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Grizzly Mama

There's a Grizzly who has escaped the City of Brotherly Love..(and she's going back to homeschooling!!)

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Location: Out of Philly, Pennsylvania, United States

"All who have meditated on the art of governing mankind have been convinced that the fate of empires depends on the education of youth." Aristotle - Greek Philosopher.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Happy Memorial Day.

We Remember.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Aesop's Fable Friday.

The Astronomer.

There was once an Astronomer whose habit it was to go out at night and observe the stars. One night, as he was walking about outside the town gates, gazing up absorbed into the sky and not looking where he was going, he fell into a dry well.

As he lay there groaning, some one passing by heard him, and, coming to the edge of the well, looked down. On learning what had happened, he said, "If you really were looking so hard at the sky that you didn't even see where your feet were carrying you along the ground, it appears to me that you deserve all you've got."

Moral of the story: You can look at the stars, but watch where you're going.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

I have noticed something very strange.

I have noticed that most of my blog hits from islamic countries result from searching 'housewife bangers' or 'dirty housewives'.

Saudi Arabia. Qatar. Iran. Egypt.


What's wrong with you??? Now go home and behave. Dang. You're some sick bastards.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

'Celebrating Milwaukee's Successful Vision of Urban Education'

By Dr. Howard Fuller, a former Milwaukee Public Schools superintendent. He directs the Institute for the Transformation of Learning at Marquette University and chairs the Milwaukee-based Alliance for Choices in Education.

The Milwaukee Parental Choice Program which is the nation's first school voucher program for low income families has grown to nearly 15,000 children in 125 schools. The money follows the child. There is an array of 49 charter schools, 19 partnership schools and traditional public schools from which low-income parents can choose. There is no other American city that provides parents with so many choices - especially poor black parents.

"That critical shift in power from bureaucracy to parents has had far-reaching, positive impacts on Milwaukee Public Schools. The dire prediction that the program would lead to the demise of the Milwaukee Public Schools simply isn’t true. In fact, MPS results suggest the opposite."

Here, instead, is what has resulted:
* Enrollment is up.
* Dropout rate has declined.
* Test scores have improved.
* Real spending per pupil has increased.

Milwaukee Public School Superintendent William Andrekopoulos recently stated:

“We do things differently because we have to compete. We have a consciousness of all the options in the community.”

There is a group of democrats (!!) who now back school choice because the benefits are so obvious. Guess who DOESN'T support school choice? You got it - the teachers' unions.

"The need for broad-based support continues because the attacks of choice opponents—mostly orchestrated by the teachers’ unions—never end. After the teachers’ unions and their allies suffered two legal defeats in which the Institute for Justice successfully defended parental choice, the opponents of choice have turned to politics. "

We have to remain vigilant and continue to fight the individuals and groups who rail against parental choice. They won't go away. That is one reason I love The Institue for Justice. They are 'Litigating For Liberty'. It's not just property rights they fight for, it's educational choice, freedom of speech, occupational licensing, and helping to overcome entrepreneurial hurdles. What I display here for you are but tiny nuggets from a veritable mother-lode. Click on the title and, as they say, Read The Whole Thing.

Dr. Fuller says in the closing of his article:

After 15 years of school choice in Milwaukee, we know that school choice works for students, schools and our community. We also have learned that our foes will persist. So must we.


Friday, May 19, 2006

Aesop's Fable Friday.

The Stag at the Pool.

A thirsty Stag went to a Pool to drink. As he saw his own reflection in the water, he was struck with admiration for his fine antlers, but at the same time felt disgust for the weakness and slenderness of his legs.

While he stood there he was attacked by a Lion: but he drew away from his pursuer, and kept his lead as the ground over which he ran was open and free of trees.

But coming to a wood, he was caught by his antlers in the branches, and fell victim to his enemy.

"Woe is me!" he cried with his last breath, "I despised my legs, which might have saved my life, but gloried in my horns, which have proved my ruin."

Moral of the story: What is worth most is often valued least.

Deep. Aesop's Fables are deep. And brutal too. The stories make the point though - don't they?

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

'Another Black Eye for the Gray Lady'

New York Times Editorial Uses Faulty Data To Slam Charter Schools

Courtesy of The Center for Education Reform.

The Center for Education Reform offers the following facts and data to refute today's editorial.

