Monday, April 24, 2006

Some Interesting Homeschool Statistics

Academic Statistics:

-The average homeschool 8th grade student performs four grade levels above the national average (Rudner study).

-One in four homeschool students (24.5%) are enrolled one or more grades above age level.

-Students who have been home schooled their entire lives have the highest scholastic achievement.

-In every subject and at every grade level of the ITBS and TAP batteries,
homeschool students scored significantly higher than their counterparts in
public and private schools.

-Homeschool profile: Median amount spent on home schooling per child in the US - $450

-Household incomes: 18% of home school families earn less than $25,000, 44% of households between $25,000 and $49,000.

-Religion: Over 75% attend religious services

-Television: 65.3% of 4th grade homeschoolers spend one hour or less per day watching television


-States with High government regulation of home schools - homeschool battery score - 86

-States with Moderate government regulation of home schools - homeschool
battery score - 85

-States with Low government regulation of home schools - homeschool battery score - 86


-Performance of 4th grade home schoolers where at least one parent was
certified - Composite Percentage Score 82

-Performance of 4th grade home schoolers where neither parent was certified - Composite Percentage Score 82

For data above, reference Brian D. Ray, PhD, Home Schooling on the Threshold
(NHERI Publications, PO Box 13939, Salem, OR 97309), and HSLDA, Home Education Across the USA (HSLDA, 17333 Pickwick Dr., Purcellville, VA 20132), and HSLDA, Home Schooling Works, Pass it on! Rudner Report, (HSLDA, 17333 Pickwick Dr., Purcellville, VA 20132)

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Six Middle Schoolers Arrested After Planning Massacre

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Police said a group of seventh-graders hatched an elaborate plan to cut off power and telephone service to their middle school, slay classmates and faculty with guns and knives, then escape from their small Alaska town.

The arrest Saturday of six students in North Pole, a town of 1,600 people about 14 miles southeast of Fairbanks, marks the nation's second breakup of an alleged Columbine-style school attack this week. Five Kansas teenagers suspected of planning a shooting rampage at their high school were arrested Thursday, the seventh anniversary of the massacre in suburban Colorado.

The Alaskan seventh-graders had been picked on by other students and wanted to seek revenge, Police Chief Paul Lindhag said. They also disliked staff and students, he said.

The students had planned to disable North Pole Middle School's power and telephone systems, allotting time to kill their victims and flee from town, Lindhag said.

A parent alerted police of rumors of an attack, Lindhag said. He would not elaborate on the case, or what kind of documented evidence led to the arrests.

"These are the ones who had major roles in this," Lindhag said. "All our information came through our interviews."

The students, who were being held at the Fairbanks Youth Facility, could face charges of first-degree conspiracy to commit murder, authorities said.

The North Pole boys, whose names were not released, were among 15 students at the school who were suspended after a parent tipped police Monday evening. A child told the parent that rumors were circulating about the alleged plot, which had been postponed from Monday until Tuesday, Lindhag said.

"We feel very thankful that a student felt they could talk to an adult, and very thankful that the adult had the wisdom to contact the North Pole Police Department," said Wayne Gerke, an assistant superintendent with the Fairbanks North Star Borough School District.

The suspended students were identified by officers working with a school safety official. Parents were advised to keep their children away from 500-student campus Tuesday. Lindhag said authorities don't believe all the suspended students were involved, but officials erred on the side of caution.

"There were a lot of rumors flying around," Lindhag said.

Locals are "shocked, saddened and heartbroken about whole situation," but area schools have policies to deal with such a crisis, Gerke said.

The other students remain suspended while the investigation continues, and police will have a presence at the school for the rest of the year, officials said.

In Riverton, Kan., school officials learned that a threatening message had been posted on the Internet, authorities said. The boys, ages 16 to 18, will stay in custody through the weekend while prosecutors decide whether to file charges, a judge ruled Saturday.

Kansas School Shooting Foiled After MySpace Messages Intercepted

RIVERTON, Kan. — Five teenage boys accused of plotting a shooting rampage at their high school on the anniversary of the Columbine massacre were arrested Thursday after a message authorities said warned of a gun attack appeared on the Web site

Sheriff's deputies found guns, ammunition, knives and coded messages in the bedroom of one suspect, Sheriff Steve Norman said. Authorities also found documents about firearms and references to Armageddon in two suspects' school lockers.

"What the resounding theme is: They were actually going to do this," Norman said.

Norman said he would ask prosecutors to bring charges of conspiracy to commit murder against the teens, ages 16 to 18. Attorney General Phill Kline said in a news release that his office was taking over the prosecution at the request of the Cherokee County attorney.

Deputies' interviews with the suspects indicated they planned to wear black trench coats and disable the school's camera system before starting the attack between noon and 1 p.m. Thursday, Norman said. The suspects apparently had been plotting since the beginning of the school year.

Officials at Riverton High School began investigating on Tuesday after learning that a threatening message had been posted on, he said.

The message discussed the significance of April 20, which is Adolf Hitler's birthday and the anniversary of the 1999 Columbine High School attack in Colorado, in which two students wearing trench coats killed 13 people and committed suicide, the sheriff said.

