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Category Archives: child poverty in the US

A Conspiracy Theory that turned out to be Real

On July 4, 1776, The Declaration of Independence said, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Read Slaying Goliath, and learn that some of the wealthiest and most powerful Americans are trying to take away our rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

I was a public school teacher in California from 1975 – 2005. During those thirty years, I worked 60 to 100 hours a week during the school year. I took work home seven days a week and couldn’t wait for the winter and spring breaks, not because of the time off from teaching, but because I’d have time to catch up correcting student work. After all, teachers have to sleep, too.

In 1983, President Ronald Reagan released a report that was a lie. That report was called “A Nation at Risk,” and it painted the nation’s public schools as failures.  After that misleading report, teachers were called lazy and incompetent. The public schools were blamed for the prison population in the United States that was really caused by Presidents Nixon and Reagan’s war on recreational drugs like marijuana.

The critics of the public schools even came up with a misleading term that was also a lie. It was called “The school to prison pipeline.” There has never been a school to prison pipeline in the United States.

After “A Nation at Risk,” came the Self Esteem Movement that got its start in Catholic K-12 schools and from the pulpit of evangelical Christian churches. When that failed, teachers were blamed again. However, the majority of teachers, including me, did not agree with the Self Esteem Movement that put pressure on us to stop failing students that refused to learn and inflate grades so children would feel good about themselves, even if they didn’t deserve it.

That top-down failure was followed by The Whole Language Approach to teaching. English Lit Teachers like me were told to stop teaching mechanics, grammar, and spelling because it was boring. We were told that the kids could learn that boring stuff just by reading on their own, except most kids do not read on their own.

A decade later, when that Whole Language Approach that was forced on teachers also failed, teachers were blamed again.

That is why, back in the 1980s, I started to think there was a conspiracy theory to destroy the public schools. Over the years, as one top-down movement after another to improve the public schools failed, I convinced myself that it could not be right that someone was trying to destroy our public schools.

Who could be that cruel, that greedy, that monstrous, to deliberately demonize teachers and blame them for almost every problem in the United States? The critics said teachers were lazy. The critics said we were incompetent. The critics said our labor unions were corrupt and were getting in the way of improving the public schools.

I retired from teaching in 2005 and swore that if I was forced to teach again, I’d instead rejoin the U.S. Marines and fight in Afghanistan against Islamic terrorists. Since I had already served in the Marines and fought in Vietnam before I was a teacher, I knew that being a teacher was way worse because of the way teachers are treated in this country.

When I retired, I took a 40-percent pay cut and left without medical insurance, but the critics said teachers were greedy, and our retirement systems would cause the states to go bankrupt. I live in California, and about 6% of the state’s annual budget goes to support the teacher retirement system.

If you believe that retired teachers are greedy, let me sell you a vacation home on a moon orbiting Saturn. I understand the view of Saturn’s rings are incredible.

Read Slaying Goliath, and you will learn that what I suspected back in the 1980s was real. There has been a movement in the United States for decades to replace the nation’s democratic, transparent, public schools and destroy the teaching profession. That disruptive movement wants to replace the people’s public school with a profit-driven, often corrupt, secretive, autocratic, private school system that operates without rules and oversight.

Read Slaying Goliath, and you will learn that the leaders of the publicly funded, private-sector charter school industry are mostly deceivers and liars.

Read Slaying Goliath, and you will learn that the leaders of the publicly-funded private/religious voucher school industry are also mostly deceivers and liars.

When you read Slaying Goliath, you will learn who those liars are. You will learn who is behind the disruption of our public schools and how they are subverting our Constitutional Republic to strip us of our rights. Then maybe you will be angry enough to support and even join the passionate resistance of parents, grandparents, teachers, and children that are already fighting to save America’s public schools.

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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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The Facebook Sucker-Berg Phenomenon and the Deliberate Destruction of Community-Based Public Ed

I read “I quit Facebook and my life is better now” at Cathy O’Neil’s Mathbabe blog, and my thoughts became a wild river about Facebook and its founder who launched Facebook by cheating two brothers and hijacking their idea. To learn more about Suckerberg’s own con, read 6 People Mark Zuckerberg Burned On His Way To The Top.

After reading O’Neil’s Mathbabe post, I was glad I was never suckered into a Facebook obsession. Yes, I do have two Facebook pages: one for my books that’s part of my internet-author’s platform, and a personal Facebook page, but all I did was set up automatic feeds from my 4 blogs to Facebook and occasionally I go there to reply to a comment.  The reason I never fell into the Facebook swamp was because it was a confusing maze to me, and I didn’t want to go through the learning curve to discover how to use all those allegedly great bells-and-whistles that Facebook offers to help destroy your life in the real world.

