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Category Archives: Obama’s Race to the Top

Is David Coleman a psychopath, and what does that mean for the rest of us if it’s true?

When David Coleman said, “no one gives a shit about how you think and feel,” did that reveal his psychological profile as an alleged psychopath?

As an alleged psychopath and one of the key architects behind the Common Core (so-called) State Standards agenda and the corporate education reform movement to privatize public education and profit off public money, Coleman probably wouldn’t understand that emotions drive most of the decisions that 99% of people make in life.

For instance, Psychology Today reports that “Your emotions will drive the decisions you make today, and your success may depend upon your ability to understand and interpret them. When an emotion is triggered in your brain, your nervous systems responds by creating feelings in your body (what many people refer to as a “gut feeling”) and certain thoughts in your mind. A great deal of your decisions are informed by your emotional responses because that is what emotions are designed to do: to appraise and summarize an experience and inform your actions.

What about David Coleman and the other leaders—Bill Gates, Eli Broad, the Walton family, etc.—of the often fraudulent and propaganda driven corporate school reform movement?

“Imagine if you never felt guilt, or embarrassment, or remorse for anything you did, ever! And there is no emotional attachment to other people and their emotions have no effect on you. In other words, you have no “conscience”, no inner policeman telling you what you should and should not do. And never any regrets either. …  The decision making of people who fit the definition of psychopathy is very different from yours or mine. They can decide to do things that we would never do. … Of particular importance are psychopaths operating in positions of power. Remember that they like to control and manipulate people for their own benefit. It makes sense then, that they will try to put themselves in positions of power, using whatever tricks, deceit and manipulations they can. Remember for them, the end justifies the means. … Remember that their own decision making process is not dominated by emotions, so their decisions are organized around their own selfish motives. … It is thought that 1% of the population are psychopaths.” – Decision Making Confidence.com

Does that 1% that represents the alleged psychopaths among us equal the 1% at the top of the socioeconomic pyramid of wealth and power? This may not seem like a big number but the damage these psychopaths inflict on society and on individuals, emotionally, physically, sexually, mentally and psychologically is enormous.

For instance, 20% of prison inmates fit the definition of psychopath and about 50% of major crimes are committed by psychopaths. But most psychopaths do not end up in prison. Experts say that if they have not committed a crime, it’s only because they have not been discovered yet, and they use their charm to disarm. They use mind control techniques to manipulate people, and when in trouble, they use guilt and fear so that people do not publicly criticize them.

From Time Magazine, Which Professions Have the Most Psychopaths? The Fewest?

_______________________

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 Conspiracy that is not a Theory – What the Overwhelming Evidence Reveals

There is the court of law, an arm of the judicial branch of government that hears cases and administers justice based on statutes of common law, and then there is the court-of-public-opinion usually driven—right or wrong—by emotion without the kind of evidence that might lead to a conviction in a court with a judge and a possible jury.

Then there is Mercedes K. Schneider’s “Common Core Dilemma – Who Owns Our Schools?

Image with Blurb for Common Core Dilemma

After I received the paperback copy that the author’s editor mailed to me for my honest review, I lost sleep for the first few nights that I was reading the book because of a sense of helplessness that there was little I could do so stop the horrible crimes being perpetrated on millions of teachers and more than 50 million children in the United States.

About a third of the way through the book, I asked myself what happens if the judicial branch of government doesn’t do its job when there is a tsunami of evidence so powerful that it reveals, without a doubt (at last for me), who the perpetrators are behind a conspiracy so huge and malignant that it might well turn out to be the crime of the 21st century causing the end of a people’s republic and their democracy.

That conspiracy and crime is what Schneider’s book reveals step-by-methodical-step unraveling a Gordian knot of evidence that even if it were only 25-percent true should be enough to send a small host of alleged criminals to maximum security prisons to serve long sentences after being stripped of their wealth and power—there should be no white-collar prisons for these frauds, manipulators and liars.

For instance, the fraud committed by Bernie Madoff is tiny compared to this crime, and Madoff ended up with 150 years to serve in prison and forfeiture of $17.179 billion. The crime that Schneider reveals in her book is going to add up to a lot more than Madoff’s Securities fraud. In fact, if not stopped, the crime against our public schools will end up stealing trillions of dollars and wrecking tens-of-millions of lives.

If you decide to pay the high price for the Kindle, hardcover or paperback—common for books published by academic presses—be ready for the evidence trail that you will discover.  Schneider’s book is not a fast-paced mystery of what’s going on in the corporate education reform war taking place in the United States.

