RSS

Category Archives: politics

Troubling Trends for California’s State Teachers Retirement Fund (CalSTRS)

Guest Post by Neil Murphy

Recently, I reviewed the STRS Connections On-Line Newsletter and discerned some troubling trends.

Trend Number One (Contributions vs. Benefits Paid):

Contributions from STRS members (teachers), the State and school districts equaled $8,288.519 for 2016.  Benefits paid to retirees equaled $13,148.558 for 2016.  Contributions are not keeping up with benefits paid to retirees.

Trend Number Two (investment assumption):

STRS used to project a 7.5% rate of return on its investments; in the recent past it downgraded its rate of return to 7.25%; now it is 7.00%.  Because of the recent downgrade, the State just increased its contribution rate by 0.5%; this will not make taxpayers happy.  Also, new teachers, hired after January 1st, 2013, will see a 1% increase in their contribution rate probably beginning in the year 2018.

Trend Number Three (Global Equity):

The investment portfolio of STRS is diverse.  STRS invests in real estate, private equity, global equity, etc.  However, 54.8% of its investment portfolio is tied up in global equity.  This probably explains why STRS just downgraded its rate of investment to 7.0%.  Here are some issues that I have with Global Equity Stocks:

BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) were hailed as the new super economic engines.  Newspaper article after article promoted the idea that these four countries would change the global economy so that it would move in an upward trend.  This was true for a while.  Unfortunately, Brazil’s economy has become anemic due to its vast political troubles (government scandal after scandal).  China’s growth has slowed dramatically.  Russia’s economy has been underperforming somewhat in part due to the economic sanctions placed on it; plus, its economy is too reliant on oil.

The European Union is still struggling.  Spain, Italy, Greece and other European countries are seeing debt choking the breath right out of their economies.  Germany is still performing extremely well, but France’s economy is sputtering.

Japan’s economy has not been strong since the early 1990s.  Moreover, Japan is going to have some serious economic issues in the near future.  Japan’s population is aging and Japan has negative population growth.  There won’t be enough workers to pay for the retirees.  Plus, the Japanese have the longest life span of any other group of people.  Overall, Japan’s economy is headed for disaster.

Based on the economies of other countries, it is my prediction that STRS won’t even reach its 7.0% forecast.  I wouldn’t be surprised if STRS reduces its rate of return from 7.0% to 6.75% within the next ten years.

Trend Number Four (U.S. Economy):

The $20 trillion debt and growing cannot be ignored. The U.S. cannot keep increasing the debt ceiling every year.  Once the U.S. stops increasing the debt ceiling, then the pain of the $20 trillion debt will settle in.  Taxes will increase and government services will be cut.  Trump promised he would increase the GDP like we have not seen for some time, but Trump’s rosy economic picture is full of thorns.  Unfortunately, he falsely raised the expectations of Americans; there is no way that he can deliver on4%, 5% or even 6% GDP growth.  His whole economic plan is based on unbelievable growth in the GDP.  This cannot occur because most foreign countries are not doing well if one digs below their economic facades (cannot buy enormous amounts of American goods).  Also, the $20 trillion debt is pounding on our door.  There are no more IOUs.

What does all of this mean? It means that STRS will have to reduce its pension obligations.  Sometime in the future, retirees won’t see any more automatic 2% COLA increases.  In fact, retirees might even seen their pensions reduced.  Teachers, who will be retiring within the next five to twenty years, will see their promised retirement reduced.  Teachers who just entered the profession, I feel sorry for them.

 Teachers must plan for a reduced pension.  They need to pad their own retirements!!!

Note from this blog’s host: I worked as a classroom teacher in one of California’s many public school districts from 1975 – 2005. During those 30-years, I contributed 8-percent of my gross pay into CalSTRS and the district where I worked contributed another 8.25 percent. I have been retired for 12 years. When I retired, I took a 40-percent pay cut and left with no medical coverage from that district or the state. If you want to know what that job was like, read my memoir “Crazy is Normal, a classroom expose” (link below).

The state of California made promises to its public school teachers.

  • What happens to retired teachers like me if the state breaks that promise?
  • How will those teachers pay their rent/mortgage, keep the water running, the electricity on, buy food?
  • Do billionaires and corporations expect retired teachers to go back to work at 75, 80, 90, or even 100, if we live that long, so those greedy autocrats with more money than God can pay little or no tax?
  • What happens to the hundreds of thousands of teachers still teaching if the state can’t pay for its promises to them?

