Friday, November 30, 2007

Home Ed On The News

"Parents have been reminded they have the right to educate their children at home, as a Somerset based support group prepares to hold an open day for interested mums and dads." Read more...

Schooled at Home Children

"Home schooling is gaining popularity. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, nationwide there were more than a million students being home-schooled in 2003, up from 850,000 in 1999. In addition, students with non-traditional backgrounds are becoming accepted at colleges and universities."

Thursday, November 29, 2007

EHE Consultation Results

Home Education Consultation Results

"On 8 May 2007 we launched a consultation on elective home education guidelines for local authorities. We actively sought the opinions of many key groups including local authorities, home educators and home educating organisations. This report has been based on the 919 responses which we received to the consultation document."


EHE Guidelines

Elective Home Education Guidelines for Local Authorities

Ministerial Foreword: "Education is a fundamental right for every child and we recognise that parents have the right to choose to educate their child at home rather than at school. These guidelines have been prepared to help local authorities manage their relationships with home educating parents. Parents are responsible for ensuring that their children receive a suitable education. Where parents have chosen to home educate, we want the home educated child to have a positive experience. We believe this is best achieved where parents and local authorities recognise each others rights and responsibilities, and work together. These guidelines aim to clarify the balance between the right of the parent to educate their child at home and the responsibilities of the local authority."

Jim Knight and Andrew Adonis

On the news

Special school head is suspended
The head teacher of a school for boys with emotional and behavioural problems has been suspended.

'Weekend detention' plan for pupils
Teenagers who refuse to stay on in education when the leaving age rises to 18 will be forced to attend weekend detention centres under new plans.

Teachers in 'exam bribes'
26 teachers and education officers are being tried accused of accepting tens of thousands of dollars from more than 1,700 students in return for improving their results. The problems are said to be partly due to the "achievement syndrome" trend, where district officials stand to lose their jobs if exam results are poor.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

On the news

Dutch quell school hours protest
Twenty-eight school students will face public order charges in Amsterdam, following street protests. Police clashed with about 1,000 teenagers on Monday, using water cannon to disperse the crowd. Police spokesman said 28 were briefly detained and would face charges for public order offences. Students oppose a new statutory annual minimum of 1,040 hours of classes.

Fury as long-haired son suspended
15-year-old suspended from school for refusing to cut his long hair. The student was suspended for three days last week. Upon his return, he was excluded from class for still not getting a hair cut. His father said: "They put him in a room and threw work at him, no contact with anyone. This is Northern Ireland in 2007. Solitary confinement, I think it's called."

Concern at pupil data microchips
A secondary school in Doncaster has been trying out a scheme where pupils' records are accessible via a microchip embedded in their school uniform. The school says the microchip is not a tracking device.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Some Quotes

Education is like a double-edged sword. It may be turned to dangerous uses if it is not properly handled. - Wu Ting-Fang

And what is a good citizen? Simply one who never says, does or thinks anything that is unusual. Schools are maintained in order to bring this uniformity up to the highest possible point. A school is a hopper into which children are heaved while they are still young and tender; therein they are pressed into certain standard shapes and covered from head to heels with official rubber-stamps. - H. L. Mencken (1880-1956)

My education was dismal. I went to a series of schools for mentally disturbed teachers. - Woody Allen

No two men are just alike. Every new life is a new thing under the sun; there has never been anything just like it before, never will be again. A young man ought to get that idea about himself; he should look for the single spark of individuality that makes him different from other folks, and develop that for all he is worth. Society and schools may try to iron it out of him; their tendency is to put it all in the same mould, but I say don't let that spark be lost; it is your only real claim to importance.
Henry Ford (1863-1947)

Education is a private matter between the person and the world of knowledge and experience, and has little to do with school or college. - Lillian Smith

I am entirely certain that twenty years from now we will look back at education as it is practiced in most schools today and wonder that we could have tolerated anything so primitive. - John W. Gardner (1912-2002)

Grammar Games & Quizzes

Grammar Blast: Capitalization and Punctuation
'Apostrophes' games
Adverbs Quiz
State of Debate

Friday, November 23, 2007

Propaganda lessons

Lorna, 14, said: "I was shocked to go into the playground one day and see a helicopter and 20 army guys trying to recruit us. This was without my or my parents' permission, and I had no choice but to listen..."

