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Category Archives: student behavior

Are children really hungry to learn?

Chris Morris writing for Plugged In may have accidently revealed that all children are not hungry to learn—as some public school critics want us to believe.

Morris wrote, “You have to give school officials in Los Angeles credit for a good idea: put iPads in the hands of over 650,000 students to give them the most advanced learning tools available in an effort to boost their interest in academics.

“But the $1 billion plan is taking some heat after students in the nation’s second-largest school district cracked the tablets’ security settings to forgo reading, writing and arithmetic and instead post on Facebook and play games during class time.”

Morris was wrong. It wasn’t a good idea.

Do you really think this is going to work? “School officials, as you might expect, quickly confiscated the iPads and went to work improving the security settings.”

If hackers from anywhere in the world can break into the U.S. Department of Defense, do you think any security setting is going to stand for long? If you believe that, can I sell you some acreage on the Moon and Mars where you can build a vacation home?

“The U.S. General Accounting Office reported that hackers attempted to break into Defense Department computer files some 250,000 times in 1995 alone. About 65 percent of the attempts were successful, according to the report.” And on September 13, 2011 the Huffington Post reported, “Foreign hackers infiltrated the network of a defense contractor in March, stealing 24,000 military files in a single intrusion, Deputy Defense Secretary William J. Lynn disclosed Thursday.”

And that’s only two examples.

Kids want to play. Why? Because the average American parent raised the average American kid to feel good and have fun—and not to do the often boring work required to earn an education. Studies support this claim, and all the pressure and blame piled on teachers for kids not learning in school are not going to change that fact.

A report from csun.edu gathered data from 4,000 studies and revealed [click on the link to find more information from this report]:

3.5 = the number of minutes parents spend per week in meaningful conversation with their children

1,680 = the number of minutes the average child watches television per week

70% of day care centers use TV during a typical day

54% of 4-6 year olds preferred to watch television than spend time with their fathers

The average American youth spends 900 hours in school per year

The average American youth watched 1,500 hours of TV per year

Number of videos rented daily in the U.S. = 6 million

Number of public library items checked out daily = 3 million

“Millions of Americans are so hooked on television that they fit the criteria for substance abuse as defined in the official psychiatric manual, according to Rutgers University psychologist and TV-Free America board member Robert Kubey. Heavy TV viewers exhibit five dependency symptoms–two more than necessary to arrive at a clinical diagnosis of substance abuse. These include: 1) using TV as a sedative; 2) indiscriminate viewing; 3) feeling loss of control while viewing; 4) feeling angry with oneself for watching too much; 5) inability to stop watching; and 6) feeling miserable when kept from watching.” Source: Norman Herr, Ph.D.


Amazing example of a parent spending time teaching his children to read at a very early age.

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran.

His latest novel is the award winning Running with the Enemy. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.

And the woman he loves and wants to save was trained to kill Americans.

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

 

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An Alternative to a School Suspension or Expulsion

I walked to town this morning to see The Family, a film with Robert De Niro, Michelle Pfeiffer and Tommy Lee Jones.

But this post is not about The Family. It’s about a Contra Costa Times headline I saw halfway to the theater about Bay Area schools suspending suspensions and turning to alternatives in place of suspension.

This issue is not new to me. I taught for thirty years [1975-2005] and for sixteen of those years I taught English, journalism and then reading at Nogales High School in La Puente, California.

At Nogales, we had a place to send kids who refused to cooperate in class and/or who continued to disrupt the learning environment even after being warned several times to stop the unacceptable behavior.

Sharon Noguchi wrote the piece for the Contra Costa Times, and she reported, “Pressed by law enforcement, civil-rights advocates and the realization that the way they disciplined students was failing, schools are keeping on campus more kids who talk back, throw tantrums or even threaten teachers.”

In addition, she wrote: “But teachers at schools elsewhere say taking away the option to suspend creates a disciplinary void and sticks them with rowdy or even dangerous kids in class.”

As a teacher at Nogales, I usually dealt with rowdy or dangerous kids on a daily basis. But I could not suspend even one of my students from school. I could send them to an in-house suspension center that was called BIC—meaning Back in Control or Behavior Improvement Center. I have no idea what BIC meant. I may have asked once but forgot. I like both options, because they are both true.

