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Tag Archives: Parenting

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).

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Fixing the Self-Esteem Train Wreck

The self-esteem generation may be fixing the cultural train wreck caused by the average Baby Boomer parent.

But before I talk about how the Self-Esteem Generation—known as the Me, Me, Me people or the Millennials—are going to do this, I want to point out some of the damage the Baby Boomer parents have already heaped on their children.

First, what has led modern soldiers to become twice as susceptible to suicide?

When I was in the U.S. Marines in the 1960s, we lived in communal barracks—we did not have our own TV or our own rooms—and there are stark psychological differences between today’s 20-somethings and the mindsets of veterans of past generations, according to David Rudd, co-founder and scientific director of the National Center for Veteran Studies based at the University of Utah.

Today, “Entitlement has grown in younger generations and society has embraced that, giving in to the entitlement … The military has made decisions in accommodating these kinds of requests for more privacy and more seclusion by isolating (soldiers) even further.” Source: WND Health.com

Second, from The Huffington Post we learn that “They (the Millennials) appear choosy or picky … they want work to have meaning, and they love being heard by supervisors even though they’re young and have no experience. How does one find meaning pushing a broom or working at a fast-food joint?

Their work ethic appears low … but seventy-one percent want coworkers to be like a second family, and work should be fun. What happens if work isn’t fun and there is no other job available?

Fifty percent would rather have no job, than have a job they hate, but who pays the bills if you refuse to work: daddy, mommy, uncle, aunt, grandpa, grandma?

Seventy-six percent believe “my boss could learn a lot from me.”

Sixty-five percent say “I should be mentoring older coworkers when it comes to tech and getting things done.” If you have a low work ethic, how is that going to compute?

Sixty percent agree “if I can’t find a job I like, I will try and figure out a way to create my own job.” Imagine, everyone will be the next Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, and once they are all rich and famous who is going to do the boring jobs that are not fun—robots?

A full 70 percent of Millennials say they need me time at work, almost twice as much as Baby Boomers.

But there may be hope on the horizon because Millennials as (married or unmarried) parents might be raising children that may not join the ranks of the Me, Me, Me Generation, because Resilience is the new buzzword these days (in young parenting circles). It permeates contemporary non-fiction within the genre of parenting books and beyond. Gone are the days of Baby Einstein and trophies just for showing up (a product of the self-esteem movement).

Now the emphasis is on learning through failure and character building. It’s on healing through the tough skin you develop after a fall. Learning through natural resistance and appropriately measured adversity are the new Mozart sonatas for developing children. But learning through trial and error can only happen if we dare to remove the bubblewrap. And hence Millennials will have to allow their children to experience risks and disappointment they never faced. Source: Millennials as Parents – Multigenerational Living May Build a Modern Village  Anne Boysen

And if Millennial parents succeed in fixing the self-esteem train wreck their parents caused, America will owe them a debt of gratitude they are sure to collect.

Discover The Results of Parenting Gone Wrong

_______________________

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 perfect parent; the perfect teacher = no such thing

PHD in Parenting.com says, “The perfect parent is a myth. That person does not exist. We all make choices as parents, some free choices and some forced choices. Sometimes we are able to do what is best for our children and sometimes we are not.”

If parents cannot be perfect all of the time or even some of the time, then why does the United States expect perfection from its public school teachers?

Probably because films like the Blackboard Jungle, Stand and Deliver, Lean on Me, The Miracle Worker, and The Great Debaters—for examplemay have created an unrealistic expectation that every teacher should be perfect.

There are about 3.2 million public school teachers in the US. Many of them are parents too. They work in almost 100,000 public schools—more than 67 thousand elementary schools; more than 24 thousand secondary schools, and about 6 thousand combined schools in addition to 1,296 other types of public schools.

Those 3.2 million teachers work with more than 55 million students in13,809 different school districts spread out among 50 states and territories.

Expecting 3.2 million public school teachers to be perfect while working with 55 million imperfect children coming from imperfect homes and imperfect parents is an imperfect expectation.

Does every soldier that goes to war earn a Medal of Honor?

Have you ever worked in a large company where every employee was perfect every day, every moment—even the bosses?

Yet many Americans seem to expect teachers to be extraordinary.

In an Op-Ed piece in the Los Angeles Times, Ellie Herman said, “Yes, we need to get rid of bad teachers.  But we can’t demand that teachers be excellent in conditions that preclude excellence.”

