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Tag Archives: parenting in America

The Golden Age of Education in America is Today

The United States has never had a Golden Age of Education unless it is happening today, but the media and politicians with political/religious agendas—without exception—misrepresent the truth.  The art of deception is based on picking the facts you want the public to hear, and what’s left out of the message is what leads people to believe something that is false.

For example, the Smithsonian Magazine reported on July 30, 2013 that No, You’re Probably Not Smarter Than a 1912-Era 8th Grader. I wanted to read this piece when it first came out but didn’t get a chance until August 8th.

The piece goes into detail showing the sort of questions 8th graders were expected to know in 1912. What the Smithsonian does not mention is how many children were attending 8th grade in 1912 compared to today.

In 1912, 61.3% of 5-to-19-year-old whites were enrolled in school and less than 10% would graduate from high school. That percentage was even lower for Blacks and other races.

There is a huge difference between less than 10% of children motivated to learn who have supporting parents and the ninety percent of children who did not.

In fact, in 1918, every state required children to only complete elementary school.  And a movement in 1920 to extend compulsory education to 12th grade failed and would not be revived until after World War II.

WiseGeek.org says, “Prior to the passing of compulsory school attendance laws, education was primarily localized and available only to the wealthy, and it often included religious teachings. …

“By the 1950s, compulsory education had become well established, but the K-12 education system was really still in its infancy. Schools were still primarily localized, but education was no longer available only to the wealthy. Even in the 1950s, however, segregation by race was still common practice in public schools in the US.

“Then in 1954, in the US Supreme Court case Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously that racial segregation in public schools was unconstitutional.”

The Smithsonian piece is misleading because in 1912, students attending school were there because their parents believed in the value of an education, and sending children to school was still a luxury for most Americans who could not afford to send a child to school or felt an education was a waste of time.

Back then, many poor parents even sold their children as young as age five into servitude in the coal mines or factories—those children never had a chance to go to school. In some industrial cities, half the workforce was made up of children, who were much cheaper to employ and easier to manage than teenagers or adults. In some states it was also legal for parents to sell children into prostitution.

How bad was it? For example, in 1916, President Wilson pushed the Keating-Owen Act through Congress barring interstate commerce of goods produced by child labor, but a conservative U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 1918 that this law was unconstitutional because it infringed on states’ rights and denied children the freedom to contract to work. Source: Scholastic.com [recommended reading]

And in 1912, there was no parent-driven self-esteem movement that values dreams, having fun and feeling good over working hard to earn an education. There was also no TV, no video games, and no cell phones. A lot has changed in the last century.

I also compared the high school graduation rate for 17/18 year olds in 1912 with today. According to A Hundred Years Ago.com, “only 20% of youth attended high school in 1911 and less than 10% graduated.”

Today, even most high school dropouts are better educated than 90% of Americans in 1912. Since 1968, the US high school graduation rate has fluctuated in the 70% range and it has never been higher in the history of this country. In 2012, Wisconsin had the highest rate at 90% with Vermont a close 89.6%.

In 2012, The Washington Post reported, “Researchers found that graduation rates vary by race, with 91.8 percent of Asian students, 82 percent of whites, 65.9 percent of Hispanics and 63.5 percent of blacks graduating on time.”

If you are interested in the graduation rate of each state, click Governing.com, and you will discover that even the state with the lowest graduation rate today beats 1912 by a wide margin.

Do not be fooled again, because politicians, the media and critics of public education will keep telling us that the public education system in America is failing, but now you know the truth. It’s not perfect but it has never been better and it is still evolving—for better or worse.

Discover Educating Children is a Partnership

_______________________

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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Learning from the world’s best in education or not

Why can’t the United States learn from the best education systems in the world?

The Huffington Post reported that Finland and South Korea top country rankings while the U.S. is rated average at 17th among the 40 developed countries compared. “While Finland and South Korea differ greatly in methods of teaching and learning, they hold the top spots because of a shared social belief in the importance of education and its underlying moral purpose.”

It is a fact, that most American parents do not share or practice those same social beliefs and moral purposes.

The truth is that too many American parents don’t want their children unhappy or depressed and in a merit based system only so many can be in the top 5 – 10% and the rest lose out leading to embarrassment and unhappiness. In addition, far too many American parents would rather spend money on video games for their children than on tutors to teach the children after school.

Besides most American kids would declare war and probably butcher their parents if they had to give up a lifestyle that comes with an average 10 hours a day of dividing up free time watching TV; listening to music; playing video games; texting/social networking, etc.

In Finland, parents start teaching their children to read by age 3, and children start school at age 7 already literate, and the teachers—supported by the parents—make the major decisions in the classroom and the schools.

