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Category Archives: Common Core

Do High Stakes Tests Cause Children to Commit Suicide to Escape the Stress?

> July 24, 2017 UPDATE <

“Middle School Suicides Double As Common Core Testing Intensifies”

“The suicide rate among 10-to 14-year-olds doubled between 2007 and 2014 – the same period in which states have increasingly adopted Common Core standards and new, more rigorous high stakes tests.”

My original post continues from here:

First from FairTest – November 2013:

  • Laela Gray, an eight-year-old Florida girl, became a poster child for high-stakes testing trauma after she was told she could not advance to fourth grade because she scored 181 instead of 182 on the third grade state reading test
  • Many teachers say pressure to prepare students for more rigorous Common Core tests means the youngest children are now required to do work that is wildly age-inappropriate.:
  • Common Core tests are meant to be harder to pass. In New York State, scores from the first administration of Common Core-based exams dropped dramatically from the previous year’s test results. Drops were particularly enormous in districts serving large numbers of English language learners and students with special needs.
  • Even kindergarten is no longer a refuge from the test preparation craze. New York kindergartners are bubbling in standardized exams based on Common Core math standards so there is test data to use for their teachers’ evaluations. Their teachers report that many of these young children don’t even know how to hold pencils yet and don’t understand how to fill in bubbles on test answer sheets.

And from rethinking schools.org we discover, “Under threat of losing federal funds, all 50 states adopted or revised their standards and began testing every student, every year in every grade from 3 – 8 and again in high school.”

Then there is this from The Washington Post: For the last year a revolt against high-stakes standardized testing has been growing around the country, with teachers, principals, superintendents, parents and students speaking out about the negative impact on education of this obsession.

Now, let’s look closer at child suicide rates:

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention says, Younger groups have had consistently lower suicide rates than middle-aged and older adults. In 2013, adolescents and young adults aged 15 to 24 had a suicide rate of 10.9 per every 100,000 in that age bracket.

But if you click on the previous link and scroll down to Suicide Rates by Age from 2000 to 2013, you will discover that the suicide rate of children aged 15 to 24 were not always 10.9. In fact, in 2000, the suicide rate for ages 15 to 24 was 10.2 and for the next three years, the suicide rate declined to 9.9; then 9.8 for 2002, and a low of 9.5 for 2003 before it leaped to 10.3 for 2004 and started to climb right along with the corporate education reform agenda and the high stakes tests linked to the No Child Left Behind (2001) and then the Common Core Standards (2010).

After the Common Core appeared in 2010 followed by its high stakes tests, the childhood suicide rate climbed to 10.5 and then to 10.9 where it held steady for three years in a row: 2011, 2012, and 2013.

The suicide rates for children that were less than age 14 has also climbed since 2000 when the rate was 0.5—a rate that held steady or dropped until 2013 when the rate shot up to 0.7 per 100,000 children for the first time.

In this post, I want to demonstrate the dramatic increase in child suicide rates to discover how many children are committing suicide due to the alleged stress caused by No Child Left Behind (NCLB – 2001) and Race To The Top (RTTP -2009) in addition to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS – 2010) and the PARCC tests that followed.

In 2000, the U.S. Census reported there were about 41 million children ages 5 to 14, and 39.1 million children ages 15 to 24. In 2000, 205 children ages 5 to 14, and 3,988 young adults ages 14 to 24 committed suicide.

Thirteen years later, in 2013, the U.S. Census reported that there were 40.9 million children ages 5 to 14 and 43.5 million young adults ages 15 to 24. In 2013, 286 children ages 5 to 14—a dramatic increase of 39.5 percent since 2000—and 4,741.5 young adults ages 15 to 24—another dramatic increase of 18.9 percent since 2000—committed suicide.

If we look at the numbers starting with 2011 when the child suicide rate hit 0.7 and/or 10.9 per 100,000, an additional 243 children ages 5 – 14 and 2,260.5 young adults ages 15 to 24 committed suicide possibly because of the added stress caused by NCLB, CCSS and PARCC.

What else can possible explain the DRAMATIC increase in child suicide rates? Could it be the divorce rate that leads to broken families? Let’s find out. In 1980, the annual divorce rate was 5.2 per 1,000, but in 2000 it was 4.2, and by 2009, the annual divorce rate was down to 3.5. With these dramatic drops in the divorce rate, how can we blame the increase in childhood suicides on divorce, and in 2012, the CDC reported that the divorce rate was down to 3.4 per 1,000 total population? Infoplease.com and CDC.gov

Darn, if we can’t blame it on the divorce rate, what do we blame it on—the increased CO2 levels in the atmosphere?

The answer is simple: Children, starting in kindergarten—where these high stakes testing are also appearing in some states—to 12th grade, spend most of their time second to the time spent at home where they sleep about a third of the day in addition to spending several hours of their free time daily outside of school having fun texting their friends, social networking, playing video games and watching TV—while they are stressing about those tests that might cause their favorite teachers to be fired and their local public schools closed.

Let’s look closely at what was happening to the public schools starting in the 1980s to 2013 to learn how this happened.

First—there was the fraud behind A Nation at Risk, a report released in 1983 during the Reagan years in the White House (Have you ever read The Enduring Lies of Ronald Reagan?). This was the beginning of the alleged claims that the public schools were failing our children and the nation was at risk. But in 1990, the often ignored Sandia Report offered proof that A Nation at Risk was misleading and that the public schools were actually improving.

