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Category Archives: Parenting

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

View as Single Page

_______________________

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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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).

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The power of academic competitions for students who want to learn

During a Facebook conversation, an internet friend mentioned how nice it would be if there were academic competitions as popular as sports.

I replied that there are popular academic competitions for those students who are interested and who usually have supportive parents that value an academic education.

The public schools may not hold academic competitions with cheerleaders and bleachers full of shouting, screaming fans but there are competitions and they’re recognized and the winners are honored by the school districts and schools the students attend.

In fact, the media often reports the results.

Most if not all students in many public schools probably hear about the chance to compete in these competitions in home room where teachers read announcements or from science and math teachers. Most kids will soon forget what they heard but those kids who are called “school boys” or “school girls” often stop at the teacher’s desk to pick up the information. These kids are dedicated and hungry to cooperate and learn what the teacher teaches.

Here’s what I know. There’s the Science Olympiad; Academic Decathlon and The journalism Education Association (JEA) that conducts journalism competitions that includes competing in news, sports, feature, opinion, editorial cartoons, photography and page layout. The JEA calls them write-offs because they are timed competitions just like most sports and the judges are editors and reporters who work in the traditional media.

In fact, these academic competitions—although quieter and not as celebrated as a league title in one of the three major sports or even golf or tennis—are recognized and honored. The winners of these academic competitions are recognized at school board meetings where the children who win are called on stage to shake hands with the school board president and the superintendent of the school district. For families that value an education, entire families usually turn out and some dress as if they are attending the Academy Awards. Those school board meetings are usually packed with standing room only.

The United States Academic Decathlon was founded in 1968 in Orange County, California.

The Science Olympiad is an American elementary, middle, and high school team competition in which students compete in ‘events’ pertaining to various scientific disciplines, including earth science, biology, chemistry, physics, and engineering. Over 6,700 teams from 50 U.S. states compete each year.

The Journalism Education Association was founded in 1924. When I was advisor/journalism teacher for a high school newspaper, I took a team every year to this competition.

When our daughter was in high school, we encourage her to make friends with students who competed in one or more of these academic competitions. We also encouraged her to go out for a sport. She joined Academic Decathlon where she picked up a gold medal in debate and Pole Vault where at 16 she was ranked in the top five in California for her sex and age.  She graduates from Stanford this year and already has a lucrative job offer.

What’s distrubing is that in every class our daughter took in high school, there were kids who did little or nothing and some who caused problems. No matter what her teachers did, they couldn’t get those kids to work or gain support from the parents of those children.

And when standardized tests are given, the same teachers could be judged as failures and face losing their jobs because the scores of the students who didn’t cooperate dragged the average down—the same teachers who taught our daughter who earned that gold medal in Academic Decathlon could lose their jobs and the public high school our daughter attended before she was accepted to Stanford could be closed and replaced by a private sector Charter school owned by a corporation that would profit off tax payers.

And if you think only kids from the best schools in wealthy communities compete in these academic competitions, you’d be wrong. The high school where I taught had more than 70% of its students on free and/or reduced lunch/breakfast. That means they lived in poverty, but there were still kids who competed in these academic competitions and won medals making the school proud. There were kids at that school who had supportive parents.

_______________________

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

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

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If we are going to change the schools, we are going to change America

Rise Above the Mark is a documentary that focuses on the damage being caused by the “corporate takeover” of America’s public schools.

The purpose of Rise Above the Mark, narrated by Peter Coyote, is to educate the general public about the “corporate takeover” of Indiana public schools and what parents, community members and educators can do to protect their local public schools. Legislators are calling the shots and putting public schools in an ever-shrinking box. WLCSC Board of School Trustees and Superintendent of Schools, Rocky Killion, want to secure resources and legislative relief necessary to achieve the school district’s mission of creating a world-class educational system for all children. The school district’s strategic plan will introduce a model of education that puts decision making back into the hands of local communities and public school teachers, rather than leaving it in the hands of legislators and ultimately lining the pockets of corporations. (http://riseabovethemark.com/about)

Who do you want in charge of how America changes its schools?

President Obama (D)

President G. W. Bush (R)

Bill Gates (billionaire)

Andrew Cuomo  (D)

Chris Christie (R)

The Koch brothers (billionaires)

The Walton Family (the wealthiest family on the planet)

Michael Bloomberg (billionaire)

Eli Broad (billionaire)

Rupert Murdock (billionaire)

Hedge Fund CEOs on Wall Street

The Republican Party

The Democratic Party

Or public school teachers (more than four million working for democratically elected school boards in 13,600 public school districts in America) teaching more than 50 million children. A third of public school teachers are registered republicans, half are registered Democrats and the rest are registered as independent voters. And if you’ve heard bad things about the two major teacher unions, consider this: AFT and NEA are both democratic organizations with elected representative and leaders at the local, state and national levels.  The millions who belong to these two labor unions are all college educated middle class Americans. You won’t find many politicians or billionaires teaching our children as a career.

Make a choice, because if you do nothing, someone else will choose for you.

_______________________

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

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

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

 

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