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The Good and Bad of America’s Continuing Cultural Revolution – Part 7/7

I found two easy solutions that may help eliminate or reduce some of the bad habits of America’s Cultural Revolution that have plagued the United States since the 1960s—poor diet and damage caused by the self-esteem movement.

The first solution comes from the 25th Anniversary Edition of The Costco Connection.

In Being Bob Harper, The Costco Connection asked, “Is how you eat today different from when you were growing up?”

Harper’s answer was yes. He said, “I had to reprogram how I ate and what I ate from how I used to eat.”

In addition, Harper said, “People don’t like change. People get nervous when they have to actually look at themselves…” However, “we have a lot of bad habits that simply have to be broken.”

Harper’s advice is to drink lots of water at each meal. He describes a real breakfast as oatmeal (I suggest steel cut oats), eggs (one a day and not fried) or plain Greek yogurt, doctored up with berries and nuts, apples and berries every day along with other fibrous fruits…

In fact, WebMD lists foods that Boost Your Mood and Energy Level. For example: apples, avoid sweets while eating whole grain and whole-wheat bread; cashews, almonds and hazelnuts; Brazil nuts, salmon, leafy greens, fiber, water, and fresh produce.

Traverse Bay Farms also says, “Bananas are one of the world’s finest foods for supplying fuel energy.”

Harper says, “If I had to place it on a priority list, nutrition would be number one and exercise would be number two.”

The second solution that may help reverse the damage caused by the false self-esteem parenting method comes from a book I read years ago, which I used to guide me through changes in my lifestyle to rid myself of a few habits I did not want.

What To Say When You Talk to Your Self by Shad Helmstetter, Ph.D. was released in hardcover in 1986. Parents and want-to-be parents are urged to follow the advice in this self-help book and change those bad habits that might lead to raising children with an inflated, false sense of self-esteem so they do not grow up to be narcissists eating a poor diet and valuing fun over merit.

In fact, Helmstetter’s advice may help people change an unhealthy lifestyle so exercise and healthy food become a daily routine—a healthy habit.

The book’s description on Amazon says, “You don’t have to be crazy to talk to yourself! We all talk to ourselves all of the time, usually without realizing it. And most of what we tell ourselves is negative, counterproductive and damaging, preventing us from enjoying a fulfilled and successful life. Shad Helmstetter’s simple but profound techniques, based on an understanding of the processes of the human brain, have enabled thousands of people to get back in control of their lives (it worked for me). By learning how to talk to yourself in new ways, you will notice a dramatic improvement in all areas of your life. You will feel better and accomplish more. It will help you achieve more at work and at home, lose weight, overcome fears, stop smoking and become more confident. And it works. Helmstetter is a bestselling author of many personal growth books, and the leading authority in the field of Self-Talk.”

“What to Say When You Talk to Your Self” also comes as an audio version. If you buy a copy, listen to it a few times before you start improving your life and the future adult life of your child or children.

Return to The Good and Bad of America’s Continuing Cultural Revolution – Part 6 or start with Part 1

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga.

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Dumping Teachers due to Standardized Test Results and Student Performance – Part 7/7

This post is the conclusion to a topic motivated by the August 2011, Costco Connection‘s debate between two education experts about teacher seniority.

The hours spent in the classroom with students are only the tip of the iceberg. Most teachers are in the classroom with students five or six hours each school day but the total hours worked may average much more.

For me, I averaged between 60 to 100 hours a week (with no overtime pay) for most of the thirty years I taught, which did not leave much time for other activities.

In addition, “Waiting for Superman” insinuated that most public school teachers are not highly educated. This is a ridiculous claim.

For example, when I became a teacher I already had six years of college with a BA in journalism, which included another year of training and classes to earn my teaching credential. Then, over the years, I was required to earn more than 20 quarter units thanks to state legislation increasing teacher requirements in addition to earning a MFA in writing.  Then there were endless workshops—some after school for a few hours and some lasting an entire workday.

By the time I retired, I had more than nine years of college and this does not count the seven years I attended writing workshops out of UCLA’s writing extension program. It is easy to claim that most teachers are lifelong learners.  Too bad we can’t say that of most students.

