Until recently I had no idea who Diane Silvers Ravitch was. After all, America has the third largest population [316 million] in the world after China and India, and I have trouble just remembering the names of all my neighbors.
But I was about to discover who Ravitch was. My wife was on the road one morning listening to KQED, and when she got home she told me about this interview on the radio.
I went on-line and found the post and podcast at KQED.org, and read “Diane Ravitch, a former assistant secretary of education, spent years advocating for an overhaul of the American education system. She supported the No Child Left Behind Act, the charter school movement and standardized testing.
“But Ravitch recently—and very publicly—changed her mind. She looked at the data and decided that the kinds of changes she’d supported weren’t working. Now she’s a prominent critic of things like charter schools and school choice and she’s particularly opposed to privatizing schools.”
That’s when I discovered Ravitch wrote a book published in mid-September 2013 by Knopf called “Reign of Error“. After I read the storm of reviews on Amazon [twenty-two 5-star reviews compared to three 1-star reviews] of her book, I ordered a copy
I also Googled Ravitch to learn more about her because after reading the reviews of her work, I discovered someone who knows what’s going on with America’s public education system—and the truth might set America free so the people will support teachers instead of make them scapegoats for dysfunctional families.
For example, what does a teacher do when he or she assigns a thirty-minute reading assignment as homework and only three students out of thirty-four do it and this is what happens all the time? Where are the parents?
Diane Silvers Ravitch is a historian of education, an educational policy analyst, and a research professor at New York University’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development. Previously, she was a U.S. Assistant Secretary of Education.
I was a teacher for thirty years in the public schools [1975-2005]. The schools where I taught were surrounded by a barrio where violent street gangs ruled the streets, but the schools were an oasis for students where dedicated teachers worked long, hard, frustrating hours—often sixty to one-hundred hours a week—to overcome the poverty, ignorance and violence that surrounded those schools. Just getting kids to do the homework, study and read for fun outside of the classroom was a big challenge.
I’ve been researching this same topic for years and writing about it on this Blog. Are the public schools broken as the critics claim?
The answer is NO!
Today, America’s public schools are better than they have ever been in America’s history, and I have proven it on this Blog. And when I read Ravitch’s book, I’ll probably learn more about the misinformation, deceit and lies that has influenced millions of Americans to blame teachers and the teachers unions for problems they have no control over.
President Abraham Lincoln said it best: “You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.”
Maybe the time has finally come for all or most of the American people to stop being fooled about the state of public education in the United States and shift the blame to where it belongs—dysfunctional families that do not value the work it takes to earn an education.
Public teachers in the United States should get the same support that Americans give the troops that are fighting this country’s endless wars, because there is a war being waged in America’s classrooms too.
Discover It’s the parents, Stupid
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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October 3, 2013 at 10:20
The biggest problem today is fraud, administrators who make high decisions and the billionaires who control them. Administrators spend the money and determine the curriculum and how it will happen and where each teacher will be placed. How do teachers control the game? We need the public process for the placement of these important key positions.
October 3, 2013 at 11:26
I think most of the administrators who are controlled by billionaires are at the state and possibly the district level but they in turn control who is hired into the schools and school-site administrators have no job protection. If they don’t do what they are told, they can be fired without cause. I saw this happen more than once during my thirty years in the classroom. District administrators control the puppet strings to site administrators. The control comes from the top down.
Then to keep their jobs, many site administrators do as they are told and put pressure on classroom teachers or else the teachers will find themselves harassed in many ways that makes teaching very difficult.
This also helps explain why the turnover rate in teaching is so high. About half of new teachers leave in the first five years and never return to education.
October 5, 2013 at 08:09
Interesting blog. I am going to read Reign of Error this summer when I actually have some free time.
October 5, 2013 at 08:39
Thanks. I now have the hardcover of “Reign of Error” sitting on my desk reminding me to read it. But I’m not reading much these days as I play catch-up with my Blogging after spending all summer and the beginning of Fall finishing my cabinet project for the 55″ flat screen TV.
Well, finished enough so we can use that TV, and we are now watching Downtown Abbey in Hi Def.
Recently I updated the post on that cabinet remodel project and added more photos: http://lloydlofthouse.org/2013/09/07/a-summer-vacation-from-writing-for-the-most-part/
October 5, 2013 at 09:14
Does your website have a contact page? I’m having a tough time locating it because I’d like to shoot you an email. I’ve got some recommendations for your blog you might be interested in hearing. Either way, great blog and I look forward to seeing it grow over time.
October 5, 2013 at 10:21
Leave a comment. If you don’t want me to make it public, I won’t. I check all the comments to my Blogs—that are not SPAM—but don’t check all of my e-mails. For example, I get hundreds of e-mail SPAMs daily and just delete them in mass without reading them. Not enough time.
October 5, 2013 at 23:59
We have been on top of this game for a long time and fighting them. With the sudden resignation of Jaime Aquino we had the opening we needed. For the first time the billionaires did not have time to set up their game and we moved first and now have them in the proverbial “Pickle.” This is why Gates, Broad, Walton et al. have place so many superintendents and others at the top even for free sometimes to have that decision making power such as what is exploding right now with the iPads. That is right is is good policy to spend $1,000 each with a 3 year guarantee than less than $200 with a 5 year guarantee and $1,000 was the best deal and only we could get it. Yet today is a story from England and a small school there had 1,200 of the iPads. Over a year 1/2 got destroyed and they paid the same as LAUSD who is buying 650,000-700,000 of them and paying retail for the covers and keyboards and everything yet it is a great deal. What do you think you could get a $250 Google Chrome for if you bought 700,000 of them? Retail?
Wait until we drop the fully documented “Bomb” on this issue next week. You will be able to see it on “Hemlock on the Rocks.”
October 6, 2013 at 08:23
The same thing that happened to those iPads in England happened decades ago to the IBM computers in a reading lab at the high school where I taught. And these were desktop computers. In addition, the reading lab that worked with the lowest skilled readers in the school had a teacher and two adult aids to work with only twenty students each period so there was a small class load.
The kids managed to damage those computers on a regular basis. It didn’t take much. A wad of chewed gum shoved in a disk drive. Keyboards damaged by pulling the letter covers off and losing them.
Many of the kids who do not read well by the time they reach high school usually hate reading and everything that goes with it. They hate books. They hate the teachers and adults that work with them. They hated those computers. It makes sense that children raised in homes without any books, magazines or newspapers around do not develop a love of reading by the time they turn five or six and start school. Those kids start behind and stay behind and as the years go by, they fall further and further behind. In fact, I often had teens in my high school English lit classes who read at second or third grade and never did the work. They arrived that way. Studies show the key to solve this is the parents starting by at least age three if not earlier to instill a love of books and reading in their children.
It didn’t take but a few years before the district abandoned the IBM computer reading lab that came with a $50,000 grant. Those computers ended up in a storage room and the reading lab returned to the old style reading kits in boxes—-no computers.
October 7, 2013 at 12:04
I was raised in a home where reading was not encouraged. My parents at that time were not readers. I was frequently chided for always having my nose in a book. I have a brother who also enjoys reading. While I think it is important to encourage reading, I do believe the enjoyment factor one of those personality traits that comes packaged in ones DNA. That being said, every student must learn to read and read well.
October 7, 2013 at 15:05
Did your love of reading come automatically to you and your brother or was there someone else, not your parents, who motivated you to learn to love reading and/or was a roll model?
Let me share how I learned to read. When I was about age 7, I was tested to see why I wasn’t learning in school. After the results came in my mother was told I was extremely retarded—the truth was that I was severely dyslexic, but in those days, no one knew what dyslexia was or how to overcome it.
My mother was told I would never learn to read or write.
She couldn’t live with that. Although both of my parents dropped out of high school at age 14 to go to work during America’s Great Depression, they were avid readers. My mother bought some beginning reader books my teacher recommended and then she got out a wire coat hanger to use as motivation, and she taught me to read. Later the same teacher, who supported my mother and ignored the experts who tested me and said I would never learn to read or write, also discovered that I might near glasses, so my mother had my eyesight tested, and I did.
One might be able to argue that using pain as a motivator to teach me to read should have turned me off to reading but I saw my parents reading every day. There were always books around. My mother read her romance novels and my father read mysteries and westerns.