Second—on May 19, 1999, President Bill Clinton said the government has to do a “far, far better job” with the $15 billion it sends to schools every year, and Clinton announced he was sending Congress his blueprint for how to spend those funds. “We know fundamentally that if we are going to change the way our schools work, we must change the way we invest federal aid in our schools,” Clinton said, and the pressure on children, teachers and the public schools increased even though NAEP Reading and Math tests that first started in 1969 revealed steady annual improvements in the test scoresDiane Ravitch says, “The point here is that NAEP scores show steady and very impressive improvement over the past twenty years.” – For the details, read Reign of Error: The Hoax of the Privatization Movement and the Danger to America’s Public Schools by Diane Ravitch

Third—the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB) mandated the impossible: All children must be college and career ready on time by high school graduation even though no country on the earth had ever achieved this goal and has never tried. In fact, the United States is one of the top-five countries in the world for the ratio of college graduates, and there are almost three qualified applicants who are college graduates for every job that requires a college degree. Why do 100% of 17/18 year olds have to be ready for college?

Fourth—President Obama’s Race to the Top made the demands on the public schools worse.

Fifth—adopting standards and assessments that prepare students to succeed in college and the workplace and to compete in the global economy;

Sixth—building data systems that measure student growth and success, and inform teachers and principals about how they can improve instruction;

The results:

High Stakes Tests Make Kids Sick – UFT

The Alliance for Childhood revealed that parents, teachers, school nurses, psychologists, and child psychiatrists reported that the stress of high-stakes testing was literally making children sick. – EdWeek.org

TeacherBiz.com says, High-stakes tests: bad for students, teachers, and education in general.

The Alliance for Childhood reports that “There is growing evidence that the pressure and anxiety associated with high-stakes testing is unhealthy for children–especially young children–and may undermine the development of positive social relationships and attitudes towards school and learning. … Parents, teachers, school nurses and psychologists, and child psychiatrists report that the stress of high-stakes testing is literally making children sick.”

Who do we hold responsible for the deaths of thousands of children pressured to take their own lives? If you want to discover who these monsters are, I suggest you read Common Core Dilemma and A Chronicle of Echoes by Mercedes K. Schneider.

Then there is the testing industry. Learn about The Testing Industry’s Big Four from KQED’s Frontline.

PBS says, “Even without the impetus of the No Child Left Behind Act, testing is a burgeoning industry. The National Board on Educational Testing and Public Policy at Boston College compiled data from The Bowker Annual, a compendium of the dollar-volume in test sales each year, and reported that while test sales in 1955 were $7 million (adjusted to 1998 dollars), that figure was $263 million in 1997, an increase of more than 3,000 percent. Today, press reports put the value of the testing market anywhere from $400 million to $700 million.”

In addition, The Washington Post reports Big education firms spend millions lobbying for pro-testing policies.

Are high stakes tests that rank and punish public school teachers and close public schools really about improving education or are they about increasing profits for big corporations in this age of legalized avarice and greed?

“It’s probably safe to say that statewide assessment will not produce any startling revelations about what can be done by teachers with pupils to help children learn more effectively.”  – Beers and Campbell (1973)

What was true in 1973 is still true today!

To learn more about the problems of using student test scores to evaluate teachers, click on this link that will take you to an Economic Policy Institute report on this issue.

“Because education is both a cumulative and a complex process, it is impossible fully to distinguish the influences of students’ other teachers as well as school conditions on their apparent learning, let alone their out-of-school learning experiences at home, with peers, at museums and libraries, in summer programs, on-line, and in the community.

“No single teacher accounts for all of a student’s achievement.”

_______________________

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 FREE Promotion July 2016

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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An Op-Ed piece by Hannah Portner on California’s Smarter Balanced Tests—one student’s point of view

Guest Post by HannaH Portner who blogs at Project Rainbow

On Friday they told us that we were going to be having Common Core tests next week (SBAC or Smarter balanced tests in CA) .

  • “Make sure to check your room number by the counseling office.”
  • “Review the practice exam.”
  • “Get enough sleep.”
  • But, for what?
  • What even is this test?
  • Why is it so important?
  • Where is all this information going?
  • Why was I not told by any member of the staff that I could opt out?

There was a letter posted outside the office. It said that anyone could opt out of these tests with parent permission. It said that we as students have a voice. We have rights. That got me curious. I started asking questions. I asked members of my neighborhood their opinions. I asked family, friends, teachers, and searched the internet about these tests. I wanted to share what I learned. I wanted to have a voice, not just be a number from a test.

I heard stories of kids not wanting to go to school because they were so deflated, so stressed and confused. I read about how much time test prep takes. I talked with my friend Suzy who is a 7th grade English and history teacher about how useless some of this data mining seems. “ We have to do 3 [in class essays] every year. I have to grade all of these, put them in the gradebook, give feedback, then input them into a district website to collect data. One extra step for teachers is awful. Why do we do this? What is done with this data? The district has no answer. I calculated that every year, in addition to all other curriculum requirements, we have to score 450 essays per teacher.”

