Starting school at age seven—some claim—would be better: Part 1 of 5

23 Sep

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The UK’s Telegraph reports, “Formal schooling should be delayed until the age of six or seven because early education is causing profound damage to children, an influential lobby of almost 130 experts warns.”

Why do I disagree with these so-called experts?

The last time fools [my opinion]—like these—sparked a revolution in raising children, it led to the average American parent boosting a false sense of self-esteem in his or her children raising a generation of narcissists and/or sociopaths as recent studies have pointed out.

The self-esteem hot-air bubble also led to inflating grades and dumbing down the curriculum in the public schools so children would feel better about themselves. [See New Study Reveals Most Children Unrepentant Sociopaths and We are raising a generation of deluded narcissists]

I’m sure some of these so-called experts will argue that in Finland children start school at age seven, and Finland has one of the most successful public school systems in the world.

But what you will probably not hear is that most parents in Finland start teaching their children a love of reading as early as age three—at home; are very supportive of education and teachers and that Finland’s teachers, who are in charge in the classroom, belong to a very strong teachers union.

Parents in Finland do not wait for teachers to do their job for them—a job made difficult for teachers in the United States where many children who have not been exposed to books at an early age have no love of reading when they enter the classroom for the first time [at any age].

Why what works in Finland will not work in the United States will be revealed in Part 2

Continued on September 24, 2013 in Starting school at age seven—some claim—would be better: Part 2

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Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran.

His latest novel is the award winning Running with the Enemy. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.

And the woman he loves and wants to save was trained to kill Americans.

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4 responses to “Starting school at age seven—some claim—would be better: Part 1 of 5

  1. Luanne

    September 23, 2013 at 07:53

    Very persuasive, as usual, Lloyd.

  2. Darwin B. Lambert

    October 1, 2013 at 07:26

    The third fallacy is that “If any children had three or four great teachers in a row, they would soar academically, regardless of their racial or economic background, while those who have a sequence of weak teachers will fall further and further behind”. This theoretical assumption is included in influential policy recommendations, for instance in “ Essential Elements of Teacher Policy in ESEA: Effectiveness, Fairness and Evaluation ” by the Center for American Progress to the U.S. Congress. Teaching is measured by the growth of student test scores on standardized exams.

    • Lloyd Lofthouse

      October 2, 2013 at 08:44

      I’m not sure what you mean by “the third fallacy”. If you mean to say that the quote you used is flawed, I agree with you.

      Because the quote you mention from the Center for American Progress comes from a biased, liberal source and cannot be trusted. The Center presents a liberal viewpoint on economic issues. Its President and chief executive officer is Neera Tanden, who worked for the Obama and Clinton administrations and for Hillary Clinton’s campaigns.

      When it comes to public education in the United States bias against it may be found from conservatives and liberals but for different reasons. Conservatives want to privatize public education so they have more control over molding young minds to believe in conservative political and religious ideas. The liberal left believes that all children are innocent and hungry to learn and think that if a child fails it has to be a teachers fault.

      I do not agree that all children are innocent until they become a legal adult at whatever age the state they live in has legislated. In fact, by the age of 15, I’m sure that few are innocent morally or legally. In addition, even though most children may be hungry to learn, I’m sure that they are not all hungry to learn academic subjects—something that all the other developed and developing countries seem to understand explaining why they offer two tracks that lead to high school graduation. A vocational track and an academic track.

      The United States if often compared to these countries by comparing total graduation rates but these reports never say that the US has no vocational track for graduating from high school ready to find a job without going on to college.

      The academic track in foreign countries is designed to ready students to go to college. The vocational high school graduation track gets young people—who do not plan to go to college—ready for jobs right out of high school.

      Instead, In the US, it is never mentioned that the US graduates more students from high school on the academic track—the only one that is offered—than any other country in the world.

      But in America those that are age 18 or older enter the work force with little or no job skills beyond working for a fast food place or sweeping floors and stocking shelves at a Wall-Mart type retail store. Young people in America who are not interested in going to college have to pay for job training on their own after the age of 18—if they have the free time to stay in school and if they can afford it. Even most American public two-year community colleges that offer many vocational courses are not free.

      And as for the quote that a child who has three or four weak teachers in a row will fall further behind, there has be no research done in America to identify how many weak teachers there are in the public schools. All of the claims that student progress is hampered by weak teachers are nothing but the opinions of biased critics of public education in the United States.

      I argue that weak parents are the real reason that 10 – 20% of American children do not graduate on time from public high schools in the United States—not a few weak teachers. For example, as parents, my wife and I made sure that no weak teacher or teachers would hamper our daughter while she was attending the public schools. To achieve that, we left the TV off 166 hours a week in our home and controlled what we watched as a family for the two hours of TV time every seven days; took our daughter to the library once a week to check out a stack of books, and made sure she finished her homework everyday instead of just asking her if she had homework or how her day at school was. She knew from an early age if she brought home any assignment with less than an A grade, either her mother or I would be calling the teacher and asking for a parent conference to find out the facts behind any grade lower than an A. And as long as she did her best even for a B or C, she would not get in trouble but if she earned that grade because she didn’t study or turn in a homework assignment, then she would be grounded and lectured at home.

      The way the high school graduation rate is reported in the US media is also flawed because these reports seldom if ever mention the number of students who did not graduate on time who then go on to earn a GED later in life before the age of 24. In fact, between the ages of 28 – 24, most of the Americans who did not graduate on time from high school have earned a GED on their own by taking classes at local community colleges. Is it possible that those who did not graduate from high school on time had family problems or personal reasons for not graduating on time other than a few weak and/or incompetent teachers? But of course the critics of public education don’t want anyone to know these facts.

      In our home, we also encouraged a love of reading. Reading books she enjoyed was her only way to entertain herself when her homework was done because there was no TV, no radio, no easy internet access, no free phone use, and no video games in our home. She was also not allowed to hang out with friends afterschool downtown or at a friend’s house—a popular fun and free pastime among many American kids is the famous sleep over where the child is out of sight of mom and dad.

      And after our daughter graduated from public high school with a 4.65 GPA and had been accepted to Stanford where she is now in her fourth year, I asked her how many of the 40 – 50 public school teachers she had who were incompetent and after thinking about it she said two.


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