"The message, it was brief, but it stated that there was going to be a shooting at the Riverton school and that people should wear bulletproof vests and flak jackets," Norman said.

School officials identified the student who posted the message and talked to several of his friends, Norman said.

But Riverton school district Superintendent David Walters said the significance of the threat didn't become clear until Wednesday night, after a woman in North Carolina who had chatted with one of the suspects on received more specific information that there would be about a dozen potential victims, at least one of whom was a staff member. She notified authorities in her state, who contacted the sheriff's department, Norman said.

Norman said that the potential victims were popular students and that the suspects may have been bullied.

"I think there was probably some bullying, name calling, chastising," he said. He also said investigators had learned the suspects were computer buffs who liked violent video games.

About 900 students in all grades go to school on the campus.

Riverton is an unincorporated area of about 600 people along what once was the famed Route 66 in southeast Kansas, near the Oklahoma and Missouri borders.

Thursday, April 6, 2006

Boys Accused of School Massacre Plot Charged

CAMDEN, N.J. — Four teenagers accused of plotting to kill about 25 people in a lunch-period massacre at a high school were charged Thursday under a terrorism law created after the September 11 attacks.

The boys, ages 14 to 16, were arrested Wednesday after police heard about the alleged plot from administrators at the school, where three of the teens are students. Their names were not released because of their ages.

Authorities said the teens planned to attack students, teachers and others at Winslow Township High.

The four boys appeared in family court, and a judge ordered them held for psychiatric evaluations.

The father of one of the boys said the charges were a mistake: "I think it's just kids hanging out together and having a little wild time, that's all."

Authorities said the boys did not have any weapons to carry out the alleged plot. But one law enforcement official who spoke on the condition of anonymity said they tried to buy a handgun.

The charges are serious enough that prosecutors could ask a judge to move the case to adult criminal court. Prosecutors have 30 days to consider.

No one in New Jersey has been convicted under the terrorism law, which carries a mandatory minimum of 30 years in prison without parole.

Rhode Island Kids Won't Hear Abstinence Message

The Rhode Island Department of Education said 'No' to an abstinence-only s*x education program because it was "not consistent with Rhode Island health education standards," The Advocate reported.

Heritage of Rhode Island (HRI) developed a program called, "Right Time, Right Place," designed to teach kids the benefit of abstinence until marriage. A three-year federal grant provided the funding for the program, which, according to Feminist Daily News, reached more than 600 students in two school districts last year.

The Rhode Island American Civil Liberties Union filed a complaint against HRI claiming the program contained religious material and did not meet the state's s*x education standards.

The Rhode Island Department of Education reviewed the complaint and the material, ultimately concluding the curriculum did not meet standards which require instruction on c*nd*m use and the prevention of s*xually transmitted disease.

Chris Plante, executive director of HRI, was disappointed with the decision. Plante said the abstinence-only instruction was not meant to replace current s*x-education programs in the state, only to compliment them.

Bill Would Force Schools to Support Homos*xuality

Gender-neutral bathrooms in public schools? Girls running for prom king? Those are just a few of the possibilities which could result if the California Legislature passes SB1437 which would force schools to adopt an exclusively pro-h*m*s*xual message.

Ron Prentice, who heads the California Family Council, a pro-family group based in Riverside, said California lawmakers are being pressured to adopt the bill, which would transform public schools into politically correct bastions.

"What this specifically does is reflect negatively upon historic faith perspectives in public education," he said.

Prentice said SB 1437 would prevent textbooks, instructional materials or teaching content that would "adversely affect persons because of their gender -- either real or perceived -- or s*xual orientation."

Bob Knight, director of the Culture and Family Institute, said the main threat this bill poses is that it deals with gender "in such a way as to deny that there are really naturally born boys and girls."

"What it does is adopt a definition of 'gender' that says it can't be 'stereotypically associated with a person's assigned s*x at birth,' " he said. "That means that if you think you're a girl, even if you're a boy, you're to be encouraged in that fantasy."

If adopted and implemented in California classrooms, he said the legislation would wreak havoc on children's understanding of themselves and others.

"It opens the door for the entire h*m*s*xual/trangendered agenda -- which is to confuse people into believing that you can be anything you want to be, that s*x itself is arbitrary and that marriage shouldn't be limited to a man and a woman," Knight added. And the legislation would ban any opinions to the contrary.

"When the bill forces teachers to talk only positively about h*m*s*xuality, what it's saying is you have to lie about it," he said. "You can't bring in the negative health data, all the emotional consequences, and the effects on families. They're basically setting educators up to mislead kids directly on this topic. I don't know of any other topics in schools that are treated like this. You have to teach something a certain way, even though it violates millions of people's deeply held beliefs."

Prentice added: "This is all the incremental activity of the h*m*s*xual agenda, and it certainly appears that the next step in the public-school education code in California would be hate-speech codes for anything that might adversely affect gender, whether real or perceived."

