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Tag Archives: common core

An Op-Ed piece by Hannah Portner on California’s Smarter Balanced Tests—one student’s point of view

Guest Post by HannaH Portner who blogs at Project Rainbow

On Friday they told us that we were going to be having Common Core tests next week (SBAC or Smarter balanced tests in CA) .

  • “Make sure to check your room number by the counseling office.”
  • “Review the practice exam.”
  • “Get enough sleep.”
  • But, for what?
  • What even is this test?
  • Why is it so important?
  • Where is all this information going?
  • Why was I not told by any member of the staff that I could opt out?

There was a letter posted outside the office. It said that anyone could opt out of these tests with parent permission. It said that we as students have a voice. We have rights. That got me curious. I started asking questions. I asked members of my neighborhood their opinions. I asked family, friends, teachers, and searched the internet about these tests. I wanted to share what I learned. I wanted to have a voice, not just be a number from a test.

I heard stories of kids not wanting to go to school because they were so deflated, so stressed and confused. I read about how much time test prep takes. I talked with my friend Suzy who is a 7th grade English and history teacher about how useless some of this data mining seems. “ We have to do 3 [in class essays] every year. I have to grade all of these, put them in the gradebook, give feedback, then input them into a district website to collect data. One extra step for teachers is awful. Why do we do this? What is done with this data? The district has no answer. I calculated that every year, in addition to all other curriculum requirements, we have to score 450 essays per teacher.”

Schools are having precious learning time taken away to administer standardized tests. The Huffington Post states: “Teachers now devote 30 percent of their work time on testing-related tasks, including preparing students, proctoring, and reviewing the results of standardized tests, the National Education Association says.” Not only is time drained, but money is being used to buy computers to administer these tests.

In Suzy’s case, she has to prep students for this one test but won’t necessarily know where the data is going or how it will be used. Last year we took practice tests and some questions were so hard I clicked random answers. I even wrote a poem about how I felt like a robot. I never got my score back. I wonder what would have happened if I wrote “ WHAT IS THE POINT” for an essay question.

Since I don’t see my results, or the specific questions I got wrong, I don’t understand what I could do better or worse on. In addition, we haven’t been provided specific test information, or easy access to reasons why we are taking this test. For example my math teacher told me that our test will be a practice for a later SBAC test. We aren’t even taking the real thing. She told me that the teachers will grade them and it will be good finals prep. I would be taking a practice exam for the test I would take that is actually a test prep for finals? That is a lot of prep.

It’s relatively easy to administer a test then judge students based on their scores. I think part of the problem is that when people fail these tests, their self esteem drops, they think they aren’t good enough, and then they cry when they get home from school. On many occasions I have come from school frustrated and broken out into tears, and I am an honor student in a really privileged area. Imagine what it’s like for our neighbors who don’t have free tutoring and get Ds and think it is all their fault. A test score is such a small part of a person’s intelligence. When these test are being taken, the institutions are saying that the test is what measures how smart a person is, or how good a school is. That is a whole lot of unnecessary pressure.

In addition if these tests are being given to school with low performance ratings and the tests are really difficult, some of these schools may not have the resources to provide test prep or extra help to their students and because they are underfunded, the students, teachers, and schools suffer the consequences.

To an extent, I agree that tests are necessary. People are certified to become nurses and plumbers and teachers by taking a test. But to test on how well a school or student is doing with one test is ridiculous. If you wanted the whole picture then someone could collect my GPA which has my average test scores. You could look at my extra curricular activities, and then asses the school based on multiple variables. But that would probably take too long.

I agree that the new common core method of teaching is pretty rad. I like having explorations in math. It makes me question and have opinions. I like that. I do not like the immense data collection and loads of testing. There is a limit to all of this stress, confusion, and frustration, and that is what we as a community have to figure out and act upon so that education can be fun, and full of wonder like it should be.

See more:
Race to Nowhere
Huffington Post
United Opt Out

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse, the host of this blog, 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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The Common Core that Navy SEALS should have with NCLB

Each year, about 1,000 men start SEAL training. Although training success rates vary per class, the dropout rate for SEALs is 80% or more.

