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Facts that reveal Obama’s Manufactured Crises of College-Career readiness and the alleged Failure of Public Schools

What is the role of the public schools? The Center for Ethical Leadership (founded in 1991) says that public education is foundational to a healthy democracy and developing our humanity—not to have every student achieve high scores on standardized tests.

After you read this post, you decide if the U.S. public schools are doing their job and what that job description should be.

The goals of G. W. Bush’s No Child Left Behind, and Obama’s Race to the Top and the President’s insane Common Core agenda that demands 100 percent of high school graduates by 2014-15, who are 17/18 years old, must be college and/or career ready is horribly wrong when we look at the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (bls.gov) report on the educational needs of the job market.

According to bls.gov, if 100 percent of Americans were college educated, then most would be overqualified for 67 – 77 percent of the jobs [96.5 to 110.9 million], and 26 percent of those jobs [37.4 million] don’t even require a high school diploma or its equivalent. In 2013, 143.9 million Americans were employed in the civilian labor force.

How can there be a public education crises when only 40 percent of the jobs require a high school degree and by age 25, 90 percent of Americans have a high school degree or its equivalent? I think those numbers say that the workforce is overqualified and someone is cherry picking numbers to manufacture a public education crises.

Then there are the jobs that require a bachelor’s degree or better—that number is 23 percent [about 33 million jobs], but according to a special report of The Most Educated Countries in the World, 42.5 percent of Americans [about 90 million] have a college degree. That means for every job that requires a college degree, there are 2.7 college graduates, and Bill Gates and President Obama want more college graduates and are willing to punish teachers by firing them and then turn public schools over to corporations if public school teachers don’t achieve the President’s artificial and unnecessary goals.

To discover what happens to college graduates who live in countries with high college graduation rates, we only need to look at South Korea, Russia and Japan.

President Obama and his education secretary, Arne Duncan, have frequently cited Korea in contrast to America’s alleged shortcomings. They mention the diligence of its students, the commitment of its parents, its success in equipping successive generations to compete.

But the truth is that Korean officials are alarmed that many graduates are not finding jobs—more than 40 percent in the past year according to Washington Post.com

What’s even more shocking is the fact that the United States already has a higher percentage of college graduates than South Korea according to a special report of The Most Educated Countries in the World.

10. Australia, 38.3 %
9. Finland, 39.3 %
8. New Zealand, 39.3%
7. United Kingdom, 39.4%
6. South Korea, 40.4%
5. United States, 42.5%
4. Israel, 46.4%
3. Japan, 46.4%
2. Canada, 51.3%
1. Russia, 53.5%

As for Russia, according to DE, Germany’s international broadcaster, approximately 30 percent of Russian university graduates under the age of 25 don’t have a full-time job. If they do, they’ve had a rough time getting there.

Anywhere from 65 to 70 percent of graduates are not able to find work directly after graduation, but require, on average, five-to-six months to find a position. Nor is that position protected under Russian labor law. Twenty-five percent of those employed do not have a contract with their employer.

And often, those jobs do not provide enough to survive on. According to a study by the New Economic School in Moscow, more than 50 percent of young academics who work in the Russian public sector have second or even third jobs in order to make ends meet.

In addition, Japan’s college graduates also face a tough job market. The Wall Street Journal reports, “Monday’s data on how recent Japanese college graduates are faring in the job market show that, despite a slight improvement, the overall picture remains grim.”

In conclusion, what is the real agenda of President Obama, Bill Gates and the rest of the fake education reformers—a topic worth exploring?

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

Crazy is Normal promotional image with blurbs

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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A literacy-based Racist Conservative Religious/Political Agenda

My parents were both high school dropouts, but I grew up seeing them read books almost every day and that was probably the most important reason I did not grow up illiterate or functionally illiterate.

Millions of children in America are not that fortunate and never see his or her parents read anything. This image of the most important role model in a child’s life ends up being the foundation that leads to illiteracy.

On February 14, 2013, Valentine’s Day, President Obama said, “Let’s make it a national priority to give every child access to a high-quality early education.”

This message was also included in his second State of the Union address.

But conservatives have made it clear that they are against public supported, high-quality early education. Instead, conservatives want to give taxpayer money to private or church-based preschools and leave it up to parents to decide to send his or her children. Source: Mike the Mad Biologist

Mike the Mad Biologist quoted the Heritage Foundation, a far-right conservative think tank that is also part of the Koch Foundation Associate Program. To learn more about the political/religious agenda of the billionaire Koch brothers, click Discovering the four Koch brothers.

Then President Obama also said, “Fewer than 3 in 10 four-year-olds are enrolled in a high-quality preschool program.”

Because of those facts, the United States must take it one step further and make it mandatory for children that are not learning literacy skills at home before age four to start a high-quality early education literacy program in the public schools.

