The facts about Common Core and why it must be stopped

Originally posted on Crazy Normal - the Classroom Exposé:

Originally published at Examiner.com on October 21, 2014 9:00 PM MST

What is Common CoreCommon Core is a set of uniform national curriculum standards for K-12 developed by DC based organizations under the auspices of the National Governors Association (NGA) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO). These standards are disguised to many uninformed as standards that will help our children become better prepared for college. The Standards cover mathematics and English language arts (although they also claim to cover “literacy” in other subjects such as science, history/social studies, and technical subjects). Common Core is a special interest takeover of education that replaces local control with national standards, treating every child as though they are the same and learn the same. We all know that this is not the case. We must do something to stop this takeover, but we first have to educate ourselves before…

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Two Politically Correct Scams Supported by Corporate Owned Media that Threaten Democracy in America

Originally posted on Crazy Normal - the Classroom Exposé:

The actual U.S. place in the international ranking of all OECD countries from the International PISA test was 6th in reading and 13th in math—not 14th in reading and 25th in math as reported. The 2012, PISA tested about 85,000 students in 44 countries placing the U.S. in the top 13.6% for reading and 29% for math. Thirty-eight countries ranked lower in reading and 31 in math.

This post is about the two scams that have led to the era of corporate supported, public education reform in the United States. The first scam was a report called “A Nation at Risk” in 1983, during the Reagan era. Because of this report, teachers, teachers’ unions and the democratic public schools have been painted as failures, and the corporate owned media turned “A Nation at Risk” into front page news with endless, never-ending chatter that focuses on the so-called failing…

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California: Wall St Profiteers and Waltons Back Tuck

Originally posted on Diane Ravitch's blog:

The leading advocates for privatization are funding Marshall Tuck’s campaign for State Superintendent of Education in California. If you want to get rid of public schools, Tuck’s the guy. If you want to improve public education, vote for Tom Torkakson.

From the Torlakson website:

Pension/School Privateers Invest in Tuck for Schools Chief

A handful of ultra-wealthy donors who support school privatization and cutting public pension systems are behind a flood of spending supporting former Wall Street Banker Marshall Tuck’s campaign for state schools superintendent, campaign disclosure records show.

Far from “Parents and Teachers for Tuck,” the $4.7 million collected so far comes instead from sources that support school vouchers, privatization of public pension systems and using disruptive business tactics to overhaul public schools.

Major funders include:

$500,000 from Carrie Walton Penner, whose family made its fortune running anti-union, low-wage paying Wal-Mart. The Walmart 1% website reports that Penner’s biography includes…

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Let’s take a close look at how many REAL deadbeats there are in the United States living off welfare

First, a few numbers to get started: there are more than 316 million Americans and 150.8 million are between the ages of 18 to 65—the primary working years for adults. In 2013, 47.1 million Americans lived below the poverty level; 73.6 million were under the age of 18, and 44.6 million were age 65 or older.

Wow, and in September 2014, there were 146.6 million Americans who were working at paid jobs.

But, a few, far-right billionaire oligarchs—for instance, the Walton family and the Koch brothers, and the fools who swallow their propaganda—think that more people in the United States are on welfare and are deadbeats than those who are working and supporting them.

I think it is arguable and safe to say that it would be a misleading lie that the majority of the Americans who are not working are deadbeats on welfare. Only a fool could think that. Is it possible that there are only 4.2 million Americans—who could be deadbeats—between 18 and 65 who do not have a paying job—that’s only 1.328% of the total population? I bet most of those 4.2 million are probably disabled and can’t work or are a stay at home parent.

Did you know ABC reported that Americans work more than anyone in the industrialized world—more than the English, the French, the Germans or Norwegians and even, recently, more than the Japanese?

In addition, according to the OECD, in the United States 67% [that is almost 70%] of people aged 15 to 64 [the working class years] have a paid job. … And having a good education is an important requisite for finding a job. In the United States, 89% of adults aged 25-64 have earned the equivalent of a high-school degree, higher than the OECD average of 75%—and yet some billionaires, including Bill Gates [worth almost $80 billion], the Koch brothers and the Walton family, would have you believe that the public education system in the United States is failing and must be reformed.

20 Something Finance even says “The U.S. is the Most Overworked Developed Nation in the World.” And Business Insider says the average person spends 90,000 hours at work over their lifetime—based on a 5 day 8 hour workweek with a two week vacation annually, that equals 45 years. I worked 45 years, starting at 15 and I retired at 60.  My retirement check comes from CalSTRS, and I paid 8% of my gross income into CalSTRS for the 30 years I was a classroom teacher.

