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The Finland-Singapore Solution to Public Education in the U.S. – Part 1/3

After years of U.S. teachers and their unions being blamed for the failure of some students to learn, it is time to face reality.

American teachers did not fail the system. The system failed the teachers, and the proof may be found in Finland and Singapore where teachers are trusted and  supported.

Smithsonian Magazine’s September 2011 issue reported an A+ for Finland where “kids aren’t required to go to school until they’re 7, standardized tests are rare and yet the Nordic nation’s success in education is off the charts.”

Yet, more than 97% of Finland’s children attend public schools and the teachers belong to a strong union. If you read the piece in Smithsonian (link provided above), the elements of that success, which are missing in the US, are spelled out in detail.

There is a reason that the U.S. public education system appears to be failing (at least according to its very vocal idealistic and fanatical critics).

For decades, the public schools in the US have been run by local, state and federal politics, which resulted in decisions made by mostly ignorant elected officials that turned the schools into laboratories for one ideological fad/theory or political agenda after another.

As an example, devout Christians demand that creationism be taught instead of evolution, while scientists argue that creationism is wrong. School prayer is also a hot button issue between atheists and religions as is sex education.

LynNell Hancock of Smithsonian Magazine says, “Finland has vastly improved in reading, math and science literacy over the past decade in large part because its teachers are trusted to do whatever it takes to turn young lives around.”

The key phrase in the last sentence is “its (Finland) teachers are trusted to do whatever it takes”, which is missing in America.

Continued August 29, 2011 in The Finland-Singapore Solution to Public Education in the U.S. – 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).

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The Annual Autumn Teacher Blues – Part 3/3

All the negative media and criticism of “ignorant idiots” that public school teachers in the U.S. and their unions are failing America’s children doesn’t explain why the International Adult Literacy Survey (IALS), reported that between 19% and 23% of American adults performed at the top levels for each of the three literacy scales: document literacy, prose literacy and quantitative (number) literacy.

Sweden is the only country that scored higher.

Countries that have participated in the IALS are Canada, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, Poland, Sweden, Switzerland, United States, Australia, Belgium, Great Britain, New Zealand, Northern Ireland, Chili, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Hungry, Italy, Norway, and Slovenia.

The IALS is an international comparative study designed to provide participating countries, including the United States, with information about the skills of their adult populations. The IALS measured the literacy and numeracy skills of a nationally representative sample from each participating country. Source: NCES.ed.gov

As I was writing about the IALS, I thought if this survey had been widely reported in the media as much as the 2009 PISA test results were, the media and critics of U.S. public schools would look for statistics from this survey that were negative and report the glass half empty and never mention the glass is more than half full.

From Retaining Teachers.com, we learn how tough it is in America’s public schools from the teacher turnover rate.

The same stress that causes PTSD in teachers that stay in education may also drive qualified teachers away.

Ingersoll (1999, 2001, 2002a) proposed the schoolteacher hiring and quitting cycle is a revolving door.

Ingersoll (2001) analyzed national data and concluded the teacher shortages in public schools is not because of teacher retirement but a revolving door in which almost half the new teachers leave within five years, while another study (Barbour – 2006) found that shortages of well-prepared teachers in public schools exist because 22% of new teachers leave within five years.

However, another study found that 28% of teachers that left self-reported they would return if school conditions improved (Futernick, 2007)

Return to The Annual Autumn Teacher Blues – Part 2 or start with Part 1

_______________________

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

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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Needs versus Education – What comes first? – Part 5/5

Child Help.org says, “Over 3 million reports of child abuse are made every year in the United States; however, those reports can include multiple children. In 2009, approximately 3.3 million child abuse reports and allegations were made involving an estimated 6 million children.”

Child abuse occurs at every socioeconomic level, across ethnic and cultural lines, within all religions and at all levels of education.

RAINN.org says, “Fifteen percent of sexual assault and rape victims are under age 12 and 29% are age 12 – 17. Three percent of boys grades 5 to 8 and 5% of boys in grades 9 to 12 said they have been sexually abused.

“Children that are victims of sexual assault are three times more likely to suffer from depression, six times more likely to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, 13 times more likely to abuse alcohol, 26 times more likely to abuse drugs and 4 times more likely to contemplate suicide.”

