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Category Archives: teaching children who live in poverty

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).

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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 2 of 3

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After eliminating China, Liechtenstein and Estonia, from the 2012 International PISA Test ranking, Singapore became #1, Chinese Taipei #2, South Korea #3, Japan #4, Switzerland #5, the Netherlands #6, Finland #7, and Canada #8

1.  Singapore

There are about 25,000 teachers in its primary and secondary schools.

Edutopia.org reports “Teaching is a highly respected and well-compensated profession in Singapore. All teachers are trained at the country’s National Institute of Education (NIE) (one training program).  All new teachers are paired with experienced teachers for mentoring, and peer feedback is built into the schedule. Teachers are entitled to 100 low or no-cost hours of professional development each year. There are approximately 522,000 students attending about 350 schools in Singapore’s education system.

2. Chinese Taipei

There are more than 300 thousand teachers who teach in preschool, primary school, junior high school, and senior high school (teaching about 4 million students). The teachers are trained in universities of education with teacher training programs or centers. These institutions are also responsible for providing in-service training and guidance for local education practitioners.

3. South Korea

Teaching is a highly respected profession in South Korea, and among the most popular career choices for young South Koreans. This is largely due to competitive pay, job stability, and good working conditions – for example, there is a high degree of collaboration among teachers. Elementary teachers must attend one of 13 institutions to become qualified whereas secondary school teachers have multiple pathways into teaching and often attend comprehensive universities. Teachers are paid well in South Korea. Lower secondary teachers can expect a mid-career salary of $52,699, much higher than the OECD average of $41,701. There are about 7 million K-12 students in South Korea.

4. Japan

In Japan, teaching is a respected profession, and teachers have traditionally been paid better than other civil servants. Japan’s average teacher salary for a lower secondary school teacher after 15 years of service (the number that the OECD typically uses for international comparison) is $49,408, as compared to the OECD average of $41,701. The teaching profession in Japan is also highly selective, at both the program admission and the hiring phase. About 14% of applicants are admitted into schools of education, and of those who graduate, only 30-40% find work in public schools. Eric Digests.org reports, “Many Japanese believe that the examination system is too stressful, that the schools are too rigid and don’t meet the needs of individual students, that contemporary students show little interest in studying, and that the educational system needs to produce more creative and flexible citizens for the twenty-first century.”

Stanford.edu says, “In 2002 the Ministry of Education began to implement educational reforms that officials labeled the most significant since the end of World War II. In an attempt to stimulate students to be independent and self-directed learners, one third of the content of the national curriculum was eliminated. Japanese students in grades 3-9 are now required to take Integrated Studies classes in which they and their teachers jointly plan projects, field trips, and other ‘hands-on’ activities. Students in Integrated Studies learn about their local environment, history, and economy. … and teachers are not allowed to give tests on what students have learned.”

5. Switzerland

The goal is to impart adequate knowledge and competence for educating and teaching pupils and students at the various educational levels, as well as children and adolescents with special needs. Teacher education and training is realized within a two-tier model with Bachelor’s and Master’s degree programs.

During the 2008/09 school year there were 1.266 million students in the K-12 Swiss educational system, who were taught by more than 100,000 teachers.

But Susan Ohanian.org reports teachers in Germany, Austria and Switzerland are seeing their school ranked by the Bertelsmann Foundation (using achievement tests) comparing the school of all districts with each other—the teachers are protesting and fighting back. Because compulsory achievement tests are planned in all three countries, they are wary of school rankings that lead to a “senseless competition” among schools.

6. Netherlands

About 2.6 million children attend k-12 (European Agency.org).

In 1917, private and public schools were given equivalent financial status under the Constitution. As a result, the Netherlands is in the unique situation, compared with the rest of the world, of having 70 percent of its schools administered and governed by private school boards. The Constitution thus guarantees “freedom of education”, which embrace the freedom to set up schools, freedom to determine the principles on which they are based (freedom of conviction) and freedom of organization of teaching.

