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Tag Archives: Civil disobedience

Civil Disobedience and No Child Left Behind – Part 4/9

When it comes to The No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), the reason why I support nonviolent civil disobedience, such as helping students cheat on standardized tests, is because this act and the reaction of the critics is unfair to American teachers and is misleading.

In fact, the NCLB Act is a travesty and is unjust. In addition, the media does a poor job of reporting the results of the PISA Test, and the enemies and critics of public education in America take advantage of that poor reporting to influence the opinions of ignorant citizens such as Mr. Morally Correct.

Most Americans only hear that the US placed 17 out of 65 for reading literacy, 31 of 65 for math literacy and 23 of 65 for science literacy. Then being ignorant of the details, these people are easily mislead, and manipulated forming biased opinions.

One fact that we do not hear in the Media or from the enemies and critics of public education appears on page 48 of the 2000 PISA report, where the United States was listed as above average (compared to the OECD average of 65 countries) in reading literacy, mathematics literacy and science literacy.

In addition, for Math literacy, US students scored twice the OECD average. SOURCE: nces.ed.gov

When you actually study the details of the report, the US public education system does very well compared to other countries considering the structure of the American education system and the challenges it faces.

For example, China, which placed 1st in reading, math and science literacy (for the 2009 PISA Test), cannot be compared to the United States or any other country.

Compulsory education in China for primary education is from ages 6 to 12 and there were 121 million students enrolled in this system in 2001. However, in the US, compulsory education starts with ages 5/6 to 18 for more than 47 million students.

Almost half the students in China drop out of school at age 12 or enter vocational training, while the other half go on to the junior secondary education system, which educates ages 12 to 15 where only 66.8 million were enrolled  in 2002, which means 55.2 million students left the education system at the end of the primary system.

Another 54.8 million children leave the education system in China at the end of the junior secondary system at age 15.

China’s senior education system educates ages 15 to 18 where about 12 million students remain.  This is the student population in China that was tested in Shanghai for the 2009 PISA test, and Shanghai’s public schools are the best in China, which means China’s top 10% of all students.

To be accepted into the senior education system in China, students must take an entrance test called the ‘Zhongkao’, which is the Senior Secondary Education Entrance Examination held annually in China to distinguish junior graduates.

Admission for senior high schools is somewhat similar to the one for universities in China. Once the admissions and testing process is completed, the high schools announce their requirements based on this information and the spots they will fill that year.

For instance, if a school offers 800 spots, the results offered by the 800th intake student will be the standard requirements. So effectively, this ensures the school selects the top candidates of all the students that have applied in that academic year.

China’s school system operates mostly on meritocracy so only the best students move on, while the US keeps every student until age 18 no matter what their academic performance, attitude toward education or classroom behavior is.

This means that in China, the dropout rate by age 15 is 90%, while in America the dropout rate is about 8.1% by age 18 (drop our rate in 2009 – Asian/Pacific Islander 3.4%, White 5.2%, African-American/Black 9.3%, and Hispanic/Latino 17.6%).

It is not fair to compare a cross section of American students of all skill levels with China’s top 10%. With this discrepancy, there is no way America’s students selected at random from across the country from all racial and socio-economic levels will ever be able compete with China for the number one rank on any PISA Test.

Yet, 12% of American students that took the PISA test, on a scale of 1 to 5 (with 5 being the highest) scored a 5 with an overall average that was higher than China’s top 10%.

As you have discovered, there is a HUGE difference between the public education systems in China and Finland when compared to the United States and the ability of students selected to take the PISA Test.

However, the enemies and critics of America’s public school systems do not want you to know these facts.

Continued on August 4, 2011, in Civil Disobedience and No Child Left Behind – Part 5 or return to Part 3

_______________________

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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Civil Disobedience and No Child Left Behind – Part 2/9

Mr. Morally Correct’s assumption that the unionized public school systems in America are corrupt and educators that cash their monthly checks are failing their contractual obligations comes from a conservative, idealistic bias looking for an easy scapegoat to label as a fraud to explain why 100% of American children are not graduating from high school and reading on or near grade level.

In fact, “fraud” does exist, but this “fraud” demands perfection in public education, which is impossible to attain, and the goal leads to vouchers so students will attend unregulated private schools on public money, which would increase profits for the private sector at the taxpayers’ expense. To achieve this, the political agenda is to poison the minds of most Americans through misinformation and deceit.