By the time I graduated from high school, I’m sure I had read well over a thousand books on my own.
My brother was fourteen years older than I was and he had dyslexia too. He never learned to read and died at age 64 illiterate. He lived a hard life and spent fifteen years of that life in prison. But my older sister, who is still alive and in her 80s, loves to read too.
October 7, 2013 at 15:35
Oct. 6, 2013 a story from England about a 1,200 student elementary school bought iPads a year ago for about the same for 1,200 as LAUSD for 700,000 devices. Also, the story said that after a year only 1/2 worked. This is what we need. Also parents were charged $80 for the insurance. How about that? Wait until you see the real story about Apple and now the insanity of Microsoft also. How is it that Microsoft does not know who their point person is at LAUSD complaining for Microsoft about being forced out? Something stinks.
October 7, 2013 at 16:47
Yea, something stinks. I wonder who was in charge of those purchases and if his or her lifestyle just improved dramatically with free vacations, etc.
November 1, 2013 at 11:08
Blaming everything on parents isn’t really helpful. Parenting is largely a function of socio-economic status – if you’re stuck in generational poverty, you simply don’t have the personal, financial and social resources and supports to be a good parent. What would be more helpful would be to look at why there is such wide-spread poverty and inequality.
November 1, 2013 at 12:41
I disagree. The blame or the responsibility of a child’s education and literacy must be placed on something concrete. Parents are concrete. Poverty is an abstract concept and when blame or responsibility is placed on an abstract concept, there is no reason for people to do anything to improve—after all, the situation is not their fault and they are not responsible.
Placing the blame on poverty will not change the situation. For example, for decades the nation has put the responsibly of a child learning to read, etc. on teachers but that has not worked because the parents have not been held responsible by society. Instead, the popular opinion has been that we cannot hold them responsible because they live in poverty and it isn’t their fault. Almost everyone buys this excuse and nothing changes.
The abstract concept of poverty is going to do nothing to change a child’s attitude about education and literacy. And we already know that blaming teachers and holding them responsible hasn’t worked—the reason for that is simple: a child’s first five or six years before starting school molds that child’s attitudes toward education and reading. The difference between successful parents and those that fail is not introducing books into a child’s life at a young age and spending quality time with that child to make sure he or she learns to value reading.
The federal government has a complex definition for poverty: “Following the Office of Management and Budget’s (OMB) Statistical Policy Directive 14, the Census Bureau uses a set of money income thresholds that vary by family size and composition to determine who is in poverty. If a family’s total income is less than the family’s threshold, then that family and every individual in it is considered in poverty. The official poverty thresholds do not vary geographically, but they are updated for inflation using Consumer Price Index (CPI-U). The official poverty definition uses money income before taxes and does not include capital gains or noncash benefits (such as public housing, Medicaid, and food stamps).”
For example, two families earning the same annual income could live next door to each other in a lower socio-economic community but one family only has one child and the other family has six. One lives in poverty and the other—by definition—doesn’t live in poverty. But the children of both families have similar attitudes when it comes to education and literacy because of the way the parents let them grow up.
This issue reminds of the question: What came first? The chicken or the egg
Does poverty breed poverty and what are the reasons behind people living in poverty? How do we resolve this issue? I do not think giving someone who lives in poverty a higher income for the same low-skill job or welfare and/or food stamps is going to change the situation. The parents/guardians must change the way they raise children so those children grow up with values that places education and literacy high on that list of values.
We should pass federal laws so the minimum hourly wage is enough to life someone out of poverty if he or she works a full time job. But that may not work because in the fast-food industry and stores like Wal-Mart, hours may be cut so the job becomes a part-time job and doesn’t earn enough unless the worker works more than one job spending sixteen or more hours at work each day moving from one job to the next one.
I have an example to illustrate what I mean: My older brother who died in 1999 at the age of 64. We both had the same parents but my brother, who was fourteen years older than me, was illiterate his entire life and he lived—by definition—in poverty and he and his two wives had seven children [four of the boys would grow up to be illiterate too—the two daughters and the oldest son are probably functionally illiterate].
By the time I was age seven; my brother was twenty-one and had already spent time in prison. All his life, he worked manual, mostly low paying jobs.
Our parents, who both dropped out of high school at age fourteen to work during the Great Depression, had learned a hard lesson with my brother and decided that they would not let me grow up illiterate, and the same parents succeeded with me by placing the responsibility of my literacy on their shoulders and it wasn’t easy for them because I fought them all the way into learning to love reading books. It took them a few years but they succeeded where they failed with my brother.
The results: both of the children I helped raise are literate and enjoy reading books. The youngest is in her fourth year at Stanford. Some of my brother’s children, by comparison, have spent time in prison just like their father. But we both came from the same roots. The only difference was how our parents raised us. If my parents could have placed the blame for my brother’s literacy on poverty and the fact that they both dropped out of high school and never graduated, then I’m sure I would have been illiterate too.
I taught in a barrio filled with poverty for twenty-seven of the thirty years I was a teacher and I can tell you from experience that parents made the difference. Most of the students I taught lived in families that fit the definition of poverty but some of children form those families did very well in school because their parents accepted the responsibility to make sure the child they raised would value an education and books and work hard to improve his or her skills.
What is the solution? I think that if a family lives in poverty and collects food stamps and/or some other form of welfare, then those parents must be required [it must be mandatory] to attend parenting classes starting with the pregnancy of the first child and prove that they have learned how to raise a child that respects teachers, cooperates at school, works hard on learning and loves to read books.
If the parents refuse to attend those classes and demonstrate that they are not learning and evolving as responsible parents, then the food stamps and/or welfare is cut off. In addition, the parents would be required to bring the child starting at a young age—maybe as young as 18 months—to literacy support groups where books are introduced to the children at an early age and the children are read to until the child can read for himself. There can be no excuses for parents to avoid attending these classes and literacy workshops. Laws could be passed that would require employers to be flexible and provide time for the parents to attend this classes and literacy workshops. Maybe a tax subsidy of some kind that would make it worthwhile for the employer to hire these parents could be part of the program as an incentive to cooperate.
To break the cycle of poverty, you have to break the cycle of poor parenting habits. Throwing money at people living in poverty is not going to do that.
November 2, 2013 at 08:04
I’m not putting the blame on the abstract concept of poverty. I’m putting the blame on the people who cause poverty – employers that send jobs overseas, destroy unions, pay below living wages, etc., not to mention politicians (well paid by the above-referenced employers) who cut social safety nets and workers’ rights while funneling money into corporate pockets. The fact is that addressing poverty in the 60s and 70s had profound positive effects on education and the austerity agenda of the last thirty years has had profound negative effects.
Your anecdote about you and your brother is cute, but hardly data. Mountains of evidence show the effects of poverty from earliest infancy – brain development, great chance for disabilities, malnutrition, greater likelihood of witnessing or experiencing trauma, etc. You sound like one of those people who thinks that those things are just “excuses”. You also conflate being “poor” with deep poverty and clearly you have no experience of the latter.
November 2, 2013 at 08:58
No, I admit that I have never lived in “deep poverty” and I do not disagree with you on the impact of poor nutrition. But the Untied States has had a free and reduced breakfast and lunch program for children who qualify because, by definition, their families live in poverty. This program was established under the National School Lunch Act and signed into law by President Harry Truman in 1946.
You can read about the history and growth/development of this program here: http://www.fns.usda.gov/nslp/history and http://febp.newamerica.net/background-analysis/federal-school-nutrition-programs
As as for no experience, you are wrong. For twenty-seven years, I taught in schools surrounded by poverty and saw what that does to children’s attitudes toward education and reading.
But because the schools where I taught offered nutrition/food [breakfast and lunch] through the NSLA, the children/teens I taught were not starving. And because of the US Food Stamp program in the United States, there is no need for most children to starve and suffer from malnutrition like many children do in countries like India where thousands die from starvation and malnutrition daily.
Yes, there are organized groups in the United States that have political clout who want to diminish or destroy the NSLA and the Food Stamp program, but they have not succeeded. THE NSLA still feeds nearly 31 million students every day for about $10 billion annually.