Now, you might be thinking, how does George Bush’s No Child Left Behind Act, Obama’s Race to the Top and Bill Gates’ Common Core agenda to rank and then punish about four million teachers for children who are not college and career ready by age 17/18 have anything to do with the Navy SEALs?

G.W. Bush’s No Child Left Behind Act mandated that public schools and public school teachers be successful with 100% of children so they all graduate on time from high school college and career ready—and no child will be dropped or kicked out like the corporate Charters do to children who don’t measure up to the demanding standards that Bill Gates and a few other billionaire oligarchs expect every child to meet, except their own children, of course.

And when the public schools don’t graduate 100% of children from high school, college and career ready, then those teachers and public schools—thanks to Bill Gates and the other billionaires oligarchs who are funding the propaganda for this agenda—MUST be punished, and that eventually means every public school and teacher in America will be fired, their unions broken and all public schools closed to be replaced with for-profit (with a major emphasis on profit thanks to Milton Friedman thinking) corporate Charter schools that Stanford studies have already revealed are mostly worse than the public schools they are replacing.

The Stanford Credo study said, “Our national pooled analysis reveals, on the whole, a slightly negative picture of average charter school performance nationwide. On average, charter school students can expect to see their academic growth be somewhat lower than their traditional public school peers …”

The fact is that every man can’t be a Navy SEAL and every child will not grow up to be college and career ready by age 17/18.  But we shouldn’t let that stop the corporate reform movement that wants to reform education from a transparent, democratic, non-profit, public institution to an opaque, secretive, profit-driven corporate education system riddled by fraud and run by CEO’s who don’t answer to parents and who earn six to eight figures annually. For instance, Eva Moskowitz, a corporate Charter queen, who pays herself from public funds more than the president of the Untied States earns.

Imagine what would happen if the U.S. Navy punished the SEAL instructors like the U.S. Department of Education is now punishing public schools and public school teachers. How long would it take before the Navy couldn’t find any instructors to train SEALs?

But then, of course, the U.S. Navy could just hire Teach for America (TFA) recruits—with their five weeks of summer seminars—to train the SEALs, couldn’t they?

Top Ten List on Birck Wall Updated Jan 28 - 2015

In conclusion, I want to suggest that the White House seriously reconsider how Navy SEALs are trained so the success rate reaches 100% and not 20% or less, and TFA, of course, is the answer along with NCLB, RTTT, and Bill Gates Common Core agenda. To make this agenda fool-proof for even Bill Gates, Pearson will come up with a secretive, expensive, flawed, bubble test riddled with errors like Pearson has already done for the public schools, that would falsely promise a 100% success rate for everyone who wants to be SEAL ready—including all women, even transgenders in addition to paraplegics.

_______________________

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).

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

 

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The Lack of Common Sense in the Common Core—rank and yank punishment—Agenda

Its Black Friday and time to look closer at the corporate war against public education that’s supported by the neo-liberal Common Core agenda out of the Obama White House.

The Common Core agenda mandates that all high school graduates must be college and career ready by 17/18 years old. This means every high school graduate must read at an intermediate or advanced literacy level by high school graduation.

Any school that doesn’t achieve 100% success with every child—no matter what—is considered a failure according to President Bush’s No Child Left Behind and President Obama’s Race to the Top, Common Core agenda.

When public schools don’t meet this impossible goal that no other country on the earth has ever achieved with children, teachers must be ranked and yanked (fired) by using CCSS standardized tests, and public schools labeled failures must be closed and replaced with corporate Charters that must turn a profit—no matter what—or go out of business.

But, what does it take to become an economist or an electrician? Let’s find out.

According to bls.gov, in 2013, 26-percent of the 143.9 million jobs [37.4 million] did not require a high school diploma or its equivalent; 40-percent [57.56 million] only required a high school degree; 6% [8.6 million] required a post-secondary non-degree award (I think that is some form of specific job training that may lead to a certificate – for instance, a plumber, mechanic, etc.); 4% required an Associate degree—about 2 years of college [5.7 million]; 18% required a BA degree [25.9 million], 2% a Master’s degree [2.87 million], and 3% [4.3 million] a doctoral or professional degree.