Instead, Schneider’s book reads like a trail of evidence collected meticulously by a team of FBI agents with a goal to make a strong case for a state or federal attorney to file in court and punish the alleged ring leaders. The paperback has a five-page Glossary of the Key Individuals, Organizations, and Terms in addition to 29 pages of Notes broken down by chapter that supports the evidence revealed, followed by a 13 page Index.

I think that any attempt on my part to present in a review the complicated web of evidence this book logically presents would not do justice for the book. I urge anyone who thinks justice should be served to read this book and then write a review and/or protest to your local elected state and federal representative by letter, on-line and/or in person.

I don’t remember ever reading the word “conspiracy’ in this book, but the more documented evidence that I learned, the louder that word shouted in my mind until it became a roar of outrage against the corporate reformers!

_______________________

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

Crazy is Normal promotional image with blurbs

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

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

 

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Do High Stakes Tests Cause Children to Commit Suicide to Escape the Stress?

> July 24, 2017 UPDATE <

“Middle School Suicides Double As Common Core Testing Intensifies”

“The suicide rate among 10-to 14-year-olds doubled between 2007 and 2014 – the same period in which states have increasingly adopted Common Core standards and new, more rigorous high stakes tests.”

My original post continues from here:

First from FairTest – November 2013:

  • Laela Gray, an eight-year-old Florida girl, became a poster child for high-stakes testing trauma after she was told she could not advance to fourth grade because she scored 181 instead of 182 on the third grade state reading test
  • Many teachers say pressure to prepare students for more rigorous Common Core tests means the youngest children are now required to do work that is wildly age-inappropriate.:
  • Common Core tests are meant to be harder to pass. In New York State, scores from the first administration of Common Core-based exams dropped dramatically from the previous year’s test results. Drops were particularly enormous in districts serving large numbers of English language learners and students with special needs.
  • Even kindergarten is no longer a refuge from the test preparation craze. New York kindergartners are bubbling in standardized exams based on Common Core math standards so there is test data to use for their teachers’ evaluations. Their teachers report that many of these young children don’t even know how to hold pencils yet and don’t understand how to fill in bubbles on test answer sheets.

And from rethinking schools.org we discover, “Under threat of losing federal funds, all 50 states adopted or revised their standards and began testing every student, every year in every grade from 3 – 8 and again in high school.”

Then there is this from The Washington Post: For the last year a revolt against high-stakes standardized testing has been growing around the country, with teachers, principals, superintendents, parents and students speaking out about the negative impact on education of this obsession.

Now, let’s look closer at child suicide rates:

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention says, Younger groups have had consistently lower suicide rates than middle-aged and older adults. In 2013, adolescents and young adults aged 15 to 24 had a suicide rate of 10.9 per every 100,000 in that age bracket.

But if you click on the previous link and scroll down to Suicide Rates by Age from 2000 to 2013, you will discover that the suicide rate of children aged 15 to 24 were not always 10.9. In fact, in 2000, the suicide rate for ages 15 to 24 was 10.2 and for the next three years, the suicide rate declined to 9.9; then 9.8 for 2002, and a low of 9.5 for 2003 before it leaped to 10.3 for 2004 and started to climb right along with the corporate education reform agenda and the high stakes tests linked to the No Child Left Behind (2001) and then the Common Core Standards (2010).

After the Common Core appeared in 2010 followed by its high stakes tests, the childhood suicide rate climbed to 10.5 and then to 10.9 where it held steady for three years in a row: 2011, 2012, and 2013.

The suicide rates for children that were less than age 14 has also climbed since 2000 when the rate was 0.5—a rate that held steady or dropped until 2013 when the rate shot up to 0.7 per 100,000 children for the first time.

In this post, I want to demonstrate the dramatic increase in child suicide rates to discover how many children are committing suicide due to the alleged stress caused by No Child Left Behind (NCLB – 2001) and Race To The Top (RTTP -2009) in addition to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS – 2010) and the PARCC tests that followed.

In 2000, the U.S. Census reported there were about 41 million children ages 5 to 14, and 39.1 million children ages 15 to 24. In 2000, 205 children ages 5 to 14, and 3,988 young adults ages 14 to 24 committed suicide.

Thirteen years later, in 2013, the U.S. Census reported that there were 40.9 million children ages 5 to 14 and 43.5 million young adults ages 15 to 24. In 2013, 286 children ages 5 to 14—a dramatic increase of 39.5 percent since 2000—and 4,741.5 young adults ages 15 to 24—another dramatic increase of 18.9 percent since 2000—committed suicide.

If we look at the numbers starting with 2011 when the child suicide rate hit 0.7 and/or 10.9 per 100,000, an additional 243 children ages 5 – 14 and 2,260.5 young adults ages 15 to 24 committed suicide possibly because of the added stress caused by NCLB, CCSS and PARCC.

