Sunday, 14 September 2014


Here is how to make a child bored: first and foremost, keep him indoors so that the infinitude of nature, its endless variation and chaotic messiness is replaced by a finite, orderly, predictable realm. Second, through television and video games, habituate him to intense stimuli so that everything else seems boring by comparison. Third, eliminate as much as possible any unstructured time with other children, so that he loses his capacity for creative play and needs entertainment instead. Fourth, shorten his attention span with fast-paced programming, dumbed-down books, and frequent interruptions of his play. Fifth, hover over him whenever possible to stunt his self-trust and make him dependent on outside stimulation. Sixth, hurry him from activity to activity to create anxiety about time and eliminate the easy sense of timelessness native to the young. No one, of course, sets out on purpose to strip away their children's most primal self-sufficiency - the self-sufficiency of play - but that is the net effect of a culture fixated on safety, bound to schedules, and addicted to entertainment. In a former time, children, despite a dearth of complicated toys, were rarely bored. Ask your grandparents whether they were bored as children, with their bikes, bats and balls, simple dolls that didn't speak or move by themselves, in the days before television. Boredom, in fact, is a very recent word, apparently not having appeared in print until the mid-19th century. It is not a natural state, and did not exist in state of nature, or in a state anywhere near nature. It is a symptom of our alienation. Boredom, however, is quite good for the economy. It motivates all kinds of consumption, an endless hunger to keep ourselves entertained. It points therefore to a need that was once met without money, but that is now met with money; the phenomenon of boredom and its alleviation exemplifies a much more general economic principle. In order for the (money) economy to grow, some function once exercised without money must be converted into a good or a service. One can view economic growth as a progressive stripmining of nature and community, turning the former into commodities and the latter into paid services, depleting, respectively, the natural and social commons. Pollute the water and sell bottled water; disempower folk healing and make people pay for medical care; destroy cultural traditions that bestow identity and sell brand name sneakers... the examples are endless. Boredom is a symptom of a similar stripmining of what was once a kind of wealth native to us all: the ability to feel good doing nothing, the ability to create our own fun, a general sense of sovereignty over our own time. This is a form of what I call spiritual capital. As I write this, my six-year-old sits a few feet away, wholly absorbed in threading a colored string through an old tape roll. Without a screen in front of him, his brain must make its own images - an ability that counts among the forms of spiritual capital. Before that he was begging to be allowed to watch a video. His whining and cajoling seemed almost like an addict wanting a fix. I haven't tried to isolate him from society. Even though we don't have TV, we do have videos, and he still gets plenty of that kind of thing elsewhere. Besides, there are rarely any kids playing outside. Their parents won't let them, at least not in this neighborhood. They are afraid: afraid of nature, afraid of other people, afraid of what might happen, suspicious of play, loath to have their children unsupervised. Let us create a world of real wealth, where our ability to play and imagine are intact, and where the outdoors is full of children. -Charles Eisenstein