State University.com reports, There is an extensive amount of parental involvement in Dutch schools. … In addition, many schools also have a separate parents’ council or committee.

Teacher training in the Netherlands continues to undergo an overhaul. In 2008, the government, following the recommendations of an advisory council, formulated an action plan to tackle the teacher shortage and improve the position and quality of teachers. Given the high performance of its students and its teacher salaries, which, at $60,174 for a mid-career lower secondary school teacher far outpace the OECD average of $41,701, there is still a teacher shortage in the Netherlands due primarily to the aging teacher workforce.

The 2008 TALIS survey of Dutch teachers revealed that the majority of teachers participate in informal, rather than formal, professional development. This generally takes the form of informal mentorships and conversations, courses and workshops and reading professional literature. … Part of the government’s action plan is the creation of a stronger professional organization for teachers that will be able to evaluate teachers and provide teacher training grants.

7. Finland

There are 596,000 children in the k-12 compulsory education system. There are only 24 private comprehensive schools in Finland (0.5%). – ncee.org

Education has always been an integral part of Finnish culture and society, and teachers currently enjoy great respect and trust in Finland. Finns regard teaching as a noble, prestigious profession—akin to medicine, law, or economics— and one driven by moral purpose rather than material interests. Teachers also are the main reason Finland now leads the international pack in literacy, science, and math.

8. Canada

Over 5.11 million students were enrolled in public schools in 2007/08. The full-time teaching force at primary and secondary level is around 310,000. About 5.6% of students are in private schools. Private schools have historically been less common on the Canadian Prairies and were often forbidden under municipal and provincial statutes enacted to provide equality of education to students regardless of family income.

Teacher training programs are housed in Canadian universities, although separate standards for teacher qualification exist across the provinces. There are only about 50 teacher education programs in Canada, so it is easy for provincial governments to regulate quality.

For professional development, all Canadian provincial Ministries of Education support and require ongoing teacher training efforts though, like nearly everything else in the Canadian education system, this is decentralized and subject to different requirements depending on location.

Continued in Part 3 on April 10, 2015 or start with Part 1

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 _______________________

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

Crazy is Normal 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).

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

 

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A cultural war in the United States is being financed by billionaire oligarchs and corporations

In 1965, China’s Mao Zedong launched a cultural war against the excesses of capitalism, and this was led by the people, the workers and their children, and the capitalists in China and anyone who was accused of supporting the lifestyle of the rich and famous was targeted leading to millions of suicides.

For the last few decades, millions of people in the United States have been victims of its own cultural war, but this one is the reverse of the one that was led by Mao in China. America’s cultural war is being led by a handful of billionaire oligarchs who are transforming American into a money making paradise for those who have the most wealth and power.

This morning I read a piece in the Huffington Post that reported Kansas welfare recipients will be unable to get more than $25 per day in benefits under a new law sent this week to Republican Gov. Sam Brownback’s desk by the state legislature. To make life worse for people who live in poverty, the state also issues that welfare in the form of a government-issued debit card and required that they take the money out of debit machines that charge 85 cents for each withdrawal after the first one in a month—a windfall for banks and whoever owns those ATM machines but less money to buy food. The number of Kansans receiving benefits has also declined from 38,000 in 2011 to 15,000 last year, state data show.

It is no secret that Republicans (GOP) have waged war on people who live in poverty for decades—and recently GOP representatives have blamed poverty on the poor. Many in the GOP hate Social Security, Medicare, Obamacare, unemployment insurance, food stamps, abortion, marijuana, women, and even sexual orientation.

In addition, the GOP and the Democrats also have no problem handing out money to private sector corporations. For instance, the U.S. auto industry, banks, and Wall Street firms. In fact, there are elements in both parties who are handing our children to corporate Charters supported by hedge fund billionaires, the Walton family and the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation so those few individuals grow wealthier off taxes that were originally intended to support the transparent, nonprofit, democratic public schools.