Knight said the bill is touted as being part of education reform -- but it's really about "corrupting education and making it a fully owned subsidiary of the h*m*s*xual activist movement."

The bill is being pushed through the Legislature by Sen. Sheila Keuhl, a self- identified l*sb**n who has beenpromoting the entire gay educational agenda.

In her earlier life, Keuhl, who worked under the name Sheila James, was an actress best known for portraying the character Zelda Gilroy on the popular '60s TV sitcom, "Dobie Gillis." Her appealing personality coupled with her law-professor's knowledge of the law, has gone far to advance the g*y agenda in California, Knight said.

"'Zelda' is definitely doing some incredibly negative things in this state," Prentice said.

Pro-family activists hope this bill never gets near Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, but there is real possibility it might. It has already passed the Senate Judiciary Committee.

"The governor is one of our last stops," Prentice said. "We're certainly hoping that, if this gets to his desk, it would be vetoed. We would encourage people to call the governor's office to make that statement."

Prentice said he also encourages conservative Christians in the state to speak out about this bill with co-workers, church members and friends.

TAKE ACTION: If you are a California resident, please contact Gov. Schwarzenegger and ask him to veto SB 1437, should it be passed by the Legislature. In addition, please contact your state senators and Assembly member and ask them to oppose the bill.

For help in contacting your state lawmakers, please see the CitizenLink Action Center.

Wednesday, April 5, 2006

One Reason To Train Them For Real Life

On average, high school seniors answered correctly only 52.4 percent of questions about personal finance and economics, according to a nationwide survey released Wednesday. Still, that was a smidgen better than the 52.3 percent in the previous survey in 2004 and was up from the 50.2 percent in 2002.

"This indicates that, despite the attention now paid to the lack of financial literacy, the problem is not about to resolve itself anytime soon," said Lewis Mandell, a professor of finance and managerial economics at the University of Buffalo School of Management who conducted the survey and analyzed its results.

The latest survey was being released by the Federal Reserve.

The surveys, done every two years, were sponsored by the Jump$tart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy, which wants students to have the skills to be financially competent.

In the survey, 55.8 percent said they would have no liability if their credit card was stolen and a thief ran up $1,000 worth of debt. (Liability is limited to $50 after the credit-card issuer is notified.) Only 15.1 percent knew they could be responsible to pay $50. Two years ago, 18.1 percent gave the correct answer.

Only 14.2 percent correctly said that stocks likely would offer the higher growth over 18 years of saving for a child's education. That was down from 17.2 percent who knew the right answer in the 2004 survey. In this year's survey 44.8 percent thought a U.S. savings bond — one of the most conservative investments — would offer the highest growth.

"Clearly the survey demonstrates the large gap between what students know and learn from life experiences and the need on the part of adults to find the right combination that will make financial literacy meaningful to young adults leaving the safety of high school," said Laura Levine, executive director of the Jump$tart Coalition.

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said financial literacy for both the young and old is a topic of vital importance to the nation's economic future.

"Increasingly, personal financial security requires the ability to understand and navigate the financial marketplace. For example, buying a home, saving for retirement or for children's education, or even effectively managing the family budget now requires more financial sophistication then ever before," Bernanke said.

Some other results in the survey:

—Just 22.7 percent knew that income tax may be charged on the interest earned from a savings account at a bank if a person's income is high enough. Nearly 51 percent said that earnings from savings account interest may not be taxed. In the last survey, 23.9 percent chose the correct answer.

—Nearly 38 percent correctly said that retirement income paid by a company is called a pension. That's up from 34.2 percent who answered right in the last survey. Still, close to 59 percent in the current survey thought it was called Social Security or a 401(k).

—Only 28.6 percent knew that a bond issued by one of the 50 states is not protected by the federal government against loss. More than 49 percent said that a certificate of deposit at a bank is not protected; in the previous survey 35.3 percent chose the right answer, that it is federally insured.

Given the ever-expanding financial decisions people face, it is especially crucial that they sharpen their financial skills, experts said. "It's not a subject that anyone can afford to fail," said Richard Yamarone, economist at Argus Research.

Teacher and Her 13-year-old Student

DOVER, Del. — An elementary school teacher accused of having s*x with a 13-year-old student has been arrested and charged with multiple counts of r*pe, authorities said.

The teacher allegedly had s*x with the boy 28 times during the last week of March, and on at least one occasion allowed the boy's 12-year-old friend to watch, authorities said. She also gave the students alcohol, according to New Castle County Police.

Rachel Holt, 34, a science teacher at Claymont Elementary School, was arrested early Tuesday and charged with r*pe, providing alcohol to a minor and unlawfully dealing with a child, authorities said.

Acting county Police Chief Lt. Col. Scott McLaren said the boy's father contacted authorities after becoming suspicious that his son was having an inappropriate relationship with his teacher. Authorities said Holt took the boy out for dinner and allowed him to drive her vehicle.

A telephone message left at Holt's home seeking comment was not immediately returned.

Ellen Marie Cooper, a staff attorney for Brandywine School District, refused to discuss Holt's employment status but said a substitute teacher was conducting her classes.