When I was teaching journalism in addition to several sections of English [for seven years of the thirty], I often arrived at 6 AM and left at 11:00 PM (that is a seventeen-hour day at school/work) when the night custodians turned on the alarms and locked the gates to the parking lot.  The student editors of the high school paper would have stayed longer (along with me) if the alarm had been left off.

In fact, the US was never a pioneer in public education as “Waiting for Superman” claims (find the truth in the March/April 2011 Foreign Policy magazine), and most factors that cause a child/teen to drop out of school has little if nothing to do with teachers. What influences children to drop out of school has more to do with street gangs, poverty, hunger, child abuse, parents [or lack of parenting, which is an epidemic in America today], being a latch key kid, the environment a child grows up in, and the lifestyle his or her parents provide

Sydney Morris, instead of stabbing dedicated teachers in the back by getting rid of the seniority system, why not use that youthful energy to fight for something worthy, such as demanding a public education system more like the one in Finland where teachers are supported and trusted to make the decisions.

Return to Dumping Teachers due to Standardized Test Results and Student Performance – Part 6 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.

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Dumping Teachers due to Standardized Test Results and Student Performance – Part 6/7

I have a few more things to say to the Sydney Morrises of the world and those that blame teachers for the so-called failure of public education in America. [The real Sydney Morris spoke against seniority as a base for teacher layoffs in the August 2011 Costco Connection.]

It is a proven fact that teachers have PTSD because of the stress that comes with the job. In addition, there is a situation known as teacher burnout, which is probably caused by the same stress that causes PTSD.

This Australian Website on Teacher Burnout goes into detail and is a resource for teachers with any of the following nine symptoms.

1. insomnia

2. extreme tiredness

3. distancing yourself from colleagues and/or students

4. no longer caring what happens as a result of your efforts

5. an attitude shift to the cynical

6. hostility

7. taking more time to get less done

8. depression

9. drug/alcohol abuse

What’s interesting is the ratio of teachers found to have PTSD and/or Burnout is about the same. A study into stress in Western Australian schools in 1987 found that 10–20% of teachers suffered from psychological distress, with a further 9% suffering severe psychological distress (Howard and Johnson).

For more information on teacher burnout, see this report on several studies on the topic.

It is a fact that half of new teachers in America quit within the first few years and never return to education due the stress and the dysfunctional nature of an education system run mostly by elected officials and not teachers.

In addition, if you read the piece in the March/April 2011 Foreign Policy magazine, you discovered the quality of American students has always been poor and it it wasn’t because of the teachers.  Most of America’s public school teachers are highly educated, very dedicated and work extremely hard.

Continued on September 10, 2011 in Dumping Teachers due to Standardized Test Results and Student Performance – Part 7 or return to Part 5

____________________

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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Dumping Teachers due to Standardized Test Results and Student Performance – Part 4/7

In the August 2011 Costco Connection, Sydney Morris, the young teacher expert against seniority as a base for layoffs, said, “While we agree that teachers need much stronger evaluations, there are other objective factors that districts can use in layoff decisions.”

However, in Finland, teachers make the decisions while the government stays out of the process, but in the United States, Washington D.C., state legislatures, elected school boards and district administrators decide what is taught and how to teach it, and when those fads or methods do not work, teachers are blamed.

I was told by Mr. D, the teacher/administrator that handled school discipline at the high school where I taught, that 5% of the students earned 90% of the 20,000 referrals written each year at our high school of about 3,000 students.

Most students that belonged to that 5 percent were failing and stole an average of fifteen to twenty minutes a day in each class they attended due to unacceptable behavior.

The worst that would happen to a five percent student would be a detention after school and possibly two days of suspension, which was always a blessing because on the days one of the five per-centers was absent, I taught for the full period instead of writing referrals, and calling campus police officers to pick up the student (and others that supported or copied him or her).  All it takes is one student to cause others to misbehave.

One example of the type of behavior I’m talking about may be found in Having Sex With Elephants, another post.

The National Center for Educational Statistics reported that in 2008, students ages 12 to 18 were victims of about 1.2 million nonfatal crimes (theft plus violent crimes) at school… During the 2007–08 school year, a greater percentage of teachers in city schools (10 percent) reported being threatened with injury than teachers in town schools (7 percent) and suburban or rural schools (6 percent each)… However, a greater percentage of elementary school teachers (6 percent) reported being physically attacked than secondary school teachers (2 percent).  Two percent of 5 million is still 100,000.