“From 1977 to 2012, total federal expenditures on the National School Lunch Program increased from $5.9 billion to more than $10 billion annually.3 Over the same period of time, participation in the meal programs increased by just over 5 million from 26.2 million to 31.6 million students. School lunch – and to a certain extent, breakfast – spending has primarily driven the expenditure increases due to a higher number of students enrolled in fully subsidized meal programs. In contrast, spending on milk has remained relatively flat.”
But Food Stamps do no good when parents/guardians spend that money on junk food that has little or no nutritional value. And the average child in America drinks and eats far too much sugar that also leads to physical and mental disabilities and malnutrition of another kind. These children aren’t starving like children to in India, for example, they are suffering from eating too much of a bad thing that has caused a huge increase in obesity and adult-onset diabetes in children starting at a very young age.
Ignorant parents who live in poverty and qualify for food stamps are making poor decisions when it comes to buying food at the market. And we can’t force these parents to make better decisions and raise their children to like eating real fruits and vegetables in addition to beans and brown rice that isn’t that expensive when bought in bulk. Beans and brown rice by itself offers a healthy diet rich in fiber, protein and nutrition.
However, science now tells us that sugar is more addictive than cocaine, heroin, caffeine and nicotine and children cry for sodas, cake and candy and parents give in. Sugar consumption sixty years ago was a small portion of the average child’s annual diet in body weight but today children—even those who live in poverty—consume more than their body weight in sugar and that leads to problems from malnutrition, moody children, memory dysfunction, etc.
In conclusion, I return to what I said before. Poverty is an abstract concept and putting blame for this problem on jobs being shipped overseas, and low pay will not solve it. Only literacy; a love of reading, and a proper, well-planned education will solve this problem of most who live in poverty. We cannot spend our way out of this age-old mess that goes back thousands of years by throwing money at poverty programs that do not change poor attitudes toward reading and education.
Instead, we must start at the root of this issue and that root is the parents who must be taught proper parenting methods when it comes to literacy, education and diet, and these parents who live in poverty must be held accountable to use Food Stamps to buy a nutritious diet. If that requires the federal government to crack down on families living in poverty who qualify for food stamps when their children are fat or obese and are pre-diabetic or have diabetes, then the government must act and removed those children from homes where the parents are not practicing what they would be taught in workshops and seminars with attendance mandatory if those families want to get those food stamps they are qualified for according to the definition of poverty in the United States.
America can no longer afford to offer total freedom to parents who practice poor and unacceptable parenting methods that lead to children who are being fed food that is not nutritious. Parents are real. They are concrete. If we are going to lift the children of these parents out of poverty, first they must become functionally literate and work hard to earn an education that leads to jobs that pay more than poverty wages. If we do not break that cycle, then it will repeat. Blaming teachers for children who do not learn to read or work hard for an education while ignoring incompetent/ignorant parents will not lead to success and eliminate poverty in America.
November 1, 2013 at 13:45
The essential companion piece to Reign of Error is Naomi Klein’s The Shock Doctrine. How the world has been used as our schools are now. The picture is huge and terrifying.
November 1, 2013 at 17:48
Curious, I turned to YouTube and found this video on Naomi Klein and Alfonso Cuaron’s “The Shock Doctrine”. Thanks for sharing.
May 2, 2014 at 22:14
I don’t think that in 3rd grade or kindergarten that it is possible to determine whether or not someone will go to college a dozen years later.
There is too much that can happen cognitively, physically, financially, and experience wise.
Data from test results do not predict the future of an individual. Data is just a number, and does not reveal good teaching or if children are even trying to learn. Witch craft or sorcery would probably work better than the results form a standardized test.
May 3, 2014 at 07:21
November 1, 2013 at 16:05
Thank You LLoyd, a rational comment for once, how refreshing.
The people in England are the same people here. This is a world wide scam of the highest order.
November 1, 2013 at 17:44
You are welcome. I think the people behind the blame game focused on the public schools want to move education into the private sector for profit [there are hundreds of billions to be had] and/or to control what young minds are taught. Profit and/or mind control. Maybe one step away from a new-dark age of ignorance and autocratic leaders.
November 2, 2013 at 12:27
We have lawyers on the Deasy illegal approval and the illegal and in fact police “Inciting to Riot” on that day. I have the only HD video of every person in line and who spoke plus every speaker inside and who should not have been allowed to speak. LAUSD is an organized crime operation, RICO. I know their budgets inside out for years and how the money disappears. I have done this across the U.S. and no one wants to listen. I think you are the first. Go to the latest stories and every number is wrong as no one looks they just take what the spinners and smoke blowers state as the truth. I thought reporting was: who, what, where, why, how, when. Not “Whatever you say, man, it must be true if you said it.” This is now the Diane Ravich Blog. Astroturf, also, look at who she and especially her husband really is. Be ready for the reality.
November 2, 2013 at 13:16
We live in a 30-second, attention-span culture and during that thirty-second window, you have to entertain the audience or they leave and never return. The posts must be short and use simple vocabulary with photographs and short videos. But to fact check a claim one reads or hears in thirty second or less may take hours. Although I usually provide links to the sources I use in my posts, I have had readers challenge me and still ask where I get my information. That says they never bothered to take the time to click on the link to the source I used that is often a primary source.
The number of people who read books is in decline—especially among younger Americans. There have been dramatic drops in avid readers among the younger generations who are too busy texting mostly useless comments with no depth or intelligence involved; playing video games; watching TV; listening to music with plugs in ears from iPod, etc. There just is no time for these people to set aside a few hours to read a book and books help develop imagination, problem solving & critical thinking skills.
Our society is now growing ignorance and stupidity at a shocking pace. Few have time to see the facts and learn the real truth. The false truth is whatever anyone wants to believe from thirty seconds of info.
I suspect that because of my age I will be gone when things get really bad so I won’t be here to see Western civilization collapse and go the way of the Romans.
November 2, 2013 at 14:30
Lloyd, you are on the money literally and on the lack of attention span created since Bill Clinton signed the 1996 Telecommunications Act. This is a long term plan I have had busted for a long time. If you do not have the proper varied background you cannot conceive of this. The best thing that happened to us is the 2-3 minute speaches as they force you to take complicated issued and reduce them to 2-3 minutes. You must really know your issues for this. When you keep it at the 4-5th grade level you can mass communicate complicated ideas and issues. We have proven this many times. Now, concerning Deasy, we have to have patience and let the attorney’s do the work. The best are on it. Patience.
November 2, 2013 at 17:13
You have more faith than I do in overcoming these short attention spans and getting young people reading books again. It’s almost impossible to get people to change bad habits when they don’t want to.
For example, we know from solid science that cancer loves sugar and sugar contributes to diabetes that destroys every organ in the body including the brain, but how many people are going to voluntarily stop drinking Coke and Pepsi and cut back consumption of sweets in foods like cake, donuts, pies and candy?
November 7, 2013 at 07:24
The leaders of the privatization movement call themselves reformers, but their premises are strikingly different from those of reformers in the past. In earlier eras, reformers wanted such things as a better curriculum, better-prepared teachers, better funding, more equitable funding, smaller classes, and desegregation, which they believed would lead to better public schools. By contrast, today’s reformers insist that public education is a failed enterprise and that all these strategies have been tried and failed.
November 7, 2013 at 08:35
But these so-called reformers are funded—-for a few examples—by the Gates Foundation, the Koch brothers, who are ultra far-right conservatives and libertarians; the Walton (of Wal-Mart wealth) family; evangelical fundamentalist Christians; the tea party movement that is dominated by old white men who are also evangelical Christians, etc.
The reformers are not reforming education because it isn’t broken—in fact, the US public schools are better now than they have ever been in the history of this country. All one has to do is dig deep enough to find the real facts.
These s-called reformers are out to control education so they can mold young minds to their way of thinking and/or boost corporate profits by raiding the almost $1 Trillion in annual dollars spent on public education in the US.
To manipulate public opinion in America, these special interest groups have bombarded the country with propogands and lies for decades until many people actually believe them.
Once a company is traded on the New York Stock Exchange or NASDAQ, pressure to increase profits turns that company into a Ponzi scheme looking for more money to loot because constant, steady growth is almost impossible. And this greedy; this feeding frenzy for growing wealth with no end in sight is what led to the 2007-08 Global Financial Crises. The same forces that caused that financial catastrophe are out to destroy the public schools.