The No Child Left Behind Act mandates (without directly saying so) that teachers are to overcome all of these challenges without any changes taking place outside the public schools when hunger, homelessness, gang and crime statistics, child abuse, etc. impact a child’s life.

However, when survival comes first in a child’s life, and other essential needs are not met, education takes a back seat and teachers in the public schools will not overcome these challenges no matter what mandate the federal government votes into law or how many critics claim America’s public school teachers are failing.

With these challenges, it is amazing that teachers have accomplished what they have.

For example, in California, 53.9% of Black or African American students in the public schools have met the English Language Arts Target while 56.3% have met the Mathematics Target.

Yet, in the United States, sixty-seven percent (67%) of Black-African American children live in single-family homes.  In addition, more than 35% live in poverty.

Among Hispanic/Latino children, more than 33% live in poverty, while less than 12% of white children do and about 13% of Asians.

The numbers of students that fail or succeed in school is easily explained by the numbers of those living in poverty, in communities dominated by youth gangs, and those that live in single parent homes.

Asking America’s public school teachers to overcome these obstacles is the same as telling someone to climb Mount Everest nude and without any climbing gear.  Only ignorant fools or people with political agendas based on greed or ideology would make such accusations.

The facts say, when a child’s basic needs are met, that child is ready to learn and not until then and the complexity of what it means to make sure every child’s basic needs are met is difficult to identify and achieve.  We cannot expect the government or teachers to solve everything for everyone. Individuals must take responsiblity for their lives and that means parents too.

Teacher’s cannot push these child to the next level in literacy or math even with the threat of lost jobs and closed schools.

Return to Needs versus Education – What comes first? – Part 4 or start with Part 1

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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.

To subscribe to “Crazy Normal”, look for the “Subscribe” button at the top of the screen in the menu bar, click on it then follow directions.

 

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Needs versus Education – What comes first? – Part 4/5

The National Center for Children in Poverty says, “Nearly 15 million children in the United States – 21% of all children – live in families with incomes below the federal poverty level – $22,050 a year for a family of four. Research shows that, on average, families need an income of about twice that level to cover basic expenses. Using this standard, 42% of children live in low-income families.

“Most of these children have parents who work,” NCCP.org says, “but low wages and unstable employment leave their families struggling to make ends meet. Poverty can impede children’s ability to learn and contribute to social, emotional, and behavioral problems.”

However, poverty is not the only challenge to overcome. Being loved and belonging to a family was on the third step in Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs blocking a child’s need to earn an education, which was on step four and five.

In fact, the Heritage Foundation reports, “How Broken Families Rob Children of Their Chances for Future Prosperity”. The growth in the number of children born into broken families in America—from 12  of every 100 born in 1950 to 58 of every 100 born in 1992, has become a seemingly unbreakable cycle that the federal government not only continues to ignore, but even promotes through some of its policies.

Statistics and studies show that children who grow up in a stable, two-parent family have the best prospects for achieving income security as adults,” and today only 47% of children live with both of their original parents.

Then there is child abuse, which sabotages a child ability to leave the second level of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs where it clearly says safety of health, body, morality and of the family must be satisfied before an individual’s needs change.

Continued on August 18, 2011, in Needs versus Education – What comes first? – Part 5 or return to Part 3

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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.

To subscribe to “Crazy Normal”, look for the “Subscribe” button at the top of the screen in the menu bar, click on it then follow directions

 

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Needs versus Education – What comes first? – Part 3/5

Hunger is not the only factor that must be dealt with before a child is ready to cooperate with his teachers and learn.

According to Hope for the Homeless, 1.5 million children in America go to sleep without a home each year, and says, “Children without homes are twice as likely to experience hunger as other children. Two-thirds worry they will not have enough to eat. More than one-third of homeless children report being forced to skip meals,” and “Homelessness makes children sick. Children who experience homelessness are more than twice as likely as middle class children to have moderate to severe acute and chronic health problems.”

In addition, USA Today reports that the FBI says, “Criminal gangs in the US have swelled to an estimated 1 million members responsible for up to 80% of crimes in communities across the nation, according to a gang threat assessment compiled by federal officials… The report says about 900,000 gang members live “within local communities across the country,” and about 147,000 are in U.S. prisons or jails.