In addition, according to The National Assessment of Adult Literacy, in 2003, 123-million adults in the United States read at a level that indicates they were college ready—but less than 39-million jobs required that level of literacy compared to almost 104-million jobs that didn’t.


Common Core is mentioned at 7:17 – 8:24

I know someone who earned a PhD in economics, and then he became an electrician just like his HS graduate father—he was perfectly happy doing electrical work for a living instead of economics. The only reason he earned that PhD in economics was because that’s what his father wanted for his son. The father thought it would lead to a better paying, more secure job—he was wrong!

How many jobs are there for people who have a PhD in economics compared to an electrician?

According to BLS.gov, there are almost 600,000 electricians in the United States earning the median of about $50k annually with almost 115,000 job openings between 2012-22 (that’s 11,500 new jobs annually).

Although most electricians learn through an apprenticeship, some start out by attending a technical school. Most states require electricians to be licensed. What does it cost to become an electrician? A certificate or associate’s degree costs about $1,000 to $11,000.

Now, let’s look at the job market for an economist—entry level is a Master’s degree in economics, and there are less than 17,000 jobs in this field in the United States with only 2,300 openings predicted to be available between 2012-22 (that’s 230 annually).  The median pay for these jobs is more than $92k annually—great if you can get one of these jobs.

What does it take? Most economists need a master’s degree or Ph.D. However, some entry-level jobs—primarily in the federal government—are available for workers with a bachelor’s degree.

What does it cost to earn a PhD? According to the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), a typical doctoral program takes five full-time years to complete, bringing the total cost to roughly $123,500-$181,500, depending on whether attendance is at a public or private school (nces.ed.gov).

NOW, what do you think about President Obama’s Common Core agenda that mandates every 17/18 year old must be college and career ready right out of high school, and that public school teachers and the public schools MUST be punished by termination if every child doesn’t achieve that impossible CCSS goal?

_______________________

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

lloydlofthouse_crazyisnormal_web2_5

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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It is a fact that the United States already met the Common Core’s stated goals before the Common Core was written or implemented

The Common Core goals are clearly stated: “The standards … are designed to ensure students are prepared for today’s entry-level careers, freshman-level college courses, and workforce training programs.”

According to bls.gov, in 2013, 26-percent of the 143.9 million jobs [37.4 million] did not require a high school diploma or its equivalent; 40-percent [57.56 million] only required a high school degree; 6% [8.6 million] required a post-secondary non-degree award (I think that is some form of specific job training that may lead to a certificate – for instance, a plumber, mechanic, etc.); 4% required an Associate degree—about 2 years of college [5.7 million]; 18% requied a BA degree [25.9 million], 2% a Master’s degree [2.87 million], and 3% [4.3 million] a doctoral or professional degree—I think a professional degree includes public school teachers.

For 2013, the U.S. Census Beurau reported education attainment in the United States for age 25 and over. Keep in mind that the Census refers to the entire adult population age 25 and over and not just those who have jobs.

  • High school graduates 88.15% (meaning 11.8% of the adult population does not have a high school degree.)
  • Some college 58.33%
  • Associate’s and or Bachelor’s degree 41.5%
  • Bachelor’s degree 31.66%
  • Master’s and/or Doctorate and/or professional degree 11.57%
  • Doctorate and/or professional degree 3.16%
  • Doctorate 1.67%.

The population of the U.S. is about 316 million, but 32.4% are under the age of 25, and 14.6% are 65+. That leaves almost 168 million Americans ages 25 to 64.


A MUST SEE VIDEO!!!!
Highly recommended to get you thinking.

In conclusion:

  • 26% of the jobs do not require a high school degree, but only 11.8% of the adults who dropped out of high school are qualified for these jobs. More than half are overqualified.
  • 40% of the jobs require a high school degree, but more than 88% of Americans have a high school degree—more than double the jobs that require this much education.
  • For the sake of simplicity, I’m going to combine everyone with a college degree—associate degree, BA, masters, professional and doctorate—and only 27% of the jobs in America require one of these college degrees, but 53% of the adult population might be qualified for these jobs—more than twice the number required.

