Saturday, 24 May 2014

08:17 – The morning paper ran an article about the North Carolinians for Home Education annual conference that’s currently running in Winston-Salem. The article mentioned that North Carolina is a “homeschool friendly” state, which is kind of true. North Carolina is friendlier to homeschooling than many states, but it’s by no means in the top rank. Some states have no requirements at all for homeschooling, not even requiring notification of intent to homeschool. North Carolina requires notification to register a home school. The requirements are not onerous, but they do exist.

What surprised me was the number of registered homeschools in Forsyth County: 1,600 of them. That means that 1,600 families in this county are homeschooling. Some homeschool families homeschool only one child, but many have two or more learning at home. One homeschool family that lives down the street from us has four or five kids being homeschooled, and that’s not an unusual number. I think it’s safe to assume that the average homeschool family has at least two kids being homeschooled. That means there are 3,000+ students being homeschooled in Forsyth County. ISTR that Forsyth County has about 50,000 students in public schools, which means homeschooler students here are 6% or so of total students.

This fast-increasing percentage of homeschoolers doesn’t bode well for public schools. On average, homeschool students dramatically outperform public school students by every measure. That’s not because home schools are “better” than public schools. It’s because there’s self-selection going on. Brighter kids are much more likely to be homeschooled than average or slow kids, simply because brighter kids are much more likely to have bright parents, who in turn are much more likely both to care about their kids’ education and to have the resources to take on homeschooling. What we’re watching is the dumbing down of public schools, as they lose many of their best students to homeschooling. If this trend continues and accelerates, which I suspect it will, public schools are going to end up being warehouses for average and below-average students, with most of the above-average and really bright kids being homeschooled or attending private schools.


10:36 – Speaking of reasons why any sane parent who is able to do so homeschools their kids or sends them to private school, take the case of poor Gwendolyn Williams. She’s eight years old. She stands 4’1″ (125 cm) tall and weighs 66 pounds (30 kilos).

The New York City Department of Public Education is very concerned about overweight kids. They send notes home with the kids to report to the parents on their weight status. They tell the kids not to look at the notes, but of course nearly all of them do. Gwendolyn’s note reported that she is fat, which of course horrified her. This was not a mistake, you understand. The NYC DPE honestly believes this little girl is fat, not that they are in any way qualified to have an opinion. They base their judgment on BMI, which has been known for decades to be worthless. But they accomplished what they apparently intended to accomplish: they now have this little girl and presumably tens of thousands of others believing they are “fat”. Way to go folks. I wonder how many cases of anorexia nervosa they’ll cause. Not to mention how many little girls will have their self-images destroyed for no reason. Here’s a better image of Gwendolyn than they used in the article. She looks to me like a normal little girl, with a stick-like figure. Only a moron could believe that this little girl is “fat”. But I’m sure that the NYC DPE has lots and lots of morons on staff.

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31 Responses to Saturday, 24 May 2014

  1. OFD says:

    The publik skools were already State warehouses and indoctrination centers; now the brighter kids are able to escape all that, thankfully; but the rest will be consigned to dumbass perdition, for the State’s remaining drone jobs and the military and police.

  2. CowboySlim says:

    IIRC, a half century ago it was illegal in some midwest locales to homeschool. Parents who kept their children out of public schools were charged with kidnapping.

    What we have here nowadays are warehouses that release them after 12 years with worthless diplomas. (A state law requiring passing certain mandated tests for high school graduation is ignored.) Community colleges must accept all with high school diplomas. Fifty per cent of the community college courses are remedial math and English. Only thirty per cent of these community college students return for the second year. Outside of that, my tax dollars provide great value.

  3. OFD says:

    “Fifty per cent of the community college courses are remedial math and English.”

    Haha, I am ROFLMAO here. For those who missed the current situation regarding colleges and universities: A quarter-century ago, when OFD was a college English instructor, grad student and teaching assistant, the bulk of the incoming freshman classes at two colleges and two prominent universities, all in the wonderful Northeast, were remedial English and math. Forget community colleges: howzabout Clark University in Woostuh, MA and Rutgers University in New Jersey! And at the latter, about 50% ESL kids from all over the damn planet, mostly the Middle East and south Asia. At the NJ colleges, Bloomfield and Saint Peter’s, mostly Latino and African-American.

