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Tag Archives: No Child Left Behind Act

Civil Disobedience and No Child Left Behind – Part 7/9

To understand one of the most difficult challenges American public school teachers face, it is time to examine the Hispanic/Latino culture, one of largest student subgroups in America

In fact, Hispanic/Latino students as a subgroup often do not achieve the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) benchmarks and there is a reason why this happens.

According to American Renaissance.com, Only 33 percent of citizens of Hispanic/Latino origin consider themselves “Americans” first. The rest consider themselves either “Hispanic/Latino” or their former nationality first.

The host of this Blog taught in California public schools (for thirty years – 1975 to 2005) with large Hispanic/Latino student populations and often heard Mexican students complain about having to learn English since they weren’t Americans and did not plan to stay—many came with their families to make money and not to attend school. Those schools also had White, Asian and African-American/Black students attending the same classes.

It is obvious that two-thirds of these Hispanic/Latino students bring their attitudes of education, cultural beliefs and biases with them when they enter the United States.

American Renaissance says, “Hispanics drop out of high school in the United States at (more than) three times the white rate and twice the black rate. Even third-generation Hispanics drop out of school at higher rates than blacks and are less likely to be college graduates. From 1992 to 2003, Hispanic illiteracy in English rose from 35 percent to 44 percent. The average Hispanic 12th-grader reads and does math at the level of the average White 8th-grader.”

In California for 2010, 41.7% of Hispanic/Latino students achieved the NCLB benchmarks in the English Language while 46.7% made the benchmark for Mathematics. There were 2,385,282 Hispanic/Latino students enrolled in the public schools, which means 994,662 met the NCLB benchmark for English Language and 1,113,927 met the benchmark for Mathematics, but according to Mr. Morally Correct, teachers should quit their jobs because they are frauds and thieves if they cash their monthly checks since this subgroup did not meet the NCLB benchmark.


Unsupervised children are at increased risk for violence, drug abuse, and sexual activity.

Since this subgroup did not meet the benchmark set by California, many schools in the state are considered failures by the NCLB Act and the teachers/educators may be punished when 2014 arrives by possibly losing their jobs and/or having their schools closed.  The students may then be bused to other schools that made the benchmarks as if the teachers are the reason one school succeeds and another one fails.

It doesn’t matter that the failing schools may have met the benchmarks for the White and Asian subgroups attending the same classes with Hispanics/Latinos. All it takes is one subgroup not achieving the benchmark to be considered a failure.

Since most of the Hispanic/Latino students in California come from Mexico, it helps to understand a little of the culture that gave birth to and raises these children that drop out of US schools more than three times the rate of the White race and two times that of the African-American/Black race.

The results of the 2009 PISA reading literacy test for students age 15 in Mexico reveals that only one percent (1%) earned a 5, which is the highest possible score, while 28% scored a one, the lowest possible score. The CIA Factbook says only 86.1% of the population of Mexico age 15 and over can read and write.

In Mexico, most young children attend primary school but only 62 percent reach secondary school. At secondary level, about half drop out, which means 31% of students that started school at age six will finish high school, according to non-governmental organization Mexicanos Primero (Mexicans First). Source: Reuters

The dropout rate in Mexico’s schools is almost 70% compared to 8.1% in the United States.

However, in the United States, the Hispanic/Latino drop our rate is 17.6%, which is four times better than Mexico’s drop our rate. This evidence suggests that America’s public school teachers are doing an incredible job with the Hispanic/Latino subgroup even if it is not making its NCLB benchmark.

According to a Pew Hispanic Center report, in 2005, 56% of illegal immigrants were from Mexico; 22% were from other Latin American countries, primarily from Central America; 13% were from Asia; 6% were from Europe and Canada; and 3% were from Africa and the rest of the world.

In addition, about 3.5 million of those illegal immigrant students were from Mexico or Central America and almost a million were in California’s public schools, and there is nothing the public schools can do about this situation because in 1982, the US Supreme Court ruled that states and school districts cannot deny education to illegal alien children residing here.

Continued on August 7, 2011, in Civil Disobedience and No Child Left Behind – Part 8 or return to Part 6

_______________________

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 6/9

The first sign of nonviolent “civil disobedience” was when the media reported teachers either changing answers on standardized tests or helping students select the correct answers to raise scores.