Photo from here.

Sign the Army Out Of Schools Petition:

"We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to end military recruitment in all schools and colleges in the UK."

News links:

Britain's child army
Army's school visits 'should end'

Army 'targeting poorer schools'
Army recruitment in Scots schools

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Schools and propaganda

"Ensuring that children attend school is only one component of the right to education. What children are taught about themselves and others, how they are educated, can amount to indoctrination, advocacy of racism or sexism, propaganda of war, or stultifying regurgitation of useless bits of information."

Katarina Tomasevski, the first ever Special Rapporteur on the Right to Education of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights

Schools or hi-tech prisons?

"Schools have become hi-tech prisons. Children are being conditioned to accept that they are not free and that they must submit to draconian laws and measures for their own safety. Soon enough children will not even know what it is like to act as a private individual within society."

Read more... [and scroll down for news links]

Make sure you check this.

On the news

Father angry at attack
A father whose son needed a brain scan after being attacked by another pupil has criticised teachers.

Sex offender offered girls a lift
MacLeman was sentenced to 200 hours of community service after he admitted indecently assaulting a girl while she waited for her school bus.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

On the news...

Germany 'foils school massacre'
"German police say they have thwarted a plot by two students to carry out a massacre at their school. One suspect, aged 17, committed suicide after being questioned about the plot and his alleged accomplice, 18, is under arrest. Last year, a former pupil injured several students in Germany's western town of Emsdetten before turning the gun on himself. [...] In 2002, a former pupil killed 18 people in his school in the eastern city of Erfurt. The gunman then killed himself. In the Columbine massacre in the US, two teenagers shot dead 12 classmates and a teacher before killing themselves."

Mother of truant daughter jailed
"A woman has been jailed for two weeks after failing to make her 14-year-old daughter attend school. A city council spokesman said it was Joyce's second conviction for failing to get her daughter to attend school."

UK's families put on fraud alert

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Abuse at schools

Oprah's school abuse claims got me googling for the latest news on the topic: these are from the last 2 weeks or so.

Oprah Winfrey School
Matron faces charges of physical and sexual abuse of students. The school's strict rules were comparable to a prison regime. One girl was grabbed by the throat and thrown against a wall, while others were beaten and hit on numerous occasions. Ms Mokgobo is accused of soliciting under age girls to perform indecent acts. Pupils were ordered to “put on happy faces”.

Welsh school staff convicted of abuse
92 cases of abuse by school staff in Wales referred to independent investigators have led to criminal convictions. These include allegations of emotional, physical and sexual abuse.

School Bus Driver Drugged And Abused Kids
A SCHOOL bus driver forced children to swallow tranquillisers and down Buckfast during six years of sexual abuse.

Inquiry into school abuse planned

The school was closed; around 40 care workers abused youngsters in their care, and could still be working with children. Staff knew about the treatment but did not intervene. Maltreatment by workers at the school included physical assault, the excessive use of restraint, and sex abuse.

Decade of abuse at special school
More than a decade of systematic and brutal abuse of vulnerable children can today be revealed after a 3 year media blackout was lifted. Three members of staff at the Norfolk special school at the centre of the biggest child cruelty investigation in the county's history have been convicted of a string of offences of ill-treating and assaulting young boys.

Our children are raping each other
Twelve-year-old was sodomised over and over and over in a series of brutal sex attacks. The sadistic assaults he was forced to endure were perpetrated by pupils — at his very own primary school.

$1.1 million settlement in sexual abuse case

Abused by a former principal in Seattle Catholic Archdiocese school.

Clergyman path to abuse
Rising star within the Diocese of Scranton charged with numerous sexual assault offences. The accused pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 10 years probation.

Abuse allegations lead to suspension

The choral director at St. Louis Community College has been suspended as administrators look into claims he had sex with one of his high school students.

Teacher Sexual Abuse Case Now Spans Three Counties

The teenager says the teacher sexually abused her during the bus ride home.

