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Everything posted by Aelwydd

  1. Yeah, I think Texas holds that dubious crown.
  2. No, ma'am. Texas has multiple online charter schools, but these are all classified as public, meaning attendance is required and students sit for the same EOY testing. (A side note: in Texas, you cannot even enroll in the online charter programs unless you have attended a B&M public school for the previous year at least.) If a child drops out of a public online charter, it is accounted for by the same school officials. What I refer to is the somewhat widespread practice of TX school officials formally reporting drop outs as "home schooled," when no such thing is occurring, not even ostensibly. Some of these students drop out and then pay $300 for a degree from an online mill. These "schools" can do this because they call themselves online homeschooling, and are classified as private. In both cases, the "private school" loophole helps TX mask a 30% overall drop out rate. Sources: https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/article/how-private-schools-help-lower-texas-dropout-numbers/ https://www.npr.org/sections/ed/2015/06/07/411779238/thousands-of-high-school-students-getting-lost-in-texas https://www.mysanantonio.com/news/education/article/Dropout-statistics-under-fire-780684.php
  3. Too true. Does California also use its lack of home school oversight as a way to shield its actual H.S. drop out rate?
  4. I find the lack of oversight actually a little disturbing. In Texas, the lack of any regulation at all means that home schools are, de facto, persona non grata- legally treated as though they are in a separate, parallel, and unrecognized educational universe. School administrators didn't even see my kid on the educational map. It can make it difficult for formerly home schooled students to matriculate into public schools, especially high school. It's common policy among many ISDs not to recognize unaccredited high school credits. They are also frequently diffucult to work with when it comes to partial enrollment, and participation in school athletics and clubs. So, a 16 year old gets enrolled as a 9th grader, regardless of his home school academic transcript, because most ISDs simply won't recognize those credits. Basically, the state's attitude seems to be, yeah, we don't monitor you, but neither do we have to pretend that your "school" is real. It's that dismissive attitude that causes me to rank Texas, overall, as unfriendly to home schoolers, regardless of how "friendly" the law appears on paper.
  5. What Texas home school laws? There are none. All TX home schooling is defined by one court case, Leeper vs. Arlington. That case, which has been upheld in multiple rulings since 1987, classifies home schools as private schools, and therefore not subject to oversight by state education officials. Home schools are expected to cover only five areas: good citizenship, math, reading, spelling, and grammar. If certain subjects like history, arts, economics, foreign languages, and science seem to be entirely missing from that list...well, yeehaw lol. There are no testing requirements, no minimal attendance set, no record-keeping, paperwork or reporting required. No oversight, period. Zip, nada, nothing. If California matches Texas' "standards" I'll eat my cowboy hat. Here are two sources, one pro and one critical of Texas home school law: Pro: https://www.thsc.org/homeschooling-in-texas/the-history-of-home-education-in-texas/leeper-case-decisions/ Con: https://www.responsiblehomeschooling.org/statement-on-texas-supreme-court-homeschool-decision/
  6. Yeah, there is the other creature though, the conservative Californian that moves to Texas to avoid taxes, only to find they hate the seasons, the allergies, the lack of ocean breezes, the scenery, the extremely high property taxes and piss poor health care system and non-existent senior care services... I have an aunt and uncle who made that move a few years ago. My sisters and I have a running bet on when they'll move back to CA.
  7. LOL. I understand, as a 5th generation Texan, who lived and home schooled in Texas most recently for almost a decade. We moved to MN in 2015 and love it here. All the wild boars in Texas could not drag me back, lol.
  8. "Should I take home this super cute adorable puppy I found/ rescued/ saved from a burning building on my way back from the farmer's market???? Pics attached!!" - The answer to that is YES, 100% all the time, in fact we've already dispatched the closest WTMers to your GPS location. They come with blankets, doggy treats, and squeaky toys. Expect them in 10 minutes.
  9. Understood, and thanks for clarifying that. There are so many confounding factors, it's hard to judge the real effects of predjudice on this case right now. The first thing that pops in my head is the Unabomber and how much attention did his initial victim garner in the press? What was the intensity of the response from law enforcement and the public? It's been decades and of course now social media has everything in real time. I think it's definitely something that should be studied once we have a clearer picture. Hindsight is 20/20.