One example is Detroit Michigan, which is consistently ranked as the most dangerous city in the United States with high violent and property crime rates every year.

In addition, forty-four percent (44%) of youth gang membership are Hispanic-Latino while thirty-five percent (35%) are Black-African American youths.  Only 14% are Caucasian and 5% Asian. Source: OJJDP.gov

This may help explain why Caucasions and Asian students have achieved the NCLB benchmarks while Hispanic-Latino and Black-African American youths have not.

Membership in these street gangs is highest in Los Angeles, California with more than 100,000 youth gang members. When other children that do not belong in streets gangs live in the same area, life is not safe for anyone.

However, poverty also plays a significant role in holding children back.

Continued on August 17, 2011, in Needs versus Education – What comes first? – Part 4 or return to 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.

To subscribe to “Crazy Normal”, look for the “Subscribe” button at the top of the screen in the menu bar, click on it then follow directions.

 

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Needs versus Education – What comes first? – Part 2/5

On August 8, 2011, the U.S. Department of Education posted a press release saying, Obama Administration Proceeds with Reform of No Child Left Behind Failing Congressional Inaction.

“With the new school year fast approaching and still no bill to reform the federal education law known as No Child Left Behind, the Obama administration will provide a process for states to seek relief from key provisions of the law, provided that they are willing to embrace education reform.

“The administration’s proposal for fixing NCLB calls for college-and career-ready standards, more great teachers and principals, robust use of data, and a more flexible and targeted accountability system based on measuring annual student growth.”

However, the causes of many students not achieving benchmarks set by the NCLB Act have not been recognized yet.  The last time the federal government attempted to address these problems was President Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty, which failed because you cannot engineer utopia, and it cannot be ordered into existence either.

 

In fact, Sheldon Danziger, a professor of public policy at the University of Michigan, says, “the poverty rate has remained steady since the 1970s and today, Americans have allowed poverty to fall off the national agenda.”

In fact, LBJ’s War on Poverty cost $6.6 trillion over a thirty-year period ($220 billion per year avg) and much of the effort was wasteful and corrupt.” Source: In These Times

What LBJ attempted to do with his War On Poverty was no different than what President G. W. Bush did when he signed into law the No Child Left Behind Act, which is another impossible attempt to engineer society, but this time the public school and teachers are being held responsible.

According to World Hunger.org, “36.3 million people (in the United States)—including 13 million children—live in households that experience hunger or the risk of hunger; some people in these households frequently skip meals or eat too little, sometimes going without food for a whole day and 9.6 million people, including 3 million children, live in these homes.”

Are America’s public school teachers supposed to feed these children too?

Continued on August 16, 2011, in Needs versus Education – What comes first? – Part 3 or return to Part 1

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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.

To subscribe to “Crazy Normal”, look for the “Subscribe” button at the top of the screen in the menu bar, click on it then follow directions.

 

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The Impact of Aging Public Schools on Teachers and Students

My last sixteen years of teaching took place at Nogales High School in La Puente, California.

Nogales was built in 1961. By the time I left teaching, Nogales was forty-four years old.

During the last few years when I entered my classroom in the mornings, I started to wheeze and sinus infections were an annual school year occurrence.

Years earlier, in the 1990s, the flat roof above my classroom had sagged resulting in a pool of water when it rained, which leaked into the room.

The year the roof first leaked, I taught four sections of ninth grade English and my fifth and last section of the day was journalism. There were tables along the back wall that held journalism’s Mac computers, a printer and scanner.  Because the worse leaks occurred above the computers, I bought a sheet of plastic to cover them and placed trashcans around the room to catch water from the worst leaks.

By then, the brown, industrial grade carpeting was worn and spotted with dark blotches where gum had been ground into the fabric by unruly students. After the rain, a large portion of the carpet at the back of the room became a spongy mass as it absorbed water from the leaks.

One summer early in the 21st century, the school district removed the old leaky roofs, rafters and all, until the classrooms were open to the sky.  Then new roofs that were not flat were built on the old walls.  However, that brown carpet remained.

According to BEST (Building Educational Success Together), school districts in the US have an estimated $271 billion of deferred (which means they don’t have the money and have to put it off) building maintenance in their schools, excluding administrative facilities…

Many of America’s public schools are aging and causing health problems adding another challenge to teaching.