    And naturally the State and the teacher unions hate and loathe and despise home-schooling and have done everything they can to deep-six it and make life difficult for people. This, while they screech for more pay and bennies and in the face of declining enrollments. Bastards.

  4. OFD says:

    On the young girl that the State, in its holy wisdom hath decreed fat: utter and obscene bullshit. How dare they. Scum. To the wall, seriously. They’re ruining lives here.

    And by their BMI standards and the charts I’ve seen, even recently, I am considered obese. Really? I lost about twenty pounds over the past coupla months in an effort to alleviate back pain and lower the BP and help with the breathing, all of which has improved, by the way, so I’m down to 255 now and this they consider fat, at 6’5″. I guess previously I must have been MORBIDLY obese. I am what long ago used to be described as tall and rangy, in roughly the same height/weight config as an NFL tight end or QB but of course pathetically nowhere near the same shape by a geometric order of magnitude.

  5. Dave B. says:

    And by their BMI standards and the charts I’ve seen, even recently, I am considered obese. Really? I lost about twenty pounds over the past coupla months in an effort to alleviate back pain and lower the BP and help with the breathing, all of which has improved, by the way, so I’m down to 255 now and this they consider fat, at 6’5″. I guess previously I must have been MORBIDLY obese. I am what long ago used to be described as tall and rangy, in roughly the same height/weight config as an NFL tight end or QB but of course pathetically nowhere near the same shape by a geometric order of magnitude.

    Well that does it. Your BMI is 30.2 which fits into some morons definition of obesity. I am offended. My BMI based on my weight the last time I bothered to check it is now 31.0. I recall someone here, probably our host, pointing out how lousy a measure of body type BMI is, since a guy my height and weight who was solid muscle would have the same BMI that I do. If I’m fatter than OFD, I think it’s high time that I took the dog for a walk or engaged in some other form of exercise that consumes more calories than pounding on the keys on my keyboard.

  6. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    My BMI is currently about 24, but that’s because I eat less as I’ve gotten older and my weight is down under 200 pounds now. When I was playing serious tennis, my BMI was about 22, but back then I’d often play serve-and-volley tennis for literally eight or ten hours on end in July and August heat with only short breaks between matches. One time I wore one of those ankle pedometers, which told me I’d run 11 miles in one five-set match, all of it in short sprints. Of course, stride length is extremely variable in a tennis match, but I think that number was probably pretty accurate.

  7. CowboySlim says:

    I don’t see public schools as necessarily bad for above average students.

    I assist my daughter in her class as a volunteer. Her class is 100% characterized in a politically correct mode as English learners or English second language. Now, the children speak unaccented English although their parents have no, or minimal, capability in English. Yes, that school is a warehouse. When I score a 40 question test for the 20 students, a statistically sufficient data set, I register an overall score of 25 to 30% correct answers. I do not see more than 10% of these children as leaving with a valid diploma. What we need to understand is that an average age the students warehoused in this 1 through 8 grade school being 50%, or more, of the expected age of 10 as politically impossible. As such, they are released with diploma at age 12 0r 13 regardless of skills or knowledge.

    OTOH, and fortunately so, this is not a result of the particular school district. My daughter’s children, 14 year old boy and 11 year girl, living in the same city and attending schools in the same school district are doing exceptionally well. My grandson is a straight A student and my granddaughter not far behind. Due to residential characteristics, their schools are attended by middle class, non-ethnic minority children from households that are not termed economically disadvantaged by the politically correct. They both understand that college is in their future and they desire that. College attendance is expected by the parents of those in the high school that my grandchildren will attend (Google: Newport Harbor High).

    In summary, in that school district, one school may be characterized as being in Detroit City and the other as in Beverly Hills, 90210. (As an anecdote, I might add then when picking mine up on weekly early release day and taking them to my house, they do their homework in the back seat of my Jeep without having been directed.)

    OK, IM(not so)HO, the schools from age 6 on have to do with it. The ability to be educated is determined in the first five years at home.

    CowboySlim BMI: 20, YOB: 1938, Four sets of tennis, doubles, this week.

  8. OFD says:

    “…If I’m fatter than OFD…”

    Yup. You is fatter than me. We is just a couple of gigantic pie-wagons, humongous, just waddling through our lives…

    “…my weight is down under 200 pounds now.”

