RSS

Category Archives: Education

We the CEOs of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Marketplace …

While reading Endgame: Disaster Capitalism, New Orleans, and the Charter Scam by Paul Thomas, I was reminded of another piece I have been reading from the National Geographic Magazine for May 2016 that focuses on Yellowstone as another perfect example of why there must be an honest and un-corrupted government to limit the greedy excesses of out-of-control capitalism where CEOs — according to Forbes being a CEO is the most popular profession of psychopaths — that worship at the altar of avarice, and are determined to turn a profit and grow fortunes at any cost no matter how many people suffer.

The United States government was not created through the U.S. Constitution to be a government for capitalism. The U.S. Constitution created a government and a republic to protect all the people, not to provide opportunities only for the Bill Gates, Donald Trumps, Kochs, Waltons, Zuckerbergs, Tim Cooks and Eli Broads of the world.

The preamble to the U.S. Constitution does NOT say, “We the autocratic CEOs managing private sector, for-profit corporations, in Order to form a more perfect Marketplace, establish unending profits for our shareholders, insure continued consumerism, provide mostly useless products and services, promote many methods of debt for losers that belong to the 99%, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our families—and no one else—do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America that belongs to the 0.1%.”

Here is the real Preamble to the U.S. Constitution that was written to protect all the people from tyrants of all sorts, including psychopathic CEOs of autocratic, for profit, private sector corporations.

“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

In Conclusion, I urge readers of this Blog to not only share the link to this post with everyone they know but also to heed a warning from Benjamin Franklin.

At the close of the Constitutional Convention of 1787 a lady asked Dr. Franklin, “Well, Doctor, what have we got—a Republic or a Monarchy?”

“A Republic, if you can keep it, “ Franklin allegedly replied. – Bartleby.com

What is closer to a monarchy, a for-profit corporation managed by an autocratic un-elected CEO that answers only to a board of directors and/or a few of the wealthiest and most powerful shareholders OR a republic with power divided between the appointed justices of the U.S. Supreme Court, the elected Congress and an elected president with a term limit of eight years after winning a second election for another four years to live in the White House and pledge: “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”?

Words for Thought – the Enlistment Oath of the U.S. Armed Forces: “I, (state name of enlistee), do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.”

Maybe it is time for the U.S. Military to step in and defend America against its domestic enemies who are spending billions to Subvert the American government and trample the U.S. Constitution and the Republic it created.

I also suggest reading A Brief History of the Corporation: 1600 to 2010 to learn more about how corporations manipulate our world and our lives.

__________________________________

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).

Crazy is Normal promotional image with blurbs

Where to Buy

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

 

 

Tags: , , , , ,

Does Hillary Clinton know the difference between public education in China, India and the United States?

At a recent Town Hall event in South Carolina, audience member John Loveday asked Hillary Clinton a question. He wanted to know if she would support a longer school day or school year to keep up with India and China.

Loveday introduced himself as the principal of a charter school and claimed that his charter school offered 230 instruction days versus the traditional 180 days for public schools.

But there is a BIG difference between offered and actual days children attend class as you will discover, because Karen Wolfe did her homework and learned that Loveday is the principal of a virtual charter school, and that reveals a lot. She wrote about what she learned in a February 25, 2016 post called Joe the Plumber takes on public education.

Virtual charters might be open more days but does that mean students at home on their tablet, desktop, laptop or smartphone are logged on and paying attention while doing work for several hours each day for every one of those 230 offered days?

I don’t think so, and you will find out why later in this post.

Loveday said, “If you look at countries like India and China, they offer—they require—their high school students to attend 220 days on average. That’s 40 more than our high school students.”

What Loveday didn’t say and probably doesn’t want to you or anyone else to know is that in China mandatory education ends at age 15 before senior high school begins—grades 10, 11 and 12 are not mandatory—and millions of mostly rural Chinese students have already left the academic public education system by the end of 6th grade.

In fact, to stay and attend a senior high school—that isn’t mandatory—those want-to-be high school students willing go to school more days than public school students in the U.S. must take a high-stakes, high-stress, national test and rank among the top scorers to make it into a high school.  Students who take the test and do not score high enough are offered a choice: go home or go to a vocational school and learn a trade.  And even those who do make the score and get into high school have no choice of the school they attend. The high school the winners of the high-stakes, high-stress test competition in China end up in is based on their rank on the test. Students who scored the highest are sent to the highest quality high schools, etc. The best high schools end up with the best test-taking students who usually have the most supportive parents known as autocratic tiger parents.

