RSS

Author Archives: Lloyd Lofthouse

About Lloyd Lofthouse

Lloyd Lofthouse earned a BA in journalism after fighting in Vietnam as a U. S. Marine. He then taught English and journalism in the public schools by day (for thirty years) and for a time worked as a maitre d' in a multimillion-dollar nightclub by night. Later, he earned a MFA in writing. He lives near San Francisco.

Jeff Bryant: Why Is There Bipartisan Support for Charter Scams and Corruption?

I don’t trust corporations. That distrust was earned. Corporations are profit generating cancers that will crush anyone and anything that gets in the way of profits. But I have always trusted public school teachers. I do not trust teachers that work in the private sector without the protection of due process rights and where the boss/investors are motivated primarily by those profits. Profits should never be the goal of schools supported with public dollars.

Diane Ravitch's blog

Jeff Bryant points out an irony that should enrage every taxpayer and citizen: Both major political parties love charter schools, despite the numerous scandals that accompany unregulated, unaccountable charters.

http://educationopportunitynetwork.org/charter-schools-do-bad-stuff-because-they-can/

Here is a part of his great piece on the malfeasance that is now commonplace in the charter industry. There are many links:

“Charter schools have become a fetish of both Democratic and Republican political establishments, but local news reports continue to drip, drip a constant stream of stories of charter schools doing bad stuff that our tax dollars fund.

“An independent news outlet in New Orleans, where the school district is nearly 100 percent charter, reports that two homeless children were kept out of class for a month because they didn’t have monogrammed uniforms.
In Oakland, California, a state-based news outlet reports charter school enrollment practices ensure charter schools get an advantage over district schools when academic performance comparisons…

View original post 951 more words

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on June 25, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

MTA vs. Personalized Learning: “We Can Fight it.”

The Massachusetts Teachers Association overwhelmingly takes a stand against the for-profit attempt by autocratic-led corporations from taking over community-based, democratic, transparent, non-profit, traditional public education. This is a war between the corporate autocrats that worship at the altar of avarice and support secrecy in all things, and the U.S. Constitutional Republic and its democracy that safeguards the rest of the American people from the tyranny greed and power.

Save Maine Schools

This May, the Massachusetts Teacher Association (MTA) broke from national union leadership by taking a bold stance against “personalized learning” initiatives.

In an email to members, president of the MTA, Barbara Mandeloni, announced the union’s opposition to a public-private partnership between the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) and LearnLaunch, whose mission is to “catalyze personalized learning enabled by technology in K-12 public education.” The partnership, known best by its acronym, MAPLE, was established with seed money from the Nellie Mae Education Foundation, whose influence in New England is hard to overestimate.

The unprecedented move also calls for the creation of a web page to to combat the harmful effects of unvalidated ed tech products on students and to “defend teachers’ professional judgment and standards against interference by business interests.” It also issues a call for the MTA to update its 2016 report,Threat to…

View original post 633 more words

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on June 23, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

Maurice Cunningham: Dark Money Combines to Privatize Public Schools: PLEASE READ THIS!

Dark money comes from the dark side of the soul and is a malignant stage-four cancer for a democracy.

Diane Ravitch's blog

This may be the most important post you read today.

Maurice Cunningham, a professor of political science at the University of Massachusetts, began investigating the millions of dollars pouring into the state during the referendum on charter schools last fall. He wondered why so many billionaires from other states wanted to expand the number of charter schools in Massachusetts. He continued his investigation after the election and has lifted the curtain on groups like Families for Excellent Schools, Stand for Children, and Educators4Excellence, and Leadership for Educational Excellence (a group connected to TFA).

He began researching the intersection between philanthropy and dark money.