    Why, at your height, you is just one slim little kid now…a mere shadow…

    “CowboySlim BMI: 20, YOB: 1938, Four sets of tennis, doubles, this week.”

    Sure, now we see where yer moniker comes from. Damn. 1938. A very bad year in other respects. BMI of 20??? You must not even be there. You’re invisible.

  9. CowboySlim says:

    Worse yet, there is an obesity epidemic ongoing and I’m failing to do my share (M. Obama’s advice notwithstanding).

  10. brad says:

    It’s the kids who either have incredibly motivated parents (home schooling) or relatively well-off parents (private school). A bright kid born to normal parents – either in motivation or in wealth – is doomed to purgatory. That sucks.

    I forgot one other requirement – the right temperament. I like kids; my wife life them, but a bit less. But neither of us would have the temperament to handle educating kids under, say, the age of 15. It’s just not in us, no way, we’d probably strangle the little buggers.

    BMI works just dandy for me. 5’11” and around 178 lbs, gives me a BMI of 25, which is at the upper limit of normal. And, indeed, that’s pretty much where I am, just putting on a bit too much of a belly. I have a very narrow frame – both of my teenage sons are a lot broader than I am, purely from bone-structure. For anyone with a more normal build, this height/weight ratio would probably be skinny.

    @Cowboy Slim: Wish I could play more tennis – scheduling problems…

  11. CowboySlim says:

    Regarding homeschoolimg as an alternative to the warehousing that the kids receive at the school at which my daughter teaches and I assist, how does it work when neither parent is fluent in English nor have graduated grammar school?

  12. OFD says:

    It doesn’t, would be my guess.

    But how did previous generations of non-English-speaking immigrants get their kids to become successful here?

  13. SteveF says:

    Obviously the previous generations of non-English-speaking children never did learn to speak English, because the earlier system was not perfect, which means that it didn’t work at all.

    Seriously, education is one area in which a return to what we had a century ago would be a huge improvement over what we have. Flawed or not, it was better than the current education establishment.

  14. OFD says:

    Dump the Dewey, Mann and the German theory bullshit immediately (which goes back probably more than a century ago) if a State is to have public education. Phonics for language learning in the early grades, plus writing and arithmetic and a return to the classics. Heavier on the STEM and languages, while not neglecting genuine history and geography. But I don’t think the State should be in the business anyway; if parents or communities want to educate their kids, then it’s on them; and the ones who can’t or won’t make the effort somehow, will know that it’s the educated and smarter and more clever kids who will be successful and presumably help to take care of them when they’re infirm and in old age. The others, not so much.

    You say you and your spouse don’t have the time, energy or wherewithal or there is some other insurmountable reason you can’t do the gig? Well barter with somebody else, then. Or band together with others and pay a schoolteacher.

  15. SteveF says:

    Yah. Although

    Well barter with somebody else, then. Or band together with others and pay a schoolteacher.

    is illegal, at least in NYS. We are graciously allowed to educate our own children (with case-by-case permission from the state, and with a heavy paperwork burden) but otherwise the children must be educated by state-sanctioned schools.

    (Yes, I hate NYS. The only thing keeping me here is family, and most days that tie is barely strong enough.)

  16. CowboySlim says:

    Yeah, and homeschooling for the ESLs is figurative only. Literally, they live in converted garages, both parents and 3 to 5 children is typical. Fortunately, the residential building codes specify two car garages. Kind of tough environment, teaching one of grammar school age while three preschoolers run around the 400 sq foot garage.

  17. OFD says:

    AKA The Vampire State in some quarters. They suck the life out of ya, as in MA, RI, CT, NJ, etc. I’m the only one of my family who ever lived out of MA; the rest just stay down there forever, I guess; the wives won’t even dream of ever moving outta there and the only time they leave is for vay-cay or visiting kids away at college, in, say, Kalifornia, another state that leeches on its citizens.

    Occasionally the usual suspects infesting political quarters here in Vermont will try to slip one by; a few months ago the “Queen City” of Burlington and its rabid commie city council and its enablers and hangers-on tried to enact several anti-firearms ordinances there, while knowing full well that the state of Vermont has priority over shit like that and will either approve it or not, which, of course, they did not. Never made it to any kind of discussion at the Snake House, even. Shit-canned immediately.