Compulsory education in China is grades 1 to 9 but millions of rural students who live in small villages end their education at the end of 6th grade to return to work in the fields or move to a city and work in a factory, and the government does nothing to force those young children to return to finish grades 7, 8 and 9.

There are about 121 million children in China’s K – 6 public education system, but only 11.6 million will make it to college out of the voluntary senior high schools, because there is another competitive high-stakes test in 12th grade that is used to rank students that make it to college—or not.

As for India’s longer school year allegedly making India’s educational system more competitive than public schools in the United States, a few numbers tell the fact-based truth of India’s economic and education systems.

  1. The average Indian child spends only FIVE years in school, according to the World Bank.
  2. According to India’s 2001 Census, as many as 560,687,797 persons in the country are literate.There are more than 1.2 billion Indians. To discover how many Indians are illiterate, do the math, that is if you paid attention in math and know how to subtract.
  3. According to NBC news, “India’s hunger ‘shame’: 3,000 children die every day, despite economic growth.”

Do you think starving children are in any position to learn when they are in school—what are they thinking about, their school books or their hunger?

NBC news reported that, “A government-supported survey last month (in India) said 42 percent of children under five are underweight – almost double that of sub-Saharan Africa – compared to 43 percent five years ago.

“The statistic – which means 3,000 children dying daily due to illnesses related to poor diets – led Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to admit malnutrition was ‘a national shame’ and was putting the health of the nation in jeopardy.

“It is a national shame. Child nutrition is a marker of the many things that are not going right for the poor of India,” said Purnima Menon, research fellow on poverty, health and nutrition at the Institute of Food Policy Research Institute.

“India’s efforts to reduce the number of undernourished kids have been largely hampered by blighting poverty where many cannot afford the amount and types of food they need.”

Instead of comparing India and China’s public schools to public education in the United States, I suggest we compare the success of education in China and India to the virtual charter school industry where Loveday works.

Public Schools First says, “The vast majority of students who attend online schools are failing. According to a National Education Policy Center report, only 27.4 percent of virtual schools met federal adequate yearly progress (AYP) standards. Graduation rates are astoundingly low. K12, Inc.’s Ohio Virtual Academy reported an overall 30.4% four-year on time graduation rate with a 12.2% rate for African American students and a 24.2% rate for economically disadvantaged students (versus a statewide rate of 78%). K12, Inc.’s Colorado Virtual Academy reported a 12% four-year on time graduation rate (versus a statewide rate of 72%). There is also deep concern about the ability of these virtual charters to effectively educate at-risk or special needs students. Other concerns about virtual instruction that directly impact student achievement include.”

In conclusion, it would seem that China and India’s public education systems are much better than the for-profit—anyway you look at it—virtual charter school industry that Loveday is part of. I think Loveday was a plant and his question was scripted. The fact that Hillary Clinton did not respond with the facts in this post is enough for me to think she was in on it. I allege that Loveday’s question was planned and approved by Clinton before the event and her answer was on that same script.

Do we really want a U.S. President who doesn’t know these facts or does know them and deliberately ignored those facts during an alleged scripted question and answer session in a town hall meeting?

One thing I do know, John Loveday is a profit-mongering fraud.

__________________________________

HEY, LET’S BLAME IT ON THE TEACHERS AS USUAL

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).

Crazy is Normal promotional image with blurbs

Where to Buy

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

 

Tags: , , , , ,

The Shocking 50 State Report Card on Support for Public Education in the U.S.

State Grades from NPE Report Card of US  public education

 

Tags: , ,

Corporate driven public education reform is destroying OUR children’s health and future

I was reading the latest issue of National Geographic Magazine when I saw the following paragraph and realized that the test obsessed corporate public education reform movement is threatening the health and future of most of America’s children.

