Tag Archives: the importance of parents in a child’s education

What would happen to the Corporate RheeForm War against Public Education in the U.S. if every American knew the few facts in this post?

Value Added Measurement (VAM) uses the results of student tests linked to the flawed Common Core Standards that are being forced on the nation’s public schools to punish teachers for students who–-for a variety of reasons that seldom if ever have anything to do with the actual teaching—are not learning.

In fact, VAM totally ignores the student learning factor and places ALL the blame on teachers when reputable studies have repeatedly proven that time spent in the classroom and teaching represents less than 30% of the factors that lead to a child’s learning.  The other factors that make up two-thirds of what causes a child to learn takes place outside of school in the home/family environment, and poverty DOES play a vital role when it comes to a child learning what is taught by a teacher in the classroom.

Even the results of the International PISA tests prove that poverty is a major factor, and to make my point, I’m using several different reputable sources.

FIRST: A Stanford study found:

“There is an achievement gap between more and less disadvantaged students in every country; surprisingly, that gap is smaller in the United States than in similar post-industrial countries, and not much larger than in the very highest scoring countries.

“Achievement of U.S. disadvantaged students has been rising rapidly over time, while achievement of disadvantaged students in countries to which the United States is frequently unfavorably compared – Canada, Finland and Korea, for example – has been falling rapidly.

“U.S. PISA scores are depressed partly because of a sampling flaw resulting in a disproportionate number of students from high-poverty schools among the test-takers. About 40 percent of the PISA sample in the United States was drawn from schools where half or more of the students are eligible for the free lunch program, though only 32 percent of students nationwide attend such schools.”

SECOND: The Economic Policy Institute validated that the Stanford report was correct.

THIRD: Mel Riddle, the Associate Director for High School Services at NASSP (National Association of Secondary School Principals), compared the results of the PISA and focused on children who lived in poverty to discover that children living in poverty in the United States are improving and doing better than their socioeconomic peers in the other OECD countries.

Mel reported: “PISA results have provided ample fodder for public school bashers and doomsayers who further their own philosophies and agendas by painting all public schools as failing. For whatever reason, the pundits, many of whom have had little or no actual exposure to public schools, refuse to paint an accurate picture of the state of education.

“A closer look at the data tells a different story. Most notable is the relationship between PISA scores in terms of individual American schools and poverty.  While the overall PISA rankings ignore such differences in the tested schools, when groupings based on the rate of free and reduced lunch are created, a direct relationship is established.”

FOURTH: The Center for Public Education looked closely at the time American children spent in school compared to other countries and asked and answered several questions.

For instance: Are students in India and China required to go to school longer than U.S. students?

According to data from the OECD and the World Data on Education, students in China and India are not required to spend more time in school than most U.S. students.

Do other countries require more instructional hours for students than the U.S.?

According to the OECD, the hours of compulsory instruction per year in these countries range from 608 hours in Finland (a top performer) to 926 hours in France (an average performer) at the elementary level, compared to the over 900 hours required in California, New York, Texas, and Massachusetts.

Are U.S. students receiving less instruction?

The data clearly shows that most U.S. schools require at least as much or more instructional time as other countries, even high-performing countries like Finland, Japan, and Korea.

In conclusion, I ask again: What would happen to the Corporate RheeForm War against Public Education in the U.S. if every American knew the few facts in this post?


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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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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