Near the end of my teaching career (1975 – 2005), I often came down with sinus and respiratory infections but not during the summers when I was not teaching.

The last few years, the indoor air quality in my classroom was so bad that minutes after entering the class, I started to wheeze and then get a low-grade headache that stayed with me all day.  Nogales had more than a 100 people working there.  When I asked if anyone from the staff was having health problems similar to mine, about 20 to 25% said yes and the symptoms were similar.

BEST says, “A national survey of school nurses found over 40% knew children and staff adversely impacted by avoidable indoor pollutants.”

I didn’t plan to retire at sixty.  My goals were to teach until I was sixty-five and leave teaching in 2010.  However, I left five years early due to the wheezing, sinus infections and headaches that all happened or started in my classroom.

I left teaching in 2005, I haven’t wheezed or had a sinus infection since.

One study found that unsatisfactory buildings in need of improvements/repairs influenced test scores, attendance and suspension rates. Another study revealed a 4 to 9% difference in achievement between students in schools in worst/best condition and a 5-9% difference between students in oldest/newest schools in addition to a 4% difference in graduation rates between students in schools in worst/best condition. Source: 21st Century School Fund

The quality of school buildings affects the ability of teachers to teach, teacher morale, and the very health and safety of teachers.

Despite the importance of the condition of school buildings, serious deficiencies have been well documented, particularly in large, urban school districts (see for example, GAO 1995). Moreover, since school buildings in the United States are, on average, over forty years old—just the time when rapid deterioration often begins—we should expect problems with school facilities to worsen.

For example, poor indoor air quality (IAQ) is widespread and many schools suffer from “sick building syndrome” (see, for example, EPA 2000), which in turn increases student absenteeism and reduces student performance (see EPA 2000; Kennedy 2001; Leach 1997; Smedje and Norback 1999; Rosen and Richardson 1999).

Since current student-focused asthma studies show that students lose considerable school time because of the poor conditions of schools, it is not surprising to find that poor IAQ also affects teachers’ health. In one study, fully two-thirds of Washington teachers surveyed reported poor indoor air quality in their school. Source: ncef.org

In my school district, teachers were given 10 sick days a year.  By the time I had taught 25 years, I had about 180 sick days saved.  I used up about half  the last three years I taught.

Discover how Sewer Teaching is a Smelly Art or learn from HEPA Filters Do Not Work Miracles

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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.

To subscribe to “Crazy Normal”, look for the “Subscribe” button at the top of the screen in the menu bar, click on it then follow directions.

 

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Civil Disobedience and No Child Left Behind – Part 9/9

In the early 20th century, the conservative temperance movement popularized the belief that alcohol was the major cause of most personal and social problems and prohibition was seen as the solution to the nation’s poverty, crime, violence, and other ills.

This is similar to the the NCLB Act, which is also seen as a solution to the nation’s poverty, crime, violence, and other ills through forced improvements in education.

Upon ratification of the 18th Amendment (Prohibition – 1919 to 1933), the famous evangelist Billy Sunday said, “The slums will soon be only a memory. We will turn our prisons into factories and our jails into storehouses and corncribs.

Some towns even sold their jails.

The result of the 18th Amendment led to increased crime and violence due to civil disobedience. There was an increase in small portable illegal stills throughout the country. California grape growers increased their area of cultivation about 700% during the first five years of prohibition.  Organized smuggling of alcohol from Canada and elsewhere quickly developed. There was also the notorious and ever present organized bootlegging often resulting in violence. This scourge led to massive and widespread corruption of politicians and law enforcement agencies and the widespread corruption of public officials became a national scandal.

After public support for the 18th Amendment eroded dramatically, Prohibition was repealed, as we are seeing with the NCLB Act.


Another Mr. Morally Correct

The end of slavery in the United States is another example of civil disobedience when abolitionists helped slaves escape from the southern states through the underground railroad at a time when the law said northerners had to return run-away slaves to their owners. This civil disobedience eventually led to the Civil War (1861 – 1865).