Daniel Stone wrote, “Hard on the Eyes: Rates of myopia have increased around the world, particularly in Asia. In China about 90 percent of 17-to-19-year-old are nearsighted, up from an estimated 10 percent in the 1950s. Myopia is pandemic in the U.S. too, reports the National Eye Institute. Once thought to affect bookish children, nearsightedness is no believed to ‘arise form a lifestyle of not just too much study but of too little time outdoors,’ says researcher Ian Morgan. Glasses can clear up vision, but exposure to sunlight seems to be the best defense. A 2013 study in Taiwan found that spending school recess outside can prevent myopia’s onset.” – National Geographic Magazine, February 2016

There’s a lot more information out there that supports traditionally known methods of educating our children and little or no reputable support for the test obsessed rank-and-punish corporate system that billionaire oligarchs like Bill Gates funds with hundreds of millions and even billions of dollars to force autocratic, opaque, for profit corporate education methods on us and our children.

For instance, “Too much testing is killing recess” –  Miami Herald.com

5 Health Benefits of Playing Outside –  Care.com

  1. Improves Vision
  2. Promotes Social Skills
  3. Increases Attention Span
  4. Reduces Stress
  5. Provides Vitamin D

And there is more, a lot more:

“We are experiencing a cultural shift toward increased academics at the earliest possible age,” says Rhonda Clements, Ed.D., a professor of education at Hofstra University and president of the American Association for the Child’s Right to Play. The organization, part of the International Play Association, formed in 1973 with the mission of “protecting, preserving and promoting play as a fundamental right for all children.” Since then, it has become a leading advocate of preserving recess in schools.

Susan Ohanian was inspired to write the book What Happened to Recess and Why Are Our Children Struggling in Kindergarten? when she read a 1998 New York Times article detailing the fact that Atlanta was building a new school without a playground. Then-Superintendent of Atlanta Schools Benjamin O. Canada explained the policy this way: “We are intent on improving academic performance. You don’t do that by having kids hanging on the monkey bars.” – parenthood.com

“Reading for pleasure, which has declined among young people in recent decades, enhances thinking and engages the imagination in a way that visual media such as video games and television do not, Greenfield said.” – ucla.edu

“11 problems caused by the standardized testing obsession” –  washingtonpost.com

  1. The obsession with high-stakes standardized tests is stifling creativity and imagination in the classroom.
  2. Standardized tests are being used in high-stakes ways to evaluate and punish teachers.
  3. The obsession with standardized tests is promoting a culture of cheating in many schools.
  4. When standardized tests are the most important thing, the fostering of critical thinking in the classroom gets short shrift.
  5. Standardized tests mostly benefit companies making millions from them.

A Kindergartner’s Nightmare: Is this education? Is this what we want for our children and grandchildren? – seattleducation2010

“Today, more than a decade later, the law (that supports high stakes testing) is uniformly blamed for stripping curriculum opportunities, including art, music, physical education and more, and imposing a brutal testing regime that has forced educators to focus their time and energy on preparing for tests in a narrow range of subjects: namely, English/language arts and math. For students in low-income communities, the impact has been devastating. – neatoday.org

Positive Effects of Extra Curricular Activities on Students – dc.cod.edu

“Extracurricular activities are activities that students participate in that do not fall into the realm of normal curriculum of schools. They are found in all levels of our schools. There are many forms of extracurricular activities such as sports, clubs, governance, student newspaper, music, art, and drama. Extracurricular activities are totally voluntary so students that do not want to participate in them do not have to. Lunnenburg states in his article that “Extracurricular activities serve the same goals and functions as the required and elective courses in the curriculum. However, they provide experiences that are not included in formal courses of study. They allow students to apply the knowledge that they have learned in other classes and acquire concepts of democratic life.”(2010, 2) Extracurricular activities have many positive effects on education. The positive effects that extracurricular activities have on students are behavior, better grades, school completion, positive aspects to become successful adults, and a social aspect.”

Education Inc.: How Private Companies Profit from Public Schools – commondreams.org

“For statewide testing in Texas alone, the company (Pearson) holds a five-year contract worth nearly $500 million to create and administer exams.” … “The mingling of business and education blurs the line between learning and profit-making. Some education reformers advocating for increased reliance on testing also lobby for the large testing companies. It’s often difficult to tell if lawmakers stick with education policies because they’re effective, or because they’re attached to high-dollar contracts.

“The emphasis on testing opened the door to more for-profit companies. In addition to the big testing contracts, No Child Left Behind requires schools that fail to meet requirements three years in a row to offer free tutoring. Companies soon rushed in to fill the need. By 2008, according to a PBS documentary, tutoring for standardized tests amounted to a $4 billion industry. Charter schools can subcontract their entire operations to for-profit companies.”

