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Category Archives: government

What the FACTS Reveal about Teacher Retirement Programs—Part 2 of 6

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The reason AP distorted the facts about teacher retirement plans as much as they did is because of audience share, which determines how much a media source [TV, newspapers, hate talk shows, magazines, Blogs, etc] may charge to advertisers, and balancing the news and telling the truth often does not achieve this goal, because profits are the foundation of the private sector media.

It’s a simple formula: if you don’t make a profit you go out of business and everyone working for you loses his or her job so almost everyone plays the same Yellow/Hate Journalism game, and then there is the politics of money.

To understand why Thompson wrote such a misleading news piece, it helps to understand the trend away from private-sector pensions that were once similar to current public sector-pensions and the answers are in the numbers.

Due to the politics of money, beginning early in the 1980s, during the Reagan era, there was a rapid shift away from private sector employer-based defined benefit pension plans to employee-controlled personal retirement accounts.


teacher pensions explained

Under President Reagan [1981 – 1989] this trend in the private sector was helped along by the Republican Party that controlled the Senate from 1981 to 1987 giving President Reagan the leverage he needed to shift private sector pension money to the stock market and other risky investments—another part of the Reagan plan besides adding two trillion dollars to the national debt by cutting taxes on the wealthy; raising them on the working class by cutting deductions and spending more.

And since 1982 and Ronald Reagan’s infamous trickle down economic reform, profit expectations of American corporations have skyrocketed, and right behind have been the costs of health care, the cost of housing, the cost of military programs, the cost of banking, and the cost of many other products and services.” – The Agonist

In 1980, approximately 92 percent of private retirement saving contributions went to employer-based plans; 64 percent of these contributions were to defined benefit pension plans [similar to the public pension plans of today].

Then by 1999, [thanks to President Reagan and the Republican majority in the Senate while he was president] about 88 percent of private sector contributions were switched to defined contribution plans, the vast majority of personal retirement accounts being set up as 401(k)s and Individual Retirement Accounts (IRA), and that ended in disaster.

I suggest your either Google the failure of 401 (K) or read what PBS.org said, “Most people don’t know that the 401(k) products are toxic and their behavior toward a 401(k) product is toxic because no one has been responsible for providing a safe product.

“The Congress has not put itself [out] as a responsible actor. Employers were told, “It’s up to your employees to choose,” and the banking industry and the mutual fund industry said, “Trust us.”

If you are a regular fan of hate media and trust no other source, you will probably dismiss anything from PBS. But what about CNBC.com, Forbes.com, NBC News.com, USA Today, or even the Los Angeles Times. Will you trust one of those sources over your favorite hate radio show? If not, then I suggest you read this from Mother Jones.com to discover who is behind the lies designed to fool and why.

Continued in Part 3 on June 8, 2015 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 promotional image with blurbs

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

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What the FACTS Reveal about Teacher Retirement Programs—Part 1 of 6

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Rolling Stone reported that all across America, Wall Street is grabbing money meant for public workers. The legal theft of public pensions started in Road Island in 2011 as a test case.  “In state after state, politicians are following the Rhode Island playbook, using scare tactics and lavishly funded PR campaigns to cast teachers, firefighters and cops – not bankers – as the budget-devouring boogeymen responsible for the mounting fiscal problems of America’s states and cities.”

Fortune Magazine in addition to In These Times, and KQED also reported on this legalized fraud being supported by corrupt elected representatives from the state level all the way to the White House.

In fact, during my full-time university days on the GI Bill [1968 – 1973] before I graduated with a BA in journalism, I learned how easy it was for the media to make mistakes—sometimes deliberately—while practicing what is known as Yellow/Hate journalism to boost profits.

And Yellow/Hate Journalism [based upon sensationalism and crude exaggerations] is what the Associated Press [AP] did when it ran Public retirement ages come under greater scrutiny by Don Thompson on December 14, 2011.

For instance, how would you feel if you read, “Patrick Godwin spends his retirement days running a horse farm east of Sacramento, Calif. with his daughter? His departure from the workaday world [he worked thirty-six years in public education and was the superintendent of one of California’s 1,600 school districts] is likely to be long and relatively free of financial concerns, after he retired last July at age 59 with a pension paying $174,308 a year for the rest of his life.”

That previous quote was in the second paragraph of Thompson’s AP news piece, and it is extremely misleading because of what it doesn’t say.