And along the way, they will destroy civilization as we know it until the people are nothing but a number on an easy to scan bar code tattooed on everyone but the super wealthy. The public schools teach kids to grow up and be individuals—in the public schools teachers teach kids how to think critically and solve problems. The private sector will create drones because they don’t want people to think critically. That is too dangerous.
November 7, 2013 at 11:29
LLoyd, thanks for the rational thought. I used to weigh 325 and fat as can be. Now I weigh about 260 do 4,000 reps with weights every day and all summer swam 22 laps a day in a larger than 20′
x 40′ pool. I am now a physical monster. I do not use sugar or salt on anything I use fresh herbs. My salads have 15-20 ingredients and I make all my own dressings. We have no junk food in this house. I also spend 1/3 for everything next to the regular person by shopping properly. Therefore, we eat like kings, without the fat and salt, for almost nothing. It can be done.
Concerning reading, this is all a result of educators and those who make the decisions for the foolishness which passes for education. Now we learn from California Attorney General Kamala Harris that the problem is with elementary school truancy. In two counties in California the number is over 30% who do not come to school. When we all know that if you are not at grade level by the third grade the results will not be good. So it is obvious that the evil combination of social promotion and truancy is here to haunt us. Where were those so called academic experts? Obviously, not professionals or concerned just give me my MONEY.
If you do not teach from the beginning the arts, physical education FUN and the beginning of a strong love of learning and the desire to excell and be the best you can whatever you are capable of not some fantasy of what they wish you could do this will happen. You must make them stretch to learn by challenging them with tests with trick questions so they cannot easily cheat on the material. None of this happens much today. Is it any wonder there are problems. All I do is analyze that which others are either too lazy to or do not care. We should always be in constant education.
I started in the real work world at Lockheed. They tested us. I did not know until much later how high I scored, very very high. They took about 10 of us when they sent all off to other parts of the plant. After about a week we were taken to the “Skunk Works.” Even though my Dad worked with Kelly Johnson since 1937 because of maximum security he never told me about this part of his life. You cannot imagine what we thought when the door opened on the elevator and what we saw was like walking onto the deck of a starship. I then worked for the best organization ever under the direction of the most honest and cost savings organization I have ever seen. I worked on a part that operated at over Mach 3 at 2,700 degrees and was only .025 thick the metal was so strong.
My point is this. We have to reverse the trend of students thinking they only have to do the minimum to get by as all will just fall into their laps when they grow up. Not true. The arts helps to create this interest and critical thinking which forces you to go deeper into subjects from intense interest. I am constantly educating myself and finding things which are factual I did not want to believe. This is intellectual curiosity. Without it we are DOOMED.
Those who have lied to us about leading education have been lying in mass quantities. Time to stop this. If you want to see real sickness and illegal operation come to LAUSD or soon much video of the latest illegal moves will be up on George1la on You Tube. You will see what happens when they purposely send a hacker to my computer in the board room to destroy it and they laugh. I recover and put together another power point and they will not let me hook up. They threatened arrest multiple times after the meeting before they performed “Inciting to Riot” as defined in California Penal Codes by assisting those who were not on time to butt in line ahead of us who were the legal speakers. Some of them comment on this blog and you know who they are. This is all going to end. We went to the best lawyers on this one. Read the law, started on the case law and said “Give it to the top pros.”
How will our society exist and break from the Nazi Fascist Amerika we have become. Now, don’t get upset. This is what we are if you know your history and how the definition became this and what it means from the 20’s and Mussolini, Austria since 1919 until today and in Hitler’s Germany. We are now them. Corporations and billionaires run the country not us. The Koch Bros. only spent on donations to the “Tea Partiers” an average of only $5,000 and a max of $15,000. Super discount buy I would say especially if you together are worth $85,000,000,000.
We need more Kelly Johnson’s. He and my parents are my hero’s. They had ethics, morals, a real work ethic and for the future of youth the most important thing after ethics and such is an intense desire to understand things the way they really work not some fantasy. I will never lose that no matter what or how much is thrown at me. All that does is set the resolve. You must also understand WARFARE as this is what this is only without guns, sometimes, as I see them aimed at me a lot. Would you take that risk for our youth? Do you now as a result of this sleep with weapons? I now do again. This is where it is at. Been there done that a lot of times. Be Prepared.
November 7, 2013 at 15:24
I’m not sure “Nazi Fascist Amerika” is the proper term considering the history of the European Fascists. I think of today’s United States moving deeper and deeper to a plutocracy, a country ruled by the richest people–people who appear to want America to return to the era of robber barons and serfs that existed before the Child Labor Laws when parents living in poverty—and there were plenty of them—often sold their children as young as five into servitude in factories, whore houses and coal mines. The American middle class we see today is here because of those factors and the formation of labor unions in addition to omen getting the vote.
The only way for the Plutocrats to achieve their goals is to make sure most of the people do not have critical thinking skills and the average reading level is fifth grade or lower so it will be easier to fool and manipulate most of the people most of the time. The day will come when people who do think; can be fooled and make too much noise about it will be silenced one way or another. I think the favorite method will be to use libel to discredit those individuals through the media that is now owned by six major, corporations. The same method being used now to make America’s successful public schools look like failures will be used to turn the population against anyone speaking the truth. It’s extremely easy to flood the media and the Internet with lies and misinformation to turn anyone into a victim who will then be shunned by most of society.
Although I think it might be true that America is now an autocratic plutocracy, I hesitate to say we have reached that place 100% yet but we are close. The reason I don’t think we are totally there is because the super wealthy people and organizations that want to decide the path the country will follow are fighting each other over the United States to see which political/religious agenda will rule supreme.
It is obvious that the only issue all of these wealthy power brokers agree on is to destroy the public education system in America and take the United States back to the era when less than 10% of children attended school beyond sixth grade and fewer than 5% go to college.
Machiavelli would have loved the political turmoil in America today.
I’ve been a whole foods, heavy fiber vegan since 1982 and my weight is about 186 pounds at 6 foot four. I follow a regular, maintenance exercise routine.
And if warned ahead of time, I will be ready for trouble. I have what we will need to survive and fight another day.
I also sleep with a loaded fire arm but not because of someone wanting to hunt be down and eliminate me but because I can’t sleep without a weapon close at hand and that is because of what I carried home from Vietnam in 1966, the PTSD.
November 7, 2013 at 18:02
Lloyd, I appreciate your rationality and honesty. It is rare today. I had to go have my computer fixed again after LAUSD hacked my computer at the board Tuesday on TV. They broke both state and Federal anti hacking laws. Luckily I have a real expert.
If you do not believe it can be fixed why even care? Politics is the “Art of the Possible.” That is what we at CORE-CA specialize in for the public not for ourselves personal wealth accumulation. That is why we do not take their money and have the nationwide reputation we do. CORE-CA puts on the largest Martin Luther King Day Parade in the U.S. and over 3,000,000 watch in just L.A. County. Huge market share.
We are used to this abuse as it goes with this work and always will be that way. I do not like to sleep with weapons and this attitude. Experience is what tells me what to do. I am at peace with it, however, no wimps here. I live in a very secure house. You cannot approach this house from the street, impossible. We live a very sophisticated life here. Intellectualness is one of those things we appreciate and strive for. Protection of our youth is paramount along with the elderly who are the most preyed upon segments of our society. My friend was almost totally destroyed mentally and financially by these same people. He is now recovering and you do not want to know what it took. I have seen too much of this.
Lloyd, I hope you were not exposed to agent orange. Too much tragedy in that one also. According to the latest Marine study of just one form of PTSD over 50% of all troops in Iraq and Afghanistan have the “identity PTSD.” This is outrageous. Whether you call it Plutocracy, just looked both up in my Random House Unabridged Dictionary, or Fascism both are the same in practice. In the early 50’s they started to twist the meaning for Fascism from the original meaning of Mussolini. Read “Hapsburgs to Hitler” by Gulick published in 1948 by both the Oxford and Berkeley Presses. This is the story of how Austria beginning in 1919 became and is to this day a fascist country in reality. Like the Austrian and Chicago Schools of Finance are based. Where did Obama, Duncan and Emmanuel come from, gee, Chicago and that school of thought. Wonder why Obama has not fixed the financial system, there it is.
