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The American Teacher “is not” Waiting for Superman – Part 2/2

The documentary, “Waiting for Superman”, on the other hand, argued that non-unionized charter schools would do a better job, and the public schools were failing the nation due to teacher unions protecting incompetent teachers.

However, according to Dona Goldstein writing for Slate, “Only 17 percent of charters are consistently better than traditional public schools at raising students’ math and reading scores.”

In fact, it helps to know who funded “Waiting for Superman” and the small fortune that promoted the film.

To discover that answer, Alan Singer, writing for Huffington Post, says, “The real question for me is where the money came from to make the pseudo-documentary and who is paying to promote a movie that no one apparently wants to see. The answer, of course, is from “Big Bill” Gates and a gaggle of hedge fund investors who smell mega-profits if government financed private for profit McSchools are allowed to muscle in on public school dollars.

“The film is executive produced and financed by Participant Media, which was founded by former eBayist Jeffrey Skoll.

“Participant Media’s current CEO is Jim Berk. When Berk was Chairman and CEO of Gryphon Colleges Corporation, he was responsible for the formation of a private company operating for-profit schools…

“The Denver-based Charter School Growth Fund, a nonprofit venture capital fund, recently announced it had secured $80 million in initial commitments with big donations coming from among others the Walton Family Foundation. Wal-Mart is also a big supporter of the Waiting for “Superman” social action campaign and seems primed to provide us with Wal-Mart Academies modeled on big box stores that destroy communities and small businesses, drive down wages, and provide us with endless quantities of junk.”


– a Conversation on “Waiting for Superman” held at Stanford University –

In addition, Dana Goldstein, writing for The Nation, says, “Here’s what you don’t see in “Waiting for Superman”:

“You don’t see teen moms, households without an adult English speaker or headed by a drug addict, or any of the millions of children who never have a chance to enter a charter school lottery (or get help with their homework or a nice breakfast) because adults simply aren’t engaged in their education. These children, of course, are often the ones who are most difficult to educate, and the ones neighborhood public schools can’t turn away.”

“You also don’t learn that in the Finnish education system, much cited in the film as the best in the world, teachers are—gasp!—unionized and granted tenure, and families benefit from a cradle-to-grave social welfare system that includes universal daycare, preschool and healthcare, all of which are proven to help children achieve better results at school.”

Note from Blog host: America’s public school teachers are expected to create miracles as if they have super powers by overcoming many almost impossible obstacles and when they don’t, they are often crucified by public education’s enemies and critics.

I know what I am talking about because I worked as a public school teacher in Southern California for thirty years and my average work week was sixty to hundred hours a week and the challenges that I faced daily were daunting to say the least.

What is a teacher to do when parents do not supervise homework at home or provide reading time?  In fact, over the years, I heard parents tell their child that if the child didn’t want to do the work the teacher assigned, they didn’t have to.

Conspiracy theories abound but in the case of America’s schools, the war being waged on teachers and their unions and the accusations that the reason the average America’s school child is mediocre is the fault of incompetent teachers that cannot be fired has all the earmarks of a conspiracy of dunces based on lies and myths that have no foundation in truth/facts.

Where is the evidence that there are so many failing teachers that it is the reason America’s students are not measuring up?  There is none.  Although there are incompetent teachers in the public schools (I knew a few – less than 5 out of hundreds), there are not enough of them.

Return to The American Teacher “is not” Waiting for Superman – Part 1

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Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran, with a BA in journalism and an MFA in writing,
who taught in the public schools for thirty years (1975 – 2005).

Graphic OCT 2015

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The US Federal Government — How BIG is “big”? – Part 4/4

Are you still thinking of that $548 billion that goes to the Department of Defense (DOD) with its 652,000 non-military employees paid from federal funds that come from taxes (that’s 32.6% of the Federal Government workforce), while the Department of Education (DOE) has only two-tenths [2/10] of one percent of the federal work force.

One thing we can bet on for sure, we will seldom hear complaints or these facts from a conservative source such as the Tea Party or conservative talk radio hosts such as Dennis Prager.

One example would be what Dennis Prager wrote at Townhall.com in “The Welfare State and the Selfish Society”.