Another Black Eye For The Gray Lady
  • This is the third time The New York Times has chosen to use a discredited study, which fails to compare accurately apples to apples, to draw sweeping conclusions about charter school achievement.
  • The New York Times uses reports from Western Michigan University's Evaluation Center that have been discredited by the U.S. Government Accountability Office and the Brookings Institution and which vary in age from 1-6 years old.
  • The Times fails to mention that charter public schools are accepting children from the most dismally failing traditional schools, and often have to work twice as long to get them up to standard levels of proficiency.
  • The Times also concludes that for-profit charter school operators have the worst achievement record, a fact that has been refuted by last month's study released by the American Institutes For Research which determined that Edison schools had a modestly superior performance; there was insufficient data to determine the performance of other for-profit operators.
  • The Times editorial called for more regulation of charter schools to correct lagging achievement. However, a strong charter school law is one that prevents local districts and authorizers from over-regulating and interfering with a charter school. This is the very concept that makes charters successful, and which Miron says leads to their failure.
  • Today, 40 states and the District of Columbia have charter school laws in place. Of those laws, 21 laws are considered strong, according to CER's latest rankings; 20 laws are considered weak.
  • There is a direct correlation between strong laws and successful charter schools. Of those states with strong laws, 65 percent showed positive achievement gains last year; of the weak states, only two demonstrated the same level of progress.
  • A 2004 report commissioned by the U.S. Department of Education found that charter schools are smaller than conventional public schools and serve a disproportionate and increasing number of poor and minority students.
  • A 2003 national report by the Brookings Institution found that test scores at charter schools are "rising sharply" and out-gaining conventional schools.
  • A December 2004 Harvard University study found that charter school students are more likely to be proficient in reading and math than students in neighboring conventional schools. The greatest achievement gains can be seen among African American, Hispanic, or low-income students.
  • Charter schools that have been open for significant periods of time boast even higher achievement rates; Harvard found that charter schools that have been operating for more than 5 years outpace conventional schools by as much as 15 percent.

  • Charter School Achievement.

    * The New York Times editorial specifically mentions Michigan achievement but provides no substantiating data. According to the Times "getting a handle on the problem is going to be difficult for states like Michigan, which has become a textbook example of how sloppily administered charter programs can harm students and undermine faith in both the chartering process and public education in general." But the statistics refute that claim.

    * Michigan's charter high schools are making faster progress toward meeting state standards than other public schools. This is based on MEAP (Michigan Education Assessment Program) scores that show that students in charter high schools are gaining faster in math, reading, science, and social studies.

    * 38.1% of seniors in charter schools met state standards on the 2004 MEAP math tests, up 2.7% from 2003, compared with 30.7% of urban schools, which were up just .2% from 2003.

    * State test results from the fall of 2005 show that, as a group, students in schools authorized by Central Michigan University outperformed students in the Host Districts in all four core subjects. When the data for the four subjects is disaggregated to show the performance of Black and Hispanic students, students with disabilities, and economically disadvantaged students, those in schools authorized by CMU again outperformed students in the Host Districts in 15 of the 16 categories. The 16th was a tie.

    * Where public school students are often expected to do poorly, they usually do. The state test results for urban districts bear this out. Schools authorized by CMU across the state, from Detroit to Benton Harbor to Flint, which are serving particularly high percentages of economically disadvantaged students (75% and above) are beating the odds. Students in these schools are outperforming their local districts by a very wide margin as well as producing results above the state average.

    * In 2005, some schools authorized by CMU - such as Holly Academy and Walden Green Academy - have already reached the NCLB goal of 100% Math and Reading proficiency by 2014 for entire grades of students.

    * For three years CMU has been consistently collecting standardized test data (Scantron's Performance Series) which clearly shows that students entering charter public schools, on average, are performing below grade level in reading and math. This data also clearly indicates that students who have stayed at the same charter school for three or more years are catching up. To date, results for approximately 9,000 students in grades 4 through 8 have been analyzed. In reading, students in grades 5, 7 and 8 are at or above the 50th percentile nationally after 3 or more years in the schools chartered by CMU and students in all grades are catching up. In math, on average, students in their first year perform below the 25th percentile while the average for students who have been enrolled for three or more years, in all the grades, is between the 25th and 50th percentile.The data show a clear and compelling pattern that the longer the students are at schools authorized by CMU the better they perform in math and reading. (Emphasis mine)

    So! Big surprise, eh? The New York Times gets it wrong AGAIN. I feel bad for all of us not knowing if we can trust ANYTHING that the NYT puts in print. I especially feel bad for the lefties out there, **cough**Adrian in India**cough**, who use the NYT as a source in interpreting any kind of anything - especially studies or reports!!

    These kinds of results, when studying Charter Schools, are not unusual. There are older studies out there showing the same thing: The longer a child stays in one Charter School the better they perform. If they stay in for over 3 years they easily outperform their peers in traditional public education. The minorities ESPECIALLY have shown great benefit from school choice. Sheesh - I was having this argument 2 years ago with a lefty over at MoveOn.

