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Category Archives: family values

We owe it to our children to combat Poverty and Racism in the United States

An older friend of mine who is in his 80’s once told me that he’d rather be wealthy and unhappy than poor and hungry. Then there is the old curse of racism.

Racism exists when one ethnic group dominates, excludes, or seeks to eliminate another ethnic group on the basis that it believes are hereditary and unalterable, and in history there is no end to examples of racism. To this day, examples of racism may be found in Europe, Australia, Africa, the Middle East, Asia, North American, etc.

For instance, the persecution and murder of millions of Jews by Hitler’s Nazis during World War II, and the list of ethnic cleansings can be traced back to 350 AD in ancient China when 200,000 people with racial characteristics such as high-bridged noses and bushy beards were slaughtered. The history of racism through ethnic cleansings is so long and brutal, it might make you sick to your stomach if you click on the link in this paragraph and scroll through the list.

In addition, a long history of racism exists for the United States. American natives, Asian Americans, Hispanics/Latinos, Black or African Americans, and even Whites have been victims of racism/discrimination. For Whites, the Mormons and Jews have faced persecution in the United States, and Smithsonian.com says,  “The idea that the United States has always been a bastion of religious freedom is reassuring—and utterly at odds with the historical record. … The real story of religion in America’s past is an often awkward, frequently embarrassing and occasionally bloody tale that most civics books and high-school texts either paper over or shunt to the side.”

The Chinese, for instance, are the only minority in the U.S. to have had national legislation passed that was one of the most significant restrictions on free immigration in US history, prohibiting all immigration of Chinese laborers. It was called the Chinese Exclusion Act, and it was signed into law on May 6, 1882, and wouldn’t be repealed until 1943. In fact, Asian Americans have been denied equal rights, subjected to harassment and hostility had their rights revoked and imprisoned for no justifiable reason, physically attacked, and murdered.

The Latino community has also faced discrimination, and according to Pew Research.org, Latinos are the 2nd most discriminated against ethnic group after African-Americans. Sixty-one percent of Latinos say discrimination against Hispanics is a “major problem.”

For Black or African Americans, Pew Research.org reports that 88% of Blacks felt that there was discrimination against African Americans. Even 57% of Whites think that African Americans are discriminated against.

If you remember what I said in my first paragraph, you might have an idea of where I’m going with this, but don’t read me wrong. I think we must always be on guard and protest acts of racism and discrimination, but if history teaches us anything, we know that racism is always going to be around in one form or another, and I think it would be easier to face this curse in strength: educated, literate, and middle class or wealthy and not feeling helpless because of illiteracy, poverty and hunger.

In a previous post Suspensions and Expulsions in the US Public Schools—what does that 3.3 million really mean, it’s obvious that I failed to reach some readers with what I meant to say instead of what they thought I wrote. Some readers of that post became angry and some accused me of having racist tendencies, and then I was locked out and shunned by one group.

I haven’t changed my mind. I still think that poverty and/or single parent homes are the main culprit behind the number of suspensions and expulsions in the public schools, and I pointed this out and provided links to the research in my other post about suspensions and expulsions to support what I wrote.

While racism might be a factor in some of the suspensions and expulsions of Black or African-American children, there was no evidence that this was the case for Asian-Americans and Hispanic/Latinos—both minorities with a long history of being the victims of racism and discrimination—and even if it were true that some suspensions of Black or African Americans was motivated by racism, what could we do to identify individual cases and stop this unacceptable behavior?

CHART UPDATE with two more columns on Jan 10

But we can make an effort to reduce the suffering caused by poverty and illiteracy, and there are proven methods that work. For instance, a transparent, national, early childhood education program that would be managed by the democratic public schools where we’d have a better chance to keep an eye on these programs working with our youngest and neediest children to make sure racism, segregation and discrimination doesn’t rear its evil, horned face behind a wall of secrecy.

The foundation of a strong middle class is access to education for every child beginning in the first few years of life. Sadly, millions of children in this country are cut off from quality early learning. Children in countries as diverse as Mexico, France, and Singapore have a better chance of receiving preschool education than do children in the United States. For children in the U.S. who do attend, quality varies widely and access to high-quality programs is even more limited in low-income communities where it’s needed most.

We already know from decades of evidence that the education reform movement’s opaque and secretive corporate Charter schools are contributing to a resurgence of segregation. This is wrong, and it will lead to more racism and discrimination—instead of less.

If we bicker with each other over how many—difficult to prove and even harder to stop—suspensions of Black or African American children in the public schools is influenced by racism, we are allowing ourselves to get sidetracked from dealing with a challenge we can do something about, and that is to combat poverty and illiteracy.

Like my 80+ year-old friend said but with a revision to his thinking, “I’d rather face racism from a position of strength with an education, a high level of literacy and in the middle class instead of living in poverty, illiterate, feeling angry and powerless.”

UPDATE on 1-11-15

One more thing—looking at that chart, I have to ask this question: With the obvious racism and discrimination that Asian Americans faced and still face, how did they achieve those numbers beating out even the Whites in every column? In addition, the Asian-American unemployment rate is the lowest of all racial groups. The Asian American divorce rate by race is also the lowest at 8% while Whites are the highest at 27%, African Americans are 22% and Hispanics are 20%. There’s more I could add to this list, but that’s in another post I wrote at https://crazynormaltheclassroomexpose.com/2013/05/11/what-parenting-method-works-best/

  • In addition read this post on Marie Corfield’s blog about the segregationist practices of New Jersey’s Charter Schools.

UPDATE on 1-20-15

AARP Bulletin asked, “What can be done to make black youth less vulnerable and fully integrated into mainstream America?” Kareem Abdul-Jabbar replied, “The main problem is the reluctance to educate black Americans. Since the Civil War, people have been indifferent to it—including black Americans.”

_______________________

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/Autobiography
2015 Florida Book Festival

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

Honorable Mentions 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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Suspensions and Expulsions in the US Public Schools—what does that 3.3 million really mean?

THIRD UPDATE
(Scroll down for the Second and First updates followed by the actual post that started a Twitter storm)

This afternoon, I received an e-mail informing me that because of my racist tendencies I was being removed as a member of the TBATS. I can only assume that this is because I think poverty and single parent homes are more of a factor in the behavior of students who are suspended from school than racism.

Therefore, this update includes a new chart with more information. Using the information in this chart, we will attempt to compare the ratio of White children living in poverty and single parent homes to see if the suspensions of Blacks, Hispanics and Asian/Pacific Islander students was equal or close to the ratio of White students who were suspended.

