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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.

California: An Alert for Supporters of Public Schools!

Help save California’s public schools from the corrupt corporate charter school vampires.

Diane Ravitch's blog

A reader in California asks for help to fix one of the charter reform bill that has a big loophole.

He writes:

“Thank you for all you do for public education. In California right now are 4 assembly Bills – AB-1505 – AB-1508.

“AB-1508 in particular is intended to enable local school districts to consider the financial, program and facilities impacts when approving/denying new charter petitions. This leaves a huge gap for districts to have a say in renewing charters that were imposed on the districts by the California State Board of Education despite denial at the local and county levels.

“Would you be able to alert your readers in California to contact the bill’s authors before it goes to the floor for a vote to add language to AB-1508 to apply to charter renewals as well as new petitions?

“If enough Californians can respond, we may be able to…

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Posted by on March 24, 2019 in Uncategorized

 

This Is a Book You Should Read: Noliwe Rooks’ “Cutting School”

Discover the truth about “Segrenomics”.

Diane Ravitch's blog

I just finished reading Noliwe Rooks’ superb book, Cutting School: Privatization, Segregation, and the End of Public Education (The New Press). Please buy a copy and read it. It is a powerful analysis of racism, segregation, poverty, the history of Black education (and miseducation), and their relationship to the current movement to privatize public education. She dissects the profitable business of segregation.

You will learn how cleverly the captains of finance and industry have managed to ignore the root causes of inequality of educational opportunity while profiting from the dire straits of poor children of color. In fact, as she shows, financiers and philanthropists have used and misused Black children throughout our history, for their own benefit and glory, not the children’s.

The book is both highly contemporary and at the same time, probably the best history of Black education that I have read. Rooks understands that…

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Posted by on March 18, 2019 in Uncategorized

 

About That College Admissions Scandal: Use of a Fake Nonprofit Was Critical

deutsch29

On March 12, 2019, I happened to be discussing with a few of my students the extent to which some individuals will go in order to benefit from academic fraud because college admission is a high-stakes issue.

Little did we know, that very day, the story broke about numerous individuals– among them the famous and moneyed– who have been implicated in a massive self-serving, deceptive, fraudulent network of college admission scamming known to date, as CNN reports:

Fifty people — from Hollywood stars and top industry CEOs to college coaches and standardized test administrators — stand accused of participating in a scheme to cheat on admissions tests and admit students to leading institutions as athletes regardless of their abilities, prosecutors revealed Tuesday in a federal indictment. The scandal is being called the largest college admissions scam ever prosecuted.

As the alleged culprits, including actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin…

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Posted by on March 16, 2019 in Uncategorized

 

Education Reformers Keep Pushing the Same Old Stuff

Teacher in a strange land

One of the people I respect most, in edu-journalism, is Joan Richardson. Mostly, this is because I used to read her fine pieces in the Detroit Free Press, and later, her work as editor of Kappan magazine, and she always seemed like the epitome of a concept that gets lots of lip service but is rarely achieved: fair and balanced.  Plus—she once met me for coffee, and afterward, sent lots of questions and even some writing assignments my way, looking for the perspective of an actual teacher.

So when I saw her applauding Mike Petrilli’s overblown puff piece about what education reformers believe, I was surprised:

This piece is written by a conservative with whom I rarely find common ground. But he’s done a stunning job of capturing the key issues in education reform today. While I remain fervently opposed to charter schools, I agree with virtually everything else…

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Posted by on March 15, 2019 in Uncategorized

 

California: Thurmond and Newsom Put the Fox in Charge of the Henhouse

Why does the charter school industry get to decide whether it is okay for them to drain funds and impose budget cuts on public schools when only 10-percent of the K-12 students in the state attend those corporate charter schools?

Diane Ravitch's blog

The story of the task force charged with reviewing the charter law and the fiscal impact of charters on public schools continues to evolve, and not in a good way.

Of the 11 members of the task force appointed by Tony Thurmond, in consultation with Governor Gavin Newsom, at least six are directly connected to the charter industry.

How can this be possible when the charter industry supported former Los Angeles Mayor Villaraigosa against Gavin Newsom, and when the charter industry spent millions to defeat Tony Thurmond, outspending his supporters by a margin of 2-1?

Here is the task force with new information about one member, the superintendent of El Dorado County:

The task force members are:

  • Cristina de Jesus, president and chief executive officer, Green Dot Public Schools California (charter chain);
  • Dolores Duran, California School Employees Association;
  • Margaret Fortune, California Charter Schools Association board chair; Fortune School…

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Posted by on March 11, 2019 in Uncategorized

 

California: Did Tony Thurmond Give the Charter Task Force to the Charter Lobby?

Did a billionaire deposit a fortune in an offshore account and buy Tony Thurmond?

Diane Ravitch's blog

Last November, there was a bitter contest for the position of Superintendent of Public Instruction in California.