Schools are having precious learning time taken away to administer standardized tests. The Huffington Post states: “Teachers now devote 30 percent of their work time on testing-related tasks, including preparing students, proctoring, and reviewing the results of standardized tests, the National Education Association says.” Not only is time drained, but money is being used to buy computers to administer these tests.

In Suzy’s case, she has to prep students for this one test but won’t necessarily know where the data is going or how it will be used. Last year we took practice tests and some questions were so hard I clicked random answers. I even wrote a poem about how I felt like a robot. I never got my score back. I wonder what would have happened if I wrote “ WHAT IS THE POINT” for an essay question.

Since I don’t see my results, or the specific questions I got wrong, I don’t understand what I could do better or worse on. In addition, we haven’t been provided specific test information, or easy access to reasons why we are taking this test. For example my math teacher told me that our test will be a practice for a later SBAC test. We aren’t even taking the real thing. She told me that the teachers will grade them and it will be good finals prep. I would be taking a practice exam for the test I would take that is actually a test prep for finals? That is a lot of prep.

It’s relatively easy to administer a test then judge students based on their scores. I think part of the problem is that when people fail these tests, their self esteem drops, they think they aren’t good enough, and then they cry when they get home from school. On many occasions I have come from school frustrated and broken out into tears, and I am an honor student in a really privileged area. Imagine what it’s like for our neighbors who don’t have free tutoring and get Ds and think it is all their fault. A test score is such a small part of a person’s intelligence. When these test are being taken, the institutions are saying that the test is what measures how smart a person is, or how good a school is. That is a whole lot of unnecessary pressure.

In addition if these tests are being given to school with low performance ratings and the tests are really difficult, some of these schools may not have the resources to provide test prep or extra help to their students and because they are underfunded, the students, teachers, and schools suffer the consequences.

To an extent, I agree that tests are necessary. People are certified to become nurses and plumbers and teachers by taking a test. But to test on how well a school or student is doing with one test is ridiculous. If you wanted the whole picture then someone could collect my GPA which has my average test scores. You could look at my extra curricular activities, and then asses the school based on multiple variables. But that would probably take too long.

I agree that the new common core method of teaching is pretty rad. I like having explorations in math. It makes me question and have opinions. I like that. I do not like the immense data collection and loads of testing. There is a limit to all of this stress, confusion, and frustration, and that is what we as a community have to figure out and act upon so that education can be fun, and full of wonder like it should be.

See more:
Race to Nowhere
Huffington Post
United Opt Out

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse, the host of this blog, 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).

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

 

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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).

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

 

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A Tweet about the greed based insanity of Standardized Testing I Want to see go Viral

Watch the video and read the Op-Ed in The Washington Post.

Here’s the lead paragraph of The Washington Post piece by Valerie Strauss:

“Imagine that you are a doctor and your evaluation is based on patients you didn’t have. Or a car dealer, and you are assessed by how many cars your colleagues — not you — sell. It sounds preposterous, right? Well, that’s just what is happening to public school teachers.”

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2015/04/01/teacher-how-my-highest-scoring-students-actually-hurt-my-evaluation/?postshare=2631427899398887

>The Tweet<

How students with top test scores hurt a teacher’s evaluation
http://wpo.st/PJGB0
#WashingtonPost
#EDBlogNet

My father was a fan of thoroughbred horse racing. He went as often as possible, and he stayed up late every night handicapping to discover the horses he thought might win. He won more races than he lost, but what would happen in that sport if the VAM being used to rank and then fire teachers or close public schools were used on those horses, and all horses that did not win every race were to be euthanized, their jockeys fired for life, their owners driven into bankruptcy—all because every horse in a horse race didn’t win.

That is what the corporate driven education reform movement is doing to public schools, public school teachers and children—treating them like horses and demanding that they all win every race—or else they must suffer brutal consequences.

In 2001, when President G. W. Bush signed into law the No Child Left Behind Act, that legislation mandated that by 2014 every (100%) 17/18 year old in the nation had to graduate from high school on time and be college and career ready. President Obama made this situation worse with his Race to the Top.  But Bill Gates and the Walton family, for instance, upped the anti with there massive financial support for the Common Core State Standards linked to high stakes testing in addition to promoting corporate Charter schools and vouchers/tax credits that legally steal money from the public schools. A bad law is still a bad law.

This is legalized crime!

This is child abuse!

This is teacher abuse!

This is stripping parents of their responsibility as parents!

This is stealing from tax payers!

This is WRONG on so many levels!

Education is not a horse race!

Timeline for Crony Capitalist's War Against Public Education

_______________________

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).

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

 

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The Crony Capitalist War of greed against U.S. Public Education

There are several forms of Capitalism in use throughout the world. Economics Help.org defines them and reports that Crony Capitalism is what’s used in the United States. The Age of Crony Capitalism says, “For most of US history, crony capitalism has been in a struggle with free-market capitalism for the heart and soul of the American economy.  For the past half century, crony capitalism has been gaining the upper hand.”

In addition, Dr. Gary G. Kohls of Global Resaerch.ca says, “The 12 years of unrestrained crony capitalism during the anti-democracy mis-leadership of Republican presidents Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush tricked most of us into naively believing in their fraudulent ‘Trickle-down Economics’.”

