does a lot of dumb stuff but that isn’t the fault of the union.

    Yes, teachers are paid to teach. I am paid, you are paid (I think), many wage slaves are paid. In an ideal world I would have liked to have been a teacher, but since I need shelter and to eat I wouldn’t have done it for free. Is there something wrong with being paid for one’s work?

    And please, lay off my sister will ya? I don’t slag your family, do I? For all her faults she usually knows what she’s talking about where education is concerned, and the lengths to which parents go to get their little darlings into her class tends to support that. I’m as skeptical about her opposition to home schooling as I am about your advocacy but I restrain my criticism of her because she has been doing this all her adult life.

  57. We had to stand up every morning, clasp our little hands to our hearts, and recite the Pledge of Allegiance.

    Failure to comply was met with a trip to the principals office, generally a spanking and an ‘F’ for your citizenship grade. That failure in the citizenship grade may cause you having to repeat a grade level even if you were the smartest kid in the school.

  58. Bob, were you home schooled? You’ve mentioned many excellent and memorable teachers at your schools, but they likely would never have taught you if you’d been home schooled. What about Jasmine and the other neighbourhood kids you’ve mentioned?

  59. “…Failure to comply…”

    Roger that. I was in elementary school, I forget which grade, and was daydreaming or something one morning when we did the Pledge and staring off into space, silent. The teacher made the rest of the class turn around and face me while I recited it alone, face burning with shame and humiliation. I couldn’t have been older than seven or so. And that was not the first such humiliation nor the last, at the hands of State functionaries.

    I developed a very bad temper, went on to drugs and booze, and later became a hired killer and mercenary for the same State.

  60. Actually, most (but by no means all) of my teachers were competent. I can count the number of excellent/memorable teachers on one hand. Actually, the breakdown is probably about what OFD mentioned: 80% competent/average, 10% excellent, and 10% hideously bad.

    Jasmine was not well-served by our public school system, although it’s considered to be a good one.

  61. I’ve seen that 80/20 rule work well in another way, too; roughly 20% of the people in an organization do 80% of the work, and vice-versa.

    I had one or two outstanding teachers in the State system, a handful of truly bad ones, and the majority were just average schmucks trying to get through the day while also paying their mandatory union dues.

  62. I remember three outstanding teachers in K-12. Chemistry – Mr. Larson. Physics – Mr. Russ. History – Mr. Bailey. All taught like Uni level and we’re available after school and most weekends for help. Honorable Mention – Mr. Schmidt pre- calc but he was 68 and occaisionaly fell asleep in class.

  63. Really Greg, you’re the one who brought the sister into the conversation. I’m not picking on her. I’m picking on you, because you’re parroting her opinion. And frankly, I don’t give a hoot what time it is, or how late it is. Do I whine about how late or early I post? I didn’t know you were a union member, but it explains a LOT.

    Again, YOU think home schoolers keep their kids in a box? They meet plenty of strangers, and let me tell you that on the whole home schooled children have FAR greater conversational skills outside of their own age group. We don’t lock them in age groups, either. My kids, from an early age, surprised many adults by their maturity.

    I asked one of my sons what he says when people ask about socialization. And believe me, everybody asks. No one ever questions his intelligence or knowledge. It’s like it’s not important as socialization, but I digress. His answer is “I don’t have any friends” and quivers his bottom lip. That’s how sick he is of the question. It’s a red herring, and can safely be thrown out.

    Here’s whats wrong with unionized teachers. The teachers indoctrinate the kids into taking their side and load them with bias. This isn’t supposition, but my own experiences having gone through a protracted labour strike by the unionized janitors. The teachers struck in support only. My education was being high-jacked by broom pushers and the teachers let them, for they needed the support of that union when they went on strike. The very next year. Throughout it all, we (the kids) were bombarded with anti-government rants, and told that because of the EVUL GOVERNMENT we weren’t going to be allowed to have extra-curricular activities. They even wanted us to “strike” in support. I formed a strike to protest the strike, and was promptly labelled a “bad kid” and was shoddily treated by many of the teachers.

    That, if you haven’t figured it out yet, is the number 1 reason Anne and I chose home schooling. There are other, even more important reasons, but that was the big one. The strike was repeated again in the 1980s, and this time some parents got pissed off enough to consider an option to education, rather than just daycare. They had to fight for the right to teach their own children, and it ended up in the Supreme Court of BC, but they won.

    Now, you may argue, that non-unionized teachers will also load kids with bias, and I will be forced to agree, but then again, they’re not going on strike, are they? Hell, I’ve loaded my kids with my own biases. It’s what we do. At least I know that in my case I’ve carefully explained that it is MY opinion, and they need to look at all sides before agreeing with me. That’s a joke, BTW.

    And if you’ve really been paying attention, you already know I am very quick to point out the difficulties of home schooling. It is not for everyone. But the public system needs to be fixed, and that isn’t going to happen unless there is large and widespread opposition and OPTIONS to it. Private schools are in many cases unapproachable by “average” people, and home school becomes a much more viable option. Especially when you realize how home schoolers have banded together in support of each other. Much like the one room school rooms that used to exist. I advocate home schooling to people I think might be appropriate, and I’ve advocated private schools to people who aren’t. For many years, our home phone was the local contact for people wanting options to public school, and there are a lot of people who want options. Heck, I’ve advised people to stay with the public system, but to take a more active role.