In Prager’s essay, nowhere does he mention the number of people in the federal government that work for the DOD, the Department of Homeland Security or the Department of Justice that combined add up to almost half of the federal work force and the largest combined slice of the federal budget pie dwarfing any so-called entitlement programs that help America’s most needy citizens to survive and thrive.


Entitlement Epidemic, Spoiled Rotten, People and Government

It appears that supporting wars, prisons and death is more important to conservatives such as Dennis Prager than offering help to Americans that need it to survive and live another day without hunger or shelter.

In fact, are minimum-wage jobs without health care benefits enough to survive on?

Poverty is defined as the state of one who lacks a usual or socially acceptable amount of money or material possessions.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau data released Tuesday September 13, 2011, the nation’s poverty rate rose to 15.1% in 2010, up from 14.3% (approximately 43.6 million) in 2009 and to its highest level since 1993.

Entitlement programs that people such as Prager complain about mostly help the unemployed and those living in poverty but do not offer to support these Americans without any effort from the individual who needs help.

In many cases, those people may be working low-paying jobs such as companies like Wal-Mart or fast-food outlets offer. In fact, many fast-food outlets works its people twenty or less hours a week to avoid funding federal entitlement programs such as money used for unemployment benefits.

In other words, in a purely capitalist society without any social programs or safety net (what conservatives have tagged as selfish entitlement programs), if you cannot pay your own way, starve and die but do it out of sight and don’t bother us.

Return to The US Federal Government – How BIG is “big”? – Part 3 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.

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Due Process – Part 2/4

Lawyers are extremely expensive and even if a teacher accused of a crime or of incompetence was innocent, without the union to pay legal fees, most teachers would be helpless victims.

In addition, legal assistance from the teachers unions is not automatic.  When a teacher is accused of being incompetent, and he claims to be innocent and goes to the local branch of the teacher union seeking help, legal experts that are retained by the NEA or AFT will usually consider if the case has merit.


You Pay for what You Get!

If the union’s legal experts feel the teacher deserves a defense, then the union will stand behind that teacher. What I mean by evidence may be twenty years of satisfactory evaluations by more than one administrator, which is often the case.

However, if the union’s legal experts say there is not enough evidence to defend the teacher, the union will not defend them.

I taught in the public schools for thirty years and know of cases where teachers went to the union and were denied legal support.  I also know of cases where the union’s legal experts ruled in favor of teachers and recommended the union assist them.

To demand that teachers accused of incompetence be fired without due process is undemocratic and un-American. If Wal-Mart can have its day in court when accused of discrimination, then teachers should have the same privilege when accused of incompetence.

How many teachers are we talking about that may be incompetent? A possible answer will appear in Part 3.

Continued on September 20, 2011 in Due Process – Part 3 or return to 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).

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Due Process – Part 1/4

If you Google “the number of teachers that are incompetent“, you will discover there are more than 4 million hits on this topic but none that I checked among the first ten pages of hits offered an answer—basically what I discovered was a lot of ranting, rumor and “bull”.

In other words, a manufactured controversy with a hidden political/religious agenda behind it.

One site, having no evidence to support how many incompetent teachers there are went as far as to say “Schools Nationwide hide Teacher Misconduct and Incompetence.” Then offers no cited evidence that substantiated this claim.

“When someone commits the most heinous of crimes against our citizens, they get a fair hearing, they go through an appellate process, they go up to the Supreme Court of the United States, if that’s required,” says presidential candidate Rick Perry, the Republican governor of Texas, during the Republican press debate held at the Reagan Library early in September 2011.

What Governor Perry says is true. The legal process he mentions is what protects the citizens of the United States when accused of a crime or if one is slandered.

In fact, recently Wal-Mart was found innocent of discrimination against women and that case went to the Supreme Court where the class-action suit against Wal-Mart seeking billions of dollars on behalf of as many as 1.5 million female workers was dismissed. Source: New York Times

Why shouldn’t teachers be allowed to have the same due process of law?

As is, teachers may be tried for the same crime twice.  This means, if a state or federal judge finds a teacher innocent of a crime she has been accused of, she may be tried again for the same crime by the teacher-credentialing board and if found guilty lose the credential to teach in that state.