How much does the state and federal government give away to corporations? The answer is more than the country spends on food stamps for people living in poverty, who are far from being lazy, because Recent studies show that 49% of all food stamp participants are children (age 18 or younger), and about 50% of the adults have jobs that pay mostly poverty wages, and, in 2013, for instance, the average SNAP client received a monthly benefit of $133.07, and the average household received $274.98 monthly—compare that number with the money corporations are getting from their state and federal welfare programs.

The New York Times spent 10 months investigating business incentives awarded by hundreds of cities, counties and states. Since there is no nationwide accounting of these incentives, The Times put together a database and found that local governments give up $80.4 billion in incentives each year compared to about $75 billion in food stamps to people who live in poverty, so they have enough money to eat and not starve.

Don’t forget, when the GOP blames the poor for their poverty and cuts food stamps to families, as Arkansas is doing, the GOP is waging a war against almost 20 million children living in poverty who can’t work to feed themselves.

However, according to The Times, the number of corporate welfare programs is 1,874. Have you heard Republicans or Democrats call for cuts to corporate welfare?

You might want to click on this link from the New York Times that leads to an interactive map and discover how much corporations are earning off federal and state welfare programs that tax payers are financing.

The New York Times identified 48 companies that have received more than $100 million in state grants since 2007. Some 5,000 other companies have received more than $1 million in recent years.

In fact, Politifact.com reports that it’s mostly true that 9 of the 10 poorest states are ruled by the GOP. PolitiFact.com also reports that it is mostly true that 97 of the country’s 100 poorest counties are in GOP ruled states.

The Washington Post reports, “Republican states have pursued economic and fiscal strategies built around lower taxes, deeper spending cuts and less regulation. They have declined to set up state health-insurance exchanges to implement President Obama’s Affordable Care Act. They have clashed with labor unions. On social issues, they have moved to restrict abortion rights or to enact voter-identification laws, in the name of ballot integrity, that critics say hamper access to voting for the poor and minorities.”

The cultural revolution in China that took place between 1965–1976, and the one being waged in the United States today have one thing in come: the public schools and the teachers who taught in them were attacked in China back then (but not today—after Mao died in 1976, China, under new leadership, started rebuilding its public schools and supporting its teachers), because a transparent, non-profit, public education system where teachers have the freedom to express, without fear, what they think about current issues to the children they teach, who then talk to their parents, is a threat to the few who want to control the destructive cultural changes taking place in America, and it doesn’t matter if the cultural war is being led, for instance, by America’s Bill Gates, the Walton family, the Koch brothers or Mao Zedong in China. To drastically alter a culture, the few in power, who are behind the changes, must silence their critics and create an environment of punishment and fear, and this means silencing the teachers.

“The reasons for the deconstruction of the teaching profession is simple: teachers are too active in politics; they vote, they advocate, they are a potent political force if properly motivated. Three million teachers and their families, residing in every political precinct in the nation can elect representatives and senators and presidents.” – Ed In The Apple

_______________________

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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Finland is changing its education system AGAIN, and that change STILL doesn’t include standardized testing

While the United States and a few other countries have allowed UK’s Pearson—the largest private-sector, for profit education publisher and test generator in the world—greater influence in their countries, Finland is going in the opposite direction.

“Finland making drastic changes to an already successful education system. Why now? And will this model change the way other countries go about educating their children?” The Christian Science Monitor asks.

Despite having an education system that doesn’t rely on standardized test scores, Finnish students perform extremely well on exams that are given to students all over the developed world.

But now Finland is looking to overhaul its education system and will now focus more on “topics” and less on subjects, according to Alexander LaCasse for The Christian Science Monitor.

The Finns are calling this “phenomena” teaching while in the United States, teaching is called “TESTING”.

