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Teaching Children how to Navigate today’s Confusing Media Circus

I was teaching English during the 1st Bush War against Iraq. It was called the Gulf War, and it was 1991. By then, I’d been teaching 16 years. I retired and left teaching in 2005 after 30 years. In 1991, a few of my students had brothers in the military over there, and I asked my students to write letters and send gifts to him and others in his unit. That became our link to a war.

At the time, the country was very supportive of that war, and it didn’t occur to any teachers I knew to discuss and question what was happening because it wasn’t an unpopular controversial issue. There were those that spoke out but there’s always someone that’s against all wars even if the U.S. were attacked without warning like Pearl Harbor during World War II.

The New York Times reported on January 22, 1991, “The American public’s initial soaring optimism about the war against Iraq has flattened a little, but support for the war remains broad and President Bush’s approval rating continues to stand at a record level, the latest New York Times/CBS News Poll shows.”

It also helped that the Gulf War was over before it had time to lose support. It only lasted 1 month, 1 week and 4 days. That New York Times story mentioned in the previous paragraph came out a little over month before the war ended on February 28.

Compare that to the War in Afghanistan that started in 2001 and is still raging, or the Vietnam War that started in 1955 and went to April 1975, almost 20 years that saw millions killed and maimed in Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos before the United States finally left.  By 1970 only a third of American’s believed that the U.S. had not made a mistake by sending troops to fight in Vietnam.

Back then we didn’t have the Alt Right lying, conspiracy theory generating media machine that exists today. The worst we had back then was Rush Limbaugh and a few other rising stars in conservative talk radio. Let’s not forget that Fox Broadcast Television Network didn’t have its primetime launch until April 5, 1987. It was almost as if Rupert Murdock knew that the Fairness Doctrine was already doomed, and that a few months later in June of 1987, President Reagan would veto the Fairness Doctrine legislation that would have guaranteed more balance and honesty in the media, and this paved the way for the endless lies and conspiracy theories we have to live with today from the Alt-Right.


What is wrong with honest, equitable, and balanced coverage of controversial public issues?

The Washington Post reported in 2014, “About half (16) of the 32 outlets have an audience that pretty clearly leans to the left, while seven have audiences that lean conservative. The rest (including all the broadcast networks) are somewhere near the middle.”

Back in 1991 during the 1st Gulf War, we didn’t have Vote Smart (launched 1992), or Snopes (launched 1995), or FactCheck.org (launched in December 2003), or PolitiFact.com (launched 2007). These sites have become America’s antibodies fighting the Alt-Right media machine virus that’s infecting any chance at balance and truth in the news. There is a big difference between bias and lies.

Bias is prejudice in favor of or against one thing, person, or group compared with another, usually in a way considered to be unfair.

But a lie is an untruth. It is deceit. It is deception. It is dishonesty. It is trickery. It is worse than bias. Lies can be revealed by facts, but bias is harder to dig out and varies from a simple bias that cherry picks facts to an extreme bias that ignores facts that does not support that bias. Most traditional media bias is not extreme and is not easy to measure. Lies are easier to discover by a little digging using the Fact Check sites listed above.

With news supported by facts based on actual events, it’s not easy to generate conspiracy theory propaganda that is worse than vomit and diarrhea in your mouth at the same time.

The need for fact checking started soon after the 1st Bush War (ended February 1991) and then grew after the 2nd Bush War that was justified by lies of WMDs (2003 – 2010, a war that lasted 8 years, 8 months, and 28 days).

As the Alt-Right conspiracy-theory generating media machine grew and the GOP continued to move further to the right into unchartered extremist territory, the need to question everything has become necessary.

So, today, before an event or movement can become an issue, teachers must teach their students to question everything they hear and read in the traditional media and especially from the Alt-Right media machine, and teach them how to use all those fact and fact check sites listed above with links. That includes government sites that gather data and information: U.S. Census, the CDC, the Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, NASA, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, The CIA’s World Factbook, etc.

Of course, if Fake President Trump, who obviously only learns from Fox, and the Alt-Right Media machine, has his way, those fact-gathering government agencies that employs both registered Democrats and Republicans might not exist in a few months or years since Trump has made it clear he doesn’t trust any information that isn’t what he wants to hear or can’t control.