I want to leave the readers of this Blog with one thought from Thomas Jefferson, who said, “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.”


Most if not all corporate charter schools do not have retirement plans for their teachers, those teachers have no Constitutional due process rights, those teachers are paid less and must work longer hours, and they do not pay into the retirement plans for traditional public schools.

__________________________________

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

Where to Buy

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

 

 

Tags: , , , , ,

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

The NYT’s email follows my reply

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

Test scores do NOT make a good or great school.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


It’s All About the Money!

 

A note from Cliff Levy, Deputy Managing Editor
Greetings,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Regards,

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

__________________________________

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

Where to Buy

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

 

 

 

Tags: , , ,

The Facebook Sucker-Berg Phenomenon and the Deliberate Destruction of Community-Based Public Ed

I read “I quit Facebook and my life is better now” at Cathy O’Neil’s Mathbabe blog, and my thoughts became a wild river about Facebook and its founder who launched Facebook by cheating two brothers and hijacking their idea. To learn more about Suckerberg’s own con, read 6 People Mark Zuckerberg Burned On His Way To The Top.

After reading O’Neil’s Mathbabe post, I was glad I was never suckered into a Facebook obsession. Yes, I do have two Facebook pages: one for my books that’s part of my internet-author’s platform, and a personal Facebook page, but all I did was set up automatic feeds from my 4 blogs to Facebook and occasionally I go there to reply to a comment.  The reason I never fell into the Facebook swamp was because it was a confusing maze to me, and I didn’t want to go through the learning curve to discover how to use all those allegedly great bells-and-whistles that Facebook offers to help destroy your life in the real world.

But the stream of thoughts that flowed between my ears as I was reading O’Neil’s Mathbabe blog post had nothing to do with Facebook. It was all about Mark Suckerberg, Facebook’s founder, and how he was conned out of a $100 million dollars to save the children of Newark, New Jersey from those horrible failing public schools that really never were failing anyone as schools. If you want to learn more (put an emphases in LEARN — because there are far too many ignorant, easy-to-fool voting citizen in the U.S., or we wouldn’t be stuck with narcissistic, psycho, serial-lying, con-man, Donald Trump for our next president — I suggest reading What Happened with the $100 million that Newark schools got from Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg? Not Much from The Hechinger Report.

You see, there’s this myth that America’s traditional public schools are failing and to save our children we have to replace those schools with an unproven, genetically-modified crop of allegedly perfect, (hell sent) corporate charter schools that just happen to make profits for a host of greedy frauds and liars similar to Donald Trump and his current pick to run the Department of Education, Betsy DeVos.

If you think America’s community based, democratic, transparent, non-profit public schools are failing and the choice of a corporate charter school is the answer to save our children, then I will roar as only a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Vet can angrily shout, “It’s the poverty, stupid, you ignorant, biased, deplorable, easy-to-fool ass!”

The fact is America’s traditional public school are not failing, and an often deliberately ignored report out of Stanford University proved that years ago in Poor ranking on international test misleading about U.S. student performance, Stanford researcher finds.

The conclusion of this report from one of the top-ranked universities in the world said, “A comprehensive analyses of international tests by Stanford and the Economic Policy Institute shows that U.S. Schools aren’t being outpaced by international competition.”

After reading that report, it was obvious to me that the results of the international test that Stanford referred to was rigged to make America’s traditional public school look bad.

Stanford reported that once the flawed data was corrected, the U.S. went from 14th in reading to SIXTH and went from 25th in math to 13th.

In addition, Stanford discovered “There is an achievement gap between more and less disadvantaged students (living in poverty) in every country; surprisingly, the gap is smaller in the United States … and not much larger than the very highest scoring countries.”  In fact, “Achievement of U.S. disadvantaged students (living in poverty) has been rising rapidly over time, while achievement of disadvantaged students (living in poverty) in countries to which the United States is frequently unfavorably compared … had been falling rapidly.”

It’s time for most voting Americans to wake up and stop being suckered like Suckerberg was in Newark, New Jersey.  It’s obvious that before the top-down reforms forced on the United States by President G. W. Bush’s No Child Left Behind Act and continued with President Obama’s flawed and fraudulent Race To The Top bullshit and its Common Core test-and-punish crap, the United States had (and hopefully still has) one of the best public education systems in the world, and it was on track to only get better.

And who is con-man President-Elect Donald Trump putting in charge to finish the destruction of America’s top-rated public schools?  The answer: labor union hating, billionaire Betsy DeVos, who never attended a public school in her life, and she sends her own children to very expensive private schools that only the wealthy can afford.

