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Category Archives: Standardized Testing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

_______________________

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

Crazy is Normal promotional image with blurbs

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

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What would happen to the Corporate RheeForm War against Public Education in the U.S. if every American knew the few facts in this post?

Value Added Measurement (VAM) uses the results of student tests linked to the flawed Common Core Standards that are being forced on the nation’s public schools to punish teachers for students who–-for a variety of reasons that seldom if ever have anything to do with the actual teaching—are not learning.

In fact, VAM totally ignores the student learning factor and places ALL the blame on teachers when reputable studies have repeatedly proven that time spent in the classroom and teaching represents less than 30% of the factors that lead to a child’s learning.  The other factors that make up two-thirds of what causes a child to learn takes place outside of school in the home/family environment, and poverty DOES play a vital role when it comes to a child learning what is taught by a teacher in the classroom.

Even the results of the International PISA tests prove that poverty is a major factor, and to make my point, I’m using several different reputable sources.

FIRST: A Stanford study found:

“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.

“U.S. PISA scores are depressed partly because of a sampling flaw resulting in a disproportionate number of students from high-poverty schools among the test-takers. About 40 percent of the PISA sample in the United States was drawn from schools where half or more of the students are eligible for the free lunch program, though only 32 percent of students nationwide attend such schools.”

SECOND: The Economic Policy Institute validated that the Stanford report was correct.

THIRD: Mel Riddle, the Associate Director for High School Services at NASSP (National Association of Secondary School Principals), compared the results of the PISA and focused on children who lived in poverty to discover that children living in poverty in the United States are improving and doing better than their socioeconomic peers in the other OECD countries.

Mel reported: “PISA results have provided ample fodder for public school bashers and doomsayers who further their own philosophies and agendas by painting all public schools as failing. For whatever reason, the pundits, many of whom have had little or no actual exposure to public schools, refuse to paint an accurate picture of the state of education.

“A closer look at the data tells a different story. Most notable is the relationship between PISA scores in terms of individual American schools and poverty.  While the overall PISA rankings ignore such differences in the tested schools, when groupings based on the rate of free and reduced lunch are created, a direct relationship is established.”

FOURTH: The Center for Public Education looked closely at the time American children spent in school compared to other countries and asked and answered several questions.

For instance: Are students in India and China required to go to school longer than U.S. students?

According to data from the OECD and the World Data on Education, students in China and India are not required to spend more time in school than most U.S. students.

Do other countries require more instructional hours for students than the U.S.?

According to the OECD, the hours of compulsory instruction per year in these countries range from 608 hours in Finland (a top performer) to 926 hours in France (an average performer) at the elementary level, compared to the over 900 hours required in California, New York, Texas, and Massachusetts.

Are U.S. students receiving less instruction?

The data clearly shows that most U.S. schools require at least as much or more instructional time as other countries, even high-performing countries like Finland, Japan, and Korea.

In conclusion, I ask again: What would happen to the Corporate RheeForm War against Public Education in the U.S. if every American knew the few facts in this post?

_______________________

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

Crazy is Normal promotional image with blurbs

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

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

 

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

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

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

Image with Blurb for Common Core Dilemma

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

_______________________

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

Crazy is Normal promotional image with blurbs

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

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

 

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

> July 24, 2017 UPDATE <

“Middle School Suicides Double As Common Core Testing Intensifies”

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

My original post continues from here:

First from FairTest – November 2013:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The results:

High Stakes Tests Make Kids Sick – UFT

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What was true in 1973 is still true today!

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

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

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

_______________________

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

Crazy is Normal FREE Promotion July 2016

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

Subscribe to my newsletter to hear about new releases and get a free copy of my award-winning, historical fiction short story “A Night at the Well of Purity”.

 

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

Guest Post by HannaH Portner who blogs at Project Rainbow

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

See more:
Race to Nowhere
Huffington Post
United Opt Out

_______________________

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

Crazy is Normal promotional image with blurbs

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

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

 

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John Oliver Reveals the Absurdity and Insanity of High Stakes Testing in the United States, and what are other countries doing

American students face a ridiculous amount of testing. In the video, John Oliver explains how standardized tests impact school funding, the achievement gap, and how often kids are expected to vomit from the stress caused by these high stakes tests that can destroy a child’s life, get teachers fired and public schools closed.

Ask yourself this, who profits?

In addition, Assessment  Around the World (to read the complete article, click the link. The rest of this post is a summary of a piece published by Educational Leadership) reveals how NCLB and its high stakes testing fit in an international context. Here’s what’s happening in the rest of the world.

