Friday, March 26, 2010

FOXNews.com - Student Loan Company: Data on 3.3M People Stolen

FOXNews.com - Student Loan Company: Data on 3.3M People Stolen

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This sure sounds fishy to me because before this there was this... 

"Nine-point- one billion dollars of money created by the student loan takeover by the federal government is going to pay for health care. So it's not enough to increase the taxes on these students when they get a job because that's what will happen to them under this health care bill. It's not enough to pass on $2 trillion... of debt. That's what happens when you look at this bill in perpetuity. You got to hit them while they're in school." 

Let those words sink in, especially 'student loan takeover by the federal government is going to pay for health care.' Now, all of a sudden 3.3 million student records go missing?

Senator Lindsey Graham also states: "The average student will be spending $1,700 to $1,800 more during the life of their loan because of this surcharge. From the students' point of view, it's going to cost you $1,700 to $1,800 more to pay your student loan off, and all the money goes to the federal government. At the end of the day, they took the student loan business over to generate income for the federal government and they've applied it to paying for this health care bill." 

Smells fishier by the minute. I wouldn't trust anything with the Department of Education's fingers in it. College students...you can run but you can't hide. This is the same generation that grew up under OBE (outcome based education) with the Clinton administration.

Happy homeschoolers exploring their world...learning to play piano

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Mother furious after in-school clinic sets up teen's abortion | KOMO News - Breaking News, Sports, Traffic and Weather - Seattle, Washington | Local & Regional

Mother furious after in-school clinic sets up teen's abortion | KOMO News - Breaking News, Sports, Traffic and Weather - Seattle, Washington | Local & Regional

"When she signed a consent form, Jill figured it meant her 15 year old could go to the Ballard Teen Health Center located inside the high school for an earache, a sports physical, even birth control, but not for help terminating a pregnancy."

This mom is clueless! Sneaky actions like this have been going on in public schools since the Clinton's were in the White House so what is her excuse for not knowing?

"We had no idea this was being facilitated on campus," said Jill. "They just told her that if she concealed it from her family, that it would be free of charge and no financial responsibility."

Who gets to pay for the years of therapy this young girl is going to need now?

"The Seattle School District says it doesn't run the health clinics at high schools. Swedish Medical Center runs the clinic at Ballard High and protects the students' privacy."

Why is Sweden running these clinics in American schools?

Graham: 'Well Has Been Poisoned' By Health Care Law - Greta Van Susteren | On The Record With Greta - FOXNews.com

Graham: 'Well Has Been Poisoned' By Health Care Law - Greta Van Susteren | On The Record With Greta - FOXNews.com

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"Nine-point- one billion dollars of money created by the student loan takeover by the federal government is going to pay for health care. So it's not enough to increase the taxes on these students when they get a job because that's what will happen to them under this health care bill. It's not enough to pass on $2 trillion of debt. That's what happens when you look at this bill in perpetuity. You got to hit them while they're in school."

College just got more expensive! 

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The War on Kids...Public Schools Or Prisons? You decide!

It seems like every decade a pattern of bizarre behavior surfaces in our public schools. I'm not talking about the students here but of the schools themselves and their policies. When we first started homeschooling and I became a home education advocate parents would come to me complaining about the behavior modification and indoctrination in global community their children were being subjected to in public schools. We were finally able to put our finger on it and pinpoint the culprit...OBE...outcome based education.

What is it now? What is it called today? Zero tolerance? Not sure but take a look at this documentary titled 'The War on Kids' directed by Cevin Soling. This is chilling!

Be sure to check out the trailer at youtube along with several other amazing clips here and here.

Fortunately, many parents are finally catching on. They're reworking their priorities and finances in order to rescue their children from the grips of public schooling. For some it's too late but we need to keep up the pressure to get children out of these dangerous hell holes. People who work in these public schools are only prolonging the problem and should be ashamed of themselves for perpetrating such a horrific injustice on these innocent children. What is happening in public schools is nothing short of criminal and unconstitutional.

The gauntlet is laid before your feet. It is a war and I for one am willing to lead with the battle cry....GET THE CHILDREN OUT NOW!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Happy homeschoolers exploring their world...among the milk weeds

When Homeschooling Isn’t Working

When Homeschooling Isn’t Working

I have to share this with my readers. This blog post horrified me! A schooling at home mom reveals:

"Oh, it had been a long time coming. Attitude problems. Refusing to do his work. Taking hours and hours for a single assignment. Just after Christmas he informed archly that “he doesn’t read”, such a plebeian pastime being beneath him. After that, silent reading became a battle, too.

Mr R began requiring more supervision. Eventually other subjects were crowded out. No time for art this week – I had to browbeat Mr R into writing his spelling words. No time for art when the math hasn’t been done. Prima Latina sat unopened on my desk. We just couldn’t get to it."

Her solution? She expelled her son from school. Yup! She expelled her own son from her homeschool. Yup! She's schooling at home. Is it any wonder her son had had enough? With such a tight leash and all that school work I would have rebelled too. This mom continues to whine:

"Mr R wasn’t content with just putting off his schoolwork. While Mama was busy teaching borrowing to the second grader, Mr R would be gobbling chocolate chips in the kitchen or annoying his little sisters or fighting with the third grader. His relationship with his sister, Miss E, has never been ideal and it simply got worse. Our school got loud, then got louder."

Hey mom, put the darn chocolate chip cookies away (better yet don't bring them into the house) and pay attention to your son. He's trying to tell you something. Why does she keep referring to her children as the second grader or the third grader? If this mom holds a teaching degree in education that may explain the baggage she's carrying with all this schooling nonsense. Schooling at home mom continues:

"We spent days on end fighting. I was always mad, even if I didn’t show it. Why couldn’t he just get his math book, without all the drama? I could never enjoy the creative stories he tried to tell me because I kept interrupting him to insist that he write his spelling words. I was constantly annoyed with him because I knew his grammar lesson lurked, blank and unfinished, on the shelf."

