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Category Archives: Education

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The 10 most educated countries in the world.

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

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

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

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

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Thurmond vs Tuck and how FAKE Democrats are fooling voters with help from Alt-Right Billionaires

UPDATE

“You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.” Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln was right, this time. The results of the election between Thurmond and Tuck show that “you cannot fool all the people all the time”.

The San Francisco Chronicle reported on November 17, “Thurmond wins race for state school superintendent as Tuck concedes.”

“The tight race saw a record level of spending — more than $50 million. Tuck attracted deep-pocketed education reformers, including Gap co-founder Doris Fisher and philanthropist Eli Broad. A representative from Tuck’s campaign did not immediately respond to requests for comment.”

California’s General Election results on November 19, 2018 were:
Tony K. Thurmond 4,669,431 (50.9%) votes to Tuck’s 4,514,400 (49.1%).

In 2014, Tuck’s charter school/voucher supporters spent about $13.5 million and failed to get him elected California’s Superintendent of Public Instruction. Four years later, they tried and failed again. to elect Tuck to the same position.

The Sacramento Bee reports, “Charter school backers spent millions on statewide races in 2018. They still lost twice. “Independent groups supporting Tuck spent more than $36 million this cycle. Prominent education reform supporters, including frequent political donor Bill Bloomfield, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings and philanthropist Eli Broad were among the biggest contributors to those efforts. Tuck’s official campaign raised another $5 million.”

How much will the public school hating, profit loving, private sector, corporate education reformers spend in the next election in 2022 to elect Tuck or someone like him to destroy California’s public schools?  I hope that the majority of California’s voters continue to NOT be fooled by the autocratic, billionaire privatizes that hate labor unions, the public sector, the U.S. Constitution, and democracy.

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Politico.com reported on November 1, five days before the 2018 election, “In the race to be California’s top educator, charter schools ally Marshall Tuck registered a substantial 12-point lead (48 percent to 36 percent) over state Assemblyman Tony Thurmond, as Tuck takes his second shot at the position. …

“The state superintendent race has attracted the most outside spending of any statewide contest, some $35 million: Teachers unions have showed up big for Thurmond, while rival EdVoice — whose campaign warchest is stocked by a small cast of individuals that includes Bill Bloomfield, Arthur Rock, Eli Broad, Richard Riordan and Jim Walton — have poured it on for Tuck. Both sides are saturating the airwaves; illustrating the stakes, the California Democratic Party just launched a $2.3 million ad blitz for Thurmond, and Sen. Kamala Harris appeared in a new pro-Thurmond.”

If that isn’t enough to point out the FAKE Democrat, maybe this will. At the State Democratic Convention, who did the Democrats in the audience boo off the stage? The Washington Post answered that question: “Both men are registered Democrats, but Tuck has the support of many Republicans. With the state Democratic Party supporting Thurmond, Tuck was booed off the stage at the California Democratic Party convention earlier this year.”

When was the last time a Democratic candidate was support by Republicans?

Back in 2015, the Alt-Right, Bill Bloomfield, Arthur Rock, Eli Broad, Richard Riordan and Jim Walton, et all. Poured it on for another fake Democrat by the name of Steve Glazer, and The Mercury News asked, “Will the ‘real Democrat’ please stand up?”

“They support Democratic touchstone issues such as environmentalism, gun control, gay marriage and abortion rights. But they’re often seen as party pariahs for espousing ideas like rolling back public workers’ pensions, banning transit strikes and making it easier to fire bad teachers.

“They’re a new breed of Democrat politician, and they’re shaking up the state’s political landscape as business interests, independents and sometimes even moderate Republicans pour money into nasty Democrat vs. Democrat battles made possible by California’s new “top-two” primary. And with the state Republican Party still searching for a path back from decades of decline, some political analysts say it’s only the beginning of a long battle for the soul of the California Democrat Party.”

Back in 2015, I published a blog post about Steve Glazer, another fake Democrat, in Evidence of a Corporate Reformer Pretending to be something he isn’t, and how the wealthy are buying the U.S. one election at a time.

I wrote, “It is obvious that Steve Glazer’s wealthy and corporate supporters are outspending Susan Bonilla at least $8 to $1 if not more.”

Nothing has changed but the name of the FAKE Democrat and that name is Marshal Tuck.

I wrote the following paragraph in 2015, and nothing has changed. “If you aren’t aware of the war being waged in the United States by a few billionaire oligarchs to remake the United States into a country that fits what they think, then it’s time to wake up and learn how to discover the signs of oligarch funded propaganda designed to manipulate and fool voters during elections. These billionaires are buying their way into the Republican and Democratic parties, and they are libertarians, neo-liberals, and neo-conservatives—and all of them threaten our freedom and way of life, because to win, they subvert the democratic process protected by the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights.”

If you vote for Marshal Tuck, you are supporting liar, a fraud, and if Tuck wins the election, California will end up with a Betsy DeVos clone or worse.  The Washington Post said it best: “Betsy DeVos is the worst secretary of education ever”.  If Marshall Tuck wins this election, he will be the worst state secretary of education ever.


