This is not a promo for the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) per se, as there may be other similarly effective organizations out there to help families who homeschool their kids.
But if the following examples don't prove that homeschooled children and their parents need to have access to legal help at a moment's notice, I don't know what will. I will present blood-boiling excerpts here, but strongly advise all to read the full stories at the links.
"The View" co-host Joy Behar is well on her way to unhinged, if not already there.
Earlier today, NB's Justin McCarthy noted that Behar, in mentioning GOP Vice Presidential nominee Sarah Palin, said that "we all know that the woman is an airhead."
Michelle Malkin noted this evening that Behar also took an uncalled-for cheap shot at those who are involved in an important and growing alternative not only to the public schools, but also to traditional brick-and-mortar classroom education (video is at link):
Behar show(ed) .... her contempt for both homeschooled students and parents: “A lot of them are demented when they’re homeschooled.”
The Dallas Independent School District (DISD) has been committing crimes that would cause private companies performing similar acts to be raided and/or shut down: issuing fake Social Security numbers to foreigner with visas and/or illegal immigrants to get them on the payroll.
This is serious stuff. Yet Hobbs and her paper did everything they could to minimize the impact of the story, as seen in these excerpts:
Yesterday, verbiage at the "Service" Section of Barack Obama's Change.gov site (specifically the URL "http://change.gov/agenda/service/") served as source material for yesterday's post (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog) entitled "Obama’s 'Service in College' Program at Change.gov Promises $40 an Hour."
The page was entitled "Barack Obama and Joe Biden's Plan for Universal Voluntary Public Service." It contained "Barack Obama and Joe Biden's Plan," whose major sections included "Enable All Americans to Serve to Meet the Nation's Challenges," "Integrate Service into Learning," and "Invest in the Nonprofit Sector."
The detail of the second section (saved here at web host yesterday for fair use and discussion purposes) included this requirement (red underlining is mine):
To show how foolishly hyperbolic the Old Media and the ignorati in our universities are, the Associated Press issued a dire report that breathlessly informed us all that Barack Obama is facing a "nation in crisis" and it's all "just like Lincoln and FDR." The AP even gets an historically illiterate university professor to sonorously declare how Obama is "one step away" from Lincoln and FDR. But a review of our nation's real history shows that the America Obama will inherit is in nowhere near the state of crisis that Lincoln and Franklin Delano Roosevelt had to deal with. But, in the end, this isn't about real reporting or true historiography but about pumping Obama up and trying to shoehorn him in among what are considered by many our greatest presidents before he's even taken office.
The absurd hyperbole and wild stretching of the historical record to give gravity to Obama's reign is transparent for its effort to force readers into imagining that Obama should be given a mandate to do anything he wants. I'd suggest that the reason this foolish overestimate of our state of national "crisis" is being ladled out to an unsuspecting public is because the AP realizes that Obama did not get a mandate vote and the AP fears that Obama might face more resistance than it would like to his starkly socialist policy proscriptions. So, the AP is trying its best to break down those barriers beforehand.
Talk about "change." The latest version of president-elect Barack Obama's ever-evolving ideas for "community service" promises to pass out quite a bit of it to America's college students.
The "America Serves" (link is to Google cache) and "Service" sections of Team Obama's Change.gov site have, uh, changed quite a bit over the past day or so after many, including Kerry Picket of Newsbusters, noted that the "service" proposals require youth conscription, i.e., a non-military draft.
As of 8 AM this morning, Team Obama's cleanup operation is nearly complete, with almost all coercive language purged.
But one item noted last night by Charles Johnson of Little Green Footballs remains in the "Service" section (a copy for future reference is here if/when the existing link changes), with a stunning quantitative modification:
But Why Does The AP Report Ignore Key Part of Story?
Remember when you were a young school kid and you drew a vampire during the week of Halloween? Remember how the blood was always dripping down from his menacing, pearly white teeth? Remember how it was all in good Halloween fun? Well, you can just forget THAT mister, at least if you are a 5th-Grader in the Savannah-Chatham school system in Georgia. In Georgia, if you draw a vampire you get called a gang member -- even when you were assigned to make the drawing -- and then you get sent to "psychological evaluation" as if you are some mentally disturbed monster. Then they kick you out of school... for a Halloween drawing. Really.