But the stream of thoughts that flowed between my ears as I was reading O’Neil’s Mathbabe blog post had nothing to do with Facebook. It was all about Mark Suckerberg, Facebook’s founder, and how he was conned out of a $100 million dollars to save the children of Newark, New Jersey from those horrible failing public schools that really never were failing anyone as schools. If you want to learn more (put an emphases in LEARN — because there are far too many ignorant, easy-to-fool voting citizen in the U.S., or we wouldn’t be stuck with narcissistic, psycho, serial-lying, con-man, Donald Trump for our next president — I suggest reading What Happened with the $100 million that Newark schools got from Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg? Not Much from The Hechinger Report.

You see, there’s this myth that America’s traditional public schools are failing and to save our children we have to replace those schools with an unproven, genetically-modified crop of allegedly perfect, (hell sent) corporate charter schools that just happen to make profits for a host of greedy frauds and liars similar to Donald Trump and his current pick to run the Department of Education, Betsy DeVos.

If you think America’s community based, democratic, transparent, non-profit public schools are failing and the choice of a corporate charter school is the answer to save our children, then I will roar as only a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Vet can angrily shout, “It’s the poverty, stupid, you ignorant, biased, deplorable, easy-to-fool ass!”

The fact is America’s traditional public school are not failing, and an often deliberately ignored report out of Stanford University proved that years ago in Poor ranking on international test misleading about U.S. student performance, Stanford researcher finds.

The conclusion of this report from one of the top-ranked universities in the world said, “A comprehensive analyses of international tests by Stanford and the Economic Policy Institute shows that U.S. Schools aren’t being outpaced by international competition.”

After reading that report, it was obvious to me that the results of the international test that Stanford referred to was rigged to make America’s traditional public school look bad.

Stanford reported that once the flawed data was corrected, the U.S. went from 14th in reading to SIXTH and went from 25th in math to 13th.

In addition, Stanford discovered “There is an achievement gap between more and less disadvantaged students (living in poverty) in every country; surprisingly, the gap is smaller in the United States … and not much larger than the very highest scoring countries.”  In fact, “Achievement of U.S. disadvantaged students (living in poverty) has been rising rapidly over time, while achievement of disadvantaged students (living in poverty) in countries to which the United States is frequently unfavorably compared … had been falling rapidly.”

It’s time for most voting Americans to wake up and stop being suckered like Suckerberg was in Newark, New Jersey.  It’s obvious that before the top-down reforms forced on the United States by President G. W. Bush’s No Child Left Behind Act and continued with President Obama’s flawed and fraudulent Race To The Top bullshit and its Common Core test-and-punish crap, the United States had (and hopefully still has) one of the best public education systems in the world, and it was on track to only get better.

And who is con-man President-Elect Donald Trump putting in charge to finish the destruction of America’s top-rated public schools?  The answer: labor union hating, billionaire Betsy DeVos, who never attended a public school in her life, and she sends her own children to very expensive private schools that only the wealthy can afford.

If you want to educate yourself about this one-woman billionaire wrecking crew, learn, learn, learn from: Betsy DeVos and the Wrong Way to Fix Schools, 5 Things to Know about Billionaire Betsy DeVos, Trump Education Choice, and What’s the worst that could happen with Betsy DeVos as education secretary? Two scenarios.

Make no mistake about this. The United States is on the verge of the total destruction of one of the best public education systems in the world, and what is waiting to replace it is the autocratic, opaque-and-secretive, often fraudulent-and-inferior, private-sector corporate charter school industry that often bullies and terrorizes children to become assembly-line drones that score high on tests or face eviction back to the cold, brutal world of underfunded and deliberately abandoned, traditional public education.

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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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What Trump and Hillary are not talking about in the Sniffling Presidential Debates

The one issue that should be on every parents mind and the presidential candidates is what’s known as the alleged “school to prison” pipeline, and how to deal with this issue instead of making it worse. While Hillary Clinton has a long, committed record advocating for women and children, all we get from Donald Trump is his famous “pussy snatch”, and that he’s not attracted to women that are ugly (according to him), fat, and over 35.

Before I move on, I want to point out that I disagree with the use of the term “School to Prison” pipeline, because that pipeline starts at birth not in kindergarten.

It’s not the school to prison pipeline. Instead, it should be called the PovertyIlliteracy to Prison Pipeline.

In addition, the zero-tolerance policy that has swept America today isn’t the cause of this pipeline, but is making the situation worse for children that live in poverty and read far below grade level.

Instead of making the poverty-illiteracy pipeline to prison worse with these zero tolerance policies, schools should be doing more to starve that pipeline by offering more than just an academic high school degree at the end of 12th grade.

But schools can’t do it alone if they aren’t supported or funded properly.

