Monday, March 30, 2009

Remember Me? I'm Back!

Hello everybody, it has really been a long time since I have blogged. I know this disappoints many of you but now I am back and I hope to erase your disappointment. I figured since I haven't blogged for a long time I would come back slowly so tonight I want to talk about Home Schooling in our education system.

Today every parent has the opportunity to keep their kids out of the public schools and educate them at home. There are many arguments about this issue some good and some bad. There are cases of home schooling where it makes sense and of course cases that don't. I am going to discuss my concerns for homeschooling and what irritates me about this issue.

I live in Wyoming and am a teacher in the state. In Wyoming a home school student in the district does not count on the school enrollment which results in less funding for the school. In Wyoming this is about 7-8000 dollars per student. If you have 10 kids in your district that are home schooled your school loses out on 80,000 potential dollars for the school budget. I am unsure if this is the same issue in other states, I do believe that in South Dakota, home schooled students do count towards the enrollment figures of the district that student lives in.

I have no problem with a family who decides to home school their children. If the parent is qualified to teach that student and progress is made in the learning process then it is a good situation. The main problem I see here is how are these kids and parents held accountable for the learning that is being achieved? There are no state wide aptitude tests these kids have to take and frankly a parent can pass their kid to the next level without actually mastering the objectives of the level they are at. More often than not, I have seen home schooled kids enter our school system and are way behind the students at their grade level in many of the core subjects. Their needs to be a way that these kids can be evaluated to ensure they are getting the necessary education for the future. If they are unable to then the state needs to get involved and make the parent accountable and answer questions as to why their kid is not achieving at the adequate level they need to be at. How this is done without much controversy is beyond me, but something needs to be done.

One problem I do have with students who are home schooled is the pedestal parents put themselves on for homeschooling their students. The attitudes I see here in (town unnamed) is concerning to me. These parents who are Conservative Christians,(I am one too) believe that they are better for keeping their kids protected from the evils of the school system. I'm sorry but if you shelter your children from these evils now, how will they handle the exposure they will receive when they are adults? And why is the public school system considered evil? In my beliefs as a Christian, it is our responsibility to witness to people the word of God, by speaking and actions. What an opportunity for our young kids to be witnesses than in a public school where there are many kids who do not know anything about God. But parents decide to shelter their kids from this and thus risk the possibility of them not having the necessary social skills to contribute in our society in the future. I just scratch my head and wonder why parents take away this opportunity for their children.

One argument parents will have is we involve our kids in other activities and extra curricular activities in the school system. In my school home school kids are allowed to participate in sports, music and any other extra activity there is. I am aware that these parents are taxpayers to the district but they are also taking away 8000 dollars from our general budget by not enrolling their child in our district. Why do these kids get to be involved in this activity. It seems like the parents want the best of both worlds. As I stated earlier I am not against parents who home school their kids, but do not expect the best of both worlds. You made your choice and parents of public school students made their choice. You have to live with the choices you make even if they are hard.

How do we solve the extra curricular problem? You charge an activity fee for home school students. It is only fair in my opinion, because what I learned in my life is, there are no free lunches. If a parent is needing their child to be active in sports or music then they need to pony up the bucks and take the responsibility of making it happen financially. It is rude and arrogant to expect the school district to bend over backwards for a home school student when they provide no financial gain to the district. I say again, make your choices and be prepared to accept what comes with those choices. It is like going to McDonald's and ordering a value meal, and then realizing their wasn't a dessert with it and going back to the counter and demanding that you get dessert for free. It just doesn't work that way and frankly, make absolutely no sense.

OK enough rambling from me I think you know my stance on this issue. I have no problem with parents homeschooling children. I do have problems expecting the best of both worlds. Choices are hard to make, we all have been their. Make them wisely.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

It's been awhile

It has been almost a month since I have blogged and I guess I have had bloggers block or maybe have been busy with school or being a dad but anyways I am back and here it is. It has been a strange year for me this school year. For the first time in my 13 year teaching career the New York Yankees have not been participants in the baseball playoffs. I have found it hard to decide what to do with the extra time I have had since they failed to make the playoffs. I just hope this isn't a trend I have to get used too.

Syracuse Football well it really really sucks, that is all I have to say on that.

The twins have been growing like weeds and are about ready to crawl which makes me a little bit nervous becasue now I actually have to concentrate on things I leave on the floor. They are quite adorable though and I just love picking them up and playing with them. I love the way they smile at me knowing I am their daddy but I also realize that in 13 years They will think I am the biggest idiot in the world and not as cool as I am now. I am not sure if I am looking forward to the teenage years, keeping them away from High School boys who have one thing on their mind and we know it isn't pretty good ideas. ( The last three words were in honor of my liberal responder to this blog) BUt hopefully these girls will grow up respecting their parents and lovin God and obeying his word.