Third Update and Exanded Chart

  • Using 22.3% of total white students living in poverty and 5.1% of total white students who were suspended as the base, then 49.5% of Black students living in poverty is 2.2 times the number of White students. This equals 11.22% of 8.4 million. If racism was a factor in the additional 3.58% of Black student who were suspended, then 300,720 Black students might have been suspended due to racist tendencies leaving 74.9% of the total students suspended due to factors that might have been related to growing up in poverty and/or single parent homes.
  • Using 25% of total White students living in single family homes and 5.1% of students who were suspended as the base, then 58.57% of Black students living in single parent homes is 2.34 times the number of White students or 11.9% instead of 14.8% of black students suspended offering evidence that racism might have been a factor in 2.9% of the suspensions of Black students. If true, then 240,400 Black students might have been suspended due to racist tendencies leaving 83.3% of the total students suspended that might have been related to growing up in poverty and/or single parent homes.
  • The ratio of Hispanic students who live in poverty is 2.15 times the number of White students and that ratio is equal to 10.97% instead of the 5.8% who were suspended offering no evidence that racism was a factor in the suspension of Hispanic students.
  • The ratio of Hispanic students who live in single family homes is 1.7 times the number of White students and this ratio is equal to 8.64% instead of the 5.8% of Hispanic students who were suspended offering no evidence that racism was a factor in the suspensions of Hispanic students.
  • The ratio of Asian/Pacific Islander students who live in poverty is 0.73 times the White students who live in poverty and this ratio is equal to 3.72% instead of the 2.2% of total Asian/Pacific Islander students who were suspended offering no evidence that racism was a factor in the suspensions of Asian/Pacific Islander students.
  • The ratio of Asian/Pacific Islander students who live in single parent homes was 0.4 times the White students and this ratio was equal to 2.42% instead of the 2.2% who were suspended offering no evidence that racism was a factor in the suspensions of Asian/Pacific Islander students.

In conclusion, poverty and growing up in single family homes is a much larger factor in the number of student suspensions than racism, and a transparent, public school, national, early childhood education program starting as early as age two might have a large impact that will eventually reduce poverty and increase literacy and life-long learning skills in children who grow up in poverty and/or single parent homes. Racism is another issue and other methods will be necessary to deal with this challenge. I don’t think early childhood education will have much of an impact in reducing racism.

SECOND UPDATE

Because I asked this question in my post there was an explosion on Twitter taking me to task for not focusing on racism and not admitting that it was a problem.

In the original post I wrote, “When 6.1% of the total students are suspended from public schools—or less as you will see—is that cause for a national crises and is it evidence of alleged racism?” … Later in the post, I also said, “Some critics have even alleged that the ratio of Black children being suspended is a sign of racism. I disagree, but you will have to make up your own mind after you look at all the numbers and in this post there are a lot of numbers to wrap your critical thinking around.”

Here is my response to one of the reactions that arrived as an e-mail. Too bad they couldn’t have left a comment here so we could have talked it over and explored the issue here where others could follow along.

My reply, I can see that racism is a topic you are passionate about.  I think you even prove my point with your examples.  We can’t stop racism, but we can help children who live in poverty and/or who grow up in single parent homes by implementing a public school managed national early childhood education program so those children grow up with the tools that will help them escape poverty and combat racism without anger and a sense of helplessness.

That’s why I refuse to allow the focus of my post to be hijacked by people obsessed with racism. …

What do you propose we do to stop racism—-send out mobs of vigilantes to hang anyone we suspect of racist tendencies?

I think the strongest weapon we can give victims of racism is literacy and an education and a good start, our best chance, would be a transparent publicly managed national early childhood education program that is not managed by corporations, because the evidence is strong that corporate Charters are racist because they encourage segregation and mostly refuse to work with the children who suffer the most from racism—at-risk children who grow up in poverty and/or single parent homes.

We can stay angry at racists, or we can eventually defeat racism by doing something about childhood poverty by intervening in the development of children as young as age two.  They did it in France more than thirty years ago and poverty has dropped more than 50% since.

FIRST UPDATE

It came to my attention this morning (1-7-2015) that this post was severely criticized and attacked by some of the members of a site (TBATS) that recommended the post to their members—TBATS has deleted the recommendation and apologized to those who complained. The reason for this is because one paragraph in this post quoted information for one post at the conservative Heritage Foundation.

I want to make it clear that the numbers used in the chart did not come from the Heritage Foundation. They came from other sources, and I made the mistake of listing those sources further down in the post—and for that confusion, I apologize but for nothing else. I think this post was unfairly criticized. I have now moved those links, and they may be found right below the chart.

The only information quoted from the Heritage Foundation was the quote in that one paragraph about “children raised in single-parent homes are more likely to have emotional and behavioral problems; be physically abused; smoke, drink, and use drugs; be aggressive; engage in violent, delinquent, and criminal behavior; have poor school performance; and drop out of high school.” Nowhere in that quote was race mentioned.

However, because of the criticism of my post based on that one quote in one paragraph from the Heritage Foundation—a foundation that has been linked to ALEX and support from the Koch brothers and Bill Gates—that had nothing to do with the data in the chart, I decided to go directly to the U.S. Census.gov to verify some of the data that I used in the chart and made two revisions where—if you visit the actual Census data—you will discover that the total number of Black or African American family households was (in Table 1) 8,726,419, and that 836,460 single family households were are led by a male, while  4,085,938 were led by female householders for a total of 4,922,398 or 56.4% of the total number of Black and African American households in 2011. I have corrected the chart to show 56.4% instead of the 67% quoted from a 2013 source—that was not the Heritage Foundation. In addition, about 43.6% of Black or African American family households were led by married couples.

I then turned directly to the U.S. Census for info about poverty by race and found this data from 2013. In 2013, 38% (4.158 million) of Black or African-American children under 18 years lived in families below poverty. I used the data for Black Alone on page 53, Table B-2. The previous number that was quoted in my chart from another 2013 source was much lower.

I have also included in this update the orignal source the Heritage Foundation quoted from in their post from a scholarly study out of Western Michigan University in December 2011: Academic Achievement of Children in Single Parent Homes: A Critical Review

Here is the actual pull quote from the conclusion of the study that the Heritage Foundation quoted in their piece:

“A large body of research has documented the disadvantages of children raised in single-parent homes relative to children raised in two-parent homes. Lower high school graduation rates, lower GPAs, and greater risk for drug abuse are only some of the negative outcomes associated with growing up in a single-parent home. … This paper has been a review and critique of research from the past few decades regarding single parenthood. While the economic and social costs of single parenthood have been well documented, the strengths of single parents and their children have been largely overlooked.”