What else can possible explain the DRAMATIC increase in child suicide rates? Could it be the divorce rate that leads to broken families? Let’s find out. In 1980, the annual divorce rate was 5.2 per 1,000, but in 2000 it was 4.2, and by 2009, the annual divorce rate was down to 3.5. With these dramatic drops in the divorce rate, how can we blame the increase in childhood suicides on divorce, and in 2012, the CDC reported that the divorce rate was down to 3.4 per 1,000 total population? Infoplease.com and CDC.gov

Darn, if we can’t blame it on the divorce rate, what do we blame it on—the increased CO2 levels in the atmosphere?

The answer is simple: Children, starting in kindergarten—where these high stakes testing are also appearing in some states—to 12th grade, spend most of their time second to the time spent at home where they sleep about a third of the day in addition to spending several hours of their free time daily outside of school having fun texting their friends, social networking, playing video games and watching TV—while they are stressing about those tests that might cause their favorite teachers to be fired and their local public schools closed.

Let’s look closely at what was happening to the public schools starting in the 1980s to 2013 to learn how this happened.

First—there was the fraud behind A Nation at Risk, a report released in 1983 during the Reagan years in the White House (Have you ever read The Enduring Lies of Ronald Reagan?). This was the beginning of the alleged claims that the public schools were failing our children and the nation was at risk. But in 1990, the often ignored Sandia Report offered proof that A Nation at Risk was misleading and that the public schools were actually improving.

Second—on May 19, 1999, President Bill Clinton said the government has to do a “far, far better job” with the $15 billion it sends to schools every year, and Clinton announced he was sending Congress his blueprint for how to spend those funds. “We know fundamentally that if we are going to change the way our schools work, we must change the way we invest federal aid in our schools,” Clinton said, and the pressure on children, teachers and the public schools increased even though NAEP Reading and Math tests that first started in 1969 revealed steady annual improvements in the test scoresDiane Ravitch says, “The point here is that NAEP scores show steady and very impressive improvement over the past twenty years.” – For the details, read Reign of Error: The Hoax of the Privatization Movement and the Danger to America’s Public Schools by Diane Ravitch

Third—the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB) mandated the impossible: All children must be college and career ready on time by high school graduation even though no country on the earth had ever achieved this goal and has never tried. In fact, the United States is one of the top-five countries in the world for the ratio of college graduates, and there are almost three qualified applicants who are college graduates for every job that requires a college degree. Why do 100% of 17/18 year olds have to be ready for college?

Fourth—President Obama’s Race to the Top made the demands on the public schools worse.

Fifth—adopting standards and assessments that prepare students to succeed in college and the workplace and to compete in the global economy;

Sixth—building data systems that measure student growth and success, and inform teachers and principals about how they can improve instruction;

The results:

High Stakes Tests Make Kids Sick – UFT

The Alliance for Childhood revealed that parents, teachers, school nurses, psychologists, and child psychiatrists reported that the stress of high-stakes testing was literally making children sick. – EdWeek.org

TeacherBiz.com says, High-stakes tests: bad for students, teachers, and education in general.

The Alliance for Childhood reports that “There is growing evidence that the pressure and anxiety associated with high-stakes testing is unhealthy for children–especially young children–and may undermine the development of positive social relationships and attitudes towards school and learning. … Parents, teachers, school nurses and psychologists, and child psychiatrists report that the stress of high-stakes testing is literally making children sick.”

Who do we hold responsible for the deaths of thousands of children pressured to take their own lives? If you want to discover who these monsters are, I suggest you read Common Core Dilemma and A Chronicle of Echoes by Mercedes K. Schneider.

Then there is the testing industry. Learn about The Testing Industry’s Big Four from KQED’s Frontline.

PBS says, “Even without the impetus of the No Child Left Behind Act, testing is a burgeoning industry. The National Board on Educational Testing and Public Policy at Boston College compiled data from The Bowker Annual, a compendium of the dollar-volume in test sales each year, and reported that while test sales in 1955 were $7 million (adjusted to 1998 dollars), that figure was $263 million in 1997, an increase of more than 3,000 percent. Today, press reports put the value of the testing market anywhere from $400 million to $700 million.”

In addition, The Washington Post reports Big education firms spend millions lobbying for pro-testing policies.

Are high stakes tests that rank and punish public school teachers and close public schools really about improving education or are they about increasing profits for big corporations in this age of legalized avarice and greed?