Politics has been really interesting and frankly I have no idea where this race is heading. If I had to guess I would say Obama has the edge and that makes me concerned but in the end we should not depend on our leaders but on God who is in control of everything. If he wants Obama in office then so be it if he wants McCain then so be it. I just believe McCain is the right answer because he has experience and Obama doesn't have the experience I believe necessary to become president of the United States of America. When you look at the whole process, you do realize that we are blessed to be Americans and actually have a voice in this process, somewhat. Example, in South Dakota you might be a democrat but since the state has a strong republican majority your democrat vote for president doesn't really count because the republicans will more than likely win South Dakota. In New York a republican vote is useless thanks to New York City democrats. I hate the electoral college and think it is stupid, even if that means Al Gore would have won in 2000. Growing up in New York State people would be suprised how much of that state is conservative. If you had a map of New York and red was republican and blue democrat, the entire state would be red with the exception to the south eastern space known as New York City. I often wonder what our founding fathers were thinking about this college. To me it is an insult to my vote but as an American I will fufill my civic duty and vote.

Well that is all for now, headline I will not be writing the next time I Blog.

1. Syracuse football makes a turn for the better and is headiung for a bowl game
2. Wyoming's recount to determine Presidential race.
3. Canadian Airforce set to attack North Dakota's naval base
4. Yankees win the World Series

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Why don't we see this on TV

I love this video, but amazingly you didn't see this reported on the Major Networks except for Fox who I admit is not a democrat friendly news channel. Joe Biden is in Missouri speaking when he mentions State Senator Chuck Graham for some recognition, he tells hm to stand up but he forgot one thing, Chuck Graham is in a wheel chair, so apparently Joe Biden now thinks he's Benny Hinn( ) and can heal people, He's been healed it's a miracle. I just find this humorous and not an issue for this election but If Sarah Palin, or John McCain did this, it would have been plastered all over the networks and people would be saying oh they don't pay attention to detail, they can't do well under pressure, etc..... Just a thought.


Ladies and Gentlemen I have a beef with somehting that happened Monday night and I want to share my thoughts with you. In 1814 Francis Scott Key was sitting on a British ship watching the horrific bombing of Fort McHenry when he noticed an American flag still waving after all the bombing. He wrote a poem about this flag. Later it was sung to a tavern tune, aka a beer drinking song but this I have no problems with. It is our country's song and it has a simple melody but is one of the hardest songs to sing because it has a wide range. The thing that really angers me is when some people decide they are going to put their artistic freedom into this song. Monday night, Kat Deluna a supposedly pop music star who is 20 years old, performed this song for a national tv audience for the Dallas Cowboy-Philadelphia Eagle Monday Night Football Game. She started rather nicely keeping it simple but then she added some embelishments in the song and started changing her voice quality. In the background you hear some cheers but it is not for her but for fireworks being set off in the background. It really sucks towards the end and she doesn't even come close to finishing the song on the key she started. Also during this time she had a look of severe constipation on her face as she appeared to strain for every note. She was booed by the crowd and frankly I don't blame them it was downright horrible. I would rather listen to Walrus's Fart 2 feet away than that awful display. Up above I posted a link for this performance, I warn you put your kids to bed before you watch this and lock your doors because this is plain awful. So if you learn anything from this remember the National Anthem is not broken, so don't FIX IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

One More Time

I have been a teacher for 13 years and each year I have taught, the New York Yankees have been involved in the Baseball Playoffs. This is the year they aren't and I am concerned about what I will do with my free time. I refuse to watch baseball on TV unless it is the Yankees playing. So I have compiled a top 10 list of things for me to do with my free time.

1. Learn to knit sweaters and crap like that
2. get my ears and nipples pierced just for fun
3. Get a tattoo
4. Brew beer in my garage
5. Form a Polka Band
6. Enter the Presidential race on the Trombonist Party Ticket. Our mission statement is we let things slide
7. Buy a pet elephant and raise it in my back yard, then in the spring have an elephant roast and invite the whole town of Lusk
8. Root for Syracuse football, but find out that it doesn't even exist
9. Organize my lesson plans better, keep up gradebook, school stuff, etc....
and the # 1 thing I can do with my suddenly free time thanks to the ineptness of the NY Yankees,
1. Spend time with my family the most important people in my life.

OK one last thought. Most of you know that I am a conservative republican and am not afraid to say so but I wanted to point out something I saw today that definitely threw out all parties and was bipartisan. I drove into my schools parking lot today and this one vehicle of a students had some bumper stickers on it that made me pay attention. One sticker said Bush/Cheney America's second choice. Another sticker said No War in Iraq. Looking at these two sticker made me conclude that this person was indeed a liberal Democrat. But one sticker really threw me for a loop and that was a NASCAR sticker for Dale Earnheardt Sr. I thought that if a person was a NASCAR fan they had to be a redneck republican. So it is obvious that his person is reaching out to the republicans. It made me chuckle and also in a funny way realize that even if things seem messed up we live in the greatest country of all time.