I think we might be able to learn something from this—that just because information comes from a conservative source doesn’t mean that information is wrong. Just like we sometimes have to follow the money, we also have to go to the original source.

THE ORIGINAL POST STARTS NEXT

In 2006, the U.S. public schools suspended students 3.3 million times. Note that I did not say 3.3 million students, because that might be misleading as you will see if you keep reading.

There is currently a group in the United States demanding that teachers and schools be restricted when it comes to suspending children from classrooms and schools. It would be interesting to know who is funding this issue and pushing it. Is it Arne Duncan who is the Secretary of the federal Department of Education or is it Bill Gates who is funding the push for Common Core standardized testing with $5 – $7 billion—test results that will be used to rank and fire teachers in addition to close public schools and turn our children over to corporations to teach even if parents don’t want that?

Corporate education reformers love throwing around numbers like 3.3 million, because that will make the public schools look really bad, and big numbers tossed out like that look so impressive to people who are easy to fool.

I decided to dig deeper to understand what that number really means.

In this post, we will explore what is behind the suspension and expulsion rates in the United States, because the public schools have been criticized for suspending too many students. Some critics have even alleged that the ratio of Black children being suspended is a sign of racism. I disagree, but you will have to make up your own mind after you look at all the numbers and in this post there are a lot of numbers to wrap your critical thinking around. The followinSome critics have even alleged that the ratio of Black children being suspended is a sign of racism.g chart provides a powerful and revealing comparison and I’m interested in your conclusions from this data.

January 7 Updated Chart for Suspensions and Expulsions in the US Public Schools by Race

Heritage.org says “Seventy-one percent of poor families with children are headed by single parents, mostly single mothers. Compared to children raised in an intact family, children raised in single-parent homes are more likely to have emotional and behavioral problems; be physically abused; smoke, drink, and use drugs; be aggressive; engage in violent, delinquent, and criminal behavior; have poor school performance; and drop out of high school.” The Heritage Foundation reports that in the United States, marriage drops the probability of child poverty by 82 percent.

In 2006, there were 53.8 million children in the k – 12 public schools, and there were 3.3 million suspensions representing 6.1% of the total number of students. That means almost 94% (or more) of the children did not earn a suspension. Census.gov

When 6.1% of the total students are suspended from public schools—or less as you will see—is that cause for a national crises and is it evidence of alleged racism?

There were 98,793 public schools in the United States in 2006-07. National Center for Education Statistics.gov

If we average that 3.3 million suspensions per school, it means each school suspended an average of about 33.4 students during the 2006 school year, and a school year has about 180 instructional days—I suspect the ratio is higher for schools with higher levels of childhood poverty and there is a reason for that, and it isn’t unique to the United States as you will see if you keep reading.

If we take that per-school average of 33.4 suspensions, it equals one student is suspended on average every 5.4 days for each school—but was it always a different student or were there repeat offenders as I strongly suspect based on my 30 years of experience as a public school teacher.

When I say repeat, I mean the same student being suspended more than once during one school year, and some of those chronic offenders eventually end up with an expulsion hearing.

For instance, at the high school where I taught from 1989 to 2005 there was a 70% childhood poverty rate at the time (it’s higher today) based on free and/or reduced lunch, and 92% of the students were non-white. The teacher—we called him Mr. D—who ran the in-house suspension system—a separate classroom on campus where students were required to do worksheets (the students were not allowed to just sit and visit. If they didn’t do the academic worksheets, they’d end up returning the next day for another period suspension), said that about 5% of the students at the high school earned 95% of the average 20,000 annual referrals that teachers wrote. At the time, Nogales High School had a student population of about 2,600. Five percent equals 130 students who earned 95% of the 20,000 referrals written by teachers each year. That works out to 146 referrals for each one of those 130 students, and yes, we had students who earned referrals from more than one of their teachers on a daily basis. Some students would earn six referrals a day—one for each class—day after day and if the teacher didn’t write the referral and send the student to Mr. D in the in-house suspension center for a class suspension, that student would often disrupt the learning environment for the rest of the students in the class—stealing learning time from every child.

The teacher couldn’t teach and the other students couldn’t learn.

What if the 3.3 million suspensions in 2006 were not from 3.3 million individual children because many might have been repeat offenders. It would be nice to know how many students were suspended more than once but I couldn’t find that information. For instance, what if only 500-thousand students or less earned those 3.3 million suspensions? If correct, that would mean less than 1% of the total public school students were actually suspended from school—some multiple times.

But what if the 3.3 million suspended students were counted as individuals and not multiple offenders. Then there’s another way to look at this large but insignificant number.

There were about 7.2 million teachers in the United States in 2009. Almost 3 million taught at the elementary and middle school level. The remainder included those teaching at the post secondary, secondary, preschool, kindergarten levels, special education and other teachers or instructors.

Taking the total number of teachers into account, if we divided the 3.3 million suspended students up evenly among the 7.2 million teachers, that equals 0.45 or less than half a student for each teacher for an entire school year. And even if we only counted the regular k – 12 teachers it would break about even—one suspended student each school year for each teacher. Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics as cited in the Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2011, Table 615 <https://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/>

And if all we do is count just the 3.7 million full-time-equivalent (FTE) elementary and secondary school teachers engaged in classroom instruction in fall 2012, then for every teacher there was 0.89% of a student suspended from a school for breaking rules and/or disrupting the educational environment so other students couldn’t learn. nces.ed.gov Do you know of any child who is only 0.89% of a child? Where did the missing 0.11% go—did that part of the suspended student stay in the classroom to cooperate and learn?

What about the 112k who were expelled from all of the public schools in 2006?

If we average that 112k, it becomes about 1.1 students for each school in the United States. Is that excessive requiring an act of Congress to control, and what happens to the Common Core standardized test scores that are being used to rank and fire teachers in only the public schools when teachers are forced to keep disruptive students in the classroom who literally rob learning time from all of our children—the 94% that don’t earn suspensions?

What about suspensions and expulsions in the other OECD nations, or is this something that Arne Duncan, Bill Gates and the other corporate education reformers don’t want America to know—because some OECD countries have higher rates of suspension and expulsion than the United States does?

The corporate reformers can avoid this information in their allegations of the US public schools, but they can’t hide it. The Stanford Graduate School of Education reported in January 2013 that Poor ranking on international tests misleading about U.S. performance and said, “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.”