A certified teacher who was working toward an administrative credential was in charge of BIC at Nogales—most of the time. Nogales had about 100 teachers on staff and there were between 2,300 and 3,000 students [depending on enrollment], and BIC is where we sent the rowdy and dangerous students who refused to cooperate in class.

For example, I send students to BIC almost every day and they were usually the same students. The teacher in charge of BIC once told me that 5% of the students earned 95% of the 20,000 annual referrals to BIC—that would be between 115 to 150 students earning 19,000 of those referrals or 126 – 165 each.

The primary job of a teacher is to teach the subject he or she is responsible for. This job can take 60 to 100 hours a week and that time includes creating lesson plans and correcting student work.  When in class, teachers are involved with students and there is seldom any time to sit down and plan or correct. If a teacher teaches five classes for five hours a day for five days, that is twenty-five hours in class. The rest of the sixty to one-hundred hours is mostly spent planning or correcting work.

With an average class load of 34 students or 170 a day in five different classes, it is difficult to impossible to play the role of a therapist-parent replacement who is expected to undo the damage of dysfunctional parents and/or guardians who are responsible for the home environment that caused a rowdy or even dangerous student to become that way in the first place.

A teacher’s job is to teach the subject he or she was hired to teach and to make sure the annual standardized test scores teachers are held accountable for show improvement so the media and critics of public education will have less fuel to criticize the public schools and demonize teachers—something far too common in the United States.

If school suspension is not an option, schools must provide a place on campus where trained professionals deal with overcoming the damage caused at home and in the child’s environment. Most teachers do not have the time to do this.

For students who do not show improvement, he or she should be taken out of the home and sent to a juvenile boot-camp school where he or she lives in military style barracks with teachers and administrators trained to be tough disciplinarians—for example, modeled after a U.S. Marine Corps boot camp that doubles as a school. 

Every punishment or stick should come with a reward or carrot. The rowdy and/or dangerous child who earned his or her way into a book camp school instead of a suspension/expulsion from a regular public school must earn his or her way out of the boot-camp school with improved behavior, literacy, math, and writing skills.

And those kids who fall off the proverbial-behavior wagon in the regular classroom get sent back to the book-camp school automatically.

Oh, and I enjoyed watching The Family and can’t understand why the average fan and critic gave this film a SO-SO review as reported on Fandango.  I think they missed the point that children and even parents are a product of the environment they grow up in and life is relative to that fact—something that many in America elect to be deaf, dumb and blind to.

Discover It’s the Parents, Stupid

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran.

His latest novel is the award winning Running with the Enemy. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.

And the woman he loves and wants to save was trained to kill Americans.

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

 

 

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Another educational fad invades an American school district: Part 5 of 5

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I wrote back to my friend and said what was happening in his/her school district was nothing new. During my thirty years as a classroom teacher—especially after standardized testing became one of the gods of  public education in the United States—what I call magic-pill programs like this Synced Solution thing came along and always promised to revolutionize education boosting the school’s standardized test scores.

And from my thirty years of experience, I can tell you that all of the magic pill programs teachers were often forced to use failed miserably—so bad that they often caused test scores to drop instead of increase—and a few years later these costly programs would be replaced by another magic-pill program.

I worked with some excellent principals and vice principals, but I do not have much praise for administrators who worked out of the district office.

In October 2000, The Los Angeles Times ran a piece about Education’s Failed Fads. The lead paragraph says, “Misguided and bumbled attempts to fix schools are nothing new, as education historian Diane Ravitch relates in painful detail in her new book, “Left Back: A Century of Failed School Reforms” (Simon & Schuster, $30). I recommend that you click on the LA Times link and read about all the failed education fads to see what I’m talking about.

It is obvious to me that Synced Solution is another fad that will fail mainly because a majority of the teachers were not allowed to be part of the final decision.

For example, there was the Whole Language Approach to teaching reading in the 1980s and 1990s—that supported the idea that children can and should learn to read text in the same easy, natural way that they learn to understand speech. But in Finland “reading instruction is intense in grades 1 and 2, and is uniformly based on teaching phonemic analysis and phoneme-grapheme conversions. Source: THE GLOBALIZATION OF EDUCATIONAL FADS AND FALLACIES

It was my experience that teacher generated programs worked best the same as many of the programs I developed for the almost six-thousand students that I taught over a thirty-year period. This is what teachers in Finland do and Finland has one of the best school systems in the world.