In South Korea, the educational system is based on meritocracy—for teachers and students—and the competition to earn a slot in the top spot is ruthless because everyone cannot be number one.

Amanda Ripley writing for The Wall Street Journal said in The $4 Million Teacher that “In 2012, [South Korean] parents spent more than $17 billion on tutoring from private schools—more than the $15 billion spent by Americans on videogames that year.”

While in 2010, the New York Times reported that in the United States, the estimated size of the tutoring industry was $5 billion to $7 billion a year.

How does that compare? Well, in the U.S. there are about 50-million students attending K – 12, and that is equal to South Korea’s entire population where only 6 million are students.

Crunch the numbers and Korean parents spend an average of $3,000 annually for each child for private tutoring. But in the US, parents spend—on average—about $100 – 140 annually, but we know that many American parents spend nothing extra to support public education—not even time!

In America—sad to say—about the extent of support most parents are willing to give is to ask a question or two later in the day or early in the morning.

“Honey, how was school today?”

The child replies, “Okay,” as he furiously texts friends.

“Did you do your homework?” the parent asks.

The child makes a face because he is being interrupted while sending his texts, and then he grumpily replies, “Yea.” And 80% [or more] of the children lie about this. In fact, the child usually doesn’t even know if there was homework because he didn’t pay attention in class or forgot.

Studies show that the average American parent talks to his or her children less than five minutes a day, because in the US, it’s a lot cheaper and easier to just blame the teachers and their unions when children/teens are not showing progress in school.

The educational systems of South Korea and Finland are very different but these countries exhibit similar traits that are mostly missing in America. Did you notice what those similarities are?

Discover how to Avoid the Mainstream Parent Trap

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran.

His latest novel is the award winning Running with the Enemy. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.

And the woman he loves and wants to save was trained to kill Americans.

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The Good and Bad of America’s Continuing Cultural Revolution – Part 1/7

One could argue that America’s transformational Cultural Revolution started in 1861 at the start of the American Civil War which ended slavery in the United States in 1865.

In addition, the way the average American parent raises his or her children today, and how the public schools operate and the character of the average American child are all affected by this continuing revolution.

Several significant changes track this Cultural Revolution and metamorphosis—some good and some bad. After all, America’s leaders and citizens are only human. To understand this ignored revolution, one should know a few facts about US history first.

Good changes are in bold print showing improvement.

If the print is gray, the change is questionable.

If in italics, it means BAD things happened!

1. In 1800, about 6% of the US population lived in cities and more 94 % lived on farms and/or small rural communities. By 1990, almost 70% of the rural population had migrated to cities.  This change took place due to the US Industrial Revolution (1820 – 1870), and America needed more educated citizens.

2. In 1850, life expectancy by age in America at birth was 38.3 years. By 1900, life expectancy at birth reached 48.23. In 1990, it was 72.7, and by 2012 (according to the CIA Factbook, life expectancy for all races and both sexes had reached 78.49 (ranked #50 globally).

3. Although critics of public education harp on the so-called low high-school graduation rates in the US, in 2007 the national graduation rate was almost 70%. However, to put this into perspective, in 1870, the high school graduation rate was less than 5% and by the turn of the century in 1900, thirty years later, only 7%. Forty-five years after that at the end of World War II, the rate was up to 55%. It wouldn’t be until 1970 that we would see the highest graduation rate at 76%.  After that, it leveled off and hasn’t changed much and fluctuates a few percentage points up or down.

4. The Chinese Exclusion Act was signed into law on May 6, 1882. This act was one of the most significant restrictions on immigration in U.S. history and focused on all Asians.  The act also affected Asians that had already settled in the US before it became law.  This Act would not be repealed until December 17, 1943—sixty-one years later.

5. The 19th Amendment was ratified on August 26, 1920 establishing a woman’s right to vote. This movement started in 1848 and took 72 years to achieve.

6. For more than one-hundred-and-sixty-two years, Children in the United States could be sold by their parents into servitude to work in coal mines and factories up until the Fair Labor Standards Act in 1938, which set federal standards for child labor.

7. During World War II, 120,000 Japanese-Americans lost their homes and businesses when they were rounded up and sent to dozens of prison camps where they languished until the war ended (February 1942 – 1944; the last prison camp closed in 1945.)  This act was challenged in the courts but the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the U.S. Government.

8. In 1948, President Truman signed Executive Order 9981 ending segregation in the US armed services: “”It is hereby declared to be the policy of the President that there shall be equality of treatment and opportunity for all persons in the armed services without regard to race, color, religion, or national origin.”