But a Houston based billionaire, according to the Democratic Underground, is attacking public pensions with a goal to kill the guaranteed-benefit plans that are run by teacher retirement systems in every state. This billionaire’s name is John Arnold, who is worth $2.9 billion dollars. Arnold runs a Houston-based hedge fund, and before that he worked for Enron, and it is said that he earned $750 million for Enron the year it went out of business. Huh, how do you earn $750 million for a company that goes out of business the same year?

Contrary to the popular thinking of fools, Social Security is not a form of welfare because workers and employers pay into that program for their entire working life, and in 2013, there were 38 million retired workers—nine out of ten individuals age 65 or older—who collected an average monthly benefit of $1,294. There were 4.9 million dependents; 8.8 million disabled workers, who were paid an average of $1,145 a month, and 6.2 million survivors—survivors are young children and a surviving spouse who cares for the children.

What about food stamps—a real welfare program?

From Media Matters.org we learn that nearly half (47% or 23 million), who get food stamps, were under the age of 18, and another 8 percent (3.9 million) were 60 or older; 41% (more than 20 million) lived in a household with earnings from a job. These workers are known as the “working poor”, and the average household on food stamps received a monthly benefit of $287.

And, these so-called deadbeats—that a few billionaires and a lot of fools think outnumber working Americans—are allegedly robbing us blind while they sit around drinking beer, eating popcorn and watching TV or having sex 18-hours a day to make more babies so they can collect more food stamps. If you believe that, then you might want to look in a mirror to see a fool.

If these billionaires succeed, what will replace progressive era plans like CalSTRS, Social Security, Medicare, unemployment and food stamps?

If we look back at history, we might discover the answer to that question. In 1900, before Presidents Theodore Roosevelt, Taft, Wilson, FDR, Kennedy and LBJ, ushered in the progressive era, 40-percent of Americans lived in poverty with only a 5% unemployment rate, and up until 1938, in some states, children could be sold as young as five to factories, coal mines and whorehouses. Imagine your five-year old child working as a prostitute, because boys and girls were sold into prostitution back then.

Is this the America a few billionaires, with help from some fools, are fighting to get back?

By the way, did you watch the video that comes with this post? It really is an educational eye opener.

_______________________

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 left-hand column and click on “FOLLOW!”

Understanding Cowen Institute’s Botched VAM Effort

Originally posted on deutsch29:

We are in an age of so-called “data-driven” education reform. Numbers and analyses are being worshiped as the end-all, be-all evidence of education quality. Student standardized test scores are at the center of the majority of such analyses. Moreover, in order to “drive” the privatization of public education using quantitative data analysis, corporate-reform-bent philanthropies and businesses are dumping money into “institutes,” groups of often questionably-credentialed individuals who promote attractive reports full of impressive numbers and analyses meant to wow the public into believing that test-driven “reform” is working.

The edge that these institutes (and other corporate-reform-promoting “nonprofits”) have in wielding statistical analyses is that neither the public nor the media is able to critically examine the quality of the work. Therefore, both are susceptible to swallowing whole the institute’s summation of its findings.

After all, if the physical appearance of the report is attractive, and if the report comes from…

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Comparing the Best Thinkers to Bill Gates and President Obama’s Common Core agenda

Originally posted on Crazy Normal - the Classroom Exposé:

Harvard reports that The Best Thinkers Have 7 ‘Thinking Dispositions’, and they all require critical thinking and problem solving skills. Critical thinking is mentioned twice in the piece. Nowhere does the Harvard study mention the importance of high test scores in math, literacy or science.

Harvard says, “So if you want to be more inclined to critical thinking, you need to know what’s in your toolbox, just as Warren Buffett would have you do.”

There was also a photo of Bill Gates, and the photo’s caption says, “Bill Gates isn’t just a smart guy—he’s disposed to critical thinking.”

In addition, the Harvard report said, “Fundamental critical thinking is essential in business, and life, but is seldom seen on a college curriculum.”

Maybe it’s seldom seen on a curriculum, but in the public schools, teachers have focused on teaching critical thinking and how to solve problems for decades.  How else…

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What does a scorpion and a frog have to do with the blame-game focused on China, the public schools or Obama?

I agree that when it comes to Obama’s Race to the Top and Common Core war on U.S. public education, he is a wrecking ball—with help from Bill Gates (net worth $76 billion), the two most infamous Koch brothers (net worth $41.9 billion each) and the Waltons (family net worth $152 billion), and a few other billionaire oligarchs—who want to give U.S. children to profit-hungry corporations and lower-paid, temporary and less-skilled teachers in addition to higher paid CEO’s and Charter school managers.