Finland’s public schools—that include a powerful teachers union—are among the best in the world. In the 2009 Programme for International Student Assessment — test scores:

Reading: Finland was in 3rd place vs. the United States at 17th

Mathematics: Finland was in 6th place vs. the United States at 31st

Science: Finland was in 2nd place vs. the United States at 23rd

Synced Solutions is nothing more than another popular, politically correct fad supported by another elected school board to be implemented by administrators with no job protection in a do-as-your-told-or-else educational environment adding another nail in America’s mediocre public-education system.

Return to Another educational fad invades an American school district: Part 4 or start with Part 1

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_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran.

His latest novel is the award winning Running with the Enemy. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.

And the woman he loves and wants to save was trained to kill Americans.

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

 

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The Price of Inflating Self-esteem: Part 4/4

By now, members of the Me (parents), or Me Me Me Generation (children of Baby Boomers) who might be reading this series of posts have become angry and may accuse me of being an idiot and even a racist for daring to say too many white parents have raised a generation of narcissists—about 30 million. Of course that leaves 50 million that were not raised by parents obsessed with the self-esteem of his or her child.

Here’s the rub, over a thirty year period, I saw it happening in my classroom. I don’t need the studies that Joel Stein refers to in his Time Magazine piece. I taught about 6,000 students in the public schools from 1975 to 2005. In the 1970s the self-esteem narcissist epidemic was just getting started and in the late 70s and early 80s, many of my students cooperated in the classroom, read the short stories, read the books and actually studied and worked.

Then we come to the 30 million, because if you are perfect, why read, why study, why work? If the teacher isn’t entertaining the students and students feel bored, why pay attention, why cooperate? And narcissists are very loud and sure of themselves—in fact, they are convinced that everyone else is wrong.

It may even be too late to fix what’s broken, because there is an industry that feeds this cult of self-esteem and it may be impossible to stop this terminal illness from killing our culture through narcissism.

But maybe it isn’t too late, because we don’t see this obsessive level of narcissism among most minority parents and children, and it has been predicted that minorities will be the majority by 2043. Maybe America’s minorities—along with the few white parents who aren’t inflating the self-esteem of their children—will save this country by not raising children to grow up and become sociopathic narcissists.

What has the price of inflated self-esteem been so far? To find out, I suggest you read Joel Stein’s piece in Time Magazine—the May 20, 2013 issue.

– a few facts for thought –

In 1950, the U.S. suicide rate for ages 15 – 24 was 4.5 per 100,000. These suicides were from members of the Greatest Generation born 1901 – 1945.

In 2005, the suicide rate for ages 15 – 24—all white members of the Millennial generation—was 10.7 per 100,000 (an increase of 238% compared to 1950), but for nonwhites of the same Millennial generation, that number was 7.4 and for Blacks 6.7 per 100,000.

However, for Baby Boomers, the U.S. suicide rate decreased in 2003 compared to 1950. In 1950, suicide for ages 45 -54 was 20.9 per 100,000 compared to 15.9 in 2003—the Baby Boom generation.

Note: suicide rates increase dramatically after age 45 but have improved significantly since 1950. In 1950, the suicide rate age 65 years and older was 30 per 100,000. In 2003, the suicide rate for the same age group dropped to 14.6 per 100,000. Source: Suicide.org

The Greatest Generation and the Baby Boomers were not raised by self-esteem obsessed parents. Therefore, has the cult of self-esteem practiced mostly among white middle-class parents of the Baby Boom generation caused the increase in suicides to more than double for white Americans born to the Millennial generation or is that just a coincidence?

Return to The Price of Inflating Self-esteem: Part 3 or start with Part 1

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran.

His latest novel is the award winning Running with the Enemy. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.

And the woman he loves and wants to save was trained to kill Americans.

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

 

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The Price of Inflating Self-esteem: Part 3/4

Just because 80 million were born into the Millennial generation, that doesn’t mean they were all raised by parents obsessed with self-esteem.

