Sense and Compassion
Friday, January 19, 2007
Shawn Hornbeck, thankfully, was finally retrieved from a predator after four years of captivity. Michael Devlin was able to commit this - and undoubtedly others - because Missouri is soft on Homeschooling.
Check it out for yourself - Missouri requires no qualifications for homeschoolers to teach, they don't have to tell anyone that they ARE homeschooling, they don't have to report to anyone while homeschooling, they don't have to get tested or in any other way prove that their child actually learned what they said they learned and while they are required to keep records, there is NO requirement to let ANYONE see them (so there is no way of knowing they are actually complying with this without a court order)!
Shawn Hornbeck's plight - and undoubtedly the plight of others - can be avoided with a few simple requirements.
- Require notification of intent to homeschool.
- Require a license to teach homeschool to be prominently displayed - much like that required by restaurants.
- Licence should only be issued on proof of residency, proper vaccination of children, good standing with local board of education and of course identification of all members involved - e.g. drivers license and ssn for educators, birth certificate and ssn for children.
- Require a B.A minimum qualification for teaching. A teaching certificate would be preferable, of course.
- Require a psychological evaluation of both the educator and any children involved.
- Require a criminal background check for the educator.
- Require all homeschoolers to be visited by the same people who visit foster homes.
- These same visits should include time AWAY from the "parent" so the child is less likely to be intimidated by threats of violence or other abuse.
- Require unannounced inspections as well.
- Require annual academic testing of any homeschooled child. Public schooled children are tested, why not homeschooled?
- Require notification of authorities of any changes of status such as moving, job change, deaths, births or other life changing events that might affect the homeschool.
- Make these requirements federal to prevent "escape" to less stringent cities or states.
Of course, the easiest way to avoid Shawn Hornbeck's situation would simply be to make homeschooling illegal in the first place. After all, it's being done elsewhere - it can be done here too!
In the nineteenth century, a revolution took place in the United States of America. This revolution wasn't one of guns or bloodshed, but it WAS a revolution nonetheless. This was the century we moved as a nation to a public school system. Its goals were lofty - an educated populace, a vehicle of social change and a unified society - but it was the right time and the power was with us.
Now, when the original revolution won and the revolutionaries have long since gone, a threat has arisen to take a portion away from the embrace of society. This threat is homeschooling.
It is time for a new revolution! The Democrats have taken the house and the Senate and I truly believe that the white house is within their grasp as well! Nancy Pelosi has already sounded the battle cry - "for the children!" The power is there, the people are with us, those who would threaten us are still small and contained, and we have an example to go by.
In the Nineteenth Century, when we needed a model for our school system, we turned to Germany. Now, when we need it most, Germany has again provided a model for our course of action.
We can win this! We can ensure that our children receive a proper education that includes the experience of "responsible citizens who participate in a democratic and pluralistic society."
We can win this!
For the Children!
An anonymous poster made the following comment:
We are losing our freedoms...
And HSing will soon be one of them.
We can only hope so!
It's sad that we consider homeschooling to be a "freedom." It IS, however, interesting to note exactly for whom it is a freedom.
Certainly not for the child. A child in a homeschool is at the mercy of anyone in the home. It isn't a coincidence that anyone who wants to maintain absolute control over a child will turn to homeschooling. Everyone from religious fanatics to child abusers to kidnappers can see the advantages to be had by denying a child the ability to "appeal" his sentence of homeschooling to an outside source.
No, the "freedom" they are talking about is the freedom of someone bigger, stronger and in a position of authority to take advantage of a child - no matter how psychologically devastating their actions may be. Homeschooling is a way to exert power over the child. Homeschooling is committed upon a child whether he wants it or not and, since homeschooling is committed out of the sight of the public eye, for many children, there is no escape from continued homeschooling in the house.
Does this sound familiar to anyone yet?
Really, the only difference between rape and homeschooling is that rape requires physical contact.
Of course, I'm going to get naysayers from current rap... er, homeschoolers like "they LIKE it," "she was ASKING for it" or "they're MY children, I can do what I please with them." This fits the pattern too. It's specifically because of arguments like this that statutory rape laws were enacted in the first place.
