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Tag Archives: Washington D.C

The US Federal Government — How BIG is “big”? – Part 3/4

Another sore point among conservatives is entitlement programs such as food stamps and any form of welfare or unemployment benefits.

Many conservatives also see Social Security [SS] as an entitlement program, but Social Security by law [like the US Postal Service] must not be supported by federal taxes collected by the IRS.

Social Security must support itself with funds collected from employees and employers as part of the SS program and regardless of the popular conservative politically correct opinion that Social Security is broke, SS has more than $2.6 trillion in its trust fund as of December 2010 and collected $781.1 billion in 2010 while paying out only $712.5 billion. Source: Social Security Online – Trust Fund Data


Kids to be denied Health Care

Is it the fault of Social Security that both houses of Congress borrowed all that money that was meant by law to fund the SS Trust Fund and spent it? The facts are that the US Government owes SS and better pay up or risk millions of wrinkled, gray haired seniors limping to Washington D.C. to mob both houses of Congress.

Another federal agency that handles so-called entitlement programs is the Department of Health and Human Services [HHS] , which is the principal federal agency charged with protecting the health of all Americans and providing essential human services. The Federal Budget includes $81.3 billion to support HHS’s mission.

However, the Department of Education, with its 4,000 federal employees, has a total authorized budget for 2011 of less than $50 billion — less than one-tenth the budget for the Department of Defense, which is $548.0 billion.  Source: Budget of the U.S. Government – Fiscal Year 2011

Another comparison that directly affects Americans and includes more of those evil entitlement programs (according to most conservatives) is the The Department of Labor’s 16,000 federally paid employees that enforce laws guaranteeing fair pay, workplace safety, and equal job opportunity, administers unemployment insurance (UI) to State UI agencies, regulates pension funds; and collects and analyzes economic data. The budget for this department is $14 billion, which is 2.5% (two “point” five percent) of the budget for the Department of Defense.

Continued on November 10, 2011 in The US Federal Government – How BIG is “big”? – 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.

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Dumping Teachers due to Standardized Test Results and Student Performance – Part 4/7

In the August 2011 Costco Connection, Sydney Morris, the young teacher expert against seniority as a base for layoffs, said, “While we agree that teachers need much stronger evaluations, there are other objective factors that districts can use in layoff decisions.”

However, in Finland, teachers make the decisions while the government stays out of the process, but in the United States, Washington D.C., state legislatures, elected school boards and district administrators decide what is taught and how to teach it, and when those fads or methods do not work, teachers are blamed.

I was told by Mr. D, the teacher/administrator that handled school discipline at the high school where I taught, that 5% of the students earned 90% of the 20,000 referrals written each year at our high school of about 3,000 students.

Most students that belonged to that 5 percent were failing and stole an average of fifteen to twenty minutes a day in each class they attended due to unacceptable behavior.

The worst that would happen to a five percent student would be a detention after school and possibly two days of suspension, which was always a blessing because on the days one of the five per-centers was absent, I taught for the full period instead of writing referrals, and calling campus police officers to pick up the student (and others that supported or copied him or her).  All it takes is one student to cause others to misbehave.

One example of the type of behavior I’m talking about may be found in Having Sex With Elephants, another post.

The National Center for Educational Statistics reported that in 2008, students ages 12 to 18 were victims of about 1.2 million nonfatal crimes (theft plus violent crimes) at school… During the 2007–08 school year, a greater percentage of teachers in city schools (10 percent) reported being threatened with injury than teachers in town schools (7 percent) and suburban or rural schools (6 percent each)… However, a greater percentage of elementary school teachers (6 percent) reported being physically attacked than secondary school teachers (2 percent).  Two percent of 5 million is still 100,000.

Moreover, these statistics do not deal with kids disrupting the classroom due to unacceptable behavior.

There are more than 5 million public school teachers in the United States. Ten percent equals 500,000 and 350,000 equals seven percent.

When one student failed, her parents accused me of losing their child’s work. During the administrator, parent, teacher, student conference, I asked the student to open the binder for my class and all the unfinished work I was accused of losing was there. She had not turned anything in. The parent did not apologize for accusing me of losing the student’s work but asked me to accept first semester work during the second semester and change her daughter’s grade. I refused since the rule was that late work was not accepted. It had to be turned in on time. That mother had her daughter transferred to another teacher.

What happens when a student doesn’t perform, which means he or she does not participate in class, doesn’t ask questions when he or she is confused about a lesson [correct me if I’m wrong, but teachers cannot read minds], avoids class work, avoids homework, avoids reading assignments, will not read independently, will not study and/or misbehaves in class?

Is that the teachers fault?

Continued on September 8, 2011 in Dumping Teachers due to Standardized Test Results and Student Performance – 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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Civil Disobedience and No Child Left Behind – Part 1/9

This post supports “civil disobedience” among teachers when the situation warrants it, which is why I feel it may be right for teachers to help students cheat on standardized tests that are mandated by The No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB).

One individual I will call Mr. Morally Correct, sent me an e-mail on this topic. He wrote, “There (are) instances where it is morally right to lie for the greater good such as to save a life, to save another person from violence, etc.