What the AP piece doesn’t tell us is that in 2010 the average member-only benefit for retired public school educators in California was $4,256 a month before taxes [less than a third of what Godwin earned in retirement] and that is only 16% of educators that retired in 2010 who worked as long as Patrick Godwin did.  The median years of service was 26.6, and if you were one of the educators that retired after 26.6 years of public service [the median] and was only 55 years old [the earliest you may retire], using the CalSTRS retirement calculator, that person earned about $2,130 a month before taxes—much less than the $14,525.66 that Godwin earns each month.

I calculated once that if a public school teacher in California taught for 42 years or more, his annual retirement income would equal what he earned the last year he worked.

But—and this is a very large BUT that we never hear about—in public education, less than 4% retire with full pay. In fact, 9% retired in 2010 with 10-15 years of service in public education, 11% with 14-20 years, 15% with 20-25 years, 12% with 25-30 years, 23% with 30-35 years, and 16% with 35-40 years. — CalSTRS

The reason why AP ran with Patrick Godwin’s retirement income as an example is called sensationalism designed to cause an emotional response (hate) so people who don’t know all the facts will talk about it. Word of mouth attracts readers and an audience and that stirs the hate.

In addition, Godwin was a school district superintendent at the top of the public education pay scale, which represents about 0.2% of the total number of retired educators in California.  That means 99.8% of public educators in California do not earn as much as Godwin did in retirement.

The result is that many readers might be fooled to think that most public educators in California will retire with Patrick Godwin’s annual retirement income.  However, that is far from the truth since most will not come close, but Thompson’s biased and misleading piece didn’t say that

Continued in Part 2 on June 7, 2015

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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 promotional image with blurbs

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

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The Alleged Public School Monopoly and the Fraudulent Civil Rights Movement of our Time

It is highly arguable with evidence and data that the corporate education reform movement mostly funded by a handful of billionaire oligarchs is driven by endless oxymorons. For instance, the oxymoron of a movement that claims it’s the Civil Right Movement of our time while Corporate Charters practice segregation on a grand scale (click the link to learn more), and the other major oxymoron alleges the public schools are a monopoly that must be destroyed.

For instance, in New York State, Governor Cuomo (The Crook) characterized public education as a ‘monopoly’ that he vowed to break. For the rest of this post, I will focus on Governor Cuomo’s claim that the public schools are a ‘monopoly’ that must be broken.

First, the public schools are supported by taxes paid by the public, and they are non-profit, transparent and held accountable through that transparency. In addition, they are governed by democratic values—except where reformers like Cuomo the Crook have used their executive power to hijack entire school districts and remove the democratically elected school boards. Because of the transparency and democratic nature of these schools, every public dollar spent is tracked to make sure it was spent to support the education of children.

A monopoly by definition, would be John D. Rockefeller’s Standard Oil, and his Standard Oil (with an emphasis on his) incorporated oil producing, transporting, refining, and marketing into one single behemoth which grew both vertically and horizontally (he bought the producers and distributors). In 1882, all of Standard Oil’s properties were merged into the Standard Oil Trust, and by the end of the decade (1890), it controlled 88% of the refined oil flows in the United States.

To be clear: John D. Rockefeller was ONE man who controlled 88% of the refined oil that flowed in the United States, and he answered to no one until President Teddy Roosevelt went after his monopoly to break it up.

How does that compare to the corporate education reform movement’s claim that public education is a monopoly that must be broken?

Even though the Obama Administration—with help from, for instance, mostly Bill Gates in addition to the Walton family, Eli Broad and a squad of other powerful private sector corporate oligarchs—did all they could to make Arne Duncan the John D. Rockefeller of the alleged public education monopoly, when we sweep away all the lies and allegations, what’s left is almost 14,000 individual public school districts. Most of these school districts are managed by their own democratically elected school boards and each district has its own CEO who often comes with the title of superintendent, who is hired and can be fired by those elected school boards. Those superintendents answer to the elected school boards and nothing can be hidden because of the transparency, and through that transparency every state and territory in the United States watches over those almost 14,000 public school districts to make sure they are not breaking any laws or legislation that applies to public education.

If you’re interested, you might want to read:

When that alleged public school monopoly is broken as Cuomo has pledged, what is already taking its place?