I recommend you click on the above link and read what Ellie had to say about the students she taught. I taught for thirty years and could have said about the same thing.

Discover The Self-Esteem Train Wreck

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse, a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran, is the award winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition].

His latest novel is 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 hate and kill Americans.

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

 

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What is the Matter with Parents these Days? – Part 1/4

More than twenty years ago, I attended a lecture at one of the Claremont Colleges. I do not recall the speaker’s name but he was a successful journalist that wrote for major publications such as The New York Times and the Wall Street Journal.

He had published a memoir of raising his normal, above average daughter and a younger son with an IQ of eighty.  The lecture was about how his wife and he raised the son to graduate with honors from high school and be accepted to Harvard where he earned a degree in engineering.

I wish I could remember this journalist’s name and the title of his memoir, but it has been too long. However, I have not forgotten his story.  If anyone reading this post knows the title of the memoir, please tell me in a comment.

When this journalist’s son was old enough to start school at age six, the parents agonized over how to raise him so he could live a normal life and compete for jobs in the marketplace as an adult.

Job hunting and earning a living is not without its challenges and competition (on July 6, 2012, The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 12.7 million Americans were unemployed, while the number of Americans living in poverty was more than 47 million and many go hungry daily).

For the journalist’s family, to achieve their goals as responsible parents, it was decided to retire the family television to the garage and read books every night with a family hour before bedtime to discuss what each family member read.

Twelve years later, the son with the eighty IQ earned a perfect score on the SAT and the high school principal claimed he had to have cheated. The father argued that his son had not cheated, so the school made the son take the SAT again in a room without any other students, and he was monitored by three staff members. The  son earned a second perfect SAT score. Soon after that, the son was accepted to Harvard

This brings me to a post I read at clotildajamcracker (a Blog) called What’s the Matter with Kids these Days?

The post is worth reading—specially the comments. However, the problem is not kids—it’s parents.

In fact, I read one comment from the Headless Coffee Guy that said, “Hey, I hope my daughter will grow up to be a super genius who will find the unified theory in physics, solve world hunger, save the whales, and write her first symphony at 4. … But alas, I think ultimately, it’s really not up to the parent to decide what their child wants to be. We can only nurture and suggest, but it’s really up to the child to make up their own minds. All I really want for my daughter is to be happy.”

Is there anything wrong with Headless Coffee Guy’s concept of parenting as expressed in that previous quote?

Continued on July 24, 2012 in What is the Matter with Parents these Days? – Part 2

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

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Too Happy! Too Perfect! Too Fragile! – Part 3/4

Then Wendy Mogel, a clinical psychologist in Los Angeles and the author of The Blessing of a Skinned Knee, echoes Kindlon’s words when she says, “Well-intentioned parents have been metabolizing their anxiety for them (their children) their entire childhoods, so they (the children) don’t know how to deal with it when they grow up.”


“Raising Cain is a 2-hour PBS documentary that explores the emotional development of boys in America today. Our guide in the program is child psychologist Michael Thompson, Ph.D. His book on the emotional lives of boys, “Raising Cain,” with co-author Dan Kindlon, was a New York Times bestseller. Raising Cain chronicles the lives of boys from birth through high school through powerful documentary stories about real boys. The interviews reveal the challenges and confusion that boys encounter while growing up in America.”

A family psychologist in Los Angeles, Jeff Blume, then told Lori Gottlieb, “A kid needs to feel normal anxiety to be resilient. If we want our kids to group up and be more independent, then we should prepare our kids to leave us every day.”

Eventually, Gottlieb mentions Amy Chua’s memoir, the Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, and says, many of today’s parents who are obsessed with their kids’ happiness share Chua’s desire for their children to have high achievement but without the sacrifice and struggle that this kind of achievement often requires.

Continued on June 29, 2011 in Too Happy! Too Perfect! Too Fragile! – 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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Avoid the Mainstream Parent Trap – Part 2/9

In 2009, children and teens spent an average of one hour and 29 minutes on a computer while texting (on a cell phone) up to four times longer.

A PEW study from April 2010 says, “The typical American teen sends and receives 50 or more messages per day (on a cell phone), or 1,500 per month.”

In fact, teens spent less time talking on a cell phone than texting.