Hopefully, the government will someday step in to correct this situation.
Friday, June 16, 2006
-- My Official Certificate of Dropping Out of School --
- The guardian and student signing below accept total responsibility for the named student being a school dropout.
- By signing this document, I realize that I will not have the skills that I will need to survive in the new millennium.
- I understand that I may be unable to perform even everyday tasks that would have used the skills I learned in reading, writing, computers, science, life skills and other school classes.
- I further understand that as a dropout, I will probably earn just over $500 per month, less than half what I would have earned had I graduated.
- I realize that over the course of my lifetime, I will likely earn a grand total of $329,000 less than my peers who graduate.
- If I cannot read this form, I certify with an "X" that this form has been read to me, but I realize that since I can't read very well, I actually have no way of knowing for sure exactly what this paper says.
- I'm signing anyway and hoping that I am not signing away anything that I will later regret. I realize that as a school dropout, this just may be one of many times that I will not be able to understand what nearly everyone else does.
Dropout Signature or Mark
Friday, May 5, 2006
We had a pretty big mumps scare around here recently. This was very unexpected because Mumps is one of those diseases we can get rid of. We have vaccines that are 90% effective against Mumps. This is easily enough to contain an outbreak - keeping it from getting a footing in the general population. So why is there an outbreak? It turns out that these vaccines aren't quite as effective if they aren't used. The people affected? mostly the unvaccinated and the ones who forgot their booster shots. This would simply be a case of poetic justice if it weren't for that 10% who did the right thing, but paid anyways.
Thanks a lot.
Hey Homeschoolers - Come on, even you have to admit it's funny!
The Swift Report: Home-Schooler Misspells 'Friend' in National Spelling Bee:
WASHINGTON, DC—Ten-year old Katie Hulmich has spent most of the last year preparing for 78th National Spelling Bee, which finally got underway in the nation's capitol yesterday. The pint-sized, tow-headed home-schooler has spent ten hours a day for the past eight months preparing for the spelling showdown, and can fire off twenty-five cent words from 'anastomosis' (the union or connection of branches) to 'zedoary' (the dried rhizome of a tropical Asian plant).
But the word that dashed Katie's dreams of spelling glory was a relatively simple one: 'friend.' While the Mulholland, MI, native was able to use the word in a sentence, she inadvertently confused the vowels in the noun meaning 'a person whom one knows, likes or trusts.'
"We thought we had all of the words covered, but then they pull one out of the blue like that," says Katie's mother—and full-time home spelling coach—Beverly Hulmich. "The real challenge for the kids is when they come across a word that they just don't ever use in their daily life."
'Play-mate' and other mystery words
Katie wasn't the only home-schooler to be sent, well, home after yesterday's early rounds of competition. Fourth-grader Holly Hamer of Cahokia, IL, stumbled on 'playmate,' (a companion in play or recreation); she mistakenly inserted a hyphen in the word that she admitted was unfamiliar. "I know I've seen it in a book but I just couldn't remember how to spell it," she explained.
Other home-bound casualties included Amanda Storch, a fifth grader from Nashville, TN who met her match with 'lavatory' (a room equipped with washing and toilet facilities); she mistakenly substituted an 'i' for the second 'a.' Derek Conley, a home-schooled fifth grader from Marindell, CA, saw his hopes dashed when he bungled 'secularism,' (the view that religious considerations should be excluded from public affairs and education).
Derek said that he's still kicking himself for misspelling a word that he hears his parents use so frequently. "It's one of those bad words, almost like a cuss word. I think that's why I messed it up."
Monday, March 27, 2006
2006-03-26 02:18 pm (local) (from 184.108.40.206) (link) DeleteFreezeScreen Select
Wow. An unabashed left-wing fascist, such a nice find! You get hints of these views on DailyKos and Steve Gilliard's blog and elsewhere, but here it is in the raw, in pure form.
