Tuesday, January 23, 2007
From Homeschoolers in Omaha
To a North Platte Violinist,
Nebraska Kids Make Good
-- A team of nine homeschooled students from the metro Omaha area who took second place out of 66 teams in a competition involving robotics and engineering sponsored by LEGO at Iowa State University on Sunday. The students, all boys, are ages 9-14. They produced a skit that zeroed in on why nanobatteries and paper batteries are better than lithium-ion batteries, they designed and built a robot out of LEGO’s that performed nine tasks on a 4’ by 8’ mat, they demonstrated teamwork by building a bridge out of LEGO’s in five minutes, and they produced a winning portfolio. Learn more about the competition on http://www.isek.iastate.edu/fll and read more about the Omaha homeschooling scene on www.omahaHEN.org
-- Riley Barger, 12, of the North Platte area won a big violin competition in Denver on Jan. 6-7. Riley won the Jeff Hertz Memorial Youth Novice Division at the Colorado Rocky Mountain Fiddle Championship in Denver. Here’s the cool part: he’s one of only four students in his school. That’s right, his school is Rosedale School in Hershey, Neb., one of those Class I country schools that a majority of Nebraskans voted to preserve last November. Take note, Legislature: we like seeing kids like this stay in their schools of choice and get a chance to excel like this! Here’s what else is cool: Riley takes violin lessons via a Web camera set up between his home and his teacher near Denver. That’s the type of distance learning model we like to see. Way to go, Riley:
-- This past year, Nebraska had not one, but two national winners among in the National Handwriting Contest sponsored by Zaner-Bloser, the educational publisher and handwriting experts. A handful of top handwriters in public and private schools nationwide made the list. Among private school entrants nationwide, Haley Classe of St. Margaret Mary’s School in midtown Omaha won the fifth-grade division, and for public-school competitors, Erin Elise Plambeck of Silver Lake School in Rosedale, Neb., won the seventh-grade crown. See:
ESU Chiefs Again Knocked
For Violating State’s Open Meetings Laws
What is it about “no” that these guys don’t get?
Erdman Bill Encourages
Here’s a really good pro-homeschooling bill in the Unicam, LB 101, proposed by Sen. Phil Erdman of Bayard, and described by Nebraska blogger Rolly Church:
You can track bills this session with the “Bill Finder,” upper-right corner on:
Mother-Daughter Book Club
Forming in North Omaha Library
Want to be a model of parental involvement in education? Start something like this: a mother-daughter book club is being formed at the Milton R. Abrahams Branch of the Omaha Public Library, 5111 N. 90th St. It’s geared for girls in third through fifth grades, and their moms. It will meet at 6:30 p.m. the fourth Monday of every month. Call 444-6284 for information, and visit omahapubliclibrary.org for more reading news.
California School in Rough Neighborhood
Blasts Past the ‘Burbs With No Extra Funding
I love this kind of story. Whaddya know: more money is NOT the answer for inner-city schools. This story exposes as wrong the stereotypical educrat defense for crummy test scores and high dropout rates in the inner city. They claim low-income kids can “never” catch up with middle- and high-income kids without excessive amounts of additional government cash, bureaucracy, programs and “standards.” Humpf! ‘Taint so, McGee:
Five Million Kids Abused By Teachers?
Hard to Believe; But Glad No Nebraskans On This List
When I rode my dinosaur to school, there was at least one teacher that we all thought was a real “perve.” He turned out to have been an accused pedophile, although I don’t think he ever came to trial. He disappeared many years ago, and that was the end of it.
But I can testify that, in the 1970s, he was a lifelong bachelor, he favored boys in class, he invited certain kinds of boys home with him all the time (skinny, quiet, not involved in school activities), he was slovenly in appearance, he kind of gave you the creeps . . . but we were all so innocent, we just thought he was a weirdo. Actually, he was a pretty good teacher, which just made the situation all the more sad.
He skipped town one day after a police sting uncovered thousands of pictures of boys in compromising positions at the home of an associate of his. Apparently, there was a child molestation ring going on, and they had pictures of him that were pretty horrifying, displaying a sexual perversion not suitable for this G-rated blog. I can’t remember exactly how this teacher was said to have been involved in the criminal activity, but I do remember feeling really sorry for him, ashamed of myself for not realizing what was happening to some of my more vulnerable classmates, and really mad at the other school staff at the time, who didn’t put a stop to whatever was going on, when it was so obvious that he had psychological problems and was passing them on to kids.
Well, that guy was far from alone. “Wingnut Daily” claims there have been FIVE MILLION kids abused by teachers! Hard to believe. But glad to learn of an organization set up to try to fight this: Stop Educator Sexual Abuse, Misconduct and Exploitation, www.sesamenet.org
Also glad to see there aren’t any Nebraska teachers on their long list of lady perps:
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