Is it possible that offering support instead of punishment leads to Better Teachers? – Part 1 of 3

08 Apr

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To discover the answer, I turned to the top eight ranked countries on the 2012 International PISA Test. To come up with the top eight, I dropped China from the list because Shanghai, Hong Kong and Macao do not represent all of China’s 15 or 16 year old children. I’ve also dropped Liechtenstein and Estonia, because it’s ridiculous to compare the United States—with more than 316 million people and almost 50 million children in its public schools—to Liechtenstein with a total population that’s less than 37 thousand and Estonia with about 1.3 million.

To repeat, the United States has almost 50 million children attending K–12, 4 million teachers, and 1 in 4 children live in poverty—the United States is much more diverse and has challenges the top ranked countries don’t have to deal with. Liechtenstein, for instance, has one of the highest standards of living in the world with one of Europe’s most affluent communities. Estonia has 589 schools and compulsory education only goes to 9th grade.

Fair reports “The U.S. is the only economically advanced nation to rely heavily on multiple-choice tests (But Pearson is working hard to change that and add more countries. To learn more, I suggest you read No profit left behind). Other nations use performance-based assessment to evaluate students on the basis of real work such as essays, projects and activities. Ironically, because these nations do not focus on teaching to multiple-choice and short-answer tests, they score higher on international exams.”

Truth reports, “Among the most prominent members of the testocracy are some of the wealthiest people the world has ever known. Its tsars include billionaires Bill Gates, Eli Broad, and members of the Walton family (the owners of Walmart), who have used their wealth to circumvent democratic processes and impose test-and-punish policies in public education. They fund a myriad of organizations—such as Michelle Rhee’s StudentsFirst, Teach for America, and Stand for Children—that serve as shock troops to enforce the implantation of high-stakes testing and corporate education reform in states and cities across the nation.”

I also think it’s important to compare the racial diversity and total population of the United States with the eight top ranked PISA countries. It is also worth noting that children represent more than one-third of the 46.5 million Americans who live in poverty. In addition, blacks and Hispanics are more likely than whites to be poor and to be in poverty and deep poverty (For instance, only 10% of Whites live in poverty compared to 27% of Blacks and 24% of Hispanic/Latino – The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation). The poverty rate (the percentage of all people in the United States who were poor) also remained at high levels: 15.1% for all Americans and 21.8% for children under age 18.

  • 77.7% of Americans are White – 248 million
  • 17.1% Hispanic or Latino – 54.5 million
  • 13.2% or Black – 42 million
  • 5.3% are Asian – 16.8 million
  • 1.2% are American Indian and Alaska Native – 3.8 million

2014 population estimate = 318.8 million

Singapore – 5.4 million and 26% or 1.4 million live below poverty line compared to 46.5 million in the United States or 861% of the total population of Singapore. reports, that in Singapore everyone is provided an education, health care and public housing if they can’t afford their own. What they pay for housing is based on what they earn. If one compares the poor in Singapore to those in countries such as India and China, or even the homeless in the US, it is indeed true that the situation here is not as dire. ”Singapore has an extensive social safety net,” said a ministry spokesman. ”Singaporeans enjoy subsidized housing, healthcare and education.”

  • 77% Chinese
  • 14.8% Malays
  • 7% Indians
  • 1.2% Other

Taiwan – 23.34 million and 1.16% or 27 thousand live below the poverty line compared to 46.5 million in the United States or 199.2% of the total population of Taiwan.

  • 84% Taiwanese (including Hakka)
  • 14% mainland Chinese
  • 2% indigenous

South Korea – 50.22 million and 15% or 7.53 million live below the poverty line compared to 46.5 million in the United States or 92% of the population of South Korea.

  • Koreans except for 20,000 Chinese

Japan – 127.3 million and 16% or 20.3 million live below the poverty line compared to 46.5 million in the United State or 36.5% of the total population of Japan.

  • 95% Japanese
  • 5% foreign citizens

Switzerland – 8 million, but only 1.93 million are permanent residents (23.8% of the total population), and 6.9% (not sure if this is based on permanent or total) live below the poverty line compared to 46.5 million in the United States or 581.25% of the total population of Switzerland.

Netherlands – 16.8 million and 10.5% or 1.764 million live below the poverty line compared to 46.5 million in the United States or 277.78% of the total population of the Netherlands.

  • 78.5% Dutch
  • 5% EU
  • 2.2% Indonesian
  • 2.3% Turkish
  • 2% Surinamese
  • 2% Moroccan
  • 6% other

Finland – 5.4 million. Finland has one of the lowest poverty rates in the world compared to 46.5 million in the United States or 861% the total population of Finland.

  • 89.33% Finish
  • 5.34% Swedish
  • 5.33% 35 Other Ethnic groups

Canada – 35.1 million and 9.4% or 3.3 million live below the poverty line compared to 46.5 million in the United States or 132.5% the total population of Canada.