    By the time these kids land up in a Charter School - if they are the lucky ones - they are in miserable shape academically. It does take several years for them to catch up - and then surpass - the public school kids. But catch up and surpass they most certainly do!

    (Thank you CER and Jon who gave me permission to reprint their article on my blog.)


    Sunday, May 14, 2006

    Let us take another look at Cubed.

    Yet another wonderful essay from Cubed - Education and Jihad - Part VII.

    Cognitive Style and Education.

    Major points:
  • Our cognitive style influences not only our interest in, and therefore our ability to learn, certain subjects easily but also how we relate to others.
  • Taking into account different cognitive styles when working with and teaching chidren only makes sense.
  • Our cognitive style appears to develop in utero. The nature part of nature vs. nurture seems to be where it's at with cognitive style. As cubed points out: "Serious, prolonged abuse or neglect can produce permanent change, but not ordinary child-rearing practices." It appears that we get what we get. (I've noticed with my 2 girls that they both had completely different personalities and it was apparent at birth.)
  • Our differences in cognitive styles can clash. Knowing our own, and each others, cognitive styles can help in our ability to communicate with and understand each other. It can also help us homeschooling families to understand our children and come up with ways to help them when they are struggling.
  • A majority of elementary teachers share the same cognitive style. "They think concretely, and place a high value on orderliness, predictability, neatness, personal appearance, strict adherence to schedules, attention to detail, and compliance with the rules by their students. For about half her students, this works well."
  • Everyone has the same lobes in the brain, using the same chemicals to create electrical activity that can be measured."It is the emphasis on which lobes that are used that produces the differences we observe from one person to the next."
  • Young childrens' brains are still developing connections at a high rate. They are very elastic and even when a deficiency occurs in one lobe another can take over some of the function.

  • So! Our public education system cannot accomodate all of the cognitive styles - there are 16 groups. Lots of different combinations. The reason that the public education system cannot accomodate many different cognitive styles is "because the SYSTEM has evolved instead into a “one-size-fits-all” behemoth that has lost sight of the individual." The SYSTEM is the problem and why our kids are graduating high school unable to read. However the kiddies are being taught about being a good worker who doesn't rock the boat, doesn't question, doesn't make any trouble. Obeys.

    In Cubed's own words:
    "That, of course, is what Islam has done with its children; it has overridden their individuality with the express purpose of creating compliant, don’t-rock-the-boat types who will be good members of the Ummah, doing exactly what their Mullah Masters demand of them. This is easiest to do if you start young, when the brain is still plastic and making the connections that will be there for a lifetime, and also easier among certain types whose cognitive styles tend to prefer the existence of a strong external structure to live by so they don’t have to derive one for themselves."

    There are about 5%-10% of Moslem children who will not fit into the mold that they are crammed into from a very early age. They are our hope and we cannot forget them. They have a cognitive style that will not sit easy with what they have been hammered with.

    Well - I just knew that we all would want to know our cognitive style - check out this link, take the short quiz and tell me what YOU are!

    I am ISFJ - introvert, sensing, feeling, judging. Slight on the ISF, heavy on the J. It appears that I am a 'Protector/Guardian'. Then there were these things over to the side in a box that said, Rational/Idealist/Artisan/Guardian. What that means I have NO idea.

    Happy Mothers Day to those of you to whom it applies. God Bless America!


    Friday, May 12, 2006

    Aesops Fable Friday

    The Two Frogs.

    Two Frogs were neighbors. One lived in a marsh, where there was plenty of water, which frogs love: the other in a lane some disance away, where all the water to be had was that which lay in ruts after the rain.

    The marsh Frog warned his friend and pressed him to come and live with him in the marsh, for he would find his quarters there far more comfortable and - what was still more important - more safe.

    But the other Frog refused, saying that he could not bring himself to move from a place to which he had become accustomed.

    A few days afterwards a heavy wagon came down the lane, and he was crushed to death under the wheels.

    Moral of the story: There can be great danger in falling in a rut.

    There have been times in my life when I was so afraid of change that I would rather have stayed in the situation that I was in. Even when change brings about positive rewards it can be frightening. I really do like my comfortable ruts. Life is ALWAYS forcing me to face changes - bleeegghhh. Oh alright - I'm a better person for it. Happy now?