The answer: opaque, often fraudulent, often worse or the same as the public schools they are replacing, segregated, private sector, for-profit corporate charter schools that are not democratic and not answerable to the laws of each state that are meant for the public schools (even when a corporate charter claims to be non-profit, when we follow the money, it almost always flows like fast moving sewage to a private sector, for-profit corporation.)

For a sampling of this fraud, I suggest you read the following:

Release: “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.”

One last thought—while no one can buy the public schools and create a private sector monopoly like Standard Oil once was under John D. Rockefeller, one oligarch—for instance, Bill Gates, Eli Broad or the Walmart Walton family—will be in a position to do just that once the public schools are gone and have been replaced by corporate charters that can go bankrupt and close or be merged and/ or sold on a daily basis.

_______________________

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

Crazy is Normal promotional image with blurbs

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

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Proof that any fool can get elected, and that public school teachers should really be running the United States

This post will compare the qualifications it takes to become a public school teacher to what it takes to qualify to run for a political state or national office and end up in the White House as president or a member of the U.S. Congress.

TEACHERS

Kindergarten and elementary school teachers must have at least a bachelor’s degree. In addition, public school teachers must have a state-issued certification or license.

The 2011–12 Schools and Staffing Survey: First Look

In 2011-12, on average, both public and private school teachers had about 14 years of experience. On average, teachers in traditional public schools had more teaching experience (14 years) than teachers in public charter schools (9 years).

The percentage of public school teachers with a master’s degree as their highest degree was larger in traditional public schools (48 percent) than in public charter schools (37 percent) and private schools (36 percent).

“As a group, teachers score relatively high in prose, document, and quantitative literacy; there are no significant differences in scores between male and female teachers or between elementary and secondary teachers. About half of teachers score at Levels 4 and 5 (the two highest levels) on the three literacy scales, compared to about 20 percent of other adults nationwide. … The NALS data present teachers as a labor market bargain, comparing favorably with other professionals in their literacy skills, yet earning less. And we need to recognize that we pay teachers considerably less than other professionals with comparable capacities for dealing with prose, document, and quantitative literacy tasks.” – ets.org

ELECTED REPRESENTATIVES

As you read this section, you might notice that there are no literacy or education requirements to run for a public office. It’s possible to be a high school dropout and be illiterate and become President, a state governor or a member of the U.S. Congress.

In the United States, a person must be at least 35 to be President or Vice President, 30 to be a Senator, or 25 to be a Representative, as specified in the U.S. Constitution. Most states in the U.S. also have age requirements for the offices of Governor, State Senator, and State Representative. Some states have a minimum age requirement to hold any elected office (usually 21 or 18).

How Elected Officials Scored On American Civics Literacy

In each of the following areas, for example, officeholders do more poorly than non-officeholders:

  • 79% of those who have been elected to government office do not know the Bill of Rights expressly prohibits establishing an official religion for the U.S.
  • 30% do not know that “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” are the inalienable rights referred to in the Declaration of Independence.
  • 27% cannot name even one right or freedom guaranteed by the First Amendment.
  • 43% do not know what the Electoral College does. One in five thinks it either “trains those aspiring for higher political office” or “was established to supervise the first televised presidential debates.”
  • 54% do not know the Constitution gives Congress the power to declare war. 39% think that power belongs to the president, and 10% think it belongs to the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
  • Only 32% can properly define the free enterprise system, and only 41% can identify business profit as “revenue minus expenses.” – Fellowship of the Minds.com

And in the education wars, who is telling whom how to do their job?

_______________________

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

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The Top-10 Most Unwanted List—the Enemies of Public Education

This list reveals the most dangerous enemies of public education and how they earned their spot in infamy. To discover why they landed on this list, click the links included with each name below the brick wall. This list is subject to change at any time.

Top Ten List on Birck Wall Updated Jan 28 - 2015

#1
#BillGates
Spending billions to destroy Public Schools
with testing agenda to rank & fire teachers
Living in Dialogue

#2
The #Waltons
Why are #Walmart Billionaires Bankrolling Phony School Reform
Bill Moyers.com

#3
Who is #EliBroad and why is he trying to destroy public education?
Defend Public Education.net

#4
#KochBrothers
cherry-picks Constitution
Rewriting History
To brainwash children with libertarian ideas
Diane Ravtich.net

#5
#ArneDuncan
False apologies of Arne Duncan
Who contributed to significant crises in urban school districts
Yohuru Williams at The Huffington Post.com