Crony Capitalism is a term used to refer to the situation where business success is related to strategic influences with civil servants, politicians and those in authority. It could be used to refer to situations in early twentieth century U.S. where business leaders had to buy off politicians in return for favors (e.g. in popular media: Citizen Kane). Arguably a degree of crony capitalism occurs in countries like China, South Korea and Latin America. The power of the Mafia in Italy is also an example of crony capitalism.

The other forms of capitalism mentioned by Economics Help.org are: Turbo Capitalism (also known as unrestrained capitalism or free market capitalism), Responsible Capitalism, Popular Capitalism, Advanced Capitalism and State Capitalism. Visit the site to learn about the differences. I read them all and I think the two that are highlighted in this paragraph are the best choices for the most people.

Timeline for Crony Capitalist's War Against Public Education

In the corporate war against public education—known also as education reform leading to school choice, corporate charter schools and school vouchers—what reports do not support the Crony Capitalist reform movement?

The 1966 Coleman Report—Instead of proving that the quality of schools is the most important factor in a student’s academic success—as its sponsors had expected—the report written by the sociologist James S. Coleman of Johns Hopkins University found that a child’s family background and the school’s socioeconomic makeup are the best predictors. … A better summary of the findings, from Gordon M. Ambach’s perspective, is: Family and socioeconomic backgrounds are so important that it’s difficult for schools to overcome them.


In 1966, the Coleman Report highlighted the impact of poverty on student achievement. In this installment of the Mini-Moments with Big Thinkers series, policy faculty member Jeffrey Henig argues that it’s time to recognize that schools alone cannot ensure that all students succeed equally.

The 1983 report under the Reagan Administration known as A Nation at Risk was characterized by its authors as “an open letter to the American people.” The report called for elected officials, educators, parents, and students to reform a public school system it described as “in urgent need of improvement.” That need for improvement was based on numerous statistics listed in the report that the commission said showed the inadequate quality of American education. The authors ominously cautioned that the data showed the nation was at risk and expressed grave concern that our “once unchallenged pre-eminence in commerce, industry, science, and technological innovation is being overtaken by competitors throughout the world.

The 1990 Sandia Report proves that A Nation at Risk was wrong and reveals what was actually happening:

  • Between 1975 and 1988, average SAT scores went up or held steady for every student subgroup.
  • Between 1977 and 1988, math proficiency among seventeen-year-olds improved slightly for whites, notably for minorities.
  • Between 1971 and 1988, reading skills among all student subgroups held steady or improved.
  • Between 1977 and 1988, in science, the number of seventeen-year-olds at or above basic competency levels stayed the same or improved slightly.
  • Between 1970 and 1988, the number of twenty-two-year-old Americans with bachelor degrees increased every year; the United States led all developed nations in 1988.

Then in 2000, Pearson, the British publishing giant, spends $2.5 billion on an American testing company while spending millions aggressively lobbying the states and the U.S. Congress to make testing a vital element of school reform in the United States. – POLITICO Pro: No profit left behind

One year later, The No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), based on the fraud of A Nation at Risk, and ignoring the results of the Coleman and Sandia Reports, becomes law.

NCLB required states, school districts, and schools to ensure all students (something that no country on the earth has ever achieved to this day) are proficient in grade-level math and reading by 2014. States define grade-level performance. Schools must make “adequate yearly progress” toward this goal, whereby proficiency rates increase in the years leading up to 2014. The rate of increase required is chosen by each state. In order for a school to make adequate yearly progress (AYP), it must meet its targets for student reading and math proficiency each year. A state’s total student proficiency rate and the rate achieved by student subgroups are all considered in the AYP determination.

Schools that fail to make adequate yearly progress for two consecutive years are identified for “school improvement,” and must draft a school improvement plan, devote at least 10 percent of federal funds provided under Title I of NCLB to teacher professional development. Schools that fail to make AYP for a third year are identified for corrective action, and must institute interventions designed to improve school performance from a list specified in the legislation. Schools that fail to make AYP for a fourth year are identified for restructuring, which requires more significant interventions. If schools fail to make AYP for a fifth year, they much implement a restructuring plan that includes reconstituting school staff and/or leadership, changing the school’s governance arrangement, converting the school to a charter, turning it over to a private management company, or some other major change.

School districts in which a high percentage of schools fail to make AYP for multiple years can also be identified for school improvement, corrective action, and restructuring.

The 2009 Race to the Top is a $4.35 billion United States Department of Education competitive grant created to spur and reward innovation and reforms in state and local district K-12 education. … Race to the Top is one contributing factor to 48 states that have adopted common standards for K-12. … Although the vast majority of states have competed to win the grants, Race to the Top has also been criticized by politicians, policy analysts, thought leaders and educators. Teachers’ unions argued that state tests are an inaccurate way to measure teacher impact, despite the fact that learning gains on assessments is only one component of the evaluation systems. Conservatives complained that it imposes federal overreach on state schools, and others argued that charter schools weaken public education.

From A Nation at Risk, No Child Left Behind and Race to the Topstill ignoring the 1966 Coleman Report and the 1990 Sandia Report, and the fact that no country has ever been successful with all children—comes the 2010 Common Core State Standards and the CCSS punishment based standardized testing used to rank teachers by student test scores and then fire teachers and close public schools turning our children over to the for profit, mostly corporate Charter private sector where Crony Capitalists profit off of our children.