    A year or two ago some dimwit Dem trollop tried the same thing in Essex, and her own party nabobs told her to STFU. Years ago the city council in the state capitol tried this crap when the city manager was outta town; word got out and they found themselves having their meeting with an SRO crowd inside the building and hundreds more on the steps and the main street outside, most of them armed. The cops just stood by and laughed. Needless to say, that was the end of that. This, by the way, never made any national nooz, of course. The MSM likes to keep the mythology going that everybody is in a gay marriage here and worships Karl Marx and Mao.

    You down there in the Capital District tropics; you’ve been out in the upstate hinterlands; you know, of course, that peeps there don’t think or act the same as they do down in the Bagel. Same deal here; the Burlington/Chittenden County/Montpelier Corridor and the college towns are all reliably hardcore lefty scheisskopfen; out in the sticks a whole different ballgame.

  18. MrAtoz says:

    My Twins will graduate HS on June 5th with High Honors and Advanced Placement Diplomas (whatever that is). High Honors is 3.8+ Both accepted to UNLV. Both get the NV Millennium Scholarship (supposed to pay up to $10,000 of tuition over degree, 12 credits per year). Looking at major in engineering minor compsci. One wants to go into bioengineering so not sure major/minor.

  19. OFD says:

    Outstanding, MrAtoz! As they say in Maine: Finestkind!

    You are truly blessed, sir.

  20. CowboySlim says:

    “A quarter-century ago, when OFD was a college English instructor, grad student and teaching assistant, the bulk of the incoming freshman classes at two colleges and two prominent universities, all in the wonderful Northeast, were remedial English and math.”

    A half century ago, where I went to college, I don’t think that we had any remedial classes. Upon realization of their admittance mistake, those who should not have been admitted were not invited back after their first and only year Christmas hiatus.

  21. SteveF says:

    you know, of course, that peeps there don’t think or act the same as they do down in the Bagel

    Sure. But NYC and its bedroom communities are well over half of the state’s population, and that’s not even counting the parasite contingent in the upstate cities. (Conspicuously Albany, but Buffalo and Utica have significant parasite populations. Not sure about Rochester and Syracuse.) They select the governor and most of the legislature, and thus atrocities like Fuckface Cuomo’s “SAFE” Act get rammed through.

    I’ve advocated since I was a teen the separation of New York into two states. We can call them Adirondack and New York, for all I care; let the tainted name stick with the city that tainted it. (As I keep reminding Californians who bemoan the government corruption in their state, New York’s government has been corrupt since before there was a United States.)

  22. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    “(As I keep reminding Californians who bemoan the government corruption in their state, New York’s government has been corrupt since before there was a United States.)”

    Hey, I resemble that remark. One of my maternal ancestors, Dirk Volkertson, lived in New Amsterdam.

  23. CowboySlim says:

    Hey, I need to restate the necessity of home schooling. It is reading Dr. Seuss and other children’s books at bedtime for those of age 2 through ?? that sets the stage for all to follow. That is what we did for our children and what they have done for their children, including that second generation when they were visiting us overnight.

    And, as I noted above, that is what is missing in the lives of the minorities, disadvantaged and English learner. How do the non-grammar school educated, non-English speaking parents read to them in the garage before going to sleep? Consequently, when they do arrive at a school such as the one where my daughter attempts to teach them, it is too late for that and let the warehousing commence.

  24. OFD says:

    “… those who should not have been admitted were not invited back…”

    There it is. When things were more or less nommul. Half a century ago. I was only ten.

    “New York’s government has been corrupt since before there was a United States.”

    Ditto Maffachufetts and Rhode Island and Providence Plantations.

    “It is reading Dr. Seuss and other children’s books at bedtime for those of age 2 through ?? that sets the stage for all to follow.”

    Bulls-eye! Exactly. And having books around the house and being seen as adults frequently reading them and enjoying the pastime. Kill your television for a few years.

    “Consequently, when they do arrive at a school such as the one where my daughter attempts to teach them, it is too late for that and let the warehousing commence.”