For example, the Millennials “are the most ethnically and racially diverse cohort of youth in the nation’s history. Among those ages 13 to 29: 18.5% are Hispanic; 14.2% are Black; 4.3% are Asian; 3.2% are mixed race or other; and 58.8%—a record low—are White.”  Source: The Society Pages.org

Then there are the immigrants. In 2010, there were 40 million in the US, and most immigrant parents raise children differently—than the average White American born parent—often practicing different forms of authoritarian parenting styles found in other countries. Source: Center for Immigration Studies

In addition, research has found that authoritarian parenting is more common among African Americans than among European Americans (Hill & Bush, 2001). … Furthermore, research shows that the authoritarian parenting style is widely accepted by both middle-class African American parents, and their children (Smetana, 2000). Source: Adolescent Health-Risk Behaviors: The Effect of Perceived Parenting Style and Race

Moreover, “efforts to boost the self-esteem of pupils have not been shown to improve academic performance and may sometimes by counterproductive.” The findings of this study did not support continued widespread efforts to boost self-esteem in the hope that it will by itself foster improved outcomes. Source: Does High Self-Esteem Cause Better Performance, Interpersonal Success, Happiness, or Healthier Lifestyles?

“Teens whose parents exercise more control over their teens’ activities are less likely to engage in delinquent behaviors (Jacobson & Crockett, 2000; Patterson & Stouthamer-Loeber, 1984), smoke, use alcohol or other drugs (Brown, Mounts, Lamborn, & Steinberg, 1993; Shakib et al., 2003), and engage in sexually risky behavior (Hogan & Kitagawa, 1985;Jacobson & Crockett, 2000; Newcomer & Udry, 1987).

“Latino youth are no exception to these patterns. … Drawing on previous work, we hypothesize that Mexican-origin youth with parents who exercise firm control (authoritative and authoritarian) will have fewer behavior problems and that teens with supportive parents (authoritative and permissive) will have better emotional well-being. …

“There is much concern that as the duration of exposure to U.S. society and level of acculturation rise, children exhibit increasingly poor outcomes, similar to those of children from the majority (white) culture. …

“Behavioral outcomes and depression were worse for third generation teens from permissive families than for first-and second-generation teens from similar families. Generational patterns in behavioral outcomes were similar for teens of disengaged parents, whereas third generation teens of authoritarian parents had fewer behavioral problems than either first-or second-generation teens of similar parents.” Source: Parenting Styles Across Immigrant Generations

It is obvious from the cited studies in this post that most of the parents that belong to the cult of self-esteem are white.

Continued on May 26 in The Price of Inflating Self-esteem: Part 4 or return to Part 2

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran.

His latest novel is the award winning Running with the Enemy. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.

And the woman he loves and wants to save was trained to kill Americans.

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

 

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The Price of Inflating Self-esteem: Part 2/4

In 2002, The No Child Left Behind Act was voted into law by Congress and signed by President G. W. Bush. I think this law was a result of pressure from Baby Boomer parents that belonged to the cult of self-esteem, because this law only holds the schools and teachers accountable for education—not the students. If you read the provisions of this act, you will discover that students have no responsibility to learn—none. The responsibility for students to learn is all on the backs of the teachers and the schools.

Merriam-Webster says confidence means “faith or belief that one will act in a right, proper, or effective way,” and I think the best way to build confidence is to learn how to be successful through failure and hard work.

The same dictionary says self-esteem means the same as self-conceit. Synonyms for self-esteem are ego, pridefulness, self-regard, self-respect, and the antonyms—the opposite meaning—are humbleness, humility and modesty.

The Attraction Forums.com says, “To better understand confidence let’s first clear up some really common misconceptions between confidence and self-esteem. The two are related but are not the same. Confidence is how effective a person feels in a given situation or dealing with a specific task. Self-esteem is how much a person likes themselves and how worthy they feel of receiving good things in life. A person can feel good about themselves (high self-esteem) while not feeling positive about their skill-set in a certain area (confidence).”

And students and adults with a high sense of inflated self-esteem hate to fail.