  10. I agree that I don't think Conditt was primarily motivated by racism. When I stated that I suspect he'd been radicalized, I meant on several fronts. Those that ascribe to the extreme right (I'm talking anti-religious, neo-fascist types) don't hate just one aspect of society; they despise all of it. They hate all groups, liberal and conservative, religious and secular, that espouse humanist ideals. That means they hate the single black preganant teenager, but they also hate the pro-life volunteer trying to find housing and health care for her and her baby. In other words, if my suspicion is true (and I fully acknowledge that's all it is now), and Conditt was taken in by one of these groups, his hatred, therefore, his violence, had multiple targets. Whether it's the black teenager, the Hispanic (representing immigrants ), or people just walking and riding bicycles ("Those libtards in Austin are part of what's infecting America"), they all represent something the neo-fascists want to dismantle. Society, itself, and the rest of us.
  11. My bad, I did not realize that. The (3 or 4) articles I've read so far had not mentioned anything but the fact of his attendance there. But I'll take your word for it.
  12. I do get that, as someone who moved from Texas to Minnesota just a few years ago. I've chosen to leave or forego joining groups that exclusively used FB or just requested email communication on the side. It is frustrating to not always be in the know. But honestly, I resent social media's intrusion so much that I just can't bring myself to give FB/ Twitter/ Snap Chat the time of day. Heck, even WTM's "exposure" concerns me, but I know SWB offers this place as a service to her fans and readers and not to exploit people. That makes the difference for me.
  13. Quit? I never joined because I thought FB to be stupid and insipid. Now, I think it's harmful and divisive, like much of social media. My 15 yo ds does not have an account either, and he only got Snap Chat because his hockey team uses it to post practice times (much to our mutual annoyance). I work in the tech industry, I'm very aware of how little privacy we have these days. I'll be damned if I help them out by virtually stripping for FB's investors though. Pun intended.
  14. Timing is everything. If I was Catholic, I could offer up my suffering during Holy Week. As an agnostic, I'll just raise a glass to my fellow sufferers. Hehe. :)
  15. Despite the fact it's been several years since Conditt graduated high school, the novelty of home schooling is definitely being targeted by the press as a factor. Look at this USA Today article. https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2018/03/21/who-mark-anthony-conditt-austin-serial-bomber/444738002/ They actually got a statement from the President of the Texas Home School Coalition. Now, I have yet to see any press ask the administration at Austin Community College for a statement, regardless of the fact that that was the most recent educational institution Conditt attended. You'll also note that Tim Lambert, THSC president, claimed that Conditt "reportedly walked away from his faith" years ago. Clearly, he and the others in his community wish to distance their religious and educational philosophies from Conditt's actions in the public mind. I actually am inclined to believe Lambert's statement. There has been distinct rejection of establishment religious conservatives by distilled, secularized "alt-right" groups that hate women, gays, and are virulent racists. They are just fine with abortion for minority races. They use phrases that hearken back to Nazi Germany, like "blood and soil" to reference white nationalistic ideals. I was raised in the South, in deeply conservative evangelical Christianity. Though I am an agnostic Episcopalian now, I still appreciate the strong emphasis on equality among God's children that was instilled in me from church. Yes, there was and is sexism, racism, and anti-gay messages in Christianity; but there are also messages of love and universalism built into it that can and are used to counter those that just want a divine blank check to hate. I would say the same of Islam and Judaism and other religions. Conditt's opinions, as expressed in the press, make me strongly suspect he got caught up in some dark corner of the internet that promotes a very hardened, and dangerous form of ultra-right nationalism. Without the moderating effects of his family, church, and home school community to combat the messages he was receiving, I do believe he was effectively isolated and radicalized. So, despite the police statement, I do suspect this was a form of terrorism, of the kind used by Nazi thugs in the 1930's to, well, terrorize, destabilize, and spread their noxious ideals. Of course, this is all said with the caveat that it is just my opinion and still mere speculation at this point.
  16. Read my follow up post. Your response is exhibit A for why I do not expect he will be labeled a terrorist.
  17. Which is not to say that any of the above was his ideological motive. Only that it unlikely he would be labeled a terrorist, IMO. More likely, "a lone wolf" or generic "serial bomber."