I ran into trouble embedding this vimeo video in the post so here’s the link or click Watch on Vimeo above:
https://vimeo.com/122720631

Alexander LaCasse, who wrote the piece for The Christian Science Monitor said, “Finland’s deviation on educational standards may come as a surprise to some – because Finland trails only Singapore and China in performance on the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA), a standardized test given to 15 year olds in 65 of the world’s most developed countries.”

What the corporate reformers don’t want anyone to know is that poverty is the  problem—a challenge totally ignored by the rank and punish Common Core Standardized Testing culture promoted heavily by the Bill and Melinda Gates and Walton Family Foundations (in addition to a few other billionaires)—and not teachers or public schools.

If you watch the video that comes with this post, starting at 30:00, you will discover that when we compare U.S. Schools internationally, U.S. schools with less than 10% student poverty are ranked #1 in the world on the PISA test.

For instance, Finland has less than 4% childhood poverty compared to the U.S. that has at least 24% of its children living in poverty. In fact, high achieving countries that score high on international tests all have less than 10% of their children living in poverty.

Even U.S. schools with 25% childhood poverty rates rank #3 in the world on international tests and even schools that have 50% student poverty levels rank above international averages in reading.  In addition, 1 in 5 schools in the United States have 75% of children, or more, living in poverty.

The schools I taught in for 27 years of the 30 I spent in classrooms as a teacher had 70% – 80% childhood poverty rates.

Timeline for Crony Capitalist's War Against Public Education

More information on this issue:

Common Core-Aligned Test Publisher Pearson Using Personal Data to Spy on Students Online

Pearson is expanding its brand into the United Kingdom, Australia, Italy, South Africa, Brazil, India and Saudi Arabia. Pearson earns over $8 billion in annual global sales, with much more to come if countries continue to use standardized tests to rate students, teachers and schools.

For Pearson, Common Core is private profit

Among the likely benefactors of the extra funds were the four companies that dominate the testing market — three test publishers and one scoring firm.

Those four companies are Harcourt Educational Measurement, CTB McGraw-Hill, Riverside Publishing (a Houghton Mifflin company), and NCS Pearson. According to an October 2001 report in the industry newsletter Educational Marketer, Harcourt, CTB McGraw-Hill, and Riverside Publishing write 96 percent of the exams administered at the state level. NCS Pearson, meanwhile, is the leading scorer of standardized tests.

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.

The Testing Industry’s Big Four

The British publishing giant Pearson had made few inroads in the United States — aside from distributing the TV game show “Family Feud” — when it announced plans in the summer of 2000 to spend $2.5 billion on an American testing company.

No profit left behind

The controversy over Common Core hasn’t stopped companies from cashing in on the education standards program.

States have already awarded hundreds of millions of dollars in Common Core-related contracts to businesses including Pearson, McGraw-Hill Education CTB, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and Apple since 2012. And, despite some legal challenges and boycotts, more contracts potentially worth billions of dollars for testing, instructional materials and teacher training are on the way.

Companies cash in on Common Core despite controversy

What can we do? The answer is to refuse high stakes testing

UNITED POT OUT: The movement to End Corporate Education Reform

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.

Fair Test: The National Center for Fair and Open Testing

_______________________

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!”

 

Ignored by the Common Core agenda—Making the link between poverty, nutrition and poor performance in school

At a Glance:

Twelve weeks of supplementation with vitamins and minerals was found to boost the attention scores of children, according to results published in the British Journal of Nutrition.

“It is well known that adequate levels of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients are essential for optimal neural functioning. A significant percentage of individuals, including children, suffer from deficiencies in one or more vitamins or minerals. This study investigated whether daily supplementation with a multivitamin could alter cognitive performance and mood in healthy children.