Instead of more campus police officers (CPOs), the United States must have a national early childhood literacy program starting with children as young as 2 with a mandatory focus on all children that live in poverty and/or in homes where the parents are illiterate.  These literacy programs cannot stop when children reach kindergarten at age 5.  They must continue all the way through 12th grade. In addition, the United States must offer children entering high school a choice between a vocational and/or an academic high school degree. Many countries already do this: Japan, South Korea, Germany, China, for instance.

In Japan, only 70 percent of high school students graduate from academic high schools as they plan to go to college. The rest, planning to start work out of high school, graduate from vocational high schools, and a few students double up and graduate from both high school tracks.

Without that choice, the United States is not meeting the needs of future generations. Instead, the United States has become a police state with the largest prison population in the world with China in a distant 2nd place in a country that has more than four times the population of the U.S.

US Prison Population 2.2 million vs 1.6 million in China

And most if not all of the autocratic, corporate charter schools industry is worse than the democratic traditional public schools, because they cherry pick the easiest to teach students who tend to score higher on arguably useless high stakes tests and quickly get rid of students that are a challenge to teach that slipped through their cherry-picking filter. In addition, autocratic, opaque and often fraudulent and inferior corporate charter schools continue to suspend students at much higher rates creating a true school to prison pipeline that should be called the autocratic, corporate charter school pipeline to prison.

Charter Schools Suspend Black and Disabled Students More, Study Says

CPS: Expulsion rate higher at charter schools

“Charter schools cream or cherry-pick the best students from traditional public schools.”

Unequal Discipline at Charter Schools

The only thing these corporate charter schools have to brag about is higher test scores. but only after they get rid of the most challenging and difficult students to teach.

Meanwhile, this race to privatize K-12 education and automate as many jobs as possible is only going to increase the prison population at a faster pace than at any time in the history of civilization.


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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the unique love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

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What Tests and Teachers Cannot Fix in any Schools

We live in an era where traditional American, community based, democratic, transparent, nonprofit, publicly funded, public schools are starved of funds and even closed while professional, dedicated, hardworking teachers are punished or fired based on student test results; tests that profit the private sector corporations that produce them.

The result is that more of our children end up in autocratic, CEO controlled, opaque (secretive), often child abusing, fraudulent-and-inferior, no excuses, test centered, publicly funded, private sector corporate charter schools where management gets paid a lot more, and teachers are paid less but work longer hours. WNYC.org reports, “Charters spend $774 more per pupil on administration, and $1,140 less on instruction, than do traditional publics.”

What’s ignored is the fact that tests and teachers cannot fix the effects of: 1. Childhood poverty, 2. Depression, 3. Blood-sugar imbalances, 4. Childhood PTSD, 5.Substance abuse, and 6. Lack of sleep.

  1. Effects of Poverty, Hunger and Homelessness on Children and Youth

The American Psychological Association reports, “The nation’s economic crisis has deeply affected the lives of millions of Americans. Skyrocketing foreclosures and job layoffs have pulled the rug out from under many families, particularly those living in low-income communities. Deepening poverty is inextricably linked with rising levels of homelessness and food insecurity/hunger for many Americans and children are particularly affected by these conditions.”

 

  1. Childhood Depression

WebMD.com says, “Children who are depressed may not do well in school, may become socially isolated, and may have difficult relationships with family and friends, Fassler says. Depression in children is also associated with an increased risk for suicide. The rate of suicide among young people has nearly tripled since 1960 and is the sixth leading cause of death among children between the ages of 5 and 14, the third leading cause of death among 15- to 24-year-olds, and the second leading cause of death among college students.”

 

  1. Blood-sugar imbalances

The CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics found, “Kids consume too much sugar, mostly from processed foods.”

Learning Liftoff.com says, “It’s shocking to note that according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the average child under 12 consumes 49 pounds of sugar annually. That’s only three pounds less than the average adult despite children being much smaller. All that sugar consumption isn’t helping their overall health, but is it impacting their academic performance? You might be surprised at the answer.”

  • Sugar Decreases Attention Span and memory
  • Chronic Sugar Consumption Might Permanently Impair Memory Function
  • Sugar Foods Crowd Out Brain Food

 

  1. Childhood PTSD

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs reports, “Studies show that about 15% to 43% of girls and 14% to 43% of boys go through at least one trauma. Of those children and teens who have had a trauma, 3% to 15% of girls and 1% to 6% of boys develop PTSD. Rates of PTSD are higher for certain types of trauma survivors. … Besides PTSD, children and teens that have gone through trauma often have other types of problems. Much of what we know about the effects of trauma on children comes from the research on child sexual abuse. This research shows that sexually abused children often have problems with: fear, worry, sadness, anger, feeling alone and apart from others, feeling as if people are looking down on them, low self-worth, and not being able to trust others; behaviors such as aggression, out-of-place sexual behavior, self-harm, and abuse of drugs or alcohol.”