#6
Who is #DavidColeman
Architect of Common Core and War on Pub-Ed
who ignores professionalism of teachers
Diane Ravtich.com

#7
#JebBush
Horrible record on Education
His friends and allies are getting rich from his reform agenda
The New Yorker Reviews Jeb’s Record on Education

#8
#AndrewCuomo is backstabbing governor,
who wants to kill traditional public education in New York State
Punishing Teachers: Cuomo in 2015 Was Jindal in 2012

#9
#EveMoskowitz
Alleged Liar & Deceiver
who pays herself 500K+ annually from tax payers
#SuccessAcademy
NYC Expert Debunks Eva Moskowitz’s Extravagant and Misleading Claims

#10
Did #MichelleRhee achieve most of her broken promises in D.C.
NO!
She failed with 98.5% of boasted goals
Did ANY of Michelle Rhee’s promises actually work in DC?

EXTENDID LIST

If you want to suggest someone who deserved to be added to the extended list—beyond the Top Ten—please leave a comment with a name and provide a link to evidence that shows why they deserve a spot on the extended list of public education’s worst enemies.

Michael Barber
The Boston Globe: Overhaul of schools is wrong diagnosis

Bobbie Jindal
Bill Moyers & Company: Who are the Corporate Reformers of Public Education?

John White
More On John White’s Spring 2015 PARCC Fraud

Chris Christie
Governor Chris Christie Announces Privatizing Scheme for Camden City Schools

Rahm Emanuel
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s War on Teachers and Chidlren

John Kasich
Who’s Getting Screwed by Ohio’s Budget Cuts?

David Welch
David Welch: The Man Behind Vergara v. California

John Arnold
A Private Putsch Against Public Schooling

Rick Scott
Public Education can’t survive four more years of Rick Scott and Gary Chartrand

Campbell Brown
Is Campbell Brown the New Michelle Rhee of School Reform?
Fact-Checking Campbell Brown: What she said, what research really shows
Campbell Brown refuses to disclose donors and distorts facts on Colbert Report

Cami Anderson
http://mcorfield.blogspot.com/2015/01/camis-epic-fail-in-eye-of-another-epic.html

Mike Madigan
http://chicago.suntimes.com/chicago-politics/7/71/169717/cps-says-no-to-charter-schools-madigan-says-yes

Joel Klein
http://eagnews.org/sol-stern-and-joel-klein-tell-common-core-fairy-tales/

Rupert Murdock
http://www.schoolsmatter.info/2014/01/indiana-hb1320-alec-bill-gates-rupert.html

Michael Milken
http://modeducation.blogspot.com/2011/06/convict-who-stole-public.html

Merryl Tisch
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mercedes-schneider/to-merryl-tisch-take-resp_b_6245436.html

Fethullah Gulen
http://benswann.com/exclusive-fbi-whistleblower-and-teacher-expose-islamic-gulen-movement-infiltrating-u-s-through-charter-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/Autobiogrpahy
2015 Florida Book Festival

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

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

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

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

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

 

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The Lack of Common Sense in the Common Core—rank and yank punishment—Agenda

Its Black Friday and time to look closer at the corporate war against public education that’s supported by the neo-liberal Common Core agenda out of the Obama White House.

The Common Core agenda mandates that all high school graduates must be college and career ready by 17/18 years old. This means every high school graduate must read at an intermediate or advanced literacy level by high school graduation.

Any school that doesn’t achieve 100% success with every child—no matter what—is considered a failure according to President Bush’s No Child Left Behind and President Obama’s Race to the Top, Common Core agenda.

When public schools don’t meet this impossible goal that no other country on the earth has ever achieved with children, teachers must be ranked and yanked (fired) by using CCSS standardized tests, and public schools labeled failures must be closed and replaced with corporate Charters that must turn a profit—no matter what—or go out of business.

But, what does it take to become an economist or an electrician? Let’s find out.

According to bls.gov, in 2013, 26-percent of the 143.9 million jobs [37.4 million] did not require a high school diploma or its equivalent; 40-percent [57.56 million] only required a high school degree; 6% [8.6 million] required a post-secondary non-degree award (I think that is some form of specific job training that may lead to a certificate – for instance, a plumber, mechanic, etc.); 4% required an Associate degree—about 2 years of college [5.7 million]; 18% required a BA degree [25.9 million], 2% a Master’s degree [2.87 million], and 3% [4.3 million] a doctoral or professional degree.