In addition, while fewer than 3 percent of students in 13 countries—including Japan, Norway, and the United Kingdom—reported ever repeating a grade, more than 25 percent of students repeated at least once in France, Spain, Brazil, and a dozen others studied. The United States reported more than one in 10 students (10 percent) repeating a grade, higher than the OECD average, while the top-performing countries, Finland and Korea, do not allow grade retention. … The OECD found that both high rates of grade retention and transfer happened in countries in which a child’s socioeconomic status was more likely to predict that child’s academic performance. Education Week.org

What happens to teachers if the Department of Education and/or the U.S. Congress caves in to pressure from special interest groups—possibly funded by Bill Gates or the Walton family—and drafts legislation that takes away a teacher or school’s power to suspend or remove a student through expulsion—especially when teachers are being ranked and then fired based on the Common Core standardized test results of a teacher’s students?

If being ranked and fired by those test scores becomes a reality for every public school teacher, then every instructional and/or learning minute will become vitally important and forcing teachers to keep children who cause problems and disrupt the learning environment will cripple a teacher’s ability to teach.

Maybe that’s what President Obama, Arne Duncan, Bill Gates and the Walton family want to happen so they can turn our children over the corporations to brainwash.

In conclusion, if you are one of the critics of public education who thinks 3.3 million (6.1%) children suspended from the public schools in one school year is too many, then instead of passing laws restricting the public schools’ ability—because these laws will not impact the corporate Charter schools that also are not required to teach to the Common Core—to decide who gets suspended, consider looking at what causes those children to disrupt the classroom—for instance, poverty and single parents families, and do something about that instead of making a teacher’s job to teach more difficult by forcing them to keep those at-risk and difficult to teach children in the classroom. And if you think the corporate reform movement has the answer, think again.

Joseph Williams, a veteran journalist and former White House correspondent for Politico, reported, “Charter schools also lead their traditional counterparts in a more disturbing trend: the number of students who are suspended or expelled each year … charter schools are far more likely to suspend students for infractions such as dress code violations and insubordination toward teachers.”

In fact, if there are suspension restrictions imposed on the public schools, those same restrictions will not be imposed on the corporate Charters just like the Common Core agenda to rank and fire teachers is not found in private-sector Charters—proving that this latest manufactured crisis in public education is another ploy by the corporate reformers to destroy the public schools.

_____________________________________

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/Autobiography
2014 Florida Book Festival

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

Honorable Mentions in Biography/Autobiography
2014 Southern California 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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Science Proves School Reform EQUALS Prejudice, Inequality, Workplace Discrimination and Child Neglect

The reason education reform in the United States is a fraud is because of G. W. Bush’s No Child Left Behind Act that demanded public school teachers achieve the impossible and educate 100% of America’s children to be college and career ready by age 17 or 18. Never mind that about half of today’s college graduates are underpaid and/or can’t find a job that requires a college degree.

This crime was made worse with President Obama’s Race To The Top, in addition to Bill Gates’s funding the Common Core agenda to use student test scores to rank and then fire teachers soon followed by closing public schools when that 100% mandate isn’t met.

The rank and yank testing mentality has become so Orwellian that some cities and states are now testing kindergarteners to see if they are college and career ready at age 5/6, with talk of doing the same with preschool children.

To insure that this national crime against children and teachers continues, Bill Gates has dedicated $5 – $7 billion dollars in grants—a fancy name for bribes—to influence state and federal leaders.

Why is it impossible to educate 100% of U.S. children to be college and career ready by age 17/18?

Because it is a proven fact that both poverty and lack of proper sleep play a major role in how a child performs in school—two major factors that teachers have no power over.

Late last night it all came together after I read a piece in the January 2015 National Geographic Magazine (NGM) that provided the evidence that the school reform movement leads to prejudice, inequality, workplace discrimination and child neglect. I also think that if Bill Gates and the other fake reformers had known that NGM was going to publish this piece, they would have done all they could to stop it from being printed.

The title was A baby’s brain needs love to develop. What happens in THE FIRST YEAR is profound. The link should take you to this heavily research-based story that proves without-doubt that poverty damages children’s brains (and more than 16-million children in America live in poverty—22% of all children). The story also points out how this damage can be avoided—something that teachers have known for decades, but the fake education reformers ignore, while they rake in profits from taxes meant to support education.

The researchers used magnetoencephalography (EEG) to scan the brains of children as the brain developed and discovered that for a child’s brain to develop to its potential, the child needs to be nurtured in a stable home environment with supportive parents.

“The amount of brain activity in the earliest years affects how much (brain activity) there is later in life. EEG scans of eight-year-olds show that institutionalized children who were not moved to a nurturing foster care environment before they were two-years old have less (brain) activity than those who were.”

In addition, “Children in well-off families—where the parents were typically college-educated professionals—heard an average of 2,153 words an hour spoken to them, whereas children in families on welfare heard an average of 616 words. By the age of four this difference translated to a cumulative gap of some 30 million words.”

This scientific evidence is the reason why teachers who are fired based on the results of student test scores are victims of workplace discrimination, because teachers are being punished for children who don’t have the same nurturing and supportive home environment as children from well-off families.

Another important factor in the development and health of a child’s brain is sleep. The same day that I read the piece in NGM, I also read a short piece in the December 2014 issue of AARP Magazine: Why Sleep Is Precious for Staying Sharp. “New research indicates chronic sleep deprivation can lead to irreversible brain damage … extended wakefulness can injure neurons essential for alertness and cognition—and that the damage might be permanent.”

Children in the United States aren’t getting enough sleep, and many parents do not identify their children’s sleep problems as an issue that should be addressed.  Add to the mix that doctors often aren’t asking enough questions about their young patients’ sleep. These are some of the major findings in the 2004 Sleep in America poll, the first nationwide survey on the sleep habits of children and their parents.

In addition, adolescents are notorious for not getting enough sleep. The average amount of sleep that teenagers get is between 7 and 7 ¼ hours. However, studies show that most teenagers need exactly 9 ¼ hours of sleep. – Nationwide Childrens.org

But when 100% of the children are not college and career ready according to the results of Common Core standardized tests, teachers are losing their jobs, and public schools are being closed and replaced with corporate Charters that—according to several Stanford studies—are often worse or no better than the public school that they replaced. Dr. Margaret Raymond, Stanford’s CREDO Director, says that after decades of looking at the nation’s charter school sector, she has come to the conclusion that the “market mechanism just doesn’t work” in education.

In the last decade—thanks to the fake education reformers—thousands of public schools have been closed, tens of thousands of teachers have been heartlessly fired and hundreds of thousands of children have been forced—in some cases—to attend corporate Charter schools that often kick out the students who are the most difficult to teach, the same children that caused those standardized test scores to suffer—-children who don’t get enough sleep and/or live in poverty.

Tell President Obama, Arne Duncan and Bill Gates we are going to hold them accountable for their crimes against children and teachers.