This means a large sector of the American work force is highly over educated and working in jobs that don’t require the education they earned, because those jobs do not exist.

In addition, if there are shortages of skilled workers in some fields, how can that be blamed on the public schools, teachers and teachers’ unions. After all, Americans pride themselves on the freedom of choice regarding their lifestyles, and our children and adults make academic choices as they age. For whatever reason, these choices lead to dropping out of high school or staying in school to graduate and/or go on to earn an associate, BA, professional or doctorate degree. If an individual majors in the wrong field, do we blame k – 12 teachers for that, too?

>>>>> Feel free to share this post on Social Media, as long as you link to this original post. In fact, you may copy and paste the following Tweet to your Twitter page. If you do, I think you in advance.

It is a fact that the U,S, already met the Common Core’s stated goals
Before the Common Core …
via

_______________________

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-a-classroom-expose-200x300

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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David Coleman’s Common Core War against what children think and feel

Common Core Education without Representation lists David Coleman as #9 on the top-ten list for scariest people in—fake—education reform. Coleman is the lead “architect” for the English Language Arts (ELA) portion of the Common Core, and he is not an educator, but he is a businessman.

He’s also responsible for enlisting Bill Gates—#5 on the list—to spend hundreds of millions of dollars promoting the Common Core agenda that will destroy democratic public education in the United States, and turn kids into traumatized robots attending for-profit, corporate Charters that more than one Stanford study has revealed are mostly worse or the same as the average public schools.

In fact, Truth Out.org reveals that the Gates Foundation funds the College Board, which is now run by David Coleman, who recruited Bill Gates to financially fund and promote the Common Core agenda in 2008, and then in 2012, Coleman becomes president of the College Board. Is this a coincidence?

The College Board has played an active role in the development of the Common Core State Standards, because the College Board is heavily into standardized testing: SAT®, the PSAT/NMSQT®, the Advanced Placement Program®(AP®), SpringBoard® and ACCUPLACER®.

What does David Coleman get out of this arrangement? Coleman earns a base pay of $550,000, with total annual compensation of nearly $750,000 to run the so-called, non-profit College Board.

Since at least the late 1970s, the College Board has been subject to criticism from students, educators, and consumer rights activists. College Board owns the SAT and many students must take SAT exams for admission to competitive colleges. For instance, in 2006, College Board took in $582.9 million in revenue from exam fees, but spent only $527.8 million, leaving a $55.1 million surplus. In 2013, fees from programs and services brought in $843.255 million, and in 2013, assets in cash and cash equivalents was $147.624 million—up $21.58 million from 2012.

It’s obvious from these numbers, that being a non-profit is profitable for the College Board and Coleman is paid well to create a national climate that depends on standardized tests.

With all of this clout—in 2013, Time Magazine listed Coleman as one of the 100 most influential people in the world—here’s what makes David Coleman dangerous. He said, “As you grow up in this world you realize that people really don’t give a shit about what you feel or what you think.”

What Coleman said was probably true about David Coleman, who I think is a narcissist, sociopath and probably a psychopath.

But, in fact, David Coleman is wrong. Millions of Americans do care about what someone else thinks and feels, and here’s the proof. In 2013, there were 10,842 new biographies/memoirs published in the United States, and 29-percent of nonfiction sales were biographies/memoirs.

How many books does that translate into?

In 2013, 252.2-million nonfiction books were sold in the United States, and 29-percent of those sales translated to more than 73-million biographies and/or memoirs that were about what people feel and think.

In addition, Mental Health America reports, “Writing down your thoughts can be a great way to work through issues. Researchers have found that writing about painful events can reduce stress and improve health.”

With the importance of writing as a way to manage traumas like PTSD, one would think it would be important to have children write essays about what they feel and think. If you think children are not traumatized, think again.