  • 86% White (European Canadian)
  • 8% Aboriginal
  • 5% East Asian
  • 4% South Asian
  • 2% Black
  • 4% Southeast Asian
  • 9% Other

Continued in Part 2 on April 9, 2015

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

Crazy is Normal promotional image with blurbs

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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9 responses to “Is it possible that offering support instead of punishment leads to Better Teachers? – Part 1 of 3

  1. jprealini

    April 8, 2015 at 17:28

    Your statistics are garbled on Diane’s BLOG.
    They are not the same as yours:
    Here’s what’s on Dianes’
    41% of Americans are White – 223.5 million
    4% Hispanic or Latino – 50.5 million
    6% or Black – 38.9 million
    11% are Mixed – 28.1 million
    75% are Asian – 14.7 million
    95% are American Indian and Alaska Naïve – 2.9 million

    • Lloyd Lofthouse

      April 8, 2015 at 17:45

      That was my fault somehow and I’m double checking everything now and fixing any errors I find. I have no idea how those errors got there. I thought I typed them in correct and then when I was proofing it after I hit publish, I was shocked to see that too many numbers were wrong, so I have been working as fast as I can to return to my sources, double check and correct. Sorry for the wrong numbers. I knew they were wrong the second I saw them. I should have made the post private until I finished proofing it—my fault. I’ve been working on this post for several days and too many hours to count because of all the sources I had to find. If Diane Reblogged the 1st part of this three-part series, I hope the errors are corrected now.

      I plan to have a “View as Single Page” soon and all the corrections should appear there.

    • Lloyd Lofthouse

      April 8, 2015 at 19:12

      I now know that the error wasn’t caused by me. I made all the corrections for the combined post, but when I loaded the document in to WordPress from Word for the “View as Single Page” post, the same exact errors appeared again when I published that post, but those errors were not on the original Word document where I wrote the post. Again, I had to manually correct the conversion errors that took place from Word to WordPress. If any other errors crop up, I’ll edit those too. Thanks for the comment. If you see any glaring errors in the stats, let me know, please.

  2. drext727

    April 8, 2015 at 19:15

    Reblogged this on David R. Taylor-Thoughts on Texas Education and commented:
    What a concept? Support instead of punishment.

    Outstanding leaders go out of their way to boost the self-esteem of their personnel. If people believe in themselves, it’s amazing what they can accomplish. Sam Walton

    • Lloyd Lofthouse

      April 9, 2015 at 08:43

      I read once that Sam Walton didn’t believe in using his wealth to influence politics, and then he died and his children took that fortune and turned it into a political nightmare of an empire.

      As for politics, Sam couldn’t stand the stuff. At a 1988 Mother’s Day “toast and roast” honoring Helen Walton, then-Senator Dale Bumpers of Arkansas quipped that waiting for big campaign contributions from the Waltons was like “leaving landing lights on for Amelia Earhart.”

      All that has changed. Since Sam died in 1992, both the Bentonville, Arkansas-based company and the family have dramatically escalated their charitable giving, becoming far more influential in the worlds of philanthropy and politics. It is hardly a coincidence that this transformation occurred after Wal-Mart became the nation’s largest private employer and a flytrap for much-deserved criticism.

      • drext727

        April 9, 2015 at 08:57

        It is sad that the image of the Waltons has changed so much since his death. The children have created a public relations nightmare. It is good that they have increased their level of philanthropy but they did it in a the worst way possible in regards to education.

      • Lloyd Lofthouse

        April 9, 2015 at 09:13

        I wonder what went wrong with Sam’s children. According to Wiki, they were all born in the 1940s when he worked in factories and served in the military, and he didn’t open is first true Wal-Mart until July 2, 1962. If they didn’t grow up with great wealth, what caused them to be corrupted by it?

        But Sam did buy a franchise from the Butler Brothers chain in 1945 with a $20k loan from his father. From what I’m reading, it looks like his success ended up earning a small fortune within three years even by today’s standards. Maybe his children did grow up around wealth—just not the HUGE fortune that would come later.

        Maybe Sam wasn’t home much while he was building his empire and his wife raised the children so his wife might have been the one who influenced them to become the meddling monsters they are today.

  3. drext727

    April 9, 2015 at 09:45

    We can only guess. We do one thing for sure they sure have some messed up priorities. Were you familiar with “Gibson” stores when you were growing up? They were in the midwest. I heard that Sam Walton’s main motivation for Walmart was to put Gibson out of business….He succeeded, they are gone.

    • Lloyd Lofthouse

      April 9, 2015 at 10:28

      I didn’t know that about Walton driving Gibson out of Business, but I have heard he drove a lot of independent business people out of business and devastated a lot of small town across the U.S.


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