David Brooks’ Amateur Cheerleading for the Common Core

Originally posted on Diane Ravitch's blog:

The pundits of the New York Times are united in their love of the Common Core standards, and none seem to understand why anyone questions the standards. In order to explain a point of view, one must make the effort to hear the voices of critics without caricaturing them.

Unfortunately, David Brooks has no idea why anyone would not embrace the Common Core standards. All he knows is what Arne Duncan says about them.

He actually believes that CCSS was a response to some sort of economic crisis (surely not the one where financial institutions nearly collapsed our economy in 2008, a catastrophe that was not caused by the schools or their standards). He is under the impression that having a diversity of state standards causes low academic performance, despite the lack of evidence for that assertion.

He does not understand how the standards were written or funded or…

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The more things change, the more they stay the same

The quote I used for the title of this book review sums up what I learned while reading Doris Kearns Goodwin’s nonfiction book, “The Bully Pulpit”, about Presidents Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden age of journalism. The quote comes from Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr (1808 – 1890), a French critic, journalist and novelist.

Anyone who reads my Bog—Crazy Normal—knows that I support the resistance fighting for the survival of the public schools against the fake Ed reformer billionaires who want to destroy the transparent, democratically run, non-profit, US public schools and replace them with CEO controlled, corporate owned opaque Charter schools.

You might ask what today’s war on public education has to do with “The Bully Pulpit”, and I’d reply “Everything!”

Because the corruption that Roosevelt fought starting as a member of the New York State Assembly 1882 -1884 that continued with his work on the US Civil Service Commission fighting spoils politics; then his two years—starting in 1895—as the president of the board of New York City Police Commissioners where he reformed and cleaned up the corrupt police department, and then as the Republican Governor of New York where he was exposed to the corruption of the trusts, monopolies, labor relations and conservatism and where he also built an alliance with the main stream media. This has all been reversed and the situation may be worse today than it was before Roosevelt went to work to make the United States a better place for everyone instead of just the few.

Roosevelt was the champion of the common man, the working man, the average family, but the corrupt Republican political machine was controlled by the richest Americans who wanted to keep control of the United States, and the GOP in 1901, manipulated Roosevelt to become Vice President where he wouldn’t be in a position to go after corruption.

But something the GOP corrupt political machine didn’t count on was President McKinley being assassinated on September 6, 1901, causing Roosevelt to become president where he then went after the giant corporations that had a strangle hold on business through trusts and monopolies, and Roosevelt won this battle.

Roosevelt, a progressive president (1901 – 1909), curbed the power of large corporations and supported organized labor. However, more than a century later, organized labor has been demonized and is losing members after decades of brutal attacks using smear tactics, cheery picked facts, misinformation and lies paid for by billionaires and large corporations that have taken back the political power lost to the richest Americans when Roosevelt was president. For instance, by 2010, union membership in the U.S. fell to a 70-year low.

Today, thanks to large corporations and the billionaires who also own/control most of the traditional media, many Americans have been fooled into supporting agendas that will eventually hurt them.

In fact, with the power back in the hands of the few wealthiest Americans and large corporations, America’s public schools face the threat of closure and being turned over to corporations to teach our children while millions of teachers face the threat of losing their jobs and joining the ranks of those living in poverty; a possible end to cleaning up our air and water with the threat of global warming growing worse, and a roll back of women’s rights at the same time as the misuse of this power swells the ranks of those living in poverty while working for poverty wages in the fast food industry and for companies like Wal-Mart.

I bought an unabridged copy of the audio book of the “The Bully Pulpit” at Costco, and I highly recommend reading this book to discover what’s wrong with the United States today. Without public pressure, the wealthy will rule this country through the corrupting influence of their money and power just as they did before Theodore Roosevelt put a stop to that abuse.

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine, Vietnam Veteran and English-journalism teacher.

His latest novel is the award winning Running with the Enemy that started life as a memoir and then became a fictional suspense thriller. 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 left-hand column and click on “FOLLOW!”

Sol Stern Thinks Common Core Is About “Rich Curriculum”

Originally posted on deutsch29:

If one is going to entitle a post,  A Sorry Attack on the Common Core,  which is  what Sol Stern did  on March 2, 2014, one should really be certain that one’s logic is flawless.