The Savannah Morning News gives us the gruesome story of another touchy-feelie teacher gone stupid and another poor little kid lost in "zero-tolerance" hell this Halloween week.
When Jordan Hood was assigned the task of drawing a "scary Halloween mask," he innocently drew a scary vampire. His art teacher even helped him out with a few of the details. But then came home-room teacher Melissa Pevey (amusingly, even her name sounds pent up) who decided that, far from Halloween fun, little 5th-grader Jordan was obviously a violence prone, mentally disturbed, gang member. So in a harrowing Halloween experience that had no fun in it at all, Pevey had him paraded down to the principal's office where he was confronted by the police and assigned "psychological evaluation" as a punishment for his artistry.
Bill Ayers made a visit to the Chelsea neighborhood of NYC to talk about radical education reform, and New York Times Metro reporter Colin Moynihan portrayed the domestic terrorist as a mild-mannered liberal in the misleadingly headlined Monday story "Ex-Radical Talks of Education and Justice, Not Obama."
When did Ayers become an "ex-radical"? He hasn't repudiated any of his views or acts of violence from the period in which he led the Weather Underground in bombing the Pentagon and other government buildings.
Over the last several months, as pundits and partisans have debated the significance of his relationship with Senator Barack Obama, William Ayers has avoided the limelight, steering clear of political commentary and public pronouncements.
But on Sunday afternoon, Mr. Ayers, 63, a founder of the 1960s-era radical group the Weather Underground, a former fugitive, former Chicago Citizen of the Year and current professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago, appeared without fanfare at the Stella Adler Studio of Acting, in Chelsea, to participate in a symposium on educational justice.
In 1995, Mr. Ayers held a fund-raiser for Mr. Obama, who was running for a seat in the Illinois State Senate. The two men later served together on the boards of two Chicago philanthropic groups as well as on the board of an education reform organization. The two men have been described as friendly, but not close.
Over at RealDebateWisconsin Fred Dooley was contacted by the mother of a Racine Unified School District 8th grade student in Wisconsin public schools about an outrageous thing she found in her son's school textbook. Apparently, in this textbook supposedly teaching about literature, one of the books being pushed as a perfect example of that subject is Barack Obama's memoir Dreams from my Father. That's right, a book by a current political candidate for president is being pushed on our children as "literature." It also seems probable from campaign donation records that a principle member of the publishing company is a large Obama donor.
One would think that focusing on the ideology of a politician currently running for president would be a bit over-the-top even for our extreme left leaning system of education in this country. But there it is anyway. The book even presents a photo of the Senator at a campaign rally with signs advertising his campaign website address to help better indoctrinate the kids.
Of course, the very first question that comes to mind is this: how wide spread would this story have become if it were a Republican featured in a kid's textbook? Would the left-o-sphere stand silent as John McCain appeared in school textbooks? Would the Old Media ignore such a story? Somehow, I doubt it. Who can doubt that the story would be such big news that the school district would have been shamed into taking such propaganda out of their school rooms apologizing for their lack of judgment as they do so. A book like this with McCain included would never even have made it out of the publishing house before stories would have been leaked to the press. Certainly it would be national news. But, in this case, the textbook is manufactured without opposition and is passed out to kids without a peep from the usual suspects.
During a report on Monday’s Anderson Cooper 360 program, CNN investigative correspondent Drew Griffin presented many of the missing details about the relationship between Barack Obama and left-wing terrorist William Ayers that two earlier "Truth Squad" reports on the network on Sunday and Monday omitted. Griffin stated that despite the spin of the Obama campaign and their mainstream media supporters, "...the relationship between Obama and Ayers went much deeper, ran much longer, and was much more political than Obama said."
Host Anderson Cooper introduced Griffin’s report, which began 19 minutes into the 10 pm Eastern hour, as one of the CNN program’s "Keeping Them Honest" features. Oddly, a on-screen graphic that read "The Dow Plunges," which had nothing to do with the subject of the segment, ran during its entirety. The correspondent began by repeating Ayers and his wife Bernadine Dohrn’s background in the Weather Underground, "an anti-Vietnam War group that bombed federal buildings, including the U.S. Capitol and the Pentagon." He then gave Obama’s early characterization of his relationship with the 1960's radical, that the Democrat "confirmed... that he knew Ayers, and, when pressed, said they served on a charitable foundation board together, and Obama condemned Ayers' support of violence."