It is easy to state opinions without facts to support them, which is why I write long responses to short opinions such as the one easily dashed off without much thought by Mr. Morally Correct.

Some time ago, in previous e-mails with Mr. Morally Correct, Finland was mentioned since Finland has the best educational system in Europe and often ranks in the top three globally on the PISA Test. I don’t recall the context of those e-mails but usually if Mr. Morally Correct mentions Finland, he does it as another criticism of America’s public schools.

Since Finland is such a fine example when it comes to public education, it is always a good idea to understand the competition.


Watch the video to discover key differences between Finland and America.

Finland’s literacy rate is 99% and ninety-five percent of Finland’s teachers are unionized and the country’s population is 5.3 million (America’s population is more than 300 million with about 5 million unionized teachers).

Even though most schools in Finland started as private, today only 3% of students are enrolled in private schools.

Finland’s curriculum is set by the Ministry of Education and the Education Board. Education is compulsory between the ages of 7 and 16. However, in the US, education is compulsory between the ages of 5/6 to 18.

Finland also has one of the world’s most extensive welfare systems, and Finland does not have the racial/ethnic diversity and challenges with legal/illegal immigration that the United States deals with.

America’s illegal alien population is about eleven million (more than twice the population of Finland) and about 3.5 million illegal aliens are children attending America’s public schools. About one million of those illegal alien children attend public schools in California.

Although no official statistics are kept on ethnicities, statistics of the Finnish population according to language and citizenship are available, and it is safe to say that more than 95% of the population is Caucasian/White with a similar historical heritage.

In comparison, America’s ethnic ratios are White 63.7%, Hispanic/Latino 16.3%, Black or African American 12.6%, and Asian 4.8%, etc.

On August 2, 2011, we will examine more comparisons in Civil Disobedience and No Child Left Behind – 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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Civil Disobedience and No Child Left Behind – Part 1/9

This post supports “civil disobedience” among teachers when the situation warrants it, which is why I feel it may be right for teachers to help students cheat on standardized tests that are mandated by The No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB).

One individual I will call Mr. Morally Correct, sent me an e-mail on this topic. He wrote, “There (are) instances where it is morally right to lie for the greater good such as to save a life, to save another person from violence, etc.

“However, when a person voluntarily puts himself into an untenable situation and then attempts to claim a lie is justified for the greater good that is immoral and not excusable.”

Mr. Morally Correct then wrote, “Teachers working in the unionized public school system voluntarily put themselves into a corrupt system. The state faithfully paid administrators and teachers to educate children, and these individuals faithfully cashed their checks knowing they (were) failing their contractual obligation. When the state implemented tests to insure they were receiving what was paid for, teachers cheated to conceal their ongoing decades old fraud.”

Mr. Morally Correct ignores facts that prove about 80% of children (mostly White and Asian-American) are succeeding in the public schools according to the NCLB Act, and he bases his claim that the public schools are failing on the minority of students that are not showing gains.


I recommend watching this half-hour video since it points out several factors why failing students fail, which the NCLB Act does not address. For example, one reason scores are not improving in poor performing schools is due partially to the high student mobility-turnover rate

Mr. Morally Correct says, “Then the teachers (Mr. Morally Correct included me in his indictment), claimed they were justified because of self-esteem issues (implausible) and fear of losing their jobs. I find this excuse morally indefensible because every teacher working in a substandard school should have quit after discovering they could not educate students for whatever reason including the students’ refusal to learn.”

Well, Mr. Morally Correct, my response is that there wouldn’t be anyone teaching in the public schools, and when those teachers quit, they would be abandoning the 80% of the students that are succeeding and improving scores, which includes most White and Asian-American students and significant numbers of African-American and Hispanic/Latino students.

In an ideal world, it might be possible to expect all students to be teachable but we do not live in an ideal world and not all students are teachable. Public education is mandatory to age 18 from kindergarten to twelfth grade. Many of the most difficult students to teach would not be in a school setting if education was voluntary.

Mr. Morally Correct is saying is that if a teacher cannot be successful with “all” of his or her students, he or she should quit.

There is a reason why some students are not teachable, which I will provide more details of in Civil Disobedience and No Child Left Behind – Part 2 on September 1, 2011.

_______________________

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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