 

  1. Substance abuse

Alcohol Rehab.com says, “Children of parents who suffer from substance abuse problems can have problems at school as a result of the upheaval, unpredictability and violence they face at home. Some children have immense strength and can cope with their problems and still manage to maintain good school grades and relationships, but more often than not this is not the case. Bullying, fighting, bad grades, problems with attention span, fear of authority and emotional problems are all signs that a child is facing significant home problems.”

 

  1. Lack of sleep

The Douglas Institute in Quebec reports, “Reducing sleep may disrupt the ability of students to concentrate for long periods of time, and remember what they learn in class. According to a study, children with reduced sleep are more likely to struggle with verbal creativity, problem solving, inhibiting their behaviour, and generally score lower on IQ tests according to current leading research.”

Sleep Foundation.org recommends that school age children 6-13 sleep 9 to 11 hours and adolescents 14-17 should sleep 8 to 10 hours daily, but according to Sleep For Kids.org “It is clear from the poll results that we need to focus as much on the sleeping half of children’s lives as we do on the waking half.  Children are clearly not getting enough sleep,” says Jodi A. Mindell, PhD, who served as Chair of NSF’s 2004 Poll Task Force: “And a remarkable number of children have some kind of sleep problem.”

Why are billionaire oligarchs like Bill Gates, the Koch brothers, Eli Broad, and the Walton family ignoring what tests and teachers cannot fix and spending so much money to subvert democracy and destroy the publicly funded, community based, democratic, transparent, non-profit, public schools and replace them with autocratic, opaque, child abusing, often fraudulent and inferior, publicly funded, private sector corporate charter schools? If you don’t know the answers, start here: Behind Closed Doors of the Billionaire Foundations, The Plot Against Public Education, and The Billionaires’ War Against Public Education.

Discover more about why Corporate driven public education reform is destroying OUR children’s health and future

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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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The Hostile Corporate Takeover of America’s Public Schools Opens a Pandora’s Box

Unless you live in a closet or cave without electricity and the internet, it’s no secret that the hostile for-profit corporate takeover of America’s democratic public schools has led to billions of tax dollars lost to white collar fraud and crime with a lot more to come. > Despite Big Problems Charters Attract Hedge Fund Support and Presidential Candidates Hungry for Dollars

One of those attempted hostile takeovers is happening in Los Angeles, I read about this at John Thompson: Dare Anyone Say No to Eli Broad on Diane Ravitch’s Blog.

Thompson wrote, “It (Broad) produces a multicolored map of clusters of low-performing schools (in the city of Los Angeles), while pretending that it doesn’t undermine their case. The graphic supposedly shows, ‘These areas are especially ripe for charter expansion.’”

The Broad report doesn’t mention the poverty in those same areas of low-performing schools, but, and this is a BIG but, there is more than just poverty in Los Angeles. With that poverty comes extremely dangerous street gangs, and Los Angeles is home to the largest population of street gangs in the United States.

It would be nice to compare the Broad map to two other maps—the Los Angeles Street Gang map and a second map—if I could find one—that reveals where the most poverty is in Los Angeles, because in 2012, 29.9% of the children in Los Angeles lived in poverty.
Child Poverty in California

In addition, Los Angeles is home to more street gangs than any city in the United States. Will Broad’s opaque, authoritarian, for-profit corporate Charter school scheme identify all the gang members and make sure none of them get in to his charters—I think this is unlikely?

I taught for thirty years in an area of Los Angeles County where the local street gangs pretty much ruled the streets around the schools—even the local police didn’t risk patrolling some of those streets at night.  In fact, I witnessed with my own eyes a drive by shooting from my classroom doorway in the street beside the high school where I taught as school was letting out.

Hardly a week went by without one of our students being gunned down due to rival street gang violence. For instance, one night while working late with the editors of the high school newspaper, a hard core teenage gang member was gunned down and murdered with a shotgun blast to his guts on campus at 7:00 p.m. right outside of that classroom where I was working late with the seven female student editors of the high school newspaper. The poverty rate in that community was and still is higher than 90%.

“Gang presence in U.S. schools is a formidable obstacle for educators, law enforcement, and other youth-service professionals. Street gangs are linked to crime in elementary, secondary, and high schools, and on select college campuses. Schools provide fertile grounds for recruitment and many public schools are rife with gang activity such as assaults, robberies, threats and intimidation, drug distribution, and weapons offenses. Gang presence on college campuses is a growing concern as more gang members are gravitating toward colleges to escape gang life, join college athletic programs, or to acquire advanced skill sets for their gang.”
> FBI’s 2013 National Gang Report

Approximately 1.4 million people were gang members as of 2011, and more than 33,000 gangs were active in the United States. Los Angeles has been nicknamed the Gang Capital of America, with an estimated 120,000 gang members as of 2007 (11.6% of the nation’s total). According to a May 2001 Drug Threat Assessment by the National Drug Intelligence Center, Los Angeles was home to 1,350 gangs.

