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Category Archives: Teaching

Teaching Children how to Navigate today’s Confusing Media Circus

I was teaching English during the 1st Bush War against Iraq. It was called the Gulf War, and it was 1991. By then, I’d been teaching 16 years. I retired and left teaching in 2005 after 30 years. In 1991, a few of my students had brothers in the military over there, and I asked my students to write letters and send gifts to him and others in his unit. That became our link to a war.

At the time, the country was very supportive of that war, and it didn’t occur to any teachers I knew to discuss and question what was happening because it wasn’t an unpopular controversial issue. There were those that spoke out but there’s always someone that’s against all wars even if the U.S. were attacked without warning like Pearl Harbor during World War II.

The New York Times reported on January 22, 1991, “The American public’s initial soaring optimism about the war against Iraq has flattened a little, but support for the war remains broad and President Bush’s approval rating continues to stand at a record level, the latest New York Times/CBS News Poll shows.”

It also helped that the Gulf War was over before it had time to lose support. It only lasted 1 month, 1 week and 4 days. That New York Times story mentioned in the previous paragraph came out a little over month before the war ended on February 28.

Compare that to the War in Afghanistan that started in 2001 and is still raging, or the Vietnam War that started in 1955 and went to April 1975, almost 20 years that saw millions killed and maimed in Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos before the United States finally left.  By 1970 only a third of American’s believed that the U.S. had not made a mistake by sending troops to fight in Vietnam.

Back then we didn’t have the Alt Right lying, conspiracy theory generating media machine that exists today. The worst we had back then was Rush Limbaugh and a few other rising stars in conservative talk radio. Let’s not forget that Fox Broadcast Television Network didn’t have its primetime launch until April 5, 1987. It was almost as if Rupert Murdock knew that the Fairness Doctrine was already doomed, and that a few months later in June of 1987, President Reagan would veto the Fairness Doctrine legislation that would have guaranteed more balance and honesty in the media, and this paved the way for the endless lies and conspiracy theories we have to live with today from the Alt-Right.


What is wrong with honest, equitable, and balanced coverage of controversial public issues?

The Washington Post reported in 2014, “About half (16) of the 32 outlets have an audience that pretty clearly leans to the left, while seven have audiences that lean conservative. The rest (including all the broadcast networks) are somewhere near the middle.”

Back in 1991 during the 1st Gulf War, we didn’t have Vote Smart (launched 1992), or Snopes (launched 1995), or FactCheck.org (launched in December 2003), or PolitiFact.com (launched 2007). These sites have become America’s antibodies fighting the Alt-Right media machine virus that’s infecting any chance at balance and truth in the news. There is a big difference between bias and lies.

Bias is prejudice in favor of or against one thing, person, or group compared with another, usually in a way considered to be unfair.

But a lie is an untruth. It is deceit. It is deception. It is dishonesty. It is trickery. It is worse than bias. Lies can be revealed by facts, but bias is harder to dig out and varies from a simple bias that cherry picks facts to an extreme bias that ignores facts that does not support that bias. Most traditional media bias is not extreme and is not easy to measure. Lies are easier to discover by a little digging using the Fact Check sites listed above.

With news supported by facts based on actual events, it’s not easy to generate conspiracy theory propaganda that is worse than vomit and diarrhea in your mouth at the same time.

The need for fact checking started soon after the 1st Bush War (ended February 1991) and then grew after the 2nd Bush War that was justified by lies of WMDs (2003 – 2010, a war that lasted 8 years, 8 months, and 28 days).

As the Alt-Right conspiracy-theory generating media machine grew and the GOP continued to move further to the right into unchartered extremist territory, the need to question everything has become necessary.

So, today, before an event or movement can become an issue, teachers must teach their students to question everything they hear and read in the traditional media and especially from the Alt-Right media machine, and teach them how to use all those fact and fact check sites listed above with links. That includes government sites that gather data and information: U.S. Census, the CDC, the Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, NASA, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, The CIA’s World Factbook, etc.

Of course, if Fake President Trump, who obviously only learns from Fox, and the Alt-Right Media machine, has his way, those fact-gathering government agencies that employs both registered Democrats and Republicans might not exist in a few months or years since Trump has made it clear he doesn’t trust any information that isn’t what he wants to hear or can’t control.

