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Blind Obedience – Part 4/4

After a volley of e-mails with the “e-mail critic”, he wrote, “What you’re attempting to say is that these teachers were put in an untenable position. Well, you are right. The public school system cannot educate America’s children and the NCLB act’s failure simply points that out. But don’t you realize these cheating teachers were hiding the fact that the NCLB act is a colossal failure? Instead of defending them, you should be castigating them.”

My response to, “The public school system cannot educate America’s children” is to point out at that more than 80% (more than 34 million) of those American children succeeded in the public schools. However, the NCLB Act demands 100% success (an A+) from America’s teachers.

The “e-mail critic” and the NCLB Act measures the failure of the American public schools by the portion of the glass that is empty and ignores the part that is full, which is close to the top.

How would you like to be measured against perfection every day or face being declared a failure?

Have we forgotten that humans, including teachers, students and parents, are not perfect?

According to studies, bad teachers represent between 1 to 7 percent of all teachers. If the average public school student has about 50 teachers from K to 12, that means .5 to 3.5 teachers were bad and the other 46.5 to 49.5 taught well.

Eighty percent of students succeeded because public school teachers were doing their jobs, which was teaching, and those students were doing what was required of them to learn.

In addition, I am going to go one step further and suggest that all American public school teachers during the 2011 – 2012 school year reject “blind obedience” and instruct their students to mark “C” for every answer on the annual standardized tests.

Let this protest show the nation that teachers are tired of being the scapegoat for poor parenting and the unrealistic demands of the NCLB Act, which was designed for teachers and public education to fail.

What would happen to our students if teachers demanded “A’s” on every assignment or be considered a FAILURE?

If most of the teachers can be successful with more than 80% of the students, then they have proven they are capable of teaching and the public schools are capable of success when students and parents do  their job.

There is something wrong when critics condemn public school teachers due to the twenty percent of students that fail to meet the NCIBA Act’s mandate and those students are mostly found among African-American and Hispanic/Latino students.

It is time to hold poor parenting and “other inequalities” responsible for failing students, and then find ways to deal with those challenges without blaming the teachers.

Maybe the parents of those failing students should wear dunce caps and signs whenever they are in public that say, “I am a poor parent. I do not support my child’s teachers and my child’s education.”

Return to  Blind Obedience – Part 3 or start with Part 1

_______________________

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

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

lloydlofthouse_crazyisnormal_web2_5

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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Blind Obedience – Part 2/4

Were the educators in Atlanta, Georgia – that changed the answers on standardized tests – wrong?

According to our laws, yes, and many may be punished by losing their jobs. Some may even go to jail. That does not mean that the law is just.

However, I understand why they did it.

This is an example of how one morally wrong act leads to another. The NCLB Act signed into law (January 2002) by President G. W. Bush was flawed, and changing the answers on standardized tests was also wrong. Two wrongs do not make a right.

…underlying NCLB is the assumption that schools by themselves can achieve dramatic, totally unprecedented levels of educational achievement for all racial ethnic groups as well as for children with disabilities, low-income children, and children who lack English fluency-all in a short time and without changing any of the other inequalities in their lives.” Source:Christopher Knaus, Ph.D.

Taking into account the Knaus quote, the NCLB Act made victims of teachers by holding them responsible for inequalities, such as poor parenting, that are impossible to change or control.

Teachers are responsible to teach, students to learn and parents to support. The facts indicate that teachers are doing their job and so are many students. The credit for any failure to achieve the goals of the NCLB Act belongs to poor parenting among other inequalities.

Continued on July 26, 2010 in Blind Obedience – Part 3 or return to Part 1

_______________________

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

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

lloydlofthouse_crazyisnormal_web2_5

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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Blind Obedience – Part 1/4

The reason Hitler’s Nazis got away with murdering millions in the death camps of Europe during World War II was due to “blind obedience” to Germany’s laws/leaders, and there are many historical examples of “blind obedience” to bad laws and/or leadership even from the Church and other religions.

I received an e-mail in lieu of a comment for something I wrote and posted on this Blog in Eager to Learn or Not – Part 10.

Without copying the entire e-mail, the crux was, “You’re excusing these criminal acts? What happened to your moral compass? The next thing you’ll be espousing is excusing murders by gang-bangers because of their deprived childhoods… Your writing  shows why a good church is vital to clear moral thinking.

According to Under God.org, there are 310 religions and denominations in the United States, and according to the Hartford Institute for Religion Research, there are about 300,000 churches.

Who decides which churches are good? I am sure the members of these 310 religions and denominations mostly believe that their church is good. However, some are not.

You may want to read When Religion Becomes Evil by Charles Kimball to understand how difficult that choice may be and why “blind obedience” often leads to evil.

Therefore, since this is the United States, everyone has a right to his or her opinion, but I do not have to respect or accept the “garbage” someone else believes.