"Homeschooling is treason...." LOL! Yes, treason against the kind of state envisioned in Brave New World. Precisely. Carnegie and Rockefeller and Ford and Frederick Taylor can take their scientific management and their oppression of the masses will not determine the lives of my children. I'm proud of unschooling exactly because it is "treason" against that kind of 1920's fascist state. Oh, and here's another one sure to piss you off: we don't vaccinate. ;)
h (of the Not School blog)
2006-03-26 02:20 pm (local) (from 220.127.116.11) (link) DeleteFreezeScreen Select
"...can take their scientific management and shove it where the sun don't shine..." deleted half a line accidentally.
So, you unschool and you don't vaccinate. Well at least you're consistent.
While I don't agree with homeschoolers, I at least understand where they are coming from. Unschooling, however, is another thing completely. Homeschoolers in general feel that the parents should be the primary influence on their children instead of the schools. Unschoolers apparently feel that the children should be subject to random influences. These children will then be able to sort through these influences, separate the wheat from the chaff and choose the cream of the crop for themselves. What unschoolers fail to explain is exactly how these children are supposed to know what is the best influence for them.
Now I'm not saying that they CAN'T get anything good from random influences - I'm sure they learn about the arts from Shakira and obviously video games like "Grand Theft Auto" are great for hand eye coordination, but if you could please explain why these influences should carry as much weight as a child's parents normally do I would love to hear it. And while you're at it, please explain how your child knows, without guidance, exactly which influences are good or bad and what the dangers are. Then explain why bad influences can affect other children, but not yours.
As far as immunizations go, I posted previously about how immunizations are now saving the lives of about 400,000 children per year compared to six years ago, when the United nations started pushing vaccinations in the third world. The only thing I have really heard about vaccinations that sounded even halfway rational is the possible danger due to thimerosal in some vaccines. Of course, most vaccines no longer have thimerosal in it and for the few who do, you can request a non thimerosal version for about $5 more than the original vaccine. It seems to me that $5 is a reasonable amount to spend to avoid a higher risk of early death, crippling debilitations, sickness and misery.
Unless, of course, you don't feel your children are worth spending the extra $5 on.
Okay, not specifically AGAINST homeschooling, but with some interesting cautions:
From the Daily Princetonian:
Accreditation guidelines for homeschooling programs vary by state, and much of the responsibility for curriculum development is left up to the parents.
"It's such a huge time commitment, you really have to dedicate your life to it," said Apple, whose mother chose his textbooks and designed his course of study until he began taking classes at a community college at age 16.
This responsibility can cause the quality of homeschooling to vary widely from family to family. While Apple's home-schooled education was largely successful, other students do not always share such positive experiences.
"In some cases it could be really bad, if your kid is naturally just really, really shy ... or if the parent who is homeschooling isn't very intellectually oriented," he said.
Apple said though he met many friends through theater activities, homeschooling may not be successful for students who find it hard to create social connections.
"The stereotypes exist for a reason," he said. "There are plenty of home-school students who are really strange and not adjusted. There are lots of public students [like that] too."
John Hodgson, Dean of Forbes College, said that Forbes students with home-schooled backgrounds have tended to be "very well-adjusted." He said, however, that these students' abilities may be more of a reflection of their personalities than educational histories.
"They have all brought something very interesting [to Forbes]. Is that because they're home-schooled? I don't know that I would say that," he said.
Monday, March 20, 2006
I hear it all the time. "Liberals brought us into wars" - Johnson, Kennedy, FDR, and so on ad nauseum. Taking the circumstances and issues leading into war out of context, ignoring the contributions previous people played in it all and simply ignoring the instances that come up conflicting with this premise, conservatives and Libertarians try to paint liberals as the aggressive ones here. They also try to convince us that the only common denominator here is the "liberal" agenda of these warmongers. However, when looking closer at the names and backgrounds of the very same people these are attacking, a second trait starts cropping up with surprising regularity...
Starting with the Civil War, we have the libertarian's favorite anti-christ, Abraham Lincoln. His presidency was right around the beginning of the public school system we know today. As such his opponents were more public school minded than he was. Douglas was educated in the "common schools" and Brechenridge's Family actually started Kentucky's public school system. Libertarians point out that the whole point of the civil war was to maintain a strong federal government - to preserve the union. Lincoln, on being elected was faced with the choice of attempting some sort of peaceful reconciliation with the south or war. His choice is obvious. The Civil war was the bloodiest war on native soil. Lincoln, of course was well known for his lack of schooling.
