RSS

Tag Archives: United States

What parenting method works best?

  1. The self-esteem boosting, follow your dreams and be happy all the time parenting method that many white parents in America practice.
  2. The practice known as tiger parenting as seen in Amy Chua’s Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother and/or Anchee Min’s The Cooked Seed—both memoirs.

Lylah M. Alphonse, Senior Editor of Yahoo! Shine reported on May 9 about “a recently released decade-long study of 444 Chinese-American families shows that the effect tiger parents have on their kids is almost exactly the opposite,” and that a controlling Chinese-style parent does not drive his or her child to success.

The conclusion was that “Tiger parenting doesn’t produce superior outcomes in kids.”

I disagree, and here’s why:

Studying 444 Chinese-American families does not provide enough information.

Instead, the study should expand in its scope and include all Asian Americans in addition to Pacific Islanders, because these cultures encourage stricter parenting methods and place a higher value on education compared to the wishy-washy style of the average White American parent who talks to his/her child less than five minutes a day and allows the child to divide his/her daily time watching about 10 hours of TV, listing to music, hanging out with friends, playing video games, spending time on sites such as Facebook, sending text messages, etc.

The results:

  • Suicide Rates by Race/Ethnicity, 1990-2010 (all ages):

In twenty years, the suicide rates of Asian/Pacific Islanders never cracked 7% and even improved from 6.63% in 1990 to 6.24% by 2010.

For American Whites, the suicide rate was 13.3% in 1990 and climbed to 14.13% by 2010—more than twice the suicide rate of Asian/Pacific Islanders.

Source: American Foundation for Suicide Prevention

  • Unemployment rate by race for March 2013 (all ages):

The White American unemployment was 6.9%.

The Asian-American was 5% (the lowest employment rate among all racial groups)

Source: United States Department of Labor

  • Divorce rate by race:

Whites had the highest divorce rate in America at 27%.  African American’s were a distant second at 22% and Hispanics at 20%.

The Asian-American divorce rate was 8%—less than a third of the White divorce rate.

Source: Assisted Divorce.com

  • Drug use by race (all ages):

“Of the major racial/ethnic groups, the rate of drug use is highest among the American Indian/Native American population (10.6%) and those reporting mixed race (11.2%), followed by African Americans (7.7%), Hispanics (6.8%), and whites at (6.6%).

The lowest rates were found among the Asian population at 3.2%—less than half that of whites.

Source: pbs.org

  • Money Income of Households—Percent Distribution by Income Level, Race, in Constant (2009) Dollars: 1990 to 2009:

1990 White = $49,686 (Medium income in dollars)
2009 white = $51,861

1990 Asian = $61,170
2009 Asian = $65,469

Source: US Census, Table 690

  • STD Health Equity – Rates by Race or Ethnicity:

In 2011, Whites had 1.7 times the reported gonorrhea rates of Asian/Pacific Islanders

In 2011, Whites had 1.4 times the reported chlamydia rates of Asians/Pacific Islanders

In 2011, whites had 1.4 times the reported syphilis rates of Asian/Pacific Islanders

Source:  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

  • Life Expectancy by Race:

The average life expectancy of an Asian-America in the United States is 84.56 years, but for White Americans it is only 78.74 years.

Source: World Life Expectancy.com

  • Birth Rates (Live Births) per 1,000 Females Aged 15–19 Years, by Race … 2000–2011:

White = 22 per 1,000

Asian/Pacific Islander = 10 per 1,000—less than half that of white females aged 15-19.

Source: cdc.gov

  • Education:

50 percent of Asian Americans in comparison to 31 percent of the total U.S. population had earned at least a bachelor’s degree, and about 48 percent of Asian Americans were employed in management, professional and related occupations, compared with 40 percent of the white population

Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

In Conclusion: “Asian Americans are the highest-income, best-educated and fastest-growing racial group in the United States. They are more satisfied than the general public with their lives, finances and the direction of the country, and they place more value than other Americans on marriage, parenthood, hard work and career success, according to a comprehensive nationwide survey by the Pew Research Center.”

