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Tag Archives: self-esteem movement

What makes Education Toxic?

A comment left for a postNC Teacher: “I quit”—on Diane Ravitche’s blog made a good point, and I posted a reply:

I think you have made a great point or at least inadvertently focused a spotlight on an important issue and why it is there.  Turnover in a school or school district may be a red flag—a strong warning sign— that the school board/administration/students are not the easiest to work with or work for [another word would be dysfunctional ].

This could be extended to an entire state since each state has its own department of education that decides policy in that state as directed by the elected politicians from the governor of a state on down. Due to a need to gain votes, religious and/or political agendas tend to rule in such organizations and the winds may shift at any time.

For example, I friend sent me this about the current situation in the high school in Southern California where he now teaches.

I was a public school teacher from 1975 – 2005 and we worked together before dysfunctional administration at our high school and in our school district drove him to quit and find a job in another district that at the time was a better place to work.

But beware of the grass is greener over there syndrome because a drought will kill the green grass leaving behind sweltering heat and dust.

During my thirty years in the classroom, I worked under nine-different principals. Some were great, some good and some horrible.

The horrible ones drove teachers, counselors and VPs out of the schools where they ruled Nazi style and turnover could reach as high as fifty percent in a few years.

Good principals, who are usually a sign of good administration and a sensible school board, tend to hold on to staff.

I mean, how many people quit jobs—any job—with a boss that knows what he or she is doing; a boss that supports his workers in the best possible ways to make the work environment a place where we want to spend twenty to forty years of our lives?

My friend said of this school year (2012 – 2013):

“112 scheduling changes in the first three weeks (the classes he teaches)

“75% of the administrative team is new; a lot of chaos

“50% of the counselors are new; a lot of chaos

“We lost our department chairs, so there is no communication between the teachers and administration

[This high school, he says] “once had a top-notch academic program; however, we are falling apart at the seams; our test scores have flat-lined and they will continue to flat-line because there are just too many new faces at our school; two of our Vice Principals have never been a VP before; they’re nice people, but we have to wade through their learning curve.”

For another example: at the high school where I taught for the last sixteen of the thirty years I was in the classroom as a teacher, we had one new teacher quit at lunch on his first day on the job with two more classes to teach after lunch. During the lunch break, he walked in the principal’s office, tossed his room keys on the desk and said, “If they won’t show some respect for me and attempt to learn, then I refuse to teach them.”

I know from experience, that district did not do a good job creating a positive, supportive educational environment for its teachers because I worked in that district for thirty years. Instead, it was more of a combative environment that did not offer the support teachers wanted or needed to teach.

It is a fact that teachers teach and students learn. However, that is not always the case. Instead, teachers in a toxic educational environment often struggle to teach while too many students make no effort to learn.

Elected School Boards and the administrators they hire should support an environment where teachers may teach and students will learn, and we can learn from two of the best public educations system in the world: Finland and Singapore.

In Finland, the teachers have a strong union and the teachers make the decisions in a supportive educational environment and it works. Parents start teaching children how to read at age three but the first year of school is at age seven.

In Singapore, merit rules. Students must compete academically to earn where they are tracked and the system is heavily tracked based on performance. There is no self-esteem driven educational environment; there is corporal punishment and students may be publicly beat with a bamboo cane if caught breaking strict-rules built to support a merit based education system.

Why can’t we in the United States learn from Finland and Singapore?

Discover What is the Matter with [American] Parents these Days?

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

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What, Me Worry about Debt! – I’ve got self-esteem protecting me – Part 3/3

What looming disaster has the self-esteem movement created?

Rachel Dwyer of Ohio State University says, “By age 28, those students may be realizing that they overestimated how much money they were going to earn in their jobs. When they took out the loans, they may have thought they would pay off their debts easily, and it is turning out that it is not as easy as they had hoped.”

According to The Smart Student Guide to Financial Aid, these debts range from $10,000 to more than $100,000.  In fact, a total of more than $1.7 trillion in federal education loans have been made since beginning of the loan programs.


Link to the entire program of Your Life, Your Money

In addition, the estimated total private student loans outstanding as of June 30, 2009 were approximately 157.8 billion.  The overall total education loans outstanding, federal and private, was about $763.4 billion in 2009.