You may find a Summary of the Common Core State Standards at Advocates for Academic Freedom.org

Who are the biggest financial supporters of the Common Core State Standards and the agenda to use standardized test results to rank, fire public school teachers and then close public schools while opening the door to Crony Capitalists who own the corporate Charters?

The Washington Post reveals How Bill Gates pulled off the swift Common Core revolution. “The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation didn’t just bankroll the development of what became known as the Common Core State Standards. With more than $200 million, the foundation also built political support across the country, persuading state governments to make systemic and costly changes.”

Dissent Magazine.org reported that “hundreds of private philanthropies together spend almost $4 billion annually to support or transform K–12 education, most of it directed to schools that serve low-income children (only religious organizations receive more money). But three funders—the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Eli and Edythe Broad (rhymes with road) Foundation, and the Walton Family Foundation—working in sync, command the field.

One last thought—The Economic Policy Institute (I urge you to click the link and read the rest) reported that “there is broad agreement among statisticians, psychometricians, and economists that student test scores alone are not sufficiently reliable and valid indicators of teacher effectiveness to be used in high-stakes personnel decisions, even when the most sophisticated statistical applications such as value-added modeling are employed.”

Who benefits? Who loses?

_______________________

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

Runner Up in Biography/Autobiogrpahy
2015 Florida Book Festival

Crazy-is-Normal-a-classroom-expose-200x300

Honorable Mention in Biography/Autobiography
2015 Los Angeles Book Festival
2014 Southern California Book Festival
2014 New England Book Festival
2014 London Book Festival

His third book is Crazy is Normal, a classroom exposé, a memoir. “Lofthouse presents us with grungy classrooms, kids who don’t want to be in school, and the consequences of growing up in a hardscrabble world. While some parents support his efforts, many sabotage them—and isolated administrators make the work of Lofthouse and his peers even more difficult.” – Bruce Reeves

Lofthouse’s first novel was the award winning historical fiction My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. His second novel was the award winning thriller Running with the Enemy. His short story A Night at the “Well of Purity” was named a finalist of the 2007 Chicago Literary Awards. His wife is Anchee Min, the international, best-selling, award winning author of Red Azalea, a New York Times Notable Book of the Year (1992).

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

 

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Ignored by the Common Core agenda—Making the link between poverty, nutrition and poor performance in school

At a Glance:

Twelve weeks of supplementation with vitamins and minerals was found to boost the attention scores of children, according to results published in the British Journal of Nutrition.

“It is well known that adequate levels of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients are essential for optimal neural functioning. A significant percentage of individuals, including children, suffer from deficiencies in one or more vitamins or minerals. This study investigated whether daily supplementation with a multivitamin could alter cognitive performance and mood in healthy children.

“The randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study included 81 healthy children aged 8-14. The children were reportedly all healthy and free from food allergies. None of the children used other dietary supplements during the three months prior to the study. Participants were randomly assigned to daily multivitamin and mineral supplements or placebo for 12 weeks

“The children underwent laboratory assessments of their cognitive performance and mood pre-dose and at 1 and 3 h post-dose on the first and last days of the trial.  Assessments were also completed at home after 4 and 8 weeks at 3 hours post-dose. Cognitive performance was measured using a battery of laboratory assessments, which included tasks assessing mood and the speed and accuracy of attention and aspects of memory. The children in the vitamin/mineral group performed more accurately on two tests of attention. No effects were observed on measures of the children’s mood

“Although the results of this study require further investigation, it suggests that vitamin/mineral supplementation has the potential to improve brain function in healthy children.”

  • Haskell CF et al. Cognitive and mood effects in healthy children during 12 weeks’ supplementation with multi-vitamin/minerals. Br J Nutr 2008 Nov;100(5):1086-96.

But what if the children are not healthy?


children taking tests with Bill Gates cracking the whip

There’s this from the University of Wisconsin – Madison that makes the connection between poverty and early childhood brain development that causes poor performance in school—proving that the one size Common Core testing rank, fire and close public schools agenda promoted HEAVILY by the Bill and Melinda Gates and Walton family Foundations is even more flawed than we thought.

“Poverty may have direct implications for important, early steps in the development of the brain, saddling children of low-income families with slower rates of growth in two key brain structures, according to researchers from the University of Wisconsin–Madison.

“By age 4, children in families living with incomes under 200 percent of the federal poverty line have less gray matter—brain tissue critical for processing of information and execution of actions—than kids growing up in families with higher incomes.”

Someone please shout in President Obama’s ear that the one-size fits all Common Core agenda being forced on the country by Arne Duncan, Bill Gates, the Walton family and a few other billionaires and hedge fund managers, who want to profit off of are our children, is a total fraud. After you’re done shouting, give them a standardized bubble test to see what they learned.