The charter lobby pumped millions of dollars into the campaign of Marshall Tuck, former CEO of Green Dot charter schools. The charters spent twice as much as the California Teachers Association, which backed Tony Thurmond.

In a tight race, Thurmond won.

In two recent teachers’ strikes, in Los Angeles and Oakland, teachers demanded a moratorium on new charters until the fiscal impact of charters on public schools was thoroughly studied.

In response, Governor Gavin Newsom asked State Superintendent Tony Thurmond to set up a task force to examine the issues that charters raise and consider any needed revisions in the law.

Thurmond appointed an 11-member panel. Not a single one of the 11 is a teacher, even though teachers raised the questions in their strikes.

Worse, a possible majority of the panel represent…

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Posted by on March 10, 2019 in Uncategorized

 

Really, the United States has to tear down its public schools and start over?

I do not know how I ended up on a list that keeps sending me e-mails from The Medium. Most of the time I delete those e-mails without opening them, but recently I noticed that The Medium was publishing a series of posts that attacked America’s public schools and teachers and it seems every day there was another assault.

This is one of those hatchet jobs: 20 Ways American Schools Fail Students.

Megan E. Holstein starts with, “Everyone knows the American school system is broken.”  A few sentences later, she says, “American Education is broken beyond repair. We need to scrap the entire thing and start over.”

Here is my response (revised for this post) that I left in a comment following Holstein’s alleged propaganda hack piece that I think was written to help destroy what’s left of the U.S. public education system. To be clear, the American school system is not broken. Public education is underfunded and teachers are being blamed for the results of too much useless testing that only benefits the corporations that profit from it.

If the American school system is broken, then some very wealthy and powerful individuals like Betsy DeVos, David Coleman, Arne Duncan, Bill Gates, and the Walmart Walton family are responsible.

However, the NAEP is the Nation’s Report Card, and it clearly shows improvement and progress in the nation’s public schools starting in 1969 up until NCLB in 2001. After that, the progress flattened out. The No Child Left Behind Act ushered in an era of high-stakes, rank-and-punish tests and abandoned what was working.

The NAEP report said, “As noted earlier, one of the national educational goals calls for increases in students’ academic achievement. A stated objective of this goal is that the performance distribution for minority students will more closely reflect that of the student population as a whole. In some of the subject areas assessed by NAEP, results indicated progress toward meeting this goal.” — Page xi

In addition, a study released by Stanford University offers more evidence that America’s public school are not failing: “Poor ranking on international test misleading about U.S. student performance, Stanford researcher finds”

“There is an achievement gap between more and less disadvantaged students in every country; surprisingly, that gap is smaller in the United States than in similar post-industrial countries, and not much larger than in the very highest scoring countries.”

“Achievement of U.S. disadvantaged students has been rising rapidly over time, while achievement of disadvantaged students in countries to which the United States is frequently unfavorably compared — Canada, Finland and Korea, for example — has been falling rapidly.”

It is possible that Medium.com also publishes pieces that support public education, but if those posts exist, they are not landing in my e-mail box.

The Atlantic says, “So what is Medium? Medium is a place to read articles on the Internet. Medium is a blogging platform, like WordPress or Blogger. Medium is the new project from the guys who brought you Twitter. Medium is chaotically, arrhythmically produced by a combination of top-notch editors, paid writers, PR flacks, startup bros, and hacks.”

There is always room for improvement, but if you want to see America’s public education system improve, we must turn back the clock and let teachers make most of the decisions just like teachers in Finland do … not someone like Betsy DeVos, Bill Gates or the Walmart Walton family.

Did you know that China actually learned what worked best in public education from the United States and then started rebuilding its education system in Shanghai based on what they learned?

In the 1990s, Chinese scholars visited the United States to learn what the United States was doing in its public schools.  After all, those public schools taught the generations that made the United States the most powerful and wealthiest country in the world.  In addition, the United States is one of the most educated countries in the world and is always listed in the top TEN, and there are 195 countries in the world today. No matter how great China’s 15-year-olds in Shanghai perform on the international PISA test, China hasn’t made the top TEN list yet. Canada is listed as #1, a country that does not measure success in education with high-stakes, rank-and-punish tests.

The 10 most educated countries in the world.

“What the Chinese found valuable in American education is the result of a decentralized, autonomous system that does not have standards, uses multiple criteria for judging the value of talents, and celebrates individual differences. Recognizing the negative consequences of ‘test-oriented education,’ China has launched a series of national reforms to cultivate more creative citizens.” – Reforming Chinese Education: What China is Trying to Learn from America

What happened after those Chinese scholars left the United States and went home?

With help from Bill Gates and other billionaire oligarchs that think like him, after NCLB in 2001, the Common Core standards and high stakes rank-and-punish tests were forced on the nation’s public schools literally destroying everything the country was doing right. Getting rid of those tests and that Common Core are the first steps toward fixing any damage those billionaires caused to the U.S. public schools. We do not have to tear down our public schools and start over. We only have to stop people like Bill Gates from meddling in our public education system.

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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).

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