From what I’ve heard, teachers are the only profession that may be punished for the same crime twice even after being found innocent the first time, which means teachers have already been denied due process once.

When critics of teachers unions accuse those unions of protecting incompetent teachers, those critics are saying that teachers are not eligible for the same protection under the law.

If a school district wants to fire a teacher that has been accused of being incompetent, that teacher should have his or her day in court to prove she is innocent of the accusation.  When teachers belong to unions, legal protection is one of the benefits.

Continued on September 19, 2011 in Due Process – 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).

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

 

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Eager to Learn or Not – Part 10/10

If you visit the 2010 API State Report for California, you will discover there are four subgroups that have achieved the goals set forth in the NCLB Act — Asian, Filipino, White/Caucasian, and a child of two or more races meaning parents from two different Ethnic/Racial groups where the mother may be African-American and the father White or the father Asian and the mother Latino.

I know from experience that for my brother, the learning equation (discussed in Part 2) was 1 + 0 + 0, which resulted in failure and an illiterate child growing up to become an illiterate adult. The teacher was there to teach but my brother was not there to learn.

When I was seven and my brother seventeen with some jail time already under his tattoos, my mother stepped in and taught me to read at home, and it was not easy for her. I fought her every inch of the way as my brother did. The difference is that my brother won that battle but lost at life.

However, to succeed with me my mother did something she did not do with Richard. She used a wire-coat hanger to spank me and motivate me to do as I was told and to learn.

Public school teachers in America are not allowed to do what a parent can do at home.

The result is that I learned to read and because of my mother’s involvement in that learning equation, I now have the ability to write things such as my novels, posts for this Blog and I enjoy reading books–lots of books.

Richard, on the other hand, died a broken man in both health and spirit at age 64, and he left behind several children mostly illiterate because he was a bad role model and was never involved in their educations, which resulted in more failure.

If you return to that NPR.org piece on the public school teachers and administrators that cheated on Atlanta’s standardized test results to make it look as if more students were making progress toward meeting the goals set forth in the NCLB Act, what caused that behavior was desperate people that did not want to lose their jobs due to the flawed opinions of fools in the federal government and of course among the Walton Wal-Mart family and talking heads such as Rush Limbaugh and my “old” NLBC  friend that believe they know what they are talking about when they don’t.

I do not blame my brother Richard’s teachers. They did their job and taught. However, Richard did not learn because he chose not to learn and our parents were not directly involved in the process when Richard needed them to be tough and say no and mean it even if it meant using a coat hanger as an enforcer.

During those 30 years teaching in the public schools (1975 – 2005), I met many students like my brother Richard and my goal was to convince and/or motivate these individuals (both boys and girls) to be an active part of the education equation. It was never easy and the successes were rare but there were a few.

Return to Eager to Learn or Not – Part 9 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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Posted by on July 21, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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Eager to Learn or Not – Part 8/10

Did you know that the Walton family, which owns a controlling interest in Wal-Mart, is the wealthiest family on the planet with an estimated worth of more than $90 billion dollars. The Waltons are also one of the largest supporters of the school voucher movement.

The last time there was a major initiative in California for school vouchers, the Waltons (WFF) were ready to open hundreds of private storefront schools to accept vouchers and take over the teaching of millions of America’s children. Do you want to turn your children over to Wal-Mart and the Walton family?

Both the Walton family and the company (Wal-Mart) have made education a major funding priority.

Many of the WFF’s education gifts have a distinct ideological tilt, emphasizing a “free market” approach to education reform, a vision the late John Walton embraced with particular enthusiasm. The WFF funds advocacy groups promoting conservative school “reform” — otherwise known as privatization — like the Center for Education Reform and the Black Alliance for Educational Options, as well as the actual programs these groups champion: charter schools and voucher programs.

In fact, the WFF has become the single largest source of funding for the voucher and charter school movement.

The modern movement for school vouchers can be traced to an individual by the name of Milton Friedman, who won the Nobel Prize in Economics.  Friedman wrote a paper on “The Role of Government in Education” in 1955.

The national debate that followed resulted in the use of vouchers in the Southern states as a means to continue the practice of segregation amongst black and white students. Source: School Vouchers

Continued on July 20, 2011 in Eager to Learn or Not – Part 9 or return to Part 7

______________

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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