“It’s probably safe to say that statewide assessment will not produce any startling revelations about what can be done by teachers with pupils to help children learn more effectively.”  – Beers and Campbell (1973)

What was true in 1973 is still true today!

To learn more about the problems of using student test scores to evaluate teachers, click on this link that will take you to an Economic Policy Institute report on this issue.

“Because education is both a cumulative and a complex process, it is impossible fully to distinguish the influences of students’ other teachers as well as school conditions on their apparent learning, let alone their out-of-school learning experiences at home, with peers, at museums and libraries, in summer programs, on-line, and in the community.

“No single teacher accounts for all of a student’s achievement.”

_______________________

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 FREE Promotion July 2016

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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An Op-Ed piece by Hannah Portner on California’s Smarter Balanced Tests—one student’s point of view

Guest Post by HannaH Portner who blogs at Project Rainbow

On Friday they told us that we were going to be having Common Core tests next week (SBAC or Smarter balanced tests in CA) .

  • “Make sure to check your room number by the counseling office.”
  • “Review the practice exam.”
  • “Get enough sleep.”
  • But, for what?
  • What even is this test?
  • Why is it so important?
  • Where is all this information going?
  • Why was I not told by any member of the staff that I could opt out?

There was a letter posted outside the office. It said that anyone could opt out of these tests with parent permission. It said that we as students have a voice. We have rights. That got me curious. I started asking questions. I asked members of my neighborhood their opinions. I asked family, friends, teachers, and searched the internet about these tests. I wanted to share what I learned. I wanted to have a voice, not just be a number from a test.

I heard stories of kids not wanting to go to school because they were so deflated, so stressed and confused. I read about how much time test prep takes. I talked with my friend Suzy who is a 7th grade English and history teacher about how useless some of this data mining seems. “ We have to do 3 [in class essays] every year. I have to grade all of these, put them in the gradebook, give feedback, then input them into a district website to collect data. One extra step for teachers is awful. Why do we do this? What is done with this data? The district has no answer. I calculated that every year, in addition to all other curriculum requirements, we have to score 450 essays per teacher.”

Schools are having precious learning time taken away to administer standardized tests. The Huffington Post states: “Teachers now devote 30 percent of their work time on testing-related tasks, including preparing students, proctoring, and reviewing the results of standardized tests, the National Education Association says.” Not only is time drained, but money is being used to buy computers to administer these tests.

In Suzy’s case, she has to prep students for this one test but won’t necessarily know where the data is going or how it will be used. Last year we took practice tests and some questions were so hard I clicked random answers. I even wrote a poem about how I felt like a robot. I never got my score back. I wonder what would have happened if I wrote “ WHAT IS THE POINT” for an essay question.

Since I don’t see my results, or the specific questions I got wrong, I don’t understand what I could do better or worse on. In addition, we haven’t been provided specific test information, or easy access to reasons why we are taking this test. For example my math teacher told me that our test will be a practice for a later SBAC test. We aren’t even taking the real thing. She told me that the teachers will grade them and it will be good finals prep. I would be taking a practice exam for the test I would take that is actually a test prep for finals? That is a lot of prep.

It’s relatively easy to administer a test then judge students based on their scores. I think part of the problem is that when people fail these tests, their self esteem drops, they think they aren’t good enough, and then they cry when they get home from school. On many occasions I have come from school frustrated and broken out into tears, and I am an honor student in a really privileged area. Imagine what it’s like for our neighbors who don’t have free tutoring and get Ds and think it is all their fault. A test score is such a small part of a person’s intelligence. When these test are being taken, the institutions are saying that the test is what measures how smart a person is, or how good a school is. That is a whole lot of unnecessary pressure.

In addition if these tests are being given to school with low performance ratings and the tests are really difficult, some of these schools may not have the resources to provide test prep or extra help to their students and because they are underfunded, the students, teachers, and schools suffer the consequences.

To an extent, I agree that tests are necessary. People are certified to become nurses and plumbers and teachers by taking a test. But to test on how well a school or student is doing with one test is ridiculous. If you wanted the whole picture then someone could collect my GPA which has my average test scores. You could look at my extra curricular activities, and then asses the school based on multiple variables. But that would probably take too long.

I agree that the new common core method of teaching is pretty rad. I like having explorations in math. It makes me question and have opinions. I like that. I do not like the immense data collection and loads of testing. There is a limit to all of this stress, confusion, and frustration, and that is what we as a community have to figure out and act upon so that education can be fun, and full of wonder like it should be.