Otherwise, someone might come along and write a post that rips through those weaknesses in logic and, well, show just how “sorry” a rebuttal the Sorry post is.

There was sooo much to address regarding Stern’s Sorry post that my original draft ran upwards 4,000 words. In order to reduce the length, I cut some sections and included them here for those who wish to read on.

Who Is Sol Stern? Setting the Stage

Who is Sol Stern? you ask.

Allow me to provide some background on Stern and his involvements.

Stern is a Manhattan Institute for Policy Research (MI) “scholar.” The MI has a board of trustees noticeably heavy on hedge fund managers; it…

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A successful history of—and the threat to—Public Education in the United States

Originally posted on Crazy Normal - the Classroom Exposé:

I’m sure you’ve heard for years—even decades—that the public schools are failing; that teachers are lazy, incompetent and their labor unions are responsible for this so-called failure.

The solution: fire the teachers, close the public schools and get rid of the labor unions. Then turn education over to private sector corporations run by CEOs who only answer to their wealthiest stock holders. For instance, Bill Gates, the Koch brothers, the Walton family, Eli Broad, Michael Bloomberg, Rupert Murdock and a flock of Hedge Fund billionaires.

Let’s see what you think after we go back to 1779 and walk through 235 years of history to the present. It won’t take long—a few facts and a conclusion.

  • We’ll start with Thomas Jefferson in 1779, because he thought the US should have two education systems: one for the wealthy and one for everyone else.  As Jefferson said, we’ll “rake a few geniuses from…

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The power of academic competitions for students who want to learn

Originally posted on Crazy Normal - the Classroom Exposé:

During a Facebook conversation, an internet friend mentioned how nice it would be if there were academic competitions as popular as sports.

I replied that there are popular academic competitions for those students who are interested and who usually have supportive parents that value an academic education.

The public schools may not hold academic competitions with cheerleaders and bleachers full of shouting, screaming fans but there are competitions and they’re recognized and the winners are honored by the school districts and schools the students attend.

In fact, the media often reports the results.

Most if not all students in many public schools probably hear about the chance to compete in these competitions in home room where teachers read announcements or from science and math teachers. Most kids will soon forget what they heard but those kids who are called “school boys” or “school girls” often stop at the teacher’s desk…

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A Founding Father speaks from the grave: ” The people who own the country ought to govern it.”

Lloyd Lofthouse:

The end of democracy in America and the beginning of the oligarchy—rule by a few.

Originally posted on DCGEducator: Doing The Right Thing:

ImageJohn Jay

When the Founding Fathers wisely created a constitution with checks and balances, they created what they thought was a “properly designed state”. As Richard Hofstadter wrote in An Age of Reason,” A properly designed state, the Founders believed, would check interest with interest, class with class, faction with faction, and one branch of government with another  in a harmonious system of mutual frustration.” They knew that because man was an “atom of self interest” it was too much to expect that they could check vice with virtue. They decided therefore to check vice with vice.

The checks and balances  between the two Congressional Houses and the Executive Branch created by the constitution would be capped by an independent judiciary. “The inevitable tendency of the rich and poor to plunder each other would be kept in hand.”   

Did they dream that the 21st century Roberts Court would not keep that tendency at hand?

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Who do Americans trust and why we should elect a nurse for President

Conservatives—studies show they are better organized than liberals—are great at spreading cherry-picked facts (better known as propaganda, lies and misinformation) to fool and confuse America, and I read an example of this recently. I wasn’t sure it was an example until I did some Google digging.

Newsmax.com (March 23, 2014) reported a Fox News Poll that claimed President Obama’s Approval Ratings Keep Sliding. “The Fox poll shows 54% of Americans disapprove of how he has done his job.” Reverse that and he enjoys a 46% approval rating.

But what happens when we compare President Obama’s approval rating with others. For instance, the Republican Party.

Examiner.com reported in January 2014 that “According to a recent Washington Post-ABC News poll, 80 percent of Americans don’t trust the Republican Party.”