The woman introducing Joe Biden to a Michigan crowd yesterday called Sarah Palin a "bucket of fluff." Biden then told the crowd that Barack Obama is too smart and too well-educated to live in a Republican neighborhood. Now that the Dems have put Obama's smarts and education on the table, will the MSM demand Obama finally release his Columbia transcript?
But, OK, fine. Biden's put it out there. We know about Biden's academic record. And John McCain's far-from-stellar academics at the Naval Academy are well documented. Sarah Palin apparently moved around quite a bit in college. But there's one person about whom there is a very large lacuna when it comes to his academic record: one Barack Obama. His campaign has refused to release his Columbia University undergraduate transcript, the one upon which he was admitted to Harvard Law. Now that Biden has put smarts on the table, will the MSM demand that Obama come clean on Columbia?
[Update, 3:05 pm: Transcript of Toobin's remarks added below.]
For two straight days, CNN repeated liberal rumors about Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin’s political record – rumors that had already been debunked by their own correspondents, as well as the respected FactCheck.org, a group led by former CNN reporter Brooks Jackson.
During Monday evening’s Election Center program, CNN’s senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin claimed that Palin "wants to ban all abortions," despite a September 2 report by his own network which included a quote from the Alaska governor that she is "pro-life... [w]ith the exception of a doctor's determination that the mother's life would end if the pregnancy continued." Toobin also claimed that Palin "wants to treat -- to have creationism taught in public schools." This isn’t the entire story. A FactCheck.org report released on Monday, which aimed to refute "dubious Internet postings and mass e-mail messages making claims about McCain's running mate," clarified that Palin "supports teaching creationism alongside evolution, though she has not actively pursued such a policy as governor."
It is a sight to behold when a journalist is so enthralled by anti-self-defense fantasy that they would contradict themselves and publicly display ignorance of the facts, especially in a newspaper nicknaming itself The Facts.
Michael Morris, assistant managing editor of the online version of the Brazosport Facts, is not happy with the Harrold school district's decision to allow trained staff carry concealed handguns on campus. Morris's editorial quickly leaps into hyperbole:
The argument is that if teachers were armed at the time these shootings started, the carnage could have been reduced or eliminated entirely. Or, some say, the idea of handguns on campus would serve as a deterrent to a would-be gunman even thinking about assaulting a school or its students.
These are fine theories put forth by those who believe every American, everywhere, at any time should be able to whip out an assault weapon, no questions asked.1
In his book The Bias Against Guns, John Lott examined the relationship between gun availability and multiple murders. He concluded:
Chris Cuomo continued his "Meet the Joneses" series on August 27's "Good Morning America" posing some surprising conservative challenging questions to an Obama adviser. The third installment featured Barack Obama’s education plan and a Jones family concerned about their children’s education.
This particular family allegedly lived in a failing school district before moving and says they can not afford a decent private school. After noting Obama opposes school vouchers Cuomo paraphrased the Jones family concerns that they want the "choice" and "opportunity" and asked the senator’s domestic policy adviser what her answer is.
After Obama’s adviser parroted talking points about "mak[ing] an investment in our public schools" Cuomo followed up questioning why not "allow families like the Joneses to get their kids into a better school so that they don't have to go down with a failing institution until it's fixed?" Obama’s adviser then noted that Senator Obama supports charter schools.
According the Associated Press, "Ask AP" is "a weekly Q&A column where AP journalists respond to readers' questions about the news."
Given how biased the wire service's news reporting is, you wouldn't expect "Ask AP" responses to be very different. They usually aren't.
Case in point (second question at link) -- Reader Cindy Garcia of Vista, California asked AP about the costs and benefits of illegal immigration:
I hear so many conflicting stories on illegal immigration. Please tell me if you can how much the illegal immigrants contribute to the economy and how much they use in free services. If they all got deported, how would it affect our economy?
