“The Other PARCC:” A New Short Film Of Refusal In New Jersey

Originally posted on The Education Activist: From Student to Teacher:

The activist movement in New Jersey, as a coalition of parents, students, teachers, and community members, has culminated in some of the most incredible grassroots organizing in the country. As Diane Ravitch has reported, new legislation in New Jersey has been coined “a ray of hope against PARCC” and state and national writers have been covering the happenings in local towns all across New Jersey (there are just too many links to post, but please look around online). All of this work in New Jersey has culminated in a new short film to be released tomorrow – “The Other PARCC: Parents Advocating Refusal on High-Stakes Testing,” a short documentary film by Michael Elliot.

The video is set to be released nationally at 5:00pm tomorrow, Sunday, Match 1st, 2015 and will launch the already inspiring grassroots activist movement in New Jersey into the national spotlight, highlighting the stories of…

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Posted by on March 1, 2015 in Uncategorized


David Sirota: Cuomo Will Collect $700,000 from Book Deal with Murdoch Company

Lloyd Lofthouse:

An International Business Times review of New York state documents reveals that News Corporation gave Cuomo a book contract that will net him more than $700,000 for a book that has sold only 3,000 copies—-after Cuomo’s administration backed a series of state initiatives that benefited the media giant.”

Originally posted on Diane Ravitch's blog:

David Sirota puts the pieces together in this investigative report about Governor Andrew Cuomo’s outside income.

“New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo likes to portray himself as a crusader against corruption in Albany, the state’s capital, taking a hardline position against allowing state lawmakers to collect outside income that may be connected to pending legislation. He has championed a bill that would require lawmakers to disclose more of their outside income lest they write bills that benefit special interests in pursuit of private cash….

“But the Democratic governor’s strong words don’t quite square with his own personal appetite for cash earned outside the confines of his state work. Cuomo has so far raked in more than $188,000 from HarperCollins, a News Corporation subsidiary. That is part of a book deal that could ultimately net him more than $700,000. With Albany’s transactional politics now the subject of a federal probe, the context…

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Posted by on February 27, 2015 in Uncategorized


New Jersey Parents Opting Out: Gates-funded Ed Trust Wants You to Stay In

Lloyd Lofthouse:

For third grade, New Jersey schools must schedule 4.75 hours for the English language arts (ELA) PBA and EOY PARCC and 5 hours for the math PBA and EOY PARCC. Just shy of 10 hours of schedules testing time for a third grader. For fourth and fifth graders it is a full 10 hours. For sixth through eighth graders, almost 11 hours.
Ed Trust has the distinction of being the single most Gates-supported corporate-reform organization that I have come across for the millions Gates funnels to Ed Trust for no better reason than to keep Ed Trust’s doors open.
Between September 2004 and March 2014, the Gates Foundation has paid Education Trust $30.7 million for “general operating support.”
In its February 2014 earnings call, Pearson executives made it clear that they are planning to profit from the Common Core in the United States.
Blowing billions of education dollars annually on standardized testing is crazy.

Originally posted on deutsch29:

PARCC testing in New Jersey is scheduled to begin March 2, 2015. The NJ PARCC testing “window” will not end in March, but will continue into April, May, and June, depending upon the grade level and whether the test is part of the PBA (performance-based assessment), which is given 75% of the way through a school year, or EOY (end of year), which comes 90% of the way into a school year.

For third grade, New Jersey schools must schedule 4.75 hours for the English language arts (ELA) PBA and EOY PARCC and 5 hours for the math PBA and EOY PARCC.

Just shy of 10 hours of schedules testing time for a third grader.

For fourth and fifth graders it is a full 10 hours.

For sixth through eighth graders, almost 11 hours.

Note that the PBA and EOY PARCC tests are summative assessments. The US Department of…

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Posted by on February 26, 2015 in Uncategorized


Keeping it in Perspective.

Lloyd Lofthouse:

It isn’t easy being a parent who takes that job seriously. It’s much easier to just turn the child over the TV and then go have a beer.

Originally posted on Dad Gone Wild:

kidsThis week Metro Nashville School Board Member Jill Speering wrote a Facebook post that started with the following question:

At last week’s meeting, an MNPS Board member suggested that there are 35,00o seats in Metro Schools that lack “quality” so I’ve been thinking about this language and what this term means. What do we mean by student “success”? What do we mean by “quality” seats?