Moving on, we have Teddy Roosevelt leading his famous charge up San Juan Hill. His military exploits sealed his political career.
For WW I, Wilson "kept us out of war" - until he was re-elected. Educated S-l-o-w-l-y at home - he learned to read at 9.
WW II brings us to Franklin D. Roosevelt - Libertarians' public enemy number two. Conspiracy theorists swear he knew about the impending attack on pearl harbor and did nothing. Even moderates say he provoked the Japanese to do something so he would have a reason to join. FDR was educated at home by his mother until he was 14. And who can forget WWII's most popular Generals Patton and MacArthur - both homeschooled.
Jumping across the ocean, we come to Winston Churchill, who was pro war his entire political career. England wavered between choosing him for prime minister or replacing Chaimberlain with Lord Halifax, who was less likely to plunge the country into war. A vote for Churchill was a vote for war. He was homeschooled until 10 and at 14 entered a boarding school.
Of course this list leaves off everything before the civil war because it was pretty much a given that the leaders were homeschooled at that time. Between the Civil War and WW II, we can see that if there are large amounts of blood to be spilled, The chances are pretty good that a homeschooler is pushing us into the fray.
So in conclusion, if we are to believe that the arguments conservatives and Libertarians hold any water whatsoever when they talk of Liberals and war, we have to acknowledge that these arguments apply just as well to homeschoolers.
Wednesday, March 15, 2006
And Steve started out so well...
I'm pulling this from his post found here: http://carefulthought.blogspot.com/2006/03/radical-dumbing-down-unschooling-binge.html
Radical Dumbing Down: The Unschooling Binge
There is a growing dangerous trend amongst the left to "unschool" their children. Unschooling is a loosely defined concept that seeks to completely abdicate responsibility for providing instruction to kids. Here's a gem from the unschooling website:
Have you ever described 'red' to a person who is color blind? Sometimes, trying to define unschooling is like trying to define red. Ask 30 unschoolers to define the word and you'll get thirty shades of red. They'll all be red, but they'll all be different. Generally, unschoolers are concerned with learning or becoming educated, not with 'doing school.' The focus is upon the choices made by each individual learner, and those choices can vary according to learning style and personality type. There is no one way to unschool.
They can't even decide what it is.
But my favorite was this:
Q: How do you know they are learning?
A: You will know by listening to them speak, by watching them play, just by being with them.
Standardized objective testing must be too stressful. Just look at your child and you'll know that he has learned.
Ostensibly a reaction to the morass of public education, its adherents seek to align themselves with the homeschool crowd, but even homeschooling provides too much structure for their liking. I have known and worked with a lot of homeschoolers and it's clear that kids need structure. Even a loose structure is better than none at all.
I guess I can take comfort in the knowledge that in the next generation, their kids will be working for my kids.
Has anyone run into any unschoolers?
[CORRECTION] As my lovely bride pointed out, these kids probably won't be working for our kids since they probably won't be working.
I of course commented:
You don't go nearly far enough in your attack of unschooling. Here's something from my blog:
Earlier I posted on how Homeschooling is Treason. Now I want to talk about the worst of the lot: Unschoolers.
Unschooling is a special branch of homeschooling where the decisions on the direction and speed of learning - as well as all other aspects of the education process - are left in the hands of the child. This is about as sensible as letting the same child drive on a busy highway with no instruction on the destination, direction or even how the car works. The reason children are taught is because they DON"T ALREADY KNOW. They have no experience to guide them, they have no frame of reference to determine the relative value of one set of information over another and do NOT have some magic ability to follow the best path when there are apparently severalto choose from. They need guidance if they are to succeed. The unschooling parent, when faced with this reality has two choices:
1. They can stand idly by and watch their children suffer, get lost and ultimately end up as a failure or -
2. They can DECEIVE their children into making the parent's choices while thinking that they are choosing for themselves.
I fully believe that the latter is the case in most instances for a variety of reasons, but the gist can be caught with one example from the toolbox of unschoolers: Strewing.
