Blind Obedience – Part 3/4

26 Jul

America’s public schools are not failing.

In 2010, of about 42 million students attending the public schools (K – 12), white–non Hispanic (23.2 million) and Asian (1.9 million) met the goals of the NCLB Act, and these two racial groups represents more than 25 million (59%), while the two ethnic groups that did not measure up were African-American (6.2 million) and Hispanic/Latino (9.9 million) representing about 16 million students.

This does not mean all African-American or Hispanic/Latino students failed to meet the standards set by the NCLB Act but most did.

Since students may not graduate from high school without passing a competency test and about 50% of African-Americans graduate from high school annually, that says more than 3 million African-American students were successful in addition to more than 6 million Latinos.

Then more than 16% (one million) of African-American and 14% (1.4 million) of Hispanic/Latino students graduate from college.

Did America’s public school teachers fail these African-American and Hispanic/Latino students? I do not think so.

The same “e-mail critic” I quoted in Part 1 dismissed what I said about our daughter (in another e-mail) attending the public schools and “learning” well enough from her (K to 12) teachers to graduate from high school and be accepted to Stanford. She just completed her first year at Stanford with flying colors mostly thanks to her public school teachers and the great job they did teaching. Those same teachers also had African-American and Hispanic/Latino students in their classes.

The “e-mail critic” said our daughter was an exception infering that most students of all racial groups fail when in fact, that is not the case.

My point was that if our daughter learned what her public school teachers taught, there is no excuse for those students and their parents that do not meet the mandates of the NCLB Act.

Our daughter is Asian-American and there are 1.9 million Asian-American students in the U.S. public schools that as an ethnic group met the requirements of the NCLB Act with the highest average score when compared to all other racial groups.

Do we dismiss 1.9 million Asian American students and the dedication of the parents and say they do not count?

Do we measure all students by those at the bottom with parents (among other inequalities) that did not do an adequate job supporting their children’s education?

If you want to know how dedicated the average Asia-American parent is, I recomment you to the Amy Chua controversy and her memoir, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother.

Continued on July 27, 2010 in Blind Obedience – Part 4 or return to Part 2


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

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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2 responses to “Blind Obedience – Part 3/4

  1. tjm

    July 26, 2011 at 14:14

    Let me see… Your daughter earned straight A’s throughout k-12, and you actually wrote, “The “e-mail critic” said our daughter was an exception infering that most students of all racial groups fail when in fact, that is not the case.”

    • Lloyd Lofthouse

      July 26, 2011 at 15:52


      I’m not sure what you are getting at.

      If you mean earning straight A’s is the exception, than you would be correct.

      However, her parents limited TV to about two hours a week and then decided what the family would watch as a family when they did watch TV which was on the weekend, required that she read books for entertainment and education (as a child until the age of 11, one of her parents would take her to the library weekly), never bought her video games and she didn’t have a mobile phone until she was in 10th grade (and then to be used only for emergency purposes or she would lose it), required her to read and study and would request parent conferences if her grades fell below an “A” to find out why and then do something to fix it. There was no TV in her bedroom or Internet connection. When she had one bad teacher of fifty (in ninth grade the only teacher she ever complained about), her parents complained to administration, which led to changes in that classroom and that teacher being put under a microscope by administration, and her parents also found out what it was that that the one bad teacher of fifty did not teach and taught her themselves at home so she wouldn’t fall behind. Since that one bad teacher of fifty was her ninth grade English teacher, her father taught her how to write essays during ninth grade at home and she wrote more than forty that year and had to rewrite to learn how to do it right. After that, she had no problems writing essays in 10th, 11th, 12th, and 13th (at Stanford) without any more help from her parents.

      In addition, it is safe to say that most of the parents of the 1.9 million Asian-American students are similar as parents, which explains why Asian-Americans (on average) do so well in school compared to all other racial/ethnic groups. If we looked closer at the “successful” Caucasian, African-American and Latino/Hispanic students and their parents, we would probably find similar hands-on and involved parents.

      So, are you saying that it is the responsibility of America’s public school teachers to somehow overcome the flaws of the average American parent that allows their children (according to studies) to spend more than 10 hours a day dividing time up between watching TV, listening to music, playing video games, social networking on the Internet, shopping and hanging out at the mall, and sending text messages daily by the dozens, etc.

      If so, do you mean that parents are not responsible to be parents and Americans expect teachers to do the job that parents should have done in addition to teaching and correcting the work that is turned in?

      If your answer to that is yes, then how does the teacher make sure his or her 200 students are at home reading, doing homework and studying every night while the parents are watching TV or out partying?

      Studies show that the average child must read outside of school at last 30 minutes a day, daily 24/7/365 just to stay even with his or her grade level in comprehension skills and when children do not read outside of school, they fall behind.

      When children do not do homework that the teacher assigned to reinforce what he or she is teaching, that child falls behind.

      When a child does not listen in class, that child falls behind.

      When a child is disrupting the learning environment in class, every child falls behind (and this happens often).

      When a child doesn’t understand an assignment and does not ask questions or seek help during a teacher’s office hours outside of class, that child falls behind. (Our daughter always asked questions in class and went to her teachers’ office hours — in fact, other kids told her to stop on more than one occasion over the years and once she was threatened by death for working so hard to learn she raised the class grading curve. The school had to suspend the boy that wanted to kill her for asking questions and earning straight “A’s” and eventually move that boy to another school because he wouldln’t leave her alone. In fact, if it weren’t for a teacher catching that boy threatening her, she might have been injured. At one point, that boy snatched the glasses off her face, threw them on the ground and smashed them. How did our daughter respond to those threats? She volunteered to be tutor after school in the library to help other kids that were having problems in math, science or English. What were the results? Half the time, the kids that came to be tutored by our daughter in the library after school expected her to do their work for them instead of learn how to do it themselves.)

      A study back in the 1990s discovered that 80% of American parents never attend a parent-teacher conference or talk face to face with his or her child’s teachers. So, do we require that teachers have to go to the parent’s home, visit every one of their 200 students’ parents each quarter, and hold individual parent conferences during times that do not interfere with the family’s favorite reality TV program or interupt family time where daddy and son play video games together to have some family fun time?

      No matter how many laws such as the NCLB Act are passed to punish teachers and improve the results of public education in the US, there is no way that teachers will ever be able to replace the parents role in the education of a child.

      More parents must become involved in the child’s education as our daughter’s parents were and millions of other children’s parents.


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