Thursday, February 07, 2013

Interesting Lots O'Links

Sorry for slow blogging this week - I'm single parenting while Mr. Pete is at a trade show, and getting ready to give my second speech this week at the Pre-Cana day at church.  My mom's birthday is also tomorrow - she would have been 84.  And I think I'm feeling a little blue about all of it.  Anyway, hope to be back on track by this weekend. In the meantime, here are some things that caught my eye while I was on the web this week.


My Valuable Cheap College Degree By Arthur Brooks - a great story and something worth considering:

After high school, I spent an unedifying year in college. The year culminated in money problems, considerably less than a year of credits, and a joint decision with the school that I should pursue my happiness elsewhere. Next came what my parents affectionately called my “gap decade,” during which time I made my living as a musician. By my late 20s I was ready to return to school. But I was living in Spain, had a thin bank account, and no desire to start my family with a mountain of student loans.
Fortunately, there was a solution — an institution called Thomas Edison State College in Trenton, N.J. This is a virtual college with no residence requirements. It banks credits acquired through inexpensive correspondence courses from any accredited college or university in America.
I took classes by mail from the University of Washington, the University of Wyoming, and other schools with the lowest-priced correspondence courses I could find. My degree required the same number of credits and type of classes that any student at a traditional university would take. I took the same exams (proctored at local libraries and graded by graduate students) as in-person students. But I never met a teacher, never sat in a classroom, and to this day have never laid eyes on my beloved alma mater.
And the whole degree, including the third-hand books and a sticker for the car, cost me about $10,000 in today’s dollars.







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I don't know the origin for this clipping, but it sure has a lot of words of wisdom to it - found on Facebook:





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Blogger Colleen Duggan reiterates some thoughts Elizabeth Foss and I shared earlier!

I know families whose parents attended daily Mass, prayed the family rosary, and did everything else "right" according to Catholic standards and guess what?  Their children have left the Church, had babies out of wedlock, divorced, co-habitated, or had substance abuse problems (and sometimes all of the above).

On the other hand, I also know parents who didn't bring their children to Mass for years but somehow, by the grace of God, their children are faithful, practicing Catholics.

I know families who have suffered from serious substance abuse problems but who have, by the grace of God, experienced great healing and developed intimate familial relationships.

I know families who never looked like the poster people for Catholicism--families who didn't have the children in matching smocked outfits in the front pew at Mass every Sunday or who couldn't afford premiere Catholic education--but who, by the grace of God, have had several vocations to come from their lot.




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HSLDA defended a homeschool mom in court - and won vindication!

When a social services investigator arrived at her house in the fall of 2011, homeschooling mother Josslyn Kittinger (names changed to protect privacy) called Home School Legal Defense Association and spoke with attorney Mike Donnelly. After she politely asked the social worker to leave, as recommended by attorney Donnelly, the social worker complied with her request.
Nevertheless, the social worker did not close the investigation against the family. As it turns out, some of the Kittinger children have learning disabilities, and the social worker—as well as the person who called in the anonymous tip—believed the children’s special needs would be better met in public school. During the course of her involvement with the state, Ms. Kittinger’s neighbors, the social worker, and prosecutors would question her right to homeschool over the issue of her children’s learning disabilities.



During the first day of trial, HSLDA defended Ms. Kittinger’s right to homeschool, calling Steven Duvall, Ph.D., as an expert witness to demonstrate that the Kittinger children were receiving an adequate education under the law. The trial day in December was only the first of the scheduled five-day trial. In March, attorney Donnelly returned to Colorado to represent the Kittinger family again.
This time, however, after multiple visits with the family, the social worker agreed that no educational neglect was transpiring and convinced the prosecutor that the case was not worth pursuing just hours before the second day of the trial started. The case was settled, and Ms. Kittinger was able to continue homeschooling her children.
According to attorney Donnelly, the Kittinger case is significant.


This is why I keep up my HSLDA membership!

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Links and ThinksHeadstart doesn’t really achieve the results its advocates claim for it:
HHS’ latest Head Start Impact Study found taxpayers aren’t getting a good return on this “investment.” According to the congressionally-mandated report, Head Start has little to no impact on cognitive, social-emotional, health, or parenting practices of its participants. In fact, on a few measures, access to the program actually produced negative effects. Head Start doesn’t need more money. It needs to be put on the chopping block. The HHS’ scientifically-rigorous study tracked 5,000 children who were randomly assigned to either a group receiving Head Start services or a group that did not participate in Head Start. It followed their progression from ages three or four through the end of third grade. The third-grade evaluation is a continuation to HHS’ first-grade study, which followed children through the end of first grade. The first-grade evaluation found that any benefits the children may have accrued while in the Head Start program had dissipated by the time they reached first grade. The study also revealed that Head Start failed to improve the literacy, math and language skills of the four year-old cohort and had a negative impact on the teacher-assessed math ability of the three-year-old cohort. Based on this track record, HHS and Head Start devotees should not have been surprised to learn that the results of the third-grade evaluation were even worse. If the impacts of Head Start had all but disappeared by first grade, how could they suddenly reappear by the end of third grade? Not only were the third-grade evaluation results poor, so was the department’s handling of the study. HHS sat on the results for four years. All that time, taxpayers were kept in the dark while their tax dollars continued to fund a completely ineffective program.

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Bill Maher begins to get a clue:
MAHER: And here, listen to this about disability. People who take disability, who are on disability, in 1968 it was 51 to1, people on disability to people who worked. In 2001, not that long ago, it was 23 to 1. Now it’s 13 to 1, 13 people to one who are on disability. Now, of course, you know, some of that is real. We are an overworked, overstressed, polluted, ripped off and lied to people. So, I mean, obviously there are some people who really do have disabilities. But 13 to 1? You know, it just seems like there’s less people pulling the wagon and more people in the wagon, and at some point the wagon is going to break.




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Feeling fat, old, out of shape and hopeless?  Well this should give some motivation - a 72-year-old lady who lost over 100 pounds and then set a world record in plank holding!



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Lastly, Rest In Peace Bishop John D'Arcy who passed away this week.  He was the first to sound the alarm on the abuse scandal.  Anyone who does any debate or discussion online defending the Catholic Faith will sooner or later have someone who drags out the priest scandal as proof of the church's corruption. But I'll bet none of those folks realize that there were good men like Bishop D'Arcy who recognized and outed the problem!


Bishop D’Arcy, who retired in 2009, drew national attention that year when he led a boycott to protest the University of Notre Dame’s invitation to President Obama to speak at its commencement ceremony.Bishop D’Arcy, whose diocese encompassed the university campus, objected that the president’s abortion-rights views were in opposition to Roman Catholic teachings.In Boston, where he spent the first half of his clerical career, Bishop D’Arcy, then an auxiliary bishop, wrote a series of letters to his superiors raising alarms about priests he considered troubled and dangerous. The priests were being reassigned to new pastoral duties despite their known histories of substance abuse, sexually abusing children or both, and he urged his superiors to reconsider.The letters became public in the early 2000s when archdiocese documents were released by court order as a result of lawsuits.In one of his bluntest letters, Bishop D’Arcy asked the newly appointed archbishop of Boston, Bernard F. Law, to rescind the appointment of the Rev. John J. Geoghan as pastor of a parish in Weston, Mass.



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