Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Bad internet parenting advice

I wish this was a joke. It's not.

Did I ever mention that my first child protection trial involved a baby who suffered broken ribs when the car was struck IN A PARKING LOT?

Friday, August 19, 2011

Cute kid-ism with a Biblical reference

2 years ago, I mentioned to my kids that the Dead Sea Scrolls special exhibit would be coming to a museum near us in the fall.

Before we went to the exhibit, we took a family trip to Israel. While there, we went for a hike in the Ein Gedi nature reserve, located near the shore of the Dead Sea. Along the trail, we noticed numerous rock hyraxes, on trees and rocks.

So, what did my then-6 year old daughter say?

"Look, Mommy! It's the Dead Sea Squirrels!"

Sunday, August 14, 2011

New proposal for integrating faith-based schools into the public system

I've been trying to design a framework for integrating faith-based school with the public system, in a way that meets the goals and values of each. I call these "surround school" concepts, since the faith-based program "surrounds" the public school component.

Here are possible models:

Model 1 - Integrating existing faith-based schools:

The public school board would lease space from the existing faith-based school, and use it to run a public school program within the facility.

The schedules of the public and faith-based schools will be coordinated, so that students will attend one in the morning, one in the afternoon, and will have the same holidays.

Existing general studies teachers who meet the basic requirements for the public system will be absorbed by the public system.

While there is coordination, the public school will be a separate legal entity, subject to the policies of the public school board. The faith-based school will have no control over admissions, dress code or curriculum. There will be a parent advisory council, who may address cultural and religious issues (like explaining why students may wish to avoid Halloween, for example), but final decisions on curriculum will be made by the public school board.

All of the religious activity and instruction would take place in those parts of the facility that are not leased by the public school.


Public school leases one side of the school.

Students may arrive at school for an early prayer service, then proceed to the public school side in time for morning classes. The lunch room will be on the faith-based side, while the gym, art and music areas will be on the public side. After lunch, the morning students proceed to the faith-based classes, while the other half of the students file into the public school side for their general studies classes. After those classes, students may go back to the faith-based side for more prayers or other after-school programming.

If a child in the area doesn't want the faith-based programming, they can simply attend the public school program. The hours may be a bit different, but the curriculum is essentially the same.

Model 2 - for new faith-based school programs:

There would be a facility, used by the public school to run its program. The school and its program would be designed so that special groups, including faith-based groups, could lease space for their programs before, after and even during lunch break of the public school program.

Again, there would be coordination of schedules and school calendar, and a parent advisory council, but the public school would retain control of admissions, basic policies and curriculum.

In addition - more than one faith could be operating in conjunction with a given public school, so students would have an opportunity to learn with those of different faiths.

Some of these schools may be single-gender, as long as a similar school for the other gender is located nearby.

The public school part of the curriculum may include language instruction.


Faith-based students may arrive early, and go to prayer services in rooms leased for their particular faith - Jewish in room 101, Muslim in room 102, Hindu in room 103, Christian in room 104, etc. After that, the public school program would begin. If the schedule allows it to run in 2 shifts, faith-based programs can operate in their leased spaces at the same time so that student can do one in the morning, one in the afternoon.


1. Makes the public system more inclusive, by accommodating religious needs.
2. Reduces inequality (where I live, only the Catholic system receives public funding)
3. Reduces extreme financial burden of religious education for those communities.
4. Ensures that basic public curriculum is taught.
5. Public funding does not go to any program that is not open to all members of the public, nor to pay for religious content.
6. Preserves the ease of scheduling that makes parents choose religious day schools over public school plus supplemental education.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Advice on future responses to internet idiocy

Warning: language

Thanks Jill!