Strewing is the process of casually leaving around stuff in the hope that the child will pick it up and learn something from it. Of course, strewing is REALLY simply a way of getting the child to learn the lessons YOU want him to learn while thinking it was his choice. The strewer will - of course - leave stuff that SHE thinks will teach her child what she wants him to know. This is basically the same thing as when a magician "pushes" a card he wants you to accept.
I could go on about other techniques unschoolers use, but I think this is enough to prove my point. While ALL homeschoolers are traitors to the societies they live in, Unschoolers have the added aggravating circumstance of Lying to your children as well.
You don't go nearly far enough in your attack of unschooling. Here's something from my blog:
Earlier I posted on how Homeschooling is Treason.
For the record, I am not "attacking" unschooling and I absolutely will not allow anyone to say that "homeschool is treason." That is completely beyond the pale.
15 March, 2006 10:13
I followed with
Of COURSE you're attacking unschooling! It's a "Growing Dangerous Trend" that "seeks to completely abdicate responsibility for providing instruction to kids!" If an unschooler can find a job, it will be menial and with little hope of advancement!
These are valid points that need to be brought up, but since they are in opposition to unschooling - designed to sway others away from this path - they are attacks.
If you're going to blog on a subject, you will serve your cause better if you are honest about your position. Show a little conviction in your stance!
15 March, 2006 10:42
And regarding the following:
"I absolutely will not allow anyone to say that "homeschool is treason." That is completely beyond the pale."
I hope you don't think that's a defense of homeschooling - you "will not allow anyone" to say it? It's said, blogged on, passed on to other blogs and commented on at length. There isn't much you can refuse to allow at this point. You think it's "beyond the pale!!" Is this supposed to convince me that I'm in the wrong? What makes it beyond the pale? did you even read the blog that makes my case on the homeschooler issue? Where is your refutation?
You have an issue with my writing? Put up or shut up!
15 March, 2006 10:52
Steve continued with
As I've said before, my beef is with "unschooling," not home schooling. The vast majority of homeschoolers I've dealt with are doing a fantastic job and from the right motives - to get their kids out of a rotten educational system.
I am not attacking anything, but I think "unschooling" in the overwhelming majority of cases is the wrong approach and does much more damage than good.
15 March, 2006 11:12
And my last statement - which was moderated:
I fully understand you support homeschooling. I don't. This is, of course a separate issue - one which I will gladly debate with you. Regarding your stance on unschooling:
"I am not attacking anything, but I think 'unschooling' in the overwhelming majority of cases is the wrong approach and does much more damage than good."
Yes, unschooling is wrong and does more damage than good - this is why you blog on it. You are not in support of unschooling. You are not undecided. You oppose it. You hope that others reading your remarks will choose not to unschool. You crafted your words to express your disapproval, disuade others from choosing unschooling and encourage unschoolers to abandon their path.
Furthermore, your blog was not defensive in nature. You were not defending structured learning against the criticisms of unschoolers. You initiated the action.
It's okay to attack, btw. If you're right and the opposition's actions are damaging - especially to children - to do anything else would be immoral and cowardly.
I figure I'm why he started moderating. Poor guy - I hope he grows a backbone someday...
(update - he let my comment through! Maybe I misjudged him!)
Tuesday, March 14, 2006
People have been bashing RFID and Real ID for some time now. I thought I would share a different viewpoint. The below story illustrates why RFID is most likely to take off around the world. Not because of some government conspiracy or Fascist plot, but simply for convenience.
From ABC News:
March 8, 2006 — Amal Graafstra waves his hand in front of a locked door, and it opens. His girlfriend, Jennifer Tomblin, places her hand inches from her computer, and she is instantly signed on.
There are no supernatural forces at work in the couple's home in Vancouver, British Columbia, just the latest technology. Graafstra and Tomblin are among about 30 people in the world who have voluntarily implanted microchips into their hands.
"I did it because I don't want to carry anything around," Graafstra said. "I really did this for convenience."
At Graafstra's request, a surgeon friend implanted a chip in each of his hands in March 2005.