    In the coming days I am going to be brave and provide some interesting information for those of you brave souls who are kind enough to visit. I have been slacking off. First up will be the next in Cubed's excellent series on EDUCATION AND JIHAD. It's wonderful reading but as I said I am not the most courageous person you will find - - I must digest new information slowly before I can finally take it in. Next will be an interesting tidbit from the Center for Education Reform - The New York Times printed all SORTS of inaccurate information about school choice. Big surprise there - huh? Last but not at all least will be an article about the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program which is the nation's first school voucher program for low-income families. It hails from the Institute for Justice. You'll just love to see how the teachers unions have been trying to shut THAT one down for the last decade or more. Have a lovely evening and remember - well - I forgot what it is you're supposed to remember so just nevermind!!

    Wednesday, May 10, 2006

    Just Scrape Me Up Off the Floor Again.

    Grizzly Mama is beat. I'm suffering again. Suffering from that - what would you call it? That - that - well I guess it's a special kind of exhaustion that comes from having to face the ugliness of the truth a little too much. We have to face it though, don't we? If we don't face the truth, we will lose.

    So. I'm over at Always On Watch because it's quickly becoming one of my favorite sites, right? AOW attended the symposium entitled 'The Underlying Roots Of Terrorism: Terrorism's Threat to World Peace & National Security' recently. We would have LOVED to have gone. Anyhoo - the link that directs you to Always On Watch (and thank goodness that she IS always on watch) goes to an entry about one of the speakers. Her name is Brigitte Gabriel and what a story she has to tell! God bless her soul. What a hard and terrible thing she had to endure when she was just a little girl. It hit me hard and quite frankly scared the living crap out of me. She was close to my oldest daughter's age when it started. She was a Christian in Lebanon. She is a survivor of islamist terrorism. When I think of that little girl surviving what she survived - well - I don't have words for it.

    From her website:
    "We are facing an enemy that uses children as human bombs, mothers as suicide bombers, and men driven by the glory of death and the promise of eternal sexual bliss in heaven. We are fighting an enemy that loves death more than we love life."

    It could be us. Just don't lose sight of that. It could be us who can't protect and raise our children the way they need to be protected and raised - in safety, acceptance and strength. With food and proper shelter and medical care, choices for a good education. It is a possibility you know - if we are not careful and strong. We must protect our freedoms here in the US so that OUR children will never know the horror that Ms. Gabriel and her parents know first hand. There are a lot of nasty places out there in the world. Places where bad, bad things happen to innocent and good people. At least here in America there is a strong probability that one can thrive and be safe. At least here in America our right to defend ourselves is recognized. At least here in America women are not chattel. At least here in America we welcome those from all over the world to enter legally and be a part of us. I tell my girls every day - thank God that you were born in America.

    God bless Ms. Gabriel and her family - they endured many horrors. God bless the Israelis who helped her. God bless America and keep us strong. We are going to have to fight.

    Friday, May 05, 2006

    Aesops Fable Friday

    The Weasel and the Man.

    A Man once caught a Weasel, which was always sneaking about the house, and was just going to drown it in a tub of water, when it begged hard for its life, and said to him, "Surely you haven't the heart to put me to death? Think how useful I have been in clearing your house of the mice and lizards which used to infest it, and show your gratitude by sparing my life."

    "You have not been altogether useless, I grant you," said the Man: "but who killed the fowls? Who stole the meat? No, no! You do much more harm than good, and die you shall."

    Moral of the story: The good you do should always outweigh the bad.

    The lefties out there would attempt to 'rehabilitate' the weasel - wouldn't they?

    Thursday, May 04, 2006

    Submissions needed for next Carnival of Homeschooling.

    Request for submissions for the next Carnival of Homeschooling

    The Cates at Why Homeschool will be hosting the next Carnival of Homeschooling.

    As always check here for details on how to submit. Entries are always due Monday evenings at 6:00 PM, Pacific Standard Time.

    So c'mon now! Grizzly Mama knows you have something to say - don't be shy.

    Wednesday, May 03, 2006

    Dr. Beer has passed away.

    I have just heard that Dr. Beer has passed away. Our youngest would not have been born if it hadn't been for Dr. Beer diagnosing the immune problems that prevented my carrying a pregnancy to term.

    I will bless him always. I pray for his family. I fervently hope that the many couples that he was treating will be able to continue with the treatments that Dr. Beer has prescribed.

    The dx. for our pregnancy losses was Category 1,3 and 5 immunological problems. The rx. for our Beer baby was: L.I.T, Prednisone through 20 weeks, and baby aspirin. She was born 3 weeks early after a long struggle with hypertension and gestational diabetes. She's still beautiful and will be 6 years old this summer. God bless your soul Dr. Beer and thank you!

    Here is a quote that he used often:

    "Innovators are rarely received with joy and established authorities launch into condemnation of newer truths, for at every crossroads to the future are a thousand self-appointed guardians of the past".
    Betty MacQuitty Victor over pain: Morton's Discovery of Anaesthesia.