But, I can’t agree that China and/or Obama are the problem when it comes to the economy, unemployment or the loss of middle class jobs, because U.S. corporations have been earning record profits for years, and many of the lost middle class jobs have nothing to do with President Obama’s economic policies and everything to do with the same power hungry, greedy corporate capitalists who are drooling over the $1 Trillion in annual state taxes/fees that supports the U.S. public schools.

In fact, it should be obvious to anyone who isn’t an ignorant fool, that the corporate agenda is profits and more wealth for those at the top.

How much wealth?

Mother Jones.com reports that the top 3.17 million Americans control 34.6% of American’s net worth while the bottom 285.3 million share 26.9% of that net worth.

To make sense of those numbers, according to the Federal Reserve, the net worth of all Americans totaled $123.8 trillion or 723% of GDP as of the first quarter of 2014. Translated, that means the wealthiest 3.16 million Americans are worth about $42.8 Trillion—or divided equally , $13.5 million each—while the rest of us are worth about $33.3 trillion or—divided equally—about $116.7 thousand each.  That means the wealthiest 3.15 million are worth 115.6 x more than the rest of us. And, let’s not forget that almost 50-million Americans, including 1 in 4 children, live in poverty, and millions of adults who live in poverty work for poverty wages for corporations like Walmart—for instance, to boost profits.

Did you know that Walmart teaches its workers how to apply for an estimated $6.5 billion in annual food stamps or $65 billion every ten years.

In addition, Mother Jones says, the annual income of the top 0.01% is about $24-million compared to an average of $29.8 thousand for the other 99.99% of Americans. … Wall Street profits have soared 720% while the unemployment rate for working class Americans climbed 102% and home equity dropped 35%.

And, if you really think everything sold in the U.S. is made in China taking away jobs for Americans, think again.

The Manufacturing Institute.org reports: “A common misconception is making the rounds: that domestic manufacturing is vanishing. This misperception is based on consumers’ daily observation of foreign-made products visible on store shelves and the media’s focus on the loss of jobs in the sector. But the facts do not support this pessimistic view. Manufacturing in the United States remains vital and important to the U.S. economy and is globally competitive. … Not only is manufacturing large, its industrial output has risen steadily over time. Over the last ten years ending in 2008, manufacturing value added has increased 22 percent.”

Did you get that? The value of manufacturing in the U.S. increase 22-percent over a recent ten-year period, while 8-million Americans, who worked in that sector, lost their jobs in the last 5 years.

In, Can smart machines take your jobs? Middle Class jobs increasingly being replaced by technology, The New York Daily News.com reported, “In the United States, half of the 7.5 million jobs lost during the Great Recession paid middle-class wages, and the numbers are even grimmer in the 17 European countries that use the euro as their currency. A total of 7.6 million midpay jobs disappeared in those countries from January 2008 through last June.”

The New York Daily News continued: Those jobs are being replaced in many cases by machines and software that can do the same work better and cheaper. “Everything that humans can do a machine can do,” says Moshe Vardi, a computer scientist at Rice University in Houston.

In conclusion, before you blame President Obama or China for lost jobs and high unemployment, look closer at America’s capitalist billionaire oligarchs, corporate CEO’s and Wall Street.

Do we really want to return to the pre-progressive era of no labor unions, small government and the Robber Barons of 1900 when 40% of Americans lived in poverty with an unemployment rate of about 5%.

Using the two percentages in the previous paragraph, how many  Americans do you think had  jobs back then and worked for poverty wages?—an era when women had no rights and children, as young as five, who lived in poverty, could easily be sold into servitude to factories and coal mines, a form of slavery that included child prostitution.

In fact, who suffered most during the Great Depression that ran from 1929 to 1939?

Historical Statistics and Analysis on Unemployment, Poverty, Urbanization, etc., in the United States reveals that by 1933, the unemployment rate had rocketed from the 1900 5% rate to 24.9%, but the poverty rate was still stuck at about 40%.

What does that reveal—that most of the workers who lost their jobs during the Great Depression were already living in poverty and working for poverty wages, and they went from next to nothing to zero, from barely starving to starving and homeless, and most of these working Americans were willing to work long hours for almost nothing to survive.

Before you believe anything the 21st century want-to-be Robber Barons claim through their media propaganda to fool you, remember this:  “A scorpion asks a frog to carry him over a river. The frog is afraid of being stung during the trip, but the scorpion argues that if it stung the frog, both would sink and the scorpion would drown. The frog agrees and begins carrying the scorpion, but midway across the river the scorpion does indeed sting the frog, dooming them both. When asked why, the scorpion points out that this is its nature.”

For the 21st Century Robber Barons, greed and the exercise of power is their nature, and they will destroy our country and our civilization to achieve their goals.

_______________________

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 left-hand column and click on “FOLLOW!”