“Standardized testing is controversial everywhere, regardless of its purpose. Most countries use testing for tracking and for selecting students for admission into academic secondary schools or universities, but generally not for holding educators accountable. Many countries don’t even administer standardized tests until the later grades. In fact, most Canadian universities don’t require the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) or other standardized admissions tests—except for students applying with a U.S. high school diploma!” (Ghosh, 2004)

Testing Practices in Other Countries (from Educational Leadership)

The following examples from England, Turkey, Germany, Singapore, Japan, China, and Finland illustrate how these countries manage these issues.

England

Like the United States, England holds educators accountable for students’ scores on standardized tests, although major differences exist between the two countries’ accountability systems.

Only England—home to the mighty testing giant, Pearson (a profit based, private-sector corporation) that started investing heavily in the U.S. market the year before NCLB mandated the impossible—holds teachers accountable for students’ scores on standardized tests. The test-based accountability policy remains highly controversial and raises issues similar to those currently discussed in the United States. A major question is the validity of using test scores, which are strongly influenced by students’ socioeconomic status, to evaluate the quality of education. This problem is endemic in national and international test score comparisons.

In fact, “Because in every country, students at the bottom of the social class distribution perform worse than students higher in that distribution, U.S. average performance appears to be relatively low partly because we have so many more test takers from the bottom of the social class distribution.” – Economic Policy Institute (Conclusion: Teachers in the US and UK—thanks to lobbyists from Pearson influencing elected representatives—are being punished for children who live in poverty. The more high stakes tests, the more profits Pearson robs from taxpayers who support the public schools in these two English speaking countries.)

Turkey

Turkey’s heavily bureaucratic and centralized education system is modeled after the French system.

Examinations in Turkey are first administered at the end of basic education, although they influence what schools teach long before that. These exams determine admission into the prestigious Anatolian and science high schools, which accept approximately one-quarter of the students who take the exam. Students who wish to enter a university must take another nationwide exam at the end of high school; but because demand outweighs available spaces, acceptance rates are low (around 20 percent). Because of these conditions, Turkish students experience “some of the world’s worst exam anxiety” (Simsek & Yildirim, 2004, p. 165).

Germany

Germany has a highly stratified education system that tracks students, generally beginning in grade 5, into three types of schools: … Teachers and parents—not an examination—determine a child’s placement.

Singapore

In Singapore, educators are only held accountable for their students’ test scores in the sense that secondary schools and junior colleges are ranked in publicly reported “league tables”; the 40 highest-ranked secondary schools receive cash awards. But this “accountability” system bears little resemblance to NCLB in the United States.

The main purpose of testing in Singapore is to determine student placement in the education system and access to elite academic programs—not to evaluate teachers.

Japan

Japan has a highly competitive examination system, but it doesn’t hold educators accountable for students’ scores on standardized tests.

China

For many centuries, the Chinese have viewed their country’s examination system, which dates back to the Shui dynasty in 603 CE, as the main route out of poverty for a child from a low income family. However, like Singapore and Japan, China is attempting to reduce its reliance on rote learning. Realizing that examinations inevitably drive classroom practice, China has revised its highly competitive university entrance exams by requiring students to integrate knowledge from a wide range of fields.

Chinese students face a highly competitive and stressful examination system that doesn’t hold teachers accountable for student test scores.

Finland

In high-ranking Finland, the national ministry of education plays no role in teacher evaluation. Instead, broad policies are defined in the contract with the teachers’ union. Teachers are then typically appraised against the national core curriculum and the school development plan. Finland, of course, is known for having no standardized testing, obviously then making it impossible for it to be used as a tool for teacher evaluation. – NEA Today.org

Note: None of the nations surveyed by OECD use standardized tests to measure teacher effectiveness as bluntly as the United States does. Wariness over the misuse of test scores runs throughout the school systems in most nations – an acknowledgment that they cannot provide a complete picture of teaching quality and that multiple sources of evidence are required (many countries include parent and student surveys as well as classroom observations, and peer and principal assessment).

_______________________

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

Crazy is Normal promotional image with blurbs

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

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Saving Public Education and Democracy—teachers, parents and children, you are not alone

Do not let Corporate Education Reformers like Michelle Rhee, David Coleman, Bill Gates, the Walton family and Arne Duncan eat our children for a profit. The resistance to save the transparent, nonprofit, democratic public schools in the United States survives, thrives and grows daily. And regardless of what you might hear in the media, the teachers’ unions did not start this movement or fund it.

1: The movement started in earnest with Diane Ravitch (find her blog here). She was appointed to public office by Presidents George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton. She served as Assistant Secretary of Education under Secretary of Education Lamar Alexander from 1991 to 1993 and his successor Richard Riley appointed her to serve as a member of the National Assessment Governing Board, which supervises the National Assessment of Educational Progress; she was a member of NAGB from 1997 to 2004. From 1995 to 2005 she held the Brown Chair in Education Studies at the Brookings Institute.