Wow, does that mean only 20% trust them—less than half Obama’s trust factor?

I wonder why neoconservative Rupert Murdock’s Fox News didn’t report that fact.

Did you know that the Libertarian Koch brothers are spending tens of millions to influence the 2014 Congressional elections? Probably not, but they are. You may want to read “Covert Operations” published in The New Yorker to discover just who these billionaire brothers are and how they are subverting democracy and don’t forget, they are libertarians.

The New Yorker says: The Kochs are longtime libertarians who believe in drastically lower personal and corporate taxes, minimal social services for the needy, and much less oversight of industry—especially environmental regulation.” In addition, “Koch Industries (is) one of the top ten air polluters in the United States.”

Do you trust the Koch brothers now?

Then I wanted to know how many American’s trust libertarians—after all the Koch brothers are the wealthiest, most powerful libertarians in America—according to Politico.com on September 11, 2013, “The poll surveyed all voters, not just those on the right, and overall 27 percent said they didn’t know enough to offer an opinion of libertarianism. About 40 percent of 18-to-32-year-olds view the word ‘libertarian’ favorably, although about a third don’t know what it means.” Having 60% of Americans either ignorant of what libertarianism means or against it still isn’t as good as the 46% who trust President Obama.

What about the tea party movement? After all, they are very loud. DailyKos.com says, “Americans still wouldn’t trust them with scissors.” A recent Bloomberg National Poll asked “Do you consider yourself a supporter of the Tea Party Movement?” Only 24% said yes and 66% said no. A recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal Poll had the same results.

The Democrats don’t do much better with 72% of Americans lacking confidence in them—doesn’t say anything about not trusting them, just a lack of confidence. However, according to Politicususa.com, “Americans View Democrats as More Ethical and Honest. … Despite spending years attacking the character of President Obama and the Democrats, a new Pew Research Center survey found that the American people trust Democrats more than Republicans 41% to 31%.”

Is there anyone Americans trust more than Obama? Gallup answered that question with a December 17, 2013 poll. I think that’s recent enough to still be trusted.

Eighty-two percent of Americans trust Nurses and 70% grade school teachers. At the bottom are political lobbyists at 6% and members of Congress at 8%. Even newspaper reporters were trusted by only 21%. In fact, 34% think the wealthy are less honest.

I then wondered why a nurse or grade school teacher hasn’t run for president. But since we don’t have a nurse or grade school teacher as President, I guess we’ll just have to live with President Obama who does a whole lot better with the trust factor than everyone who’s badmouthing him in the media—like neoconservative Rupert Murdock’s Fox News and all those negative political ads the infamous libertarian Koch brothers are paying for to make democrats running for reelection look bad so Americans lose trust in them and vote for a Republican instead.

Since I was a teacher for thirty years and taught mostly 7th, 8th and 9th grades, I wanted to know what Americans thought about all public school teachers, not just grade school teachers. The Christian Science Monitor reported last August 2013 that “Americans remain largely critical of the US education system as a whole, but parents, especially, are increasingly pleased with their neighborhood schools and more displeased (unhappy) with the rising use of standardized, multiple choice tests to evaluate, and potentially punish, teachers, a new Phi Delta Kappa/Gallup poll suggests.” And “72 percent of respondents say they trust the men and women who are ‘teaching children in the public schools.’”

Maybe a nurse should run for president and a teacher for vice president. In fact, let’s fire Congress and fill those seats with nurses and public school teachers and let them run the country. In the meantime, President Obama still has the highest approval rating compared to both parties, Congress, the tea party people, the media, neoconservatives and libertarians. Do you think we can trust the media to report that?

_______________

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. 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.

His latest novel is the multiple-award winning Running with the Enemy. He was a public school teacher for thirty years (1975 – 2005)

To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper left-hand column and click on “FOLLOW!”

Understanding the wealthy who are robbing the rest of us and why we have to fight back

“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”
Sun TzuThe Art of War

I read Diane Ravitch’s Blog daily and the names of wealthy robber barons and wolves of Sesame Street appear often, because these billionaire oligarchs are behind the push to destroy the democratically run public schools in the United States and then use that tax money to fund for-profit private schools that usually aren’t better than the public schools and are often worse. And little seems to stand in their way.