Contrary to the false opinions of the extreme, deplorable followers of Trump and the Alt-Right, every teacher and every government worker isn’t a liberal or a progressive, but most of them are probably not racists either. In fact, I’ve read that almost 30-percent of public school teachers are registered Republicans while the rest are independent voters and registered Democrats.

There are other terms children should learn about. For instance, confirmation bias, a perfect term to describe Fake President Donald Trump’s choices for where he tunes in to hear the news that is often wrong in so many ways.

To discover more about bias, read The 12 cognitive biases that prevent you from being rational.

And then there’s lies. Yes, there are different levels of lying too from bad to horrible. For instance Politifact.com divides its fact checking into: true, mostly true, half true, mostly false, false, and pants on fire, and on that note, here’s a list of all the Pants on Fire lies from Donald Trump.

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

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The New York Times sent me a long e-mail asking me to subscribe

The NYT’s email follows my reply

If the New York Times is such a great newspaper, why does it support Corporate Charter Schools as better than community-based, democratic, transparent, non-profit, traditional public schools in its pages?

Test scores do NOT make a good or great school.

Honest studies based on all the facts that go beyond the hype and lies pumped out repeatedly by the billionaire supported autocratic, opaque and secretive, for-profit, often fraudulent and child abusing corporate charter school industry repeatedly prove that these for-profit (not public) schools that take public money are no better, are often worse and are riddled with fraud and corruption.

While traditional public schools are ridiculed and often closed for allegedly failing to educate ALL the students according to flawed laws and legislation, the corporate charter schools are often ignored when they fail worse than any public school has ever been accused of.

Until the New York Times reports accurately and honestly without bias about what is really happening in the United States about the county’s arguably great community-based, democratic, transparent, non-profit, traditional public schools, I will not subscribe to your newspaper even to support you financially.

I earned my BA in journalism from Fresno State Universty in California in 1973, and the New York Times inadequate and often biased coverage of the greed based autocratic war against the highly successful community based, democratic, transparent, non-profit, traditional public schools. I taught both English and journalism in California public schools for thirty years so I know what I am talking about. If you have the time; if you have an open mind, read my memoir “Crazy is Normal”. This memoir was not written with best-seller status in mind. It was written to reveal what goes on in an American classroom and it was based on a daily journal that I kept for one full school year.

I know what I am talking about when I allege that America’s traditional public schools are a great success. Test scores do not measure success. The college graduation rate does (The U.S. of ranked annually as one of the most educated countries on the planet). The high school graduation rate by age 25 does. The fact that America’s publishing industry is the largest and most profitable in the world does, because, without readers, that publishing industry would be insignificant.

And without the life-long learners, critical thinkers and problem solvers who are educated in America’s traditional, community base, democratic, transparent, non-profit (REAL) public schools, there would be no democracy.  High test scores from flawed and secretive tests that profit corporations like Pearson do not educate life-long learners, critical thinkers and problem solvers that this country needs to survive as a Constitutional Republic.

Let America’s highly educated teachers that belong to labor unions teach and get corporations, state capitals, and Washington DC out of the nation’s classrooms. Those teachers’ unions are necessary to protect teachers from frauds and bullies like Donald Trump.

Leave the teaching to the teachers and remember, the teachers do not learn for the students. Children must come to school ready and willing to learn.


It’s All About the Money!

 

A note from Cliff Levy, Deputy Managing Editor
Greetings,

I’m writing from the newsroom of The New York Times, where I’m a deputy managing editor, helping to oversee more than 1,200 journalists across the globe. I’m reaching out because you’ve shown an interest in Times journalism, and I thought that you’d like to hear how we view our mission.

Our journalists pursue stories around the clock because we believe in the power of information, ideas and debate to shape the world and inspire change. Just a few examples from our coverage in recent days:

When Syria insisted that it did not carry out a horrific chemical attack on civilians, Times reporters did groundbreaking work with forensic mapping to dispute the government’s claims.
Our Washington investigative team produced a special report on the F.B.I. director’s role in shaping the 2016 presidential election. After the director was dismissed by President Trump, the investigative team then came up with a series of scoops that revealed what had really happened behind the scenes.
With deep experience in Silicon Valley, our technology reporter exposed how Uber’s founder engaged in reckless corporate practices, touching off a federal investigation.