If you want to educate yourself about this one-woman billionaire wrecking crew, learn, learn, learn from: Betsy DeVos and the Wrong Way to Fix Schools, 5 Things to Know about Billionaire Betsy DeVos, Trump Education Choice, and What’s the worst that could happen with Betsy DeVos as education secretary? Two scenarios.

Make no mistake about this. The United States is on the verge of the total destruction of one of the best public education systems in the world, and what is waiting to replace it is the autocratic, opaque-and-secretive, often fraudulent-and-inferior, private-sector corporate charter school industry that often bullies and terrorizes children to become assembly-line drones that score high on tests or face eviction back to the cold, brutal world of underfunded and deliberately abandoned, traditional public education.

__________________________________

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

Crazy is Normal promotional image with blurbs

Where to Buy

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

 

Tags: , , , , ,

What Trump and Hillary are not talking about in the Sniffling Presidential Debates

The one issue that should be on every parents mind and the presidential candidates is what’s known as the alleged “school to prison” pipeline, and how to deal with this issue instead of making it worse. While Hillary Clinton has a long, committed record advocating for women and children, all we get from Donald Trump is his famous “pussy snatch”, and that he’s not attracted to women that are ugly (according to him), fat, and over 35.

Before I move on, I want to point out that I disagree with the use of the term “School to Prison” pipeline, because that pipeline starts at birth not in kindergarten.

It’s not the school to prison pipeline. Instead, it should be called the PovertyIlliteracy to Prison Pipeline.

In addition, the zero-tolerance policy that has swept America today isn’t the cause of this pipeline, but is making the situation worse for children that live in poverty and read far below grade level.

Instead of making the poverty-illiteracy pipeline to prison worse with these zero tolerance policies, schools should be doing more to starve that pipeline by offering more than just an academic high school degree at the end of 12th grade.

But schools can’t do it alone if they aren’t supported or funded properly.

Instead of more campus police officers (CPOs), the United States must have a national early childhood literacy program starting with children as young as 2 with a mandatory focus on all children that live in poverty and/or in homes where the parents are illiterate.  These literacy programs cannot stop when children reach kindergarten at age 5.  They must continue all the way through 12th grade. In addition, the United States must offer children entering high school a choice between a vocational and/or an academic high school degree. Many countries already do this: Japan, South Korea, Germany, China, for instance.

In Japan, only 70 percent of high school students graduate from academic high schools as they plan to go to college. The rest, planning to start work out of high school, graduate from vocational high schools, and a few students double up and graduate from both high school tracks.

Without that choice, the United States is not meeting the needs of future generations. Instead, the United States has become a police state with the largest prison population in the world with China in a distant 2nd place in a country that has more than four times the population of the U.S.

US Prison Population 2.2 million vs 1.6 million in China

And most if not all of the autocratic, corporate charter schools industry is worse than the democratic traditional public schools, because they cherry pick the easiest to teach students who tend to score higher on arguably useless high stakes tests and quickly get rid of students that are a challenge to teach that slipped through their cherry-picking filter. In addition, autocratic, opaque and often fraudulent and inferior corporate charter schools continue to suspend students at much higher rates creating a true school to prison pipeline that should be called the autocratic, corporate charter school pipeline to prison.

Charter Schools Suspend Black and Disabled Students More, Study Says

CPS: Expulsion rate higher at charter schools

“Charter schools cream or cherry-pick the best students from traditional public schools.”

Unequal Discipline at Charter Schools

The only thing these corporate charter schools have to brag about is higher test scores. but only after they get rid of the most challenging and difficult students to teach.

Meanwhile, this race to privatize K-12 education and automate as many jobs as possible is only going to increase the prison population at a faster pace than at any time in the history of civilization.


__________________________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the unique love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

on-sale-october-november-2016

Where to Buy

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

We can only hope this is the Beginning of the End of Corporate Education Reform

The Associated Press reported on September 6, 2016 that ITT Tech, with more than 35,000 students, will close all of its campuses after federal aid sanctions.

The AP reported, “Under President Barack Obama, the Education Department has led a crackdown on for-profit colleges that have misled students or failed to deliver the results they promise. The now-defunct Corinthian College chain agreed to sell or close more than 90 U.S. colleges in 2014 amid a fraud investigation over advertising practices. The department is also deciding whether to cut ties with the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools, the group that accredited ITT and Corinthian.”

With fraud and corruption also rampant in the K-12 corporate charter school industry, will that for-profit sector be next?