Tony Thurmond is a real Democrat while Marshal Tuck, running as a FAKE Democrat, was booed at the California State Democratic Convention

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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). He is also the award winning author of My Splendid Concubine and Crazy is Normal, a classroom expose.

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A growing Army of Public School teachers is fighting to save Pub-Ed

Yes, there is an army of public school teachers across the United States already fighting to save public education from greedy, autocratic billionaires like Bill Gates and Betsy DeVos.

How big is this army of public school teachers? In the U.S. military during World War II, an army was made up of 100,000 to 150,000 troops.

Since “Public school systems will employ about 3.2 million full-time-equivalent (FTE) teachers in fall 2018,” there is room for more than 32 armies made up of public school teachers, but we don’t need 32 armies. All we need is one or two — enough willing to shake the crap out of the greedy, lying, fraudulent, corporate pirates attempting to disrupt and hijack public education in the United States.

For instance, the Continental Army that George Washington led during the Revolution was estimated to number 200,000 troops at its high point. The total population of the thirteen colonies was less than 4 million, and Washington won that revolution with 5-percent of the total population willing to step up and become heroes.

In addition, it wasn’t an easy fight, because it has been estimated that there were about 400,000 loyalists to the British Crown or 16-percent of the white population during the American Revolution, and George Washington still won even with those numbers against him … with some help from France and Spain.

I think all we need is 5-percent, 160,000 or more, of the 3.2 million teachers that are willing to speak up and fight back, an army of heroes that will win this war to save traditional public education.

And … only 33% of teachers approve of charter schools. That works out to more than 2.14 million teachers that do not approve.  That many teachers add up to more than 24 armies if they all become active in the fight to save democratic, transparent, non-profit public education in the United States.

Teachers are fighting back. USA Today reports: ‘Tired of begging’: Teacher rebellion shuts down Oklahoma, Kentucky schools

Then there is this USA Today state guide of Teacher Walkouts that lists Arizona, Colorado, Oklahoma, Kentucky, and West Virginia.

That doesn’t include the recent vote in Los Angeles Unified School District, the 2nd largest school district in the United States, to authorize a strike.

We’re ready to strike if no other path forward can be found. This is about making sure every LAUSD student attends a healthy, clean and supportive school. It’s about ensuring that school workers who are devoted to student learning can provide for their own children.”

And the Democratic Party must be waking up to this growing army of teachers fighting back. Education Week reports, “In Teacher Unrest, Democrats See Election Edge. …

“As if U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos’ relentless championing of charter schools and vouchers weren’t enough, millions of Americans have been bombarded by the sounds and images of striking teachers and educators rallying in Arizona, Oklahoma, and West Virginia, articulating the harm of real-life classroom cuts they attribute to Republican leadership.”

Teachers say even if they don’t strike, they’ll express their rage at the polls this fall. One protestor held a sign that said, “I’m a teacher and I vote.”

It took George Washington seven years to win the Revolution. How long will it take this growing army of public school teachers to win the war to save our democratic public schools from a few greedy autocratic billionaires and their minions?

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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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Teacher v. Professor: On Why Anyone Would Be an Educator

A great comparison K-12 vs a University Professor. having taught for 30 years, the last 16 as a high school English and journalism teacher, I too worked long days as early as 6 AM to 10 PM when the high school’s alarms were turned on and we were told we had to leave. We meaning me and the student editors of the high school newspaper.

I taught about 170 students in five classes for 25 hours a week and the other 35 to 75 hours, I was planning lessons and correcting student work, and like Paul Thomas, I believed in having my students write essays and spent endless hours reading them.

I’m a former US Marine and combat vet and I can say with conviction, the Marines and fighting in Vietnam, for all the mental and physical scars that came with combat, wasn’t even close to teaching as the most difficult job I’ve ever had and I worked 45 years of my life with 12 of those years in the private sector.

This I learned the hard way, K-12 teachers are treated worse than garbage by too many of America’s elected leaders and Alt-Right billionaires. When I retired from teaching after 30-years in the classroom, I took a 40-percent pay cut and left without any medical insurance or coverage because that’s how too many in the Democratic and Republic Parties treat teachers in this country.

radical eyes for equity

While cycling with a new acquaintance, I navigated through the usual questions about how long I have been a professor, and then, after I mentioned that I was a high school English teacher for 18 years before moving to higher education, the follow up about which was easier, or which I preferred.

On this ride and during the conversation, I realized I am quickly approaching the tipping point in my career since I am starting my 17th year as a professor, just one year away from having been a professor for as long as I was a high school teacher—the identity I remain strongly associated with about myself professionally.

Being a writer has held both aspects of my being an educator together, but K-12 teaching and being a professor in higher education (especially my role as a teacher educator) are far more distinct than alike.