To do that, all children must be tested starting at age three and six months by having them read out loud to a properly credentialed educator-teacher to demonstrate that the child is learning to read simple, basic one-syllable words in simple sentence in addition to demonstrating understanding. Then every twelve months before starting kindergarten, those children must be tested again to see that he or she is improving. It would be easy. Every public school in America would receive the mandate and funding to support this simple test.

Children that fail the test would be enrolled in the type of program President Obama is talking about.

Obama said that these young children must be in a safe learning environment with high quality teachers that are held accountable.  Private and religious schools are not held as accountable the same as the public schools. Private and religious schools have no oversight—no one watching what is going on in that classroom.

In addition, if illiterate parents wanted to make sure his or her children grew up literate and a lover of reading, there are already many nonprofit organizations offering free programs to combat illiteracy. For example: Reach Out And Read; Literacy for Incarcerated Teens (LIT); First Book; Reading Tree; United Through Reading; Literacy Inc.; Building with Books; Books for the Barrios; Dollar General Literacy Foundation, and in the United States, community, public libraries offer free literacy programs (source: Public library efforts to promote literacy).

There are an estimated 121,169 libraries of all kinds in the United States today.

These facts say if we leave it up to most illiterate parents of illiterate children to enroll those children in a voluntary literacy program before age four, it will not happen—not in the United States.

In Finland, the parents do this at home.  In Finland, most parents start teaching their own children how to read by age three. That does not happen to millions of young children in the United States.

The reason I think the conservative religious/political agenda regarding a high-quality early (public) education program in America is racist is because of the following numbers.

In 2003, about seven percent of white adults were reading below basic (this means they were functionally illiterate or illiterate), compared to 24% of Blacks, 44% of Hispanics, and 14% of Asian/Pacific Islanders.  Source: National Center for Education Statistics

If we are going to break the cycle of the high ratio of race-based illiteracy in America, we must make it mandatory for children that are not learning literacy skills at home to be in a supervised public education, literacy programs before age four so the public in the United States knows that every child is safe from a possibly biased, conservative political and/or religious agenda.

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Lloyd Lofthouse, a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran, is the award winning author of The Concubine Saga.

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.

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What the Numbers say about Creating Jobs in America – Part 1/4

Since I’m a member of the California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS), I receive the “Retired Educator,” a quarterly newsletter.  The topic of this series of posts was motivated by the 2012 Winter edition.

To earn my monthly CalSTRS check, I first had to work thirty years as a classroom teacher in California’s public schools while 8% of my monthly paychecks went into CalSTRS to help fund that retirement system, which proves that it is not an unearned entitlement as some might want the nation to believe.

In fact, according to the 2011 Summary Report in the newsletter, contributions from members, the State of California and the federal government, which is why we cannot collect Social Security, was almost $6 billion in 2011. About half came from working members.

In addition, I do not earn an annual six-figure income through CalSTRS. In fact, when I left teaching in 2005, I took a 40% pay cut, as most teachers do, and lost my medical plan, because I could not afford the cost of COBRA, which was more than $1,000 a month.  Add another 14 years working outside education, and the total number of years I worked for a pay check was forty-five.

I discovered from that “Retired Educator” newsletter that CalSTRS lost $53.95 billion between 2007 – 2009 while President G. W. Bush still lived in the White House, but earned back $36.92 billion (2009 – 2011) with President Obama.  Note: CalSTRS did not receive bail out money from the federal government. That money mostly went to big private sector banks—not retirement programs such as CalSTRS.  If you want to know where the money went and how much, CNN.com shows you.

I’ve read that total losses globally were in the trillions. One financial Website set the total at more than $60 trillion US dollars. In China, alone, about 20 million people lost manufacturing jobs leading to labor unrest in 2008 and 2009. In the US, that number of job losses was about nine million.

Even though the CalSTRS newsletter didn’t say so, I learned that the wealthy do not create most jobs as Republicans claim—the working class creates most jobs by spending what little they earn, while the wealthy hoard most of their money in safer investments than those needed to create jobs as you shall learn from this series of posts.

However, I have an old friend that keeps telling me we cannot raise taxes on the wealthy one percent and/or the top twenty percent (those earning $55,000 or more annually—6.24% earn more than $100,000), because it will stop job growth.  He also happens to be a neoconservative-libertarian, evangelical Christian.  He despises liberal and progressive politics and policies.  He has said more than once that he believes G. W. Bush may have been America’s greatest president, and if anything bad happens in America, it is the fault of those evil liberal-progressive Democrats.

It doesn’t matter what the facts reveal. Anything that does not match his opinions/beliefs are liberal lies. He also listens faithfully to the conservative  Dennis Prager radio talk show and belongs to and attends Dennis Prager Fan Club meetings.