There are more than 72 million children under 18 years old in the United States. 45 percent – 32.4 million – live in low-income families. 22 percent –16.1 million – live in poor families. National Center for Children in Poverty

 _______________________

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

Runner Up in Biography/Autobiogrpahy
2015 Florida Book Festival

lloydlofthouse_crazyisnormal_web2_5

Honorable Mention in Biography/Autobiography
2014 Southern California Book Festival
2014 New England Book Festival
2014 London Book Festival

His third book is Crazy is Normal, a classroom exposé, a memoir. “Lofthouse presents us with grungy classrooms, kids who don’t want to be in school, and the consequences of growing up in a hardscrabble world. While some parents support his efforts, many sabotage them—and isolated administrators make the work of Lofthouse and his peers even more difficult.” – Bruce Reeves

Lofthouse’s first novel was the award winning historical fiction My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. His second novel was the award winning thriller Running with the Enemy. His short story A Night at the “Well of Purity” was named a finalist of the 2007 Chicago Literary Awards. His wife is Anchee Min, the international, best-selling, award winning author of Red Azalea, a New York Times Notable Book of the Year (1992).

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Pearson’s No profit left behind—Investigative reporting at its best from Politico

America’s transparent, non-profit, democratic public schools are being destroyed thanks, in part, to the profit motivated efforts of Pearson UK.

Stephanie Simon writing for Politico reveals that in the high-stakes world of American education, UK’s Pearson makes money even when its results don’t measure up and they often do not deliver. Instead Pearson’s mania for profits is proving to be very destructive and our teachers and children are suffering.

“The story of Pearson’s rise is very much a story about America’s obsession with education reform over the past few decades.”

“Pearson has aggressive lobbyists, top-notch marketing and a highly skilled sales team. Until the New York attorney general cracked down in late 2013, Pearson’s charitable foundation made a practice of treating school officials from across the nation to trips abroad, to conferences where the only education company represented was Pearson.”

Read the rest of this story at Politico: http://www.politico.com/story/2015/02/pearson-education-115026.html#ixzz3RMdKpfFg

Please share this post with everyone you know and people you don’t know through Twitter, Facebook, Google +, LinkedIn and/or any other social networks that you use. Thank you.

_______________________

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

Runner Up in Biography/Autobiogrpahy
2015 Florida Book Festival

Crazy-is-Normal-a-classroom-expose-200x300

Honorable Mention in Biography/Autobiography
2014 Southern California Book Festival
2014 New England Book Festival
2014 London Book Festival

His third book is Crazy is Normal, a classroom exposé, a memoir. “Lofthouse presents us with grungy classrooms, kids who don’t want to be in school, and the consequences of growing up in a hardscrabble world. While some parents support his efforts, many sabotage them—and isolated administrators make the work of Lofthouse and his peers even more difficult.” – Bruce Reeves

Lofthouse’s first novel was the award winning historical fiction My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. His second novel was the award winning thriller Running with the Enemy. His short story A Night at the “Well of Purity” was named a finalist of the 2007 Chicago Literary Awards. His wife is Anchee Min, the international, best-selling, award winning author of Red Azalea, a New York Times Notable Book of the Year (1992).

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DE-Day was when the public schools were first targeted for destruction

I can come close to the day the propaganda war was launched to brand teachers 100% responsible for teaching and learning—a war that has left poverty, children and parents out of the equation. The day it started for me and the teachers I worked with was similar to the day Pearl Harbor was bombed by Japan. It was a day that should live in infamy.

I was there. I heard it. I saw it along with the staff of an entire middle school.

The Un-Coupling of American Famlies

It was the prestart of the 1987-88 school year a few days before the students arrived. The new principal, a tyrant, stood in front of his new staff—the district had forced him to transfer from the grade school where he wanted to stay to the middle school where I was teaching, and the district administration, that would have made Arne Duncan and Bill Gates proud, moved the previous principal, who was too caring of Children and supportive of us teachers, to another school.

The new tyrant stood there next to a flip chart on a stand, and he turned the pages one at a time. On each large page was an image and a caption. There was no Q & A session afterwards.

I don’t remember exactly what each large page said or what order they were in or how many there were, but the message is branded on my brain and here are the two that stand out the most.

  • If students are failing your classes, it’s your fault. You are not motivating them.
  • If students are misbehaving in your classes, it’s your fault. You can’t control them.

The tyrant made it clear that he wasn’t interested in what we thought. He also made it clear that he had a closed-door policy. If we had problems with students and parents, he wasn’t there to support us, and we had to solve the problems ourselves or quit. At the end of that school year about 50% of the teaching staff quit, retired early or transferred to other schools. I transferred to Nogales High School in the same district along with another English teacher.

Michelle Rhee was stamped from the same mold as that tyrant principal, and the district administrators who ran Rowland Unified back then were from that mold too.

During those years, I saw too many good and dedicated teachers quit, transfer or retire early to escape the constant blame game and stress that came from the top down and was always aimed at teachers. I also witnessed several principals lose their jobs who were too supportive of us teachers.

The planning for the war against the public schools and teachers started about the same time as the flawed and fraud of 1983’s A Nation at Risk, and Ronald Reagan was the president who introduced Milton Friedman’s trickle down economic policy as the financial law of the land that has made the richest 1% wealthier than at any time in U.S. History, increased poverty, and smashed the middle class with a sledge hammer of debt that starts with young adults who dare to dream and go to college.

Average Income Per Family

If you doubt that Reagan’s A Nation at Risk was all a lie, I suggest you read 1990’s Sandia Report. “What we now call school reform isn’t the product of a gradual consensus emerging among educators about how kids learn; it’s a political movement that grew out of one seed planted in 1983.”