Diocese Issues Statement In Sexual Abuse Case
The Catholic Diocese of Covington is responding to a lawsuit filed by the family of a sexual abuse victim. Jeni Dinkel is serving a 60 day sentence for her sexual contact with a 15-year-old boy.

A teen, a tutor, a tale of child sexual abuse

Former teacher's aide had an illicit 7 month sexual relationship with a high school student she tutored.

Few fired for physical abuse
Teachers reprimanded for slapping, kicking or choking students are more likely to return to the classroom than those who kiss, caress or talk dirty to them.

Officials investigate report of sex abuse
Authorities are investigating allegations that a boy sexually abused a 5-year-old girl on a school bus and that another boy held the little girl down.

School bus driver indicted in sexual abuse of girl

The bus driver has been indicted on three charges in connection with his arrest last month for the sexual abuse of a 14-year-old girl.

Teacher charged with sexual abuse of students
A school teacher facing 75 counts of sexual abuse.

Nun Pleads No Contest in Sex Abuse
The nun faces up to 20 years in prison. Although dozens of nuns have been accused of sexual abuse, Sister Giannini is one of the first to face criminal charges.

Teen accuses teacher of assault
The latest allegations of sexual abuse have been made by a 16-year-old girl against a male teacher. The previous week, a school teacher was charged with molesting a 12-year-old girl.

Judge Finds Tampering in Verdict on Teacher
The teacher was initially charged with 35 counts of sexual abuse and endangerment.

And some links:

Educator Sexual Misconduct

Sexual Abuse in Schools
Many of our schools like schools in other countries experience, to varying degrees, violent and criminal behaviour that includes bullying, substance abuse, sexual abuse, verbal abuse, racism, gangsterism, guns and weapons, vandalism and a host of other antisocial behaviour. All of these make these schools an unsafe place to be for some of our children, suffocating many of their dreams and reducing the school experience for these children to a battle for survival rather than academic achievement.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Bowling for Columbine

In Bowling for Columbine Michael Moore explores the causes for the Columbine High School massacre and other acts of violence with guns. In his discussions he seeks to explain why the Columbine massacre occurred. To watch it click on the title.

Mark Ames: "They searched all over the world for a motive, except for one place: the scene of the crime."

Friday, November 16, 2007

Human Rights In Education

"Compulsory education is in practice a duty as well as a right of the child. In practice, domestic law often reflects the view that compulsory education is no more than an opportunity for the state to exercise its power to impose, regulate, compel and control the first stage of education, and the right to education is often overlooked. To safeguard against the state’s abuse of this power, human rights measures are necessary. These are orientated towards balancing the right of the state to compel children to be educated and the right of their parents to opt out of compulsory education.

Respect for parental freedom to have their children educated in conformity with their religious, moral or philosophical convictions has been affirmed in all human rights treaties. Despite this global consensus, the obligation to make primary education all-encompassing is frequently, albeit erroneously, associated with state-provided schooling."

Katarina Tomasevski, the first ever Special Rapporteur on the Right to Education of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Detention for hugging friends

A 13 year-old girl was given detention - for hugging her friends. The teen was punished for violating a school policy banning 'public displays of affection' when she hugged two friends. 'I was just giving them a hug goodbye for the weekend,' she said. It's not an isolated case. A 12-year-old was given detention after hugging a friend who had just returned to school after losing a parent.


Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Junk Definition

From: Definition of discard; Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary

Scrap and junk imply throwing away or breaking up as worthless in existent form:

"scrap all the old ways", "would junk our educational system".

Human Rights in Education

"Education is widely – albeit wrongly – perceived as inherently good. Getting all children to school is then equated with their right to education. Questions about what and how children are taught are asked rarely, usually when abuses of and in education are detected. Children can be exposed to advocacy of racism or incitement to genocide. Remedying the harm done by such abuse is difficult, often impossible.