Today, there are about 80 million Millennials (ages 13 – 32)—also known as Generation Y, mostly the children of the Baby Boomers—in the U.S, but how many are at a high risk of being a member of the ME ME ME Generation that the Time Magazine piece talks about?

Continued on May 5, 2013 in The Price of Inflating Self-esteem: Part 3 or return to Part 1

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran.

His latest novel is the award winning Running with the Enemy. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.

And the woman he loves and wants to save was trained to kill Americans.

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

 

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The Price of Inflating Self-esteem: Part 1/4

I read Joel Stein’s The ME ME ME Generation: Millennials are lazy, entitled narcissists who still live with their parents published in the May 20 issue of Time Magazine. My first reaction was to agree with what he wrote 100%.  Then I thought about it for several days and decided there was a major flaw in Stein’s piece.

When I finished reading the piece, this phrase was glued in my head: “In the U.S. Millennials are the children of the baby boomers, who are also known as the Me Generation, who then produced the Me Me Me Generation.”

There is some truth to Stein’s statement but it is also misleading. I taught in the public schools for thirty years starting with fifth grade in 1975-76; then graduated to 7th and 8th grade 1979-89, and in 1989 I transferred to the high school where I taught until August 2005 when I retired. During those years, I worked with at least 6,000 students and had contact with hundreds of parents.

There are five generations:

1.        The Greatest Generation (1901-1945) – my parents were born early in this generation and I was born near the end in 1945.

2.        Baby Boomers (1946 – 1964)

3.        Generation X (1965 – 1985)

4.        Generation Y (1978 – 1994) – The Millennials

5.        Generation Z (1995 – 2007) — I never taught this generation. Source: List of Generations Chart

When I first started teaching, I worked with students from Generation X until 1992 when the Millennials first walked into my classroom.

It didn’t take long to witness a difference in attitude and behavior among the Millennials compared to Generation X, but not all of the Millennials were members of the so-called ME ME ME Generation. There were always great students who were not narcissists or sociopaths, but through the years there were fewer of them and more students with parents that were very concerned about their child’s self-esteem—there was a lot of pressure to give out higher grades and make the work easier.

For example, in 1979 when I first started teaching 7th and 8th graders at Giano Intermediate, at least half of my students earned A’s and B’s. Few failed.

After I reached the high school, the failure rate climbed to 30% and about 20% earned A’s and B’s. By the time I left teaching in 2005, the failure rate among the Millennials had climbed to as high as 50% in some classes and about 5% of the students earned A’s and B’s—that was in my English classes.

In one class—journalism—that I taught for seven years starting in the early 1990s, the students produced the high-school newspaper, and ninety-nine percent of those students earned A’s or B’s, and it was rare that a student in that class earned anything less. In that class, there were few narcissists with self-esteem obsessed parents.

The parent cult of self-esteem became a serious movement in the 1960s and spread over the years like a virus until it reached toxic numbers—a malignant cancer, but not every Baby Boomer parent was a member of this cult so we have to be careful about stereotyping all Millennials as narcissists.

Continued on May 24, 2013 in The Price of Inflating Self-esteem: Part 2

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran.

His latest novel is the award winning Running with the Enemy. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.

And the woman he loves and wants to save was trained to kill Americans.

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

 

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The Uphill Battle for Many of America’s Teachers

You cannot educate a child who is not healthy and you cannot keep a child healthy who is not educated,” says Dr. Jocelyn Elders, the former U.S. Surgeon General. Source: Nemours.org

To have a better understanding of what Dr. Elders is talking about and what this means for America’s teachers, keep reading.

Nearly 16 million children in the United States—22% of all children—live in families with incomes below the federal poverty level ($23,021 a year for a family of four). Research shows that, on average, families need an income of about twice that level to cover basic expenses. Using this standard, 45% of children live in low-income families. … And poverty can impede children’s ability to learn and contribute to social, emotional, and behavioral problems. Source: The National Center for Children in Poverty

Poverty isn’t the only challenge many of America’s teachers face daily—lifestyle choices, poor parenting and even paint fumes get in the way of education.

Yes, you heard right—paint fumes!

The March 21, 2013, issue of The New York Review of Books says lead house paint is “still on the walls of some 30 million American homes today,” and “studies have found that even infinitesimally low levels—down to one or two micrograms per deciliter—can reduce a child’s IQ and impair her self-control and ability to organize thoughts.”