In conclusion: if you have read this far, who do you think benefits from corporate driven public education reform—funded by a few billionaire oligarchs, like Bill Gates, the Walton family and the Koch brothers—our children or the corporations and names behind the systematic destruction of community based, democratic, non-profit, transparent public education?

__________________________________

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).

Crazy is Normal promotional image with blurbs

Where to Buy

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

 

Tags: , , , , ,

Do NOT be fooled by the Pearson-Powell Alliance Promise

Pearson Awards $600,000 in Grants to Increase High School Graduation Rates in the United States through America’s Promise Alliance, a right-wing corporate organization founded by former four-star general and U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell—the American who went on TV and said Iraq had weapons of mass destruction leading to the long war in Iraq, but no weapons of mass destruction were ever found in Iraq after the war former President G. W. Bush started there in 2003.

Most Americans know who Colin Powell is but do they know what Pearson is? To discover this infamous UK corporation, I suggest reading Alan Singer’s Huffington Post piece, Pearson and Partners Pay in L.A.

Singer writes, “Los Angeles is only the latest Pearson disaster and is only the most recent time the company will pay for its misguided business practices.”

Will the grant money from America’s Promise Alliance go to the classroom or to more high stakes testing with the agenda of punishment designed to fire teachers and close public school?

To discover the possible answer, all we have to do is look at what happened to the $100 million that Mark Zuckerberg—should we change his last name to Suckerberg—donated as a gift to New Jersey’s Newark schools to help them improve.  The Washington Post offers the answer in The real story: Why Mark Zuckerberg’s $100 million gift to Newark schools was announced on Oprah’s show – “Russakoff details what happened with the money and how, in the end, students wound up the big losers in the school reform philanthropy game.”

The burning question here is if the high school graduation rate in the United States is really that horrible that it’s being targeted, again, by the Corporate Education Reform Movement (CERM) as another smear campaign aimed at the U.S. public schools, public school teachers and teachers’ unions.

For instance, high school graduation rates have improved steadily for more than a century. For several decades the 17/18 year old on-time graduation rate was stuck but the overall graduation rate for 25 year olds and up was about 90% because many young people, for whatever reason—usually poverty, that isn’t the fault of public school teachers and their unions—couldn’t graduate on time on the k-12 education assembly line that was created by the state and federal governments and not by teachers or their unions.

In 1900, about a third of Americans age 25 to 64 earned a high school degree and 8 % earned a BA in college.  In June 2015, the on-time high school assembly-line graduation rate was 81%.

US HS graduatoin and BA rate 1900 to 1990

Chart from Russell Sage.org (click on the link and scroll through the charts)

While the above chart only goes to 1990, in 2014, the number of Americans age 25 to 64 who had earned  a high school degree was more than 90% for both men and women, and anyone—even an ignorant fool that supports the CERM—who looked at the following chart should see that both high school and college graduation rates have been literally on a dramatic upward trend since 1900. Does that chart paint a picture of failure for the community based, democratic U.S. public schools?

In addition, the U.S. is ranked 4th or 5th in the world for the ratio of citizens who have earned a college degree.

And then there is this from Time.com, And the World’s Most Educated Country Is… (Keep in mind that there are 196 countries in the world)

  1. Canada
  2. Israel
  3. Japan
  4. United States
  5. New Zealand
  6. South Korea
  7. United Kingdom
  8. Finland
  9. Australia
  10. Ireland

This top TEN list from Time Magazine puts the U.S. in the top 2.55% when ranked with 196 countries.

I wonder if Canada, Israel and Japan have allowed Pearson and other far-right conservatives from the U.S. to buy their way in with a flawed curriculum and high-stakes test agenda that will rank and punish their public school teachers and close their public schools while turning their children over to private sector, for profit corporations so alleged frauds and psychopaths like Eva Moskowitz are allowed to pay themselves more than $500k annually as they abuse and manipulate OUR children to achieve their obvious greed-and-power driven agendas?

There is always room for improvement, but declaring war against the U.S. public schools, its teachers and the teachers’ unions with this track record of nothing but improvement is a ridiculous, tragic crime.

__________________________________

HEY, LET’S BLAME IT ON THE TEACHERS AS USUAL

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).

Graphic OCT 2015

Where to Buy

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

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

“Every child deserves a quality education and the opportunity to thrive.” – Congressman Mark DeSaulnier

This post is a copy of the letter I wrote to the Congressman.