One of the biggest things I heard from women during the Vietnam War and just after it was being waken in the night being choked to death by their lover or husband who had come back from Nam and lived in the jungle on patrol. They were sleep killing thinking their girlfriend or wife was a VC. The other big one was they would go into the corner and think they were in the jungle and urinate in the corner. I cannot tell you how much I heard both of them.
What are we doing to our troops now? We are ruining their lives. Did you see the guy on RT who talked about being ready to take his gun and go down the street and kill everyone with a smile on their face and instead went to his wife and begged her to take him to a facility. When he got there he was the only one who had not at least once made a serious attempt at suicide.
This relates to our youth as they do not recruit in Beverly Hills or Brentwood. No, they go to the rust belt and inner city where there are no jobs and suck them in to have an income and later college in fantasy land. After in, tough luck. In the beginning of 1995 I obtained a 4F as I was not going to die for some fool to make a fortune. If I had not read Aviation Week I would have been like my classmates, let’s go be a hero. When 20, with long hair, I worked for 10 months at Camp Pendleton installing windows in the new mess hall baracks. I ate lunch with the drill instructors. Want to see hate. The soldiers used to cheer me as I could not be touched and they thought they would be hero’s until they got to Pendleton. Then it was too late. Ever have thousands cheer when you come out to go home. I have during the war yet on Pendleton. They hated me and yet could do nothing.
Lloyd take care of yourself and any vets who need help to not go crazy with those things in their heads they came back with. We know one person with 320 confirmed kills. They had to send him back crazy. What do they expect? This must stop. War is supposed to be a last resort as WWII and Korea not a financial and empire building game. Today, we make the terrorists. That is the Darth Vader World, bad, bad and bad again.
November 7, 2013 at 18:36
My medical provider is the VA and I am on the Agent Orange list. Even if we weren’t in the rain forest when they were spraying, Agent Orange soaked into the water table and we drank the water—-heavily chlorinated, you could taste the chemicals.
I wasn’t a political animal back then. My mother and father dropped out of high school at age 14 to work and support themselves. My older brother was in prison and he was illiterate. The family I grew up in would be considered blue collar working class at the bottom of the socioeconomic middle class. Before my mom met my dad after her first marriage failed, she was on some form of welfare to survive. When my mom was younger, she worked as a waitress. When I was a child, she worked at the City of Hope laundry. My dad started out mucking the horse stalls at the Santa Anita Race Track and later worked in construction and learned out to operate heavy equipment. The best thing that happened to us was when he joined the Operating Engineers Union and worked heavy equipment for most of his working life building the storm drains and highways that web Southern California.
I joined the Marines before I graduated from high school and went to boot camp at MCRD that summer. I hated school and had no intention of going to college.
Then the so-called Gulf of Tonkin Incident [that never really happened but LBJ used that as an excuse to start that war] took place while I was still in boot camp. We were at peace when I joined and at war a few weeks later. While in Vietnam, I came within a fraction of an inch of being hit by a sniper one sunny day and I changed my mind about college. The round brushed my left ear lobe. After I got out of the Marines, I went to college on the GI Bill and had to learn what it meant to study and be a student. When the Vietnam war became unpopular and Americans were spitting on the troops, I became political; started voting and doing my homework on the issues. I may be the first one in my family to vote. My dad, who was an alcoholic and a gambler most of his adult life, did not trust politicians and believed it was a waste of time to vote.
November 7, 2013 at 19:48
You may want to look into the link between Obama and the neoconservatives. The neoconservative movement started in the Democratic Party but when they couldn’t get a seat at the leadership table, most of the neo-cons jumped ship and joined the Republican Party. I recall that they were once called Reagan’s Democrats. Reagan controlled them but the first bush lost that control and they gained a seat at the GOP table and under the 2nd Bush, they pretty much dominated the GOP table.
Bush packed his White House with neo-cons from the University in Chicago where Obama went and Obama was friends with some neo-cons. I think two or three known neo-cons—who didn’t leave the Democratic party—work in his White House.
Neo-cons are the political faction that believes in nation building by using the US Military and force and both G. W. Bush and Obama have worked at nation building in the Middle East from different directions. Bush started the Iraq [this one based on a lie similar to the one that started the Vietnam War] and Afghan wars and Obama has supported the so-called Arab Spring. The neo-cons also believe in what’s called the noble lie—that means it is okay to lie to the people because the people need to be led in the right direction—definition: what the neo-cons think is correct. In recent years the neo-cons say they don’t use the noble lie anymore but if you do some research it doesn’t take long to catch them with some big ones.
Then there are the Founding Fathers who signed the Declaration of Independence and wrote most of the US Constitution. There is a lot of historical evidence that most if not all of them despised democracy and created a republic based on a plutocracy. After the revolution with the British Empire, the only Americans allowed to vote were wealthy, white men adding up to about 10% of the new Republic’s population. If you didn’t own property, you could not vote. And I read that white Jewish men also were not allowed to vote back then. Even members of the Senate were appointed by the state legislatures and/or the governors of each states.
The first time the US was referred to as a democracy was under President Wilson. About then the structure of the Senate also changed so Senators also had to run for election and win the popular vote.
Before that, the United States was mostly called the grand old republic. If you are interested, you might want to take some time to find out why the US Founding Fathers despised democracy as it is practiced today in the United States. It makes for interesting reading.
November 7, 2013 at 21:32
Lloyd, I cannot tell you how much I admire you. To go through all of that and become who you are is astounding. I am so glad we have discussed this. One of my former friends, Bill Perkins, former marine photographer in the jungle, is the only military photographer ever to receive the Congressional Medal of Honor. In the middle of a firefight to save everyone else he jumped on a hand grenade with his helmet and camera in his hands. There was not much left they say as they turned him over.
His real good friend, Craig Ingraham, was the first one they told they joined the Marine Corps in the Buddy Program. Craig instantly knew one would not come back. Bill is the one who did not come back. Years later Craig called his parents wanting to know more. They still had all of his letters and stills and film copies he sent them. He then went to the military and bought copies of all the film he shot in Vietnam. He interviewed all who were there at the time in the firefight. He went to the Wall. He made a movie called “Above and Beyond.” It has been shown on PBS and in Canada.
Every time I watch or think about it I cry. War is not a game, it is death and destruction of property and peoples souls and entire entity not just the body. To this day I have trouble with this. Too many friends died or are still having nightmares to this day.
This is why I do what I do and take the real risks doing it. Too much to lose to the criminals who want to destroy us from the inside. It must stop or we, as a species, are finished. For the first time in the history of man we are able to literally wipe ourselves out with our own foolishness and lack of concern for the truth no matter how much it hurts.
Lloyd, thank you for your honesty as this is important for all vets and normal citizens to understand what really happens to people exposed to too much death and destruction. Why are we so callous about the lives of others in the world? They are the same as us, have the same desires for their children and we go an kill, rape and maim for billionaires not for us. This must stop.
November 8, 2013 at 07:37
President Eisenhower warned the country about the military industrial complex before he left the White House. These endless wars that are not a real threat to the United States are all about feeding the beast—one of the tails that wags the dog [for example, another tail is the tea party; another the neoconservatives; another the Koch brothers—they fight to see who wages the body the most] And even if we remove the cost of running the DOD, the US still has the largest private arms industry in the world selling more weapons to the world than any other country. The US private weapons industry sells most of the weapons to developing countries—many ruled by authoritarian governments/dictators. BEtween 2004-2011, 44% of those sales were made by American companies.
Scroll down to see the chart. Russia is in second place with 17% of global weapons sales.
I watched the “Above and Beyond” trailer that I found on You Tube and embedded here. The answer to the question was, yes, he just responded without intellectual thought. A grenade has a five-second fuse. Once it lands, maybe a second or two are left. Not enough time to do anything but react and jump on it as he did.
At least twice that I can recall right now, I was in the field when we heard the spoon for a grenade pop and I don’t even remember thinking about what I did. I don’t remember doing it. One instant I was on the trail and in an eye blink, I was several yards from my original position in a ditch flat on the ground. When I looked around, everyone but one Marine had vanished and the grenade had not exploded yet. Dawn’s light was spreading and the sun wasn’t up yet.