Wednesday, 3 September 2014


After easily passing the military aptitude test (ASVAB) to get into the United States Navy, a homeschooler from South Dakota was denied acceptance by an Armed Forces recruitment officer, who told him that his score was not high enough because homeschoolers have to score higher than students who have been traditionally educated. Confused as to why homeschooled students were punished by having to score a 50 to get into the military – public schoolers only need a 35 to pass – the parents of Jared Wright* contacted the Home School Legal Defense Association to see whether the Navy's admission policy was legal and accurate. Not so fast ... Not long after being contacted by the Wrights and discussing their situation, HSLDA senior counsel Scott Woodruff sent an email to the Navy recruiter inquiring into his discriminatory treatment of the homeschooler. "I understand that you recently told [Jared Wright], who desires to enlist in the Navy, that he could not be accepted because he was homeschooled and his ASVAB score was below 50," Woodruff wrote. "If this in fact happened, your notes may reflect superseded policies and need to be updated." Woodruff, Scott (HSLDA)Woodruff went on to present the facts and lay out the proper protocol for admission into the Navy. "Pursuant to the National Defense Reauthorization Act of 2014, homeschooled applicants shall not be required to score at a higher level on the ASVAB than public school students," Woodruff asserted. "This legislation has been implemented into policy form at the Pentagon level." The Christian attorney – who has helped thousands of homeschool families challenged by social workers, police officers, truant officers, principals, superintendents and prosecuting attorneys – proceeded to instruct the recruiter to contact specific personnel at the Pentagon for confirmation of this information. Accordingly, Woodruff contended that Jared's acceptance into the Navy should be a no-brainer. "I understand that [Jared]'s score was well within the level that is acceptable for a public school student," Woodruff pointed out. "There should therefore be no impediment to him moving forward with entrance into the U.S. Navy." Just hours after the recruiter received Woodruff's email, he did an about-face and notified Jared that his score was indeed sufficient to enlist in the Navy. More than just 'sufficient' Woodruff wanted to make sure that the Navy-aspiring teen from Sioux Falls was assured that his commendable score earned him a ticket to the job of his choice – not a disqualification. "Based on his scores, he qualified for the job he wanted in the Navy and many other Navy jobs," Woodruff told OneNewsNow in an exclusive interview. The attorney, who is licensed to practice in Virginia and Missouri and serves as a member of the bar of the U.S. Supreme Court, is quick to point out that Jared's high performance is no fluke, as homeschoolers consistently outperform students enrolled in traditional education. "According to Dr. Lawrence Rudner, the average homeschooled 8th-grader scores at the level of a 12th-grader on standardized tests," Woodruff reports. "There is simply no empirical reason to discriminate against homeschool graduates." In fact, across the curricula – regardless of age or subject – homeschoolers average 30 percentage points higher than conventionally educated youth; while doctoral dissertations consistently show that – contrary to the popular belief promoted by public school officials – homeschoolers are better socialized and typically exude superior leadership skills than their counterparts in the public classroom. This is consistent with Woodruff's analysis of homeschoolers. "When there is a level playing field, homeschool graduates will always shine," Woodruff concludes. Perfect timing In the not-so-distant past, homeschoolers had their work cut out for them when it came to applying for the military, and HSLDA attorneys plunged onto the battlefield to fight for their equal right to serve. Standing in their way was the discriminatory language in the National Defense Authorization Act, or H.R. 3304, which made it more difficult for homeschoolers to gain admittance into the military. Estrada "In August of 2012, a bipartisan group of U.S. representatives sent a letter to the Pentagon demanding that officials eliminate this discriminatory policy, but the Pentagon ignored the letter," reported director of HSLDA federal relations and staff attorney William Estrada. "At this point, HSLDA determined that the only solution would be another amendment to the NDAA. Homeschoolers were able to enlist, but it was unacceptable that they needed to score higher than public and private school graduates on the military's initial enlistment test." And at the end of last year, HSLDA's hard work on homeschoolers behalf paid off. "And thanks to Representatives [John] Kline (R-Minnesota) and [Duncan] Hunter (R-California) and their tireless work on behalf of homeschoolers, the House included our language in a modified NDAA bill which was then sent to the Senate," Estrada continued. "On the Senate side, Senators [Orrin] Hatch (R-Utah) and [Lindsey] Graham (R-South Carolina) and their staff worked incredibly hard behind the scenes to ensure that our language was not stripped out. Upon final passage, President Obama quickly signed the bill into law." Estrada was ecstatic to see that both parties recognized the importance of making sure homeschoolers could serve their country without any undue hardship in the process. "HSLDA is grateful to see that homeschool freedom and equality is a bipartisan issue," Estrada declared. "Republicans and Democrats – culminating with President Obama's signature on the bill – came together to ensure that homeschool graduates will be treated in the same way as graduates of public or private schools when they enlist in the U.S. Armed Forces." - See more at:


Stop the celebration! The 0.1% increase on NY ELA tests may not be the result of our hard work & grit, but simply the result of lowered cut scores. New York State constantly changes the score needed to pass (cut scores) on ELA and Math tests. Only AFTER the tests are graded, a score needed to pass is established. All questions go through extensive field-testing before the tests go live. Why is this practice is needed? Perhaps it might have something to do with fulfilling the NYSED Commissioner’s prediction for ‘incremental’ increases in years to come. When Commissioner King declares ‘incremental’ increases August 2013, he delivers ‘incremental’ increases August 2014. NY promised to leave the cut scores unchanged and decided this year that they did not need teachers to be part of the process (as explained here). Results of the Math tests are up 4.6%, but the cut score was lowered by 3% (3rd grade). In 2013, students needed to receive 44 out of a possible 60 points in order to achieve a passing score of 3. In 2014, students needed to only receive 42 out of a possible 60 points in order to receive a passing grade of 3. Results of the ELA tests are up 0.1%, but the cut score was lowered by 2% (3rd grade). In 2013, students needed to receive 35 out of 55 possible points to achieve a passing score of 3. In 2014, students needed to only receive 30 out of a possible 49 points to receive a passing grade of 3. NOT ONLY IN NEW YORK! Notice, "Only AFTER the tests are graded, a score needed to pass is established." We worry about Islamic extremist training camps being set up in America. Well, flying under the radar, are socialist training camps in the form of common American education. They are already prevalent in our country and their goal isn't to catch up with other countries academically. They are thriving and promoting socialist, Marxist attitudes and doctrine among our young. Higher education, in collusion, is right there with them to put the nail in the coffin of America as we know it. This is not conspiracy thinking. It is fact and a minimum amount of research can verify this to the discerning parent. Posted by Lacetothetop