Conservative talk radio in the United States is a phenomenon that got its start in the 1980s when the Fairness Doctrine was allowed to expire under President Reagan (he vetoed it after both Houses of Congress voted it into law). This veto then allowed broadcasters to present a political opinion or point of view or pundit (mostly lies, exaggerations and misinformation) without being required to allow equal time for alternative views or rebuttals. The ideology that benefited the most from the loss of the Fairness Doctrine was conservative talk radio shows such as Dennis Prager’s.  See Prager’s Parrots to learn more.

My old friend and Prager fan has also said that he wouldn’t mind if Social Security were repealed as long as the government refunded him the money he paid into the system—and this comes from a guy that lost a half million dollars in the stock market after saving that money in tax sheltered retirement accounts. Later, he had to do battle with the IRS for years because they came for their share of that tax-sheltered money that he borrowed from his tax shelter and gambled away.

No matter what this old friend believes and preaches as if it were one of the Gospels, I’ve learned that what put America on the road to ruin causing the 2007-2011 global financial crises has more to do with the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act repealing the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933 (this was the final nail in the coffin), which deregulated banking, insurance, securities, and the financial services industry, allowing financial institutions to “grow very big”.

The repeal of the Glass–Steagall Act of 1933 effectively removed the separation that previously existed between investment banking, which issued securities, and commercial banks, which made money through deposits.

The deregulation also removed conflict-of-interest rules that had prevented investment bankers from serving as officers of commercial banks.

It was the repeal of these prohibitions that was later claimed by many to have contributed to the 2007 global financial crises by allowing depositors’ money to flow into risky investments, and according to the Huffington Post, in the first 15 months after the start of the 2007 global financial crises, American Retirement Accounts Lost $2 Trillion and the federal government did nothing to slow the tide of those losses as they bailed out banks and the auto industry.  By the middle of 2009, those losses may have climbed as high as $4 trillion, which is much more than the $54 billion CalSTRS lost.

Continued on February 29, 2012 in What the Numbers say about Creating Jobs in America – Part 2

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

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


Associated Content said in 2006, “Every day, as many as 77 percent of American youth are labeled by special definition: Latchkey Kids.”

In the US, a latchkey kid is one that leaves school in the afternoon to go to an empty house because the parent or parents are working. If no parent is home, who is guiding the child?

It didn’t help that I made more phone calls to parents than any other teacher on campus.

It didn’t help that I stayed in my classroom at lunch and at least an hour after school to help kids who wanted extra help, but none of my English students ever took advantage of that help and we couldn’t make them.

However, I was there year after year. Every day I reminded my students that I would be there. There was a sign posted on the wall as a reminder, and it was placed near the door where no one could miss it.

At lunch and after school, I often sat an empty classroom but I didn’t waste my time. I used that time to correct the student work that had been turned in.

By the time I left teaching after thirty years, less than five percent of my students were doing the homework and it didn’t matter how many phone calls I made to parents.

It was obvious that most of the kids I taught did not have the types of parents I had. Many of the parents of my students didn’t speak English and were illiterate, so books were not important and children learn from their parents’ lack of interest.

It is obvious that President Obama’s mother and grandparents were great role models that made a big difference in his education. Why can’t he see that?

That fact that Obama is as blind as Bush was, is because it was probably a teacher’s fault.

Return to Bush and Obama’s Ignorant Gaff – Part 2 or start with Part 1 or View as Single Page

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

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Bush and Obama’s Ignorant Gaff – Part 2/3


Studies and statistics show that the “average” American child spends about 10 hours a day either having fun watching TV or playing video games or social networking on Facebook or sending endless text messages with a mobile phone.

The high school I taught at in Southern California for many years has a low state ranking and was one of those underperforming schools and still is five years after I retired.

One year, there was a story in the news about the school’s scores going down and one of my students with a failing grade mentioned this in class, which caused others to laugh with looks on their faces that said it was a teacher’s fault.

I said, “Walnut Valley High School has a state ranking that is a nine out of ten and our school is a three.  If we swapped students from Nogales to Walnut move the teachers, that ranking would go with the students and Nogales would have a nine and Walnut a three.

“The score comes from the students—not the teachers. You started kindergarten in a different school.  After seven years, you went to an Intermediate school.  By the time you walked through my classroom door, you had been in school ten years and probably had fifty different teachers.”

They stopped laughing.

At the time, half the students I taught were failing my classes. The reason they were failing is that they didn’t read at home, do the homework or study for tests.  I should know. I’m the one who recorded all those zeroes in the grade book.

I’m the one that called or attempted to call parents to get them involved.

Then when students fail, Washington D.C. blames and punishes teachers.

Continued in Bush and Obama’s Ignorant Gaff – Part 3 or return to Part 1 or View as Single Page

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

If you want to subscribe to iLook China, there is a “Subscribe” button at the top of the screen in the menu bar.

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

If you want to subscribe to iLook China, there is a “Subscribe” button at the top of the screen in the menu bar.

 

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