The American Psychological Association says, “A significant number of children in American society are exposed to traumatic life events. A traumatic event is one that threatens injury, death, or the physical integrity of self or others and also causes horror, terror, or helplessness at the time it occurs. Traumatic events include sexual abuse, physical abuse, domestic violence, community and school violence, medical trauma, motor vehicle accidents, acts of terrorism, war experiences, natural and human-made disasters, suicides, and other traumatic losses. In community samples, more than two thirds of children report experiencing a traumatic event by age 16.” Produced by: 2008 Presidential Task Force on Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and Trauma in Children and Adolescents

In conclusion, if David Coleman wins the Common Core War he helped launch as one of its lead “architects”, he will turn most of America’s children into obedient, greedy, power hungry, traumatized narcissists and sociopaths/psychopaths just like David Coleman.

Dana Goldstein, the author of “The Teacher Wars” says, “Alan Lawrence, an education blogger and former English teacher who was California’s 2007 “teacher of the year,” complained that Coleman “has zero K-12 teaching experience. Should we really be learning how to cook from a person who’s never been in the kitchen?”

Indeed, Coleman has never been a public school teacher. He holds a master’s degree in philosophy from Cambridge, and his mother is the president of tony Bennington College. So perhaps, critics say, Coleman doesn’t fully understand the power of “stories” to reach children—especially poor children—who would otherwise find reading and writing a chore. …

Goldstein says, “I’m sympathetic to teachers who are turned off by Coleman’s rhetoric. There’s something discomfiting about Coleman—a white guy with advanced degrees, who earns a living spreading his opinions—sending the message that children’s personal stories and feelings don’t matter, so they shouldn’t write them down.”

There’s a term for people who think and feel. It’s called empathy—something I’m convinced David Coleman doesn’t have along with a lack of common sense.

_______________________

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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Looking at the Bill Gates Common Core “Rank and Yank” agenda to Reform Public Education through the lens of the Vergara verdict

In the Vergara trial, the judge’s verdict was based on unproven theories that a few incompetent teachers would ruin a child’s ability to earn an education. The numbers presented in one theory were one to two percent of teachers might be incompetent—not “are incompetent” but “might be incompetent” because of classroom observations of one man over a period of several years.

The judge should have asked for details. For instance, how many teachers can one person observe long enough to form a valid judgment, and how long was each observation? What if a teacher considered incompetent was having a bad day and the other 179-instructional days that teacher was competent?

Anyway, let’s look at a few numbers based on the 2011-12 school year in California:

There were 6,220,993 students enrolled and attending 10,296 public schools in California. Another 438,474 students attended 1,019 Charter schools.

There were 300,140 teachers in the public schools. If we go with the 1 to 2 percent observational unproven guesstimate, that means 3,001 to 6,223 teachers might be incompetent, but there are 10,296 schools (not counting Charters) in California, so that means thousands of schools couldn’t have even one incompetent teacher, but the teachers in those schools risk losing legal due process rights that allow them to challenge any accusations made against them that they were incompetent.

In other words, 292,917 to 297,139 could be fired for any reason at any time and there would be no way for the teacher to defend the accusations made against them.

If the Vergara verdict survives the appeals, every teacher in California would be at risk of being fired at any moment by an administrator who could be incompetent or be a stooge owned, for instance, by the Koch brothers, the Walton family, hedge fund billionaires, or Bill Gates—stooges who might have walking orders to get rid of as many teachers as possible and replace them with younger, less competent teachers like those five-week wonders from Teach For America.  Did you know that the retention rate for TFA recruits was about 33 percent compared to more than 50 percent for teachers who earned their teaching credential through the traditional method or 86 percent for teachers who went through a yearlong residency program in a master teacher’s class room?

I think it’s obvious that Bill Gates is in charge of deciding how many teachers should go on an annual basis, because it is his “rank and yank” system that is part of the Common Core agenda, and all anyone has to do is look at the arbitrary numbers Bill Gates set in place at Microsoft to judge how many had to be ranked incompetent to be yanked and replaced by another crop who had to prove their competence on an annual basis. That anal, unproven, arbitrary number that Bill Gates must have pulled out of his crotch was 25 percent with no evidence to support the fact that so many Microsoft employees were actually incompetent.