“The randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study included 81 healthy children aged 8-14. The children were reportedly all healthy and free from food allergies. None of the children used other dietary supplements during the three months prior to the study. Participants were randomly assigned to daily multivitamin and mineral supplements or placebo for 12 weeks

“The children underwent laboratory assessments of their cognitive performance and mood pre-dose and at 1 and 3 h post-dose on the first and last days of the trial.  Assessments were also completed at home after 4 and 8 weeks at 3 hours post-dose. Cognitive performance was measured using a battery of laboratory assessments, which included tasks assessing mood and the speed and accuracy of attention and aspects of memory. The children in the vitamin/mineral group performed more accurately on two tests of attention. No effects were observed on measures of the children’s mood

“Although the results of this study require further investigation, it suggests that vitamin/mineral supplementation has the potential to improve brain function in healthy children.”

  • Haskell CF et al. Cognitive and mood effects in healthy children during 12 weeks’ supplementation with multi-vitamin/minerals. Br J Nutr 2008 Nov;100(5):1086-96.

But what if the children are not healthy?


children taking tests with Bill Gates cracking the whip

There’s this from the University of Wisconsin – Madison that makes the connection between poverty and early childhood brain development that causes poor performance in school—proving that the one size Common Core testing rank, fire and close public schools agenda promoted HEAVILY by the Bill and Melinda Gates and Walton family Foundations is even more flawed than we thought.

“Poverty may have direct implications for important, early steps in the development of the brain, saddling children of low-income families with slower rates of growth in two key brain structures, according to researchers from the University of Wisconsin–Madison.

“By age 4, children in families living with incomes under 200 percent of the federal poverty line have less gray matter—brain tissue critical for processing of information and execution of actions—than kids growing up in families with higher incomes.”

Someone please shout in President Obama’s ear that the one-size fits all Common Core agenda being forced on the country by Arne Duncan, Bill Gates, the Walton family and a few other billionaires and hedge fund managers, who want to profit off of are our children, is a total fraud. After you’re done shouting, give them a standardized bubble test to see what they learned.

There are more than 72 million children under 18 years old in the United States. 45 percent – 32.4 million – live in low-income families. 22 percent –16.1 million – live in poor families. National Center for Children in Poverty

 _______________________

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

Runner Up in Biography/Autobiogrpahy
2015 Florida Book Festival

lloydlofthouse_crazyisnormal_web2_5

Honorable Mention in Biography/Autobiography
2014 Southern California Book Festival
2014 New England Book Festival
2014 London Book Festival

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

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

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Claims that Sky is Falling Used to Justify Economic based Reforms in U.S. Public Education

Anthony Cody left a comment on the Education Bloggers Network Central about an ETS report on education to serve the economy. “The ETS is basically Pearson Education these days,” said Paul Horton in another comment.

This means ETS is a mouthpiece for Pearson PLC, a British multinational publishing and education company headquartered in London. Pearson is the largest—for profit—education company and the largest book publisher in the world, and Pearson has been funding media propaganda and lobbying elected officials to use the unproven and flawed Common Core State Standards and Pearson’s copyrighted tests in the U.S. for those standards.

More information about Pearson may be found at PR Watch.org, Peyton Wolcott.com and 8 Things You Should Know About Corporations Like Pearson that Make Huge Profits from Standardized Tests.

Guess who gets paid every time a student takes one of those Pearson copyrighted Common Core tests that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is spending hundreds of millions of dollars to use as a way to rank and fire teachers while closing public schools and then turning our children over to corporate Charters that several Stanford studies report are worse or the same as the public schools they are replacing.

If you guessed Pearson, you were right. Pearson—with help from Bill Gates’s billions—is behind testing our children toward failure. Watch the video to discover what that means for our children.


“I believe in standardizing automobiles. I do not believe in standardizing human beings. Standardization is a great peril which threatens American culture.” > Albert Einstein

ETS made misleading claims in their press release that announced the (economic corporate education reform) meeting to be held in Washington D.C. on February 17, 2015, that left out many important facts about public education in the United States.