Dear Congressman DeSaulnier:

One of your flyers arrived in our mailbox today.  The front said, “Every child deserved a quality education and the opportunity to thrive.” Your flyer than said, “Mark wants to hear from you.”

I opened the flier and read the five points you claim to fight for every day.

  • Make college more affordable
  • Improve Head Start programs
  • Create safe environments for children
  • Provide healthy meals for students
  • Protect the health and well-being of student athletes

Flyer from Congressman Mark DeSaulnier

While I agree with your five points, what wasn’t there is why I have decided to stop supporting most it not all Democratic Party candidates. The GOP lost me when Reagan was governor of California. The Democrats are losing me because of the Obama administration, and its support of the corporate education reform movement that declared war on the public schools back with the fraudulent and flawed A Nation at Risk report that came out of the Reagan White House in 1983. Have you ever read the Sandia Report of 1990? If not, you should.

http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=view_all&address=389×7847271

The public schools are under attack by special interests: for instance, the Bill Gates billionaire cabal, the Koch brothers cabal (ALEC), the Walton family, Eli Broad, hedge fund billionaires, etc. Arne Duncan is the worst Secretary of Education in U.S. History.

Too many democrats support opaque, for profit (no matter how you look at it) often fraudulent and inferior corporate Charter schools literally stealing money from community based, democratic, transparent public education.  For instance, Eli Broad wants to spend almost a half billion dollars to take over half of the children in the Los Angeles Unified School District and put them in the hands of often corrupt and autocratic corporate education deformers.

Where is your support for the community based democratic public schools? I didn’t see that in your flyer.

I was a public school teacher for thirty years (1975-2005) in Southern California. During those years, I often worked 60 – 100 hour weeks and so did many of my fellow public school teachers.

I was born into a family living in poverty. As a child I had severe dyslexia and also had a life threatening health challenge. Out of high school, I joined the U.S. Marines and ended up fighting in Vietnam. In 1968, I went to college on the GI Bill and five years later graduated with a BA in journalism—the first in my family to go to college and graduate.

Today, I’m the author of three award winning novels and one award winning memoir. My wife is Anchee Min, the author of two memoirs and six novels. Her first memoir was named a New York Times Notable Book of the Year and won the Carl Sandburg Award. One of her novels was a finalist for the British Book Awards. Many of her books have been national bestsellers, and her work has been translated into more than 30 languages and has sold more than a million copies in English alone. When we were dating back in 1999, she sat in my classroom to watch me teach, and she knows the challenge teachers really face to get all the children to make an effort to learn.

Yes, I agree that every child deserves a quality education and the public schools have always offered that opportunity for students who arrive ready to learn. Teachers teach but what they teach must be learned by the students, and the parents/guardians must support both the teachers and the children for learning to take place. Public school teachers cannot do the learning for the children.

Most if not all of the opaque, for-profit and nonprofit corporate Charters schools are not offering a quality education for EVERY child. The evidence is overwhelming that these charters are cherry picking students and suspending many at-risk students that need the most help until those children leave and hopefully return to the public schools that are now challenged to offer adequate resources to educate these children because frauds and charlatans like KIPP, the Success Academes in New York and the New Orleans Corporate Recovery School District are legally being allowed to rob from the poor/middle class and give to the wealthy.

I suggest strongly that you match your actions in Congress to what your flyer says and fight to fully fund and supportthe community based democratic public schools and close the door to psychopaths like Eva Moskowitz and Michele Rhee. You should also start reading Diane Ravitch’s Blog and her books in addition to my award winning “Crazy is Normal” teacher’s memoir to discover what it means to be a teacher. No more NCLB. No more RTTT. No more Common Core high stakes testing that ranks teachers, fires them and then closes public schools.

In the next presidential election, I plan to vote for the Green Party candidate for president unless I hear from the Democratic Party candidate that they support the public schools and offer the country a written pledge that they will resign from the office of president if they go back on their word. It is obvious that Hillary Clinton is not that candidate, because she has close ties to Eli Broad, who is waging an all-out war to destroy community based, transparent, democratic public education.  If this means the GOP takes the White House and both Houses of Congress, well, I’m 70 and only have a few years left. I’d hate to die knowing that the democracy I fought for in Vietnam is now an oligarchy ruled over by the Walton family, Koch brothers, Eli Broad and the Bill Gates cabal.