She couldn't enjoy his creative stories? No, to her the math book, the spelling words and the grammar lessons were more important to her than her child's creative imagination and his enjoyment of simply telling his mom what was rambling around in his head. If anyone should be annoyed it's her son for having a mom who is constantly anal over school busywork.

"He wanted to help me with dinner, but how could I let him when he hadn’t done his basics and when I suspected he was using it as a ploy to get out of schoolwork? He wanted to wander the creek looking for snakes, but I couldn’t let him out of the yard because he’d only done two math problems."

This oblivious statement nearly brought tears to my eyes. This poor boy. He wants only to be a boy and do boy things like learn in freedom. He wants only to receive his mother's unconditional acceptance but she's too busy trying to cram schoolwork down his throat. She's too busy to see he is reaching out as only a young boy knows how. Wake up here mom!

Has it never dawned on this mom that her hard-nosed approach to homeschooling may be what her son is rebelling against? Instead of researching the solution to her son's anguish she runs off shopping just to find some peace and quiet. With the situation deteriorating further she hammers down even more and comes up with a brilliant (in her mind) solution. So, what does she do? She expels her son from her school! She banishes him from the family (basically) since her school is his homeschool:

"Since he was no longer a student at St. Joseph Academy for Wayward children, he was no longer allowed to fraternize with the students during school hours (his siblings). He would have to spend school time in his room, alone, playing until I was able to enroll him in a different school. I promised to call him down at lunch time. He could not go outside, because he was not enrolled in any school and what would he tell the truancy officer if he happened to drive by?"

Now I am brought to tears. This boy is not only banished from his family (remember, no fraternizing with students during school hours) he is confined to quarters. Even when I was in the Army I never had a sergeant as hard-ass as this! What is that woman thinking? She claims her son has mood stability problems, bipolar disorder, and learning disabilities but I'm beginning to wonder if some of these problems stem from her lack of parenting skills. If I had to live with her I'd be moody too. I think this is a crock of sugar she's been fed by some so-called 'expert' and she uses these labels as an excuse to blame her problems on her son. Tyrant mom concludes:

"After a day of this, and an emotional meeting between us, with his father mediating, promises were made (as they always are.) I allowed him back into the school, on the condition that he complete his work quickly and promptly, without argument. And on the following Monday, he arrived at our school a changed man."

Although I'm relieved this boy's banishment was only for a day (really?) and daddy finally stepped in to get involved, I still can't help wondering how long this truce will last. For now mommy got her way but eventually (having raised a boy of my own) her son will tire of mom's idea of homeschooling. He'll test the waters again and try to gain a smidgen of independence. He'll try to learn naturally without the artificial trappings his mom imposes on him. His cries for acceptance and his cravings to learn in a appropriate and loving environment will bubble up to the surface again. A changed man? If anyone needs to change here it's mom and we can only hope that she has learned her lesson.

FOXNews.com - GOP Senators Question $1M Salary for Boys and Girls Club CEO

FOXNews.com - GOP Senators Question $1M Salary for Boys and Girls Club CEO

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"The four senators said they were concerned that the chief executive of a charity that has been closing local clubs for lack of funding was compensated nearly $1 million in 2008. They also questioned why in the same year officials spent $4.3 million on travel, $1.6 million on conferences, conventions and meetings, and $544,000 in lobbying fees."

Lobbying fees? For what, more money!

"Roxanne Spillett, president and CEO of the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, received a total compensation of $988,591 in 2008, according to the charity's tax filings. She got a base salary of $360,774, a bonus of $150,000 and other compensation of $83,152, for a total of $593,926. She also received $385,500 in deferred compensation, most of which went to a retirement plan, and $9,165 in nontaxable benefits."

This is wrong on so many levels. It really doesn't pay to donate on a national level and probably never did. Be sure you know where your money goes!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Junior High School Principal's Office

Vermont's lowest scoring schools announced

The Burlington Free Press published this article.

According to the Burlington Free Press the 10 most 'persistently low-achieving' schools in Vermont are:

• Bridport Elementary School

• Fair Haven High School

• Johnson Elementary School

• Mount Abraham Union High School

• Northfield Elementary School

• Otter Valley High School

• Rutland High School

• Windsor High School

• Winooski High School

• H.O. Wheeler Elementary School (now called Integrated Arts Academy)


The top 3 school districts I get the most phone calls from parents wanting to start homeschooling are:

1. Fair Haven
2. Rutland
3. Wallingford

Kansas City Announces Major School Closures, Layoffs

Kansas City Announces Major School Closures, Layoffs

$50 million deficit! Homeschooling...here they come!

Monday, March 8, 2010

FREE online Tag Sale Guide now available to Guerrilla Homeschooling blog readers!

Tag sale season is fast approaching. Having your own tag sale is a great way to raise funds for your homeschooling family. Turn your cast-offs and clutter into cash!

As a special thank you to all my Guerrilla Homeschooling blog readers I am making my tag sale guide Tips & Strategies For A Successful & Profitable Tag Sale: A guide to planning and conducting your next tag sale with less hassle & bigger profits! available online for FREE! Just go to the top tabs at my Anna Q's Attic blog and click on Free Tag Sale Guide! You can read it online or print it out for your own personal viewing.

*Note: This online eBook version of the Tips & Strategies For A Successful & Profitable Tag Sale does NOT contain the Tag Sale Calendar Time Line. In the printed version this time line is a center page pull-out feature.

Schools' New Math: the Four-Day Week - Local News | News Articles | National News | US News - FOXNews.com

Schools' New Math: the Four-Day Week - Local News | News Articles | National News | US News - FOXNews.com

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Hooray! One less day in the system will benefit everyone, especially the children. What will parents and children do with that extra day off? Homeschool? De-school? Maybe once they get a taste of freedom (if only for one day) they may convert to homeschooling full-time. We can only hope.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Top Home-School Texts Dismiss Darwin, Evolution - Local News | News Articles | National News | US News - FOXNews.com

Top Home-School Texts Dismiss Darwin, Evolution - Local News | News Articles | National News | US News - FOXNews.com

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I've never put much stock in ANY text book. They're dry as dust, the information is too fragmented and publishers charge outrageous prices for them.