Contrary to the false opinions of the extreme, deplorable followers of Trump and the Alt-Right, every teacher and every government worker isn’t a liberal or a progressive, but most of them are probably not racists either. In fact, I’ve read that almost 30-percent of public school teachers are registered Republicans while the rest are independent voters and registered Democrats.

There are other terms children should learn about. For instance, confirmation bias, a perfect term to describe Fake President Donald Trump’s choices for where he tunes in to hear the news that is often wrong in so many ways.

To discover more about bias, read The 12 cognitive biases that prevent you from being rational.

And then there’s lies. Yes, there are different levels of lying too from bad to horrible. For instance Politifact.com divides its fact checking into: true, mostly true, half true, mostly false, false, and pants on fire, and on that note, here’s a list of all the Pants on Fire lies from Donald Trump.

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

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

Guest Post by Neil Murphy

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

Trend Number One (Contributions vs. Benefits Paid):

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

Trend Number Two (investment assumption):

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

Trend Number Three (Global Equity):

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

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

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

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

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

Trend Number Four (U.S. Economy):

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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How to punish and bully children into hating education and books

Over on Gadfly On the Wall, I read how some of Pennsylvania’s Legislators  want the people of that state to foot the bill for unimpeded corporate charter school growth with little to no accountably but with almost unlimited opportunities to cheat and steal from the public.

If this legislation passes, this will be a legislated license to make theft legal – a perfect storm for frauds, cheats and thieves. And to think, to create this perfect-profit storm, the elected corrupt are willing to throw OUR children under a tank and let the tank roll over them crushing their spirits and any chances that they will grow up loving to learn and read.

Be warned publishers and colleges, in a decade or two the sales of books will plummet into an abyss and so will enrollment in the nation’s colleges.  And contrary to popular rumors that no one reads anymore, the publishing industry is not dying, yet, but under the autocratic corporate education industry’s rank and punish system, I think those sales will start falling soon as children learn to hate education and reading.


“Being yelled at by a teacher made me not want to learn.”

If you live under a rock and haven’t heard about this for profit, private-sector rank-and-punish system for OUR children and not theirs, read all about it here:

Schools Matter: A Former KIPP Teacher Shares Her Story

The New York Times: At Success Academy Charter Schools, High (useless test) Scores and Polarizing (bully) Tactics

Charter School Scandals: Gulen Charter schools 101 + webinar video

Currently “The United States has the largest publishing industry in the world – in 2012 the U.S. market was worth just under 30 billion euro and represented around 26 percent of the total global publishing market. The book publishing industry claimed the lion’s share of that amount, with revenues totaling almost 29.5 billion dollars in the same year, a number which has since decreased to only 29 billion dollars. The market currently appears to be relatively stagnant, as both revenue and unit sales have failed to show significant changes in recent years.” For more information see U.S. Publishing Industry’s Annual Survey Reveals $28 Billion in Revenue in 2014.

The odds are that another U.S. ranking will soon fall as children learn to hate learning as they are punished and mentally tortured and bullied repeatedly.

The U.S. is currently ranked the 4th most educated country in the world thanks to the traditional, community based, democratic, transparent, non-profit public schools with a long history of success regardless of the lies and misconceptions supported by the likes of Arne Duncan, David Coleman, Bill Gates; the union busting, poverty wage paying Walmart Waltons, and Eli Broad, etc.

You do not teach children to love learning and reading by embarrassing them in front of their peers. If you aren’t sure what bully behavior looks like read it from All Nurses.com: A short list about bully behaviors. For instance: fault-finding, nit-picking, nagging, isolation, breach of confidence, social exclusions, lack of credit for efforts, yelling, treated in a rude-disrespectful manner, giving little or no feedback about performance, prevention from expressing self, dirty looks, etc.

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

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“Every child deserves a quality education and the opportunity to thrive.” – Congressman Mark DeSaulnier

This post is a copy of the letter I wrote to the Congressman.

Dear Congressman DeSaulnier:

One of your flyers arrived in our mailbox today.  The front said, “Every child deserved a quality education and the opportunity to thrive.” Your flyer than said, “Mark wants to hear from you.”

I opened the flier and read the five points you claim to fight for every day.