But the Los Angeles police department only has 9,843 officers, who were outnumbered more than 12 to 1.

I wonder if Eli Broad plans to privatize the police force in Los Angeles too, so he can wage war against these gangs to clean up the streets and keep their members out of his corporate Charters. Imagine what that will cost the tax payers when the police work for an autocratic, opaque, for-profit corporation that doesn’t have to answer to the same rules and regulations that the public police must follow or else. And if Broad ends up buying the Los Angeles Times newspaper as he wants, he’d also control the media in Los Angeles so his corporate police crimes would probably not appear in his newspaper.

Street gangs are expanding in Los Angeles, and Eli Broad—even if he doesn’t know it yet—is going to end up competing with them, because Eli Broad is an autocratic billionaire at war with democracy, but so are the street gangs in Los Angeles.

“Various Crip and Blood factions have shown an inclination to cooperate with one another based on drug trafficking. They have established funds from drug money to provide for bail and lawyers. The traditional ‘dope lawyers’ are showing up on non-drug gang cases. These lawyers are not local attorneys but are from Beverly Hills and Los Angeles. This illustrates the growing wealth and sophistication of these gangs. Some of the older and more successful street gang members in Los Angeles County have purchased legitimate businesses to launder drug money. Some of these businesses are car washes, auto painting/body and fender shops, motels, auto dealerships, and liquor stores. The next step could be respectability in the community for these drug-trafficking gang members, as well as involvement in politics. The wealth and sophistication of the gangs, coupled with their penchant for violence gives them the potential for becoming one of the largest and most dangerous crime problems in the region if not the Nation.”

Eli Broad wants to replace the transparent, democratic, public schools in Los Angeles with his own opaque, autocratic, for-profit, corporate charters. The street gangs already have a strong presence in the public schools to recruit new members, so Broad’s charters will be in competition with the gangs as they attempt to infiltrate his corporate schools. This means Broad will soon be at war with the largest and most dangerous crime problems in the region if not the Nation.

In fact, the gangs might even take advantage of the opportunity Broad wants to create and open their own corporate charters through front organizations.

Eli Broad had better tread carefully with his hostile goal to grab the public schools in Los Angeles. He and his entire family might not wake up one morning to discover that he has been eliminated by the Crips and/or Bloods because he dared to invade their turf.

Before the hostile corporate takeover of public schools started with NCLB and Obama’s RTTT, the gangs couldn’t buy the public schools and own and manage them but now they can.  The door is wide open. If one secretive Islamic Turkish Cleric can own 120 American Charter Schools, what’s going to stop the gangs from doing the same thing? > The Atlantic

Then again, maybe the Sinaloa drug cartel already owns Eli Broad, and he is allegedly their legitimate but corrupt front. After all, the feds say that Los Angeles is the epicenter of cartel money laundering, and what better business to launder money than an opaque corporate charter school chain that doesn’t have to make its money transactions public like the public school?

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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).

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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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Eli Broad, the Billionaire at war with democracy, the want-to-be Emperor of Southern California

This post is about Eli Broad’s Hostile Takeover of the democratic Los Angeles Unified School District and his goal to control and own the media in Southern California.

Who is Eli Broad—he isn’t the image created by his propaganda machine? Eli Broad wants to buy the Los Angeles Times and the San Diego Union. Why does he want to own and control the two largest newspapers in Southern California? Politico Media

Scholastic.com says, “Broad, who made his ­fortune in home building, is worth $6.3 billion, putting him 55th on the Forbes 400 list. That can’t compete with Gates, first on the list with $66 billion. And so the Broad Foundation is much smaller—and more strategic—than the Gates Foundation; it’s more aggressive and disruptive in many ways, and as a result more upsetting to those who disagree with its approach. … For example, Broad is a fan of the so-called parent trigger, which many other foundations and reform groups have not yet endorsed and many district administrators find threatening and unhelpful. He is a big supporter of Teach for America, which has won its share of both accolades and criticism. And he’s a fan of former D.C. schools chief and reform firebrand Michelle Rhee … he tends to fund efforts that bypass, or even blow up, existing systems.”

Now this California autocratic billionaire, who clearly despises and hates the democratic process, is enlisting other wealthy backers in a $490 million scheme to place half of the students in the Los Angeles Unified School District into for-profit, corporate charter schools over the next eight years—a plan at least one critic says would “do away with democratically controlled, publicly accountable education in LA.”