The reason for this “civil disobedience” is that the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Law set a goal of having 100 percent of students proficient (according to each state’s standards) in math and reading by 2014.

However, the teachers/educators that helped change answers are not alone in their nonviolent “civil disobedience”.

Another example, according to Christine Armario and Jessie L. Bonner of The Associated Press (July 2011), reported that three states plan to defy the No Child Left Behind benchmarks.

AP said, “Idaho will no longer raise the benchmarks that public schools have to meet under No Child Left Behind, nor will it punish the schools that do not meet these higher testing goals, said Tom Luna, the state’s superintendent of public schools.”

“Montana and South Dakota are also rejecting the latest No Child Left Behind targets,” AP said, “while Kentucky is seeking a waiver that would allow the state to use a different method to measure whether students are making Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) under the program.

“And more states could follow in seeking relief from the federal requirements,” the AP reported.

Mr. Morally Correct (quoted in Part 1 of this series) wrote, “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.”

According to an April 28, 2011 report by the Center on Education Policy (CEP), 38% of U.S. public schools failed to make AYP in 2010. There are more than 132 thousand public schools in the US, which means 50,000 are failing according to the NCLB law. Since there are about 5 million teachers that means about 2 million should quit according to Mr. Morally Correct and abandon the students in their school that are meeting the goals of the NCLB Act since some students in every school make the effort to learn and keep up.

In addition, the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies found that only 32 percent of the general population rates the NCLB law positively, which makes Mr. Morally Correct a member of the minority opinion with almost 70% of Americans disagreeing with him.

President George W. Bush brought us the NCLB Act when he signed it into law.  He also brought us the Iraq War based on false claims of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) hidden in Iraq.

American military casualties (physical wounds) number more than 33,000 with another 320,000 veterans with brain injuries in addition to several thousand killed in action.  Iraqi civilian deaths, which are difficult to track, range from estimates of 100,000 to more than a million depending on the source, and about 3.4 million have been displaced from their homes

Then there was the 2008 global financial crises President G. W. Bush brought the US, which is estimated to have cost $40 trillion in global losses ($20 trillion in the US) and tens of millions of lost jobs around the world (for example – 9 million in the US and 20 million in China).

President G. W. Bush also doubled the National Debt from about $5 trillion to more than $10 trillion.

Continued on August 6, 2011, in Civil Disobedience and No Child Left Behind – Part 7 or return to Part 5

_______________________

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!”

Will the NCLB Act go down in history as President George W. Bush’s fourth major failure in judgement?

Continued on August 6, 2011, in Civil Disobedience and No Child Left Behind – Part 7 or return to Part 5

 

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Civil Disobedience and No Child Left Behind – Part 5/9

Now that we have dealt with Finland and China’s education systems, ethnic/racial and cultural differences compared to the United States, it is time to look at Singapore, which is almost the polar opposite of the United States except for English as the national language.

Unlike China (95% Han Chinese) and Finland (more than 95% Caucasian), Singapore is 74.2% Chinese, 13.2% Malay and 9.2% of Indian descent and about 40% of the population is foreigners. The total population is 5.1 million — 2.9 million were born in Singapore while the rest are foreign-born.

However there is a big difference between the US and Singapore. The US is 64.6% White/Caucasian, 15.1% Hispanic/Latino, 12.85% African-American/Black, 4.43% Asian, etc.

The largest difference between the education systems of Singapore and the United States is that America is influenced by “memes” and/or popular trends, which is a pervasive idea within a given culture. The idea replicates itself (sort of like a virus) via cultural means and on the Internet mostly spreads through web sites, emails, blogs, forums, videos, and other channels. The goal of the meme is to change the thought patterns of the populace. Source: Google


Caning in Singapore

In the United States, those “memes” or trends have led to boosting self-esteem among children, which includes not shaming students; making sure children have lots of fun time, and avoiding meritocracy while promoting students regardless of academic achievement. There is also a popular dislike of corporal punishment as cruel.

However, in Singapore, ‘memes’ or popular trends do not have a similar impact as they do in the US.

In Singapore, Meritocracy is a basic political ideology and a fundamental principle in the education system, which aims to identify and groom bright young students for positions of leadership. The system places a great emphasis on academic performance in grading students and granting their admission to special programmes and universities.

As for discipline in Singapore’s schools, corporal punishment is legal (for male students only), and fully encouraged by the government in order to maintain strict discipline.

