Tag Archives: Lloyd Lofthouse

Bush and Obama’s Ignorant Gaff – Part 1/3

Study after study show that the “average” American parent talks to his or her child less than five minutes a day and that 80% of parents never attend a parent-teacher conferences during the thirteen years his or her child is in school.

The “No Child Left Behind Act” became law in 2001 and it was ignorance personified since nowhere in the Act were parents or students held responsible for anything.

Two presidents have pandered to the popular myth that bad teachers are the reason so many of America’s children are not learning what they should in school. George W. Bush was the first president and then there is Obama.

I’m writing this as a protest about Obama’s words concerning underperforming schools that should fire teachers. When schools do not perform, politicians have always looked for scapegoats and teachers make good targets.

Yes, there are poor teachers but no more than any profession. Most are hard working and dedicated. I should know. I taught for thirty years and my weeks were often one hundred hours of work, because I often worked at home correcting papers or planning lessons.

This reaction to fire teachers when students do not learn is wrong. Why not punish the students and the parents instead?

When I was a child and educators said I would never learn to read or write due to severe dyslexia, my mother taught me to read at home. Both of my parents were avid readers, and my parents were my role models—not my teachers.

Continued in Bush and Obama’s Ignorant Gaff – Part 2 or View as Single Page


Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too.

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Solving the Sparkplug Caper

Thanks to Sauron, I carted the surveillance system home where it was shelved and powerless.  I considered using it to watch my driveway and front door but was too depressed to install it. 

After my anger and depression faded a bit, I had another idea.  I called the auto shop teacher and explained my problem with the sparkplugs.  He said someone had been stealing sparkplugs from the shop.  They had been vanishing from the supply cabinet.

I asked if he would cross check the roster from my class with his classes and see if he could come up with a match. Bingo, he came up with two names.  When the auto shop teacher confronted the two, they denied everything.

Next step.  I went to the office and checked their schedules. Both, it turned out, were in baseball, so I called their coach.  He didn’t ask them if they were doing it. He just told them they would be tossed off the team if the sparkplugs kept flying. Problem solved without help from Sauron.


Who would have ever guessed that teachers had to become Sherlock Holmes too?

Missed the first episode in the Sparkplug Caper –

Or you are a teacher in need of sharpening your sleuthing talents –


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Big Brother in the Classroom

I was going to be George Orwell’s Big Brother from the novel, Nineteen Eighty-Four. I bought a complete security system for several hundred dollars and went to school over the weekend to install the two cameras and the video recorder in a back cupboard that could be locked to keep out sneaky fingers.  I ran cables out the top of that cabinet to the cameras that I installed near the ceiling— high enough so kids couldn’t reach them. I was going to record what was going on behind my back. 

George Orwell-author of 1984

I figured that I’d point out the cameras and tell the kids what I was doing. The chances are that the sparkplugs would stop flying since they would be afraid of being caught on film. My nightmares of some kid being blinded by a flying sparkplug or ending up in a hospital with a concussion would end.

One of the raptors (think kid) ratted me out to a parent who made a phone call to the district office. Before I had a chance to use the system, I was told by one of the VPs that Sauron had called and said I could not install that system because it would infringe on the privacy of the kids.

Privacy!  What privacy?  There were more than thirty kids in a public classroom—not counting the teacher.  And I thought I was going to be Big Brother. Sauron must have been jealous.

The solution to the flying sparkplugs will be revealed in the next post.

If you didn’t read “Sparkplugs are Not Sparrows”, you may do it here –

Watch the 1954 BBC adaption of Orwell’s 1984 here –

Or, find out more about home security at:


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Plan to fire all its teachers roils poor RI city
by Associated Press Writer Ray HenryWed Feb 24, 11:46 pm ET

I was a classroom teacher for thirty year, and I don’t fit the American stereotype, scapegoat image that is often used in the media and by conservative politicians with political agendas to line someone else’s pockets in the private sector.  The real problem is cultural and in the home where parents do not do their job when kids fail classes and/or do not learn. Parenting is a full-time job. It doesn’t end when a kid goes to school.

Sure, there are poor teachers. Just like any profession, a few workers don’t do their jobs efficiently. That’s not an excuse for making most teachers look bad. Teaching is a tough job. I challenge anyone who blames teachers for a child’s failings to teach for a decade in a school similar to where I taught.