Moreover, these statistics do not deal with kids disrupting the classroom due to unacceptable behavior.

There are more than 5 million public school teachers in the United States. Ten percent equals 500,000 and 350,000 equals seven percent.

When one student failed, her parents accused me of losing their child’s work. During the administrator, parent, teacher, student conference, I asked the student to open the binder for my class and all the unfinished work I was accused of losing was there. She had not turned anything in. The parent did not apologize for accusing me of losing the student’s work but asked me to accept first semester work during the second semester and change her daughter’s grade. I refused since the rule was that late work was not accepted. It had to be turned in on time. That mother had her daughter transferred to another teacher.

What happens when a student doesn’t perform, which means he or she does not participate in class, doesn’t ask questions when he or she is confused about a lesson [correct me if I’m wrong, but teachers cannot read minds], avoids class work, avoids homework, avoids reading assignments, will not read independently, will not study and/or misbehaves in class?

Is that the teachers fault?

Continued on September 8, 2011 in Dumping Teachers due to Standardized Test Results and Student Performance – Part 5 or return to Part 3

____________________

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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Dumping Teachers due to Standardized Test Results and Student Performance – Part 3/7

In the August 2011 Costco Connection, Norm Scott, the founding member of the Grassroots Education Movement and one of the producers of “The Inconvenient Truth Behind Waiting For Superman”, said, “The fact that I was able to develop long-term relationships with parents, siblings and even children of former students, who were in my class, created a stable and secure environment for many of these students.”

I found this to be true.  Several years before I retired from teaching in 2005, I started to receive the children of former students that were now parents. Some of those former students had been a challenge to control and teach but maturity comes with age and by the time they were parents, they understood the value of an education and dedicated teachers.

My experience with the children of former students was always rewarding.

As a teacher that taught for thirty years and more than 150 classes (between 5,000 to 6,000 students), I had only one class where every student passed because so many studied and did the homework—one of more than 150.

Often, in most of the classes, when I walked around the room to collect homework, which reinforces the lesson I taught, of thirty-four students maybe three to five would turn the work in.

In addition, I made phone calls to parents as my friend does. Each day after school, I’d spend an hour or more calling parents asking them to make sure their children did the work assigned and studied or talk about a behavior problem.

Even with the phone calls to parents, few of the challenging students did the work and the bad behavior often continued.

I am at a loss why this fact never seems to come up in media discussions of public education. It is as if the entire burden of education rests with the teacher while the role of students and parents in the educational process is ignored or doesn’t exist.

One other factor is the stress that teachers often face daily.  When I was a U.S. Marine serving in Vietnam in 1966, we did not see action daily.  In fact, days might go by before we would go into the field on patrol, on a recon, an ambush, a field operation, or our camp would be hit.

In fact, thousands of public school teachers are phyiscally assaulted by students each school year and some end up in the hospital.

During the thirty years I taught, not a day went by that there wasn’t a behavior problem with a student. I witnessed drive by shootings from one of my classroom doorways once as school was letting out. On another evening when I was working late with the editors of the school newspaper, the member of one teen gang was gunned down outside my class by a rival gang, and not a year went by that I wasn’t threatened by a member of a street gang that was also a student in my class.

He would say, “What would you do if we jumped you, Mr. Lofthouse?”  This was one of those times when it paid to stand at six foot four and weigh 180 pounds without much fat while being a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran.  I also had this cold-eyed “killer” stare.

What happens when a student doesn’t perform, which means he or she does not participate in class, doesn’t ask questions when he or she is confused about a lesson [correct me if I’m wrong, but teachers cannot read minds], avoids class work, avoids homework, avoids reading assignments, will not read independently, will not study and/or misbehaves in class?

Is that the teachers fault?