Stanford’s Bill Gates funded Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO) reported in 2013 in its National Charter School Study that 75 percent of these corporate charter schools were no different or significantly worse than the locally controlled, community based, democratic, transparent, non-profit, traditional, public schools. In Math, 71 percent were no different or significantly worse.

Bill Gates funded the CREDO study, but he isn’t the good guy here. It’s obvious that Gates expected different results and has ignored the results of the study. Johnathan Petro reveals, “In a stunning expose written by Adam Johnson of Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR), it becomes undeniably clear that Bill Gates has reached the point where his billions not only fund the myriad of corporate education reform initiatives that are sweeping the country and the world, but his investment in the media taints much of the coverage of these developments.”

It’s obvious that the corporate education reform movement funded by billionaires and hedge funds failed long ago. Diane Ravitch reported in November 2015, “The big foundations support the growth of the charter industry: the Walton Family Foundation has put more than $1 billion into charters and vouchers; the Gates Foundation and the Eli Broad Foundation also put millions into charters, often partnering with the Far-right Walton Foundation.”

Ravitch continues, “There is a long list of other foundations that fund the assault on public education, including the John Arnold Foundation (ex-Enron trader), the Dell Foundation, the Helmsley Foundation, the Fisher Family Foundation (Gap and Old Navy), the Michael Bloomberg Foundation, and many more.”

The charter school movement was hijacked by billionaires and corporations. The original concept proposed in 1974 by professional educators that belonged to teachers’ unions was to allow a few schools called charters to operate as autonomous public schools with waivers from many of the legislated procedural requirements of district public schools, and to work with the most at risk children. The original concept never meant to destroy the traditional public schools but to work within the existing system.

In 1991, Minnesota was the first state to pass a charter school law. California was second in 1992.

Today fraud is rampant in what has become a secretive, publicly funded, for-profit (even when called a non-profit), corporate education sector that is at war with the traditional public schools, teachers’ unions and public school teachers.

In 2015 Education Opportuniy.org reported that “Federal Funds For Charter Schools Go Into A ‘Black Hole’

PR Watch.org reported, “Feds Spent $3.3 Billion Fueling Charter Schools but No One Knows What It Really Bought

Weapons of Mass Deception.org reveals, “Why Charter Schools are Fraud Factories”.

Diane Ravitch reports, “ACLU in California Finds Many Charter Schools Break State and Federal Laws”.

Bill Moyers & Company reports on “Charter Schools Gone Wild: Study Finds Widespread Fraud, Mismanagement and Waste”.

Charter schools were never meant to be operated by secretive, publicly funded, private-sector corporations that cherry pick the easiest to teach students (stealing the best students from the traditional public schools) who score higher on faulty, secretive, high stakes standardized tests that profit other private sector corporations that produce the tests.

The children charter schools were meant to help are been locked out, and if the public schools are destroyed, the only education left for most if not all of these at-risk children will be the streets that feeds the poverty to prison pipeline.

It’s obvious that the corporate/billionaire hijacked charter school concept has had 25 years to prove itself and has failed miserably.

The corporate charter school industry continues to mislead the nation with its lies and cherry-picked information/facts and has failed to deliver on the often fraudulent and false promises made decades ago that are repeated today.

It’s time for President Obama to pull the plug on corporate education reform and defy the oligarchs: Bill Gates, the Walton family, Eli Broad, John Arnold, and all the other billionaire funded, autocratic, private sector foundations that are nothing but tax shelters that further the individual extremist goals of their billionaire founders that operate outside of the democratic process of the U.S. Republic the American Founding Fathers created with the U.S. Construction.


“What’s at stake is the future of American Public Education – one of the foundations of our democracy.”

__________________________________

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

Crazy is Normal promotional image with blurbs

Where to Buy

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

 

Tags: , , , , ,

What Tests and Teachers Cannot Fix in any Schools

We live in an era where traditional American, community based, democratic, transparent, nonprofit, publicly funded, public schools are starved of funds and even closed while professional, dedicated, hardworking teachers are punished or fired based on student test results; tests that profit the private sector corporations that produce them.

The result is that more of our children end up in autocratic, CEO controlled, opaque (secretive), often child abusing, fraudulent-and-inferior, no excuses, test centered, publicly funded, private sector corporate charter schools where management gets paid a lot more, and teachers are paid less but work longer hours. WNYC.org reports, “Charters spend $774 more per pupil on administration, and $1,140 less on instruction, than do traditional publics.”