"If this is the way kids are home-schooled then they're being shortchanged, both rationally and in terms of biology," Coyne said. He argued that the books may steer students away from careers in biology or the study of the history of the earth."

There's a simple solution to all this hoopla...just don't buy the damn books! Geeeeeeeeeeeesh!

Happy homeschoolers exploring their world...with their pet pony

Children and animals seem to have a special attachment. Caring for a pet while growing up can be one of the greatest learning experiences a child can have.

Happy homeschoolers exploring their world...dissecting pond life

Friday, March 5, 2010

Detroit School Leader Sends Wrong Message, Some Parents Say - Local News | News Articles | National News | US News - FOXNews.com

Detroit School Leader Sends Wrong Message, Some Parents Say - Local News | News Articles | National News | US News - FOXNews.com

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"In another city, these revelations might be grounds for disqualification. But Mathis is liked and defended by many of his peers, who cite his collegiality, lack of defensiveness and leadership as more important than his writing skills. Even Winfrey, his defeated rival for the presidency, declined to criticize his qualifications."

Nooooooooo comment! Well, maybe just a short one. He's defended by his peers for his collegiality, lack of defensiveness and leadership? For crying out loud, he's president of a metropolitan school board, not runner-up for Mr. America! His peers are sending the message: 'so what if your grades stink, there's no need to excel because you can become president of a school board just by being a mister nice guy.'

So what if he can't write. It's not like he's a teacher in a classroom. Oh, wait...

"Mathis has also worked as a substitute teacher in Detroit schools, which are ranked among the lowest-achieving metropolitan public school districts in the country. But he told the paper his story is about someone who has managed his limitations."

'Managed' his limitations? I think the proper wording here is 'hidden' his limitations. Wonder if Mathis supports homeschooling and vouchers?  

The flip side to this is Mathis himself, would probably make a great homeschooling parent. He'd be forced to make more of an effort to find a suitable English instructor for is own child and he could learn good writing skills along side his youngster.

'Nuff said.

'Extra Small' Condoms for 12-Year-Old Boys Go on Sale - Sex | Erectile Dysfunction | Sexual Health - FOXNews.com

'Extra Small' Condoms for 12-Year-Old Boys Go on Sale - Sex | Erectile Dysfunction | Sexual Health - FOXNews.com

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What next? Extra small diaphragms fort 12 year old girls? What's to stop our public schools from passing these out to middle school students in health class?

Michigan 6-Year-Old Suspended From School for Making Gun With Hand - Local News | News Articles | National News | US News - FOXNews.com

Michigan 6-Year-Old Suspended From School for Making Gun With Hand - Local News | News Articles | National News | US News - FOXNews.com

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Why are public schools always picking on 5 and 6 year olds? I guess it's because the public schools finally have their claws into these kids and the indoctrination process starts early in these hell holes.
 
"Don't worry mom and dad, we're here to destroy little Johny's fertile imagination so he'll never be able to pretend anything ever again. Just leave him to us and in 15 years we'll give you back a frustrated, labeled, legally drugged, illiterate teenage boy who won't question authority."

If you're one of the lucky parents little Johny will still be alive by then and maybe, just maybe, you can salvage part of his life and soul over the next 30 years.  Geeeeeeeeeeeesh!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Happy homeschoolers exploring their world...at a sugar house

It's sugaring time in Vermont. The wood is stacked and ready to go into the furnace for boiling the sap. These homeschoolers are amazed at the size of the wood pile. You can boil up a serious batch of maple syrup with this much wood!

10 Ways to Pay For Your Homeschooling

1. Quit your job! That’s right. If you are a two-parent family and you both work outside the home, one of you needs to quit your job. Just think of the savings. No more need to maintain a second vehicle, no work wardrobe, lunches, gifts for fellow employees, travel expenses, day care, housekeeper and so forth. Go home, get to know your children and heal your splintered family. If you’re a single parent family this may not be so easy but it can be done. Assuming a truly single parent has lost a spouse the divorced single parent usually has some sort of financial child support. If this is the case you’re still operating as a two-parent family and this suggestion still applies.

2. Create a home-based business. Now that you’ve quit your outside job you can work from home. Get your children involved and give them responsibilities. Little ones can empty the trash can or dust the office. Older children can learn computer and marketing skills. This is a great way for them to learn economics, math, business law, bookkeeping, accounting and more. You’ll be amazed how many tax deductions are available for a business owner.

3. Sell on eBay. If you sell on eBay you will never be unemployed. Like most families you probably have lots of items around the house that no longer have any use or value to you. Set up an eBay seller account and start listing. You’ll need a scale and a measure tape. A camera isn’t necessary if you’re listing books with ISBN numbers because eBay will usually supply a stock photo. A digital camera is handy for providing photos of your other items though. The post office will supply free shipping materials if you use the Priority Mail service. However, there are lots of sources for free used boxes for shipping. You may need to buy a ready supply of clear packing tape and printer paper. Learning eBay is easy because it’s mostly multiple choice, it’s safe and the business systems are already in place.

4. Join BigCrumbs. This is a website that offers cash back rewards for purchases at over 500 online retailers and eBay. It is 100% free to join. Once you set up your eBay seller account you can add a link on your Me page to your BigCrumbs as a service to your buyers, encouraging them to save money on their purchases and get cash back. You'll also get cash back from their shopping when they sign up as your referral. Remember all that stuff you want to set up your home-based business with? You can purchase much of it online through your BigCrumbs account and get cash back when you do.

5. Create a blog and monetize it. There are many free blogs websites online but I recommend Blogger.com because it’s free, easy to use and has lots of great features to spruce up your blog. Once you set up your blog you can monetize it. This means you can add products, ads and even donation buttons to make money. Just remember you’ll need good content to drive traffic to your blog and if you do, it can be quite profitable. It’s also a great way to document your homeschool because a blog is like a public journal. That digital camera you acquired for eBay will be handy for adding photos to your blog.