Continued on September 7, 2011 in Dumping Teachers due to Standardized Test Results and Student Performance – Part 4 or return to 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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Dumping Teachers due to Standardized Test Results and Student Performance – Part 2/7

In the August 2011 Costco Connection, Norm Scott, the founding member of the Grassroots Education Movement and one of the producers of “The Inconvenient Truth Behind Waiting For Superman”, said, “The biggest danger to education is turnover. Fifty percent of teachers leave within the first six years… Removing seniority rights would create an even higher turnover rate, those cost of which would be devastating—not only financially, but for students.”

In fact, I suspect if it weren’t for seniority, I would have lost my teaching job long before I finished my 30th year, and I would have been fired not because of the quality of my teaching but because I taught by ignoring some of the popular fads that teachers are forced to follow such as boosting self-esteem by inflating grades and dummying down the curriculum, which has caused more students to learn less than any incompetent teacher.

What happens when an excellent veteran teacher ends up with a class full of students that do not study or do homework? During the thirty years I taught, I had many students like this and was often told by administration that I made more phone calls to parents than any teacher at the high school where I taught.

A teacher’s lessons may be excellent but if students do not pay attention, study or do the homework and there is little or no parental support, the chances are those students will not learn much.

A former colleague and friend still teaching in a public high school said in a recent e-mail that he is demoralized because the students and parents do not care or support what he does in his classroom.

For an idea of how bad it can be, the administration at the high school where he teaches requires that teachers spend so much time contacting parents in an attempt to gain support that my friend had to hire a retired teacher at $25 an hour (out of his pocket) to correct work his students turned in so he could free up time at home weeknights and on weekends to call about 200 different parents to tell them about the assignments and to virtually beg them to make sure their children study and do the work that was assigned.

What happens when a student doesn’t perform, which means he or she does not participate in class, does not ask questions when he or she is confused about a lesson [correct me if I’m wrong, but teachers cannot read minds], avoids class work, avoids homework, avoids reading assignments, will not read independently, will not study and/or misbehaves in class?

Is that the teachers fault?

Are there incompetent teachers?

Yes.

However, even “Waiting for Superman”, as propagandized and flawed as it is, admitted that studies show 7% of the teachers fit in this category (other studies say that number is only one percent). In the US, the average student probably has about 50 teachers from kindergarten to the end of high school.  Seven percent of fifty is less than 3.5, which leaves 46.5 teachers that were adequate or incredible.

Do we change the public education system and remove job security due to seven percent of the teachers?

Continued on September 6, 2011 in Dumping Teachers due to Standardized Test Results and Student Performance – Part 3 or return to Part 1

____________________

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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Dumping Teachers due to Standardized Test Results and Student Performance – Part 1/7

If you believe every negative message you hear or read about public education in America, there is a strong chance you have been brainwashed by corporate and political propaganda. An example of this propaganda is the documentary “Waiting for Superman”.

In August, Costco Connection published a debate about teacher seniority between two education experts. Norm Scott, the founding member of the Grassroots Education Movement and one of the producers of “The Inconvenient Truth Behind Waiting For Superman”, said, “An experienced, seniority-based teaching force is essential for building a top-rated educational system,” and he was right.

The other expert, Sydney Morris, who was against seniority and looks like one of my former high school students, said, “We must send a strong message to both current and prospective teachers that performance matters. It’s only fair that we be judged on the quality of our teaching and the growth of our students, not just on our years in the system.”

However, the quality of teaching and the growth of students do not always go hand in hand. In fact, a highly qualified teacher could still have a significant number of students that do not learn. Many of the posts published in this Blog deal with a different reality than the one we often hear on the news, from special interest groups or from politicians stumping for reelection.

The reasons why many students do not learn has nothing to do with the quality of the teaching.

What I often find missing in most if not all of these debates such as this one is the responsibility of students and parents.  In Finland, one of the best unionized, public school systems in the world, the best teachers are placed with the students that need the most help and weak teachers with the best students. The philosophy is that highly motivated students that are at the top of his or her class will learn no matter how good the teacher is.

What happens when a student doesn’t perform, which means he or she does not participate in class, doesn’t ask questions when he or she is confused about a lesson [correct me if I’m wrong, but teachers cannot read minds], avoids class work, avoids homework, avoids reading assignments, will not read independently, will not study and/or misbehaves in class?

Is that the teachers fault?

Continued on September 5, 2011 in Dumping Teachers due to Standardized Test Results and Student Performance – 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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