The second incident was at night inside the barbed wire of one of our battalion’s gun companies. We were near the wire. Behind us were the bunkers and between us an the bunkers were prone telephone polls put in place to offer protection in situations such as this one.
We heard the spoon pop and my next aware thought was from behind one of those telephone polls that had to have been at least fifteen to twenty feet from where we had been closer to the wire. There had been four of us but only two were on either side of me. The other Marine jumped the wrong way into the concertina wire where we found him spread eagles and stuck to the wire. It took two of us to step on the wires while one plucked him off the barbs and then rushed him to the medic.
To jump on that grenade, Bill Perkins already had the stuff of a hero in him. He had no time to think. He reacted and how he reacted shows who he was. I’m sure he had already decided that if he was in such a situation he would do just what he did so the programming was there and he put it there by thinking about it everyday. When the time came, he did what he had already decided to do if something like that happened to him and he was the one that was closest to the grenade.
How dangerous are these tails that are competing to wag the dog? One example, the Koch brothers are behind the global attack on the global warming reports and these endless attacks to discredit most of the scientists in the world has led to a grid lock on what the world could be doing to combat global warming. If what is predicted happens the world’s environment could become very inhospitable to human civilization as we know it and throw the survivors—if any survive—back to the stone or middle ages.
But the Koch brothers will go to their graves with smug smiles on their faces because they achieved their agenda to make sure oil stayed the king of energy production until we sucked every last ounce out of the earth.
Scientists say that once our species is gone it will take nature about 10,000 years to erase most of the evidence that we were ever here.
November 8, 2013 at 10:08
Lloyd, you are a lone voice here of sanity and thoughtfullness. I am so happy we are having this conversation as most do not care. Since we have started this I have spent some time with tears in my eyes having trouble sometimes seeing the screen. This effects me deeply. You are a hero of mine for how you have handled your life after these tragic incidents of which I am sure these are only a few. People need to understand what you are educating them to. We are destroying ourselves with this “Warmonger Nation” we now are destroying not only ourselves but millions of innocents who just want to live their lives while we Empire Build without any consideration for anyone except those on the top. I have read Aviation Week cover to cover every week for over 55 years and know who makes what and who sells to who and how much and what kind. You are totally correct. There is a reason the right wing hates Eisenhower. He exposed them and he knew what they were up to. He was and is prescient. Obama and Duncan are really right wing corporatist privatizers from the Chicago/Austrian Fascist School of Economics. They are taking over this country using the same methodology as the Catholic Priest Siepel in Austria starting in 1919 before Hitler went to Vienna. Siepel died in 1933 as Hitler was coming to power and he started just before Mussolini. You can read all about how they did it and how they are doing it here in “Hapsburgs to Hitler” by Gulick published in 1948 by the Berkeley and Oxford Presses.
Lloyd, continue being who you are. You are an example of coming out of tragedy. I hope your PTSD recedes some as my experience is that it never can completely as I have found out with former vets and with teachers falsely accused of child abuse and terminated for no reason illegally. The stories are too tragic and the phone calls when they are ready to blow off their heads are worse. If they do not have someone to talk to you know “The Rest of the Story.” Only people who can come through adversity can solve this as only they have what it takes to do the job. Thank you for the ability to have this most important and personally helpful discussion. I wish you the best ever and all who have been put through the insanity of war for no reason. Since Korea not one has had a real reason except corporate profits at the expense of anyone or anything in the way and how they use the media to brain wash people into thinking this is good shows the insanity of the general public and their self destructive tendencies. You have to believe this can be turned around so no one has to go through what you and many others have as this is not healthy in any fashion.
November 8, 2013 at 14:59
I think we can use the word “fascist” for the neoconservatives and even the libertarians who advocate nothing less than a wild west environment and we all know what happened to anyone without money and power in the wild west.
And I’m sure—if civilization survives without a total collapse—things will turn around in time. All we have to do is look to China. Every dynasty that became corrupt [this included the leaders, the military and the middle class] eventually collapsed due to rebellions and civil wars and a few decades or centuries later another strong dynasty would rise in power and hold on for a few centuries before the cycle repeated itself.
November 8, 2013 at 15:54
Lloyd, finally someone who understands, not just skip reads, history. This is the “Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire” and all others throughout history when they become Imperialistic. The corruption and arrogance brings them down. Look at Ghenghis Khan who took China and much of the rest of the known world. The Persian Empires. The Ottoman Empire. The Austrian-Hungarian Empire. All of them the same fate. So let’s not teach our children about history and its meaning as they might be able to bust our stupidity. Let them stay ignorant so we can do what we want and when they wake up it will be too late. Just look at what Roosevelt had to deal with prior to our being attacked in WWII. Isolationism, which does not work either as China found out in the past as did also Japan and Korea. He had to let it happen to wake us up. Today the opposite is happening, Keep them Asleep so we can do the plunder on them and the rest of the world.
I would certainly like to meet you someday. I don’t feel that way about anyone else on this blog. You are sane, rational and thought out. Did you see the clip of the people there when the hand grenade went off? I cry every time even thinking about it.
November 8, 2013 at 17:36
What clip? Is there a link?
And yes, ignorance is the ally of totalitarian dictators, kings and emperors. If you don’t know the facts–the real facts not those that are manufactured–you can’t complain or protest.
Which brings me to this point: if China is ruled by an [so-called] brutal authoritarian government, why is that government pushing education and literacy so hard in China while allowing between 50 – 80 million Chinese to travel annually outside China as tourists to any country that will let them visit?
And if China’s leaders are such horrible authoritarians, why would they send so many of the country’s children from the wealthiest families to the West to get college educations if they wanted to keep their people stupid and ignorant and keep new ideas out?
While factions in the US are doing all they can to destroy America’s public schools, China is doing all it can to build a world-class public education system that may one day be second to none—and it is all based on merit and competition so only the best, who are willing to work the hardest, go to college in China.
Even China’s current leader sent his daughter to Harvard.
November 8, 2013 at 21:56
Lloyd you are very thought out. We have a Chinese girl from China living at the house. Her boyfriend won the Chemistry contest for all of China. They both came here for advanced degrees. I think she plans on staying, he went back to a very good government job. They have many friends here. Many women come here to have their children so when they are 18 they can decide on what citizenship they want to keep as they can only keep one. I know the aerospace business extremely well and the national security issues and how they do it. My former girlfriend was the FAA connection at first McDonnell Douglas then Boeing. She did all the FAA work when they began building planes in China as the first ones with the MD 80. I have closely watched this. In fact I almost went there as a job shopper before it opened and only the unions stopped it from happening. I really can’t blame them as they want the jobs, just our crew was so good no one could touch us. They have their own space program. Where they are in trouble is several things. Vast disparity of wealth. Bejing is now the #1 Rolls and Ferrari dealers. used to be right down the street as they are just down the street from us. Go by all the time, so many Rolls, Bentleys, Range Rovers, Turbo Porsches, Laborghini’s and such here they are common. Now there. Huge wealth with the high party members and the People Liberation Army (PLA). Now spreading but not to those on the bottom. 150,000 protests a year we know of. Also, big internal debt problem not external debt like us. For the last 5 years China has used 1/2 of the worlds steel and cement to build buildings, freeways and airports not really being used and just like us it is coming back to haunt them as is the corruption. Of course it could not be worse than here. There they are starting to realize that rote learning does not cut it and are now starting to push for critical thinking. This is why they are sending them here also to know how we think and operate. Very valuable in the future all things considered such as the South China Sea and the Indian Ocean along with the coming water crisis as the glaciers in the Himalayas melt and disappear. They also now have a large stealth fighter that will operate off of their new carrier. They were the first real business people after all and have the longest history and has been united since Chin even though at a point around 300 AD the Koreans took over a lot of China. Well enough for now. I love this conversation with a smart, rational person like you Lloyd as it is too rare now.
November 9, 2013 at 07:11
There is a book called “The Party: The Secret World of China’s Communist Rulers” by Richard McGregor
After learning about this book, I looked McGregor up on YouTube and listened to one of his longer lectures and in it he was asked about the corruption in China’s government.
His answer: Yes, there is corruption but that doesn’t mean the corrupt officials are incompetent. In fact, they are very competent.
The reason he said that is because China is a country based on merit. It’s difficult to reach the top unless you are the best and you out compete everyone else. And when the the children of the rich and powerful Chinese can’t win in that competition, their parents send them to go to college in the West.