Tomblin, a 23-year-old marketing student, thought the chip was odd at first, but over time she became sold on its usefulness. Her chips were implanted in December.
"Because the procedure didn't hurt, it was really no big deal," Tomblin said. "It's not interacting with my body in any way, and the chip can only be used for what I want to use it for. It can't be used to track my movements or to keep tabs on me. It only has a range of a couple feet."
The chips give the couple complete access to each other's lives, but there is a solution should they break up.
Graafstra said they could easily remove each other from the chips' authorized list or remove the chips entirely.
Other possible uses for RFID chips:
- Medical information like allergies could be listed in case you are incapacitated.
- convenience in tracking patients in hospitals or managed care facilities.
- Identification of soldiers replacing dog tags.
- Sensible gun control - If you bought it, you can fire it. Not your children, thieves, attackers getting hold of it in a fight etc... (this also means if you use a gun in a crime, the crime can be DIRECTLY tied to you - not just the gun). This could be expanded for the military - only members in the field or in training could fire military weaponry.
- Validation - only you can use your credit card or atm or write a check (and no, this doesn't mean giving everything to the cashier - just a "public" key.
- Access to your house, car, work etc... No more lost keys!
There are plenty of other uses. And demonstratable benefits are what will sell them.
I have been pretty busy lately, so I've neglected this site. Sorry. I'm still pretty busy, but I thought I would put down a few quick things to let you all know I'm still out there.
below is a story about an UNDENIABLE benefit that was brought about by government action. So, for all you "government is bad" people out there, I present the following...
From ABC News:
UNITED NATIONS Mar 10, 2006 (AP)— A global immunization drive has cut measles deaths by nearly half during the last six years, the World Health Organization and United Nations Children's Fund said Friday.
Deaths from measles dropped from 871,000 in 1999 to an estimated 454,000 in 2004, according to the UNICEF and WHO report, marking a 48 percent decrease in fatalities suffered from one of the most contagious diseases known.
"This is an outstanding public health success story," Dr. Lee Jong-wook, WHO director general, said in a statement.
Sub-Saharan Africa, the region with the highest rates of the disease, where estimated cases and deaths fell by 60 percent, the report said.
A safe, effective and cheap vaccine for measles has been available since the 1960s, UNICEF notes, but it is still out of reach for many children living in poverty.
Without the vaccine, the weak immune systems of children often succumb to severe diarrhea and pneumonia brought on by measles. Survivors are left with lifelong disabilities including blindness, the report said.
WHO and UNICEF have fought against measles in the 47 countries that account for 98 percent of deaths caused by measles.
Dujarric said the agencies are expanding efforts in Southeast Asia, where measles deaths are the highest outside of sub-Saharan Africa.
Monday, March 6, 2006
The subject of Inalienable rights came up again. I guess too few people read the comments here, so I thought I would put this one on the main blog.
from the comment:
"Do you believe that the right to happiness is inalienable and self-evident? (its a yes or no question)" No. Not even the founding fathers believed that - they believed in the right to PURSUIT of happiness. I don't even grant that much as inalienable.
Inalienable means "can't be taken away" or "not subject to forfeiture." Obviously, your right to pursuit of happiness can be taken away - this is called "getting arrested."
Now, I'm not saying that there is no such thing as an inalienable right - just that this isn't one of them. I understand why it's confusing to you. You never really thought about the distinction or how to tell the difference. Here's the test for whether a right is inalienable or government granted:
Is there a law enforcing it?
Yep, that's all there is to telling whether a right you have is inalienable or one the government gave you. It really should be obvious if you think about it. If a right is inalienable, then there is no reason to pass a law protecting it. If it is inalienable, then I can't take it away, your neighbor can't take it away and even the government can't take it away. If no one can take it away, then it doesn't need protection and therefore, the government will not pass a law guaranteeing it.
Here's an example of one of your "inalienable" rights. The right to your fair share of gravity - don't worry! No one can take your gravity away and let you float off into space!
slightly off topic here - as far as the "endowed by our Creator" part of the Declaration of Independence - I was wondering if anyone here could give me a biblical reference pointing to exactly which rights have been enumerated by God. I'm not enough of a biblical scholar to even know where to look here except to guess that it's probably somewhere in the new testament - the old testament seems more concerned with rules and commandments. Thanks in advance!