Real reporting is vital in a media landscape full of deceptive or outright false news. And we can do it because we have the support of our subscribers.

Of course, you can also look to The Times for compelling coverage on how to live a more fulfilling life. Our Cooking section offers thousands of recipes and how-to guides. Our experts offer advice on everything from how to avoid addiction to technology to how to exercise more effectively.

We also believe in elevating our readers’ voices in order to highlight a diversity of views. In a landmark partnership with Google, we’re going to open up most of our articles to comments, creating an engaging and respectful forum for you to discuss the issues of the day.

A little about me: I’ve spent 27 years at The Times, winning two Pulitzer Prizes, one for my work in Russia and one for exposing the abuse of mentally ill people.

Like so many in our newsroom, I’ve devoted my career to The Times because I believe in the role that independent and original journalism can play in society.

I hope that you’ll consider subscribing to The Times. Here’s how.

Regards,

Cliff Levy
This email was sent to lflwriter@sbcglobal.net
©2017 The New York Times Company | 620 Eighth Ave., New York, NY 10018

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

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If you are a public or private sector worker with a future promised pension, is that pension safe?

Public pensions are allegedly guaranteed by each state and/or the federal government. After all, doesn’t it say so in many if not all state constitutions? That’s why public employees count on the fact that when they retire after working 20, 30, 40, or more years, they will receive the pensions they were promised.

A friend of mine who is still teaching attended a State Teachers Retirement System (STRS) Seminar in Irvine, California recently and asked if teacher’s pensions were safe. My friend was told that the California Constitution guarantees the State of California’s obligations towards the Teachers’ Retirement System. (My friend’s name will go unmentioned in this post because of the fact that in public education today no job is safe for teachers if you say the wrong thing in public.)

My friend thought, “What (the STRS representative) does not realize is if the money is not there, then the money is not there.  The State’s Constitution can be amended.  Also, if there is enough political pressure from voters, school boards, etc. then the State would definitely reduce the funding levels for STRS.”

In an e-mail my friend listed several examples of promised retiree benefits that have already been broken in both the private and public sector.

> Bethlehem Steel- declared bankruptcy in 2001, which affected the pensions of 120,000 retirees and their dependents.  – Your Incredible Vanishing Pension

What happened? Bethlehem Steel transferred its pension obligations to the U.S. Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC).  The PBGC did not cover the retirees promised health-care coverage in retirement.  When PBGC took over, the 30-years-and-out agreement was scrapped, and workers got the standard U.S. worker’s deal.  Some workers were planning to retire at 60, but they had to work until 62 to get their retirement under PBGC.  Also, PBGC only took over $3.7 billion even though the fund should have been funded at $4.3 billion.  Hence, retirees saw their pension reduced.

What happened? Pension checks will shrink by 6.7% or 4.5% for 12,000 Detroit retirees.  Two different sources contradict each other (6.7% vs. 4.5%).  Almost 11,000 retirees and current employees will have to repay $212 million in excess interest that they received when they received bonuses in some years for their annuity.  “U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes ruled that Detroit’s pensions could be cut even though the state constitution prohibits reducing retirement benefits.”  Plus, cost of living adjustments were eliminated.

  • Stockton Bankruptcy (“Judge Christopher Klein conducted a hearing on the City’s proposed Plan of Adjustment, as amended (also known as the “Exit Plan”) on May 12-14, 2014. . . The City shared that the Plan of Adjustment would go effective by end of day-Feb. 25, 2015”) (“Chapter 9 Bankruptcy”).

What happened? “As part of the city’s bankruptcy plan, all retiree medical benefits—part of a program costing $544 million—have been eliminated. … Under the plan of adjustment, remaining pension benefits for new city employees will be lowered while individual employee contributions will rise.  However, the CalPERS pension benefit for retirees remained untouched during the bankruptcy, but Stockton might not be able to continue to fund the CalPERS pension benefits at their current levels.

What happened? Even though Vallejo did not cut CalPERS benefits to its retirees, the retirees’ benefits could still be in trouble.  “Moody’s recently warned that Vallejo’s pension obligations could force it to file for bankruptcy protection a second time. … Ballooning pension costs, which will hit more than $14 million this year, a nearly 40% increase from two years ago.”