If you believe in the Republic of the United States and its democracy, then fight for it in Congress and prove what you think with your actions and not your words. If you fear the wealth of the oligarchs and the power that wealth buys, then what you do in Congress will reveal that too.

Have you read the January 15, 2013 Stanford Report on U.S. student performance?  If you haven’t you should.

http://news.stanford.edu/news/2013/january/test-scores-ranking-011513.html

Sincerely,
Lloyd Lofthouse

PS: Our daughter graduated from Stanford in June 2014, and she attended California public schools k – 12.  I told her when she was in third grade that learning was her responsibly and not her teachers. Her teachers were responsible to teach, and if she didn’t learn, even from incompetent teachers, it was her fault and not the teachers. When she was in her second year at Stanford, I asked her how many of the almost 50 public school teachers she had k – 12 had been incompetent. She thought about it and eventually said TWO. The five public school districts she attended k – 12 did their job and she did hers. I think that anyone who blames public school teachers for children who don’t learn is fools and/or frauds.

If you honestly love the United States and what it is supposed to stand for, please share copies of this letter with the members of both Houses of Congress.

__________________________________

HEY, LET’S BLAME IT ON THE TEACHERS AS USUAL

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).

99 Cent Graphic for Promomtion OCT 2015

Where to Buy

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

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

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).

99 Cent Graphic for Promomtion OCT 2015

Where to Buy

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

 

Tags: , , , , ,

Stop writing your name in Cursive. You have had Several Warnings.

Megan Zander at She Knows wrote a post with this headline: Teacher’s aggressive note on 7-year-old’s homework goes viral, and many of the comments are critical of teachers and schools for what the alleged teacher wrote in red ink – the title of this post.

First, I was a public school teacher for thirty years, and I required my students to write their first and last name on every written assignment in addition to the period they were in and the date. When they didn’t write all that information, I wrote in aggressive red ink explaining to them why they lost some points from what the assignment was worth.

How can I justify being so aggressive? Well, I worked with almost 200 students in five or six classes often working 60 to 100 hours a week—25 hours teaching and the rest correcting work and planning lessons (not counting all the usually useless meetings teachers have to attend). All the work had to also be done in blue or black ink. Why would I have an aggressive rule like that? Well, the English department voted on it, and it was unanimous, because it made our jobs easier. Work written in pencil was more difficult to read and correct and teachers are correcting papers every night for several hours a night and on the weekends.  To make sure my students knew this aggressive rule, there were large posters on the walls in my classroom reminding them that the work had to be done in blue or black ink, and I reminded them daily at the start of every written assignment.

For those reasons, when my students turned in work written in pencil, I wrote in aggressive red ink that if they wanted to earn credit for that assignment, they’d have to do it over in blue or black ink and turn it in the next school day.

Oh, and there were always kids who didn’t even bother to write their name on an assignment. Guess what happened to that work.

Without knowing all the details I will NOT condemn the ONE teacher who wrote that note in aggressive red ink or—for that matter—the entire education system in the United States.

Why am I refusing to rush in where so many fools have already gone?

The answer is simple—in the United States there are more than 3.5 million public school teachers, more than 15,000 public school districts in 50 states (the states are supposed to be responsible for public education—not the US Congress, the White House, a corporation or a CEO) teaching 50+ million children (not counting the territories), and to use this one incident to condemn everyone else in the public school systems that are not a monopoly is wrong on so many counts.

In fact, corporations build monopolies. Public schools with community based democratic school boards that are state controlled by 50 states are not monopolies. The public school system is made up of more than 15,000 individual school districts that are controlled by the local communities through elected democratic school boards that answer to the voters/parents.

  • What kind of school did this teacher work for?
  • What kind of teacher training did this teacher have—TFA, traditional or a full-time, yearlong urban residency?
  • Was this teacher under contract or a substitute teacher with no teacher training?
  • How many years has this teacher been in the classroom?
  • Was the school an underfunded, transparent, community-based, democratic, non-profit public school, a private school, or an autocratic, opaque, boot-camp like (see Success Academy), for profit (no matter what you call the school) corporate Charter school paid for by taxpayers but allowed to do whatever the CEO/manager of the school wants behind closed doors, and if a parent complains, the child is often kicked out of the school?
  • What state was it in—was it in Florida, Ohio or one of the other states where the public schools are under threat of a hostile takeover by corporate America?