    Sadly, yes. And not much chance, except in the case of a really determined kid who loves to read, of any of them getting anywhere without that. Chuck once referred to me and several others here as ‘hyper-literate,’ half-jokingly, I think, but that kinda describes it; in my case our parents read to us; we had books all over the house; I devoured books from age four; and had a library card and did book reports for the library by age six. Then took AP English all through skool and on to a college major in it.

    Dealing as a teacher/instructor with the ESL and remedial/developmental kids back all those years ago was nearly heartbreaking. The curriculum sucked and we were just there to sorta man-handle them through the class and get them to some other “next” level. While inculcating a bunch of uber-PC bullshit and no texts from before, say, 1965, always with lefty writers and scenarios. What made it even sadder is that some of the sharper kids knew this was all bullshit and laughed at it. It was like an MD trying to teach open heart surgery to a kid who was still trying to pass a first aid class. Or an engineer running a class on jet engine design and the kids never got beyond Legos or Lincoln Logs. And that’s probably stretching it.

    Brief t-storm blew by here a while ago but not much came of it; mostly gorgeous day with even bettuh tomorrow.

  25. CowboySlim says:

    Last thought for the day:

    Regarding education in the catch-mode for those who need it the most:
    1. All bullets to date were non-silver failures.
    2. Integration, desegregation, did not help.
    3. Busing was a non-green non-advance.
    4. Head Start benefits were short lived at best with no permanent advantages.
    5. Race to the top was a demonstration of a treadmill.
    6. No Child Left Behind got no child ahead.

    Why would we expect any better of the Common Core being implemented currently?

  26. CowboySlim says:

    Roger that, OFD!!!

  27. Ray Thompson says:

    those who should not have been admitted were not invited back

    Today colleges and universities are all about money. Employing the unemployable. Where else can a Roman History major find a job? Solution is to force students into taking classes that are not even closely related to their degree so that the school can justify such ridiculous classes and employ graduates in worthless disciplines.

    Add in the scholarships provided by states with lotteries such as the Hope Scholarship provided by TN and you are talking about big bucks coming to the school. The schools want to keep those people even if they are basically stupid. Put them in the stupid classes such as Roman History where you can get an A if you can print 5 in Roman numerals. That keeps the grade average up and the scholarship funds keep rolling in from the state.

    Oh, and if you have say 23 million to donate you can get the school to build a 48 million dollar building and put your name on the building. You get your choice of location including removing 100+ year old trees and building a building that was designed by first year first semester architect students. A mix of bad and really bad. Such building having major electrical and plumbing issues within the first six months requiring plumbing and wiring to now be exposed on interior walls because of the bad design.

    Then you have the professors who get grants to study worthless material. Big bucks for the university for producing very little. Even programs in hard sciences that produce valid results create a patent for the professor who let all his minions do the work using university resources.

    Higher education is a money machine, not an education machine. Education I think happens by accident, not on purpose.

  28. brad says:

    There is definitely a conflict of interest, in just about any school. Students bring money in the short-term – you don’t want to fail them out. But keeping incompetent students ruins the school’s long-term reputation.

    In one of my classes last semester I failed 2/3 of the students. I wasn’t entirely sure that the school administration would let me get away with it, but they did. Funny how word got around – this semester, in that course, the students are trying much harder. 😉

    Meanwhile, the school lost money last year, so we are expecting some cost-cutting measures soon. I will be absolutely fascinated to see how many of these fall on the teaching staff, and how many on the administration. Anybody wanna take bets?

  29. SteveF says:

    It’s not only academia.

    My first job out of the Army was with a branch office of Teledyne Brown Engineering which did military contracting. When I started there were something over 100 people in that office, of whom about 15 were executives, the receptionist, and other support. After the boss who founded the office got terminal cancer and another guy took over, the office started losing contracts and then losing people. Specifically, engineers were leaving. Not a single secretary was laid off. The managerial overhead actually increased as a sales “specialist” and then a “turn-around” “specialist” were brought in. Overhead went from around 12% to around 40% of the staffing by the time the office closed.

  30. OFD says:

    That scenario seems to be the case in gummint as well, along with several corporate officers I’ve worked at in recent years; lotsa “support staff” and chiefs, but few Indians and working drones. And then you start seeing the out-sourcing, offs-shoring, hiring of temp and contractor staff, and fewer and fewer vehicles out in the parking lots. After a while you start to wonder if it’s all deliberate.

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