_______________________

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

Honorable Mention in Biography/Autobiography at 2014 Southern California Book Festival

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

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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Why the public school in the United States are NOT FAILING!

  • There are NO bad schools unless we are talking about schools that are falling apart, because they are starving for funds to repair and update the infrastructure

Americans believe a lack of financial support is the biggest problem currently facing public schools, according to the 44th annual Phil Delta Kappa International/Gallup poll of public attitudes toward public schools released Wednesday, but they also say that balancing the federal budget is more important than improving the quality of education. – Governing.com

  • There are NO FAILING schools except when VAM is used to measure them and VAM has been proven to be misleading and does NOT work.

As is the case in every profession that requires complex practice and judgments, precision and perfection in the evaluation of teachers will never be possible. Evaluators may find it useful to take student test score information into account in their evaluations of teachers, provided such information is embedded in a more comprehensive approach. What is now necessary is a comprehensive system that gives teachers the guidance and feedback, supportive leadership, and working conditions to improve their performance, and that permits schools to remove persistently ineffective teachers without distorting the entire instructional program by imposing a flawed system of standardized quantification of teacher quality. – Problems with the use of student test scores to evaluate teachers from the Economic Policy Institute

  • There is poverty and very little is being done to deal with it

The negative effects of poverty on all levels of school success have been widely demonstrated and accepted; the critical question for us as a caring society is, can these effects be prevented or reversed? A variety of data are relevant to this question, and recent research gives us reason to be both positive and proactive. The impact of poverty on educational outcomes for children, U.S. National Library of Medicine

  • Some families are dysfunctional

Communities and schools are currently facing unprecedented levels of unmet mental health needs, and children with emotional or behavioral challenges are less likely to learn while at school. Dysfunctional Family Structures and Aggression in Children: A Case for School-Based, Systemic Approaches With Violent Students

  • Most public school teachers work 60+ hours a week teaching, correcting, planning, prepping and calling parents

Annual teaching hours by education level, 2010 among OECD nations. The U.S. ranked 3rd place for most hours worked by teachers behind Argentina in 1st place and Chile for 2nd place. – Figure 4.7

The average number of teaching hours in public primary schools is 782 hours per year in OECD countries but ranges from fewer than 600 hours in Greece and Poland to over 1,000 hours in Chile and the United States. … Teaching time is defined as the number of hours per year that a full-time teacher teaches a group or class of students. … Working time refers to the normal working hours of a full-time teacher and includes time directly associated with teaching as well as the hours devoted to teaching-related activities, such as preparing lessons, counselling students, correcting assignments and tests, and meeting with parents and other staff. Data are from the 2011 OECD-INES Survey on Teachers and the Curriculum and refer to the 2009-10. How much time do teachers spend teaching? OECD

  • Just because a teacher teaches, that doesn’t mean a child will make the effort to learn and the parent or parents will support the learning process so learning takes place

Researchers have evidence for the positive effects of parent involvement on children, families, and school when schools and parents continuously support and encourage the children’s learning and development. The Benefits of Parent Involvement: What Research Has to Say

  • There is an overwhelming avalanche of evidence that there are MANY crooks and liars in the corporate supported public education reform movement using VAM scores to drive their goals toward more wealth and profit that has nothing to do with the learning of the most at risk and difficult to teach children, the children who cause the low VAM scores in the first place.

There’s been a flood of local news stories in recent months about FBI raids on charter schools all over the country.  FBI Tracks Charter Schools

In Ohio, “$1.4 billion has been spent since 2005 through school year 2012-2013 on charter schools that have never gotten any higher grade than an F or a D,” Collins said. NBC4 Investigates: Taxpayers Left Holding Bill for Charter Schools

A compilation of news articles about charter schools which have been charged with, or are highly suspected of, tampering with admissions, grades, attendance and testing; misuse of funds and embezzlement; engaging in nepotism and conflicts of interest; engaging in complicated and shady real estate deals; and/or have been engaging in other questionable, unethical, borderline-legal, or illegal activities. This is also a record of charter school instability and other unsavory tidbits. Charter School Scandals

  • In conclusion, the case for public school success in the United States:

The average high school graduation rate, ages 24 – 65, for all OECD countries—including the United States—is 75%.

The high school graduation rate for the United States, by itself, ages 24 – 65, is 90%

The 4-year+ average graduation rate among all OECD countries—including the United States—is 37.7%.

The 4-year+ college graduation rate in the United States is 42%—the 4th highest in the world, but the U.S. has about 3 college graduates for every job that requires a college degree.

Among major English speaking countries, the United States is ranked 2nd for functional literacy.

  1. In the United Kingdom, the child poverty rate is 17% and the adult functional literacy rate is 80%
  2. In the United States, the child poverty rate is 22%, and the adult functional literacy rate is 65%
  3. In New Zealand, the child poverty rate is 22%, and the adult functional literacy rate is 55%
  4. In Australia, the child poverty rate is 10.9%, and the adult functional literacy rate is 53.6%
  5. In Canada, the child poverty rate is 14.3%, and the adult functional literacy rate is 51.5%

_______________________

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-a-classroom-expose-200x300

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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The truth about so-called Social Promotion in the U.S. Public schools

The term social promotion has been misused by the corporate supported, fake, public-education reform movement to fool as many people as possible—the same as they have misused the meaning of teacher tenure.

There is no such thing as social promotion in most if not all of the U.S. public schools that leads to an automatic high school (HS) graduation by age 17/18. To think that social promotion in the public schools moves children along as if they were parts on an assembly line is as foolish as thinking that public school teachers have total job protection through tenure and cannot lose their jobs for any reason—of course teachers can be fired. All a school district has to do is prove that the claims of incompetence are true through due process, and due process cases in court against teachers take place annually across America in every state and some are successful.

Social promotion does not mean the student will earn a HS degree, and the system that appears to move children along as if they were on an assembly line was not created by teachers—it was created by legislation and/or public pressure through political correctness such as the parent self-esteem movement that swept the nation for several decades and is still a formidable force.  Parents who don’t want their child’s self-esteem to suffer will fight to keep the child moving along with their peers.

But, social promotion doesn’t always mean the child, who falls behind in reading and/or math, is neglected and ignored as they move along from grade to grade.

Most if not all public schools have interventions as long as they have the funding to support those interventions.

The law makes education mandatory from age 5/6 to 17/18, but it doesn’t—until Bill Gates and Obama’s Common Core State Standards interfered with the process—control what the schools can do to re-mediate a child who is falling behind.