For instance:

  1. The Economic Policy Institute reports, U.S. poverty rates higher, safety net weaker than in peer countries—the U.S. is ranked dead last for percentile as a share of median worker earnings in 21 selected OECD countries.
  2. The functional literacy rate when comparing the United States to Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the UK—five English speaking countries that all belong to the OECD. > Literacy Comparison
  3. The college graduation ranking for the United States compared to every country on the planet as reported by World Atlas.com. The United States is ranked #4 on the top 10 most educated nations list—and there are 196 countries in the world today. The United States is in the top two percent for college graduates.
  4. More than 16 million children in the United States – 22% of all children – live in families with incomes below the federal poverty level– $23,550 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%—or more than 33 million—of children live in low-income families. > nccp.org

How does that number of children living in poverty compare to 34 OECD countries? Answer: OECD.org reports that 13% of all children were poor in 2010. The only OECD countries with childhood poverty rates higher than the United States were: Chile, Mexico, Romania, Turkey and Israel.

  1. In addition, Stanford.edu reported in a study that: “Based on their analysis, the co-authors found that average U.S. scores in reading and math on the PISA are low partly because a disproportionately greater share of U.S. students comes from disadvantaged social class groups, whose performance is relatively low in every country.

“As part of the study, Carnoy and Rothstein calculated how international rankings on the most recent PISA might change if the United States had a social class composition similar to that of top-ranking nations: U.S. rankings would rise to sixth from 14th in reading and to 13th from 25th in math. The gap between U.S. students and those from the highest-achieving countries would be cut in half in reading and by at least a third in math.”

The report also 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.

Note: countries that score high on the PISA have low rates of childhood poverty. Childhood poverty in Canada is about 14%, in Finland it’s less than 5%, and in South Korea it’s less than 10%.

  1. The Global Innovation Index rankings, comparing 143 countries, lists the United States as #6 with a score of 60.09—92.7% of first place Switzerland’s index rank of 64.79. That means the U.S. was ranked higher than almost 96% of the world’s countries.
  2. Alternet.org reports that “New Data reveals our public—not private—school system is among the best in the world. In fact, except for the debilitating effects of poverty, our public school system may be the best in the world.” Paul Buchheit writes, “Perhaps most significant in the NCES reading results is that schools with less than 25% free-lunch eligibility scored higher than the average in ALL OTHER COUNTRIES. “

Maybe I should have titled this post: “The Misleading lies that Pearson and Bill Gates keep telling us” or “For Profit and Wealth, Blame it on the Teacher as Usual”.

_______________________

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

Runner Up in Biography/Autobiogrpahy
2015 Florida Book Festival

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

Honorable Mention in Biography/Autobiography
2014 Southern California Book Festival
2014 New England Book Festival
2014 London Book Festival

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

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

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“Spare Parts” Reveals how Destructive the Common Core Agenda Is

I enjoy seeing films when they first come out, and this weekend was no different. On Friday, I walked the three miles to the local theater to see “American Sniper”, and today, Saturday, I went to see “Spare Parts”—both films are based on true stories.

“Spare Parts” is a must see film for every grandparent, uncle, aunt, cousin, parent, teacher and child in America. It’s based on a true story of success against all odds.

I taught (1975-2005) in public schools similar to the high school depicted in this film—a school with mostly minority children who live in poverty.

Carl Hayden High School in Phoenix, Arizona has received worldwide acclaim for its Robotics team, which first earned notoriety by beating MIT and other universities in an underwater robotics competition in 2004, a story that has been chronicled on ABC’s Nightline and in The Reader’s Digest—and now in film.

Once you take a closer look at the Carl Hayden High School depicted in the film, it doesn’t take much to imagine what might have happened if NCLB, Race to the Top, Common Core and VAM had been in place in 2004—the teachers and administrators who supported the high school students who beat MIT might have lost their jobs, the high school closed, and the students sent to rigid corporate Charter schools probably owned by the Walton family where teachers are forced to teach to a script written by corporate hacks who know nothing about teaching children.