The Los Angeles Times obtained a very public “confidential” 44-page proposal, “The Great Public Schools Now Initiative,” drafted by the Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation and other charter advocates.  “Los Angeles is uniquely positioned to create the largest, highest-performing charter sector in the nation,” the executive summary reads. “Such an exemplar would serve as a model for all large cities to follow.”

The document outlines the following three objectives that would serve to overthrow the current public system. Common Dreams.org

I wonder if Broad thinks his autocratic, boot-camp, opaque, for-profit, corporate Charters will solve the following two challenges for Los Angeles and the nation.

If Broad plans to copy New Orleans corporate Charter school model, how many children will end up booted out of his corporate Charters and end up on the streets when there are no public schools left that can take them in?

And what will happen to the gang culture, violence and crime in Los Angeles because of Broad doing that? Children who aren’t in school are on the streets—the street to prison pipeline.

I taught for thirty years in a public school district located in Los Angeles County in an area dominated by street gangs with a very high poverty rate—nothing short of the U.S. Marines moving in and declaring martial law will change this culture of poverty, drugs, crime and violence.  The only chance these kids have are the public schools that offer havens of safety in a community of violence. Once kids lose those democratic, transparent, non-profit public school havens, the gang culture WILL spiral out of control.

Los Angeles has been nicknamed the Gang Capital of America, with an estimated 120,000 gang members as of 2007. According to a May 2001 Drug Threat Assessment by the National Drug Intelligence Center, Los Angeles was home to 1,350 gangs.

To police this area, the LAPD has less than 10 thousand officers. They are heavily outnumbered and heavily outgunned, and to solve this, Broad plans to use the Bill Gates rank-and-fire teachers test culture in his autocratic corporate Charters to get rid of difficult to teach children.

Maybe to solve this challenge, Eli Broad is planning to take over the LAPD too. What are his goals—to own the schools, own the newspapers, and eventually own the police?

Los Angeles Is The Poorest Big City

The Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim area had 17.6 percent of people living under the poverty line. – laist.com

“Who elected Eli Broad, a man who has said publicly that he knows nothing about education, to redesign the public schools that belong to the people, not to him?” —Diane Ravitch

More on the Eli Broad attempted hostile takeover of democratic public education in Los Angeles may be found at K-12 News Network’s The Wire and The Huffington Post.

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and 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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Randi Weingarten is an Ignorant Fraud, and she doesn’t know it

When I was a public school teacher I never belonged to the AFT, one of the two largest teachers’ unions in the United States. I paid union dues to REA/CTA/NEA—the other, larger teachers’ union.

So when I received one of AFT’s regular e-mails signed by Randi Weingarten, the AFT president, that said, “I remember my heart pounding as I walked into Clara Barton High School my first day as a teacher. Will I be able to do it? Do I have what it takes to connect and teach and make a difference in the lives of these kids?”

As I read her e-mail welcoming teachers back to a new school year, I thought where are her words of support for the teachers, parents and children who are fighting to save our democratic, transparent, nonprofit public schools from the fraudulent, greedy corporate vultures—supported by a neo-liberal President of the United States—who are circling the carcass of public education.

Nowhere in that e-mail did Weingarten mention the war being waged on public education and how the Common Core Crap and high stakes standardized testing are being deliberately used by hucksters and charlatans to destroy the lives of teachers, and crush parents and children.

I didn’t expect anyone to read my reply but I replied anyway, “This does not make you a veteran teacher, I wrote. “Try teaching at least ten years or more to earn that title.”

Why did I say Weingarten wasn’t a veteran teacher?

“From 1991 until 1997 Randi Weingarten taught at Clara Barton High School in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. The classes she taught included Law, Ethical Issues in Medicine, AP Political Science, and US History and Government. Her political science students competed in the We the People civics competition, winning the state championship in 1993-94 and 1994–95 and placing fourth in the national championship in 1994-95. In 1995, Weingarten was elected Assistant Secretary of the UFT. She continued teaching per diem from 1995 to 1997.”

Go back and click on the link for Clara Barton High School to discover an elite school and not one that teaches impoverished, at-risk children—children who are difficult to teach—like the ones I taught for thirty years.

Randi Weingarten might have been a full time classroom teacher for four years and a per diem teacher for another two years ( I wonder how many of those per diem days she worked), but her resume doesn’t reveal that she taught the most at-risk children like I did for thirty years. I don’t think she understands the challenges that teachers face who teach classrooms filled with the most difficult children to reach who live in poverty in dangerous communities where street crime is the norm to them.