In conclusion, it’s obvious where this is going. If President Obama’s partner in crime, Bill Gates, has his way, eventually 25 percent of public school teachers—not just the one-to-two percent that are alleged to be incompetent without any evidence to support the claim—would have to lose their jobs annually all based on student standardized test scores.

If you’ve read the recent news, Microsoft plans to lay off 18,000 workers this year in addition to 12,500 associated with the Nokia Device and Services team it acquired earlier this year. Microsoft has almost 130,000 employees across the world—the number losing their jobs is almost 24%. To replace them, Microsoft has requested that the U.S. increase the number of H-1 Visas at a time when there is no shortage of American citizens for jobs of this type. In fact, there are too many qualified applicants.

What could the reasons be for Microsoft to fire qualified American citizens and replace them with someone, for instance, from China or India?

How many teachers in California stand to lose their jobs annually to be replaced if the Gates “rank and yank” system is put in place in the public schools? The answer is about 75,000 annually. At that annual rate, every four years, California’s public schools would get rid of 300,140 teachers for a complete possible turnover in every school.

The Bill Gates “rank and yank” system used by Microsoft—and supported by President Obama and Arne Duncan to be used against teachers in the public schools—will rely on the test results of students to decide the teachers who must go, but first they must get rid of teacher due process job protection that exists under the U.S. Constitution’s Bill of Rights.

However, the Economic Policy Institute reports that “there is broad agreement among statisticians, psychometricians, and economists that student test scores alone are not sufficiently reliable and valid indicators of teacher effectiveness to be used in high-stakes personnel decisions, even when the most sophisticated statistical applications such as value-added modeling are employed.” This report has been ignored by Bill Gates, President Obama and Arne Duncan.

What are the odds of one of those 6.2 million students ending up in a classroom with one of those estimated 3,001 to 6,223 so-called incompetent teachers with no proven, accepted, valid method to judge teacher competence properly?

Does anyone have an answer?

What about the odds of a teacher ending up with incompetent students who have dysfunctional, incompetent parents? Does anyone have a theory for that number? I think we could start with the number of children living in poverty and/or who have severe learning disabilities.

These numbers might help: California’s child poverty rates for Latinos (31.2%) and African Americans (33.4%) are much higher than the rates among Asians (13.2%) and whites (10.1%). The child poverty rate in families where both parents do not have a high school diploma is high in California (48.5%). Just the Facts: CHILD POVERTY IN CALIFORNIA by Sarah Bohn and Matt Levin

It might help to compare the poverty rates with the on-time high school graduation rates in California (2011-2012):  State High School Graduation Rates by Race, Ethnicity

Asian/Pacific Islander 90%
White 86%
Hispanic 73%
Black 66%

Back to the Vergara trial—I think the verdict was bought and paid for in some way, or maybe the judge was blackmailed or biased.

In addition, reforming the public schools doesn’t mean that education for K to 12 children will improve, because it is obvious that the corporate war against the public schools is not about improving the schools. It’s about reforming the public schools into an economic engine that pours taxes into corporations who are out to make a profit.

If President Obama and his stooge, Arne Duncan, really wanted to improve the public schools, a good place to start would be to improve teacher training based on those yearlong internship programs that have the best teacher retention rate and enact a national, early childhood education program—both of which other countries have done with great success.


A must see documentary to discover what’s going on!

_______________________

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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This is my PURGE post, and it isn’t a movie review

Sunday, I walked downtown to see The Purge: Anarchy, and while watching the film and walking home afterwards, I couldn’t stop thinking about the unnamed New Founding Fathers mentioned at the beginning of the film—who were in their ninth year as the leaders of the United States. In case you forgot or never knew, the U.S. Constitution limits a U.S. president to two, four-year terms. Therefore, with the current U.S. Constitution, there’s no way one president can stay in office nine years. But in this film that’s set about a decade in the future, the United States is led by a cabal that calls itself the New Founding Fathers that’s more like the Politburo of the old Soviet Union. There is no mentioned that the United States still has a Congress or Supreme Court.

Let’s get the synopsis of this film out of the way first with no spoilers. In the film, a vengeful father comes to the aid of a mother, her teenage daughter, and a defenseless young couple on the one night of the year that all crime, including murder, is legal.