In addition, according to The National Assessment of Adult Literacy, in 2003, 123-million adults in the United States read at a level that indicates they were college ready—but less than 39-million jobs required that level of literacy compared to almost 104-million jobs that didn’t.


Common Core is mentioned at 7:17 – 8:24

I know someone who earned a PhD in economics, and then he became an electrician just like his HS graduate father—he was perfectly happy doing electrical work for a living instead of economics. The only reason he earned that PhD in economics was because that’s what his father wanted for his son. The father thought it would lead to a better paying, more secure job—he was wrong!

How many jobs are there for people who have a PhD in economics compared to an electrician?

According to BLS.gov, there are almost 600,000 electricians in the United States earning the median of about $50k annually with almost 115,000 job openings between 2012-22 (that’s 11,500 new jobs annually).

Although most electricians learn through an apprenticeship, some start out by attending a technical school. Most states require electricians to be licensed. What does it cost to become an electrician? A certificate or associate’s degree costs about $1,000 to $11,000.

Now, let’s look at the job market for an economist—entry level is a Master’s degree in economics, and there are less than 17,000 jobs in this field in the United States with only 2,300 openings predicted to be available between 2012-22 (that’s 230 annually).  The median pay for these jobs is more than $92k annually—great if you can get one of these jobs.

What does it take? Most economists need a master’s degree or Ph.D. However, some entry-level jobs—primarily in the federal government—are available for workers with a bachelor’s degree.

What does it cost to earn a PhD? According to the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), a typical doctoral program takes five full-time years to complete, bringing the total cost to roughly $123,500-$181,500, depending on whether attendance is at a public or private school (nces.ed.gov).

NOW, what do you think about President Obama’s Common Core agenda that mandates every 17/18 year old must be college and career ready right out of high school, and that public school teachers and the public schools MUST be punished by termination if every child doesn’t achieve that impossible CCSS goal?

_______________________

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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Hot Coffee reveals the Capitalist threat to all aspects of Democracy

My wife and I watched an award winning documentary Thursday night (September 4, 2014). It was called “Hot Coffee: Is Justice Being Served?” The DVD for the documentary was released November 1, 2011, and Amazon sells the DVD for more than $24.00, but you may be able to watch it free on YouTube or from HBO for a lot less.

This is what I learned: if you don’t want Bill Gates, the Walton family or the Koch brothers—for instance—ruling America instead of the elected representative of the people, I urge you not to make the mistake that capitalism is the same as democracy. It isn’t.

Marriam-Webster.com defines capitalism as “an economic system characterized by private or corporate ownership of capital goods, by investments that are determined by private decision and by prices, production, and the distribution of goods that are determined mainly by competition in a free market”

By contrast, democracy is defined as “a form of government in which people choose leaders by voting and an organization or situation in which everyone is treated equally and has equal rights”

Under capitalism, everyone isn’t treated equally, and I’ve never heard of a corporate CEO elected by the people who work for the corporation the CEO rules over.

A member of the U.S. Congress is an elected—by the people—representative. The president is elected by the 538 electors of the Electoral College. Most states have a “winner-take-all” system—based on the popular vote of the people—that awards all electors to the winning presidential candidate. However, Maine and Nebraska each have a variation of “proportional representation.”

In fact, there have been four Presidential elections where the winner lost the popular vote of the people but won through the Electoral College: John Quincy Adams in 1824, Rutherford B. Hayes in 1876, Benjamin Harrison in 1888, and George W. Bush in 2000—yes, Al Gore had 540,000 more votes from the people than Bush, but G. W. won the electoral vote, 271 to 266. FactCheck.org

I’m going to copy the product description on Amazon here: “Everyone knows the case of the woman who sued McDonald s over spilled coffee. Or do they? More than 15 years after making international news, the case continues to be cited as an example of citizens who use frivolous lawsuits to take unfair advantage of the American legal system. But is that an accurate portrayal of the facts?

“An eye-opening documentary with jaw-dropping revelations, HOT COFFEE exposes how corporations spend millions on propaganda campaigns to distort Americans’ view of lawsuits forever changing the civil justice system. By examining the impact of tort reform on the lives of ordinary citizens, the film shows how Americans give up their Constitutional rights in all sorts of ways without knowing it for example, by voting for caps on damages or signing away your rights in contracts. Through interviews with politicians, judges, lawyers and ordinary citizens, first-time filmmaker and former public-interest lawyer Susan Saladoff delves into the facts of four cases to tear apart the conventional wisdom about jackpot justice.”