After 1987, teachers who failed too many students for not doing the work that led to learning were called in to the office on an annual basis and blamed for those failing grades, and we were asked what we were going to do to fix the problem. The blame for children not doing school work and studying shifted from students to teachers, and the few teachers who didn’t fail students were never called on the carpet to defend themselves.

In fact, two VP’s pulled me aside in the hall on two different occasions and warned me that the district administration was trying to figure out how to fire me. Both of these VP’s asked me if there was any way I could compromise and give the district what they wanted. That meant fewer failing grades for students who didn’t read, work or study.  The district couldn’t attack me for low test scores, because my students had the highest gains in the district by a significant margin for the grade level I was teaching.  In addition, a third VP in a department meeting said that those gains had been documented going back years—as long as the state had been using standardized tests to measure student growth.

In conclusion, the district administration never fired me—but I think they worked hard to make my job more difficult. I retired on my own terms at the end of 30 years in the classroom (1975-2005).

That outcome might have been different in today’s climate where any teacher can be made to look like a failure by the reformers, because they have support from the corporate owned media and have rigged the system with the Common Core standardized tests, and that’s not counting the support of not only the last two Presidents of the United States, but several state governors; Arne Duncan and about a half dozen of the wealthiest oligarchs in the U.S. starting with Bill Gates, the Walton family and their vast propaganda machines.

Poverty Rates for Children and Elderly

_______________________

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

Runner Up in Biography/Autobiogrpahy
2015 Florida Book Festival

Crazy-is-Normal-a-classroom-expose-200x300

Honorable Mention in Biography/Autobiography
2014 Southern California Book Festival
2014 New England Book Festival
2014 London Book Festival

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 Common Core that Navy SEALS should have with NCLB

Each year, about 1,000 men start SEAL training. Although training success rates vary per class, the dropout rate for SEALs is 80% or more.

Now, you might be thinking, how does George Bush’s No Child Left Behind Act, Obama’s Race to the Top and Bill Gates’ Common Core agenda to rank and then punish about four million teachers for children who are not college and career ready by age 17/18 have anything to do with the Navy SEALs?

G.W. Bush’s No Child Left Behind Act mandated that public schools and public school teachers be successful with 100% of children so they all graduate on time from high school college and career ready—and no child will be dropped or kicked out like the corporate Charters do to children who don’t measure up to the demanding standards that Bill Gates and a few other billionaire oligarchs expect every child to meet, except their own children, of course.

And when the public schools don’t graduate 100% of children from high school, college and career ready, then those teachers and public schools—thanks to Bill Gates and the other billionaires oligarchs who are funding the propaganda for this agenda—MUST be punished, and that eventually means every public school and teacher in America will be fired, their unions broken and all public schools closed to be replaced with for-profit (with a major emphasis on profit thanks to Milton Friedman thinking) corporate Charter schools that Stanford studies have already revealed are mostly worse than the public schools they are replacing.

The Stanford Credo study said, “Our national pooled analysis reveals, on the whole, a slightly negative picture of average charter school performance nationwide. On average, charter school students can expect to see their academic growth be somewhat lower than their traditional public school peers …”

The fact is that every man can’t be a Navy SEAL and every child will not grow up to be college and career ready by age 17/18.  But we shouldn’t let that stop the corporate reform movement that wants to reform education from a transparent, democratic, non-profit, public institution to an opaque, secretive, profit-driven corporate education system riddled by fraud and run by CEO’s who don’t answer to parents and who earn six to eight figures annually. For instance, Eva Moskowitz, a corporate Charter queen, who pays herself from public funds more than the president of the Untied States earns.

Imagine what would happen if the U.S. Navy punished the SEAL instructors like the U.S. Department of Education is now punishing public schools and public school teachers. How long would it take before the Navy couldn’t find any instructors to train SEALs?

But then, of course, the U.S. Navy could just hire Teach for America (TFA) recruits—with their five weeks of summer seminars—to train the SEALs, couldn’t they?

Top Ten List on Birck Wall Updated Jan 28 - 2015

In conclusion, I want to suggest that the White House seriously reconsider how Navy SEALs are trained so the success rate reaches 100% and not 20% or less, and TFA, of course, is the answer along with NCLB, RTTT, and Bill Gates Common Core agenda. To make this agenda fool-proof for even Bill Gates, Pearson will come up with a secretive, expensive, flawed, bubble test riddled with errors like Pearson has already done for the public schools, that would falsely promise a 100% success rate for everyone who wants to be SEAL ready—including all women, even transgenders in addition to paraplegics.

_______________________

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

Runner Up in Biography/Autobiogrpahy
2015 Florida Book Festival

Crazy-is-Normal-a-classroom-expose-200x300

Honorable Mention in Biography/Autobiography
2014 Southern California Book Festival
2014 New England Book Festival
2014 London Book Festival

His third book is Crazy is Normal, a classroom exposé, a memoir. “Lofthouse presents us with grungy classrooms, kids who don’t want to be in school, and the consequences of growing up in a hardscrabble world. While some parents support his efforts, many sabotage them—and isolated administrators make the work of Lofthouse and his peers even more difficult.” – Bruce Reeves

Lofthouse’s first novel was the award winning historical fiction My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. His second novel was the award winning thriller Running with the Enemy. His short story A Night at the “Well of Purity” was named a finalist of the 2007 Chicago Literary Awards. His wife is Anchee Min, the international, best-selling, award winning author of Red Azalea, a New York Times Notable Book of the Year (1992).