My descent into darkness led me to decipher the hidden funding of Families for Excellent Schools, a New York based organization that poured over $17 million in dark money into the Great Schools Massachusetts ballot committee for 2016’s Question 2 on charter schools. That brought me to…

View original post 316 more words

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on June 21, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

In Her Element: US Ed Sec Betsy DeVos to be ALEC Guest Speaker

ALEC wants to be America’s autocratic shadow government. ALEC does not respect democracy.

deutsch29

On June 06, 2017, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) announced that US secretary of education Betsy DeVos will an ALEC featured speaker at its Denver conference in July 2017:

  Betsy DeVos

ALEC is pleased to announce that Education Secretary Betsy DeVos will be joining us for our 44th Annual Meeting in Denver, Colorado.

“Secretary DeVos has been a stalwart champion of educational choice in the states, elevating the outcry over the status quo to the highest levels of government,” said Inez Stepman, Education and Workforce Development Task Force Director.

DeVos is serving as the 11th United States Secretary of Education. She was confirmed by the Senate on February 7, 2017. Secretary DeVos has been involved in education policy for nearly three decades as an advocate for children and a voice for parents.

DeVos served as an in-school mentor for at-risk children in the Grand Rapids, Michigan Public Schools for…

View original post 1,130 more words

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on June 16, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

Troubling Trends for California’s State Teachers Retirement Fund (CalSTRS)

Guest Post by Neil Murphy

Recently, I reviewed the STRS Connections On-Line Newsletter and discerned some troubling trends.

Trend Number One (Contributions vs. Benefits Paid):

Contributions from STRS members (teachers), the State and school districts equaled $8,288.519 for 2016.  Benefits paid to retirees equaled $13,148.558 for 2016.  Contributions are not keeping up with benefits paid to retirees.

Trend Number Two (investment assumption):

STRS used to project a 7.5% rate of return on its investments; in the recent past it downgraded its rate of return to 7.25%; now it is 7.00%.  Because of the recent downgrade, the State just increased its contribution rate by 0.5%; this will not make taxpayers happy.  Also, new teachers, hired after January 1st, 2013, will see a 1% increase in their contribution rate probably beginning in the year 2018.

Trend Number Three (Global Equity):

The investment portfolio of STRS is diverse.  STRS invests in real estate, private equity, global equity, etc.  However, 54.8% of its investment portfolio is tied up in global equity.  This probably explains why STRS just downgraded its rate of investment to 7.0%.  Here are some issues that I have with Global Equity Stocks:

BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) were hailed as the new super economic engines.  Newspaper article after article promoted the idea that these four countries would change the global economy so that it would move in an upward trend.  This was true for a while.  Unfortunately, Brazil’s economy has become anemic due to its vast political troubles (government scandal after scandal).  China’s growth has slowed dramatically.  Russia’s economy has been underperforming somewhat in part due to the economic sanctions placed on it; plus, its economy is too reliant on oil.

The European Union is still struggling.  Spain, Italy, Greece and other European countries are seeing debt choking the breath right out of their economies.  Germany is still performing extremely well, but France’s economy is sputtering.

Japan’s economy has not been strong since the early 1990s.  Moreover, Japan is going to have some serious economic issues in the near future.  Japan’s population is aging and Japan has negative population growth.  There won’t be enough workers to pay for the retirees.  Plus, the Japanese have the longest life span of any other group of people.  Overall, Japan’s economy is headed for disaster.

Based on the economies of other countries, it is my prediction that STRS won’t even reach its 7.0% forecast.  I wouldn’t be surprised if STRS reduces its rate of return from 7.0% to 6.75% within the next ten years.

Trend Number Four (U.S. Economy):

The $20 trillion debt and growing cannot be ignored. The U.S. cannot keep increasing the debt ceiling every year.  Once the U.S. stops increasing the debt ceiling, then the pain of the $20 trillion debt will settle in.  Taxes will increase and government services will be cut.  Trump promised he would increase the GDP like we have not seen for some time, but Trump’s rosy economic picture is full of thorns.  Unfortunately, he falsely raised the expectations of Americans; there is no way that he can deliver on4%, 5% or even 6% GDP growth.  His whole economic plan is based on unbelievable growth in the GDP.  This cannot occur because most foreign countries are not doing well if one digs below their economic facades (cannot buy enormous amounts of American goods).  Also, the $20 trillion debt is pounding on our door.  There are no more IOUs.