6. Do odd jobs and get paid. There are many folks in your neighborhood whom could use an extra hand at leaf raking, snow shoveling, dog washing, garden weeding, grocery shopping, goat milking, housekeeping, garage cleaning, and more. Make business cards and flyers to hand out to family and friends to advertise. There are many websites that offer free business cards if you pay the shipping. I use VistaPrint.com and order my cards through BigCrumbs. I get the cards for free, pay the shipping and get cash back on the shipping fee.

7. Create a product. Take photos and sell them. Write a booklet or e-book and sell it online. Make a craft item and sell it on eBay or Etsy.com. If you upload your photos or drawings to a print-on-demand website like Cafepress.com you can have your designs printed on T-shirts, mugs, calendars, note cards and much more for free. When the item sells you get a commission.

8. Buy and sell junk. Indoor and outdoor flea markets are a great place to sell your cast-offs. If weather allows you can always have your own tag/garage sale. Go to tag sales later in the day when the sellers are ready to give their items away cheap or have made free piles. Auctions are a great place to get a van load of goodies for very little cash. Just remember to leave room in your van for the kids when you shop at an auction. We sometimes returned from the dump with more than we took because the pickings were good that day. Take your new-found treasures and sell them on eBay.

9. Team up with other homeschoolers. Buy in bulk, barter, trade, borrow and share. This could be everything from books to your precious time. Take turns driving to lessons or child sitting. Swap books and homeschooling supplies. As our children grew we had many computer CD’s we passed along to younger or new homeschoolers. Last time I checked the public library was still free. If you have a library card and a computer you have the world at your fingertips. Once grandparents and family members realize you’re serious about this homeschool thing they tend to get into the spirit by giving more support and educational gifts on those special occasions like birthdays and holidays.

10. Create a budget and follow it. This is very important. Learn where your money goes and it will be easier to manage it and make it last. Prioritize! Distinguish between want and need. Once you do this you’ll be amazed at how much found money you have for those little extras. The Rich Dad Poor Dad series by Robert Kiyosaki has some great books on personal finance and understanding money. Kiyosaki also has a fun website for children where they can learn about money. If you can’t afford to buy these books you can always borrow from your local library or a friend.

Learn to buy and sell junk...one man's trash is another man's treasure

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Wednesday, March 3, 2010

John Taylor Gatto: The Bartleby Project

Invitation to an Open Conspiracy: The Bartleby Project

This piece may be circulated without cost on the Internet, but only if used uncut and cost-free. The Bartleby Project is taken from Mr. Gatto’s book, Weapons of Mass Instruction, New Society Publishers 2008.

If you read this to the end, you’ll discover that I’m inviting you to join a real conspiracy, call it an open conspiracy, with real consequences on millions of real lives. I know that sounds megalomaniacal, but be patient. If we pull this off, a great many will bless us, although the school industry few will curse us. This is about a project to destroy the standardized testing industry, one in which you, personally, will be an independent unit commander. This adventure is called “The Bartleby Project, for reasons you’ll learn in just a little while. And keep in mind as you read, this has nothing to do with test reform. It’s about test destruction.

We’ve all taken these tests. After graduation few of us think back on this ugly phenomenon unless we have little ones of our own being tested, and have to live through the agony of watching them stumble. We lose touch with the rituals of testing because, upon entering adult life, we inevitably discover that the information these glorified jigsaw puzzles generates is unreliable, and very misleading — absolutely nobody ever asks after the data. We see that those who test well are more often circus dogs than leaders of the future.

Nothing inside the little red schoolhouse does more personal and social damage than the numbers and rank order these tests hang around the necks of the young. Although the scores correlate with absolutely nothing of real value, the harm they cause is real enough: such assessments are a crowning glory of the social engineers who seized final control of institutional schooling during the presidency o Franklin Roosevelt. They constitute a matchless weapon of social control, wreaking havoc on winners and losers alike. Standardized testing is the tail wagging the entire monster of forced institutional schooling.

The frequent ceremonies of useless testing — preparation, administration, recovery – convert forced schooling into a travesty of what education should be; they drain hundreds of millions of days yearly from what might otherwise be productive pursuits; they divert tens of billions of cash resources into private pockets. The next effect of standardized testing is to reduce our national wealth in future generations, by suffocating imagination and intellect, while enhancing wealth for a few in the present. This occurs as a byproduct of “scientifically” ranking the tested so they can be, supposedly, classified efficiently as human resources. I hope the chapters of this book have done some damage to these assumptions, enough to recruit you as a leader in The Bartleby Project. If you show the way, others will follow.

We’ve reached a point in North America where it isn’t enough to claim moral loftiness by merely denouncing them or muttering about them in books and essays which only true believers read. Standardized testing, which has always been about standardization and never about quality standards, must no longer be debated, but brutally and finally destroyed if schooling is ever again to take up a mission of intellect and character enhancement. And so, as I told you earlier, you’ll be invited to lead – not join, but lead – a plan to cut the testing empire off at the knees; a plan to rip its heart out swiftly and cheaply. An incidental byproduct of the Bartleby Project will be to turn the men and women who create and supervise these murderous exercises into pariahs, but that isn’t the point.

No organization will be required to oversee this simple plan – or, rather, thousands of organizations will be; all local, all uncoordinated. Otherwise , we will be certain to be co-opted, marginalized, corrupted – as all reform organizations become in time: and one as powerful as the Bartleby concept would be quickly subjected to sabotage were it centralized. To make this work – and soon you’ll know what it looks like specifically – requires exactly the kind of courage it took to sledgehammer the first chunks out of the Berlin Wall, a currency in ready abundance among teenagers – the rightful leaders. I’ll briefly mount a case why such a project is needed and then introduce you to its spiritual godfather, Bartleby the Scrivener.

On May 8, 2008, the New York Sun reported that despite legal mandates which require physical education be offered every school day, only one kid out of every twenty-five received even the legal minimum of 24 minutes a day. The New York City comptroller was quoted by the Sun, saying that physical training was a major concern of parents. But then, parents have had no significant voice in school for over a century. The story gets even darker than you realize.