For instance, in the district where I taught for thirty years, children who fell behind in reading were assigned to reading labs in lieu of electives. If the child continued to fall behind, they might be assigned to two sections of a reading lab.  The reading labs usually had 20-25 students with a teacher and an adult assistant.  Children who were reading close to, on, or above grade level would not be scheduled into a reading lab. Reading specialists and reading labs may be found in most elementary, middle and high schools as long as the money is there to fund these resources.

The district where I taught also offered after school tutoring—for the children who needed it most—and parents and students were counseled and advised to attend, but after mandatory school hours, attending the tutoring, night classes or summer school classes was voluntary and many of these children, who needed this remedial help the most, didn’t take advantage of what was offered, and that was usually due to lack of parent support.

For children with special needs, there was also special education classes with teachers who were trained specialists certificated in that area, and individualized instruction was offered for each of these students. The special education teachers worked with the mainstream classroom teachers in other subjects to create individualized plans that would focus on improving the areas where these children needed the most help.

For most of the years I taught, I also taught summer school to children who needed to make up classes they had failed or to improve their reading skills.  Summer school was not mandatory, and for that reason, on the first day of summer school, my class loads would start out with 50 – 60 students, but by the end of the first week, that number would be cut in half as students decided to leave and not return. By the end of summer school, it was common to have less than twenty students and closer to ten in a class.

Social promotion does not equal an automatic HS graduation. Students must still pass the required classes, earn the required number of credits/units and, in about half of the states including California where I taught, pass a competency exam that indicates the student has the minimum skills in English, math and maybe science to qualify for HS graduation. In California, students who failed all or a portion of the competency exam as early as tenth grade would be encouraged to enroll in summer school classes designed to help the student to catch up and pass the competency exam before on-time graduation at age 17/18.

If students, for instance, failed 9th grade English, they would still move on to 10th grade English the next year, but counselors would advise the students to catch up in the summer by taking the 9th grade English class a second or third time, or to take night classes at the local community college to make up any failed classes that were required for HS graduation.

Every year at the high school where I taught for the last 16 years of my 30 year teaching career, there were always seniors who reached the 12th grade deficient in units, and it was up to them to retake the classes they had failed before graduation in June.  Those who did not were told they could finish high school late by taking classes at the local community college.

This explains why the on-time HS graduation rate is about 80%, but by age twenty-five, 90% of Americans have earned a HS degree or its equivalent. And the 10% (about 24 million) of adult Americans that never earned a HS degree or its equivalent, well, it was their choice not to take advantage of every effort that was offered to them every step of the way.

In the United States, it is mandatory that a child stay in school to age 18 (it’s possible to drop out at 16 with permission), but, for a number of reasons, it would be wrong to keep a child in grade school until they turned 18 just because they were reading below grade level and made little or no effort to catch up.  I’m sure most parents wouldn’t want their six-year old in the same classroom sitting next to a hormonal raging sixteen year old, who, for whatever reason, just didn’t qualify to move on according to some test.

_______________________

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-a-classroom-expose-200x300

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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Measuring the Success or Failure of Public Education in the United States through Literacy: Part 3 of 3

In Conclusion, in case you are wondering why I included Mexico in this comparison, the PEW Research Hispanic Trends Project reports that “The number of Hispanic students in the U.S. public schools nearly doubled from 1990 to 2006, accounting for 60% of the total growth in public school enrollments over that period. There are now approximately 10-million Hispanic students in the nation’s public kindergartens and its elementary and high schools; they make up about one-in-five public school students in the United States. Most if not all of these students come from the poorest population in Mexico, and they bring with them the same attitudes toward education they held before they came to the United States.

Ranking functional literacy in English speaking countries and Mexico

1st Place: In the United Kingdom, 80% read at Level 3 or above.

What explains the UK having such a low functional illiteracy rate? The Guardian.com reports that the “UK publishes more books per capita than any other country.” Does this translate into the UK being a more literate society? If this is one reason, it might be a cultural difference between the other major English speaking countries with similar cultural heritages.

2nd Place:  In the United States, 65% read Intermediate Level or above.

3rd Place: In New Zealand, 55% of adults read at level 3 or above

4th Place: In Australia, 53.6% of adults read at level 3 or above

5th Place: In Mexico, 64% of adults do not have a high school degree or its equivalent, and the The World Bank estimates that in 2012, 52.3-percent of Mexicans lived in poverty in their home country compared to 15% of the U.S. population, who live in poverty— and 25.6%, or about 12 million are Hispanic, and 35% or 6 million of the 16 million children who live in poverty in the U.S. were also Hispanic. In fact, in Mexico, over half of Mexican youth at age 15 are functionally illiterate and cannot solve simple equations or explain basic scientific phenomenon. WorldFund.org

In addition, the New York Times reports that many of these children who come from Latin America are boys between ages 15 and 17 when they arrive in the United States, and they come from some of the poorest regions in those countries. Do you think these children arrived in the U.S. functionally literate in their own language?

Return to Part 2 or Start with Part 1

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_______________________

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

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

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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Measuring the Success or Failure of Public Education in the United States through Literacy: Part 2 of 3

Literacy is the ability to read and write. In modern context, the word means reading and writing in a level adequate for written communication and generally a level that enables one to successfully function at certain levels of a society.

The standards of what level constitutes “literacy” vary between societies.

In the United States alone, one in seven persons (i.e., over 40 million people) can barely read a job offer or utility bill, which arguably makes them functionally illiterate in a developed country such as the US.

In 2003 the National Assessment of Adult Literacy (NAAL), conducted by the US Department of Education, found that fourteen percent of American adults scored at this “below basic” level in prose literacy. More than half of these persons did not have a high-school diploma or GED. Thirty-nine percent of persons at this level were Hispanic; twenty percent were Black; and thirty-seven percent were White.

Now, to compare the five countries listed in the post to the United States.

First – Mexico: The OECD reports that 7.2 years is the average years of schooling of adults in Mexico.

Second – Canada: In 2012, Indicators of Well-being in Canada reported that 22% of adult Canadians had less than a high school education in addition to 16.5% reading at Level 1 or Below Level 1. Canada has five literacy levels. Canada’s Below Level 1 and Level 1 are equal to Below Basic in the United States. 83.9% of Canadians read at levels 2, 3, and 4/5. If Canada measures literacy the same as the United Kingdom, then 48.5% are ranked at Level 2 and below and are functionally illiterate.