We never learn who the New Founding Fathers are, but who else could they be but Bill Gates, the infamous Koch brothers, the Walton family, Eli Broad, Rupert Murdoch and a few other ruthless billionaire oligarchs who either inherited their fortunes or earned the money through crooked trickery and the corruption of elected officials.

These billionaires are the same people who are currently spending hundreds of millions of dollars to mislead America as they reinvent the United States into something that will obviously resemble the country in this film—where the agenda of the New Founding Fathers is to get rid of the so-called vermin at the bottom who were probably born into poverty through no fault of their own.

Who are the working poor? According to a January 2014 Pew Research report most poor Americans are in their prime working years. In 2012, 57 percent of poor Americans were ages 18 to 64, and only  9.1 percent were age 65 and over, while poverty among children younger than 18 was 21.8% in 2012, and is worse today.

In addition, research from the Brookings Institution says, “If you’re born into a middle-class family, there’s a 76 percent chance you’ll end up middle class or even wealthier. Born into a poor family? Only a 35 percent chance.

Brookings offers three simple rules to end up middle class, no matter how low you start out.

One: graduate from high school
Two: work full time
Three: marry before you have children

It’s easy to tell a kid who lives in poverty that they have to graduate from high school to have a chance to move up to the middle class, but to insure that this happens, all children must start kindergarten with a love of reading from day one—reaching high school with a high level of literacy is the key to being a lifelong learner.

To make this happen, we must start with a national early childhood education program for all children as young as three, and this is something that Obama plans to ask Congress to vote for during his last year in office.

What do you think the odds are that Congress will approve anything Obama asks for in 2015? Why didn’t President Obama start with a national early childhood education program when he had the votes in Congress instead of first starting with the flawed and brutal Bill Gates funded Common Core agenda?

Bill Gates—who I’m sure would be one of the New Founding Fathers if this film were to become reality—seems to be doing all he can to make sure children who are born to poverty stay in poverty.

I’m almost done reading “The Teacher Wars, A History of America’s Most Embattled Profession” by Dana Goldstein, and it was Bill Gates who derailed any meaningful improvement in the public schools by spending hundreds of millions of dollars to implement a Machiavellian “rank and yank” system called Common Core designed to punish children and teachers.

The tragedy is that there are proven, positive methods to improve public education, but President Obama and Bill Gates are all but ignoring those solutions for something malignant.

The programs I’m talking about are already being used in most developed countries with dramatic success. They’re known as Continuous Quality Improvement programs where teachers are mentored to become the best they can be instead of being ranked by annual student standardized tests and then yanked out of the classroom based on the results.

In fact, high-achieving nations like Finland and Shanghai, China already require that every teacher must go through a year-long residency in a mentor teacher’s classroom.  Teacher programs that do this already exist in the United States but they are only turning out a few hundred teachers annually and aren’t getting the funding they should have.

Research from Urban Teacher Residency United, a national network of nineteen programs, reveals that principals consistently rate urban teacher residency graduates as more effective than other first-year teachers and nationwide, urban teacher residencies have an 87 percent retention rate at four years, compared to the loss of nearly half of all new urban teachers over a similar period of time, and two thirds (66 percent) of Teach for America (TFA) recruits, who only have five weeks of summer training before being tossed in urban classrooms to sink or swim. (The Teacher Wars, A History of America’s Most Embattled Profession by Dana Goldstein)

By the way, in 1975-76, I was fortunate enough to go through a paid, year-long residency in a mentor teacher’s fifth-grade classroom, and I went from there to teach until August 2005 in public schools with a childhood poverty rate higher than 70 percent along with violent street gangs that dominated the streets around those schools, including the elementary school where I was an intern.

In conclusion, I think we should purge from all political power those who would most likely become the New Founding Fathers of the United States, before they get a chance to create the nightmare world we see in this film. After all, the billionaire oligarchs mentioned earlier in this post already seem to be working hard toward that goal.


If we don’t invest in early childhood education, we pay the price as a nation. Sesame Street can’t do it alone.

_______________________

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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