Quietly, over the past decade, a national epidemic of obesity and diabetes has appeared in children as young as five. The connections between food, lack of exercise, and these twin plagues have been recognized for a long time. Diabetes is the principal cause of blindness and amputations in the US, and obesity is the leading cause of  heart disease and self-loathing. That the non-fat are revolted by the fat, and discriminate heavily against them should not be a mystery, even to the stupid. Fat kids are punished cruelly in classrooms and on the playground.

In the face of these sobering facts, that thousands of schools still serve familiar fast food – and also non-proprietary fatty foods like liverwurst and bologna as nutrition – should have already caused you to realize that school is literally a risk to the mental and physical health of the young. Coupled with the curious legal tradition which makes serious lawsuits against school-generated human damage impossible, I hope you will try to convince yourself that behind the daily noise and squalor, a game is afoot in this institution which has little to do with popular myth. Standardizing minds is a big part of that game.

In the news story cited, a representative of New York City’s Board of Education declares, “We’re beginning to realize student health is a real core subject area.” Think about that The city has had a hundred year near-monopoly over children’s daily lives and it’s only beginning to realize that health is important? Where is evidence of that realization? Don’t all schools still demand physical confinement in chairs as a necessary concomitant of learning?

When lack of exercise has clearly been figured as a main road to diabetes and obesity, and both conditions are well-understood to lead to blindness, amputations, heart disease, and self-hatred, how can law only provide 24 minutes of exercise a day, and be so poorly enforced that only one in twenty-five gets even that? Doesn’t that tell you something essential about the managers of schooling? At the very least, that 96 percent of all schools in New York City break the law with impunity in a matter threatening the health of students. What makes it even more ominous is that school officials are known for and wide for lacking independent judgment and courage in the face of bureaucratic superiors; but something in this particular matter must give them confidence that they won’t be held personally liable.

You must face the fact that an outlaw ethic runs throughout institutional schooling. It’s well-hidden inside ugly buildings, masked by dull people, mindless drills, and the boring nature of almost everything associated with schools, but make no mistake – under orders from somewhere, this institution is perfectly capable of lying about life-and-death matters, so how much more readily about standardized testing?

If the bizarre agenda of official schooling allows its representatives to tell the press that after a hundred years they’re beginning to learn what Plato and Aristotle wrote eloquently about thousands of years ago, and that privileged sanctuaries like Eton, Harrow, Groton, and St. Pauls have practiced since their inception, that physical health depends upon movement, you should be reluctant to assign credibility to any school declaration. Under the right pressure from somewhere, schools can easily be brought to act against the best interests of students or faculty.

This is what has happened with standardized testing, post WWII. Some teachers know, and most all teachers feel it in their bones, that the testing rituals cause damage. But human nature being what it is, only a few dare resist, and these are always eventually discovered and punished.

I began my own schooling in 1940 in the gritty industrial section of Pittsburgh ironically named “Swiss-vale,” continued it for the most part in the equally gritty industrial exurb, Monongahela, during WWII and its aftermath, and concluded my time, served forcibly, in the green hills of western Pennsylvania, very near where Colonel Washington’s late-night killing of French officer Jumonville precipitated the French and Indian War (Washington didn’t do the killing himself, but he took the heat).

As compensation for confinement, schools in those days were generally places of visible morality, powerfully egalitarian, and often strongly intellectual under the rough manners of the classroom. Faculties were always local, which meant among other things that each school employee had a local reputation as a neighbor and citizen; they existed as people as well as abstract functions. Curriculum prepared far away, and standardized testing, was hardly in evidence even at the end of the school sequence for me, in the 1950s. Each classroom at my high school, Uniontown High, was personalized to a degree which would be considered dangerously eccentric today, and hardly tolerable.

And yet, boys and girls schooled that way had just finished ruining the tightly schooled dictatorships of the planet. We boasted often to ourselves, teenagers of the 1940s and 1950s, that unlike those unfortunate enough to live outside the US, we carried no identification papers, feared no secret police. Compared to the exotic liberty of those days of my boyhood, American society of sixty years later smacks a bit too much of a police state for comfort. To imagine old ladies being patted down for explosives at airports, or the IRS invasion of one’s home, or the constant test rankings and dossiers of behavior managed through schooling; to imagine machinery purchased for home use spying on intimate choices and reporting those choices to stranger, would have been inconceivable in 1950.

A river of prosperity was lifting all boats in the US as I finished my own public schooling in 1953. My father was a cookie sales man for Nabisco, a man with no inheritance or trust fund, yet could cover my tuition at Cornell, own a new car, send my sister to college, pay for clarinet lessons for me and painting lessons for my sister, and put something aside for retirement. Schooling was considered important in those days, but never as very important. Too many unschooled people like my father and mother carried important responsibilities too well for pedagogical propaganda to end the reign of America’s egalitarian ethic.

The downward spiral in school quality began in the 1950s with changes which went unnoticed. Schools were “rationalized” after the German fashion’ increment by increment they were standardized from coast to coast. By 1963, standardized tests were a fixture, although very few extended them any credibility; they were thought of as a curious break from classroom routine, a break imposed for what reason nobody knew, or cared. Even in the 1950s, curriculum was being dumbed down, though not to the levels reached in later years. Teachers were increasingly carpet-baggers, from somewhere outside the community in which they taught. Once it had actually been a legal requirement to live within the political boundaries of the school district, just as it was for police, fire fighters, and other civil servants, but gradually families came to be seen as potential enemies of the “professional” staff; better to live far enough away they could be kept at arm’s length.

Morality in schools was replaced with cold-blooded pragmatism. As Graham Greene has his police chief say, in Our Man in Havana, “We only torture people who expect to be torture.” Ghetto kids were flunked and nearly flunked because that was their expectation; middle-class/upper-middle-class kids were given Cs, Bs and even As, because they and their parents wouldn’t tolerate anything else.
School order came to depend upon maintaining good relations with the toughest bullies, covertly affirming their right to prey upon whiners and cry-babies (though never cry-babies from politically potent families). The intellectual dimension was removed from almost all classrooms as a matter of unwritten policy, and since test scores are independent of intellect, those teachers who tried to hold onto mental development as a goal, rather than rote memorization, actually penalized their students and themselves where test scores were the standard of accomplishment.