In addition, the Pew Research Center says, “Their living arrangements align with these values. They are more likely than all American adults to be married (59% vs. 51%); their newborns are less likely than all U.S. newborns to have an unmarried mother (16% vs. 41%); and their children are more likely than all U.S. children to be raised in a household with two married parents (80% vs. 63%).”

The average White parent is obsessed with his/her child’s self-esteem and happiness, while the average Asian-American parent practices a parenting philosophy known as tiger parenting that most whites detest.

Considering the information in this post, what parenting method has the best long-term results for a longer, healthier better quality of life? Please leave a comment with your answer.

Discover The Truth about American Education

_______________________

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.

To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper right-hand column and click on “Sign me up!”

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Taking it Global: Online Freedom of Speech versus the 6th Amendment

PBS.kids.org says, “Online bullying often called online harassment is a serious issue, and it’s getting more common.”

In fact, no one on the Internet—especially those that are transparent—is safe from an anonymous online bully, who uses the 1st Amendment of the US Constitution as a shield to abuse the character and/or reputation of individuals that are not anonymous online. For example, authors, who may also be publishers, often find their reputations as authors/publishers damaged by the comments of anonymous online bullies.

I have been doing extensive ongoing research on this issue due to my own run-in with a pack of these anonymous bullies recently (and a few years ago), and I have discovered that this is a problem that permeates Amazon (in addition to other sites such as Goodreads) affecting possibly hundreds and even thousands of people due to the fact that Amazon cannot, at this time, police itself efficiently or adequately to protect transparent people—mostly authors—that have become victims of alleged malicious and obviously premeditated attacks by anonymous people that demonstrate by their own words alleged sociopath-narcissist tendencies.

I have also come to the conclusion that we cannot blame Amazon.com for this toxic environment. Amazon is also a victim due to the “freedom of speech” dilemma. However, the 1st Amendment does not offer total protection from abusers.

1st Amendment Text: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

Study these 1st Amendment words carefully. Nowhere does it say in the 1st Amendment that a private sector business and social network like Amazon.com cannot limit freedom of speech on its site. The key words are “Congress shall make no law …”, and Amazon.com does not make the laws.

In addition, The Freedom Forum clearly says that the First Amendment does not say anyone can say anything at any time, and the U.S. Supreme Court has rejected an interpretation of speech without limits.

The Supreme Court has ruled regarding libel and slander: “Was the statement false, or put in a context that makes true statements misleading? You do not have a constitutional right to tell lies that damage or defame the reputation of a person or organization.” Source: Freedom Forum.org

The virtual world is a new legal arena and the courts are dealing with hundreds of libel law suits monthly and, true to form, legislation at the state and national level is moving slowly as this hot button issue over “freedom of speech” gives cause for caution. Our elected representatives do not want to be smeared with accusations that they are limiting freedom of speech so they must tread cautiously or lose votes.

However, there is another side to this issue that I haven’t seen expressed yet.  Freedom of Speech is only one of the rights/protections that the US Constitution offers its citizens. What everyone seems to have overlooked is the Confrontation Clause of the 6th Amendment of the United States Constitution.

The Confrontation Clause has its roots in both English common law, protecting the right of cross-examination, and Roman law, which guaranteed persons accused of a crime the right to look their accusers in the eye. In noting the right’s long history, the United States Supreme Court has cited Acts of the Apostles 25:16, which reports the Roman governor Porcius Festus, discussing the proper treatment of his prisoner Paul: “It is not the manner of the Romans to deliver any man up to die before the accused has met his accusers face-to-face, and has been given a chance to defend himself against the charges.” It has also cited Shakespeare’s Richard II, Blackstone’s treatise, and statutes.

By allowing people to hide behind an anonymous identity on the Internet and allowing them to write negative reviews/comments and even level ad-hominem attacks against easy to identify individuals who are transparent, the 6th Amendment rights of these transparent people have been violated because one cannot look his or her accuser/s face-to-face and eye-to-eye.

After all, how can any author, for example, who is transparent and working under his or her real name, defend against alleged anonymous bullies on Amazon.com (and similar sites such as Goodreads)—that leave negative reviews or even YES votes to support those anonymous, negative reviews/comments—and have a chance to defend his or her damaged reputation by facing his or her critic face-to-face and eye-to-eye?