Third – United Kingdom: The Telegraph reported that one in five Brits is functionally illiterate—that’s 20% that read below level 2, the common definition of functional illiteracy, and the OECD reports that the UK is ranked 22nd for literacy and 21st for numeracy out of 24 countries. BBC.com

Fourth – Australia: Uses the same five level literacy skill level rating system as the UK and Canada, and in 2006, almost 46.4% of adults read at Level 2 or below and were functionally illiterate. abs.gov.au

Fifth – New Zealand: The distribution of literacy skills within the New Zealand population is similar to that of Australia, the United States and the United Kingdom. Analysis of New Zealand Data from the International Adult Literacy Survey reports that 45% of adult New Zealanders were in Levels 1 and 2 for prose literacy. EducationCounts.govt.nz 5731 and EducationCounts.govt.nz 5495

Sixth – United States: 14% or 30 million were ranked below basic on the 2003 National Assessment of Adult Literacy (NAAL), and 49% of adults who ranked below basic had less than/some high school but did not graduate from high school or earn a GED/high school equivalency. The United States has four literacy levels compared to five for the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. 87 percent of American’s read at basic or above.  65 percent read Intermediate and above. As reported by the OECD, one in six adults (16.6%) in the United States scored below level 2, in literacy.  nces.ed.gov

Part 3 Continues on November 19, 2014 or start with Part 1

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 _______________________

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

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

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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Measuring the Success or Failure of Public Education in the United States through Literacy: Part 1 of 3

There are many ways to measure the success or failure of public education in the United States, and one way is to compare functional Illiteracy in the United States to similar English speaking countries and Mexico, because culture plays an important role in children’s attitude toward education and literacy.

It’s arguable that the four MOST similar countries/cultures in the world, when compared to the United States, are Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom, because they share an Anglo Saxon heritage, culture, and the same language. In addition, almost 80% of the U.S. population is white alone (in 2013, 77.7% were white), and the more than 13% who are African American, who have been in the U.S. for several generations, due to slavery, are no longer linked to an African cultural heritage. If you doubt that, consider that 78% of African Americans are Protestants and 5% are Catholics and—forced—immigration from Africa stopped and/or slowed drastically after the Civil War in 1865. What this means is that African Americans with roots that reach back 150 years or more are culturally American. If interested in this topic, I suggest you read a study out of Yale: African vs. African-American: a shared complexion does not guarantee racial solidarity

The United Nations defines illiteracy as the inability to read and write a simple sentence in any language, and it’s arguable that English is one of the most difficult languages to learn—if not the most difficult—if it is your second language. To understand this, I suggest you read 10 Reasons Why English is a Hard Language

The BBC asked, How many hours does it take to be fluent in English?

Huan Japes, deputy chief executive of English UK, a trade body for language colleges, says a rule of thumb is 360 hours—120 hours for each of three stages—to get to the standard the government expects benefit claimants to reach. …

Dr Elaine Boyd, head of English language at Trinity College London, says, “If someone is really highly motivated, they can learn really quickly. It’s common for children under the age of 11 to be very immersed and be fluent in about six months.” …

Philida Schellekens, a language consultant, says that when she researched English language learning in Australia a decade ago the figure of 1,765 hours was used. That could mean four years of classes. It signifies the standard needed to do a clerical job in an office.

In English Spelling Confuses Everyone, Professor Julius Nyikos, a linguistics expert born and raised in Hungary, learned numerous languages in his elementary school, high school, and university training. He came to the US in 1949 and, after a few years of studying English, was able to continue his profession as a linguist that he began in Europe. He spent many years as a professor at Washington & Jefferson College in Pennsylvania studying the languages of the world. In his scholarly article for the 1987 Linguistics Association of Canada and the United States Forum, titled “A Linguistic Perspective of Functional Illiteracy,” he made the statement, “It would be both ludicrous and tragic if it took lawsuits to jolt us into the realization that neither the teachers, nor the schools should be faulted as much as our orthography [spelling], which is incomparably more intricate than that of any other language (emphasis added). If English is not the absolute worst alphabetic spelling in the world, it is certainly among the most illogical, inconsistent, and confusing. This is due to the developmental history of the present.”

Part 2 Continues on November 18, 2014

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_______________________

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

lloydlofthouse_crazyisnormal_web2_5

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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The Pre-Election, Next-Door Homestead – Marshall Tuck versus Tom Torlakson – Debate

Close to the run up to the November 4, 2014 elections, Tuck was leading in the polls for State Superintendent of Public Instruction in California by a small margin—enough to look ominous considering the platform he was running on that would lead to the further destruction of California’s public schools in favor of private-sector, for profit—anyway you look at it—corporate Charters that mostly perform worse or the same as the public schools they replace.

I belong to Nextdoor.com in my community. Nextdoor is a social networking service for neighborhoods in the United States. It allows users to connect with people who live in their neighborhood.

The community debate I became embroiled in started when another member left a long rambling comment—long on claims and without  supporting data—calling on everyone in our neighborhood to vote for Marshall Tuck, because the public schools were failing our children.

When I checked this neighbor out, I discovered he was a Venture Capitalist, and  during our debate he mentioned he knew Marshall Tuck, who, according to the Venture Capitalist, is a great guy who will save our children from horrible and incompetent public schools teachers.

Instead of sharing the entire debate—that ran long and rambled with the Venture Capitalist repeating his claims and offering no data to support them—I will share only the last two  comments here.

The Venture Capitalist said, “whether it is Tuck or not (and it will be, either for this office, or another statewide office within 10 years), the changes all of us with young kids want to see, will be implemented.”

My reply and last comment: When you say “all of us”, who are you talking about—after all, there are 316-million Americans and about 240-million are old enough to vote and make up their own minds? Do you claim to speak for those 240-million Americans?

As for your (earlier) claim that it is a flawed ploy that “wealthy oligarchs are funding the war on public education”, the evidence is there for anyone to read, and I already mentioned the book and provided the link earlier in this debate. How did you get a copy of Schneider’s book and read it so fast and then decide there is nothing valid to support the premise and evidence she presents?

Here’s the book again—all anyone has to do, who has an open mind, is follow the money to the source to see the obvious, because Mercedes Schneider has already done the investigative reporting and followed the money to its source, but if you think she’s wrong, then go ahead and prove her wrong. (Note: I never heard back from the Venture Capitalist who lives in my neighborhood).

“A Chronicle of Echoes: Who’s Who in the Implosion of American Public Education” by Mercedes K. Schenider

Anyone interested to discover more about Schneider, here’s the link to her about page on her blog:

http://deutsch29.wordpress.com/about/

In addition, Mercedes has written posts about all or most of the major players who are funding the corporate war on public education. She doesn’t just spout opinions. She provides the evidence (the data) to support what she says.

In addition, maybe anyone reading this thread—other than a Venture Capitalist—would be interested in what The Washington Post had to say about Bill Gates, and how he is the money man behind the implementation of the Common Core agenda to rank and yank teachers then close public schools turning our children over to corporate Charters that profit off taxpayers at our children’s expense.