“Black children, the survey found, were six times more likely to have elevated lead than white.” Source: Lead Poisoning: The Ignored Scandal by Helen Epstein

If paint fumes weren’t enough of a challenge, Live Strong.com says, “It is almost certain that if you eat a diet comprised of primarily fast food, you won’t be functioning at your optimum capacity—physically or mentally. Fast food consumption can cause an array of mental effects, ranging from depression to hyperactivity. It’s not just one ingredient at fault, either. Fast food meals contain a toxic mixture of unhealthy fats, preservatives, coloring and refined carbohydrates that can create imbalances in your brain.”

In addition, soda consumption (liquid sugar) is linked to violence in teens. Wellness Resources.com reported, “These chemicals also cause brain inflammation. High levels of sweeteners cause fluctuating blood sugar levels and that will disrupt brain function as well. Thus, there are several clear mechanisms by which soda drinks can cause irritated and impaired brain function, leading to increased risk for the use of violence as a problem solving strategy.”

In fact, Forbes.com says, “Overeating, poor memory formation, learning disorders, depression—all have been linked in recent research to the over-consumption of sugar.” … “Research indicates that a diet high in added sugar reduces the production of a brain chemical known as brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). Without BDNF, our brains can’t form new memories and we can’t learn (or remember) much of anything.”

For a better understanding of the challenge America’s teachers face, I recommend watching Winter’s Bone and/or reading J. K Rowling’s The Casual Vacancy. This film and novel offer snapshots into the world of poverty for those who have never been there.

In the film Winter’s Bone (2010), Jennifer Lawrence plays 17 year-old Ree Dolly who keeps her family together in a dirt-poor rural area of the Ozark Mountains. And in J. K. Rowling’s The Casual Vacancy (2012), we meet Krystal Weedon who was raised in poverty by a heroin-addicted mother and often acts as sole caregiver to younger brother Robbie.

For thirty years I had an up-close and personal open-door to this world, because I taught students that were often like Ree Dolly or Krystal Weedon in schools surrounded by graffiti scarred barrios, street gangs and drive by shootings.

Even lack of adequate sleep causes learning problems. Children need about 10-12 hours a sleep while teens need at least nine hours per night. But many American children and teens only sleep five-six hours a night.

A recent study reveals that inadequate sleep can result in lower math and literacy scores. Research also shows that getting a good night’s sleep may be the single most powerful predictor of a child’s academic performance in school. Source: ABC News

What do you think happens in a classroom when a child or teen lives in poverty, has a poor diet, drinks too many sodas and does not get enough sleep? Do we blame teachers for that too?

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse, a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran, is the award winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition].

His latest novel is Running with the Enemy. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.

And the woman he loves and wants to save was trained to hate and kill Americans.

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

 

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Winning the Genetic Lottery may not be enough

For months, I’ve been searching for studies that show the odds of winning the job/career lottery that leads to a glamorous/famous, wealth growth job.

I didn’t find my answer from a study. I found it from a super model, Cameron Russell.

What Cameron Russell says in this YouTube TED video is the real story of dream jobs. She says, “I am standing on this stage because I am a pretty white woman and in my industry we call that a sexy girl. … The real way I became a model is I won a genetic lottery and I became the recipient of a legacy. Saying you want to be a model when you grow up is akin to saying you want to win the Powerball when you grow up. It’s awesome and it’s out of your control and it’s not a career path.” Source: Shine.Yahoo.com


Pay attention to Cameron’s words. She offers wise advice about reality and life.

Before I go on, I want to say that genetics is not the only factor in many dream jobs/professions. Dedication, hard work and persistence also play a part in fields such as sports, acting, the arts, etc.

But, what Cameron has to say holds truth for all of the dream jobs that so many young people chase often destroying his or her future.

It’s okay to have a dream but dream realistically.  The odds are against anyone becoming a super model like Cameron Russell, an icon in football, baseball, or basketball, for example. This also applies to acting, the music industry and being a published author no matter what path an author takes such as indie, self-published or traditional.