In this example, knowing the history of your critic might be vital if it is discovered that an anonymous person leaving negative reviews/comments has a hidden history of this sort of behavior on the Internet spreading criticism, lies and ad-hominem insults in addition to using what is known as SockPuppets to gain an unfair advantage thus establishing premeditation—the law says that premeditation is the contemplation of a crime well enough in advance to show deliberate intent to commit the crime; forethought.

In conclusion, because going to court to resolve this hot button issue may be too costly and beyond the average citizen’s ability to pay for justice, this issue may be open to a lawyer or law firm to take pro bono or as a class action suit on a consignment and/or contingency basis. The defendant in this sort of class action case might be a consumer, social networking sites such as Amazon.com—an online community similar to a town, city, state or nation and therefore held responsible to uphold the protections offered by the U.S. Constitution to its Internet citizens.

In this case, a transparent victim online, such as an author or other individual, should have the right to demand knowing who his or her anonymous critic/accuser is that may be smearing his or her good name and/or product. After all, the online environment has created a court of public opinion that if unchecked may damage the reputation and well being of an innocent victim.

Of course, there may be a simple solution to avoid having this issue reach and be defined by the United States Supreme Court: When a transparent person claims his or her 6th Amendment rights when confronted by an alleged online anonymous bully, Amazon.com—for example—automatically provides an online form that the anonymous person may fill out revealing his or her real-life name, location and information leading to his or her online history that could then be verified before publication, or the anonymous person may decide to delete his or her review/comment and remain anonymous. If the anonymous person refuses to cooperate, Amazon may refuse to offer them a forum on its site and remove every review/comment made by that anonymous individual. Eventually, even the SockPuppets an anonymous person may have created might be revealed and vanish under such a policy.

_______________________

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.

To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper right-hand column and click on “Sign me up!”

 
2 Comments

Posted by on March 13, 2013 in government, media, politics

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Winning the Genetic Lottery may not be enough

For months, I’ve been searching for studies that show the odds of winning the job/career lottery that leads to a glamorous/famous, wealth growth job.

I didn’t find my answer from a study. I found it from a super model, Cameron Russell.

What Cameron Russell says in this YouTube TED video is the real story of dream jobs. She says, “I am standing on this stage because I am a pretty white woman and in my industry we call that a sexy girl. … The real way I became a model is I won a genetic lottery and I became the recipient of a legacy. Saying you want to be a model when you grow up is akin to saying you want to win the Powerball when you grow up. It’s awesome and it’s out of your control and it’s not a career path.” Source: Shine.Yahoo.com


Pay attention to Cameron’s words. She offers wise advice about reality and life.

Before I go on, I want to say that genetics is not the only factor in many dream jobs/professions. Dedication, hard work and persistence also play a part in fields such as sports, acting, the arts, etc.

But, what Cameron has to say holds truth for all of the dream jobs that so many young people chase often destroying his or her future.

It’s okay to have a dream but dream realistically.  The odds are against anyone becoming a super model like Cameron Russell, an icon in football, baseball, or basketball, for example. This also applies to acting, the music industry and being a published author no matter what path an author takes such as indie, self-published or traditional.

That is why I believe every child, teen and young person must have a backup plan that is realistic but often leads to a boring job—when dreams fail to materialize—that pays more than working for Wal-Mart, the fast-food industry, cleaning pools, cutting crass, washing dishes, tending bar or waiting on tables.

Being a life-long-learner is important to having a backup plan and this message is for parents. It is your job to make sure your child loves to read and sees that learning is important and not boring and a waste of time. The future belongs to life-long learners.

Education is getting a bad rep from the media in the United States and college educations are under attack. Why?

Who stands to benefit from an ignorant, functionally illiterate population struggling to survive on minimum wages working in insecure jobs?

Discover Education’s Accountability Dilemma

_______________________

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.

To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper right-hand column and click on “Sign me up!”

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

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?

______________

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

To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper right-hand column and click on “Sign me up!”

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Focusing too much on the gods of football, baseball and basketball

I agree with a post I read at the quiet voice that there is too much of an emphasis in America’s public schools on sports and not enough focus on academics. But is that the fault of the public schools or the fault of the parents and the English speaking culture?