See more:
Race to Nowhere
Huffington Post
United Opt Out

_______________________

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

Crazy is Normal promotional image with blurbs

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

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

 

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The Oxymoron of Corporate Education Reform Exposed by the Results of the International PISA Test

The foundation of the U.S. corporate education reform movement is built on a house of cards that alleges there are too many incompetent teachers in America’s public schools, and that using standardized high stakes test to rank teachers based on student test scores will reveal who those teachers are.

But today the corporate education reformers have unwittingly provided evidence that they are totally wrong with the same data they want to use to root out these alleged incompetent teachers and then also close public schools with the worst scores.

“New York State education officials released data showing that the top-rated teachers, based on student test scores, are less likely to work in schools enrolling black and Hispanic students.” NY State Released Junk Science Ratings by Diane Ravitch

Why are the corporate education reformers wrong?

Stanford.edu reports, “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.”

If the alleged claims of the corporate education reformers were correct, that means—according to the results of the international PISA tests—teachers who work with disadvantaged students in every country are also incompetent and should lose their jobs.

But … here’s the twist: “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.”Stanford.edu

This tells us that the alleged incompetent teachers in the U.S.—who work with the most disadvantaged students—are the most competent (incompetent teachers) in the world.

How can America’s public school teachers be incompetent when the disadvantaged students they work with are outperforming the disadvantaged students in every country PISA tests—even Canada, Finland and Korea? An oxymoron if I’ve ever heard one.

The corporate education reformers have hung themselves with the same noose they intended to put around the necks of public school teachers 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).

Crazy is Normal promotional image with blurbs

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

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

 

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A Tweet about the greed based insanity of Standardized Testing I Want to see go Viral

Watch the video and read the Op-Ed in The Washington Post.

Here’s the lead paragraph of The Washington Post piece by Valerie Strauss:

“Imagine that you are a doctor and your evaluation is based on patients you didn’t have. Or a car dealer, and you are assessed by how many cars your colleagues — not you — sell. It sounds preposterous, right? Well, that’s just what is happening to public school teachers.”

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2015/04/01/teacher-how-my-highest-scoring-students-actually-hurt-my-evaluation/?postshare=2631427899398887

>The Tweet<

How students with top test scores hurt a teacher’s evaluation
http://wpo.st/PJGB0
#WashingtonPost
#EDBlogNet

My father was a fan of thoroughbred horse racing. He went as often as possible, and he stayed up late every night handicapping to discover the horses he thought might win. He won more races than he lost, but what would happen in that sport if the VAM being used to rank and then fire teachers or close public schools were used on those horses, and all horses that did not win every race were to be euthanized, their jockeys fired for life, their owners driven into bankruptcy—all because every horse in a horse race didn’t win.

That is what the corporate driven education reform movement is doing to public schools, public school teachers and children—treating them like horses and demanding that they all win every race—or else they must suffer brutal consequences.

In 2001, when President G. W. Bush signed into law the No Child Left Behind Act, that legislation mandated that by 2014 every (100%) 17/18 year old in the nation had to graduate from high school on time and be college and career ready. President Obama made this situation worse with his Race to the Top.  But Bill Gates and the Walton family, for instance, upped the anti with there massive financial support for the Common Core State Standards linked to high stakes testing in addition to promoting corporate Charter schools and vouchers/tax credits that legally steal money from the public schools. A bad law is still a bad law.

This is legalized crime!

This is child abuse!

This is teacher abuse!

This is stripping parents of their responsibility as parents!

This is stealing from tax payers!

This is WRONG on so many levels!

Education is not a horse race!

Timeline for Crony Capitalist's War Against Public Education

_______________________

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

Crazy is Normal promotional image with blurbs

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

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

 

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The Crony Capitalist War of greed against U.S. Public Education

There are several forms of Capitalism in use throughout the world. Economics Help.org defines them and reports that Crony Capitalism is what’s used in the United States. The Age of Crony Capitalism says, “For most of US history, crony capitalism has been in a struggle with free-market capitalism for the heart and soul of the American economy.  For the past half century, crony capitalism has been gaining the upper hand.”

In addition, Dr. Gary G. Kohls of Global Resaerch.ca says, “The 12 years of unrestrained crony capitalism during the anti-democracy mis-leadership of Republican presidents Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush tricked most of us into naively believing in their fraudulent ‘Trickle-down Economics’.”

Crony Capitalism is a term used to refer to the situation where business success is related to strategic influences with civil servants, politicians and those in authority. It could be used to refer to situations in early twentieth century U.S. where business leaders had to buy off politicians in return for favors (e.g. in popular media: Citizen Kane). Arguably a degree of crony capitalism occurs in countries like China, South Korea and Latin America. The power of the Mafia in Italy is also an example of crony capitalism.