I think this is where he says what I quoted above.
To follow McGregor’s same line of reasoning, of course the Chinese are going to make mistakes as they race to become a developed nation with a large middle class—that actual goal is that one day China’s middle class will reach 600 million. It’s approaching 300 million today. And the CCP only has 80 million members. So, there are tens of millions of Chinese outside the party who are becoming wealthy.
China is making mistakes but also correct course. Meanwhile, if we were to compare China’s progress to become a developed, modern nation with a large consumer middle class to India, China is winning on all fronts. In 1976, about 20% of the population was literate. No nation with this literacy rate would work as a participatory republic and/or democracy. But today, the CIA Factbook says China’s literacy rate is 95.1%. Life expectancy in 1949 when the CCP took over was age 35. Today it is 74.99. Source: https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/ch.html
In 1949, more than 95% of Chinese lived in poverty and many in extreme poverty. Today, people who live below the poverty line is 13.4%. That doesn’t mean the rest are middle class but being poor is better than living in poverty or extreme poverty.
In 1949, 95% of Chinese lived in rural areas. Today that number is about 50%. Children under the age of 5 years underweight is 3.4%. [I’m getting all my facts from the CIA Factbook on-line].
There will always be disparities in China to point out like corruption, but when we look at the long haul from 1949 to today and compare the China before 1949 to today’s China, there has been nothing but improvement in almost every category on a scale and time span that no other country in history—even the UK and the US—has ever achieved in such a short period of time.
In addition, corruption like we see in China is not unique to Asia or the Middle East. Instead, it appears to be the norm and there are countries in that part of the world that are more corrupt than China—India for example where most of the people in the world who live in extreme poverty exist and where on average 5,000 children die every day of malnutrition or starvation and the illiteracy rate is in the double digits.
Transparency International ranks china on its Corruption Perception Index at 80 compared to 174 countries—that means 94 countries were considered more corrupt than China. India is ranked 94 and is tied with Mongolia. Thailand is ranked 88 for corruption [the higher the number the worse the corruption]. The US is ranked #19. We can’t even be #1 in that rating. Three countries are tied for first place: Denmark, Finland [also with one of the world’s to three public school systems], and New Zealand.
May 2, 2014 at 02:50
I posted a conmemt about poverty on his blog and he posted a rambling reply that includes all the usual canards about throwing money at poor people with a few anecdotes thrown in for good measure it all boils down to poverty is no excuse.Sorry, he’s no champion of public education.
May 2, 2014 at 07:36
“he posted a rambling reply that includes all the usual canards about throwing money at poor people”
Who are you talking about?
Why is “he”?
It can’t be me. I’ve never posted a rambling reply about throwing money at poor people. However, I do support early childhood literacy programs for children who live in poverty. That isn’t throwing money at poor people. That would fund education programs (the money would go to teachers/schools/libraries to start teaching children to read and foster a love of reading at an early age, as young as three as they do in most European countries. It’s a fact that one of the primary reasons for poverty is illiteracy, and no one has to throw money “at poor people” to fund that.
November 9, 2013 at 10:17
Awesome. After a call I just had I appreciate your sanity and knowledge even more. I am so tired of people thinking they know something when it is so obvious they do not. You have to know what you do not know and be willing to listen and analyze. You have to be open to be EDUCATED even when you think you know. This is how I do many of my discoveries and how I started. Originally, I thought I really knew education as I listened to the so-called EXPERTS. Then in around 1992 I moved in with a girlfriend in Bellflower which is a middle class city in L.A. County that is actually, compared to the rest of L.A., properly at that time operated. This is just before he goes to high school. My shop is in Pacoima, where Ratliff is supposed to have worked for the NAACP, which is a corrupt organization since before 1950, and 35 miles away. With work and dirt bikes and jet skiing I was then driving 1,000 miles/week as my son lived out in the boonies and I took my son, girlfriends son and nephew every weekend and we did sports.
So, the first week I come home and he is on the couch watching TV and I figure it is the first week of school. By the end of the second week the same thing and I ask him “No Homework?” He says “We do not have any books to bring home.” If you have seen that cartoon of the guy with the steam coming out of his ears that is me. My girlfriend says Parent-Teacher night is coming, you are too mad, you stay here and I am going to see what is happening. Teachers tell her nothing I can do. One says “Why not go to a board meeting?” We find out the date and both go and speak to the issue. Now the fun starts. The Bellflower Board of Education then has a rational 10-12 minute discussion and they decide to not use a middle man and buy used books as they do not have hardly any money in their budget. In one month they had those books. At the meeting the principal of the school who later becomes the superintendent says “Have you ever heard of the County Annual Financial Reports at the L.A. County Office of Education (LACOE), they are right down the street on Imperial.” So, I went and spent $13.00 on the latest report. The rest is history as in there I found that everything that the SO CALLED EXPERTS said were lies starting with the false idea of equitable education in spite of the California State Supreme Court decision Serrano v. Priest which called for equitable funding. I found that in 1993 it varied from $3,268-$16,588. Fair and equitable isn’t that? From then on I am a fraud buster with so many billion your head will melt down. iPads alone are $167,000,000,000. Is that real money?
China and India are interesting comparisons. China instituted the one child policy, more and you pay to have them and lose position. India is out of control and look on the globe to see the difference in territory. Tibet alone might be as large as India with the old boundries. India has larger corruption than China and it is backfiring now. Over 5,000 farmers have committed suicide as the government forces sale of property at low prices so they can sell to the corporations at ridiculously high prices. This happens in China also. That is how they converted Beijing to what it is. There are almost no traditional houses left there and they do the same thing in the rural areas. China has a lot of open land just look at the map of western China. They have done a remarkable job of changing their society in a very short period of time.
I know some people who traveled there in 1988 and took the trains. They were with the top Chinese neurosurgeon in China for three days on the train. He made $300/month at the time which then was big money. In the U.S. $500,000/year. Look at the difference now. That same guy is driving a Ferrari, Bentley or Rolls if he wants to. Their technology is gaining at a dramatic rate. They have figured out that critical thinking in their society is where it is at as rote learning does not provide the movement forward. We are now doing just the opposite and are helping them take over through our stupidity on schools and corruption in the government. I do not believe that we are not the most corrupt in the world no matter what the spinners say.
Proof, who else could or would want to crash the economy of the entire planet and not put those who caused it in jail, fixed the system back to what it was and made it even harder for them to do it again? Then who else is wiping out countries for no reason and helping Israel in their massacre of the Palestinians? It is us, the U.S., funny isn’t it that they are the same except for the periods. Even after Fukujima we are promoting nuclear power while China and Japan are putting it on hold. China also has the most solar power on the planet. They use a lot of black drums for hot water as friends in the mountains did when I lived there without any other means of hot water. They had hot water for showers and dishes with the black drums. We, outside of Global Warming, are destroying ourselves permanently through permanent genetic damage with radiation. It does not go away like chemical and biological weapons. Some have half lives of 500,000 years.
This is why we need our youth to be smart, critical thinkers so they can solve these problems not become gangsters as we do with them now. In fact, there are 5,000 identified 150+ IQ students in LAUSD and 10,000 in the county. Our statistics show that they predominately now become the leaders of the gangs. This is why they are so successful. We drive the brightest away and 74% of them are from poverty neighborhoods without parents to drive them on and to pay for private education as my parents, who had 11 children who all went to private school, did.
I was lucky and know it and owe back. Our job is to provide for the youth now the same opportunities we had and more as that is our obligation genetically as a species like bees and ants. This is the work of the rest of my life as Director of Policy for the Congress of Racial Equality of California (CORE-CA), we are not in any associated with CORE. We left them because of corruption. We are a separate legal entity. Do not mix us up with any other organization at all. They are not us in any fashion at all. We do not take outside money from anyone. We stay independent and that is our reputation from long ago like over 115 years of continuous civil and human rights of the King Family of L.A. Not the MLK Family. They are very good friends of the MLK family and knew Martin Luther King very well and worked with him. Many bail bonds at Selma were written by the King Family as Celes King IV was on the bridge that day personally. He has said to me lucky I was at the back as it was brutal and I need to write bonds to get them out of jail. In 1947 Celes King III became the first bondsman to write bonds for civil rights leaders nationwide. He was one of the most famous Tuskeegee Airmen, and Army Air Force General, advisor to three presidents and the rest is history. There was nothing like walking into the last Tuskeegee Airman’s Reunion in Riverside which is where all the documents are kept with Celes King IV. What an experience to meet and talk with them before they die as I did with two former body loaders in the Death Camps who survived when they killed most of those who did the work. Real information is critical in thinking and knowing.