What does all of this mean? It means that STRS will have to reduce its pension obligations.  Sometime in the future, retirees won’t see any more automatic 2% COLA increases.  In fact, retirees might even seen their pensions reduced.  Teachers, who will be retiring within the next five to twenty years, will see their promised retirement reduced.  Teachers who just entered the profession, I feel sorry for them.

 Teachers must plan for a reduced pension.  They need to pad their own retirements!!!

Note from this blog’s host: I worked as a classroom teacher in one of California’s many public school districts from 1975 – 2005. During those 30-years, I contributed 8-percent of my gross pay into CalSTRS and the district where I worked contributed another 8.25 percent. I have been retired for 12 years. When I retired, I took a 40-percent pay cut and left with no medical coverage from that district or the state. If you want to know what that job was like, read my memoir “Crazy is Normal, a classroom expose” (link below).

The state of California made promises to its public school teachers.

  • What happens to retired teachers like me if the state breaks that promise?
  • How will those teachers pay their rent/mortgage, keep the water running, the electricity on, buy food?
  • Do billionaires and corporations expect retired teachers to go back to work at 75, 80, 90, or even 100, if we live that long, so those greedy autocrats with more money than God can pay little or no tax?
  • What happens to the hundreds of thousands of teachers still teaching if the state can’t pay for its promises to them?

I want to leave the readers of this Blog with one thought from Thomas Jefferson, who said, “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.”


Most if not all corporate charter schools do not have retirement plans for their teachers, those teachers have no Constitutional due process rights, those teachers are paid less and must work longer hours, and they do not pay into the retirement plans for traditional public schools.

__________________________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and disabled Vietnam Veteran, with a BA in journalism and an MFA in writing, who taught in the public schools for thirty years (1975 – 2005).

Where to Buy

To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper right-hand column and click on “Sign me up!”

 

 

Tags: , , , , ,

The 96 Billionaires Who Decided to Buy Local School Board Elections

Diane Ravitch's blog

In this latest episode of the “Have You Heard” podcast, Jennifer Berkshire and education historian Jack Schneider interview Michigan professor Rebecca Jacobsen about the role of big money in school board elections. Jacobsen has studied this relatively new phenomenon and identified 96 super-rich individuals who have decided that buying local school boards is fun. Others would call it the corruption of democracy.

Here is an excerpt:

For Big Money Donors, School Boards Are the New ‘Must Buy’ Accessory

“Billionaires now buying local influence to push controversial school “reforms.”

“The recent school board election in Los Angeles drew close to $17 million in donations, much of it in the form of untraceable “dark money” from a familiar cast of enormously wealthy donors. In the latest episode of the Have You Heard podcast, co-hosts Jennifer Berkshire and Jack Schneider talk to researcher Rebecca Jacobsen about what—and who—is behind this trend, and…

View original post 1,065 more words

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on June 13, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

National Education Association Seems to Endorse Replacing Teachers With Computers

National Education Association Seems to Endorse Replacing Teachers With Computers

gadflyonthewallblog

robots-replace-humans-840x420

 

When all the teachers are gone, will America’s iPads pay union dues?

It’s a question educators across the country are beginning to ask after yet another move by our national unions that seems to undercut the profession they’re supposed to be supporting.

The National Education Association (NEA), the largest labor union in the U.S., published a shortsighted puff piece on its Website that seemingly applauds doing away with human beings working as teachers.

In their place would be computers, iPads, Web applications and a host of “devices” that at best would need human beings to serve as merely lightly trained facilitators while children are placed in front of endless screens.

The article is called, “As More Schools Look to Personalized Learning, Teaching May Be About to Change,” by Tim Walker.

Teacher-blogger Emily Talmage lead the charge with a counter article on her site called “Anatomy of…

View original post 882 more words

 
2 Comments

Posted by on June 12, 2017 in Uncategorized