Horace Mann’s ideal of common schooling was put to death after WWII; students were sharply divided from one another in rigid class divisions justified by standardized testing. Separation into winners and losers became the ruling dynamic.

By 1973, schools were big business. In small towns and cities across the land schoolteaching was now a lucrative occupation – with short hours, long vacations, paid medical care, and safe pensions; administrators earned the equivalent of local doctors, lawyers, and judges.

Eccentricity in classrooms was steeply on the wane, persecuted wherever it survived. Tracking was the order of the day, students being steered into narrower and narrower classifications supposedly based on standardized test scores. Plentiful exceptions existed, however, in the highest classifications of “gifted and talented,” to accommodate the children of parents who might otherwise have disrupted the smooth operation of the bureaucracy.

But even in these top classifications, the curriculum was profoundly diminished from standards of the past. What was asked of prosperous children in the 1970s would have been standard for children of coal miners and steel workers in the 1940s and 1950s. Many theories abound for why this was so, but only one rings true to me: From WWII onwards it is extremely easy to trace the spread of a general belief in the upper realms of management and academy that most of the population was incurably feeble-minded, permanently stuck at a mental level of twelve or under. Sine efforts to change this were doomed to be futile, why undergo the expense of trying? Or to put a humane cast on the argument, which I once heard a junior high school principal expound at a public school board meeting: Why worry kids and parents with the stress of trying to do something they are biologically unable to achieve?

This was precisely the outlook Abraham Lincoln had ridiculed in 1859 (see Richard Hofstadter’s Anti-Intellectualism in American Life); precisely the outlook of Edward Thorndike, inventor of “educational psychology” at Columbia Teachers College; precisely the outlook of H. H. Goddard, chairman of the psychology department at Princeton; precisely the outlook of great private corporate foundations like Rockefeller and Carnegie; precisely the outlook of Charles Darwin and his first cousin, Francis Galton. You can find this point of view active in Plato, in John Calvin, in Benedict (Baruch) Spinoza, in Johann Fichte, and in so many other places it would take a long book to do justice to them.

As long as ordinary Americans like Ben Franklin’s dad were in charge of educating their young, America escaped domination from the deadly assumptions of permanent inferiority – whether spiritual, intellectual, or biological – which provide the foundation for rigid social classes, by justifying them. As long as the crazy quilt of libertarian impulses found in the American bazaar prevailed, a period which takes us to the Civil War, America was a place of miracles for ordinary people through self-education. To a fractional degree it still is, thanks to tradition owing nothing to post-WWII government action; but only for those lucky enough to have families which dismiss the assumptions of forced schooling – and hence avoid damage by the weapons of mass instruction.

As the German Method, intended to convert independent Bartleby spirits into human resources, choked off easy escape routs, it wasn’t only children who were hurt, but our national prospects. Our founding documents endowed common Americans with rights no government action could alienate, liberty foremost among them. The very label “school” makes a mockery of these rights. We are a worse nation for this radical betrayal visited upon us by generations of political managers masquerading as leaders. And we are a materially poorer nation, as well.

School’s structure and algorithms constitute an engine like the little mill that ground salt in the famous fable – long ago it slipped away from anyone’s conscious control. It is immune to reform. That’s why it must be destroyed. But how?

We will start at the weakest link in the German school chain, the standardized tests which are despised by everyone, school personnel included. The recent past has given us two astonishing accomplishments of citizen action – no, make that three – which should lift your spirits as you prepare to ruin the testing empire – instances of impregnable social fortresses blown to pieces by disorganized, unbudgeted decisions of ordinary people. Call these examples “Bartleby Moments.” Think of the ending of the Vietnam War, when young people filled the streets; think of the tearing down of the Berlin Wall; think of the swift dissolution of the Soviet Union.

The Bartleby Project
By the end of WWII, schooling had replaced education in the US, and shortly afterwards, standardized testing became the steel band holding the entire enterprise together. Test scores rather than accomplishment became the mark of excellence as early as 1960, and step by step the public was brought, through various forms of coercion including journalism, to believe that marks on a piece of paper were a fair and accurate proxy for human quality. As Alexander Solzhenitzyn, the Nobel Prize winning Russian author, said, in a Pravda article on September 18, 1988, entitled “How to Revitalize Russia:”

No road for the people [to recover from Communism] will ever be open unless the government completely gives up control over us or any aspect of our lives. It has led the country into an abyss and it does not know the way out.

Break the grip of official testing on students, parents and teachers, and we will have taken the logical first step in revitalizing education. But nobody should believe this step can be taken politically – too much money and power is involved to allow the necessary legislative action; the dynamics of our society tend toward the creation of public opinion, not any response to it. There is only one major exception to that rule: Taking to the streets. In the past half-century the US has witnessed successful citizen action many times: In the overthrow of the Jim Crow laws and attitudes; in the violent conclusion to the military action in Vietnam; in the dismissal of a sitting American president from office. In each of these instances the people led, and the government reluctantly followed. So it will be with standardized testing. The key to its elimination is buried inside a maddening short story published in 1853 by Herman Melville: “Bartleby the Scrivener.”

I first encountered “Bartleby” as a senior at Uniontown High School, where I was unable to understand what it might possibly signify. As a freshman at Cornell I read it again, surrounded by friendly associates doing the same. None of us could figure out what the story meant to communicate, not even the class instructor.

Bartleby is a human photocopy machine in the days before electro-mechanical duplication, a low-paid, low-status position in law offices and businesses. One day, without warning or explanation, Bartleby begins to exercise free will – he decides which orders he will obey and which he will not. If not, he replies, “I would prefer not to.” To an order to participate in a team-proofreading of a copy he’s just made, he announces without dramatics, “I would prefer not to.” To an order to pop around the corner to pick up mail at the post office, the same: “I would prefer not to.” He offers no emotion, no enlargement on any refusal; he prefers not to explain himself. Otherwise, he works hard at copying.