Here is the sadly incorrect and incomplete answer from AP writers Laura Wides-Munoz in Miami, Jacques Billeaud in Phoenix, and Suzanne Gamboa in Washington (bolds are mine):
[Update, 3:30 pm ET Wednesday: Video added, at right.]
Wednesday’s American Morning program on CNN ran a segment by correspondent Ed Lavandera on the practice of corporal punishment for students, which featured a Texas student speaking out against paddling who wore a red T-shirt -- which featured the communist hammer and sickle symbol, an insignia popular with regimes which presided over the torture and murder of hundreds of millions. Lavandera also ran three sound bites of individuals speaking out against the practice versus one principal who is in favor of it.
Lavandera interviewed student Joe Cancellare, who received "two swats" from a paddle at his Alpine, Texas school after being sent to the principal’s office for flinging rubber bands. Cancellare and his mother Andrea Cancellare, who was also interviewed, both object to this form of punishment. Lavandera stated that Ms. Cancellare "had earlier written a letter to the school expressing her vehement opposition to corporal punishment, and demanding that her son be exempted from the practice."
If Barack Obama is looking for an elder statesman with national security credentials as his running mate, my two cents say he should pick Sam Nunn. The conventional wisdom, though, has Obama leaning toward Joe Biden. If the senior senator from Delaware is indeed tapped, we can expect that mere milliseconds will elapse before some MSM outlet labels Biden a "moderate" or a "centrist."
We thought it might be useful to do a little prophylactic exploration of the Biden record. Given his long tenure in the Senate, he's earned literally hundreds of interest-group ratings over the years. But here is a representative sample, as culled from the invaluable Project Vote Smart. Although his "grades" have of course varied from year to year, overall we find—surprise!—that Biden is a garden-variety liberal.
You would think that someone working for the self-described "Essential Global News Network" known as the Associated Press as an Education Writer might go beyond using the Copy and Paste commands in reporting on national college entrance exam test scores.
From all appearances, you would be wrong.
AP Education Writer Justin Pope's report on the 2008 ACT exam results appears to contain nothing that isn't already in ACT, Inc.'s press release. For whatever reason, Pope missed a shocking set of results out of Michigan that should deeply worry anyone concerned about the future competency of our workforce.
Yes, there are two Americas. The one where John Edwards used to have a scholarship program that he intended to set up as an example for all of America to follow... and the one where he cancels that scholarship program. Is it because he isn't running for president any more? Since Edwards has other things to do now -- like hiding from the media in his mistresses' house and maybe getting a few $400 haircuts -- Edwards has pulled the plug on his pilot scholarship program in North Carolina. It was for the kids... now it isn't. As the media ignores Edwards' love child story, any takers if they will ignore this one, too?
In May of 2007, to great fanfare, Edwards rolled out his "College for Everyone" plan saying that this was a college plan for "any student wishing to work hard." At that time, the well coiffed, two-time presidential candidate said that he wanted "every young person" to go to college and touted his new program then beginning at Greene Central High School in Snow Hill, NC.
State Test Scores in Reading and Mathematics Continue To Increase, Achievement Gaps Narrow Since 2002
A multi-year study designed to report on the effects of the much maligned 2002 No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) has determined that students achieved moderate to large gains on state tests in math and reading. The study also concluded that achievement gaps between white students and minorities narrowed, with significant reduction for the African American community and low income groups.
The study was conducted by the non-partisan Center On Education Policy over a 2 year period. Results of the report were released on June 24th yet few major newspapers bothered to mention the news. (all emphasis mine)
WASHINGTON, D.C. – June 24, 2008 – Student scores on state tests of reading and mathematics have risen since 2002, and achievement gaps between various groups of students have narrowed more often than they have widened, according to the most comprehensive and rigorous recent analysis of state test scores. These improvements have occurred during a period when the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), state education reforms, and local school improvement efforts have focused on raising test scores and narrowing achievement gaps.
Given how much grief charter schools and other creative initiatives get from the government-school establishment if they don't instantly turn at risk kids into Einsteins, along with the hounding of homeschoolers that seems to be on the rise, this story shouldn't be allowed to fall through the cracks, or remain confined to its local area.