Individuals such as Mr. Morally Correct (quoted in Part 1) are conservative idealists supporting easy solutions to complex challenges similar to the temperance movement that led to the 18th Amendment and Prohibition. These misguided people believe that the public schools in America have failed and merit pay or vouchers will overcome all challenges education in America faces leading to a reduction in poverty, crime, violence and other ills.

Mr. Morally Correct and those that believe as he does are wrong just as the temperance movement was wrong in 1919, and without “nonviolent civil disobedience”, the NCLB Act would not be facing close scrutiny and loss of support from the American public.

However, those that are involved in civil disobedience when it comes to the NCLB Act should be aware that they might be punished. Many who violated the 18th Amendment during the fourteen years it was a law during Prohibition went to jail and were condemned by individuals such as Mr. Morally Correct.

In fact, I believe that Mr. Morally Correct will reject everything I have written in this series.  After all, he probably is blind, deaf and mute when it comes to the truth just as the temperance movement was.

Return to Civil Disobedience and No Child Left Behind – Part 8 or start with Part 1

_______________________

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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Civil Disobedience and No Child Left Behind – Part 8/9

There are many reasons why “nonviolent civil disobedience” is acceptable when it comes to No Child Left Behind (NCLB).

One example is latchkey children. According to the U.S. Census, 15% were home alone before school, 76% after school and 9% at night. Presumably, the 9% have parents who work night shifts.

In fact, most homework is supposed to be done after school when 76% of children are often alone without proper adult supervision.

Without parental supervision, we have many American children that avoid homework, reading assignments and studying. Instead, many of these children spend more than 10 hours a day dividing the time watching TV, social networking on sites such as Facebook. playing video games, listening to music, or sending text messages to friends, etc.

And who is blamed when these children fail to meet NCLB benchmarks? public school teachers and their unions

Then there is poor nutrition, which affects a child’s ability to learn, and too much sugar consumption has been found to lower the immune system and affect short-term memory causing memory problems in addition to mood swings.  If a child’s memory is compromised, how is he or she supposed to do well on a standardized test or remember what teachers taught in US history, English, math and science?

And who is blamed when these children fail to meet NCLB benchmarks? public school teachers and their unions

Poverty also has a huge impact on a child’s ability to learn.

The National Center for Children in Poverty says nearly 15 million children in the United States – 21% of all children – live in families with incomes below the federal poverty level – $22,050 a year for a family of four.

Combine poverty, latch key children, poor nutrition and sugar consumption, and the challenge become almost insurmountable. Even the greatest teachers and the best lessons may not be able to overcome all of these challenges.


Street Gangs South L.A. Bloods and Crips – Impact on Education

However, who is blamed when these children fail to meet NCLB benchmarks? public school teachers and their unions

Even in China, with its Confucian influenced culture and deep respect for teachers and education, poverty plays a role in children completing school or dropping out. The drop our rate in rural China often reaches 70%, where most of China’s poverty and/or lower incomes may be found. In India, the crushing 40% severe poverty rate has resulted in a country with about 40% illiteracy.

However, unlike the U.S., which makes scapegoats of its teachers and their labor unions, China is struggling to solve this challenge instead of looking for idealistic, Pollyanna solutions.

Then there is the 800,000 strong American street gang culture, which is very anti education. Street gangs in the US are into drugs and violence that influence the learning environment in US schools due to poor behavior and bad attitudes.

In 2001, the US Senate was split evenly between Democrats (50) and Republicans (50) and conservatives held a majority in the House of Representatives while G. W. Bush, a neoconservative, evangelical, born-again Christian President, ruled the country from the White House. Due to this alone, it is not surprising that NCLB became a law in 2001 that in 2010 identifies millions of teachers and more than 50 thousand public schools as failures, because public education was set up to fail due to the language of the NCLB Act.

Democrats voted for NCLB because they naively believed that teachers were capable of overcoming all of the challenges mentioned in this series, while it is obvious conservatives wanted to set the schools up for failure so private school vouchers would win support from the public.

That leads to the conclusion that shows why nonviolent civil disobedience, such as changing answers on standardized tests or helping students to select correct answers or refusing to cooperate with the federal government as several states have done, is an acceptable way to protest the poorly designed, misleading NCLB Act.

There is more than one historical precedent for civil disobedience for unreasonable and unrealistic laws such as NCLB, which will be revealed in Part 9.