That is why I believe every child, teen and young person must have a backup plan that is realistic but often leads to a boring job—when dreams fail to materialize—that pays more than working for Wal-Mart, the fast-food industry, cleaning pools, cutting crass, washing dishes, tending bar or waiting on tables.

Being a life-long-learner is important to having a backup plan and this message is for parents. It is your job to make sure your child loves to read and sees that learning is important and not boring and a waste of time. The future belongs to life-long learners.

Education is getting a bad rep from the media in the United States and college educations are under attack. Why?

Who stands to benefit from an ignorant, functionally illiterate population struggling to survive on minimum wages working in insecure jobs?

Discover Education’s Accountability Dilemma

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse, a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran, is the award winning author of The Concubine Saga.

His latest novel is Running with the Enemy. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.

And the woman he loves and wants to save was trained to hate and kill Americans.

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

 

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What makes Education Toxic?

A comment left for a postNC Teacher: “I quit”—on Diane Ravitche’s blog made a good point, and I posted a reply:

I think you have made a great point or at least inadvertently focused a spotlight on an important issue and why it is there.  Turnover in a school or school district may be a red flag—a strong warning sign— that the school board/administration/students are not the easiest to work with or work for [another word would be dysfunctional ].

This could be extended to an entire state since each state has its own department of education that decides policy in that state as directed by the elected politicians from the governor of a state on down. Due to a need to gain votes, religious and/or political agendas tend to rule in such organizations and the winds may shift at any time.

For example, I friend sent me this about the current situation in the high school in Southern California where he now teaches.

I was a public school teacher from 1975 – 2005 and we worked together before dysfunctional administration at our high school and in our school district drove him to quit and find a job in another district that at the time was a better place to work.

But beware of the grass is greener over there syndrome because a drought will kill the green grass leaving behind sweltering heat and dust.

During my thirty years in the classroom, I worked under nine-different principals. Some were great, some good and some horrible.

The horrible ones drove teachers, counselors and VPs out of the schools where they ruled Nazi style and turnover could reach as high as fifty percent in a few years.

Good principals, who are usually a sign of good administration and a sensible school board, tend to hold on to staff.

I mean, how many people quit jobs—any job—with a boss that knows what he or she is doing; a boss that supports his workers in the best possible ways to make the work environment a place where we want to spend twenty to forty years of our lives?

My friend said of this school year (2012 – 2013):

“112 scheduling changes in the first three weeks (the classes he teaches)

“75% of the administrative team is new; a lot of chaos

“50% of the counselors are new; a lot of chaos

“We lost our department chairs, so there is no communication between the teachers and administration

[This high school, he says] “once had a top-notch academic program; however, we are falling apart at the seams; our test scores have flat-lined and they will continue to flat-line because there are just too many new faces at our school; two of our Vice Principals have never been a VP before; they’re nice people, but we have to wade through their learning curve.”

For another example: at the high school where I taught for the last sixteen of the thirty years I was in the classroom as a teacher, we had one new teacher quit at lunch on his first day on the job with two more classes to teach after lunch. During the lunch break, he walked in the principal’s office, tossed his room keys on the desk and said, “If they won’t show some respect for me and attempt to learn, then I refuse to teach them.”

I know from experience, that district did not do a good job creating a positive, supportive educational environment for its teachers because I worked in that district for thirty years. Instead, it was more of a combative environment that did not offer the support teachers wanted or needed to teach.

It is a fact that teachers teach and students learn. However, that is not always the case. Instead, teachers in a toxic educational environment often struggle to teach while too many students make no effort to learn.

Elected School Boards and the administrators they hire should support an environment where teachers may teach and students will learn, and we can learn from two of the best public educations system in the world: Finland and Singapore.

In Finland, the teachers have a strong union and the teachers make the decisions in a supportive educational environment and it works. Parents start teaching children how to read at age three but the first year of school is at age seven.

In Singapore, merit rules. Students must compete academically to earn where they are tracked and the system is heavily tracked based on performance. There is no self-esteem driven educational environment; there is corporal punishment and students may be publicly beat with a bamboo cane if caught breaking strict-rules built to support a merit based education system.

Why can’t we in the United States learn from Finland and Singapore?

Discover What is the Matter with [American] Parents these Days?

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga.

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