2: The National Center for Fair & Open Testing (FairTest) works to end the misuses and flaws of standardized testing and to ensure that evaluation of students, teachers and schools is fair, open, valid and educationally beneficial.

3: United Opt Out: The Movement to End Corporate Education Reform—The central mission of United Opt Out is to eliminate the threat of high-stakes testing in public K-12 education. We believe that high-stakes testing is destructive to children, educators, communities, the quality of instruction in classrooms, equity in schooling, and the fundamental democratic principles on which this country is based.

4Badass Teachers Association: We are a community of teachers, professors, and educators running from Kindergarten all the way to University. We are also parents, your neighbors, and your friends. We are members of your community, and we care deeply about that community. We have come together to push back against so-called corporate education reform, or the Educational-Industrial Complex and the damage it has done to students, schools, teachers, and communities.

5: The first national conference of the Network for Public Education (NPE) was held at The University of Texas at Austin on March 1 and 2 in 2014, and about 400 people attended. About 600 people attended the second annual conference of the NPE held in Chicago on April 25 and 26, 2015.

6: Momma Bears: Someone jokingly called one of us a “Momma Bear” for having the courage to stand up against politicians to defend our children’s public schools. We realized that’s what we were!  Since then, we’ve met many other people who didn’t realize they were Momma Bears, but they are.

Momma Bears defend and support children and public schools.  Momma Bears realize that quality public education is a right for every child.  There are greedy corporations and politicians eager to destroy and profit from our American public school system and vulnerable children.  Momma Bears are united in defending and protecting our young and their future from these threats.

7. USAS: Public education is under attack.Corporate-backed behemoths like the Walton (Walmart) and Fisher (Gap Inc) foundations are pouring millions into manufacturing a new pro-corporate education reform consensus on our campuses, propping up groups like Teach for AmericaStudents for Education Reform, and countless sponsored academic research programs. Their goal? To privatize our public education system, turning over a major public good into private hands, in the process smashing the only organized force that has dared to stand up to them: teachers’ unions.

United Students Against Sweatshops (USAS) is a grassroots organization run entirely by youth and students. We develop youth leadership and run strategic student-labor solidarity campaigns with the goal of building sustainable power for working people. We define “sweatshop” broadly and consider all struggles against the daily abuses of the global economic system to be a struggle against sweatshops.

8: EduBloggers: The Education Bloggers Network is an informal confederation of more than 200 education reporters, advocacy journalists, investigative bloggers, and commentators.  Members of the Education Bloggers Network are dedicated to providing parents, teachers, public education advocates and the public with the truth about public education in the United States and the efforts of the corporate education reform industry.

9: Students Against Testing: Students Against Testing was created to be a strong force against the score-obsessed education machine known as standardized testing. At the same time, SAT also exists as an advocate for bringing positive, creative and real-life learning activities into the schools. SAT believes that for the reasons stated below urgent action from the student body itself is the most direct way to counteract the boredom and petty competition that currently plagues the schools.

10. Parents Across America (PAA): Parents Across America is committed to bringing the voice of public school parents – and common sense – to local, state and national debates.

PAA was founded by a group of parents active in their communities who recognized the need to collaborate for positive change rather than remain isolated in local battles. Since the top-down forces that are imposing their will on our schools have become national in scope, we need to be as well.

_______________________

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

Crazy is Normal promotional image with blurbs

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

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

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

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

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

Why are the corporate education reformers wrong?

Stanford.edu reports, “There is an achievement gap between more and less disadvantaged students in every country; surprisingly, that gap is smaller in the United States than in similar post-industrial countries, and not much larger than in the very highest scoring countries.”

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

But … here’s the twist: “Achievement of U.S. disadvantaged students has been rising rapidly over time, while achievement of disadvantaged students in countries to which the United States is frequently unfavorably compared – Canada, Finland and Korea, for example – has been falling rapidly.”Stanford.edu

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

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

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

_______________________

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

Crazy is Normal promotional image with blurbs

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

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Is it possible that offering support instead of punishment leads to Better Teachers? – Part 1 of 3

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To discover the answer, I turned to the top eight ranked countries on the 2012 International PISA Test. To come up with the top eight, I dropped China from the list because Shanghai, Hong Kong and Macao do not represent all of China’s 15 or 16 year old children. I’ve also dropped Liechtenstein and Estonia, because it’s ridiculous to compare the United States—with more than 316 million people and almost 50 million children in its public schools—to Liechtenstein with a total population that’s less than 37 thousand and Estonia with about 1.3 million.

To repeat, the United States has almost 50 million children attending K–12, 4 million teachers, and 1 in 4 children live in poverty—the United States is much more diverse and has challenges the top ranked countries don’t have to deal with. Liechtenstein, for instance, has one of the highest standards of living in the world with one of Europe’s most affluent communities. Estonia has 589 schools and compulsory education only goes to 9th grade.