Ranting and Raving

A few days ago, a former co worker of mine showed me an interesting article on a TV station in Sioux Falls, SD. It was about a State Board of Education Board representative saying that the State of South Dakota inadequately funds education. This particular person is a superintendent of a Class A school in Northeastern South Dakota and frankly his comments are correct, the state of South Dakota does a poor job in funding education. So let's look into why the state legislature does not fund education well. First a person needs to understand the school budget and the four categories it contains. There is the General Fund which pays for teachers salaries, supplies and equipment etc...,. Then there is the Capital Outlay fund which pays for building improvements and repairs, no money designated in the Capital outlay fund can be used for salaries or supplies. Then there is the Special Education fund which is used for obvious reasons. The last category is the pension fund which is used for retirement money for employees of the district. This money more than likely is invested for profit. Each school gets an allotted amount of money from the state and from taxes collected from the county of the schools town. Each category mentioned above gets a certain amount of money. When the school year ends if there is money left over then schools can put the money into the reserve funds to use anytime they please. In the general fund schools are allowed to have, by state law, a 25% reserve fund in the bank, meaning for example, if a school districts general fund budget was 100 dollars and they had 30 dollars left over at the end of the year, legally they can bank 25 of those dollars. A lot of schools in South Dakota have built up a high reserve fund, many schools over the 25% mark. What happens if the school has a higher reserve than 25%, the school gets penalized by the state and is required to pay a portion back to the state. Many schools are doing this because the interest they earn from investing those general fund reserves each year is greater than the penalty they pay back to the state. So if I am a legislator, I have a hard time giving money to schools that take that approach and don't use it all. It seems ridiculous to give more to schools when some districts have a lot left over. Now, you might say so then how is South Dakota inadequately funded and the answer is that a majority of schools in South Dakota are struggling and when they tally up their reserves they are at 0% or in some cases in the red. These schools desperately need funding but the districts who continually rack up these huge reserve funds hurt these schools. The state of South Dakota needs to reexamine the reserve funds percentage and make changes to make schools use this money to pay teachers, who are highly qualified and valuable to communities. I have to say I left South Dakota as a teacher because I could make 17,000 dollars a year more than I would in South Dakota. The town I moved into in Wyoming actually has a cost of living less than the town l lived in South Dakota. It makes me upset in a way because I loved South Dakota and the school I taught at, it was a hard decision to leave, but I saw little being done to insure educators of staying in the state legislature and the local school board and the superintendent. (I also hated AAT, only people from BHCS will know what I mean) Going back to the state board member who said SD inadequately funds schools, his district is one of the biggest abusers of the reserve funds. His school currently has a reserve fund of Approximately 1.5 million dollars which is about 45-50%. ( these are guesses but pretty close) and he has the nerve to say in a courtroom that South Dakota does not provide enough funding for schools. He needs to realize that he is part of the problem and not the solution.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Way to Go Part 2

Today has been a good day for me. We traveled to Rapid City, SD today to visit with family. We attended an event that was held for Downs Syndrome called the Buddy Walk. We actually missed the first part of the event but were able to catch the final act, a concert featuring two guys and a fellow named Chris Burke. Chris Burke was the guy who played Corky on the TV series Life Goes on a long time ago. He also starred in ER for one episode. He was great. We attended this because we have a niece who has Down's Syndrome. Anyways as I was thinking about people with Down's Syndrome it just made me realize why God put people with Down's Syndrome on the Earth. If you ever pay attention to people like this you will notice one thing and that is they love everyone unconditionally. They do not judge people nor care what hey do for a living, hgow they look, what color skin they have, if they are Republican or democrat, they give love unconditionally. That is what God wants from everybody on Earth. People with Downs Syndrome are God's gift to us because they are models of how we should have relationships with one another.

Now for the Way to Go part 2 part. Today in Syracuse a "college football team" gave up 42 points and 500 yards of offense and ended up losing 42-28. Now here is the absolute horrible part, it was to Akron University a team from Akron, Ohio who play their home games in the Rubber Bowl. (insert your own jokes please). Akron University Zips, please!!!!!!!!! How has a once strong program fallen so far behind that it loses to the Akron Zips? This is the lowest of lows for the Syracuse football program indeed. I am extremely embarrassed to admit that I even follow this collection or Orange Stool Samples. It is obvious that the players don't care, the coaches don't coach and the team can't win. I see some changes coming up really fast and I am afraid it will not be pretty.

OMG! Yankees win, theeeeeeeee Yankees win. Can't believe it mariners must have been drunk or stoned. Not only did the yankees win but the Red Sox, Twins, and Rays all lost meaning the Yankees actually gained a game in the standing making them only 7.5 games behind the wild card. Miracles happen and this is one I don't anticipate arriving at the doorstep this season.

Good night and remember you can't spell sucks without SU.