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Archive for February, 2011

Safety

I like Lenora Skenazy’s Free Range Kids.

And I try my damnedest to give me kids room to grow and to do things as they explore life and the world.

And I did not want to homeschool my kids to “protect” them from what is generally a safe experience for the vast majority of kids in gov’t schools. (At least from a physical standpoint.  From an intellectual point of view on the other hand….)

All that said, because we homeschool, we’ll never have to worry about something like this….

Police: 13-year-old Girl Gang-Raped by Classmates

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Mandatory Subjects

BLUF*: As homeschoolers, we are happy that we get to choose what our children learn.

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Mandatory Arabic classes coming to Mansfield ISD

February 7, 2011 11:03 PM [emphasis added throughout]

MANSFIELD (CBSDFW.COM) – Some Students at Mansfield ISD schools could soon be learning Arabic as a required language.  The school district wants students at select schools to take Arabic language and culture classes as part of a federally funded grant.

The Foreign Language Assistance Program (FLAP) grant was awarded to Mansfield ISD last summer by the U.S. Department of Education.

As part of the five-year $1.3 Million grant, Arabic classes would be mandatory at Cross Timbers Intermediate School and Kenneth Davis Elementary School.  The program would also be optional for students at T. A. Howard Middle School and Summit High School.

Parents at Cross Timbers say they were caught off-guard by the program, and were surprised the district only told them about it in a meeting Monday night between parents and Mansfield ISD Superintendent Bob Morrison.

The DOE has identified Arabic as a ‘language of the future.’ But parent Joseph Balson was frustrated by the past.  “Why are we just now finding out about it?” asked Balson.  “It’s them (Mansfield ISD) applying for the grant, getting it approved and them now saying they’ll go back and change it only when they were caught trying to implement this plan without parents knowing about it.”

Trisha Savage thinks it will offer a well-rounded education.  “I think its a great opportunity that will open doors. We need to think globally and act locally.”

Mansfield ISD says in addition to language, the grant provides culture, government, art, traditions and history as part of the curriculum.

Some parents had concerns over religion.  “The school doesn’t teach Christianity, so I don’t want them teaching Islam,” said parent Baron Kane.  During Monday’s meeting Morrison stressed the curriculum would not be about religion, but about Arabic language and culture, similar to Spanish curriculum already in place in the district.

Kheirieh Hannun, was born in the Middle East but raised in the U.S.  She believes giving students the option to learn Arabic will give her son and others like him the option to learn more about their culture.  “It was surprising, but I think it’s okay, and it will help come down on the stereotype.”   Hannun says she is hopeful the class could broaden the minds of not only students, but also parents.

M. Hannun would be correct . . . if that’s what The Almighty Federal Gov’t were doing — presenting an option.  Unfortunately, as seems always to be the case, The Almighty has issued its diktat without regard to what parents want for their kids.

I think it would be wonderful if more people learned Arabic and knew about Middle Eastern culture and society.  But if, as with so many other “good ideas,” it really is such a good idea, why can’t the promoters of this scheme (1) present it in the light of day and (2) use persuasion to convince others that this is the best thing to do?

As homeschoolers, we get to choose what our children learn.  You know what?  If they want to learn Arabic, or we decide that would be best for them, good!  I’ll be happy to spend the money to purchase the lessons / software.  But I’ll be damned if I’m going to let some faceless bureaucrat with a “good idea” is going to force me to teach my child things unless we want them to know it.

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* BLUF: Bottom Line Up Front

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