Watching this film, I discovered that the propaganda campaigns that were used to manipulate the justice system in the United States are also being used to distort Americans’ view of democratic public education.

Americans are literally being fooled—out of ignorance and laziness—to surrender their Constitutional Rights, vote out democracy, and replace democracy with a profit-driven, corporate oligarchy that doesn’t answer to the Constitution or the U.S. justice system. Watch the next video at your own peril.

_______________________

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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Laugh your way to keep Net Neutrality and along the way, fire the fool who lives in the White House

As you watch this video and roar in laughter as I did, ask yourself this question: How many White House shares has President Obama sold to corporations and billionaires? I think anyone who doesn’t laugh profits off the cable companies in some way.

Next: How do we get John Oliver to take on Obama’s Machiavellian Common Core agenda to destroy America’s public schools and torture the teachers all while a tsunami of private sector Charter school fraud and lies floods the country?

Let’s keep Net Neutrality and end Common Core!

_______________________

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

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 Fake Education Reformers “Smoking Gun” that leads from Arne Duncan to the White House: Part 1

How do you deceive a nation? The answer is simple—by loading the dice, stacking the deck and dealing off the bottom.

It’s called deceit!

It’s called fraud!

It’s called treason!

And it’s a crime!

This “Smoking Gun” leads from Arne Duncan to the White House because Arne, who was appointed by President Obama, pulls the trigger repeatedly every time he opens his mouth about the PISA, Common Core and how great Charter Schools are, so if there’s a fall guy (and that depends on Congress launching an in-depth, honest investigation—don’t hold your breath) it will be Arne who gets fired and may end up in prison if the president doesn’t pardon him like President Ford pardoned Nixon for his attempted cover up of his Watergate guilt.

Hey Arne, you better start shredding all those memos and deleting all your private e-mails. All it takes is one to prove you’re guilty—that you are responsible for rigging the PISA test in the U.S., and can you trust everyone who was involved, because no one could do this alone?

The cornerstone of the fake education reform movement has been the PISA rankings of developed countries where 15-year old students were supposedly selected at random, but how were the schools selected?

Before I reveal the smoking gun that leads to the White House, do you know what happens to a student’s grade point average (GPA) when there are too many poor grades? The highest GPA a student may earn is a 4.0 without advanced placement and honors classes. The reason I mention this is because the method used to compute GPA is similar to the PISA average.

For instance, if there are 100 grades of equal value and 22 are failing grades and the other 78 are A’s, that student will have a 3.12 GPA (a B-). Those 22 poor grades have a lot of weight, and when the PISA test was administered to random students, the evidence suggests that Arne Duncan made sure there would be more than 22 poor grades to drag the U.S. PISA average down.

To discover how this was done we’re going to look at the results of two studies that analyzed the details of the PISA test from different sources. It was only by chance that I discovered both and connected the dots.

The first analysis of the PISA test was from the Economic Policy Institute that concluded: “The U.S. administration of the most recent (2012) international (PISA) test resulted in students from the most disadvantaged schools being over-represented in the overall U.S. test-taker sample. This error further depressed the reported average U.S. test score.”

In fact, the report goes on: “U.S. students from advantaged social class backgrounds (students who do not live in poverty) perform better relative to their social class peers in the top-scoring countries of Finland and Canada …”

Then there’s the other analysis by Gerald N. Tirozzi, executive director of the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP).  Tirozzi reports: “The problem is that the United States has by far the highest rate of child poverty of any of the advanced industrial countries, and it is these children who perform very poorly on the (PISA) international tests. For example, U.S. students in schools with less than 10% poverty rank number one in the world, while students in schools with greater than 50% poverty score significantly below average.”

When Tirozzi compared the ranking of schools in the United States with less than a 10% poverty rate with ten countries with similar poverty numbers, the US was in first place with a PISA score of 551 and Finlandwith its public schools and unionized teachers considered among the best in the worldwas #2 with a score of 536. Then Tirozzi matched schools with a poverty rate of 10 to 24.9% with ten comparable countries, and the United States once again was ranked #1 at 527, and Canada was in second place with a PISA average of 524.