Fair Test.org reports “The U.S. is the only economically advanced nation to rely heavily on multiple-choice tests (But Pearson is working hard to change that and add more countries. To learn more, I suggest you read No profit left behind). Other nations use performance-based assessment to evaluate students on the basis of real work such as essays, projects and activities. Ironically, because these nations do not focus on teaching to multiple-choice and short-answer tests, they score higher on international exams.”

Truth Out.org reports, “Among the most prominent members of the testocracy are some of the wealthiest people the world has ever known. Its tsars include billionaires Bill Gates, Eli Broad, and members of the Walton family (the owners of Walmart), who have used their wealth to circumvent democratic processes and impose test-and-punish policies in public education. They fund a myriad of organizations—such as Michelle Rhee’s StudentsFirst, Teach for America, and Stand for Children—that serve as shock troops to enforce the implantation of high-stakes testing and corporate education reform in states and cities across the nation.”

I also think it’s important to compare the racial diversity and total population of the United States with the eight top ranked PISA countries. It is also worth noting that children represent more than one-third of the 46.5 million Americans who live in poverty. In addition, blacks and Hispanics are more likely than whites to be poor and to be in poverty and deep poverty (For instance, only 10% of Whites live in poverty compared to 27% of Blacks and 24% of Hispanic/Latino – The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation). The poverty rate (the percentage of all people in the United States who were poor) also remained at high levels: 15.1% for all Americans and 21.8% for children under age 18.

  • 77.7% of Americans are White – 248 million
  • 17.1% Hispanic or Latino – 54.5 million
  • 13.2% or Black – 42 million
  • 5.3% are Asian – 16.8 million
  • 1.2% are American Indian and Alaska Native – 3.8 million

2014 population estimate = 318.8 million
http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/00000.html

Singapore – 5.4 million and 26% or 1.4 million live below poverty line compared to 46.5 million in the United States or 861% of the total population of Singapore. BBC.com reports, that in Singapore everyone is provided an education, health care and public housing if they can’t afford their own. What they pay for housing is based on what they earn. If one compares the poor in Singapore to those in countries such as India and China, or even the homeless in the US, it is indeed true that the situation here is not as dire. ”Singapore has an extensive social safety net,” said a ministry spokesman. ”Singaporeans enjoy subsidized housing, healthcare and education.”

  • 77% Chinese
  • 14.8% Malays
  • 7% Indians
  • 1.2% Other

Taiwan – 23.34 million and 1.16% or 27 thousand live below the poverty line compared to 46.5 million in the United States or 199.2% of the total population of Taiwan.

  • 84% Taiwanese (including Hakka)
  • 14% mainland Chinese
  • 2% indigenous

South Korea – 50.22 million and 15% or 7.53 million live below the poverty line compared to 46.5 million in the United States or 92% of the population of South Korea.

  • Koreans except for 20,000 Chinese

Japan – 127.3 million and 16% or 20.3 million live below the poverty line compared to 46.5 million in the United State or 36.5% of the total population of Japan.

  • 95% Japanese
  • 5% foreign citizens

Switzerland – 8 million, but only 1.93 million are permanent residents (23.8% of the total population), and 6.9% (not sure if this is based on permanent or total) live below the poverty line compared to 46.5 million in the United States or 581.25% of the total population of Switzerland.

Netherlands – 16.8 million and 10.5% or 1.764 million live below the poverty line compared to 46.5 million in the United States or 277.78% of the total population of the Netherlands.

  • 78.5% Dutch
  • 5% EU
  • 2.2% Indonesian
  • 2.3% Turkish
  • 2% Surinamese
  • 2% Moroccan
  • 6% other

Finland – 5.4 million. Finland has one of the lowest poverty rates in the world compared to 46.5 million in the United States or 861% the total population of Finland.

  • 89.33% Finish
  • 5.34% Swedish
  • 5.33% 35 Other Ethnic groups

Canada – 35.1 million and 9.4% or 3.3 million live below the poverty line compared to 46.5 million in the United States or 132.5% the total population of Canada.

  • 86% White (European Canadian)
  • 8% Aboriginal
  • 5% East Asian
  • 4% South Asian
  • 2% Black
  • 4% Southeast Asian
  • 9% Other

Continued in Part 2 on April 9, 2015

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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 promotional image with blurbs

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

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

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

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

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

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

>The Tweet<

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

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

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

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

This is legalized crime!

This is child abuse!

This is teacher abuse!

This is stripping parents of their responsibility as parents!

This is stealing from tax payers!

This is WRONG on so many levels!

Education is not a horse race!

Timeline for Crony Capitalist's War Against Public Education

_______________________

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

Crazy is Normal promotional image with blurbs

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

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

 

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