Thursday, September 14, 2006

Yoder Kansas Charter School and The Kansas State Fair

It has been a full day. I started at 8 this morning with a tour of Yoder Charter School. I was impressed and horrified, all at the same time.

Yoder is a small community a few miles from Hutchinson, and it is largely Amish. About ten years ago, many of the Amish pulled their children from the public school to a private school to avoid their children being exposed to various "influences" - like science.

The school administrator at the time came up with the idea to seek charter status to keep the school open. Basically, it boils down to three things - they do not teach evolution, they do not teach sex ed, and they have no DARE program. Other than that, it's pretty much the norm, although it's certainly interesting to see little boys in the traditional Amish clothing complete with suspenders.

However, the children are tested over all the standard things. But, the school leaves it up to the parents to teach what they want their children to know about sex, drugs and rock and roll. Wait... sex, drugs and science.
The school focuses on traditional values and subjects - they do the three R's.

I'm horrified that we're not teaching children science, but I'm impressed that the administrator came up with a way to save the school. And, did he ever. Children who live in that area are, of course, automatically admitted. But, aside from that, the school has a waiting list for people who want to put their kids in this school because of its values.

It also happens to have small classes. The K-2 are individual classes and then 3-4 grades are together, 5-6 and 7-8. They teach social studies for third grade one year, and for fourth grade the next. I guess that system works unless you happen to leave the school between years and you're now a 5th grader, but you only had 3rd grade studies, not 4th grade. I don't know. I guess it all works out.

After the tour I went over to Carriage Crossing for breakfast. When I left I couldn't help but notice there were multiple tractors parked in back of the building. I don't know if they were customers or employees.

Just as I turned back to the steering wheel, I glanced out the window the other direction and spotted an Amish buggy in the distance. The Amish don't want to have their photos taken, but it's OK to take pix of the buggies I believe.

Tonight I went out to the fair. I went to see Ron Diamond's hypnotist show. He's always entertaining. This is the second time I've seen it this year.

Otherwise I just wandered around a bit. Things are a bit calmer during the week generally. I went to see if there was anyone at the democratic booth I knew, but there wasn't. I'm taking part of Friday off to work in the Governor's booth.

I also stopped by to see the spider bite mannequin guy again. He's getting more and more tags illustrating where people have been bitten by brown recluse spiders. I hope to never add one to it.

I thought I'd just share some fair scenes with you tonight... including Greg getting some taffy.

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