In addition, the U.S. PISA average of 502 for schools with poverty rates between 25 to 49.9% was still in the upper half of the scores—higher than twenty countries including Switzerland, Sweden, Germany, Ireland, France, the UK, Italy, Spain and Israel.

How bad is childhood poverty in the United States?

Of the 35-developed countries compared by the PISA test, the US was ranked 34th for childhood poverty while Finland’s poverty rate was less than 5%—in the U.S. 22% of all children live in families with incomes below the federal poverty level. That fact by itself without stacking the deck would drive the U.S. average down because the higher a country’s childhood poverty rate, the lower the PISA average would be.

Why did the Department of Education test more schools in the U.S. with higher rates of poverty than the other developed countries? Was this deliberate?

I think so—by rigging the PISA test to be given to students who attend more schools with the highest poverty rates led to an average that made all the U.S. public schools look bad when they’re not—just like a child’s GPA drops when there are more poor grades. Schools with high rates of children living in poverty resulted in a lower PISA average by offsetting the scores of the 78% of students who do not live in poverty.

Tirozzi’s analysis clearly reveals that the average score of 78% of America’s children (39 million) who don’t live in poverty ranked #1 in the world on the international PISA test when compared to the other 35 developed countries similar to the United States, but testing an unfair ratio of students from the 22% (11 million) who live in poverty dropped the U.S. average drastically creating a false sense of failure in the U.S. public schools.

In conclusion: “National efforts to improve public education—from the Bush administration’s No Child Left Behind to President Obama’s Race to the Top—have been focused on the wrong problems, said Richard Rothstein, a senior fellow at the Institute on Law and Social Policy at the University of California at Berkeley.” (The Washington Post)

Poverty is the problem!

The public schools and the teachers are not the problem, because when children don’t live in poverty, they score higher on the international PISA test in every developed country with the U.S. ranked #1.

What should we call this fraud—Education Gate or something else?

Continued with: Discovering the world’s best teachers—Smoking Gun: Part 2

_______________________

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).

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Veteran Medical Care through VA Neglected by Obama Administration and Congress

What would the U.S. do without its volunteer army? What would happen to corporate profits if Americans refused to join and fight the wars that profit the few while many die and are wounded? To understand what I mean, I suggest you read this post on my Soulful Veteran Blog @ http://thesoulfulveteran.wordpress.com/2014/05/11/i-was-never-a-pow-but-what-about-the-next-american-war/

Think about those questions as you read the May 20, 2014 update of the scandal at the VA, and then ask this question: What would the United States do if its public school teachers—all 3.3 million—refused to teach until they were allowed to do their jobs without fake education reformers from Washington DC interfering in the process of educating our youth? I’m talking about Arne Duncan and billionaire plutocrats like BIll Gates and the Walton family who seem to own the White House and Congress? It seems that the U.S. can’t afford to treat the active military and its veterans the way they treat the nation’s public school teachers.

I urge both NEA and AFT (the two major teacher unions) to call a national walk-out day for all public school teachers across the nation to grab the country’s attention and demand change at the Department of Education by first getting rid of Arne Duncan and ending the Common Core testing as a way to evaluate teachers and close public schools. If the American Legion is willing to stand up and fight for America’s military veterans (and I’m one of them and my medical provider is the VA), then the two teacher unions must stand up and fight for America’s teachers! Pick a school day and every public school teacher in the country calls in sick because they are sick and tired of being treated like trash.

UPDATE May 20, 2014

The top official for veterans’ health care resigned Friday, as the Obama administration and Congress begin to respond to a growing political firestorm over allegations of treatment delays and falsified records at veterans’ hospitals nationwide. The House has scheduled a vote for Wednesday on legislation that would give Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki greater authority to fire or demote senior executives and administrators at the agency and its 152 medical Centers. (You may read the rest of this report @ Military.com http://www.military.com/veterans-report/steps-taken-to-address-va-firestorm?ESRC=vr.nl)

Original Post from May 13

What’s going on? First the public schools and now the VA!

First: Under President Clinton and a Congress dominated by a GOP majority, the Glass Steagall Act of 1933 that was meant to protect the United States from another Great Depression was repealed in 1999 leading to the Great Recession of 2007-08 under President G. W. Bush, the 2nd worse global financial disaster since the Great Depression.

Second: President G. W. Bush—with approval from a GOP dominated Congress—enacts the 2001 No Child Left Behind Act and the U.S. Government declares war on its own Public Schools under the false claims that the public schools are failing when they aren’t.