If this teacher worked in a community based, democratic school, then there should be an elected school board and if those elected representatives, who are mostly parents from the same community, want to do something about the eleven words this teacher wrote in aggressive red ink, then they will, because that is the democratic process when it comes to public schools.

But if this child was in a corporate Charter school there is very little that can be done, because parents have no rights in those schools, teachers live in fear because they have no job protection, and these schools have no elected school boards to complain to.  In corporate Charters if a parent doesn’t like the school, their child will often quickly find themselves out on the streets or back in an underfunded public school if there are any left.

A Brenda Hatcher seems to have spread this note on Facebook, and she alleges that the mother is a military veteran.  I am also a military veteran. I served in the U.S. Marines and fought in Vietnam before I went to college on the GI Bill and eventually became a public school teacher for 30 years. I’d like to talk to this alleged military mother.

Megan Zander’s conclusion said, “After all, a child who’s willing to bend the rules in school could grow up to be the one who makes the rules.”

I shuddered at the thought that children who bend the rules will end up being our leaders.

I hope Megan might want to know why I shuddered at that thought.  Megan, did you know that the professions with the most psychopaths in them are the ones who make the rules?

Which Professions Have the Most Psychopaths? The Fewest? – Time.com

  • CEOs and lawyers belong to the profession with the most psychopaths alongside journalists and police officers.
  • Teachers are on the list for the professions with the least number of psychopaths alongside nurses, doctors and charity workers.

Megan Zander is a former divorce attorney—a lawyer—turned SAHM to twin boys. She’s written for The Stir, Scary Mommy, Rare.us, Mommyish and Bustle.

______________________________

BLAME IT ON THE TEACHER AS USUAL

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).

99 Cent Graphic for Promomtion OCT 2015 Where to Buy

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

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

How to Recognize a Corporate Education Reformer in 5 Easy Steps

How to Recognize a Corporate Education Reformer in 5 Easy Steps
  1. RheeForm promises are too good to be true

Without the use of evidence or facts, RheeFormers will promise miraculous results—the RheeForm term was coined to dishonor Michelle Rhee, the witch-queen of the corporate reform movement.

Michee Rhee the Queen Witch

For instance, Michelle Rhee and Kaya Henderson boasted they would achieve 78 goals to improve the Washington D.C. public schools, but they only achieved 1.5 or 2.8% of the total of the first 54 goals assessed—that is a failure rate of 97.2% that the corporate media never reported on the cover of Time Magazine and/or the front page of every major newspaper in the United States.

Did ANY of Michelle Rhee’s promises actually work in DC?—click the link and read the story.

What happened to these two Fraudsters? Kaya Henderson still has a job running DC’s public schools, and Michelle Rhee is a multi-millionaire whose every word is still breathlessly repeated as gospel truth by most of the corporate media.

  1. Beware of fancy titles linked to any RheeFormer

RheeFormers will name their corporate charter schools and/or organizations with words that promise success, mom, apple pie and the flag. These titles help fool parents and children who think that whatever alchemy the RheeFormers use, it means their children will end up in college, never go into debt and land a great job leading to wealth and happiness for life.

For instance, a chain of New York Charter schools called “Success Academy” with Eva Moskowitz as their highly paid CEO, who is a serious a candidate for Michelle Rhee’s witch-queen crown.

“We were hoping for academic rigor. Instead we found a school that was overly strict, cold, and insensitive to the overall needs of the young children entrusted in their care. My son wet his pants for the first time since he was three years old because the school did not let him go to the bathroom when he asked. The school was incapable of recognizing that he had also developed anxiety around going down the hall to the bathroom.” – Business Insider

“I spent a lot of time on the phone with the author, Daniel Bergner. When he asked why I was critical of Moskowitz, I said that what she does to get high test scores is not a model for public education or even for other charters. The high scores of her students is due to intensive test prep and attrition. She gets her initial group of students by holding a lottery, which in itself is a selection process because the least functional families don’t apply. She enrolls small proportions of students with disabilities and English language learners as compared to the neighborhood public school. And as time goes by, many students leave.” – Alternet.org

  1. RheeFormers blame public school teachers and the democratic teachers’ unions for failures that do not exist and/or is not their fault.

RheeFormers will convince any gullible fool who will listen that it is the fault of the public schools and teachers’ unions that your child isn’t doing well in school and doesn’t read.  They will never mention that the real culprit is the child’s environment that has little or nothing to do with the public school or its teachers.  To a RheeFormer, everything is the public school teachers fault unless they are a TFA recruit.