Canings in schools may be classified in three areas.  The first is a private caning where the boy is caned in the principal’s office; class caning where the boy is caned in front of his class, and public caning where the boy is caned on stage during assembly in front of the whole school population, to serve as a warning to potential offenders as well as to shame the student. It is usually reserved for serious offences committed like fighting, smoking, and vandalism.

School caning is a solemn and formal ceremony. Before the caning, the Discipline Master usually explains the student’s offence to the audience.

In addition, in Singapore, “any child who is unable to attend any national primary school due to any physical or intellectual disability” is exempted from compulsory education. Singapore’s public schools do not provide special education for persons with disabilities.


Caning was once an English tradition. After the British Empire made caning illegal, they lost the empire.

Education in Singapore is managed by the Ministry of Education, which controls the development and administration of state schools, but also has an advisory and supervisory role in respect to private schools.

It is also a criminal offence for parents to fail to enroll their children in school and ensure their regular attendance. Imagine what would happen if this were a criminal offense for parents in the United States.

Due to Singapore’s cultural beliefs and the structure of its educational system, it ranked fifth in reading (The US was 17th) on the 2009 PISA test, second for math (the US was 31st) and fourth for science (the US was 23rd – the OECD average). Source: moe.gov

Continued on August 5, 2011, in Civil Disobedience and No Child Left Behind – Part 6 or return to Part 4

_______________________

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 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 3/9

As far as public education is concerned in the US, both political extremes believe (or manufacture belief) that public education is a failure and the reason for poverty and crime in America is that teachers supported by their unions are not educating every child equally.

On the left, we have idealists that have been struggling to rid America of poverty. After President Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty failed, the focus shifted to public education to find a reason.

However, the political right may say one thing by denouncing teachers and their unions, but is pursuing another agenda, which is discrediting then dismantling public education in favor of a private system. See Vouchers: Who’s Behind It All?

For example, a few years ago, I read a quote from a republican running for the U.S. Senate that blamed public education for all criminals that went to prison, and Americans have been hearing similar messages for years to the point where those that swallowed the lies will not accept any fact that explains why this is not true.

In addition, for the political left to admit that there are challenges in this country that no one can overcome would mean admitting that they cannot engineer society to fit the ideal paradise they imagine where all children of all races prosper, have a very high sense of manufactured self-esteem and have fun every day.

This is why both sides refuse to recognize the insurmountable problems that are cultural and socio-economic in nature, which teachers (and their unions) cannot fix just because the No Child Left Behind Act says they have to or else.

The reason I am pointing out the differences between the public education systems in the United States, Finland, China and Singapore is to make a point.

If you did not watch the video in Part 2, here is a summary of Finland’s public education system.  Finland does not have the problems America has with illegal immigrants, and its population is more than 95% Caucasian with similar cultural beliefs, which includes a strong support for education that starts in the home with a parent or parents teaching their children before starting school at age 7 for shorter school days than most countries.

Critics of the teacher unions in the US will not tell you that one of the best education systems in the world (Finland) succeeds with 95% of the teachers belonging to unions and 97% of the students attending public schools in a country with one of the largest welfare systems in the world. The obvious difference is Finish parents value education and support it by starting years before their children enter the public schools.

On August 3, 2011, we will discover public education in China and why it works in Civil Disobedience and No Child Left Behind – Part 4 or return to Part 2

_______________________

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

His third book is Crazy is Normal, a classroom exposé, a memoir. “Lofthouse presents us with grungy classrooms, kids who don’t want to be in school, and the consequences of growing up in a hardscrabble world. While some parents support his efforts, many sabotage them—and isolated administrators make the work of Lofthouse and his peers even more difficult.” – Bruce Reeves

lloydlofthouse_crazyisnormal_web2_5

Lofthouse’s first novel was the award winning historical fiction My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. His second novel was the award winning thriller Running with the Enemy. His short story A Night at the “Well of Purity” was named a finalist of the 2007 Chicago Literary Awards. His wife is Anchee Min, the international, best-selling, award winning author of Red Azalea, a New York Times Notable Book of the Year (1992).