There is a vast difference between the US public education system and other countries such as Finland, China and Singapore. Because of those differences, to be fair, we cannot compare the results of US students with those countries unless we separate the genetically modified chaff from the organic grain and also compare apples to apples.

As a public high school teacher in California for thirty years (1975 – 2005), I taught four periods of English and one period of journalism for several years in addition to being the advisor of the student run high-school newspaper. One year, my journalism students were invited to write a series of pieces for a European magazine called “Easy Speakeasy“, headquartered in France.  “Easy Speakeasy” expressed interested in the sports programs in US schools because we were told that these programs did not exist in France and other European countries. Sports in Europe were mostly outside of the public schools sort of like Pop Warner Football in the US.

Pop Warner was founded in 1929, continues to grow and serves as the only youth football, cheerleading & dance organization that requires its participants to maintain academic standards in order to participate. Pop Warner’s commitment to academics is what separates the program from other youth sports around the world. In fact, studies show that kids involved in sports that require them to maintain their academic grades above a 2.0 GPA graduate in higher numbers than students that do not participate in sports.  Europe has programs similar to Pop Warner and I understand this is the only place students in Europe may participate in organized sports because these programs do not exist in European schools. In Europe and most countries, the focus in the public schools is academic and vocational—no sports, drama or music programs as in the US.

I can only guess that “Easy Speakeasy’s” editors invited my journalism students to write for their European publication because the high-school newspaper I was adviser for had won international recognition several years in a row from Quill and Scroll out of the University of Iowa.

In the English classes I taught there was a lot of chaff and only a little grain but in that journalism class, I taught the organic cream of our high school—students willing to be at school as early as six in the morning and stay as late as eleven at night to produce the high school newspaper—while many of my English students did not bring textbooks to class, do class work or even consider doing homework. Instead, there were students in my English classes that waged an endless war against academics disrupting the educational environment as often as possible.

Who do we blame for this educational environment in the United States?

Quill and Scroll offers academic scholarships. There is another organization called JEA (the Journalism Education Association) that also awards academic scholarships related to writing/academics. I know this because one of my journalism students earned a JEA scholarship. I required my journalism students to compete at the regional, state and national level in JEA academic writing competitions.

In addition, in most of the world there are two tracks in high school:  academic and vocational and students in those countries may graduate from high school either with a degree earned in the academic or vocational. For that reason, comparing graduation rates in the US with other countries does not count because in the US we only graduate through academic programs but still graduate a higher ratio of students through the academic track than any other country on earth.

Then there are children in the United States that cannot read and are functionally illiterate. When we compare the US to all other English speaking countries, the rate of functionally illiterate children is about the same telling us that this is more a product of a culture that does not value learning and reading as much as countries such as Finland where the majority of parents start teaching his or her children how to read at home by age three so those children can already read when they start school at age seven.

But in the US, many parents leave it up to the schools to start teaching children to read at age five or six and only those children that were taught by his or her parents start out on track and move ahead.

Then there is the fact that the US may be the only country on the planet that mandates children stay in school, no matter what, until age sixteen to eighteen.  In China, for example, there are about 150 million children in the grade schools but only about 10 million that remain in high school at age 15.

When the International PISA test is given in countries around the world, that test is given to a random sample of fifteen year old students. That means in the US, because almost every fifteen-year old is still in school, America’s students are being compared to the very best in countries such as China where students that are not the best academically have left the system by the time the PISA people show up.

However, when we filter out the chaff and leave only our most proficient students—for example: the journalism students that I taught—and compare them to the most proficient students of other countries, this being apples to apples, the US students beat every country in the world in every academic area tested. You will never hear these facts from the critics of public education in the US.

Discover The Legacy of the British Empire on Literacy

______________

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

To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper right-hand column and click on “Sign me up!”

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Why does the GOP and the Tea Party want to abolish the Department of Education?

Under President George W. Bush, the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLBA) increased the Department of Education’s (DOE) budget from $46 Billion to $60 Billion (In 2012, the budget reached $68.1 Billion). For a comparison, under Bush, the Department of Defense (DOD) budget went from $308.9 Billion in 2001 to $729.6 Billion in 2008—an increase of $420.7 Billion compared to the $14 Billion increase for the DOE.