  • Make college more affordable
  • Improve Head Start programs
  • Create safe environments for children
  • Provide healthy meals for students
  • Protect the health and well-being of student athletes

Flyer from Congressman Mark DeSaulnier

While I agree with your five points, what wasn’t there is why I have decided to stop supporting most it not all Democratic Party candidates. The GOP lost me when Reagan was governor of California. The Democrats are losing me because of the Obama administration, and its support of the corporate education reform movement that declared war on the public schools back with the fraudulent and flawed A Nation at Risk report that came out of the Reagan White House in 1983. Have you ever read the Sandia Report of 1990? If not, you should.

http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=view_all&address=389×7847271

The public schools are under attack by special interests: for instance, the Bill Gates billionaire cabal, the Koch brothers cabal (ALEC), the Walton family, Eli Broad, hedge fund billionaires, etc. Arne Duncan is the worst Secretary of Education in U.S. History.

Too many democrats support opaque, for profit (no matter how you look at it) often fraudulent and inferior corporate Charter schools literally stealing money from community based, democratic, transparent public education.  For instance, Eli Broad wants to spend almost a half billion dollars to take over half of the children in the Los Angeles Unified School District and put them in the hands of often corrupt and autocratic corporate education deformers.

Where is your support for the community based democratic public schools? I didn’t see that in your flyer.

I was a public school teacher for thirty years (1975-2005) in Southern California. During those years, I often worked 60 – 100 hour weeks and so did many of my fellow public school teachers.

I was born into a family living in poverty. As a child I had severe dyslexia and also had a life threatening health challenge. Out of high school, I joined the U.S. Marines and ended up fighting in Vietnam. In 1968, I went to college on the GI Bill and five years later graduated with a BA in journalism—the first in my family to go to college and graduate.

Today, I’m the author of three award winning novels and one award winning memoir. My wife is Anchee Min, the author of two memoirs and six novels. Her first memoir was named a New York Times Notable Book of the Year and won the Carl Sandburg Award. One of her novels was a finalist for the British Book Awards. Many of her books have been national bestsellers, and her work has been translated into more than 30 languages and has sold more than a million copies in English alone. When we were dating back in 1999, she sat in my classroom to watch me teach, and she knows the challenge teachers really face to get all the children to make an effort to learn.

Yes, I agree that every child deserves a quality education and the public schools have always offered that opportunity for students who arrive ready to learn. Teachers teach but what they teach must be learned by the students, and the parents/guardians must support both the teachers and the children for learning to take place. Public school teachers cannot do the learning for the children.

Most if not all of the opaque, for-profit and nonprofit corporate Charters schools are not offering a quality education for EVERY child. The evidence is overwhelming that these charters are cherry picking students and suspending many at-risk students that need the most help until those children leave and hopefully return to the public schools that are now challenged to offer adequate resources to educate these children because frauds and charlatans like KIPP, the Success Academes in New York and the New Orleans Corporate Recovery School District are legally being allowed to rob from the poor/middle class and give to the wealthy.

I suggest strongly that you match your actions in Congress to what your flyer says and fight to fully fund and supportthe community based democratic public schools and close the door to psychopaths like Eva Moskowitz and Michele Rhee. You should also start reading Diane Ravitch’s Blog and her books in addition to my award winning “Crazy is Normal” teacher’s memoir to discover what it means to be a teacher. No more NCLB. No more RTTT. No more Common Core high stakes testing that ranks teachers, fires them and then closes public schools.

In the next presidential election, I plan to vote for the Green Party candidate for president unless I hear from the Democratic Party candidate that they support the public schools and offer the country a written pledge that they will resign from the office of president if they go back on their word. It is obvious that Hillary Clinton is not that candidate, because she has close ties to Eli Broad, who is waging an all-out war to destroy community based, transparent, democratic public education.  If this means the GOP takes the White House and both Houses of Congress, well, I’m 70 and only have a few years left. I’d hate to die knowing that the democracy I fought for in Vietnam is now an oligarchy ruled over by the Walton family, Koch brothers, Eli Broad and the Bill Gates cabal.

If you believe in the Republic of the United States and its democracy, then fight for it in Congress and prove what you think with your actions and not your words. If you fear the wealth of the oligarchs and the power that wealth buys, then what you do in Congress will reveal that too.

