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Category Archives: Parenting

Pearson’s No profit left behind—Investigative reporting at its best from Politico

America’s transparent, non-profit, democratic public schools are being destroyed thanks, in part, to the profit motivated efforts of Pearson UK.

Stephanie Simon writing for Politico reveals that in the high-stakes world of American education, UK’s Pearson makes money even when its results don’t measure up and they often do not deliver. Instead Pearson’s mania for profits is proving to be very destructive and our teachers and children are suffering.

“The story of Pearson’s rise is very much a story about America’s obsession with education reform over the past few decades.”

“Pearson has aggressive lobbyists, top-notch marketing and a highly skilled sales team. Until the New York attorney general cracked down in late 2013, Pearson’s charitable foundation made a practice of treating school officials from across the nation to trips abroad, to conferences where the only education company represented was Pearson.”

Read the rest of this story at Politico: http://www.politico.com/story/2015/02/pearson-education-115026.html#ixzz3RMdKpfFg

Please share this post with everyone you know and people you don’t know through Twitter, Facebook, Google +, LinkedIn and/or any other social networks that you use. Thank you.

_______________________

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

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

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

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

Third Update and Exanded Chart

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

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

SECOND UPDATE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

FIRST UPDATE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

THE ORIGINAL POST STARTS NEXT

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The corporate reformers can avoid this information in their allegations of the US public schools, but they can’t hide it. The Stanford Graduate School of Education reported in January 2013 that Poor ranking on international tests misleading about U.S. performance and said, “There is an achievement gap between more and less disadvantaged students in every country; surprisingly, that gap is smaller in the United States than in similar post-industrial countries, and not much larger than in the very highest scoring countries. Achievement of U.S. disadvantaged students has been rising rapidly over time, while achievement of disadvantaged students in countries to which the United States is frequently unfavorably compared – Canada, Finland and Korea, for example – has been falling rapidly.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

_____________________________________

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

Runner Up in Biography/Autobiography
2014 Florida Book Festival

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

Honorable Mentions in Biography/Autobiography
2014 Southern California Book Festival
2014 London Book Festival

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

_______________________

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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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).

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 _______________________

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

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

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

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

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

 

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