That is, until one day he prefers not to do that, either. Ever again. Bartleby is done with copying. But not done with the office which employed him to copy! You see, without the boss’ knowledge, he lives in the office, sleeping in it after others go home. He has no income sufficient for lodging. When asked to leave that office, and given what amounts to a generous severance pay for that age, he prefers not to leave – and not to take the severance. Eventually, Bartleby is taken to jail, where he prefers not to eat. In time, he sickens from starvation, and is buried in a pauper’s grave.

The simple exercise of free will, without any hysterics, denunciations, or bombast, throws consternation into social machinery – free will contradicts the management principle. Refusing to allow yourself to be regarded as a “human resource” is more revolutionary than any revolution on record. After years of struggling with Bartleby, he finally taught me how to break the chains of German Method schooling. It took a half-century for me to understand the awesome instrument each of us has through free will to defeat Germanic schooling, and to destroy the adhesive which holds it together – standardized testing.

Signposts pointing our attention toward the Bartleby power within us are more common than we realize in the global imagination, as Joseph Campbell’s splendid works on myth richly demonstrate (as do both Testaments of the Bible), but we needn’t reach back very far to discover Thoreau’s cornerstone essay on civil disobedience as a living spring in the American imagination, or Gandhi’s spectacular defeat of the British Empire through “passive resistance” as bold evidence that as Graham Greene should have taught us by now, “they” would prefer to torture those who expect to be tortured.

Mass abstract testing, anonymously scored, is the torture centrifuge whirling away precious resources of time and money from productive use and routing it into the hands of testing magicians. It happens only because the tormented allow it. Here is the divide-and-conquer mechanism par excellence, the wizard-wand which establishes a bogus rank order among the schooled, inflicts prodigies of stress upon the unwary, causes suicides, family breakups, and grossly perverts the learning process – while producing no information of any genuine worth. Testing can’t predict who will become the best surgeon, college professor, or taxicab driver; it predicts nothing which would impel any sane human being to enquire after these scores. Standardized testing is very good evidence our national leadership is bankrupt and has been so for a very long time. The two-party system has been unable to give us reliable leadership, its system of campaign finance almost guarantees we get managers, not leaders; I think Ralph Nader has correctly identified it as a single party with two heads – itself bankrupt.

I don’t  know what do do about that, but I do know how to bring the testing empire to an end, to rip out its heart and make its inventors, proponents, and practitioners into pariahs whose political allies will abandon them.

Let a group of young men and women, one fully aware that these tests add no value to individual lives or the social life of the majority, use the power of the internet to recruit other young people to refuse, quietly, to take these tests. No demonstrations, no mud-slinging, no adversarial politics – to simply write across the face of the tests placed in front of them, “I would prefer not to take this test.” Let no hierarchy of anti-test management form; many should advise the project, but nobody should wrap themselves in the mantle of leadership. The best execution would not be uniform, but would take dozens of different shapes around the country. Like the congregational Church, there should be no attempt to organize national meetings, although national chatrooms, blogs, and mission-enhancing advisors of all political and philosophical stripes will be welcome. To the extent this project stays unorganized, it cannot help but succeed; to the extent “expert” leadership pre-empts it, it can be counted on to corrupt itself. Think Linux, not Microsoft. Everyone who signs on should get an equal credit, latecomers as well as pioneers. Unto this last should be the watchword.

I prefer not to. Let the statement be heard, at first erratically and then in an irresistible tide, in classrooms across the country. If only one in ten prefer not to, the press will scent an evergreen story and pick up the trail; the group preferring not to will grow like the snow ball anticipating the avalanche.

What of the ferocious campaign of intimidation which will be waged against the refuseniks? Retribution will be threatened, scapegoats will be targeted for public humiliation. Trust me, think Alice in Wonderland; the opposition will be a house of cards, the retribution an illusion. Will the refusers be denied admission to colleges? Don’t be naive. College is a business before it’s anything else; already a business starving for customers.

The Bartleby Project begins by inviting 60,000,000 American students, one by one, to peacefully refuse to take standardized tests or to participate in any preparation for these tests; it asks them to act because adults chained to institutions and corporations are unable to; because these tests pervert education, are disgracefully inaccurate, impose brutal stresses without reason, and actively encourage a class system which is poisoning the future of the nation.

The Bartleby Project should allow no compromise. That will be the second line of defense for management, a standard trick taught in political science seminars. Don’t fall for it. Reject compromise. No need to explain why. No need to shout. May the spirit of the scrivener put steel in your backbone. Just say:

I would prefer not to take your test.

An old man’s prayers will be with you.

© 2008 by John Taylor Gatto.  This piece may be circulated without cost on the Internet, but only if used uncut and cost-free.  The Bartleby Project is taken from Mr. Gatto’s book, Weapons of Mass Instruction, New Society Publishers 2008.

____________________________________

View John Taylor Gatto's website at http://www.johntaylorgatto.com/.

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John Taylor Gatto: Bartleby Project 2010...WE NEED TO DO THIS!!!

John Taylor Gatto is a genius!

This video for the Bartleby Project 2010 needs to be sent far and wide! WE NEED TO DO THIS!!!

Read more about the Bartleby Project 2010 here and get started.

"The goal of the project is to strike at the heart of one of the central directives of the schooling system: standardized testing."

Memorize and say these 8 simple words: "I would prefer NOT to take your test."

WE NEED TO DO THIS!!!

Happy homeschoolers exploring their world...hatching butterflies

 
From chrysalis to butterfly this young homeschooler patiently waits for the results then sets it free!

Homeschool News – 7 Shocking Facts About Home-Based Education

Homeschool News – 7 Shocking Facts About Home-Based Education

Well, the voters (some of them at least) passed all the school budgets in our town yesterday but here is a reality check for them...

"Fact #6: Spending more per student via public culture does not improve performance. Homeschool culture generally costs $500 per student each year for curriculum and equipment, while public culture costs an average of near $10,000. Regardless of total dollars per student, homeschool students came in at 86-89% performance, or 36-39% above the national public school average."

Kudos to homeschoolers for not adding to the taxpayer's burden!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Imagine seeing your child for only 1 hour every 5 weeks...