What happened? San Bernardino failed to pay CalPERS’s contribution during the first two years of its bankruptcy.  This failure ended up in court.  What has emerged is “ … residents and businesses [will have] to pay an additional property parcel tax increase to fund $16 million in skipped payments, and interest payments of $602,580 a month for another two-year period”.  San Bernardino just decided to turn over its fire department to the county; essentially, San Bernardino just dumped future CalPERS pension contributions since it would have been required to pay 10% annual increases.  “The City of San Bernardino has voted to become the first participant to dump CalPERS after the state’s pension plan shocked participants by announcing contribution rates would rise by 61% over the next five years.”

Conclusion

What this means is that no matter what a state or federal Contusion or law says about a guaranteed promise, there is no guarantee for any pensions, because what happened with Bethlehem Steel, a private sector company, and public sector unions in Detroit, Stockton, Vallejo and San Bernardino for has set a legal trend for other corporations and/or municipalities to dump their pension obligations, which could spell major trouble for retirees who were counting on them in their old age. Support of the Elderly Before the Depression: Individual and Collective Arrangements by Carolyn L. Weaver reminds that “Before the Great Depression, the care of the poor of all ages was a responsibility assumed primarily by the private sector, generally through the extended family, friends and neighbors, and organized private charity.’ There were no federal programs (other than veterans programs) to assist the poor, whether young or old, disabled or unemployed. The role of the government in preventing poverty through the provision of pensions and insurance was even more limited.”

Words for Thought

Did you know that in 1900, 40 percent of Americans lived in poverty? Imagine the burden when a family that was already living in poverty and didn’t have the money to pay for medical care had no choice but to do their best to support their aging parents and/or grandparents and/or children and/or friends and neighbors when there wasn’t enough money to provide shelter or food for even themselves? Maybe that’s why Denmark, Iceland, Switzerland, Norway and Finland are the world’s happiest countries, because they all support strong social safety net programs, the majority feels a moral duty to have them, so no one suffers when friends and family can’t afford to help with food, shelter and medical care. Imagine what it must feel like not to have to worry about your next meal or being tossed out of your home because you can’t pay rent, the property tax, or the mortgage payment.

If you want to know the single most powerful force in the United States that is working hard and spending hundreds of millions of their own dollars to destroy the Social Safety net that supports most Americans in their old age, look no further than ALEC, an organization supported by David and Charles Koch and their so-called libertarian billionaire boys club. To learn more, I recommend Bill Moyers & Company’s The Kochs Are Ghostwriting America’s Story.

What do you want – a collective effort to support each other (for instance, through Social Security, food stamps, unemployment, Medicare and traditional pension plans) or an environment where everyone is responsible to take care of themselves with no collective support and if you can’t do it, just die quickly or miserably?

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

Crazy is Normal FREE Promotion July 2016

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Who do you think should pick the elected leaders of the United States?

Lloyd Lofthouse

My old friend did it again. He’s a good bellwether for far-right conservative thinking, because he is a born-again fundamentalist Christian, far-right libertarian who thinks abortion is murder and that women should be ruled by men because, well, women are women, and the Bible supports what he thinks.  He reads far-right writers, and he watches and listens to far-right media. If he thinks something, you can easily guess where he is getting his ideas.

Anyway, he recently wrote in an e-mail: “You’ve probably heard Churchill’s comment on democracy – ‘It’s the worse form of government except for all the others.’ This can be said about money and elections also – ‘The rich are the worse ones to choose our leaders except for all others.’ Society can be looked at as composed of various groups – rich, poor, artists, criminals, theologians, those living on welfare, students, men, and woman – a…

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David vs Goliath: Threatened Grade School Principal Stands up to Chicago’s Corrupt Political Machine

> UPDATES <

Former Chicago Public Schools chief to plead guilty to bribery scheme – Chicago Tribune – October 8, 2015

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/ct-barbara-byrd-bennett-chicago-public-schools-charged-met-20151008-story.html

Mayor Emanuel must answer for SUPES contact scandal – Chicago Tribune – June 1, 2015