“However, when a person voluntarily puts himself into an untenable situation and then attempts to claim a lie is justified for the greater good that is immoral and not excusable.”

Mr. Morally Correct then wrote, “Teachers working in the unionized public school system voluntarily put themselves into a corrupt system. The state faithfully paid administrators and teachers to educate children, and these individuals faithfully cashed their checks knowing they (were) failing their contractual obligation. When the state implemented tests to insure they were receiving what was paid for, teachers cheated to conceal their ongoing decades old fraud.”

Mr. Morally Correct ignores facts that prove about 80% of children (mostly White and Asian-American) are succeeding in the public schools according to the NCLB Act, and he bases his claim that the public schools are failing on the minority of students that are not showing gains.


I recommend watching this half-hour video since it points out several factors why failing students fail, which the NCLB Act does not address. For example, one reason scores are not improving in poor performing schools is due partially to the high student mobility-turnover rate

Mr. Morally Correct says, “Then the teachers (Mr. Morally Correct included me in his indictment), claimed they were justified because of self-esteem issues (implausible) and fear of losing their jobs. I find this excuse morally indefensible because every teacher working in a substandard school should have quit after discovering they could not educate students for whatever reason including the students’ refusal to learn.”

Well, Mr. Morally Correct, my response is that there wouldn’t be anyone teaching in the public schools, and when those teachers quit, they would be abandoning the 80% of the students that are succeeding and improving scores, which includes most White and Asian-American students and significant numbers of African-American and Hispanic/Latino students.

In an ideal world, it might be possible to expect all students to be teachable but we do not live in an ideal world and not all students are teachable. Public education is mandatory to age 18 from kindergarten to twelfth grade. Many of the most difficult students to teach would not be in a school setting if education was voluntary.

Mr. Morally Correct is saying is that if a teacher cannot be successful with “all” of his or her students, he or she should quit.

There is a reason why some students are not teachable, which I will provide more details of in Civil Disobedience and No Child Left Behind – Part 2 on September 1, 2011.

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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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Eager to Learn or Not – Part 2/10

After listening to the NPR.org piece about the Atlanta school scandal, I concluded that the enemies of public education (that by coincidence support the school choice voucher movement that would add billions of taxpayer dollars to the profit margins of private corporations) were at it again.

After all, the next presidential election of 2012 is starting to gather steam and the alleged failure of public education will be a topic of discussion with accusations being hurled about as if they were grenades in the hands of terrorists.

The pressure that caused these teachers and administrators in Atlanta’s public schools to cheat was due to the impossible demands set by No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), which requires America’s teachers to teach as if all students are equal and eager to learn, which many are not.

An old English proverb says, “You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink.”  This idiom means that if a teacher teaches he or she cannot force the student to learn regardless of a law written in Washington D.C. by a bunch of ignorant, elected fools.

For a child to learn, he or she must come to school motivated and ready to learn, and this is often not the case, which is the reason behind the fact that not all students are equal.

There is an equation/formula that shows what it takes for a student to learn.

This formula is as simple as 1 (teacher) + 1 (student) + 1 (parent) = 3.

1. The teacher teaches

2. The students listen/pay attention, follow directions, ask questions, study, read and learn

3, parents support both teachers and students so learning takes place

 If one or two elements of that equation are missing, the education process suffers.

Continued on July 12, 2011 in Eager to Learn or Not – 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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Putting the Blame where it Belongs — Part 1/6

It is absurd and stupid to blame teachers for students that do not do class work, homework, and study for tests or read books outside class.

Washington D.C. and the president of the United States are demanding that teachers do the impossible.

We must repeal the No Child Left Behind Act and enact into law “No Student and/or Parent Ignored” (NSPI), because that is what we are doing—ignoring the students and parents.

An old friend suggested this idea, and it is how America will resolve its problems with public education.

The reason students do not show gains on the Academic Proficiency Index is NOT because of bad or boring teachers or teacher unions.  It is because most of those students are not doing homework, studying for tests or reading outside of school and many are not reading in school.

Since no one in Washington D.C. and/or the White House has placed blame where it should be, on students and parents, then why should students work?

Students must be held responsible to learn but they are not. Instead, many are encouraged to feel good and have fun and/or are ignored by parents.

After all, thanks to “No Child Left Behind”, parents are not responsible for their child’s education—only teachers have been held responsible. However, teachers cannot follow 150 to 200 students home and make sure they do homework, read and study each day.

A Kaiser Generation M2 – Kids/Youth/Media Survey (January 2010) said, “Total Media Exposure for all 8 to 18 year old’s average amount of time spend with each medium in a typical day was 10:45 hours

That average 10:45 hours was divided up with 4:29 hours spent watching TV; 2:31 hours listening to music; 1:29 hours on the computer; 1:13 hours playing video games; 30 minutes reading print media, and 25 minutes watching a movie.

If this is what the “average” child is doing daily in the US, when are they doing homework, reading or studying?

Continued on May 16, 2011 In Putting the Blame where it Belongs – Part 2, where we shall see my “old” friend’s solution to solve this problem.

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too.

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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