That’s why Randi Weingarten will have to publicly stands up to the corporate education reform movement and condemn Arne Duncan, Bill Gates, the Walton family, Eli Broad, a flock of Hedge Fund vultures, the Common Core Crap and the results of high stakes student tests being used to judge teachers, fire them and close public schools, and then maybe she will earn some respect from this retired teacher who spent 30 years in the classroom teaching in schools where the childhood poverty rate was more than 70%, and violent adolescent street gangs were an ever present danger. I know from firsthand experience what it’s like to work with both highly motivated students who learned even if their teachers were brain dead, and teaching children to learn, who are at risk—the gulf between these two extremes is vast and what teachers experience working with at risk children is not the same as what Weingarten’s resume reveals from her limited teaching experience.

_______________________

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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What would happen to the Corporate RheeForm War against Public Education in the U.S. if every American knew the few facts in this post?

Value Added Measurement (VAM) uses the results of student tests linked to the flawed Common Core Standards that are being forced on the nation’s public schools to punish teachers for students who–-for a variety of reasons that seldom if ever have anything to do with the actual teaching—are not learning.

In fact, VAM totally ignores the student learning factor and places ALL the blame on teachers when reputable studies have repeatedly proven that time spent in the classroom and teaching represents less than 30% of the factors that lead to a child’s learning.  The other factors that make up two-thirds of what causes a child to learn takes place outside of school in the home/family environment, and poverty DOES play a vital role when it comes to a child learning what is taught by a teacher in the classroom.

Even the results of the International PISA tests prove that poverty is a major factor, and to make my point, I’m using several different reputable sources.

FIRST: A Stanford study found:

“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.

“U.S. PISA scores are depressed partly because of a sampling flaw resulting in a disproportionate number of students from high-poverty schools among the test-takers. About 40 percent of the PISA sample in the United States was drawn from schools where half or more of the students are eligible for the free lunch program, though only 32 percent of students nationwide attend such schools.”

SECOND: The Economic Policy Institute validated that the Stanford report was correct.

THIRD: Mel Riddle, the Associate Director for High School Services at NASSP (National Association of Secondary School Principals), compared the results of the PISA and focused on children who lived in poverty to discover that children living in poverty in the United States are improving and doing better than their socioeconomic peers in the other OECD countries.

Mel reported: “PISA results have provided ample fodder for public school bashers and doomsayers who further their own philosophies and agendas by painting all public schools as failing. For whatever reason, the pundits, many of whom have had little or no actual exposure to public schools, refuse to paint an accurate picture of the state of education.

“A closer look at the data tells a different story. Most notable is the relationship between PISA scores in terms of individual American schools and poverty.  While the overall PISA rankings ignore such differences in the tested schools, when groupings based on the rate of free and reduced lunch are created, a direct relationship is established.”

FOURTH: The Center for Public Education looked closely at the time American children spent in school compared to other countries and asked and answered several questions.

For instance: Are students in India and China required to go to school longer than U.S. students?

According to data from the OECD and the World Data on Education, students in China and India are not required to spend more time in school than most U.S. students.

Do other countries require more instructional hours for students than the U.S.?

According to the OECD, the hours of compulsory instruction per year in these countries range from 608 hours in Finland (a top performer) to 926 hours in France (an average performer) at the elementary level, compared to the over 900 hours required in California, New York, Texas, and Massachusetts.

Are U.S. students receiving less instruction?

The data clearly shows that most U.S. schools require at least as much or more instructional time as other countries, even high-performing countries like Finland, Japan, and Korea.

In conclusion, I ask again: What would happen to the Corporate RheeForm War against Public Education in the U.S. if every American knew the few facts in this post?

_______________________

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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John Oliver Reveals the Absurdity and Insanity of High Stakes Testing in the United States, and what are other countries doing

American students face a ridiculous amount of testing. In the video, John Oliver explains how standardized tests impact school funding, the achievement gap, and how often kids are expected to vomit from the stress caused by these high stakes tests that can destroy a child’s life, get teachers fired and public schools closed.

Ask yourself this, who profits?

In addition, Assessment  Around the World (to read the complete article, click the link. The rest of this post is a summary of a piece published by Educational Leadership) reveals how NCLB and its high stakes testing fit in an international context. Here’s what’s happening in the rest of the world.

“Standardized testing is controversial everywhere, regardless of its purpose. Most countries use testing for tracking and for selecting students for admission into academic secondary schools or universities, but generally not for holding educators accountable. Many countries don’t even administer standardized tests until the later grades. In fact, most Canadian universities don’t require the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) or other standardized admissions tests—except for students applying with a U.S. high school diploma!” (Ghosh, 2004)

Testing Practices in Other Countries (from Educational Leadership)

The following examples from England, Turkey, Germany, Singapore, Japan, China, and Finland illustrate how these countries manage these issues.

England

Like the United States, England holds educators accountable for students’ scores on standardized tests, although major differences exist between the two countries’ accountability systems.