How Bill Gates pulled off the swift Common Core revolution

Answer Sheet: Gates Foundation pours millions into Common Core in 2014

Then there is this quote from one of the Koch brothers, who admits what they are doing that was published in The New Yorker Magazine.

‘Charles Koch seems to have approached both business and politics with the deliberation of an engineer. “To bring about social change,” he told Doherty, requires “a strategy” that is “vertically and horizontally integrated,” spanning “from idea creation to policy development to education to grassroots organizations to lobbying to litigation to political action.” The project, he admitted, was extremely ambitious. “We have a radical philosophy,” he said.’

Or this one: “Broad school bully?”

“Today, the 79-year-old Broad (it rhymes with “road”), who lives in Los Angeles, is spending a good chunk of his fortune on education reform – steadfast in his belief that applying the same data-driven, free-market principles that made him so wealthy can also make U.S. schools great again. … Critics insist that the unseen hand of the Broad Foundation played a role on this winter’s dramatic move to close 23 public schools across Philadelphia – noting that the foundation in 2009 published an 83-page School Closure Guide, now no longer on its website, for large urban districts.”

Did you know that there are only 442 billionaires in the United States, but the United States has a population of 316 million people, in a country that is supposed to be a democracy where the people also have a right to what they think as individuals?

Does anyone want to know what the people think about the public schools?

The answer to that question may be found in the September and October 2014 PDK/Gallup Poll of the Public’s Attitudes Toward the Public Schools:

  1. 64% of Americans have trust and confidence in teachers compared to 35% who do not.
  2. 61% of Americans are against using student test results to evaluate teachers compared to 38% who favor using VAM.
  3. 77% of Americans felt it was important to help teachers improve their ability to teach
  4. Only 24% of Americans felt that performing well on a standardized test such as ACT or SAT would help students get good jobs while 86% felt learning skills like dependability, persistence and teamwork was more important.
  5. When asked what grade respondents would give the public schools in their own community, 12% gave their schools an A, 38% a B and 31% a C. Only 6% failed their community’s schools.
  6. When asked who should have the greatest influence on what public school teach, 56% said school boards and 28% state governments.
  7. 63% oppose vouchers

In addition to the debate, in conclusion, Tom Torlakson won the election by a wider margin—52% to 48%—than the lead Tuck had in the polls running-up to the election. The margin of difference came down to about 180,000 votes.

Torlakson—early in his adult working life—was a teacher who taught in the public schools for several years before he was first elected to the California State Legislature in 1996. Then in 2011, he was elected as the 27th State Superintendent of Public Instruction of California.

Tuck never taught a day in his life, and he has a history of being part of the corporate Charter school reform movement that is closing public schools and turning our children over to corporations that do not answer to the voter and/or the public.

The race between these two Democrats became a proxy war between two differing views on education overhaul. Mr. Torlakson relied on heavy support from teachers unions, while Mr. Tuck depended on a few independent supporters who Mercedes K. Schenider has linked to the corporate war on the public schools in the United States. In total, about $30 million was spent on this race this year, more than three times the amount spent for the last race in 2010, and Tuck, who lost, raised about $3 more than Torlakson.

_______________________

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

lloydlofthouse_crazyisnormal_web2_5

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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Explaining the TSP Education Equation

Decades ago in one staff meeting at the high school where I was teaching, we were told that for education to work, all the stakeholders—teachers, students and parents—had to be involved.

Here’s the TSP equation: T + S + P = E [which means: Teachers + Students + Parents = Education]

To define this formula further and add responsibility as a factor, let’s look at the results of the 1966 Coleman Report. In the 1960s, James Samuel Coleman, PhD, and several other scholars were commissioned by the US Department of Education to write a report on educational equality in the US. It was one of the largest studies in history, with more than 650,000 students in the sample. The result was a massive report of over 700 pages. A precise reading of the Coleman Report reveals that student background and socioeconomic status are much more important in determining educational outcomes than are measured differences in school resources.

Coleman explained, “differences in school facilities and curricula, which are made to improve schools, are so little related to differences in achievement levels of students that, with few exceptions, their efforts [or the effects of different classes or curricula] fail to appear in a survey of this magnitude.”

The Coleman report identified 14 correlates of elementary and secondary school achievement, six of which are related to school: curriculum, teacher preparation, teacher experience, class size, technology, and school safety. The remaining eight correlates are categorized as “Before and Beyond School:” parent participation, student mobility, birth-weight, lead poisoning, hunger and nutrition, reading in the home, television watching, and parent availability.

The study concluded that the negative impacts on school achievement of single-parent homes, poverty in the minority communities, food insecurity, parent unemployment, child care disparities, substantial differences in children’s measured abilities as they start kindergarten, frequency of student absences, and lack of educational resources and support in the home “account for about two-thirds [66 percent] of the large difference … in NAEP eight-grade reading scores.” Coleman Report at Encyclopedia.com

Then there are student test scores. From the Economic Policy Institute—Problems with the use of student test scores to evaluate teachers—we learn: “Student test score gains are also strongly influenced by school attendance and a variety of out-of-school learning experiences at home, with peers, at museums and libraries, in summer programs, on-line, and in the community. Well-educated and supportive parents can help their children with homework and secure a wide variety of other advantages for them. Other children have parents who, for a variety of reasons, are unable to support their learning academically. Student test score gains are also influenced by family resources, student health, family mobility, and the influence of neighborhood peers and of classmates who may be relatively more advantaged or disadvantaged.

“Only about 4% to 16% of the variation in a teacher’s value-added ranking [from the results of standardized tests] in one year can be predicted from his or her rating in the previous year.”

What does the education equation look like once we add the responsibly factor?

T [33; 4 to 16] + S + P [66; 84 to 96] = Education

Explained: The Teachers one child has K through 12 are responsible for about 33 percent of what a child learns in school in addition to being responsible for about 4 to 16 percent of the results on standardized tests. This means, if a student has 43 teachers K to 12, each teacher would be responsible for about 0.76 percent of a child’s education and even less for the results of standardized tests.

Students + Parents [and other out of school factors] are responsible for about 66 percent of the results of a child’s education in addition to being responsible for 84 to 96 percent of the results on standardized tests.

How can Bill Gates, Arne Duncan and President Obama—and all the other fake education reformers—justify firing teachers based on the results of standardized tests and stripping teachers of their Constitutional due process rights as a public employee when each teacher is only responsible for less than 1 percent of a child’s education K to 12?

 _______________________

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

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

lloydlofthouse_crazyisnormal_web2_5

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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