The other forms of capitalism mentioned by Economics Help.org are: Turbo Capitalism (also known as unrestrained capitalism or free market capitalism), Responsible Capitalism, Popular Capitalism, Advanced Capitalism and State Capitalism. Visit the site to learn about the differences. I read them all and I think the two that are highlighted in this paragraph are the best choices for the most people.

Timeline for Crony Capitalist's War Against Public Education

In the corporate war against public education—known also as education reform leading to school choice, corporate charter schools and school vouchers—what reports do not support the Crony Capitalist reform movement?

The 1966 Coleman Report—Instead of proving that the quality of schools is the most important factor in a student’s academic success—as its sponsors had expected—the report written by the sociologist James S. Coleman of Johns Hopkins University found that a child’s family background and the school’s socioeconomic makeup are the best predictors. … A better summary of the findings, from Gordon M. Ambach’s perspective, is: Family and socioeconomic backgrounds are so important that it’s difficult for schools to overcome them.


In 1966, the Coleman Report highlighted the impact of poverty on student achievement. In this installment of the Mini-Moments with Big Thinkers series, policy faculty member Jeffrey Henig argues that it’s time to recognize that schools alone cannot ensure that all students succeed equally.

The 1983 report under the Reagan Administration known as A Nation at Risk was characterized by its authors as “an open letter to the American people.” The report called for elected officials, educators, parents, and students to reform a public school system it described as “in urgent need of improvement.” That need for improvement was based on numerous statistics listed in the report that the commission said showed the inadequate quality of American education. The authors ominously cautioned that the data showed the nation was at risk and expressed grave concern that our “once unchallenged pre-eminence in commerce, industry, science, and technological innovation is being overtaken by competitors throughout the world.

The 1990 Sandia Report proves that A Nation at Risk was wrong and reveals what was actually happening:

  • Between 1975 and 1988, average SAT scores went up or held steady for every student subgroup.
  • Between 1977 and 1988, math proficiency among seventeen-year-olds improved slightly for whites, notably for minorities.
  • Between 1971 and 1988, reading skills among all student subgroups held steady or improved.
  • Between 1977 and 1988, in science, the number of seventeen-year-olds at or above basic competency levels stayed the same or improved slightly.
  • Between 1970 and 1988, the number of twenty-two-year-old Americans with bachelor degrees increased every year; the United States led all developed nations in 1988.

Then in 2000, Pearson, the British publishing giant, spends $2.5 billion on an American testing company while spending millions aggressively lobbying the states and the U.S. Congress to make testing a vital element of school reform in the United States. – POLITICO Pro: No profit left behind

One year later, The No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), based on the fraud of A Nation at Risk, and ignoring the results of the Coleman and Sandia Reports, becomes law.

NCLB required states, school districts, and schools to ensure all students (something that no country on the earth has ever achieved to this day) are proficient in grade-level math and reading by 2014. States define grade-level performance. Schools must make “adequate yearly progress” toward this goal, whereby proficiency rates increase in the years leading up to 2014. The rate of increase required is chosen by each state. In order for a school to make adequate yearly progress (AYP), it must meet its targets for student reading and math proficiency each year. A state’s total student proficiency rate and the rate achieved by student subgroups are all considered in the AYP determination.

Schools that fail to make adequate yearly progress for two consecutive years are identified for “school improvement,” and must draft a school improvement plan, devote at least 10 percent of federal funds provided under Title I of NCLB to teacher professional development. Schools that fail to make AYP for a third year are identified for corrective action, and must institute interventions designed to improve school performance from a list specified in the legislation. Schools that fail to make AYP for a fourth year are identified for restructuring, which requires more significant interventions. If schools fail to make AYP for a fifth year, they much implement a restructuring plan that includes reconstituting school staff and/or leadership, changing the school’s governance arrangement, converting the school to a charter, turning it over to a private management company, or some other major change.

School districts in which a high percentage of schools fail to make AYP for multiple years can also be identified for school improvement, corrective action, and restructuring.

The 2009 Race to the Top is a $4.35 billion United States Department of Education competitive grant created to spur and reward innovation and reforms in state and local district K-12 education. … Race to the Top is one contributing factor to 48 states that have adopted common standards for K-12. … Although the vast majority of states have competed to win the grants, Race to the Top has also been criticized by politicians, policy analysts, thought leaders and educators. Teachers’ unions argued that state tests are an inaccurate way to measure teacher impact, despite the fact that learning gains on assessments is only one component of the evaluation systems. Conservatives complained that it imposes federal overreach on state schools, and others argued that charter schools weaken public education.

