I enjoy seeing films when they first come out, and this weekend was no different. On Friday, I walked the three miles to the local theater to see “American Sniper”, and today, Saturday, I went to see “Spare Parts”—both films are based on true stories.
“Spare Parts” is a must see film for every grandparent, uncle, aunt, cousin, parent, teacher and child in America. It’s based on a true story of success against all odds.
I taught (1975-2005) in public schools similar to the high school depicted in this film—a school with mostly minority children who live in poverty.
Carl Hayden High School in Phoenix, Arizona has received worldwide acclaim for its Robotics team, which first earned notoriety by beating MIT and other universities in an underwater robotics competition in 2004, a story that has been chronicled on ABC’s Nightline and in The Reader’s Digest—and now in film.
Once you take a closer look at the Carl Hayden High School depicted in the film, it doesn’t take much to imagine what might have happened if NCLB, Race to the Top, Common Core and VAM had been in place in 2004—the teachers and administrators who supported the high school students who beat MIT might have lost their jobs, the high school closed, and the students sent to rigid corporate Charter schools probably owned by the Walton family where teachers are forced to teach to a script written by corporate hacks who know nothing about teaching children.
Wired.com reported, “Fredi Lajvardi and Allan Cameron have 54 years of public school teaching experience between them. They are the celebrated creators of a student robotics program at Carl Hayden Community High School in Phoenix, where roughly 80 percent of the student population lives below the poverty line. … Lajvardi and Cameron are deeply concerned about the state of American secondary education. Teachers, they say, are stymied by bureaucracy and confounded by rigid curricula optimized to produce better test results, not better students.”
Imagine an America where there had never been the fraud of a flawed study called A Nation at Risk in 1983, the insane and impossible demands of G. W. Bush’s No Child Left Behind Act in 2001, in addition to Obama’s worse Race to the Top goals in 2009 with its Bill Gates supported Common Core agenda (in 2010) to rank and fire teachers based on the results of student test scores and to close public schools with low performing students who mostly live in poverty.
Imagine an America without the segregation and fraud of for-profit corporate Charter schools that are stealing taxes meant to fund public schools.
Imagine an America without Teach for America that was designed to break teachers’ unions by churning out recruits who are no different than someone drafted to serve in the military for a two-year stint and then most of those recruits are gone.
Imagine an America where teacher training programs were improved to match what teachers receive in Finland and other countries with high preforming public schools.
Imagine teachers getting follow up support after they start teaching—especially in low performing schools where most of the children live in poverty.
Imagine an America where all public schools in the United States are fully funded and properly maintained.
Imagine an America with a public school, national early childhood education program similar to what works in France.
Imagine the possibilities!
Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran,
who taught in the public schools for thirty years (1975 – 2005).
Runner Up in Biography/Autobiogrpahy
2015 Florida Book Festival
Honorable Mention in Biography/Autobiography
2014 Southern California Book Festival
2014 New England Book Festival
2014 London Book Festival
His third book is Crazy is Normal, a classroom exposé, a memoir. “Lofthouse presents us with grungy classrooms, kids who don’t want to be in school, and the consequences of growing up in a hardscrabble world. While some parents support his efforts, many sabotage them—and isolated administrators make the work of Lofthouse and his peers even more difficult.” – Bruce Reeves
Lofthouse’s first novel was the award winning historical fiction My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. His second novel was the award winning thriller Running with the Enemy. His short story A Night at the “Well of Purity” was named a finalist of the 2007 Chicago Literary Awards. His wife is Anchee Min, the international, best-selling, award winning author of Red Azalea, a New York Times Notable Book of the Year (1992).
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