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

 

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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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Blind Obedience – Part 4/4

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

_______________________

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

His third book is Crazy is Normal, a classroom exposé, a memoir. “Lofthouse presents us with grungy classrooms, kids who don’t want to be in school, and the consequences of growing up in a hardscrabble world. While some parents support his efforts, many sabotage them—and isolated administrators make the work of Lofthouse and his peers even more difficult.” – Bruce Reeves

lloydlofthouse_crazyisnormal_web2_5

Lofthouse’s first novel was the award winning historical fiction My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. His second novel was the award winning thriller Running with the Enemy. His short story A Night at the “Well of Purity” was named a finalist of the 2007 Chicago Literary Awards. His wife is Anchee Min, the international, best-selling, award winning author of Red Azalea, a New York Times Notable Book of the Year (1992).

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Blind Obedience – Part 3/4

America’s public schools are not failing.

In 2010, of about 42 million students attending the public schools (K – 12), white–non Hispanic (23.2 million) and Asian (1.9 million) met the goals of the NCLB Act, and these two racial groups represents more than 25 million (59%), while the two ethnic groups that did not measure up were African-American (6.2 million) and Hispanic/Latino (9.9 million) representing about 16 million students.

This does not mean all African-American or Hispanic/Latino students failed to meet the standards set by the NCLB Act but most did.

Since students may not graduate from high school without passing a competency test and about 50% of African-Americans graduate from high school annually, that says more than 3 million African-American students were successful in addition to more than 6 million Latinos.

Then more than 16% (one million) of African-American and 14% (1.4 million) of Hispanic/Latino students graduate from college.

Did America’s public school teachers fail these African-American and Hispanic/Latino students? I do not think so.

The same “e-mail critic” I quoted in Part 1 dismissed what I said about our daughter (in another e-mail) attending the public schools and “learning” well enough from her (K to 12) teachers to graduate from high school and be accepted to Stanford. She just completed her first year at Stanford with flying colors mostly thanks to her public school teachers and the great job they did teaching. Those same teachers also had African-American and Hispanic/Latino students in their classes.

The “e-mail critic” said our daughter was an exception infering that most students of all racial groups fail when in fact, that is not the case.

My point was that if our daughter learned what her public school teachers taught, there is no excuse for those students and their parents that do not meet the mandates of the NCLB Act.

Our daughter is Asian-American and there are 1.9 million Asian-American students in the U.S. public schools that as an ethnic group met the requirements of the NCLB Act with the highest average score when compared to all other racial groups.

Do we dismiss 1.9 million Asian American students and the dedication of the parents and say they do not count?

Do we measure all students by those at the bottom with parents (among other inequalities) that did not do an adequate job supporting their children’s education?

If you want to know how dedicated the average Asia-American parent is, I recomment you to the Amy Chua controversy and her memoir, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother.

Continued on July 27, 2010 in Blind Obedience – Part 4 or return to Part 2

_______________________

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

His third book is Crazy is Normal, a classroom exposé, a memoir. “Lofthouse presents us with grungy classrooms, kids who don’t want to be in school, and the consequences of growing up in a hardscrabble world. While some parents support his efforts, many sabotage them—and isolated administrators make the work of Lofthouse and his peers even more difficult.” – Bruce Reeves

lloydlofthouse_crazyisnormal_web2_5

Lofthouse’s first novel was the award winning historical fiction My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. His second novel was the award winning thriller Running with the Enemy. His short story A Night at the “Well of Purity” was named a finalist of the 2007 Chicago Literary Awards. His wife is Anchee Min, the international, best-selling, award winning author of Red Azalea, a New York Times Notable Book of the Year (1992).

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

 

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Blind Obedience – Part 2/4

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

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

However, I understand why they did it.

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

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

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

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

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

_______________________

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

His third book is Crazy is Normal, a classroom exposé, a memoir. “Lofthouse presents us with grungy classrooms, kids who don’t want to be in school, and the consequences of growing up in a hardscrabble world. While some parents support his efforts, many sabotage them—and isolated administrators make the work of Lofthouse and his peers even more difficult.” – Bruce Reeves

lloydlofthouse_crazyisnormal_web2_5

Lofthouse’s first novel was the award winning historical fiction My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. His second novel was the award winning thriller Running with the Enemy. His short story A Night at the “Well of Purity” was named a finalist of the 2007 Chicago Literary Awards. His wife is Anchee Min, the international, best-selling, award winning author of Red Azalea, a New York Times Notable Book of the Year (1992).

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

 

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