Wired.com reported, “Fredi Lajvardi and Allan Cameron have 54 years of public school teaching experience between them. They are the celebrated creators of a student robotics program at Carl Hayden Community High School in Phoenix, where roughly 80 percent of the student population lives below the poverty line. … Lajvardi and Cameron are deeply concerned about the state of American secondary education. Teachers, they say, are stymied by bureaucracy and confounded by rigid curricula optimized to produce better test results, not better students.”

Imagine an America where there had never been the fraud of a flawed study called A Nation at Risk in 1983, the insane and impossible demands of G. W. Bush’s No Child Left Behind Act in 2001, in addition to Obama’s worse Race to the Top goals in 2009 with its Bill Gates supported Common Core agenda (in 2010) to rank and fire teachers based on the results of student test scores and to close public schools with low performing students who mostly live in poverty.

Imagine an America without the segregation and fraud of for-profit corporate Charter schools that are stealing taxes meant to fund public schools.

Imagine an America without Teach for America that was designed to break teachers’ unions by churning out recruits who are no different than someone drafted to serve in the military for a two-year stint and then most of those recruits are gone.

Imagine an America where teacher training programs were improved to match what teachers receive in Finland and other countries with high preforming public schools.

Imagine teachers getting follow up support after they start teaching—especially in low performing schools where most of the children live in poverty.

Imagine an America where all public schools in the United States are fully funded and properly maintained.

Imagine an America with a public school, national early childhood education program similar to what works in France.

Imagine the possibilities!

_______________________

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

Runner Up in Biography/Autobiogrpahy
2015 Florida Book Festival

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

Honorable Mention in Biography/Autobiography
2014 Southern California Book Festival
2014 New England Book Festival
2014 London Book Festival

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

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

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We owe it to our children to combat Poverty and Racism in the United States

An older friend of mine who is in his 80’s once told me that he’d rather be wealthy and unhappy than poor and hungry. Then there is the old curse of racism.

Racism exists when one ethnic group dominates, excludes, or seeks to eliminate another ethnic group on the basis that it believes are hereditary and unalterable, and in history there is no end to examples of racism. To this day, examples of racism may be found in Europe, Australia, Africa, the Middle East, Asia, North American, etc.

For instance, the persecution and murder of millions of Jews by Hitler’s Nazis during World War II, and the list of ethnic cleansings can be traced back to 350 AD in ancient China when 200,000 people with racial characteristics such as high-bridged noses and bushy beards were slaughtered. The history of racism through ethnic cleansings is so long and brutal, it might make you sick to your stomach if you click on the link in this paragraph and scroll through the list.

In addition, a long history of racism exists for the United States. American natives, Asian Americans, Hispanics/Latinos, Black or African Americans, and even Whites have been victims of racism/discrimination. For Whites, the Mormons and Jews have faced persecution in the United States, and Smithsonian.com says,  “The idea that the United States has always been a bastion of religious freedom is reassuring—and utterly at odds with the historical record. … The real story of religion in America’s past is an often awkward, frequently embarrassing and occasionally bloody tale that most civics books and high-school texts either paper over or shunt to the side.”

The Chinese, for instance, are the only minority in the U.S. to have had national legislation passed that was one of the most significant restrictions on free immigration in US history, prohibiting all immigration of Chinese laborers. It was called the Chinese Exclusion Act, and it was signed into law on May 6, 1882, and wouldn’t be repealed until 1943. In fact, Asian Americans have been denied equal rights, subjected to harassment and hostility had their rights revoked and imprisoned for no justifiable reason, physically attacked, and murdered.

The Latino community has also faced discrimination, and according to Pew Research.org, Latinos are the 2nd most discriminated against ethnic group after African-Americans. Sixty-one percent of Latinos say discrimination against Hispanics is a “major problem.”

