Tag Archives: School district

Blind, Deaf, and Dumber to the facts and doomed to fail — Part 4/4

Since so many Hispanic/Latinos and African-Americans live in poverty, you may believe poverty is the problem, and the facts support this progressive politically correct opinion. After all, in 2010, the National Poverty Center reported, “27.4% of blacks and 26.6% of Hispanics/Latinos were poor, compared to 9.9% of non-Hispanic whites [caucasions] and 12.1% of Asians.”

If you support  this “politically correct” opinion, think again as we visit one “tiny” rural Kansas school district.

Liz Goodwin writes in The Lookout, “The average student at the Waconda school district of 385 kids scores better than 90 percent of students in 20 developed countries on math and reading tests, according to The Global Report Card, published in the journal Education Next.

In Waconda school district, “Most of the students are white, and no kids need English language learning classes.”

However, 65% of these white students qualify for free or reduced federal lunches, which is an indication that they live in poverty.

The formula for success in the Kansas Waconda school district is that “almost every parent shows up for parent-teacher conferences at the elementary school level and participation stays high in the older grades as well.

[Note—the public school where I taught (1975 – 2005) always had more than 70% Hispanic/Latino students, and less than 10% of parents came to parent-teacher conferences annually]

In addition, the district keeps its pre-kindergarten to third grade classes “very” small so the teachers may deal with a lot of problems quickly and early in child development.

A third difference is that the district keeps an assessment card of each student and that card follows the child from grade to grade. The card lists skills the state expects each child to master in each subject and teachers update the cards continuously.

Another factor is that this small Kansas district does not follow education trends. “We don’t believe in the next biggest thing or the next biggest theory,” the superintendent, Jeff Travis, said, “We’ve not made any major changes.”

[Note: the public schools where I taught in Southern California implemented many of the biggest theories and these education trends often made my job as a teacher more difficult and the situation worse]

In conclusion, according to Robert Weissberg, “Regardless of geography, everybody, white, black, and brown, knows what a bad school is — a school dominated by poor black and Hispanic students.”

However, it doesn’t matter if one is an American conservative, moderate or liberal, few muster the courage to speak this truth even when that truth is supported with solid facts.

Return to Blind, Deaf and Dumber to the facts and doomed to fail – Part 3 or start with Part 1


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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Flawed Claims about “Different Kinds of Liberals”

Eric Schansberg lives in Indiana and wrote a post for his “personal” blog about different kinds of liberals.  There is one quote of Schansberg’s that I challenge.

Schansberg claimed that, “In education, teacher unions want to preserve the monopoly power of the government schools. Restricting competition is a common way to make one group better off at the expense of others,” is misleading.

Teacher unions and public school teachers do not run the school districts in the United States. Teachers are employees and they do as they are told. I should know. I worked in one public school district for thirty years.

Who runs the public schools in America?

Democratically elected school boards do that job.  In addition, policy for public schools is decided at the state level, which means the legislature of each state sets the standards and expectations for the school districts in each state.

There are over 14,000 public school districts in the U.S., and discerning parents may choose where to live, which means 14,000 choices and in some school districts, one school may be better than another.

Crazy Conservatives at the “Take Back America Conference”

Parents that do their homework before buying a home or renting may easily find one school or school district that is better than others and that is a form of choice, which is what my wife and I did.  All the information one needs to make such a decision may be easily found through Google.

We bought the home we live in now in a public school district that was highly rated.  Our daughter attended middle and high school in this Northern California public school district, where she earned straight A’s for six years and then was accepted to UCLA, UC San Diego, UC Davis and Stanford, where she is starting her second year.

When I asked her how many “bad” teachers she had while attending public schools in California K-12, she said only one name came to mind and she must have had at last fifty teachers during those 13 years.

Finland and Singapore, with two of the best school systems in the world, have government run schools.

In fact, in Finland, the best school system in Europe, 97% of students attend public government run schools and the teachers belong to strong teacher unions but teachers decide how to run their schools and parents offer strong support, which is often missing in the US.

Then Schansberg claims teacher unions restrict competition.  Wrong again.

There are 33,366 private schools in the United States, serving 5.5 million PK-12 students. Private schools account for over 25 percent of the nation’s schools and enroll about 10 percent of all students, which is a higher ratio than Finland or Singapore where only 3% of the students attend private schools.

Then there are homeschooled students, which add up to about 1.5 to 1.7 million students.

Parents, if they make an effort, have many choices where their children go to school. The real reason for the school choice movement in America has nothing to do with better schools. This movement is politically/religiously motivated. There is no other reason.

If these conservatives really wanted better schools, they would be studying the countries that already have them instead of reinventing a wheel that would turn out square.

Saying the public schools in the United States are a  monopoly would be the same as claiming the U.S. Post Office is a monopoly without mentioning FedEx, DHL, UPS and e-mail.

There may be two large teacher unions (NEA and AFT) but these unions are broken into 14,000 different branches and each branch negotiates separately with the democratically elected school boards of each of those 14,000 school districts for wages and benefits and the teacher unions do not dictate policy or curriculum—the democratically elected officials at the school district, state and federal level  do that after much debate and lobbying.

In the thirty years I taught, the union branch I paid my dues to, which was a member of CTA/NEA, never told us how or what to teach and never offered workshops in those areas.

Do you really want your children to attend schools run by the CEO of an International corporation such as Wal-Mart, which only answers to its investors?

Discover how to Avoid the Mainstream Parent Trap


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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Perils of the Public School Classroom – Part 1/2

Job security is perilous for teachers in America, and it’s growing worse.

A teacher is suspended for rattling a table to gain the students attention or pins a note about unacceptable classroom behavior to a child’s sweater because the mother hasn’t responded to earlier notes.

In both cases, the students were not paying attention in class or were misbehaving. The teachers were just doing his or her job.

For rattling a table, one girl ran from the room and dialed 911 to complain to the police and they came to the school. The school district put the teacher on leave. We may never know who the student was since the law protects children younger than 18.

In Florida, an angry mother complains and another teacher is put on leave. The reason was that the teacher stapled a note to the student’s sweater. The teacher wasn’t sure if the notes she was sending home were getting through since the child’s poor behavior in class hadn’t changed. Source: neatorama

The mother felt the teacher embarrassed her son on purpose. The wrong person got in trouble. The mother should have spend a month in jail for the trouble she caused.

I see no problem with embarrassing students and parents too when student behavior disrupts the learning enivronment. The classroom is where teaching and learning is supposed to take place. When a child’s behavior or academic progress is poor and parents are not doing their job, the next step should be to embarrass the child in front of his or her peers and have the parents spend 24 hours in jail.

Continued April 18, 2011, Perils of the Public School Classroom – Part 2 or discover A Lesson in Misleading an Ignorant Public


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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