Meanwhile, in 2012, the federal deficit was $1.327 Trillion and the Interest on the debt was $224.8 Billion.

But the GOP wants to save money by abolishing the DOE while increasing the budget for the DOD. I’m confused because this makes no sense, and I wonder what the real reason is. What are they not telling us?

The NCLBA was enacted due to an act of Congress, and Congress represents the fifty states. The NCLBA gave the DOE more responsibilities to monitor public education in all fifty states.

When congress voted and authorized the NCLBA that gave the DOE more responsibility and more funding on May 23, 2001, the House of Representatives voted 384 – 45,  and the Senate voted 91 – 8 in favor of the act.

In 2001, the 107th Congress had a Senate that was split 50-50 and the House of Representatives had 221 Republicans to 212 Democrats.

In truth, it was an imperfect bill incapable of solving the challenges of public education in part because it put the blame and responsibility on the shoulders of teachers and none on parents and students.

In 2001, the Republican Party held majorities in both the House of Representatives and the Senate with a GOP president in the White House.

If you were to read the history of the DOE, you would discover it was created in 1867 to collect information on schools and teaching that would help the States establish effective school systems. Over the last 145 years, this goal of gathering information on what works in education continues. Source: ed.gov

In fact, in 1867, in the 40th Congress, the GOP held a vast majority in both Houses: 42 to 11 in the Senate and 143 to 49 in the House.

As you have now learned, the GOP, as the majority, created the DOE in 1867, and played a crucial role increasing its responsibility in 2001, so why has the Republican Party in recent years set a goal to abolish the DOE?

Think Progress.org reported, “As recently as 1996, the Republican Party platform declared, ‘The Federal government has no constitutional authority to be involved in school curricula or to control jobs in the market place. This is why we will abolish the Department of Education.’ … Now, a new wave of Republicans (along with many old hard-line conservatives) are trying to number its days once again.” …

“A comprehensive review of the voting records and statements of Republican incumbents and candidates finds that there are 111 GOPers (Republicans) who support shutting down the Department of Education,” Think Progress said.

Yet, in 145 years, the Supreme Court of the United States has never questioned the Constitutionality of the DOE and the mandate it was given by more than one act of Congress.

For a comparison, the federal government only had 2.8 million civilian employees in 2010 and 25.6% of federal civilian employees worked for the DOD while only about two tenths of one percent (0.17%) work for the DOE. In addition, the DOE’s share of the federal budget is 5%, while the DOD’s budget has increased to about 55% of the federal pie.

If the DOE were abolished, public education in the US would lose its eyes and ears, and abolishing the DOE would do nothing to stem the tide of the national debt. It would literally be a drop in the ocean.

In addition, public education in the US is often compared as inferior to Finland’s schools that are ranked as one of the best public educational systems in the world. Compared to the top thirty-three ranked countries for 2009, Finland was 2nd in Reading, 1st in Math, and 1st in Science. The US was ranked 33rd, 27th, and 22nd respectively.

If we want to learn something from Finland, it helps to know that in the Finnish Government, the Ministry of Education and Culture is responsible for developing educational, science, sport and youth policies and international cooperation in these fields. The Ministry also allows the teachers’ union a role in decision making on duties, conditions of work, salary scales and instruction time. However, in the US, teachers are often not part of the decision making process and teachers’ unions are under constant attack and criticism.

It is obvious that as long as the US has fifty different educational systems each based on conflicting political and religious agendas, then the US educational system will never compete equally with countries such as Finland. If we are to compete with Finland, we must learn from what they do–not just compare rankings and blame our teachers and teachers’ unions.

Therefore, why are hard-line conservative types taking aim at the DOE in the US? (For example: think of the Tea Party that was founded and supported in large part by two of the four Koch brothers and the Wal-Mart, Walton family that has pushed hard for voucher schools. This list also includes fundamentalist, evangelical, born again Christians that want the schools to teach creationism instead of evolution and science.)

What is the political agenda of these factions of the Republican Party? Why do these factions in the GOP want to cripple and blind the public education system in the United States leaving it fractured in fifty different pieces? What will these hard-line conservatives and capitalists gain if they succeed?