For Black or African Americans, Pew Research.org reports that 88% of Blacks felt that there was discrimination against African Americans. Even 57% of Whites think that African Americans are discriminated against.

If you remember what I said in my first paragraph, you might have an idea of where I’m going with this, but don’t read me wrong. I think we must always be on guard and protest acts of racism and discrimination, but if history teaches us anything, we know that racism is always going to be around in one form or another, and I think it would be easier to face this curse in strength: educated, literate, and middle class or wealthy and not feeling helpless because of illiteracy, poverty and hunger.

In a previous post Suspensions and Expulsions in the US Public Schools—what does that 3.3 million really mean, it’s obvious that I failed to reach some readers with what I meant to say instead of what they thought I wrote. Some readers of that post became angry and some accused me of having racist tendencies, and then I was locked out and shunned by one group.

I haven’t changed my mind. I still think that poverty and/or single parent homes are the main culprit behind the number of suspensions and expulsions in the public schools, and I pointed this out and provided links to the research in my other post about suspensions and expulsions to support what I wrote.

While racism might be a factor in some of the suspensions and expulsions of Black or African-American children, there was no evidence that this was the case for Asian-Americans and Hispanic/Latinos—both minorities with a long history of being the victims of racism and discrimination—and even if it were true that some suspensions of Black or African Americans was motivated by racism, what could we do to identify individual cases and stop this unacceptable behavior?

CHART UPDATE with two more columns on Jan 10

But we can make an effort to reduce the suffering caused by poverty and illiteracy, and there are proven methods that work. For instance, a transparent, national, early childhood education program that would be managed by the democratic public schools where we’d have a better chance to keep an eye on these programs working with our youngest and neediest children to make sure racism, segregation and discrimination doesn’t rear its evil, horned face behind a wall of secrecy.

The foundation of a strong middle class is access to education for every child beginning in the first few years of life. Sadly, millions of children in this country are cut off from quality early learning. Children in countries as diverse as Mexico, France, and Singapore have a better chance of receiving preschool education than do children in the United States. For children in the U.S. who do attend, quality varies widely and access to high-quality programs is even more limited in low-income communities where it’s needed most.

We already know from decades of evidence that the education reform movement’s opaque and secretive corporate Charter schools are contributing to a resurgence of segregation. This is wrong, and it will lead to more racism and discrimination—instead of less.

If we bicker with each other over how many—difficult to prove and even harder to stop—suspensions of Black or African American children in the public schools is influenced by racism, we are allowing ourselves to get sidetracked from dealing with a challenge we can do something about, and that is to combat poverty and illiteracy.

Like my 80+ year-old friend said but with a revision to his thinking, “I’d rather face racism from a position of strength with an education, a high level of literacy and in the middle class instead of living in poverty, illiterate, feeling angry and powerless.”

UPDATE on 1-11-15

One more thing—looking at that chart, I have to ask this question: With the obvious racism and discrimination that Asian Americans faced and still face, how did they achieve those numbers beating out even the Whites in every column? In addition, the Asian-American unemployment rate is the lowest of all racial groups. The Asian American divorce rate by race is also the lowest at 8% while Whites are the highest at 27%, African Americans are 22% and Hispanics are 20%. There’s more I could add to this list, but that’s in another post I wrote at https://crazynormaltheclassroomexpose.com/2013/05/11/what-parenting-method-works-best/

  • In addition read this post on Marie Corfield’s blog about the segregationist practices of New Jersey’s Charter Schools.

UPDATE on 1-20-15

AARP Bulletin asked, “What can be done to make black youth less vulnerable and fully integrated into mainstream America?” Kareem Abdul-Jabbar replied, “The main problem is the reluctance to educate black Americans. Since the Civil War, people have been indifferent to it—including black Americans.”

_______________________

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

Runner Up in Biography/Autobiography
2015 Florida Book Festival

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

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

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

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

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

 

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