Have you read the January 15, 2013 Stanford Report on U.S. student performance?  If you haven’t you should.

http://news.stanford.edu/news/2013/january/test-scores-ranking-011513.html

Sincerely,
Lloyd Lofthouse

PS: Our daughter graduated from Stanford in June 2014, and she attended California public schools k – 12.  I told her when she was in third grade that learning was her responsibly and not her teachers. Her teachers were responsible to teach, and if she didn’t learn, even from incompetent teachers, it was her fault and not the teachers. When she was in her second year at Stanford, I asked her how many of the almost 50 public school teachers she had k – 12 had been incompetent. She thought about it and eventually said TWO. The five public school districts she attended k – 12 did their job and she did hers. I think that anyone who blames public school teachers for children who don’t learn is fools and/or frauds.

If you honestly love the United States and what it is supposed to stand for, please share copies of this letter with the members of both Houses of Congress.

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HEY, LET’S BLAME IT ON THE TEACHERS AS USUAL

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

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Stop writing your name in Cursive. You have had Several Warnings.

Megan Zander at She Knows wrote a post with this headline: Teacher’s aggressive note on 7-year-old’s homework goes viral, and many of the comments are critical of teachers and schools for what the alleged teacher wrote in red ink – the title of this post.

First, I was a public school teacher for thirty years, and I required my students to write their first and last name on every written assignment in addition to the period they were in and the date. When they didn’t write all that information, I wrote in aggressive red ink explaining to them why they lost some points from what the assignment was worth.

How can I justify being so aggressive? Well, I worked with almost 200 students in five or six classes often working 60 to 100 hours a week—25 hours teaching and the rest correcting work and planning lessons (not counting all the usually useless meetings teachers have to attend). All the work had to also be done in blue or black ink. Why would I have an aggressive rule like that? Well, the English department voted on it, and it was unanimous, because it made our jobs easier. Work written in pencil was more difficult to read and correct and teachers are correcting papers every night for several hours a night and on the weekends.  To make sure my students knew this aggressive rule, there were large posters on the walls in my classroom reminding them that the work had to be done in blue or black ink, and I reminded them daily at the start of every written assignment.

For those reasons, when my students turned in work written in pencil, I wrote in aggressive red ink that if they wanted to earn credit for that assignment, they’d have to do it over in blue or black ink and turn it in the next school day.

Oh, and there were always kids who didn’t even bother to write their name on an assignment. Guess what happened to that work.

Without knowing all the details I will NOT condemn the ONE teacher who wrote that note in aggressive red ink or—for that matter—the entire education system in the United States.

Why am I refusing to rush in where so many fools have already gone?

The answer is simple—in the United States there are more than 3.5 million public school teachers, more than 15,000 public school districts in 50 states (the states are supposed to be responsible for public education—not the US Congress, the White House, a corporation or a CEO) teaching 50+ million children (not counting the territories), and to use this one incident to condemn everyone else in the public school systems that are not a monopoly is wrong on so many counts.

In fact, corporations build monopolies. Public schools with community based democratic school boards that are state controlled by 50 states are not monopolies. The public school system is made up of more than 15,000 individual school districts that are controlled by the local communities through elected democratic school boards that answer to the voters/parents.

  • What kind of school did this teacher work for?
  • What kind of teacher training did this teacher have—TFA, traditional or a full-time, yearlong urban residency?
  • Was this teacher under contract or a substitute teacher with no teacher training?
  • How many years has this teacher been in the classroom?
  • Was the school an underfunded, transparent, community-based, democratic, non-profit public school, a private school, or an autocratic, opaque, boot-camp like (see Success Academy), for profit (no matter what you call the school) corporate Charter school paid for by taxpayers but allowed to do whatever the CEO/manager of the school wants behind closed doors, and if a parent complains, the child is often kicked out of the school?
  • What state was it in—was it in Florida, Ohio or one of the other states where the public schools are under threat of a hostile takeover by corporate America?

If this teacher worked in a community based, democratic school, then there should be an elected school board and if those elected representatives, who are mostly parents from the same community, want to do something about the eleven words this teacher wrote in aggressive red ink, then they will, because that is the democratic process when it comes to public schools.