  18. According to the Statesman, he was a homeschooled, lonely teen, who was raised in a Christian home and expressed anti-abortion, anti-gay views on his blog. Source: https://www.statesman.com/news/crime--law/the-suspect-mark-conditt-rough-around-the-edges-friend-says/CQUCcXNJ9nb2iFs8sSq0pK/
  19. It's one thing to subsidize bad habits and consistently bad life choices. It's another to help out my son in the case of a live-and-learn, odd case of a poor decision. I don't think it's particularly helpful to have a child spend decades in debt for something like that. But I'm of the sort that my goal is to help ds to succeed in life and to get ahead. Not punish him and set him back for a mistake. Yesteryear's paternalistic message of "18 and you're on your own now, be responsible like we were" offers little hope in today's economy. In any case, his asthma is something he has had since he was a baby, and viral-induced attacks are an ever present threat. One bad illness can land him in a hospital. Of course, he gets his flu shots and takes his meds, and excercises regularly. But we, his parents, will take care of his insurance and costs as long as we are able.
  20. So he makes 16K and has a $2000+ bill? There's nothing amusing to me about owing 1/8 of your gross (pre-tax income). Poor kid, no wonder he is anxious. I've told my kid point blank, go to university in Canada or elsewhere and make a life there. The model of healthcare here in the US is unsustainable, and discourages entrepreneurship. We have excellent insurance through my employer but I can't ever start my own business. I don't dare risk losing our coverage. We've had poor insurance in the past, and it's not just that it's expensive. It's limiting. Many of the best specialists will not accept crappy insurances or cash patients. I hope your ds can get more of his bill reduced and that he can find a job with a better policy.
  21. Coming into this late. I had a few LDS missionaries come to my house when I lived in Texas. I was worried for their health as it was very, very hot. I offered them bottles of water, said I was not interested in religious discussion, but wished them well and to be careful. A lot of Texans pack heat, and I would worry if it was my 18 or 20 year old having to ring doorbells of strangers. Between heat, guns, and aggressive dogs, most would stay home. No particular point to this, just saying it's not exactly safe to do that kind of evangelical work.
  22. I don't know what is happening in your life right now, but I felt dread reading your post. I'm not generally the praying type, but when I read your posts, I did send up a desperate little plea for you and your family. I keep thinking of you and hoping your family receives some sort of repreive from whatever is troubling you so deeply. Hugs.
  23. Killing is not de facto murder. Not when it's a soldier at war, or in self defense, or if it's an accident. Or if it's abortion. Murder is a legal definition that according to U.S. law, does not encompass abortion. (I really don't care what "natural law" definition the Catholic legalists go by.) But as far as I know, no recent Pope has called women who abort murderers (although they are course excommunicated...something that a murderer of a toddler is not even subject to, interestingly enough). But if some people are suggesting that people like Sadie should possibly, maybe, just a little..be called a murderer, because of a religious concept of law only makes me think, what poison is this? Because that mentality is toxic. It bleeds over to more "innocent" cases of miscarriage, where now you have Faith and dmmetler also being accused of murder. NONE of them are murderers. And you know what the proof of that carryover effect is? Every woman currently imprisoned in countries like El Salvador for the crime of a miscarriage. They get accused of abortion and then some judge condemns them as murderers and they lose everything including their freedom. I already shared that I don't like abortion, and that it's an imperfect and costly solution to multiple issues we have in society. But there's a reason that wasteful, consumerism-based societies have high rates of inequality, abortion, violence, etc. It's because waste (excrement) starts at the top and rolls downhill to the most vulnerable...and women make up a majority of impoverished populations. So they are least empowered, most easily disposed of...but wait, not their fetuses. But those women get caught with hard choices and impossible quandaries. All the while, poor can be condemned through insufficient or inaccessible health care, a dearth of prospects that lead to dangerous environments, no access to healthy food, safe shelter...but hey, drug companies will send them hundreds of pills for their woes. But who are the ones that work to create or maintain the status quo that condemns theses people to shorter lives, poorer health, and frequently more violent deaths? Do the complicit ones get labeled murderers? Oh, well maybe just accomplices... (As if.) I think that's the reason why a lot of pro-lifers do NOT hold women who've had abortions as murderers. Because we're all implicated in the Big Picture. Which is probably why Pope Francis keeps going after the root causes of things like abortion, like poverty! Francis is not alone, but I wish all religious leaders and their groups had the same moral consistency in this. And the same compassion. SADIE, Faith, Dmmetler...whatever whackado tells you you're a murderer, it's pure horseshit. There are enough authentic religious folk out there that reject it as such as well. Done with this.
  24. I guess it's inevitable that abortion would be brought into the discussion on A.W. technology. I was wanting to explore more of the other implications because it potentially affects a whole lot beyond that. I'm so sorry this has caused painful reminders for you, Sadie, dmmetler, Moxie, Medic Mom, others here. .
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