The answer may be found, in part, from these facts: In the US, there are about 16,000 school districts and approximately 49 million students attending more than 98,000 public schools and 28,000 private schools. To pay for this, the fifty states raise (mostly through local and state taxes) and spend almost one trillion dollars annually for public and private funded education. The budget of the DOE represents about 6.8% of that total. The DOE is the guard dog that gathers information on education in all fifty states and reports to Congress and the president what it learns. If any states or school districts are found to be in violation of laws enacted by the Congress, then the President of the United States is duty bound by his or her oath of office to protect and defend those laws.

Discover the National Debt info-graphic by president 1945 – 2012

______________

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

To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper right-hand column and click on “Sign me up!”

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

A Short History of America’s Middle Class – Part 3/3

In 1800, most Americans (94%) worked and lived on farms. After the Civil War, many left the farms to work in factories but the pay was low for men and even lower for women and children (a situation similar to what has been happening in China for the last few decades–this evolutionary transition happened in the US first. Now it is repeating itself in other countries.).

If life was so harsh in the cities and factories, these migrants could have stayed on the farms and I’m sure most would have if life had been better on the farm, but it wasn’t. For a migration of this size to take place means those people were desperate. That many people do not walk away from a good thing to be treated as if they were slaves.

Legally, children as young as age three worked in US factories (this is illegal in China today). A high number of children also worked as prostitutes (also illegal in China today). Many children (and adults) worked 16 hour days. That would not change until 1938 with the Federal regulation of child labor in the Fair Labor Standards Act.

For an example of what life was like in the US for children before 1938, the Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission paints a vivid picture:

“From the early 1800s, children were an integral part of the textile industry’s work force. In the Manayunk district of Philadelphia, children as young as seven assisted in the spinning and weaving of cotton and woolen goods. By 1828, nearly half of Manayunk’s one-thousand laboring residents were children under the age of fifteen. In nearby Kensington, children labored as bobbin boys and girls from sunrise to sunset earning one dollar per week. Exhausted at the end of the work day, some slept in doorways and alleys near the mills. Philadelphia’s 1820 census found that 40 percent of the eleven-hundred workers employed in some thirty-nine textile firms were children.

Annie Lowrey of the New York Times on 9-21-2012, reported on a study of Who Makes It Into the Middle Class, and education plays an important role but so does the environment and family a child grows up in.

Lowrey wrote, “Isabel V. Sawhill, Scott Winship and Kerry Searle Grannis tackled the question of why some children make it to the middle class and others do not, studying criteria that tend to be indicative of later economic success and examining how race, gender and family income come into play.”

The study discovered that graduating from high school was not enough.

In fact, a child that graduates with a grade-point average above 2.5 with no criminal conviction and no involvement in a teenage pregnancy had an 81% chance of joining the middle class as an adult. A child that does not meet this criteria only had a 24% chance.

The study found that “Children from disadvantaged families are less likely to be ready for school at age 5, less likely to be competent elementary-school students, less likely to graduate from high school without a criminal record or a child, and so on.”

I find it interesting that the study did not blame public school teachers for this.

Benchmarks for measuring the success of public schools is set by politicians in Washington DC and the capitals of the fifty American states, and teachers have no say in those benchmarks. In addition, public school teachers (all college educated with additional training required before becoming a credentialed teacher) have very little to do with the curriculum they teach or the methods used to measure success or failure of the public schools in the United States.

For example, if the Congress and White House says teachers must jump ten feet and they only jump seven, then they have failed and that is how the media reports it. Nowhere do any of these benchmarks for measuring the success of public schools include parents and the environment a child grows up in. Teachers are told to jump ten feet (with no pole, pogo stick or trampoline to help) with no consideration for the impossible.

The formula for education is simple:

teachers teach + students learn + parents help in every way possible and that equals education.

Teachers cannot replace parents or learn for his or her students. All a teacher can do is teach. If a child goes home and does not study or read, the teacher cannot jump the ten feet that Washington DC demands.  If you still are not convinced, I suggest reading Not Broken.

What is wrong with the US Congress and the White House that they are so blind they cannot see this?

Return to A Short History of America’s Middle Class – Part 2 or start with Part 1

______________

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

To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper right-hand column and click on “Sign me up!”

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,