It’s a question that I wrestle with on a regular basis. As I’ve previously mentioned, I have two small children. My daughter, Avery, is 5 and half, (that half is extremely important to her), and a four-year-old named Peter . Six years ago when my wife was pregnant, we had many conversations about how we wanted to raise our children. We both agreed that we wanted independent, intellectually curious, verbal children who would be equipped to stand up for themselves and navigate the uncertainty that is life. Well, guess…

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Posted by on February 19, 2015 in Uncategorized


NEPC: The Failure of Test-Based Accountabilty

Originally posted on Diane Ravitch's blog:

On behalf of the National Education Policy Center at the University of Colorado, Kevin Welner and William Mathis have written an excellent overview of the failure of standardized testing as the driver of educational reform.

Here is the summary:

“In this Policy Memo, Kevin Welner and William Mathis discuss the broad research consensus that standardized tests are ineffective and even counterproductive when used to drive educational reform. Yet the debates in Washington over the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act largely ignore the harm and misdirection of these test-focused reforms. As a result, the proposals now on the table simply gild a demonstrably ineffective strategy, while crowding out policies with proven effectiveness. Deep-rooted trends of ever-increasing social and educational needs, as well as fewer or stagnant resources, will inevitably lead to larger opportunity gaps and achievement gaps. Testing will document this, but it will do nothing to change…

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Posted by on February 16, 2015 in Uncategorized


POLITICO’s Stephanie Simon Investigates Pearson—Essential Reading

Lloyd Lofthouse:

The for-profit force behind corporate education reform in the United States—a company in the UK called Pearson.
In fifteen years, Pearson has come to wield, “enormous influence over American education. It writes the textbooks and tests that drive instruction in public schools across the nation. Its software grades student essays, tracks student behavior and diagnoses—and treats—attention deficit disorder.

Originally posted on janresseger:

No Profit Left Behind, Stephanie Simon’s blockbuster POLITICO investigation of the publishing giant, Pearson, is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand how things work in American education these days.  Simon warns, “Pearson’s dominance does not always serve U.S. students or taxpayers well.”

This is a major investigation: “POLITICO examined hundreds of pages of contracts, business plans and email exchanges, as well as tax filings, lobbying reports and marketing materials, in the first comprehensive look at Pearson’s business practices in the United States.  The investigation found that public officials often commit to buying from Pearson because it’s familiar, even when there’s little proof its products and services are effective.”

From North Carolina’s bid-free purchase of a student data system that failed so catastrophically that North Carolina “had to pay Pearson millions extra to fix it,” to the Los Angeles iPad disaster that brought down school superintendent John…

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Posted by on February 11, 2015 in Uncategorized


Pearson’s No profit left behind—Investigative reporting at its best from Politico

America’s transparent, non-profit, democratic public schools are being destroyed thanks, in part, to the profit motivated efforts of Pearson UK.

Stephanie Simon writing for Politico reveals that in the high-stakes world of American education, UK’s Pearson makes money even when its results don’t measure up and they often do not deliver. Instead Pearson’s mania for profits is proving to be very destructive and our teachers and children are suffering.

“The story of Pearson’s rise is very much a story about America’s obsession with education reform over the past few decades.”

“Pearson has aggressive lobbyists, top-notch marketing and a highly skilled sales team. Until the New York attorney general cracked down in late 2013, Pearson’s charitable foundation made a practice of treating school officials from across the nation to trips abroad, to conferences where the only education company represented was Pearson.”

Read the rest of this story at Politico:

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Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran,
who taught in the public schools for thirty years (1975 – 2005).

Runner Up in Biography/Autobiogrpahy
2015 Florida Book Festival


Honorable Mention in Biography/Autobiography
2014 Southern California Book Festival
2014 New England Book Festival
2014 London Book Festival

His third book is Crazy is Normal, a classroom exposé, a memoir. “Lofthouse presents us with grungy classrooms, kids who don’t want to be in school, and the consequences of growing up in a hardscrabble world. While some parents support his efforts, many sabotage them—and isolated administrators make the work of Lofthouse and his peers even more difficult.” – Bruce Reeves

Lofthouse’s first novel was the award winning historical fiction My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. His second novel was the award winning thriller Running with the Enemy. His short story A Night at the “Well of Purity” was named a finalist of the 2007 Chicago Literary Awards. His wife is Anchee Min, the international, best-selling, award winning author of Red Azalea, a New York Times Notable Book of the Year (1992).

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