Taking advice from Sun Tzu, I wanted to understand the enemy—as I see them—and decided to do a bit of research starting with The American Conservative.com that said, “The rich elites of this country have far more in common with their counterparts in London, Paris, and Tokyo than with their fellow American citizens. … Our plutocracy now lives like the British in colonial India: in the place and ruling it, but not of it. If one can afford private security, public safety is of no concern; if one owns a Gulfstream jet, crumbling bridges cause less apprehension—and viable public transportation doesn’t even show up on the radar screen. With private doctors on call and a chartered plane to get to the Mayo Clinic, why worry about Medicare?”

Payscale.com says, “The psychology of the rich is different than the psychology of the poor. … some studies suggest they lack empathy. For example, a study in California showed that drivers of the most expensive cars defied the law and did not stop for pedestrians in the crosswalk, while drivers of more common cars obeyed the law and waited for pedestrians to cross the street.”

And if you think most Americans can depend on members of Congress to stop this robbery, think again. ABC News.com reported, “In contrast to lawmakers’ $1,008,767 median ‘average’ net worth calculated by the Center for Responsive Politics, median household net worth in the U.S. was $68,828 in 2011, the most recent year for which the U.S. Census Bureau has estimated household net worth.”

In addition, President Obama’s net worth is listed as $12.2 million. (CelebrityNetWorth.com)

I’m sure you’ve heard plenty about welfare and how deadbeats are living off taxpayers—for instance, free school lunches for the 21 million kids who live in poverty or food stamps for Wal-Mart employees who are paid poverty wages, but I’m also sure you haven’t heard much about how the Government spends more on Corporate Welfare Subsidies than Social Welfare Programs.

And the evidence suggests that the Congress takes care of its own, because the wealthy are never satisfied with what they’ve got and always want more. According to Think by Numbers.org, “About $59 billion is spent on traditional social welfare programs. $92 billion is spent on corporate subsidies. So, the government spent 50% more on corporate welfare than it did on food stamps and housing assistance in 2006.”

In fact, BigThink.com says, “Recent experiments have demonstrated that people who associate greed with positive values—a view that correlates highly with having wealth—are more likely to behave unethically in a host of circumstances, including cutting off drivers in traffic and cheating while gambling. In fact, research shows that simply being in the presence of physical wealth reduces people’s propensity to share. Of course not all financial professionals are liars and cheats but the industry, by its nature, seems prone to unethical behavior.”

In conclusion, if you are familiar with what’s happening in the war to destroy the democratic public schools in the United States and the billionaire oligarchs—for instance, Bill Gates, Rupert Murdock, Michael Bloomberg, the Koch Brothers and the Walton Family, etc—who may profit off America’s middle class tax payers who pay taxes to support the public schools, you may have a better understanding of why they’re doing this.

This doesn’t excuse what these billionaires are doing. What it means is that the rest of us, the other 316+ million Americans who are not wealthy, have to fight back to hold on to what little we have left.

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine, Vietnam Veteran and English-journalism teacher.

His latest novel is the award winning Running with the Enemy that started life as a memoir and then became a fictional suspense thriller. 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 left-hand column and click on “FOLLOW!”

If we are going to change the schools, we are going to change America

Originally posted on Crazy Normal - the Classroom Exposé:

Rise Above the Mark is a documentary that focuses on the damage being caused by the “corporate takeover” of America’s public schools.

The purpose of Rise Above the Mark, narrated by Peter Coyote, is to educate the general public about the “corporate takeover” of Indiana public schools and what parents, community members and educators can do to protect their local public schools. Legislators are calling the shots and putting public schools in an ever-shrinking box. WLCSC Board of School Trustees and Superintendent of Schools, Rocky Killion, want to secure resources and legislative relief necessary to achieve the school district’s mission of creating a world-class educational system for all children. The school district’s strategic plan will introduce a model of education that puts decision making back into the hands of local communities and public school teachers, rather than leaving it in the hands of legislators and ultimately lining the pockets of…

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