    Oh, and in case you don’t think I understand unions, I do. MY sister works for the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and is the union rep for her area. I slag her all the time for it.

    Now I have to go, one of the kids wants out of his cage, and needs to be taken outside for some exercise…

  64. I had three teachers worth anything. No, strike that, only two teachers. One in grade 3, Mrs. Grey, and the other in grade 10 English, Mr. Coates. Both realized that I was actually smarter than I looked, and made sure I was sufficiently challenged.

    The third teacher wasn’t actually my teacher at first, but a teacher who also became a friend of mine, then my teacher, at least sort of, kind of.

    His classroom was across from the school library, and he noticed me in the library at the same time every day. It was actually the same time as my Social Studies class, but I was so disgusted with that teacher (reference shoddy treatment alluded to in a previous post) that I skipped his class and taught myself at the library at my own rather fast pace. Rather than Mr. Sedaka (and yes, we teased him about that) turning me in to the office as a truant student, he arranged to have me transferred into HIS Social Study class, and then promptly sent me back to the library with a list of non-curricular titles to research, as he had no illusions that I would be a interruption to his normal curricula. I would hand in my homework and receive my instructions before the class began, and he would check me as “in attendance” for that period. My love of history and science was enhanced greatly by him, even though science was only an interest to him, not his vocation. The two subjects are intrinsically linked.

    The realization that one could teach oneself, is number two reason we home schooled. The realization that you didn’t need to separate the subjects into different classes was number three. It makes the task seem easier than it really is.

    I’ve used this example here before, but the simple act of baking can touch on many subjects, if you approach it the right way. Obviously Home Economics is covered, but so is Math, Chemistry, Physics, Social Studies and History, if you think about it. Six subjects crammed into one event. I believe that this practical approach is far easier to understand, than separating them into different classes.

  65. “…But the public system needs to be fixed…”

    I say it needs to be totally dismantled and done away with. Nowhere in our Constitution or Bill of Rights is there a provision for a public education system run by the State on confiscatory and punitive taxes extorted at literal gunpoint from us citizens. And with each passing year it becomes more like the state education systems in the old Soviet Union, Red Chiner, and Cuber.

  66. owhere in our Constitution or Bill of Rights is there a provision for a public education system run by the State on confiscatory and punitive taxes extorted at literal gunpoint from us citizens.

    Wrong by Liberal thinking in the USA Constitution preamble: “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

    “Promote the general Welfare” covers a multitude of sins for the more “advanced” thinking of us.

  67. As long as the libruls keep going and hacking at it, they can also forget about insuring “domestic tranquility.” Them days are over, fools.

  68. Bill wrote:

    “Really Greg, you’re the one who brought the sister into the conversation.”

    I did not bring her into the conversation so that you could call her a liar. I just stated one of her opinions, which I don’t agree with, but which she’s entitled to have, not least because of the amount of time she’s spent as a highly popular teacher.

    “I’m not picking on her. I’m picking on you, because you’re parroting her opinion.”

    Why shouldn’t I? You parrot the opinion of others.

    ” I didn’t know you were a union member, but it explains a LOT.”

    Such as?

    “I had three teachers worth anything. No, strike that, only two teachers. ”

    Ah, now I understand your antipathy towards classroom education. I had much better luck. 2-3 duds, a lot of middle of the roaders, and about 20% who were outstanding. Some of the middle of the roaders were only so because I spent several years in real rabble rouser classes, and the teachers didn’t know how to deal with kids who didn’t want to learn.

    Once I got in to good classes in Years 11 and 12 the quality improved markedly, although that may be in part due to 95% of the kids being quiet and studious and not raising hell.

  69. Oh Greg, give it up. I didn’t call your sister a liar, I said she was repeating one. If you don’t like the heat, keep your sister out of the kitchen. This, you may have noticed, is a tough room.

    I never parrot an opinion. I make up my own, and keep my mouth shut when I don’t know what I’m talking about. It’s why you don’t see me post here on occasion, I’m either over my head or really have no opinion. But I won’t post anyone’s opinion just to get the post count up (not that anyone is counting, just a figure of internet speech). I don’t even like parrot. Tastes like chicken, only smaller. What the point of that? When it comes to institutional schooling and home schooling I have 12 years experience in the former and 18 yrs in the latter. I’ve lived both sides.

    Such as, it explains your willingness to believe in the union line, and to blindly follow the opinion of others.

    Greg, the teachers weren’t just duds, they were useless, and try not to take THIS personally, union lumps. BC was full of them in the 70s. Still are, actually. I’m told that most of the teachers I dealt with were actually good teachers. Other kids got along with them, parents thought them fine people and they were “trained professionals”.

    However, I made up my own opinion about what a good or bad teacher is by the time I was in grade one. I had plenty that threw obstacles in my path. I suspect so I wouldn’t figure out how little they knew. No decent teacher slows down learning to fit the curricula. If you have a student who is learning faster than the rest, move them up, not slow them down.