But if this child was in a corporate Charter school there is very little that can be done, because parents have no rights in those schools, teachers live in fear because they have no job protection, and these schools have no elected school boards to complain to.  In corporate Charters if a parent doesn’t like the school, their child will often quickly find themselves out on the streets or back in an underfunded public school if there are any left.

A Brenda Hatcher seems to have spread this note on Facebook, and she alleges that the mother is a military veteran.  I am also a military veteran. I served in the U.S. Marines and fought in Vietnam before I went to college on the GI Bill and eventually became a public school teacher for 30 years. I’d like to talk to this alleged military mother.

Megan Zander’s conclusion said, “After all, a child who’s willing to bend the rules in school could grow up to be the one who makes the rules.”

I shuddered at the thought that children who bend the rules will end up being our leaders.

I hope Megan might want to know why I shuddered at that thought.  Megan, did you know that the professions with the most psychopaths in them are the ones who make the rules?

Which Professions Have the Most Psychopaths? The Fewest? – Time.com

  • CEOs and lawyers belong to the profession with the most psychopaths alongside journalists and police officers.
  • Teachers are on the list for the professions with the least number of psychopaths alongside nurses, doctors and charity workers.

Megan Zander is a former divorce attorney—a lawyer—turned SAHM to twin boys. She’s written for The Stir, Scary Mommy, Rare.us, Mommyish and Bustle.

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BLAME IT ON THE TEACHER AS USUAL

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

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Randi Weingarten is an Ignorant Fraud, and she doesn’t know it

When I was a public school teacher I never belonged to the AFT, one of the two largest teachers’ unions in the United States. I paid union dues to REA/CTA/NEA—the other, larger teachers’ union.

So when I received one of AFT’s regular e-mails signed by Randi Weingarten, the AFT president, that said, “I remember my heart pounding as I walked into Clara Barton High School my first day as a teacher. Will I be able to do it? Do I have what it takes to connect and teach and make a difference in the lives of these kids?”

As I read her e-mail welcoming teachers back to a new school year, I thought where are her words of support for the teachers, parents and children who are fighting to save our democratic, transparent, nonprofit public schools from the fraudulent, greedy corporate vultures—supported by a neo-liberal President of the United States—who are circling the carcass of public education.

Nowhere in that e-mail did Weingarten mention the war being waged on public education and how the Common Core Crap and high stakes standardized testing are being deliberately used by hucksters and charlatans to destroy the lives of teachers, and crush parents and children.

I didn’t expect anyone to read my reply but I replied anyway, “This does not make you a veteran teacher, I wrote. “Try teaching at least ten years or more to earn that title.”

Why did I say Weingarten wasn’t a veteran teacher?

“From 1991 until 1997 Randi Weingarten taught at Clara Barton High School in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. The classes she taught included Law, Ethical Issues in Medicine, AP Political Science, and US History and Government. Her political science students competed in the We the People civics competition, winning the state championship in 1993-94 and 1994–95 and placing fourth in the national championship in 1994-95. In 1995, Weingarten was elected Assistant Secretary of the UFT. She continued teaching per diem from 1995 to 1997.”

Go back and click on the link for Clara Barton High School to discover an elite school and not one that teaches impoverished, at-risk children—children who are difficult to teach—like the ones I taught for thirty years.

Randi Weingarten might have been a full time classroom teacher for four years and a per diem teacher for another two years ( I wonder how many of those per diem days she worked), but her resume doesn’t reveal that she taught the most at-risk children like I did for thirty years. I don’t think she understands the challenges that teachers face who teach classrooms filled with the most difficult children to reach who live in poverty in dangerous communities where street crime is the norm to them.

That’s why Randi Weingarten will have to publicly stands up to the corporate education reform movement and condemn Arne Duncan, Bill Gates, the Walton family, Eli Broad, a flock of Hedge Fund vultures, the Common Core Crap and the results of high stakes student tests being used to judge teachers, fire them and close public schools, and then maybe she will earn some respect from this retired teacher who spent 30 years in the classroom teaching in schools where the childhood poverty rate was more than 70%, and violent adolescent street gangs were an ever present danger. I know from firsthand experience what it’s like to work with both highly motivated students who learned even if their teachers were brain dead, and teaching children to learn, who are at risk—the gulf between these two extremes is vast and what teachers experience working with at risk children is not the same as what Weingarten’s resume reveals from her limited teaching experience.

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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).

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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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