Last Sunday's Rochester Democrat and Chronicle story (HT One News Now), which really should be read in full, would be humorous ("Kids Get Answers, Still Can't Pass") if it weren't for the fact that real children are clearly not getting educated. This systemic failure will affect them, and, to at least a slight degree, everyone reading this, for years to come (bolds are mine):
This could be perhaps the most bizarre application of James Carville's worn out expression, "It's the economy stupid." "CBS Evening News" linked the economy to the famed pregnancy pact that has received national attention.
The June 19 broadcast of "Evening News" faulted the ailing economy for 17 Massachusetts high school students agreeing to get pregnant intentionally around the same time so they could raise children together.
According to Gloucester Public Schools Superintendent Christopher Farmer, the girls did it to gain status. CBS correspondent Michelle Miller took it a step further and made an economic connection.
"Status in Gloucester is hard to come by," Miller said. "The once-thriving fishing community has seen jobs drift overseas. Economic depression has left many teens trying to fill the void."
In yet another example of why the west could be too weak to fight the sort of global terrorism that takes the form of Islamofascism, a textbook monitoring group is charging that American textbooks have been cleansed of mentioning the violence inherent in the Islamic "Jihad." Now, our children will not be taught what "Jihad" truly means, nor that it has been used as an excuse to kill their fellow citizens because our schools have sanitized Islam of all outrage and violence. Will the media follow this story and report that our children are being exposed to Islamic propaganda like this?
According to the New York Examiner, the American Textbook Council reports that textbooks approved for middle and high schools students have caved in to a politically correct cleansing of Islam and dumbed down history critical to a fuller understanding of Muslim history -- one that reflects on our own times.
Could science and statistics be beyond the media's ability to understand and report upon them? One might be excused to think so by the hash the MSM made of the supposed claim that in the U.S. one in four teenaged girls have a sexually transmitted disease. On March 11, the CDC issued a press release announcing a study that made the claim, but did not release the full study so that anyone interested might see the whole story. Regardless of the further facts that serves to sharply decreases that one in four number, the media rushed to sensationalize the shocking claim that 25 percent of our young girls have STDs.
Making it political, The New York Times rushed the story to their front page in order to attack the Bush Administration's so-called "abstinence-only programs" with a slam by the president of Planned Parenthood, Cecile Richards. The Times quotes Richards as saying, "The national policy of promoting abstinence-only programs is a $1.5 billion failure and teenage girls are paying the real price." But, unfortunately for this claim, lower rates of sexual activity has, indeed, brought down the number of STDs in the U.S. So, contrary to the breathless exclamations by Planned Parenthood and The New York Times, abstinence-only programs cannot be fingered as a negative in disease rates.
But the Times wasn't the only one. Just about every major newssource on TV and print media went on a feeding frenzy with the "one in four" claim. Only, further review of the CDC's report seems to show that the "one in four" claim is not really the case.
Only in the west can one see a school that hosts a day when school children are encouraged to dress like, act like, and "learn about" those trying to kill them and all in a day that the country is in the midst of war. And only in the west would the media help celebrate such an outrageous example of support for what, in truth, are our enemies.
On May 9, the kids of the Amherst Middle School in Amherst, New Hampshire, were forced to parade about their school dressed as "Saudi Arabians" so that they could "learn from people around the world" in a happy day of multiculturalism. But, what they ended up being taught was the wholly sanitized version of how wonderful Saudi society is instead of the truth.
Sadly, the Milford (NH) Cabinet, a small newspaper group in the Granite State, is full of uncritical praise and wonder at the multicultural extravaganza forced upon these children unawares. Worse, they didn't do any reporting on how this day of appeasement came to be held.
Is it possible to discuss teen birth rates without attacking abstinence-only education? Apparently not for NBC's Chief Medical Editor Dr. Nancy Snyderman.
During a May 28 "Today" show discussion of high schools providing birth control to teens without parental notification, Snyderman cast doubt on abstinence-only education, saying, "I don't think there's any healthcare professional who says [abstinence education] is the magic bullet and it's really working."