When I wrote this post, the Student Loan Debt Clock said that number now stood at more than $900 billion dollars.

If we go back to the beginning of this series of posts, you will recall that many of these young adults also carry credit cards beyond the student loans and undergraduates are carrying record-high credit card balances. Source: Credit Cards.com

The average (mean) balance grew to $3,173, the highest in the years the study has been conducted. Twenty-one percent of undergraduates had balances of between $3,000 and $7,000, also up from the last study.

In addition, close to one-fifth of seniors carried balances greater than $7,000, while the average college graduate has nearly $20,000 in credit card debt. (Source: Sallie Mae, “How Undergraduate Students Use Credit Cards,” April 2009)

The results of this study has revealed that the movement to boost vanity among our children for the last five decades has created a debt crises that many young adults may struggle for decades to pay off while sacrificing a better lifestyle than their parents may have experienced.

Even more disturbing is a piece by Lori Gottlieb in the Atlantic, How to Land Your Kid in Therapy, which deals with why the obsession with our children’s (self-esteem) happiness may be dooming them with unhappy adulthoods. I will write summary of this long article in another post (Gottlieb’s Atlantic piece ran 12 pages printed).

Return to What, Me Worry about Debt! – Part 2 or return to Part 1

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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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The Un-Civil War Between Old-World Values and New Age Parenting – Part 2/2

Larry Summers cites in his debate with Amy Chua that Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg dropped out of Harvard emphasizing what those “two” achieved without a university education.

While Gates was building Microsoft and Zuckerberg Facebook, do you believe these two billionaires spent ten hours a day doing what the average American child (raised by SAPs such as Summers) does to enjoy the first quarter of his or her life?

Summers doesn’t mention that Warren Buffet, one of the richest men on the planet, attended the Wharton Business school at the University of Pennsylvania for two years then transferred to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Working part time, he managed to graduate in only three years.

Summers doesn’t mention that it is common that the top one percent of executives with annual incomes of $500,000 or more often have Ivy league educations from universities such as Stanford, Harvard, Yale or Princeton.


“Asian countries value education more than other countries.”

Summers doesn’t mention that the top 15% of the upper-middle class are highly educated and often have graduate degrees while earning a high 5-figure annual income commonly above $100,000.

To be specific, the median personal income for a high school drop out in the US with less than a 9th grade education is $17,422, and with some college that medium income jumps to $31,054, while a person with a professional university degree earns an annual medium income of $82,473. Source: Wiki Academic Models (this source was citing US Census data).

It’s okay if Summers and his fellow SAPs let their children and teens have fun the first eighteen years of life, but don’t forget, the average life span in the US is 78.3 years.

What are those children going to do for enjoyment while working to earn a living the next 60.3 years as an adult?

Most children raised by Tiger Moms such as Amy Chua shouldn’t have to worry. Those children (as adults) will probably be in the top 15% of income earners and enjoy life much more than those earning less than $18 thousand annually.

Learn more from Costco Connections “Is College Worth It?” or return to The War Between Old-World Values and New-Age Parenting – Part 1

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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.

This revised and edited post first appeared on iLook China January 31, 2011 as Amy Chua Debates Former White House “Court Jester” Larry Summers

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Posted by on April 25, 2011 in Education, family values, politics

 

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The Self-Esteem Train Wreck

It was in the 1980s, when we were told to throw out the grammar books and stop teaching from them. I blame this on the self esteem movement—a blunder equal to the invasion of Iraq or the Vietnam War or Anzio in World War II or Richard Nixon’s involvement in the Watergate cover-up or John F. Kennedy allowing the Bay of Pigs Invasion that led to the Cuban Missile Crisis or Ronald Reagan and the Iran-Contra Affair or Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky.

“Throw out the books”, they said—and Hitler lit his match. But on the sly, we defied Sauron and Grendel. Most English teachers hid sets of Warriner’s English Grammar and Composition.

Every Friday, thirty minutes before class let out, I took out Warriner’s and went over the lesson for homework that weekend. It was always short and on Monday, the answers were posted on the board so the kids could check their work during roll before turning it in.

I thought I was being clever and had no idea that a storm was brewing.

Discover Stealth Grammar – Orders from Sauron

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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.

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