If the public education system in the United States is broken as the RheeFormers keep claiming in their relentless media propaganda, then why is U.S. ranked #5 as one of The Most Educated Countries in the World. There are 196 countries in the world. That means the United States is in the top 2.55%. How much closer to number one does the United States have to be?

The 1966 Coleman Report: Coleman himself later argued that the most important research findings of the study were twofold. First, it showed that variations in school quality (as indexed by the usual measures such as per pupil expenditure, size of school library, and so on) showed little association with levels of educational attainment, when students of comparable social backgrounds were compared across schools. (Differences in students’ family backgrounds, by comparison, showed a substantial association with achievement.) Second, a student’s educational attainment was not only related to his or her own family background, but also (less strongly) to the backgrounds of the other students in the school.

  1. RheeFormers will boast that corporate Charters are and will be better than democratic public schools.

However, several studies have revealed that corporate Charters are about the same as the public schools they are replacing, and other studies and investigations across the country agree. When these studies look closer, they find that the corporate charters are attempting to stack the deck in their favor by getting rid of the most difficult children to teach—something public schools can’t do.

A piece in The Washington Post reveals, “The primary findings of the CREDO report show that charter school students’ test performance is basically the same as the performance of students enrolled in traditional public schools.”

Then why is the corporate education reform movement working so hard to demonize public school teachers, their unions and get rid of the democratic, transparent, non-profit public schools and replace them with opaque, for-profit corporate Charter schools run by mangers and CEOs?

The UGLY Answers:

Report: Millions of dollars in fraud, waste found in charter school sector

Charter School Vulnerabilities to Waste, Fraud, and Abuse

“A new report released today reveals that fraudulent charter operators in 15 states are responsible for losing, misusing or wasting over $100 million in taxpayer money.”

Tales of Fraud, Mismanagement, and Mis-Education

“There is so much news from place to place about the financial and management scandals in particular charter schools and charter management organizations that it is hard to keep track. Schools are taking public money—and too frequently finding a way to make a profit—while failing to serve the children they enroll or neglecting to enroll particular groups of children with special needs.”

  1. The leaders of the RheeForm movement do not put their children in the same schools they are reforming, robbing or getting rid of.

What Kind of Education Do “Reformers” Want for Their Kids?

Education Reformers Send Their Kids to Private School

Public school reformer Michelle Rhee sends child to private school: Should we care?

In the case of Rhee, some find her choice to send one of her children to a private school hypocritical because, as Ravitch explains it in her blog post, Rhee “advocates that other people’s children should have large classes, inexperienced teachers, merit pay, evaluations based on test scores, and nonstop testing” and she’s sending her daughter to a school with “small classes, lovely facilities, a rich curriculum, and experienced teachers.”

Arne Duncan’s children to attend private school in Chicago

Where Arne Duncan Sends His Kids to School

Conclusion: Moyers & Company reports that the “reformers” say they want excellent education for all; they want great teachers; they want to “close the achievement gap”; they want innovation and effectiveness; they want the best of everything for everyone. They pursue these universally admired goals by privatizing education, lowering the qualifications for future teachers, replacing teachers with technology, increasing class sizes, endorsing for- profit organizations to manage schools, using carrots and sticks to motivate teachers and elevating standardized test scores as the ultimate measure of education quality. …

The “reform” movement is really a “corporate reform” movement, funded to a large degree by major foundations, Wall Street hedge fund managers, entrepreneurs and the US Department of Education. The movement is determined to cut costs and maximize competition among schools and among teachers. …

The reformers are Republicans and Democrats. They include not only far- right Republican governors but some Democratic governors as well. They include President Barack Obama and Secretary Arne Duncan, as well as Democratic mayors in such cities as Newark, Chicago and Los Angeles. Elected officials of both parties have signed on to an agenda that threatens the future of public education. …

The corporate reform movement has a well- honed message: We are the reformers. We have solutions. The public schools are failing. The public schools are in decline. The public schools don’t work. The public schools are obsolete and broken. We want to innovate. We know how to fix schools. We know how to close the achievement gap. We are leading the civil rights movement of our era. We want a great teacher in every classroom. Class size doesn’t matter.

_______________________

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!”

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

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).

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

 

Tags: , ,