9. From roughly 1950 – 1954, McCarthyism was the practice of making accusations of disloyalty, subversion or treason without proper regard for evidence. During the McCarthy era, thousands of Americans were accused of being Communists or communist sympathizers and became the subject of aggressive investigations and questioning before government or private-industry panels, committees and agencies. This movement was so popular that 50% of the American public supported McCarthy’s vigilante witch hunts.

10. On July 2, 1964, President Johnson sings the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  It was the most sweeping civil rights legislation since Reconstruction prohibiting discrimination of all kinds based on race, color, religion, or national origin.

11. The Spread of American Imperialism: the war with Mexico (1846-48) where the US seized New Mexico and California; the US Indian Wars (1865-1891), which cost the lives of about 19,000 white men, women and children, including those killed in individual combats, and the lives of about 30,000 Indians; in the Spanish-American War (1898) the US gained Guam, the Philippines and Puerto Rico; Philippine-American War (1899-1902); Banana Wars (1898-1935); Moro Rebellion in the southern Philippines (1899-1913); Vietnam War (1955-1975), and the Iraq War (note: this is not a complete list). In addition. to maintain this empire, according to the US Department of Defense, the US military maintains 662 foreign sites in 38 countries around the world. Other sources claim that number is more than 1,000.

Now, just as America need smarter people, the average US citizen is going in the other direction from dumb to dumber, and this change is a continuation of the American Cultural Revolution that has been taking place since 1861.

However, this revolutionary change has to do with how the average parent raises his or her children, and it had its roots with John Dewey in 1886. It would take 82 years for this negative element of America’s Cultural Revolution to reach critical mass when by the late 1960s self-esteem was a fashionable and influential idea and that movement, which spread to the schools by the 1980s  led to grade inflation, an end to rote learning in addition to dummying down the curriculum.

Continued on June 5, 2012 in The Good and Bad of America’s Continuing Cultural Revolution – Part 2

______________

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

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Too Happy! Too Perfect! Too Fragile! – Part 4/4

Lori Gottlieb follows Amy Chua with Jean Twenge, a professor of psychology at San Diego State University that has written extensively about narcissism and self-esteem.  Twenge is also the co-author of Epidemic. Twenge says, when ego-boosting parents exclaim “Great Job!”, the child learned to feel that everything he does is special … he never gets negative feedback on his performance … They grew up in a bubble, so they get out into the real world and they start to feel lost and helpless.


“Season 2 – Episode 9 – Does anyone let their kids play outside anymore? Cross the street? Do their own homework? Tie their own shoe? How do we prepare our kids for the real world while keeping them in a protective bubble? Jen and Barb talk to Dr. Wendy Mogel, nationally known clinical psychologist and author of the New York Times best selling parenting book, “The Blessing of a Skinned Knee” about need to empower ourselves as Mothers to loosen the leash and let our kids fall, so they learn how to get up and are prepared for the future.”

Wendy Mogel told Gottlieb over the phone, “Please let them (kids) be devastated at age 6 and not have their first devastation be in college!” and “parents who protect their kids from accurate feedback teach them that they deserve special treatment.”

In fact, Twenge says, “Research shows that much better predictors of live fulfillment and success are perseverance, resiliency, and reality-testing—qualities that people need so they can navigate the day-to-day,” and many kids aren’t learning these skills anymore.

Near the conclusion of the Atlantic piece, Gottlieb said, “by trying  so hard to provide the perfectly happy childhood, we’re just making it harder for our kids to actually grow up.”

Return to Too Happy! Too Perfect! Too Fragile! – 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).

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

 

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Too Happy! Too Perfect! Too Fragile! – Part 2/4

Ann Hulbert, the author of Raising America: Experts, Parents, and a Century of Advice About Children says, there’s always been a tension among the various recommended parenting styles—the bonders versus the disciplinarians, the child-centered versus the parent-centered…

Following Gretchen Rubin, Lori Gottlieb quotes Barry Schwartz, a professor of social theory at Swarthmore College, who says, “happiness as a goal is a recipe for disaster.”


“Psychologist Barry Schwartz takes aim at a central tenet of western societies: freedom of choice. In Schwartz’s estimation, choice has made us not freer but more paralyzed, not happier but more dissatisfied.”

Then Paul Bohn, a psychiatrist at UCLA believes, “Many parents will do anything to avoid having their kids experience even mild discomfort, anxiety, or disappointment…with the result that when, as adults, they experience the normal frustrations of life, they think something must be terribly wrong.

Dan Kindlon, the author of Too Much of a Good Thing: Raising Children of Character in an Indulgent Age, says, If kids can’t experience painful feelings, they won’t develop “psychological immunity”. He also said, “We (parents) don’t set limits, because we want our kids to like us at every moment, even though it is better for them if sometimes they can’t stand us.”

Continued on June 28, 2011 in Too Happy! Too Perfect! Too Fragile! – 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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