The state of Virginia has moved one step closer to allowing homeschooled students to play sports at public schools in the state. On February 8 the state’s House of Delegates passed H.B. 947, also known as the “Tim Tebow law,” because it is similar to a measure passed by the state of Florida that allowed the Heisman Trophy winner and NFL quarterback, then a homeschooled student, to play high school football.
“We didn’t have government-run schools for a long time in this country, for the majority of the time in this country,” Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum said during a Valentine’s Day campaign stop in Idaho. “We had private education. We had local education. Parents actually controlled the education of their children. What a great idea that is.”
These days, if you want to enroll your child in a public kindergarten, you have to give proof that your child has had all of his inoculations. If not, your child will not be accepted. Which, I believe, is a good reason not to put your child in a public school. But if you comply with the school’s requirements, then don’t complain when your child becomes “learning disabled,” “functionally illiterate,” or acquires Attention Deficit Disorder.
The Heritage Foundation reports that 20 percent of Americans receive some form of subsidy from the federal government. That means nearly 70 million Americans are on the dole, receiving housing, food, medical, or other assistance from the taxpayers, and well more than half the federal budget goes to direct assistance to individuals.
As the government intensifies its persecution of homeschoolers in Sweden, the president of the Swedish Association for Home Education (ROHUS) has finally been forced into exile with his family in neighboring Finland. The battle for human rights and homeschooling in the Scandinavian kingdom, however, is far from over.
According to the latest news from our bureaucrats in Washington, agents answerable to the U.S. Department of Agriculture will now be inspecting parent-prepared lunch boxes to make sure that children are being fed a lunch in their schools in compliance with government standards. If the parent’s lunch is rejected, the child will be required to eat what the school cafeteria deems appropriate and pay for it.
It is said that the dinosaur had a tiny brain in a huge body, which undoubtedly contributed to its extinction. This huge body also required an enormous amount of food for its survival. The public education establishment has the same characteristics: small brain, huge body, enormous appetite for taxpayer money — its only means of survival.
The dictionary defines “boondoggle” as: “work or activity that is wasteful or pointless but gives the appearance of having value.” And President Obama's Common Core Standards education boondoggle is going to cost billions of dollars, which everyone involved — educators, administrators, career counselors, assorted federal bureaucrats, textbook writers, and textbook publishers — will be more than happy to rake in.
What is a good teacher? How do you recognize that rare individual? One of the problems Bill and Melinda Gates have had in making grants for education reform through their billion-dollar foundation is that no one seems to know what makes a good teacher. Indeed, Gates stated: “The single most decisive factor in student achievement is excellent teaching.” But no one could tell him what made a good teacher. But since I spent 12 years — 1932 to 1944 — in public schools, I think I have a good idea of what a good teacher is, and I wish to pass on to Bill and Melinda and the coming generation of teachers some of the wisdom I have acquired.
In my last column I stressed the need for the adult, self-teaching reader to be able to break up multisyllabic words into their syllables, so that the reader could see the phonetic structure of the word. The sight reader tries to find little words that he can recognize in multisyllabic words, which might give him a hint of what the word says. He is looking for a small, recognizable picture in the big word. But because that method is so inefficient, the reader is more likely to misread the word.