Discuss amongst yourselves

We are all homeschoolers now

From the US Dept. of Education, brought to my attention by TZ:

Responses from students who indicated they had experienced one of the listed behaviors were analyzed using descriptive statistics and frequencies. This analysis (Shakeshaft, 2003) indicates that 9.6 percent of all students in grades 8 to 11 report contact and/or noncontact educator sexual misconduct that was unwanted. 8.7 percent report only noncontact sexual misconduct and 6.7 percent experienced only contact misconduct…. Of students who experienced any kind of sexual misconduct in schools, 21 percent were targets of educators, while the remaining 79 percent were targets of other students.

So, think for a moment about how much unwanted ass-grabbing and whatnot was going on around you at your high school. Now figure a quarter of that was also happening a little less publicly thanks to the teachers, principals and coaches around you. Strangely, male students are nearly as likely to be targeted as female students, although male educators do most of the abusing. This proclivity of public school teachers for homosexual abuse is supported by the fact that 4 of the 22 school employees exposed in a recent Detroit article were men attacking boys.

Another interesting tidbit is the fact that the younger the abused child is, the more likely the abuser is to be an award-winning teacher considered to be one of the best ones in the school. This shouldn’t be that surprising, as it’s only logical to expect pedophiles to go where the kids are. I’ve always had a certain skepticism about any man who voluntarily spends a inordinate amount of time with children; most dads consider four straight hours with their own kids to be an overdose. Especially all those youth pastors with mustaches….

I coach little kids soccer myself, so one could argue that I belong on the sketchy list too, but in my defense, I don’t even pretend to be interested in the kids. They are simply my little pawns on the big green chess board… I teach them the skills and tactics they need to succeed on the field, nothing more. The parents appeared to be stunned at the first big tournament I coached, when we had a break for 90 minutes and I simply told them where to bring the kids for the next game, then walked away for the duration. Hey, they were all right there and I’m a coach, not a babysitter.

I’m pretty sure they would have demanded my dismissal by the club had we not shocked everyone by winning the tournament, in the finals beating a team that had stomped us 14-0 only three months before. You want the Phil Jackson of kiddy soccer, you’re going to put up with some idiosyncracies. Minus, of course, the mustache.

Finally, I should note that 6 of the 14 teachers convicted in that Detroit report are still certified to teach in the Detroit public schools. Socialization is important, after all!

A surprisingly positive article on homeschooling

From the St. Paul Pioneer Press:

Minnesota adopted a law in 1987 that clearly established the legality of home education. In 1985-86, an estimated 654 Minnesota children were home-schooled. This year, that number is 18,000. Today, Minnesota has some of the stricter laws overseeing home schooling….

For many years, Northwestern College, a Christian liberal arts school in St. Paul, has actively recruited home-schoolers, who make up 10 percent of its student body. It was a unique strategy — until now.

“Until recently, a number of colleges and universities were very skeptical of home-schoolers; they just didn’t know how to approach or deal with them,” says Ken Faffler, Northwestern admissions director. “That was fine with me; we wanted all of them we could get,” Faffler says. “We could see, on average, they’re above average … on SAT and ACT exams. And they also seem to have a slightly higher level of maturity — all this worry about socialization is something we knew we didn’t have to consider.”

Now, Ivy League schools, businesses like Apple Computer, PBS and many others are reaching out to the home-schooler.

The envelope, please

Rather than simply picking someone, I elected to decide the matter in a very high-tech way, assigning each volunteer a number then rolling two ten-sided dice. Hey, it’s as close to role-playing as I’ve come since the time I had a bikini-clad Space Bunny rolling Traveller characters in the Bahamas*.

The amusing part of that experience was how Space Bunny was simply in agony over the fate of her characters, one of Traveller’s distinguishing characteristics being that you could actually kill off your character while in the process of making him.

So, after each die roll, she’d immediately cover her eyes, usually as a prelude to something that went like this:

“What happened? Tell me what happened!”

“Well, the good news is that you survived the raid. The bad news is that you were badly wounded, lost an eye and will be cashiered from the Imperial Marines without gaining any more skills. They did give you a nice medal, though.”

“I hate this game! It’s awful!”

Anyhow, next week’s pinata – that is to say, Guest Blogger of the Week – is ANIMATE MATTERS. In 750 words or less, get it to me sometime on Friday, Wes.

* Sure, it sounds bad, but this should not be held as evidence against me in any future Nuremburg Geek Trials. We held the rights to the game at the time and were in the process of designing a second-party title for Sega of America on what was then called the Katana, later the Dreamscape. Unfortunately for Traveller fans and us, Sega of Japan killed off SOA in favor of giving Arsenal a lot of money to put Dreamscape on their jerseys. Good for the Gunners, not so great for the Sega Dreamscape. I still have the Arsenal jersey.

Ominous implications

Andrew Stuttaford writes of the impending French NO vote on the EU “constitution”:

Luxembourg’s prime minister, the evocatively named Jean-Claude Juncker, has proved that, contrary to the rumours, that dour bunch of eurocrats, placemen and rentiers located down in the Ardennes really do have a sense of humour. He’s saying that the EU will “continue to develop” if the constitution is voted right (true enough, alas), but that the process will slow down and that as a result “we would lose two decades, during which certain parts of the world would move ahead by adopting Europe’s model, while others would catch up with us.”

Quite why anyone else should want to adopt “Europe’s model,” which is best seen as the Ford Pinto of economic management and the Rolls Royce of corruption, is beyond me.

Stuttaford’s description of the European model is correct, but he seems to miss the crucial implication of what Juncker is saying, namely, that other parts of the world are already working on adopting Europe’s supranational model. Now, what parts of the world could he be referring to? And is it possible, perhaps even probable, tht this just might have a little something to do with the Mexican minister’s mention last week of US-Mexican integration?

What media bias

From the Telegraph:

The BBC was last night plunged into a damaging general election row after it admitted equipping three hecklers with microphones and sending them into a campaign meeting addressed by Michael Howard, the Conservative leader….

Last night, the BBC claimed that the exercise was part of a “completely legitimate programme about the history and art of political heckling” and said that other parties’ meetings were being “observed”. However, The Telegraph has established that none of Tony Blair’s meetings was infiltrated or disrupted in similar fashion.

Of course, this would never happen in the USA, where journalists are trained to be objective, unlike that amateur operation at the BBC. And I’m sure it’s merely a coincidence that the employees at the government-owned and operated BBC should actively favor the party that supports increasing the size and scope of government.

No wonder the Democrats seek a nationalized media.