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/editorials/ct-barbara-byrd-bennett-supes-rahm-emanuel-edit-0602-20150601-story.html

New light shed on City Hall’s ties to CPS scandal – Chicago  Tribune – May 7, 2015

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/politics/ct-school-contract-investigation-swanson-20150507-story.html

> THE ORIGINAL POST ABOUT THE GRADE SCHOOL PRINCIPAL FIGHTING CORRUPTION IN CHICAGO STARTS HERE <

“Principal known as Emanuel critic reprimanded by mayor’s school board.” – Chicago Tribune, August 29, 2015

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/politics/ct-troy-laraviere-principal-warning-vote-met-0828-20150827-story.html

We Dont Need Heroes Troy L

Troy LaRaviere’s Blog: A place to discuss a better school system for all Chicagoans

http://troylaraviere.net/

Troy LaRaviere: My Statement on CPS’ “Warning Resolution”
CONTEXT AND BACKGROUND
I’ve been asked for my thoughts in response to the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) Board of Education issuing a “warning resolution” against me for opposing their backward education policy and corrupt fiscal management of our school district. Before responding, I have to write a few words about who I am. …

http://troylaraviere.net/2015/08/28/my-statement-on-cps-warning-resolution/

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

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

 99 Cent Graphic for Promomtion OCT 2015

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How to Recognize a Corporate Education Reformer in 5 Easy Steps

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

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

Michee Rhee the Queen Witch

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

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

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

  1. Beware of fancy titles linked to any RheeFormer

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The UGLY Answers:

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

Charter School Vulnerabilities to Waste, Fraud, and Abuse

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

Tales of Fraud, Mismanagement, and Mis-Education

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

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

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

Education Reformers Send Their Kids to Private School

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

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

Arne Duncan’s children to attend private school in Chicago

Where Arne Duncan Sends His Kids to School

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

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

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

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

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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 6 of 6

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When I retired, the school district stopped paying me and saved the tax payers money since most teachers that retire after teaching 30 years or more are replaced by younger teachers that are paid much less.

Keeping older, higher paid teachers working longer will only cost the taxpayer more in the long run since those same teachers that are working longer will end up with a larger monthly pension check since the longer a teacher spends in the classroom, the larger the pension.

I’m impressed when a reporter does their job properly and balances the news instead of feeding the mob that bellies up to the slop-trough of Yellow Journalism, which is based on sensationalism and crude exaggerations.

Don Thompson’s misleading AP piece, Public retirement ages come under greater scrutiny did not impress me.


This is the summary of Retirement Heist: How Companies Plunder and Profit from the Nest Eggs of American Workers by Ellen E. Schultz.

However, Kevin G. Hall did.  Hall writes for the The McClatchy Company, the third-largest newspaper publisher in the United States with 31 daily newspapers in 15 states. Hall provided a more realistic, honest balance of Why employee pensions aren’t bankrupting states.

In his piece, Hall wrote, “From state legislatures to Congress to tea party rallies, a vocal backlash is rising against what are perceived as too-generous retirement benefits for state and local government workers. However, that widespread perception doesn’t match reality.”

According the Hall, “Pension contributions from state and local employers aren’t blowing up budgets.” They amount to just 2.9 – 3.8 percent of state spending, on average.

In addition, Hall says, “Nor are state and local government pension funds broke. They’re underfunded …”

With those facts, we should ask what the real reason is why the far-right hate groups are turning on public-worker sector pension plans.

The answer may be Wall Street, Hedge Funds and US bank private-sector greed, the same risk-taking greed with someone else’s money that caused the 2007-08 global financial crises.

According The Council on State Governments, in 2006 before the crash, the total amount of money held by these federal, state and local public-pension plans was almost $6 trillion dollars, and greed—it seems—has no limits.

If you do not believe me, ask people such as Bernard Madoff [who robbed his victims of $50 billion], Scott Rothstein [$1.2 billion], Tom Peters [$3.7 billion], Allen Stanford [$8 billion], March Dreier [$400 million], Lou Pearlman [$500 million], Michael Kelly [$428 million], the Greater Ministries International Church [$500 million], Scientology minister Reed Slatkin [more than $600 million], and Nicholas Cosmo [$370 million].

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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).

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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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