There are four or five million public school teachers in the United States. There are two major teacher unions.

Henry, the Associated Press Writer, did a lazy job writing this piece about a school in Road Island that’s going to fire all of the teachers at Central Falls High School. Then hire some teachers back who don’t fail as many kids.

That’s the problem. Judging a teacher by the number of kids that fail his or her class. It wasn’t the teacher that failed. It was the kid and the parents that are not doing their part in education.  Educating children is a partnership between the teacher, parents and the children.  It doesn’t work when all the responsibility and blame belongs to teachers. Parents must take some of the blame—maybe most of it.

It seems the district wanted the teachers to work longer hours to tutor students after school who weren’t learning, but the teacher’s wanted to get paid for those extra hours.  That’s not the point.

I taught for thirty years and I gave up most lunches to help. There was a notice on a poster in the classroom that said I was available in my classroom at lunch and after school every day, and I didn’t ask for more money to do that. I also told the students verbally daily.

I can count on one hand how many students out of the thousands that I taught who took advantage of that help. The number of students who failed the classes I taught was usually in the double digits. 

Why? Most kids did not do the homework. Most kids did not ask for help. Most kids do not listen. Most kids refuse to read. Some kids are often bored and often complain about boredom. Kids and parents expect teachers to run a three-ring circus and compete with the likes of America Idol. Try to be on stage six hours a day for one-hundred-and-eighty-days and see how easy that is.

Click here to find out more about Lloyd’s teaching years –


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Sparkplugs are Not Sparrows

I don’t remember the year—probably the 1990s. However, I do remember the incident. Someone in one of my English classes at Nogales High School was throwing sparkplugs inside the classroom.  If you don’t know what a sparkplug is, go to your local auto supply store and see.  They are heavy ceramic, metal objects used to fire a spark of electricity into a cylinder of gasoline. That spark ignites the gas, causing the explosions that drove pistons that moved cars. That’s the simple explanation.

You don’t want to be hit by a flying sparkplug. Sparkplugs are not sparrows.

Doesn't it remind you of a missle?

I couldn’t’ catch these kids.  Every time I turned my back, answered the phone or opened the door when someone knocked, one of those sparkplugs became a blur and whacked a wall.  There was no way I could keep both my eyes on thirty-five kids every second and teach.

To solve this problem, I decided to buy and install a surveillance system so I could record what was happening behind my back and catch the culprits on tape.

I had no idea at the time that I was going to bring Sauron out of his tower. To learn more about Sauron’s brilliant leadership, check out this post.

The next post will continue this tale of Sparkplugs are Not Sparrows


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The Guilty Dead

Building services eventually discovered a family of dead possums inside the wall between my room and the math class next door. It seems that a possum mother found her way into the building’s attic.

When built, the classrooms could be opened so all the rooms on one side of the building (about six) became one long noisy hall. The first dividers were double thick plastic curtains. 

Years earlier, there was a theory about open classrooms where teachers could work together cooperatively. That failed like most educational theories that work great in controlled labs or selected schools.

The noise from more than two hundred students was too much for the teachers’ sanity, so partition walls (wood and drywall) were built between the classrooms and the top of the walls were left open—no top plate to seal them.

The possum mother with a pouch full of babies fell into one of the cells at the beginning of the Winter Break and died a horrible death without food or water. Possums are marsupials and carry their young in a pouch like kangaroos do.
The first post for this tale of woe was Teaching is a Smelly Art.


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HEPA Filters Do Not Work Miracles

I brought in the first HEPA air filter on the third day.  That lonely machine chugged away keeping the air somewhat breathable while custodians and building services struggled to discover where the stench was coming from.  One man thought maybe a sewer line ran under the building and had broken.

By the end of the week, the stink was outpacing the HEPA filter. I started buying more until there was four humming away losing the battle. Now, I had a noise problem too. With the HEPA filters humming away, most of the kids couldn’t hear me, and I couldn’t hear them—maybe a blessing in disguise.

We abandoned the classroom and fled to the school library (see school libraries quietly rock) leaving the workers behind to solve the problem.

This tale of a tail will conclude with The Guilty Dead—the last post for this smelly story.
The first post for this tale of woe was Teaching is a Smelly Art.


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