Lloyd, you are one person I hope I meet one day. You are a rare treat for me in a sea of insanity. Thank you for the pleasure. I am going to the library today and getting that book or ordering it. Knowledge is Power and that is not KIPP.
November 9, 2013 at 15:33
When I first started teaching, we didn’t have enough textbooks to go around so most of my kids didn’t have one. But that didn’t stop me. I managed to borrow a copy from a veteran English teacher and used it to make copies of lessons on overheads and used those overheads to teach kids grammar. As for reading, I took my classes to the school library and required every kid to check out a book he or she was interested in but the book had to pass the five finger rule—meaning if there were more than five words on a page that a student didn’t know, do not read that book.
Homework was to read at least thirty minutes to an hour each night from that library book. And the books didn’t have to come from the school library. Kids could go to the local country or city library and then they had to show me the book to gain approval.
Even if a teacher doesn’t assign homework, there is no law that says a parent can’t assign the same work I just described. Parents do have the power to shut the TV off and have a family reading time of an hour or more each evening followed by a family discussion of what everyone read. If parents did that with their children starting be as early as age three and continued to do this five or six days a week, an hour a day, there would be no illiteracy in the United States and kids would be reading at grade level or above and have very little difficulty with the class work.
I continued this practice for homework for most of the thirty years I taught and by the time I left teaching less than 10% of my students were doing that reading homework. And there was a writing assignment that went with the reading: Write a 50 to 100 word summary of what you read every night. I collected those summaries every Monday in school; read them and recorded a grade for the students who followed the simple directions. When more than 90% did not turn in that Monday homework assignment, it’s really sad. All they had to do is read a minimum of thirty minutes a night and write a fifty word summary about what was going on in the book they were reading that night.
The parents all knew. I sent letters home that had to be signed. Every time I talked to a parent over the phone or in a face to face meeting, I mentioned the reading homework from library books and the summary assignment that went with it. Still, the turn in rate was less than 10% and the failure rate in my classes could easily reach 50% halfway through a semester. Then on parent conference nights, I might see 15 to 20 parents of the 200 or more kids I was teaching, and most of those parents who bothered to come to parent conference night had kids passing the class.
But ask a kid what his or her favorite TV programs were and they could talk about it easily for an hour. If you show me a kid who isn’t reading on grade level or above, then you also know parents who aren’t reading at home or setting up reading time for the children.
And I was not the only teacher doing this. Most teachers in the schools where I taught also assigned homework and reading to be done at home with or without textbooks in the class or at home.
November 9, 2013 at 16:31
Lloyd, I dream about teachers like you. I know a few and I mean a few. This is how you learn. You are a shining star who should be out teaching teachers how to teach and what critical thinking and understanding is for real not for fake. You have said it all, I can say nothing more and that is exciting to me and inspirational to go forward after the last 18 months in the desert of intellectual nothingness. We need more Lloyd’s. Then I would not have to take the risks I am now taking to make just what Lloyd just described. What a wonderful day that would be. Lloyd, I take my hat and everything else off to you to become the person you did after your terrible adventures in Nam. I will never forget you.
November 9, 2013 at 19:24
Thank you, but I was a nightmare and a pain in the ass for politically correct, elected school board members—both liberals and conservatives [because both ends of the political spectrum are working together to destroy the public schools in America]; district administrators who did their bidding and parents who believed a kid’s self esteem was more important than working for an education while allowing kids to fail now and then to learn what it takes to earn an education by working harder.
And the toll on me would have killed me if I had stayed in the classroom much longer. I was at war with all the elements described above for most of the thirty years I taught. If I had not had as much academic success with my students as I had [regional, state, national and international awards for student poetry, short stories and pieces for the high school newspaper in addition to my students showing gains on standardized test scores year after year for decades—especially, dramatically, in writing], I’m sure they would have found a way to get rid of me. I was told by more than one VP, off the record because they feared the district might fire them, that the district administrators were afraid of me. I was outspoken and combative with incompetent and/or abusive administrators and parents. One time, I was involved in a libel issue that made the national news. The principal at the time had accused one of the student reporters on the high school newspaper of libeling another student in a news piece. I sided with the students and did not agree with the principal. The pressure was intense.
The teachers’ union backed me and supplied lawyers and advice on how I could avoid being fired. I won and at the end of that or the next school year that principal was fired before his contract expired and he was replaced.
You can read about some of my success as a classroom teacher here [this came before the libel incident—scroll down to read the newspaper piece]: http://www.mysplendidconcubine.com/teachingyears.htm
I don’t want anything else to do with any schools in America. In fact, I urge all teachers to walk off the job Monday and refuse to return until the laws are changed to support real teaching and allow work, public school teachers to have a majority of the seats at the decision tables in Washington DC and state capitals. If 3.5 million teachers refused to teach and were willing to even go to prison if the president ordered them to return to the classroom, we might actually get public education back on track where it should be. If teachers were respected as they are in Asia and Finland, our schools would be incredible and unbeatable. But I’m sure the critics of public education will make sure that never happens.
One of my other blogs focuses on parenting and education and the posts go into great detail with lots of facts and links to primary sources. You may be interested. Do you know the difference between a primary and secondary source?
In fact, I have a memoir coming out in a few months, maybe sooner, that goes into greater detail. About twenty years ago, I kept a daily journal of everything that went on in my classroom. Everyday when I got home before I ate and then corrected papers, I wrote an entry into that journal using my word processer. To make sure I had the facts right, I kept notes on 3 x 5 cards during the school day. Each week, I printed out a copy of that journal and kept it in a binder. This is my primary source. Most memoirs are based on memories that go back decades and not from a daily journal. A couple of years ago, I pulled that dusty binder off the shelf in the garage where it has been sitting for almost twenty years and started writing the rough draft of “Crazy is Normal, a classroom expose”. The rough draft is finished, has been read and critiqued by a half dozen Beta reader—two are still in the classroom working as teachers and one was retired—and I am currently working my way through the revisions for the 2nd Beta reading. Then I have a professional editor lined up to edit it before it will be published.
May 2, 2014 at 02:20
Yes but he blames pratnes and families instead for being dysfunctional. Well yes there are copious amounts of dysfunction caused by poverty. However blaming or scapegoating does not foster examination and reflection of the questions. Poverty is an outcome of what? Inequity. I fear that if we dont get at roots and causes we will not solve these vexing questions. I am heartened that you are out there on the Frontlines for children and teachers. Best, Christine Lonergan A bad ass teacher taking a break to reflect before jumping back into the fray, after 30 years of passion and devotion to teaching. Sent from my iPhone >
May 2, 2014 at 07:52
Christine Lonergan is an early childhood education specialist—exactly what I advocate for children living in poverty.
And yes, I blame parents for being dysfunctional. There’s plenty of evidence of that. Poverty isn’t the only reason kids aren’t learning. There are also self-esteem obsessed parents from the middle class who are more concerned with their children felling good than actually doing the school work and learning and this movement which became the politically correct way to raise children for decades in the United States created pressure on the schools to dumb down the curriculum so kids would feel good boosting a false sense of self esteem.
This cartoon shows what I’m talking about. What this parent is saying is often too common. I ran into parents like this every year. This is the type of parent I’m talking about.
Bill Maher also knows what he’s talking about, and I agree with him.
In fact, many children hate water and prefer drinking sugary sodas, they don’t eat nutrition food, they don’t sleep nine or more hours a day—something their body needs at this age. Instead, the average child in America sleeps about six hours a day, doesn’t eat a nutritious breakfast, watches several hours of TV a day, etc. Who is responsbile for that? Parents.
December 20, 2014 at 00:26
Every citizen in this country who doesn’t work on Wall Street and is not wealthy MUST wake up just like Ravitch did and save our democratic public schools from the frauds.
December 20, 2014 at 07:42