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Category Archives: Parenting

Science Proves School Reform EQUALS Prejudice, Inequality, Workplace Discrimination and Child Neglect

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

_______________________

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

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

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

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

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

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Listening to Anthony Cody talk about The Educator and the Oligarch

The Oligarch is Bill Gates. The Educator is Anthony Cody, who has gone toe-to-toe with the Gates Foundation in private conversations and publicly for several years. Cody’s book, The Educator and the Oligarch, covers what he has learned while in the trenches battling a billionaire and his vast, entrenched organization, and the book is worth reading.

Do I NEED to repeat that?

At 2:30, Saturday (12-6) afternoon, I left home to walk the two miles to the nearest BART station.

At 4:05, I walked into the Laurel Book Store in Oakland, California to hear Anthony Cody, who started talking soon after I sat down, and by then it was standing room only.

Cody has been in the fight to save democratic public education much longer than I have, and his knowledge of the issue is deeper. Back in the mid 1980’s, I started suspecting that there might be a plot to destroy the public schools—it was just a feeling I had due to the crazy and insane things that teachers were being forced to do that made no sense.

Thinking I was cooking up a conspiracy theory, I went into denial mode and continued teaching and dodging bullets from those imagined ghosts until I retired in 2005 after thirty years in the classroom. Then in November 2013, my wife came home and told me she’d heard Diane Ravtich on NPR talking about her book “Reign of Error,” and I read the book and discovered my suspicions had been true all along—but like cancer this plot has branched out and taken on a malignant life of its own and it’s spreading into every element of public education in the United States in addition to corrupting our democratic government—thanks in large part to Bill Gates.

Listening to Cody late this afternoon, I learned how Bill Gates always gets what he wants—he buys everyone and everything he can, and he has dedicated between $5 to $7 billion dollars to destroy America’s democratic public education system and rebuild it into what HE thinks it should be.

I didn’t raise my hand until the end of Cody’s talk, and after several others had asked questions and shared their thinking. It was obvious that there was a lot of passion in the room among parents and teachers.

Then I had my say—not knowing that I was going to be attacked, not by Cody, but by another person in the audience. I said that we had to stop measuring children and focus on the children who needed the most help: children from dysfunctional homes and who lived in poverty. I mentioned that France had launched a national early childhood education program managed by its own public schools in the 1970’s, and thirty years later, the French poverty rate had dropped more than 50%.

When I finished talking—one loud person—grabbed the crowd’s attention and attacked me for blaming dysfunctional parents for at risk children who were difficult to teach. She said that it wasn’t the parent’s fault their children were not succeeding. I didn’t respond to her attack maybe because I’m severely dyslexic and it takes me time to think before I open my mouth. It’s so much easier to write, revise, edit and wait a few days and then revise some more. I had no desire to get into a heated shouting match with this stranger.

When the event ended and the crowd moved from the event area into the bookstore, several people came up to me and offered support. They all agreed that I had never blamed dysfunctional parents for the problems in classrooms caused by at-risk and difficult to teach children.

I replied that dysfunctional parents can’t be blamed when their children are not learning in school, because my parents were dysfunctional—who both dropped out of high school when they were fourteen—because I was born to poverty; because when I was six or seven, my mother was told I would never learn to read, but she taught me anyway after failing to teach my older brother 12 years earlier. My brother died at age 64 illiterate and he left behind several of his own adult children who are still illiterate. My father was a gambler and an alcoholic. If he wasn’t drinking, he was a wonderful, gentle man. My brother spent about 15 years of his life in prison. He was also an alcoholic, a sometime drug user, and a heavy smoker. Like our parents, he also never had the tools to raise children who easily learned in school.

If my family wasn’t dysfunctional, I don’t know what is.

If you ask someone to fix your car who doesn’t know how to use the tools, do we blame that person for not fixing the car? Dysfunctional parents—like my parents—did not have the parenting tools to raise children that were ready to learn, and I wasn’t ready to learn until I was in my early twenties after serving several years in the U.S. Marines and fighting in Vietnam.

It was dark out when I left the bookstore and started the long ride home on BART, and it was a long ride. The BART train was delayed several times sitting at stations because of some problem down the line. What should have been a 25-minute ride stretched to about one-and-a-half hours, and this turned out to be a good thing, because the wait provided time for me to read to Chapter 4 in Cody’s book, and discover just how involved Bill Gates is in HIS own goal to destroy our democratic public schools, and replace those schools with what HE wants.  For instance, if Gates was cutting open our bodies and reaching inside to do surgery to save our lives HIS way, he’d have our blood all the way to his shoulders, smeared on his face and drenching his clothing down to his shoes as he pulled out one organ after another and threw them over his shoulder to the filthy floor.

Bill Gates has bought—bribed would be more appropriate—the media, nonprofits, and institutions for education, state governments, the Department of Education, and the White House. At the moment, Bill Gates is the unelected emperor of the United States, and if he achieves HIS goals with our schools, our democracy and our freedom will be gone too.

It’s getting late. If this needs editing, I’ll fix it tomorrow. Right now, I want to publish this post, brush my teeth and relax by watching the last of the 3rd season of The Tudors . I think I see a lot of similarities between Emperor Bill Gates and England’s King Henry 8, but Bill Gates isn’t beheading wives. He is beheading teachers, children—and our democracy.