One way to combat texting is to call the provider and ask if texting may be blocked. We use AT&T and I asked and discovered that AT&T offers blocking so text messages cannot be received or sent. Even if a child/teen does not text, friends may send texts and it takes time to read them.  It also costs money to receive a text message. All of our cell phones are now blocked for texting.

A Kaiser Generation M2 – Kids/Youth/Media Survey (January 2010) said, “Total Media Exposure for all 8 to 18 year old’s average amount of time spend with each medium in a typical day was 10:45 hours

That average 10:45 hours was divided up with 4:29 hours spent watching TV; 2:31 hours listening to music; 1:29 hours on the computer; 1:13 hours playing video games; 30 minutes reading print media, and 25 minutes watching a movie.


Rules and Discipline by Dr. Archer Crosley

A Pew “Teens & Social Media” Study reported, “Nearly two-thirds of teens – 63 percent – have a cell phone; 35 percent of all online teen girls blog, compared with 20 percent of online teen boys and 32 percent of girls ages 12 to 14 Blog, compared to 18 percent of boys age 15 to 17.

It does not help that the US has More TV’s than people. More than 50% of homes have at least three working televisions. The average number of TV’s in homes for the US is 2.8, which means many family members may be in different rooms watching different programs.

If you are not in the same room and the TV is on for that many hours, where does quality time come from for talking to each other?

In addition, evidence is growing that early TV exposure undermines all the building blocks, and this study is proof that tuning into the tube at an early age contributes to attention problems (ADHD) and hampers learning.

In fact, children exposed to more than an hour of screen time daily eventually develop ADHD and other learning difficulties by the age of seven. Memory retention also declines as the brain is constantly shifting focus and remembers only those incidents, which have had most impact from the pleasure point of view. Thus, retention of academic concepts suffers. Source: Short Attention Span Theatre

There is also an “average” or “norm” for sleep, which will be the topic of Part 3

Continued on May 3, 2011 in Avoid the Mainstream Parent Trap – Part 3 or start with Part 1

_______________________

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.

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

 
 

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Parenting 101 — the Amy Chua Controversy

I’m sure that Amy Chua had no idea she was about to light a Baby Boomer fuse that would explode when she wrote her essay published in The Wall Street Journal about Why Chinese Mothers are Superior.

In 2000, Paul Begala, a political strategist for President Bill Clinton, wrote in Esquire, “The Baby Boomers are the most self-centered, self-seeking, self-interested, self-absorbed, self-indulgent, self aggrandizing generation in American history.”

Begala was right.

Starting in the 1960s, the Boomers also gave birth to the narcissistic, self-esteem generation.

When Amy Chua’s memoir, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother went on sale, my wife and I went to the local Barnes and Noble and bought a copy. It took us more than a week to read the book. My wife went first.

However, the morning that Chua’s memoir went on sale, dozens of one-star reviews appeared on Amazon.com condemning the book before anyone had time to read it.

Later, Amazon.com deleted many of these critical reviews that were bitter, caustic, personal attacks on Chua’s parenting methods and had nothing to say of the memoir. It was obvious that most if not all of those early one-star reviews were based on the essay in The Wall Street Journal.

Nancy (not her real name), who works for Barnes and Noble (where we bought a copy of the memoir), told us of an experience she had substitute teaching in a girls P.E. Class. She said there were about 150 girls. Half were Asian and half were Caucasian. When Nancy told them to sit and read or do what they wanted, the Asians took out books and studied. The Caucasians started to text, do makeup and gossip.

Studies show that the “average” American Boomer parent talks to his or her children less than five minutes a day and more than 80% never attend a parent-teacher conference. Boomer parents are so self-absorbed with other interests that TV, the Internet, video games and other teens become substitute parents to their children.

However, when most Chinese mothers (or Asian American) come together, their conversations focus on their children and education, which explains why studies show Asian-American students have the lowest incidence of STDs, teen pregnancy, illegal drug and alcohol use and the highest GPAs, graduation rates from high school and highest ratio of college attendance.

What do you think the “average” Caucasian Boomer mothers talk about when they get together?

A close friend of mine, who isn’t Chinese, read Amy Chua’s essay and many of the comments attacking Chua for her tough stance as a mother. He said it is obvious that Chinese mothers love their children and American mothers don’t because love means sacrifice.

Discover Recognizing Good Parenting

_______________________

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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