What’s ignored is the fact that tests and teachers cannot fix the effects of: 1. Childhood poverty, 2. Depression, 3. Blood-sugar imbalances, 4. Childhood PTSD, 5.Substance abuse, and 6. Lack of sleep.

  1. Effects of Poverty, Hunger and Homelessness on Children and Youth

The American Psychological Association reports, “The nation’s economic crisis has deeply affected the lives of millions of Americans. Skyrocketing foreclosures and job layoffs have pulled the rug out from under many families, particularly those living in low-income communities. Deepening poverty is inextricably linked with rising levels of homelessness and food insecurity/hunger for many Americans and children are particularly affected by these conditions.”

 

  1. Childhood Depression

WebMD.com says, “Children who are depressed may not do well in school, may become socially isolated, and may have difficult relationships with family and friends, Fassler says. Depression in children is also associated with an increased risk for suicide. The rate of suicide among young people has nearly tripled since 1960 and is the sixth leading cause of death among children between the ages of 5 and 14, the third leading cause of death among 15- to 24-year-olds, and the second leading cause of death among college students.”

 

  1. Blood-sugar imbalances

The CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics found, “Kids consume too much sugar, mostly from processed foods.”

Learning Liftoff.com says, “It’s shocking to note that according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the average child under 12 consumes 49 pounds of sugar annually. That’s only three pounds less than the average adult despite children being much smaller. All that sugar consumption isn’t helping their overall health, but is it impacting their academic performance? You might be surprised at the answer.”

  • Sugar Decreases Attention Span and memory
  • Chronic Sugar Consumption Might Permanently Impair Memory Function
  • Sugar Foods Crowd Out Brain Food

 

  1. Childhood PTSD

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs reports, “Studies show that about 15% to 43% of girls and 14% to 43% of boys go through at least one trauma. Of those children and teens who have had a trauma, 3% to 15% of girls and 1% to 6% of boys develop PTSD. Rates of PTSD are higher for certain types of trauma survivors. … Besides PTSD, children and teens that have gone through trauma often have other types of problems. Much of what we know about the effects of trauma on children comes from the research on child sexual abuse. This research shows that sexually abused children often have problems with: fear, worry, sadness, anger, feeling alone and apart from others, feeling as if people are looking down on them, low self-worth, and not being able to trust others; behaviors such as aggression, out-of-place sexual behavior, self-harm, and abuse of drugs or alcohol.”

 

  1. Substance abuse

Alcohol Rehab.com says, “Children of parents who suffer from substance abuse problems can have problems at school as a result of the upheaval, unpredictability and violence they face at home. Some children have immense strength and can cope with their problems and still manage to maintain good school grades and relationships, but more often than not this is not the case. Bullying, fighting, bad grades, problems with attention span, fear of authority and emotional problems are all signs that a child is facing significant home problems.”

 

  1. Lack of sleep

The Douglas Institute in Quebec reports, “Reducing sleep may disrupt the ability of students to concentrate for long periods of time, and remember what they learn in class. According to a study, children with reduced sleep are more likely to struggle with verbal creativity, problem solving, inhibiting their behaviour, and generally score lower on IQ tests according to current leading research.”

Sleep Foundation.org recommends that school age children 6-13 sleep 9 to 11 hours and adolescents 14-17 should sleep 8 to 10 hours daily, but according to Sleep For Kids.org “It is clear from the poll results that we need to focus as much on the sleeping half of children’s lives as we do on the waking half.  Children are clearly not getting enough sleep,” says Jodi A. Mindell, PhD, who served as Chair of NSF’s 2004 Poll Task Force: “And a remarkable number of children have some kind of sleep problem.”

Why are billionaire oligarchs like Bill Gates, the Koch brothers, Eli Broad, and the Walton family ignoring what tests and teachers cannot fix and spending so much money to subvert democracy and destroy the publicly funded, community based, democratic, transparent, non-profit, public schools and replace them with autocratic, opaque, child abusing, often fraudulent and inferior, publicly funded, private sector corporate charter schools? If you don’t know the answers, start here: Behind Closed Doors of the Billionaire Foundations, The Plot Against Public Education, and The Billionaires’ War Against Public Education.

Discover more about why Corporate driven public education reform is destroying OUR children’s health and future

__________________________________

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

Crazy is Normal promotional image with blurbs

Where to Buy

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

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Conclusion

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

Words for Thought

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

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

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

__________________________________

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

Crazy is Normal FREE Promotion July 2016

Where to Buy

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tags: , , , , , ,