However, and most disturbing, K-12…

View original post 1,458 more words

 

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The Dangerous Technology Revolution to Improve Education

The promise was that technology was going to revolutionize education and teachers would become a thing of the past, but after decades of results and many studies, the evidence says technology will not revolutionize education and removing human interaction between human teachers and students is already a disaster for learning.

The Verge.com reports, “Evidence mounts that laptops are terrible for students at lectures. Time to reconsider the notebook and pen. …Writing things by hand is becoming less common as gadgets and speech recognition software continue to replace pen and paper, but it’s long proven that handwriting improves motor skills, memory, and creativity. So even though note taking with a laptop might be faster, you might want to think about how much information you’re retaining.”

Studies at Princeton University, the University of California, York University and McMaster University and the United States Military Academy all confirmed that students who do not have access to a [technology] device performed significantly better than those who did.

In fact, Psychology Today reports, “Too Much Screen Time Damages the Brain. But what about kids who aren’t ‘addicted’ per se? Addiction aside, a much broader concern that begs awareness is the risk that screen time is creating subtle damage even in children with ‘regular’ exposure, considering that the average child clocks in more than seven hours a day (Rideout 2010). As a practitioner, I observe that many of the children I see suffer from sensory overload, lack of restorative sleep, and a hyperaroused nervous system, regardless of diagnosis—what I call electronic screen syndrome. These children are impulsive, moody, and can’t pay attention—much like the description in the quote above describing damage seen in scans.”

In addition, Dr Aric Sigman, Health Education Lecturer, Fellow of the Society of Biology, Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society, writes, “Screen time has now become a medical issue. Research published in the world’s most reputable medical and scientific journals shows that the sheer amount of time children spend watching TV, DVDs, computers and the internet is linked with significant measurable biological changes in their bodies and brains that may have significant medical consequences. … Conclusion: What can be done? One may ask why the studies above are not reaching decision makers such as the European Parliament. An editorial in the American Medical Association’s Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine asked a similar question: ‘Why is it that something that is widely recognized as being so influential and potentially dangerous has resulted in so little effective action?’”

The answer is simple: it’s all about money from the many becoming profits for the few and who has control of what our children learn by teaching our children that the Earth was created in six days a little over 6,000 years ago and that the science of evolution is a lie; that climate change and global warming is also a lie.

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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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Have you heard how horrible teachers are in the United States? Part 3 of 3

Explain why teachers allegedly don’t care about the children they teach when they get paid less and even spend their own money for materials in their classroom.

How does teachers’ pay compare to other Americans with the same level of education?

The Economic Policy Institute says, “A comparison of teachers’ wages to those of workers with comparable skill requirements, including accountants, reporters, registered nurses, computer programmers, clergy, personnel officers, and vocational counselors and inspectors, shows that teachers earned $116 less per week in 2002, a wage disadvantage of 12.2%. Because teachers worked more hours per week, the hourly wage disadvantage was an even larger 14.1%.

“Teachers’ weekly wages have grown far more slowly than those for these comparable occupations; teacher wages have deteriorated about 14.8% since 1993 and by 12.0% since 1983 relative to comparable occupations.”

Conclusion: Teachers that work in community based, democratic, transparent, non-profit public schools have been criticized and attacked in the media for decades ever since President Ronald Reagan released a missleading and fraudulent study called “A Nation at Risk” in 1983. In fact, a few years later, The Sandia Report proved that Reagan’s study that was used to declare a war on America’s public schools and teachers was totally wrong.

The truth is that public school teachers work, on average, almost twice the number of hours a week than the average American does while being paid less than workers with comparable skills, and then those teachers spend their own money so America’s children have a better chance to earn an education through their hard work. Teachers teach. Children do the work that learns from that teaching. Parents are supposed to support both the teachers and the children. What has gone wrong?

My daughter is 25 and she is now earning more than I did the year I retired after teaching for thirty years, and I had an AS degree, a BA, and an MFA. All she has is a BA.

Start with Part 1 or return to Part 2

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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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Have you heard how horrible teachers are in the United States? Part 2 of 3

It’s well-documented, even by the IRS, how much U.S. public school teachers spend to buy supplies for their classrooms. This fact alone proves that most if not all teachers care about the children they teach putting another lie in its grave and again I ask, “Who is spreading these lies and why are they doing it?”

In August 2016, Time.com reported, “The Education Market Association says that virtually all teachers wind up paying out of pocket for supplies, and it’s not chump change, either. On average, most spent nearly $500 last year, and one in 10 spent $1,000 or more. All told, a total of $1.6 billion in school supply costs is shifted from parents — or, increasingly, from cash-strapped districts — onto teachers themselves.”

I spent money on my classroom too. Some years I spent several hundred. Other years I spent more than one thousand dollars.  The IRS only allowed teachers to deducted up to $500 off their net pay … not off the taxes they have to pay.  I always spent more than the maximum allowed deduction.  The average teacher pay in the United States is $56,383 annually.  Before deductions, that puts the taxpayer in a 17- percent tax bracket.  That means that most teachers see their tax go down $85 for that $500 deduction.

Return to Part 1 or continue with Part 3 on October 22, 2017.

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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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