School-provided birth control is a hot topic again due to the rising number of teenage pregnancies at Gloucester High School in Massachusetts. Pregnancies at Gloucester High soared from 4 to 17 in one year, spurring some school health officials to propose offering free birth control to students without parental notification. Dr. Brian Orr, the school's clinic director, resigned last week after the Addison Gilbert Hospital, which funds the clinic, opposed the idea.
Host Meredith Vieira gave Snyderman a second opportunity to bash abstinence when she asked "Teen pregnancy is up for the first time in 15 years, why is that?" Snyderman responded:
On Thursday's Countdown show, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann seemed to mock John McCain's military service as he quipped that McCain was "awol" for not showing up for a Senate vote on providing college tuition to American troops, and further accused McCain, whom he called "Senator 'I Support the Troops,'" of "supporting himself instead of the troops." The MSNBC host also mocked McCain as being at the "front lines" of a fund-raiser in California. Notably, just a few weeks ago, Olbermann thought it was amusing to scold Ann Coulter for making a crack about Barack Obama being a "Manchurian candidate" because it might remind people of McCain, even though it was Olbermann, not Coulter, who drew a connection as he observed that the film The Manchurian Candidate was about a "presidential election and an American war hero POW who'd been brainwashed in Southeast Asia." (Video of Olbermann's "Manchurian Candidate" comments can be found here.) (Transcripts follow)
On Thursday’s CBS "Early Show" co-host Harry Smith was introducing a report on the winner of National Geographic’s annual geography bee and became confused by some geographical trivia: "In which ocean are the South Sandwich Islands located? A sixth grader from Nebraska answered that question. It's in the -- is it in the Atlantic?I thought the Sandwich Islands were actually named after the earl of -- it's Hawaii. That's not right. I'm so sorry."
At that point, co-host Julie Chen showed that she was not quite ready to compete in the geography bee:
JULIE CHEN: No, it's in which ocean, so that is right. So it's the Atlantic Ocean.
SMITH: Hawaii is not in the Atlantic Ocean.
CHEN: Oh, it's in the Pacific.
Smith, who earlier in the show bragged: "we’re big geography nuts in our house," understandably confused the South Sandwich Islands, located in the southern Atlantic Ocean off the tip of Argentina, with the Sandwich Islands, the original name given to Hawaii, after the British Earl of Sandwich. Smith later made the correction: " Okay, just to set the record straight, we now -- we had to figure this out, right?...Because the Sandwich Islands are in the Pacific. The South Sandwich islands in the Atlantic. My bad."
However, there does not seem to be any explanation for Chen believing that the Hawaiian Islands were located in the Atlantic Ocean. NBC’s Ann Curry was similarly geographically challenged on the February 4, "Today" show when she couldn’t find the state of Illinois on a map of the United States and pointed to Minnesota instead.
A small paper in South Carolina called The Statesman indulged in some blatant hetero bashing this week in a story about a high school principal who resigned because of his convictions that the school should not allow a homosexual club to be started in his school. Naturally, the paper tries to make it seem as if the principal is an unreasonable bigot. The paper even conveniently forgot the part of the principal's resignation letter that clearly explains why he disagreed with allowing a club based on sexual activity in a high school -- and the explanation had nothing to do with any anti-gay sentiment.
Here is a story in a small paper in Philadelphia that serves as a fine example of the junk that all too often passes for "journalism" in America today. This example is as ridiculously anti-intellectual and dismissive of the importance of preserving our history as it is anti-corporate. It's a fine example of a journalist who thinks he is smarter and funnier than everyone about whom he writes -- even his name reflects that condescension. The arrogance and smarminess is so thick with James Smart's "Renovating a historic home" that it just drips off the page.
Of course, Mr. Smart's work isn't what one would call straight journalism, but more like the sort of commentary one would see from writers such as Dave Barry. Light hearted, ultimately pointless wastes of time that would find readers no better informed after having read them, but no worse off for the four minutes or so of their lives they'll never get back from the exercise. But, in this particular piece, Smart goes over the edge of simple minded, blather and into uncalled for denigration. It also reveals his intense anti-capitalist feelings. Whatever his past work, this one reveals far more about his generally dismissive attitude against our history and capitalist system than it does about the subject matter.