_______________________

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Some families are dysfunctional

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

_______________________

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ranking functional literacy in English speaking countries and Mexico

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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_______________________

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 _______________________

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Part 2 Continues on November 18, 2014

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_______________________

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

lloydlofthouse_crazyisnormal_web2_5

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

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

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

 
 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How Bill Gates pulled off the swift Common Core revolution

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

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

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

Or this one: “Broad school bully?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

_______________________

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

lloydlofthouse_crazyisnormal_web2_5

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

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

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Explaining the TSP Education Equation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 _______________________

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

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

lloydlofthouse_crazyisnormal_web2_5

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

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

The full post on this issue may be found at EdGator: Education Headlines from Everywhere and it’s a MUST READ piece—that is if you are interested in education, our children and the truth. What I offer in this post are a few pull quotes from that longer piece at EdGator, and two embedded videos you won’t find on that Blog.


This video should be required viewing for every American citizen.

First: KIPP is an acronym for “Knowledge is Power Program”, and Wiki tells us this about KIPP: “a nationwide network of free open-enrollment college-preparatory schools in under-resourced communities throughout the United States. KIPP schools are usually established under state charter school laws and KIPP is America’s largest network of charter schools. Its headquarters are in San Francisco”

But KIPP is not free, because the taxpayer pays for KIPP, and what are tax payers getting for their money?

EdGator says: 40% of KIPP’s African-American male students who enter in sixth grade disappear before graduation. Some teachers who leave KIPP also have serious concerns and criticism about the chain’s pedagogical practices. …

If every traditional school becomes KIPP, what happens to the kids who won’t work hard and be nice? If KIPP can’t send those kids away to a waiting public school system, then where will they go? Will they simply be denied an education? …

Because here’s the plain fact: KIPP’s motto has a third clause written in invisible ink that no one wants to talk about: “Work Hard, Be Nice, or Go Away.”

KIPP doesn’t seem to have an answer for those kids who won’t work hard or be nice. KIPP has the luxury of washing its hands of them.


This is a pitch but worth watching to get everyone thinking about teaching at-risk kids.

Note: Teachers today are challenged daily by the task of “Educating At-Risk Youth” who appear to be extremely apathetic at times. When teachers fail, the fake education reformers blame them, want to fire them and close their schools and then replace them with corporate operated schools that fail too—but we seldom if ever hear about those failures that are swept under the media rug. The truth is that the fake education reformers are doing worse than the public schools as they take over and steal from the taxpayer every penny they can get.

_______________________

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

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

lloydlofthouse_crazyisnormal_web2_5

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

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Who Crowned Bill Gates the Emperor of Education?

Over on Mercedes Schneider’s Blog, she tackles and criticizes Bill Gates view of the Common Core State Standards.

“Bill defines standards as a ‘list of what kids are supposed to know’ at each grade level.”

But Mercedes, Bill Gates is correct in his thinking—for computer programs stored on hard drives—not children. After all, in his Microsoft world where he’s the Emperor, if he pays programmers to write a computer program, the finished product better work or else, right? And the Emperor did pay more than $2 billion to create the Common Core standards and convince the states to accept them.

Bill Gates must honestly think that teachers are incompetent when the same process doesn’t work between teachers (the Emperor must see teachers as programmers) and children (as programmed computer hard drives) who don’t know the standards on the Common Core curriculum program that Gates paid for.

I wonder if Emperor Gates knows that a child’s brain doesn’t work like a computer program on a hard drive, because children don’t all live in the same environment with equal and supportive parents. In fact, teachers don’t teach the same way and every child’s DNA is different along with how they learn.

For the Gates’ list of Common Core Standards to work, every child would have to grow up in a similar common environment with parents who love reading, start reading to and with their child by at least age three and support teachers every step of the way from pre-school to graduation; from high school and beyond. Every child would also have to have an equally efficient short and long term memory (the same hard drive), and there could not be any learning disabilities to get in the way. This common environment would also include the same nutritious, brain food diet for breakfast, lunch and dinner, with no sugary sodas—only safe-to-drink water.

No parent could be abusive in any way—a drug addict, an alcoholic, a chronic gambler, illiterate and every family would have to earn a livable wage—meaning no poverty.

In addition, every parent would have to attend parent conferences with their children’s teachers and keep an eye on grades so if any grade fell below a C, the parent would call the same day and schedule an appointment with the teacher to find out why it happened and what they could do to fix the problem since failing grades are usually caused by children who—for instance—don’t pay attention, hate to read, don’t work in class, have lousy diets, don’t get enough sleep, watch too much TV, play too many video games, don’t cooperate, cause disruptions in class, don’t ask questions or seldom if ever read outside of class or do homework.


Learn from a 15-Year-Old how dangerous Emperor Bill Gates really is!

Emperor Gates, unlike a computer programmer, the greatest teacher can’t update a child’s memory with a patch to make sure the child learns your list of Common Core standards—that is if the child learned and remembered what the teacher taught in the first place.

For the Gates’ “Common Core list” to work, every child would have to arrive at school equally eager and willing to learn what teachers teach, and every parent would have to consider Amy Chua, the author of “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother” as a role model and not an abusive, tiger parent—and that ain’t going to happen in the United States.

I have a question for Emperor Gates:

Since when did the electorate agree that you should use your great wealth to decide how this country should educate the 49 million+ children who attend public schools while ignoring the 7.4+ million who attend private schools?

I want to ask President Obama and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan the same question. I thought the Constitution—the law of the land—written by the Founding Fathers of the United States made this sort of thing a crime.

In conclusion: It seems that every week—this has been going on for years—a new update arrives from Microsoft to patch something wrong with Microsoft’s operating system. Considering these constant flaws that keep appearing in programs written by Microsoft programmers, Emperor Bill Gates should be the last person to advise the Obama White House how fix the unbroken public schools that really only need him and the other fake education reformers to butt out. The best people to patch anything in the public schools are teachers supported by everyone else, because that’s they were trained for, and that’s what Finland does.

_______________________

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

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

lloydlofthouse_crazyisnormal_web2_5

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

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

 

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