Continued on August 8, 2011, in Civil Disobedience and No Child Left Behind – Part 9 or return to Part 7

_______________________

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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Civil Disobedience and No Child Left Behind – Part 7/9

To understand one of the most difficult challenges American public school teachers face, it is time to examine the Hispanic/Latino culture, one of largest student subgroups in America

In fact, Hispanic/Latino students as a subgroup often do not achieve the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) benchmarks and there is a reason why this happens.

According to American Renaissance.com, Only 33 percent of citizens of Hispanic/Latino origin consider themselves “Americans” first. The rest consider themselves either “Hispanic/Latino” or their former nationality first.

The host of this Blog taught in California public schools (for thirty years – 1975 to 2005) with large Hispanic/Latino student populations and often heard Mexican students complain about having to learn English since they weren’t Americans and did not plan to stay—many came with their families to make money and not to attend school. Those schools also had White, Asian and African-American/Black students attending the same classes.

It is obvious that two-thirds of these Hispanic/Latino students bring their attitudes of education, cultural beliefs and biases with them when they enter the United States.

American Renaissance says, “Hispanics drop out of high school in the United States at (more than) three times the white rate and twice the black rate. Even third-generation Hispanics drop out of school at higher rates than blacks and are less likely to be college graduates. From 1992 to 2003, Hispanic illiteracy in English rose from 35 percent to 44 percent. The average Hispanic 12th-grader reads and does math at the level of the average White 8th-grader.”

In California for 2010, 41.7% of Hispanic/Latino students achieved the NCLB benchmarks in the English Language while 46.7% made the benchmark for Mathematics. There were 2,385,282 Hispanic/Latino students enrolled in the public schools, which means 994,662 met the NCLB benchmark for English Language and 1,113,927 met the benchmark for Mathematics, but according to Mr. Morally Correct, teachers should quit their jobs because they are frauds and thieves if they cash their monthly checks since this subgroup did not meet the NCLB benchmark.


Unsupervised children are at increased risk for violence, drug abuse, and sexual activity.

Since this subgroup did not meet the benchmark set by California, many schools in the state are considered failures by the NCLB Act and the teachers/educators may be punished when 2014 arrives by possibly losing their jobs and/or having their schools closed.  The students may then be bused to other schools that made the benchmarks as if the teachers are the reason one school succeeds and another one fails.

It doesn’t matter that the failing schools may have met the benchmarks for the White and Asian subgroups attending the same classes with Hispanics/Latinos. All it takes is one subgroup not achieving the benchmark to be considered a failure.

Since most of the Hispanic/Latino students in California come from Mexico, it helps to understand a little of the culture that gave birth to and raises these children that drop out of US schools more than three times the rate of the White race and two times that of the African-American/Black race.

The results of the 2009 PISA reading literacy test for students age 15 in Mexico reveals that only one percent (1%) earned a 5, which is the highest possible score, while 28% scored a one, the lowest possible score. The CIA Factbook says only 86.1% of the population of Mexico age 15 and over can read and write.

In Mexico, most young children attend primary school but only 62 percent reach secondary school. At secondary level, about half drop out, which means 31% of students that started school at age six will finish high school, according to non-governmental organization Mexicanos Primero (Mexicans First). Source: Reuters

The dropout rate in Mexico’s schools is almost 70% compared to 8.1% in the United States.

However, in the United States, the Hispanic/Latino drop our rate is 17.6%, which is four times better than Mexico’s drop our rate. This evidence suggests that America’s public school teachers are doing an incredible job with the Hispanic/Latino subgroup even if it is not making its NCLB benchmark.

According to a Pew Hispanic Center report, in 2005, 56% of illegal immigrants were from Mexico; 22% were from other Latin American countries, primarily from Central America; 13% were from Asia; 6% were from Europe and Canada; and 3% were from Africa and the rest of the world.

In addition, about 3.5 million of those illegal immigrant students were from Mexico or Central America and almost a million were in California’s public schools, and there is nothing the public schools can do about this situation because in 1982, the US Supreme Court ruled that states and school districts cannot deny education to illegal alien children residing here.

Continued on August 7, 2011, in Civil Disobedience and No Child Left Behind – Part 8 or return to Part 6

_______________________

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

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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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