From A Nation at Risk, No Child Left Behind and Race to the Topstill ignoring the 1966 Coleman Report and the 1990 Sandia Report, and the fact that no country has ever been successful with all children—comes the 2010 Common Core State Standards and the CCSS punishment based standardized testing used to rank teachers by student test scores and then fire teachers and close public schools turning our children over to the for profit, mostly corporate Charter private sector where Crony Capitalists profit off of our children.

You may find a Summary of the Common Core State Standards at Advocates for Academic Freedom.org

Who are the biggest financial supporters of the Common Core State Standards and the agenda to use standardized test results to rank, fire public school teachers and then close public schools while opening the door to Crony Capitalists who own the corporate Charters?

The Washington Post reveals How Bill Gates pulled off the swift Common Core revolution. “The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation didn’t just bankroll the development of what became known as the Common Core State Standards. With more than $200 million, the foundation also built political support across the country, persuading state governments to make systemic and costly changes.”

Dissent Magazine.org reported that “hundreds of private philanthropies together spend almost $4 billion annually to support or transform K–12 education, most of it directed to schools that serve low-income children (only religious organizations receive more money). But three funders—the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Eli and Edythe Broad (rhymes with road) Foundation, and the Walton Family Foundation—working in sync, command the field.

One last thought—The Economic Policy Institute (I urge you to click the link and read the rest) reported that “there is broad agreement among statisticians, psychometricians, and economists that student test scores alone are not sufficiently reliable and valid indicators of teacher effectiveness to be used in high-stakes personnel decisions, even when the most sophisticated statistical applications such as value-added modeling are employed.”

Who benefits? Who loses?

_______________________

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
2015 Los Angeles Book Festival
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).

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The Common Core that Navy SEALS should have with NCLB

Each year, about 1,000 men start SEAL training. Although training success rates vary per class, the dropout rate for SEALs is 80% or more.

Now, you might be thinking, how does George Bush’s No Child Left Behind Act, Obama’s Race to the Top and Bill Gates’ Common Core agenda to rank and then punish about four million teachers for children who are not college and career ready by age 17/18 have anything to do with the Navy SEALs?

G.W. Bush’s No Child Left Behind Act mandated that public schools and public school teachers be successful with 100% of children so they all graduate on time from high school college and career ready—and no child will be dropped or kicked out like the corporate Charters do to children who don’t measure up to the demanding standards that Bill Gates and a few other billionaire oligarchs expect every child to meet, except their own children, of course.

And when the public schools don’t graduate 100% of children from high school, college and career ready, then those teachers and public schools—thanks to Bill Gates and the other billionaires oligarchs who are funding the propaganda for this agenda—MUST be punished, and that eventually means every public school and teacher in America will be fired, their unions broken and all public schools closed to be replaced with for-profit (with a major emphasis on profit thanks to Milton Friedman thinking) corporate Charter schools that Stanford studies have already revealed are mostly worse than the public schools they are replacing.

The Stanford Credo study said, “Our national pooled analysis reveals, on the whole, a slightly negative picture of average charter school performance nationwide. On average, charter school students can expect to see their academic growth be somewhat lower than their traditional public school peers …”

The fact is that every man can’t be a Navy SEAL and every child will not grow up to be college and career ready by age 17/18.  But we shouldn’t let that stop the corporate reform movement that wants to reform education from a transparent, democratic, non-profit, public institution to an opaque, secretive, profit-driven corporate education system riddled by fraud and run by CEO’s who don’t answer to parents and who earn six to eight figures annually. For instance, Eva Moskowitz, a corporate Charter queen, who pays herself from public funds more than the president of the Untied States earns.

Imagine what would happen if the U.S. Navy punished the SEAL instructors like the U.S. Department of Education is now punishing public schools and public school teachers. How long would it take before the Navy couldn’t find any instructors to train SEALs?

But then, of course, the U.S. Navy could just hire Teach for America (TFA) recruits—with their five weeks of summer seminars—to train the SEALs, couldn’t they?

Top Ten List on Birck Wall Updated Jan 28 - 2015

In conclusion, I want to suggest that the White House seriously reconsider how Navy SEALs are trained so the success rate reaches 100% and not 20% or less, and TFA, of course, is the answer along with NCLB, RTTT, and Bill Gates Common Core agenda. To make this agenda fool-proof for even Bill Gates, Pearson will come up with a secretive, expensive, flawed, bubble test riddled with errors like Pearson has already done for the public schools, that would falsely promise a 100% success rate for everyone who wants to be SEAL ready—including all women, even transgenders in addition to paraplegics.