The main purpose of human rights is to provide safeguards against abuse of power, and children should have a right to be protected from physical or sexual abuse, from brainwashing or indoctrination. Because we learn too little and too late about abuses of and in education, there are few human rights safeguards in place. Their development is recent and fragmentary, hampered by the widespread and erroneous image of education being inherently good." - K. Tomasevsky

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Extraordinary child

I watch the secret smiles dance
as you soar away from this stark space
to the furthest stars and the deepest oceans

He sits, pen in hand
will never understand
as he waits to tick his boxes

But you won't play.
Somewhere far away,
My extraordinary child

And he can not see you
And he cannot hear you
Nor glimpse the beauty of your soul
My extraordinary child.

[seen at the HE-Special-UK Netpals]

Monday, November 12, 2007

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Excluded for wearing bracelet

Sarika Singh, 14, has been suspended from school for wearing a bracelet. During the 9 weeks leading to the exclusion the girl had been taught “in isolation”. Her mother said: “Sarika told us,

‘I don’t go to school any more, I go to prison’.”


Hirst's School

Damien Hirst, who was paid $10m (£4.7m) for School, said:

"The sheep represent uniformity. Through uniform education, people end up as dead sheep; alive, but not much alive."

From the Guardian: "The glass-walled lobby is lined not with bookshelves but with medicine cabinets bearing pill boxes and bottles, each one topped with a clock that runs backwards at a different speed. The cow-flanked dove stands at the front of the room, representing the teacher, and in front of it there are three neat rows of "pupils" - 29 pickled sheep, their heads severed from their skinless bodies."

Mass Education

From: Rudiments of Wisdom by Tim Hunkin

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Friday, November 09, 2007

Education and Human Rights

"Parents educate their children, governments their citizens. Government human rights obligations include ensuring that education is available as well as respecting parental freedom to choose the education of their children.

Compulsory education represents the power of the state to impose, regulate, compel and control education. As for all other powers of the state, human rights safeguards are necessary. Parental freedom of choice concerning education of their children has been the counterweight to the imposition of uniform public education from the very emergence of international human rights law."

Katarina Tomasevski
Special Rapporteur on the right to education of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Home Education on the news

Parents unhappy with traditional system turn to home school
"THOUSANDS of Australian parents are pulling their children out of schools to educate them at home."

German Homeschoolers facing $6,300 fine
"Government levies penalty to stamp out different views."

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Home Education Legal Until 18

From Freedom for Children to Grow: "Education Otherwise yesterday welcomed a personal assurance from the Secretary of State, Ed Balls, that home education would continue to be a legal option for young people between the ages of 16 and 18."

Find out more in EO's press release

Monday, November 05, 2007

Coercion and Criminalisation of Young People

"TEENAGERS who refuse to work, attend training or go to school are to be issued with on the spot fines under government proposals. Any who still fail to comply would then be taken to court where they could face further penalties.

The measures are designed to enforce a new law which will say that all teenagers must remain in education, training or employment until they are 18. The new law will effectively outlaw “Neets”, about 10% of 16 to 18-year-olds who are “not in education, employment or training”."

Read more.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Letter From a Prisoner

"We live in a netherworld where there are few fundamental principles adhered to any longer. All is now subject to political correctness and situational ethics. There is an aura of normality projected publicity but,oh, my God, the mental state of most of these people. The more "educated" they are the more they are like mental slaves or pre-programmed robots or zombies under a witch doctor's voodoo spell.

What is important is the mindset. All these people are graduates of Law Schools. What kinds of law and what kinds of attitudes are being taught to these people! They don't need historians, they need instead a campaign of deprogramming on a national scale. The prison censors make spotchecks... but they don't make the laws or the rules. They have to merely enforce them!"

Savage Chickens

Cartoons on sticky notes by Doug Savage - click here.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Control of Conduct

Dr. Cattell, on the purpose of government schooling:

"The scientific control of conduct is what schools are about. The scientific control of conduct is of greater economic importance than the use of electricity or steel." [1923]

John Gatto's thoughts on this:

"Once you think that the control of conduct is what schools are about, the word "reform" takes on a very particular meaning. It means making adjustments to the machine so that young subjects will not twist and turn while their minds and bodies are being scientifically controlled. Helping kids to use their minds better is beside the point."

Thursday, November 01, 2007

A Tale of Two Children

The Trip to School: An animation about the difference between public and home education.