Can you imagine giving birth to your child and raising and loving him for 7 years? Now, imagine you live in a country where the government takes your child away because you chose to homeschool him. Can you imagine being allowed by that government to see your child for only 1 hour every 5 weeks? Difficult to imagine? Not for these parents.

If, for one moment, you can imagine what being a POW feels like, then try to imagine what this 7 year old is going through.

Sweden...the country of cruelty!

Cub Scouts and homeschooling...a formula for learning and success

What a promising idea...encouraging Cub Scout troops to team up with homeschoolers. This article from Scouting Magazine gives some wonderful advice on why and how to incorporate homeschoolers into your pack. It also provides some rather interesting statistics on homeschooling here in America.

"The fastest-growing school in America meets at the kitchen table. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the number of homeschooled students rose from 850,000 in 1999 to 1.5 million in 2007. The National Home Education Research Institute puts the total even higher—at around 2 million, or 3.5 percent of America’s school-age population."

There are probably thousands more uncounted homeschoolers since many of us never bothered to enroll in our state or local programs.

"Homeschool families can make a great addition to many packs because they’re child-focused, contain involved parents, and often share many of Cub Scouting’s core values."

Something we've known all along. Go Cub Scouts!

It's Town Meeting Day...can you pass the Civics Quiz?

Take the Civics Quiz at ISI (Intercollegiate Studies Institute) to see if you can pass. 

Question of the week

Why did you decide to homeschool?

State takes custody of 7-year-old over homeschooling

State takes custody of 7-year-old over homeschooling

Make a stink over this folks! It doesn't matter this is happening in Sweden. This is a familiar scene in America as well, I know, I've seen it first hand.

"In an online statement at the time, Johansson said, "While we may do things differently than most Swedes, we have not broken any laws and we have not harmed our son. We decided as a family that we wanted to move to India where we could be near my wife's family. But the government has taken over my family, and now we are living in a nightmare. I fear for the life of my wife under this torture and for the well-being of my son who has only been allowed to see his parents for a few hours since he was taken. The government is alienating my son from me, and I am powerless to do anything."

Social workers think they are GOD! All the ones that I've met are miserable, self-serving, bitter elitist. They are some of the most dangerous people to walk this planet because they abuse their authority and know how to get away with it. I haven't met a social worker yet that gave a rat's ass about the welfare of children and I've met many of them. They were all on some sort of ego trip and were more concerned about their job security and the power that comes with it!

Make a BIG stink over this!!!

World Net Daily has done a great job of following this story and has a long list of links so that others can learn more.

Happy homeschoolers exploring their world...in the kitchen

This young homeschooler is making a birthday cake for her great-grandmother.

Young author fears downfall of our democracy after encounter with one homeschooler!

This fellow, Michael Salmonowicz, is a young author who fears our democracy is in dire straits if parents in this country continue to homeschool their children. He shares his concern in this article and bases his argument on an encounter with a single homeschooler he calls 'Sally'.

"When I read that last statement, the educator and citizen in me begin to clash. On one hand, I completely respect a parent’s desire to provide the best possible education and home life for their child. On the other hand, I worry that our democracy is weakened when children grow up without extensive exposure to values, beliefs and worldviews different from their own."

Salmonowicz may have a valid concern about our democracy being in jeopardy but from where I sit it is due to the finished product coming out of public schooling. His smarmy elitist attitude is apparent when he whines: 

"In the days that followed, I thought about this event quite a bit. My mind kept coming back to one thing: Sally’s reaction made perfect sense. As a home-schooled student, she likely did not engage in discussion and debate with people who did not share her religious beliefs, who disagreed with her political views, or who pushed her to think about issues from new perspectives. I had no doubt she was nurtured and encouraged by her parent-teachers, but it appeared that having her beliefs and arguments questioned by others (even when being taught the art of persuasion in college) was a completely foreign concept."

Geeeeeeeeeeesh! Another Ph. D. (post hole digger) with a mind full of mush espousing gobbledygook and trying to pass it off as educational advice. Minor Dork Award here since Salmonowicz isn't yet in a position to do much damage to America's youth, except to those other education majors who listen to his ridiculous advice. 

Want to know the real reason our democracy is in trouble? Go here to read about the ISI report and take the Civics Quiz yourself.

Shakespeare Through an Unschooling Lens - Life Learning Magazine

Shakespeare Through an Unschooling Lens - Life Learning Magazine

This is a short but charming article about raising boys. I know all too well that raising a son is so different from raising a daughter. I am thankful and happy I had the opportunity to raise both because my children taught me more than I could ever learn sitting in a classroom. The capacity and willingness of children to learn beyond their age level and environment is so underestimated. Shakespeare? Why not!

"One of our directors, Marilyn Firth, said something to me at last year’s production that I’ve pondered a lot this year: “In a school, only the ‘best’ would have been given the lead parts – here, we need everyone in the play, and look what we can draw out of kids who’d never star in a school production! Look how great they are!” Daniel is living proof of this, living proof of the whole person inside us all, waiting to be drawn out."


Public school graduates and college students jeopardizing our liberty?

Joe Wolverton, II writes this article for New American revealing how college students are failing miserably at learning civics according to ISI (Intercollegiate Studies Institute). The basic knowledge these young minds lack is standard information we learned in elementary school when I was a child. How is it these college students don't know the basics? Could it be the elementary, middle and high schools in this country are deliberately skipping this information or, worse, teaching too much mind numbing liberal junk?

"ISI, a conservative non-profit educational organization, has recently published the results of this sweeping survey in a 32-page report entitled “The Shaping of the American Mind: The Diverging Influences of the College Degree and Civic Learning on American Beliefs.” Sit down before you read this report because the data will knock you off your feet. " 

Are you sitting down?

"So, while our nation’s most elite colleges are not imbuing our children with a knowledge of our history and our government, the study makes it clear that those universities are becoming round the clock factories churning out poorly instructed liberals with little civic knowledge and even less faith and less devotion to principles of liberty than those Americans who didn’t go to college. "


Take the Civics Quiz yourself here at ISI or watch the ISI video here. Kudos to ISI for all they do!