_______________________

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 Insane and criminal demands on our public schools and children

President Obama visited the University of Chicago in January 2014, and said, “We know that not enough low-income students are taking the steps required to prepare for college.”  He said this because No Child Left Behind, his Race To The Top program, and Bill Gates Common Core agenda demands that 100% of all U.S. children grow up to be college and career ready when they leave high school.

Why do I think this is an insane and criminal goal? The first part of my answer is simple. According to the College Board, the average cost of tuition and fees for the 2013–2014 school year was $30,094 at private colleges, $8,893 for state residents at public colleges, and $22,203 for out-of-state residents attending public universities.

Presidents G. W. Bush and Obama are selling parents and children a fantasy that everyone can go to college and end up with a college career job, but that is not going to happen.

Currently, the U.S. has almost three college graduates for every available job that requires a college degree (according to the Bureau of labor Statistics), and I’ll bet not many people know that AT&T stores—for instance, where people go to buy mobile phones, TV’s and Internet access—are mostly staffed with college graduates who sell the services AT&T provides.

When I was working my way through college with some help from the GI Bill, I stocked shelves and sold shoes working at a J.C. Penny. I also bagged groceries in a super market and finished up college with a job at a Gallo winery one summer. None of these jobs required a college degree, and a job selling mobile phones at AT&T shouldn’t require it either.

If we take the lowest college cost at almost $9,000 annually, four years of college would cost $36,000, but 26% of the jobs in the U.S. don’t even require a H.S. degree and another 40% only required a high school degree.  If we go with the highest cost, in four years, a college degree would cost more than $120,000 — for a possible job selling mobile phones for AT&T!

Because the U.S. has the 3rd largest population in the world, it is currently the most educated nation in the world when we look at gross numbers and not ratios because ratios can be misleading when a country only has 35.16 million people like Canada does.

Yes, Canada does have a higher ratio of college grads then the U.S. In 2012, Canada was ranked #1 with 55.8% of adults having college degrees, but 35.1% of those graduates are in jobs that are not related to their education. If we subtract the 10.1 million Canadians that are age 0 to 24, that leaves 25 million or 14 million college grads compared to the U.S. that has more than 108 million college grads—almost 8x the number in Canada, and more than 3X the entire population of America’s northern neighbor.

When corporate education reformers want to make America’s public schools look bad, they don’t mention the 108 million college graduates in the U.S. What they do is just mention that Canada has a higher ratio of college grads than the U.S.

But PBS reported that only 27% of the jobs in the United States require a college degree.


Glendon Cameron knows what he is talking about.

In 2013, there were 204.3 million Americans age 25 and over.

  • 88.15%—180 million—had a high school degree.
  • 9.84%—20.1 million—had an Associate degree (two years of college)
  • 31.66%—64.7 million—had a Bachelor’s degree
  • 8.41%—17.1 million—had a Master’s degree
  • 1.48%—3 million—had a professional degree
  • 1.68%—3.4 million—had a Doctorate
  • Only 11.85%—24.2 million—did not earn a HS degree

The corporate education reform movement that President Obama and Bill Gates support is a war being waged against the public schools because of the 11.85% of Americans who never graduated from high school and most of these citizens grew up in and still live in poverty—something Obama and his most powerful and wealthiest supporter, Bill Gates, are doing nothing to change. But Bill Gates is spending $5 to $7 billion to wreck America’s public schools and turn our children over to autocratic corporations to teach.

Did you know that corporate Charters are suspending and kicking out at-risk and difficult to teach children in much larger ratios than the public school have ever done?

I think the U.S. should focus more on dealing with the damage caused by children living in poverty and stop demanding that the public schools make sure every child is college and career ready.  But—thanks to the President, Bill Gates and Arne Duncan, the Secretary of the Department of Education—in 2010, 62.5% of high school grads went directly to college expecting to graduate and find a high-paying secure job. HigherEdInfo.org

A lot of young Americans are being lied to, and a lot of public school teachers are being persecuted and punished for not achieving impossible goals set by criminals and con men — because not one country in the history of the world has ever educated 100% of its children to be college and career ready.

Not even Canada where the functional illiteracy rate is 42% or some 12 million adults aged 16 and over. Reverse that and functional Literacy is 58%. In 2003, the Document U.S. Functional Literacy level was 66% for Intermediate and Proficient. The U.S. scale is based on four levels: Below Basic, Basic, Intermediate and Proficient. In Canada, literacy is divided into five levels with level 3 as the internationally accepted level of literacy considered necessary for meeting the demands of everyday life and work in an information-based society, the same as level 3, the Intermediate level, in the U.S.

_______________________

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

Crazy is Normal FREE Promotion July 2016

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 third award winning novel is The Redemption of Don Juan Casanova.

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.

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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).

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).

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