The “e-mail critic” was referring to what I wrote about the educators in an Atlanta, Georgia public school district, where computers correcting standardized tests caught the cheating and alerted the authorities triggering an investigation.

There is a difference between explaining and excusing. Since I am not a jury or a judge, I am not excusing the educators in Atlanta, George that did this. I also refuse to be their executioner as the moralizing “e-mail critic” does.

In fact, I explained that what those Atlanta educators did was an act of desperation due to “impossible” demands made by the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). Comparing what these educators in Atlanta, Georgia did, which was to erase and change answers on a test form, to murderers and gang-bangers is reprehensible. (Note: There are more than 14,000 school districts in the US, and Atlanta, Georgia is only one of them.)

Were these educators wrong? Were America’s Founding Fathers guilty of violating the British Empire’s laws when they wrote the Declaration of Independence and declared a revolution?

Continued on July 25, 2010 in Blind Obedience – Part 2

_______________________

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

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

lloydlofthouse_crazyisnormal_web2_5

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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Eager to Learn or Not – Part 10/10

If you visit the 2010 API State Report for California, you will discover there are four subgroups that have achieved the goals set forth in the NCLB Act — Asian, Filipino, White/Caucasian, and a child of two or more races meaning parents from two different Ethnic/Racial groups where the mother may be African-American and the father White or the father Asian and the mother Latino.

I know from experience that for my brother, the learning equation (discussed in Part 2) was 1 + 0 + 0, which resulted in failure and an illiterate child growing up to become an illiterate adult. The teacher was there to teach but my brother was not there to learn.

When I was seven and my brother seventeen with some jail time already under his tattoos, my mother stepped in and taught me to read at home, and it was not easy for her. I fought her every inch of the way as my brother did. The difference is that my brother won that battle but lost at life.

However, to succeed with me my mother did something she did not do with Richard. She used a wire-coat hanger to spank me and motivate me to do as I was told and to learn.

Public school teachers in America are not allowed to do what a parent can do at home.

The result is that I learned to read and because of my mother’s involvement in that learning equation, I now have the ability to write things such as my novels, posts for this Blog and I enjoy reading books–lots of books.

Richard, on the other hand, died a broken man in both health and spirit at age 64, and he left behind several children mostly illiterate because he was a bad role model and was never involved in their educations, which resulted in more failure.

If you return to that NPR.org piece on the public school teachers and administrators that cheated on Atlanta’s standardized test results to make it look as if more students were making progress toward meeting the goals set forth in the NCLB Act, what caused that behavior was desperate people that did not want to lose their jobs due to the flawed opinions of fools in the federal government and of course among the Walton Wal-Mart family and talking heads such as Rush Limbaugh and my “old” NLBC  friend that believe they know what they are talking about when they don’t.

I do not blame my brother Richard’s teachers. They did their job and taught. However, Richard did not learn because he chose not to learn and our parents were not directly involved in the process when Richard needed them to be tough and say no and mean it even if it meant using a coat hanger as an enforcer.

During those 30 years teaching in the public schools (1975 – 2005), I met many students like my brother Richard and my goal was to convince and/or motivate these individuals (both boys and girls) to be an active part of the education equation. It was never easy and the successes were rare but there were a few.

Return to Eager to Learn or Not – Part 9 or start with Part 1

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

To subscribe to “Crazy Normal”, look for the “Subscribe” button at the top of the screen in the menu bar, click on it then follow directions.

 
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Posted by on July 21, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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Eager to Learn or Not – Part 1/10

I woke up recently to read about “Cheating Investigation Focuses on Atlanta Schools”.  Then later in the morning, my wife and I walked to town to see Larry Crowne with Tom Hanks and Julie Roberts, which was a movie my wife and I enjoyed.

Since Larry Crowne also dealt with the value of earning an education to become more competitive in the workplace, it fits the goal of this Blog so I felt it was worth mentioning.

Last week, I read the review of Larry Crowne in The New York Times, which was extremely negative. Knowing how biased and wrong the New York Times critics often are, I was convinced the movie was worth seeing, which brings me back to the subject of this post.

After returning from viewing Larry Crowne, I searched the internet for a reliable source on the Atlanta schools cheating scandal and discovered a story on NPR.org dated October 12, 2010.

You may not believe this, but studies of bias in the media have demonstrated that NPR offers the most balanced news possible, which may explain why conservative Republicans want to cut federal funding from public radio. After all, well-balanced news is not the goal of conservatives.

When I saw the date of the NPR piece, I realized this was old news, so why was it being treated as if it were new again?

Continued on July 11, 2011 in Eager to Learn or Not – Part 2

______________

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

To subscribe to “Crazy Normal”, look for the “Subscribe” button at the top of the screen in the menu bar, click on it then follow directions.

 

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