Only England—home to the mighty testing giant, Pearson (a profit based, private-sector corporation) that started investing heavily in the U.S. market the year before NCLB mandated the impossible—holds teachers accountable for students’ scores on standardized tests. The test-based accountability policy remains highly controversial and raises issues similar to those currently discussed in the United States. A major question is the validity of using test scores, which are strongly influenced by students’ socioeconomic status, to evaluate the quality of education. This problem is endemic in national and international test score comparisons.

In fact, “Because in every country, students at the bottom of the social class distribution perform worse than students higher in that distribution, U.S. average performance appears to be relatively low partly because we have so many more test takers from the bottom of the social class distribution.” – Economic Policy Institute (Conclusion: Teachers in the US and UK—thanks to lobbyists from Pearson influencing elected representatives—are being punished for children who live in poverty. The more high stakes tests, the more profits Pearson robs from taxpayers who support the public schools in these two English speaking countries.)

Turkey

Turkey’s heavily bureaucratic and centralized education system is modeled after the French system.

Examinations in Turkey are first administered at the end of basic education, although they influence what schools teach long before that. These exams determine admission into the prestigious Anatolian and science high schools, which accept approximately one-quarter of the students who take the exam. Students who wish to enter a university must take another nationwide exam at the end of high school; but because demand outweighs available spaces, acceptance rates are low (around 20 percent). Because of these conditions, Turkish students experience “some of the world’s worst exam anxiety” (Simsek & Yildirim, 2004, p. 165).

Germany

Germany has a highly stratified education system that tracks students, generally beginning in grade 5, into three types of schools: … Teachers and parents—not an examination—determine a child’s placement.

Singapore

In Singapore, educators are only held accountable for their students’ test scores in the sense that secondary schools and junior colleges are ranked in publicly reported “league tables”; the 40 highest-ranked secondary schools receive cash awards. But this “accountability” system bears little resemblance to NCLB in the United States.

The main purpose of testing in Singapore is to determine student placement in the education system and access to elite academic programs—not to evaluate teachers.

Japan

Japan has a highly competitive examination system, but it doesn’t hold educators accountable for students’ scores on standardized tests.

China

For many centuries, the Chinese have viewed their country’s examination system, which dates back to the Shui dynasty in 603 CE, as the main route out of poverty for a child from a low income family. However, like Singapore and Japan, China is attempting to reduce its reliance on rote learning. Realizing that examinations inevitably drive classroom practice, China has revised its highly competitive university entrance exams by requiring students to integrate knowledge from a wide range of fields.

Chinese students face a highly competitive and stressful examination system that doesn’t hold teachers accountable for student test scores.

Finland

In high-ranking Finland, the national ministry of education plays no role in teacher evaluation. Instead, broad policies are defined in the contract with the teachers’ union. Teachers are then typically appraised against the national core curriculum and the school development plan. Finland, of course, is known for having no standardized testing, obviously then making it impossible for it to be used as a tool for teacher evaluation. – NEA Today.org

Note: None of the nations surveyed by OECD use standardized tests to measure teacher effectiveness as bluntly as the United States does. Wariness over the misuse of test scores runs throughout the school systems in most nations – an acknowledgment that they cannot provide a complete picture of teaching quality and that multiple sources of evidence are required (many countries include parent and student surveys as well as classroom observations, and peer and principal assessment).

_______________________

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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The Oxymoron of Corporate Education Reform Exposed by the Results of the International PISA Test

The foundation of the U.S. corporate education reform movement is built on a house of cards that alleges there are too many incompetent teachers in America’s public schools, and that using standardized high stakes test to rank teachers based on student test scores will reveal who those teachers are.

But today the corporate education reformers have unwittingly provided evidence that they are totally wrong with the same data they want to use to root out these alleged incompetent teachers and then also close public schools with the worst scores.

“New York State education officials released data showing that the top-rated teachers, based on student test scores, are less likely to work in schools enrolling black and Hispanic students.” NY State Released Junk Science Ratings by Diane Ravitch

Why are the corporate education reformers wrong?

Stanford.edu reports, “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.”

If the alleged claims of the corporate education reformers were correct, that means—according to the results of the international PISA tests—teachers who work with disadvantaged students in every country are also incompetent and should lose their jobs.

But … here’s the twist: “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.”Stanford.edu

This tells us that the alleged incompetent teachers in the U.S.—who work with the most disadvantaged students—are the most competent (incompetent teachers) in the world.

How can America’s public school teachers be incompetent when the disadvantaged students they work with are outperforming the disadvantaged students in every country PISA tests—even Canada, Finland and Korea? An oxymoron if I’ve ever heard one.

The corporate education reformers have hung themselves with the same noose they intended to put around the necks of public school teachers in the United States.

_______________________

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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