    Let me count up all the teachers I had. Let’s see, 1 per year for 7 years, plus 5 periods per day in JHS & HS for 5 years, but often had the same teacher for 2 subjects, so 32 potential teachers, and I’ll subtract 3 for a grand total of 29. Of which I claim 3 were any good. I can safely claim that another 4 were terrible: 1 was busted for drugs while in class; 1 was a drunk, and 2 were horribly incompetent (the woodworking teacher cut off his fingertip on the jointer, the PE teacher was a PIG). So my statistics are 10% great, 13.7% were terrible, and the rest (76.3%) were MOR. Not too dissimilar to your numbers, but we ended up with drastically different opinions. Hmm. Am I too hard, or you too accepting of average performance?

  70. Here is the truth about socialization. How does a scrawny little white boy survive in a failed urban school system that is mostly black and hispanic? He acts like the personification of entropy, convincing everyone he’s so crazy the bullies leave him alone.

    You won’t believe the changes that are possible in just one year of transferring such a kid from a dysfunctional school to a functional one. Hypothetically speaking of course.

  71. “So my statistics are 10% great, 13.7% were terrible, and the rest (76.3%) were MOR.”

    There it is: the 80/20 Rule in action. Not exact, but close enuff fer gummint werk.

    I can count on one hand each both the great and terrible teachers in the thirteen years of publik skool, and off-and-on college and grad school times. I would need both hands and feet and someone else’s hands and feet to count the average, run of the mill, time-serving hacks who like the majority of people in any organization are just trying to get through the day, some more or less not overjoyed but happy enough, and some as though it is a prison sentence that will be up when they can blissfully retire to a life of ease in the Sunbelt or something. Then they find that hanging around the house all day with the spouse gets on their nerves and there ain’t nothin’ to do but watch tee-vee and shop for stuff online. Dead in three years. Or they go back to werk.

    I know people here at this gig who’ve been with the organization for 11, 17, 30, 36 and 47 years, their whole lives at this mofo. The half-century guy retired, partially, last year, and is now back hacking away more or less full-time. Wife probably kicked his ass out. The others? Their future plans include maybe fishing down the Cape (Cape Cod); calling bingo at the local Legion post; playing golf in Florider; waxing the classic Corvette Sting Ray they bought a few years ago; you know, wicked exciting stuff, as the country falls apart and we face revolution and civil war ahead. These folks will be dead meat.

  72. So much depends on the school. In public schools, I don’t remember many teacher’s specifically. My first-grade teacher was terrible (she liked girls, but hated boys; I remember being swung around by an arm, because I dared answer a question in class). Second through seventh grade, the teachers were all non-entities, with the exception of one good English teacher in 5th grade and one bad math teacher in 7th. No idea how many other teachers there were, but all non-entities.

    Then my parents shelled out for a private school from 8th grade onwards. Thank god, release from the penitentiary.

    In high school, there were a couple of duds, but most teachers were good, and four teachers were simply outstanding. The trick was really simple: The school required the teachers to have masters degrees in their subjects; they didn’t care about teaching degrees at all. Having teachers who love their subjects and are way ahead of even the best students – what more could you want?

    I always hated history, until I got this one particular history teacher. He would get so wrapped up in his lectures that it was impossible not to be carried along on a wave of enthusiasm. As a sign of how deep into his subject he would get: He would lecture while sitting on the edge of his desk, just underneath a row of hanging fluorescent lights. One snowy winter day, someone put a couple of snowballs on top of the lights, above where he sat. As the snowballs started to melt during his lecture, he just brushed the water out of his face, cursed the rain, and carried on. I still have a fondness for Greeks, Persians, Romans, and the rest of what he taught…

  73. My experience, due to either the family moving, or shifting demographics, is spread over 7 schools and 2 provinces. OFD’s 80/20 rule sounds like a good one. Your story is typical. FAR too many non-entities for the vocation.

    A friend of mine (the Christmas dinner one) earned a masters in mathematics, but teaches dance and PE at the public HS. He is paid more for his degree, but isn’t paid for his degree, so to speak. He’s waiting for the non-masters math teachers to retire. Seniority shouldn’t trump skill. He tutored my kids when Anne and I glazed over, and taught them a bit of dancing, to boot. He’s actually a pretty good dancer!

  74. Bill wrote:

    “Oh Greg, give it up. I didn’t call your sister a liar, I said she was repeating one. If you don’t like the heat, keep your sister out of the kitchen. This, you may have noticed, is a tough room.”

    Bob said that at first, you’ve only just said it now. Why did it take you so long, unless you were just trying to be objectionable as long as possible?

    No Bill, this is not a tough room. If you want to know what tough is go and read Jerry Coyne’s site. He keeps telling them to be civil to each other but they ignore him and turn the blow torch on anyone who sticks their head up. Even the atheists hate each other. I think that this place is reasonably civil because we’re all conservatives or libertarians.

    “Such as, it explains your willingness to believe in the union line, and to blindly follow the opinion of others.”

    As I said, I don’t believe the union line. Sorry you weren’t paying attention.

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