Friday, February 24, 2006
I caught this from good morning America a while ago and just now had time to post on it:
Feb. 22, 2006 — An alarming number of college-educated women are leaving the work force to stay at home and raise their children, a trend that is a tragedy not only for the mothers, but ultimately their children and women as a whole.
So said law professor and working mom Linda Hirshman in a 2005 article for American Prospect magazine that has ignited an intense debate among mothers.
Census figures show 54 percent of mothers with a graduate or professional degree no longer work full time. In 2003 and 2004 Hirshman interviewed about 30 women whose wedding announcements had appeared in The New York Times in 1996 and who had had children. Five of the women were working full time, and 10 were working part time. The rest were not working at all.
"We care because what they do is bad for them, is certainly bad for society, and is widely imitated, even by people who never get their weddings in the Times," Hirshman wrote. "This last is called the 'regime effect,' and it means that even if women don't quit their jobs for their families, they think they should and feel guilty about not doing it."
Hirshman also said educated women choosing to stay home was bad for them as individuals.
"A good life for humans includes the classical standard of using one's capacities for speech and reason in a prudent way, the liberal requirement of having enough autonomy to direct one's own life, and the utilitarian test of doing more good than harm in the world," Hirshman wrote. "Measured against these time-tested standards, the expensively educated, upper-class moms will be leading lesser lives."
Hirshman goes on to say that children of working moms are statistically just as happy as the children of those who stay at home.
The gist of this article is very close to what I have said regarding moms of homeschoolers. I hadn't seen the different standards for a good life listed before, so I'm glad this came to my attention. It does make a pretty good case for the working mom in general - and by extension, against staying home to homeschool.
Wednesday, February 15, 2006
Leadership is about Social Influence. Note, I did NOT say "socialization", which suggests just getting along with other people. I said "Social Influence" - the ability to interact with a group in such a way that your goals are met by it. This kind of influence comes from experience with groups. It is aided by common experiences with the members of that group and by skills developed through interactions with groups - skills that include the ability to judge group dynamics the ability to understand and handle the subtle forces of factions within a group that can affect the group as a whole.
Homeschoolers, simply by not being part of school, are less likely to be a part of a large group. Often this is deliberate. Homeschoolers often talk of the benefits of small groups over "impersonal" large ones. Unfortunately, group sizes in general are larger in modern times than they were when homeschooling was more practical. Homeschoolers, by missing out on the education obtained by interaction with large groups, are getting shortchanged in their ability to influence larger groups, and therefore are less able to lead these same groups.
Yes, I know homeschoolers have led in the past. There are exceptions to every rule and school is only one of many factors in this. I'm just saying that leaving children out of school is leaving them out of an opportunity to learn skills essential to leadership. And this will just give them one more obstacle to overcome before they can be leaders of large groups - one obstacle more than their peers have to overcome. And in a highly competitive environment common anywhere leadership is in question, one more obstacle may be all the advantage the competition needs.
Monday, February 13, 2006
I wouldn't recommend homeschooling for any children aged higher than primary school, unless as a parent you feel that you can acclimate them to other children their own age on a regular basis. Those bold letters have a lot of feeling behind them. Many times have I heard proud homeschooling parents brag of their children's busy social lives - conveniently not mentioning that these social opportunities occur infrequently, only in structured circumstances, or with children of widely disparate ages. I'm not saying that children of different ages cannot be mixed. I'm saying that healthy children must be exposed to a peer group, and must have friends - real friends with whom they actually want to associate, not kids their parents have picked out for them to be friends with just because they also happen to be homeschooled.
I pick no fights with homeschooling over its academic prowess. It is obviously usually superior to the public school system. I am speaking out against homeschooling because of its utter social inadequacies. Out of the relatively large group of homeschoolers with whom I am acquainted, I do not know a single one who I would classify as well-balanced or well-socialized. Of course, the parents of these poor kids would have you believe otherwise - but you need only sit in on their homeschool meetings to hear the tales of their unfortunate children being socially rejected when they try to mix with kids from the mainstream education system.