Third: President Obama, with overwhelming approval from Congress enacts Race to the Top in 2009 along with the Common Core Standards as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act escalating the White House’s war on Public Education to Machiavellian levels.

Fourth: In early April 2014 the U.S. Supreme Court—dominated by a conservative majority—wipes out the overall limit on what a wealthy donor can give to political parties and federal candidates during an election cycle with the McCutcheon decision. This ruling reinforced the unwritten iron law that now prevails in American politics: Pay to Play

Fifth: A very real threat to Net Neutrality. Network neutrality is basically the principle that Internet access providers—[including] companies like Verizon, AT&T and Comcast—shouldn’t discriminate in how they handle traffic on the Internet. And without this neutrality, the Internet also becomes “Pay to Play” or vanish into obscurity.

Sixth: Now medical care through the Veterans Administration (VA)! Since the late 1990s under President Bill Clinton, the VA became an efficient model medical care system, and President Obama can’t reform something that works so what’s the best way to change that? The answer: make sure it needs reforming by introducing corruption through the VA’s top leaders.

The Obama Administration and the Congress seem hell bent to privatize government. The public schools are in the middle of an all-out war with the federal government to turn education over to private sector Charter schools that are riddled with corruption and mostly worse than the public schools. It also seems that the VA is under attack as services and support has been eroding under the Obama White House and Congress.

Does this mean the VA has also been targeted to be privatized just like the public schools, prison systems, and even the military? After all, if the VA failed to provide adequate services, then the White House will have an excuse to demand reforms and that usually means privatization.

The American Legion.org reports: “At a May 5 press conference in Indianapolis, American Legion National Commander Daniel M. Dellinger called for the resignation of Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki (appointed by President Obama in 2009), as well as Robert Petzel (appointed in 2010) and Allison Hickey (appointed in 2011), VA’s undersecretaries for health and benefits, respectively. It was a decision the Legion arrived at gradually, after years of support. …

“Dellinger noted two of the most recent revelations that finally convinced him that top VA leadership in Washington needed to change: allegations that the Phoenix VA medical center kept a secret list of patients waiting months for medical care, which was linked by CNN to preventable deaths of about 40 veterans; and findings by a VA investigation that workers at the VA clinic in Fort Collins, Colo., had been instructed on how to falsify appointment records. …

“The American Legion expects when such errors and lapses are discovered, that they are dealt with swiftly and that the responsible parties are held accountable,” Dellinger said. “This has not happened at the Department of Veterans Affairs. There needs to be a change, and that change needs to occur at the top.”

The American Legion may demand changes within the VA but the problem originates from the White House and a neo-liberal president and his administration, who have clearly signaled that they are allied with neo-conservatives in the Republican Party with a common goal to privatize most if not all of government services.

Once the VA, the public schools, the military and the prisons are turned over to private sector, for profit corporations, does that mean the Constitution and Bill of Rights will be meaningless. After all, what the Founding Fathers wrote in 1776 was meant to protect all U.S. citizens from their own elected government and not private sector corporations (that didn’t exist in the 18th century) run by billionaire oligarchs and CEO autocrats.

For instance, the 1st Amendment freedom of speech protections only protects Americans from their elected federal and state governments. The 2nd Amendment’s right to own and bear arms also protects America’s citizens only from our elected governments—the feds and the states can’t legally take away a citizen’s right to own firearms.

But what happens when there is only a puppet government owned by the wealthiest 1% of Americans and all federal and state services have been turned over to, for instance, Bill Gates, Eli Broad, Michael Bloomberg, the Koch brothers, the (Wall-Mart) Walton family, and Hedge Fund billionaire’s on Wall Street?

Imagine what will happen if the IRS is turned over to Microsoft or Rupert Murdock’s Media Corp; if the U.S. Forest Service is privatized and turned over to the Koch brothers, and if President Obama is successful in doing away with Internet Neutrality.

Also Recommended:

President Obama’s Failure of Leadership

Who crowned Bill Gates the Emperor of Education?

Education Bloggers Network Supporting the Public Schools

The compulsory Common Core standards and the facts behind the Controversy

The challenge of teaching At-Risk Kids reveals why Charter schools are abandoning them

The successful history of—and the threat to—Public Education in the United States

_______________________

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

His 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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