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

 

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Claims that Sky is Falling Used to Justify Economic based Reforms in U.S. Public Education

Anthony Cody left a comment on the Education Bloggers Network Central about an ETS report on education to serve the economy. “The ETS is basically Pearson Education these days,” said Paul Horton in another comment.

This means ETS is a mouthpiece for Pearson PLC, a British multinational publishing and education company headquartered in London. Pearson is the largest—for profit—education company and the largest book publisher in the world, and Pearson has been funding media propaganda and lobbying elected officials to use the unproven and flawed Common Core State Standards and Pearson’s copyrighted tests in the U.S. for those standards.

More information about Pearson may be found at PR Watch.org, Peyton Wolcott.com and 8 Things You Should Know About Corporations Like Pearson that Make Huge Profits from Standardized Tests.

Guess who gets paid every time a student takes one of those Pearson copyrighted Common Core tests that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is spending hundreds of millions of dollars to use as a way to rank and fire teachers while closing public schools and then turning our children over to corporate Charters that several Stanford studies report are worse or the same as the public schools they are replacing.

If you guessed Pearson, you were right. Pearson—with help from Bill Gates’s billions—is behind testing our children toward failure. Watch the video to discover what that means for our children.


“I believe in standardizing automobiles. I do not believe in standardizing human beings. Standardization is a great peril which threatens American culture.” > Albert Einstein

ETS made misleading claims in their press release that announced the (economic corporate education reform) meeting to be held in Washington D.C. on February 17, 2015, that left out many important facts about public education in the United States.

For instance:

  1. The Economic Policy Institute reports, U.S. poverty rates higher, safety net weaker than in peer countries—the U.S. is ranked dead last for percentile as a share of median worker earnings in 21 selected OECD countries.
  2. The functional literacy rate when comparing the United States to Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the UK—five English speaking countries that all belong to the OECD. > Literacy Comparison
  3. The college graduation ranking for the United States compared to every country on the planet as reported by World Atlas.com. The United States is ranked #4 on the top 10 most educated nations list—and there are 196 countries in the world today. The United States is in the top two percent for college graduates.
  4. More than 16 million children in the United States – 22% of all children – live in families with incomes below the federal poverty level– $23,550 a year for a family of four. Research shows that, on average, families need an income of about twice that level to cover basic expenses. Using this standard, 45%—or more than 33 million—of children live in low-income families. > nccp.org

How does that number of children living in poverty compare to 34 OECD countries? Answer: OECD.org reports that 13% of all children were poor in 2010. The only OECD countries with childhood poverty rates higher than the United States were: Chile, Mexico, Romania, Turkey and Israel.

  1. In addition, Stanford.edu reported in a study that: “Based on their analysis, the co-authors found that average U.S. scores in reading and math on the PISA are low partly because a disproportionately greater share of U.S. students comes from disadvantaged social class groups, whose performance is relatively low in every country.

“As part of the study, Carnoy and Rothstein calculated how international rankings on the most recent PISA might change if the United States had a social class composition similar to that of top-ranking nations: U.S. rankings would rise to sixth from 14th in reading and to 13th from 25th in math. The gap between U.S. students and those from the highest-achieving countries would be cut in half in reading and by at least a third in math.”

The report also 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.

Note: countries that score high on the PISA have low rates of childhood poverty. Childhood poverty in Canada is about 14%, in Finland it’s less than 5%, and in South Korea it’s less than 10%.

  1. The Global Innovation Index rankings, comparing 143 countries, lists the United States as #6 with a score of 60.09—92.7% of first place Switzerland’s index rank of 64.79. That means the U.S. was ranked higher than almost 96% of the world’s countries.
  2. Alternet.org reports that “New Data reveals our public—not private—school system is among the best in the world. In fact, except for the debilitating effects of poverty, our public school system may be the best in the world.” Paul Buchheit writes, “Perhaps most significant in the NCES reading results is that schools with less than 25% free-lunch eligibility scored higher than the average in ALL OTHER COUNTRIES. “

Maybe I should have titled this post: “The Misleading lies that Pearson and Bill Gates keep telling us” or “For Profit and Wealth, Blame it on the Teacher as Usual”.

_______________________

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

Runner Up in Biography/Autobiogrpahy
2015 Florida Book Festival

Crazy-is-Normal-a-classroom-expose-200x300

Honorable Mention in Biography/Autobiography
2014 Southern California Book Festival
2014 New England Book Festival
2014 London Book Festival

His third book is Crazy is Normal, a classroom exposé, a memoir. “Lofthouse presents us with grungy classrooms, kids who don’t want to be in school, and the consequences of growing up in a hardscrabble world. While some parents support his efforts, many sabotage them—and isolated administrators make the work of Lofthouse and his peers even more difficult.” – Bruce Reeves

Lofthouse’s first novel was the award winning historical fiction My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. His second novel was the award winning thriller Running with the Enemy. His short story A Night at the “Well of Purity” was named a finalist of the 2007 Chicago Literary Awards. His wife is Anchee Min, the international, best-selling, award winning author of Red Azalea, a New York Times Notable Book of the Year (1992).

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

 

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