Now here is someone who was homeschooled - who knows what it is like from experience - saying "hey, these kids need to be with other kids their own age!" Perhaps he knows what he is talking about...
Vox Day's blog "Of Copyright and Communism" makes the argument that copyrights are not property rights "because if copyright were genuine property, it would not have a statute of limitations on it. " This is NOT an argument against copyright - it is an argument against the statute of limitations PLACED on copyright. It's not a very well thought out argument either. The government routinely taxes property and takes property away from individuals for the common good. the "Statute of Limitations" is just another example of our government asserting its right to do so. To be consistent with libertarian philosophy, Vox should be arguing AGAINST this expiration of copyright as it really is simply just another form of taxation on the individuals who rightfully own this property.
Personally, I'm agnostic toward the statute of limitations. The value of a copyright tends to depreciate as it ages, so a statute of limitations seems to be a fairly innocuous compromise between giving a private individual copyright through eternity - passed on by will to successors just as any other property - while simply taxing copyright owners on a yearly basis, with the property rights forfeited to the government on failure to pay said taxes, and automatic forfeiture of copyrights to the state as Community property.
A while ago, the mythical "inalienable" rights were brought into a debate. I just wanted to reiterate this. An inalienable right is one that can not be taken away. That means any law defending your "inalienable" rights is meaningless because it doesn't really DO anything. An example of an "inalienable" right is the right to feel attraction toward whomever you wish. In order to take this right away, someone would have to be able to read your mind and physically control your thoughts and emotions to prevent this attraction from occurring. A law preventing this would be unnecessary because it would be a law preventing individuals from doing that which can't be done in the first place. Other "inalienable" rights include the right not to be turned into a termite, the right to a fair share of gravity when on a planet and the right to whatever afterlife exists upon the termination of this life.
All other "rights" NEED to be defended! These rights can be defended by individuals, but in order to "secure" these rights from anyone stronger than yourself, you need a group of people who will agree to defend them. This is the seed from which government springs. In order to defend your "right" to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, you submit to the rules of these people. In submitting, you cede your right to Kill, imprison and inhibit the specific pursuits of other people. In order to keep the "government" strong and healthy, you cede a few more rights such as the right to seek "justice" on your own terms (also known as vigilante justice) and the right to some of your property (given up as taxes). If you want to have more rights - such as the right to security in your old age - then you have to cede over more rights. This is simply an equitable trade.
To sum up: You do NOT have an inalienable right to life, liberty or the pursuit of happiness and if you WANT to have those rights at all, you can only secure them through the blessings of government.
Thursday, February 2, 2006
Today, Vox Day decried all Intellectual property. He states this after having written several books (all copyrighted), having written a syndicated column on video games (again copyrighted), having played in a band that was moderately successful selling (copyrighted) original songs, having developed (presumably patented) hardware solutions to video game acceleration and having held the original "3d blaster" trademark. Apparently intellectual property has treated him pretty well. Now, he COULD have - say - not copyrighted his books or music, but then he wouldn't have been published - or he would have been self published, which often is the equivalent.
Yes, the producers/publishers made money too. This is a fair trade. He traded his intellectual property rights for the advertising strength of the people who gave him the lifestyle he is now accustomed to. Without these intellectual property rights, he would just be another semi anonymous voice in the crowd - never to be heard above the rest of the chatter. His publishers could not help them. They probably wouldn't even exist. His weekly column on WorldNetDaily - oops, they probably wouldn't exist either.
Of course you might be able to make the case that with his father's connections and wealth, he still would have found a way, but first we have to find out how much his father, who made his money in the computer industry, sits on the board at WND and used to own a tv station, owes to intellectual property as well.
"The Government doesn't have the right to interfere," "The parents have the right to choose," "The Government needs to protect the children," "The parents don't have the right to HARM the child." Think about your position on the issue of abortion. As christians, most homeschoolers do fall on the "Pro Life" side of the fence. I just wanted to point out that the arguments you use to justify protecting a fetus from harm by the "choice" of the mother apply just as validly to education as they do to abortion.
Sometimes the Government DOES have the right to decide.
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