What happens when the GOP Profit Politics of Jeb Bush and the Authoritarian CCSS testing regime come together in Florida

First, I want to tell you about an 8th grade student I home taught back in the early 1980s. I was teaching English full time at an intermediate school and was asked if I would home teach one of my students who was being treated for a brain tumor that would include surgery. Even at her young age of 13, she was already a top-ranked figure skater and had a chance to compete in the Olympics. The brain tumor ended all that.

About thirty years later, I heard back from her when I received an e-mail, and she let me know that she had survived the surgery, recovered, graduated from college, married and was living a full life. Because of the tumor, she never did get her chance to compete in the Olympics.

Now this comment arrives from Cathy Bacot, who I think lives in Florida.

Cathy says, My daughter is in 10th grade this year she has brain cancer; she is missing 80% of her cerebellum from surgery to remove a 5cm tumor when she was 4 years old; she cannot write or type proficiently because of her brain injury; she uses a gait trainer or wheelchair to ambulate; she has epilepsy; she has damage to her grey matter from 12 years of different chemotherapy treatments; she has expressive aphasia; ataxia; apraxia.

She is in school full time, she took the FCAT in 5th grade and scored a 4, she is very intelligent. She has a one on one para at school to assist her with physical as well as academic tasks. It took her 9 days to complete the FCAT reading test when she was in 5th grade. It was exhausting for her and she cried every morning before going to school to take the test because she did not want to sit alone in that class room another day and read and answer questions.

It takes her a very long time to read even though she knows all the words because she processes much more slowly than the average person. In the classroom she is allowed to use books on tape or have her para read long passages to her, but this accommodation is not allowed on statewide standardized tests. This year she is required to take the new ELA in order to qualify for a standard diploma.

She is a straight A student, she works extremely hard to maintain her good grades and deserves a standard diploma. We were told that even with all her disabilities she is required to take the test.

This year there is a writing segment included in the test which was not included in past years. She is expected to type out essays when they know that she is physically unable to do this. They said they would work on getting her a designated person that she can dictate to in order to complete this part of the test.

Can you imagine how that will go? Most people have a hard time understanding my daughter because of her apraxia, that paired with her aphasia and just being a kid who is probably not too comfortable with sharing her ideas out loud with a complete stranger is a recipe for disaster. And this is just the ELA.

I haven’t even gotten started with the Algebra EOC. These tests are going to require hours upon hours of testing for her, days of doing nothing but sitting in a classroom taking a test that most kids finish in just a couple of hours.

I am going to try and get the new exemption under the Child With Medical Complexity subsection for her, but I’m not sure if she qualifies. It seems like they are limiting the exemption to kids who have no motor or language function, but I am going to give it a shot. I will keep you posted on what happens. If anyone has any advice for me regarding this, I welcome it.

Conclusion from Blog Host: It’s time to fight back. It’s time to stand up and stop this insanity. I didn’t join the U.S. Marines and end up fighting in Vietnam to support a government like this anywhere in the United States. Elected representatives like these in Florida do not represent what the Founding Father’s created for this republic.

If anyone has any advice for Cathy Bacot regarding what is happening to her daughter and other children in Florida, she will welcome it. 

_______________________

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

lloydlofthouse_crazyisnormal_web2_5

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

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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Meltdown

I do not know when it started,
The religious meltdown
Where I lost my faith
And my family blew away with the wind.

Maybe it started after the death of our family gatherings.
Where grandfathers, grandmothers, fathers, mothers, uncles, aunts, sisters, brothers and cousins
Drove hundreds of miles to sit around the sagging
Table with turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy
Along with pies:
Pecan, pumpkin, apple, mincemeat
And my dad’s favorite, a moist lemon cake
With snowy powdered sugar dusting the top.

On Thanksgiving, my dad and brother-in-law
Competed to see who could eat the most
As football games on TV filled my sister’s house with screaming fans.

It could have been after we stopped celebrating Christmas.
When I was ten and Mike was five,
We huddled behind the closed hallway door along with his younger sisters
Waiting for Santa to leave so we could rush the tree and rip into packages
Squealing with delight at what was discovered.

Then again, maybe it was when Easter expired
And that chocolate bunny
Stopped laying those eggs we once hunted in the grass.

Those fun family moments started to fade
At the same time Disneyland arrived,
Television became king,
Fast food replaced home cooking
And Ringo beat his drums on the Ed Sullivan Show
Introducing an epidemic of obesity along with video games and YouTube.

The free love movement and the pill did not help.
Everyone off doing their thing smoking dope, dropping acid,
Becoming an individual,
Listening to harsh music,
Protesting Vietnam,
Spitting on uniforms
Before going off to occupy a therapist’s couch
Looking for someone else to blame for their mistakes
While buying shrink-wrapped fun
And quivering in fear of HIV/AIDS
Soon followed by the next popular media-induced paranoia.

It seems as if my country, the land I was born in and fought for,
Is driving down a one-way street shouting drive-by hate,
Narcissistic me, me, me
While real families grow weeds.

For decades, I have been hunting for what was lost
Traveling the world looking for that ghost family
That may only exist in my imagination
When the laughter did not come from foul-mouthed comedians
And shock jocks.

Sometimes, in the early mornings, after I exercise,
Surrounded by the humming silence
While everyone else is sleeping
I open my mind to God
Asking if He were created to forgive man’s sins.
He answers.

_______________________

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

Crazy-is-Normal-a-classroom-expose-200x300

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!”

The Pre-Election, Next-Door Homestead – Marshall Tuck versus Tom Torlakson – Debate

Close to the run up to the November 4, 2014 elections, Tuck was leading in the polls for State Superintendent of Public Instruction in California by a small margin—enough to look ominous considering the platform he was running on that would lead to the further destruction of California’s public schools in favor of private-sector, for profit—anyway you look at it—corporate Charters that mostly perform worse or the same as the public schools they replace.

I belong to Nextdoor.com in my community. Nextdoor is a social networking service for neighborhoods in the United States. It allows users to connect with people who live in their neighborhood.

The community debate I became embroiled in started when another member left a long rambling comment—long on claims and without  supporting data—calling on everyone in our neighborhood to vote for Marshall Tuck, because the public schools were failing our children.

When I checked this neighbor out, I discovered he was a Venture Capitalist, and  during our debate he mentioned that he knew Marshall Tuck, who, according to the Venture Capitalist, is a great guy who will save our children from horrible and incompetent public schools teachers.

Instead of sharing the entire debate—that ran long and rambled with the Venture Capitalist repeating his claims and offering no data to support them—I will share only the last two  comments here.

The Venture Capitalist said, “whether it is Tuck or not (and it will be, either for this office, or another statewide office within 10 years), the changes all of us with young kids want to see, will be implemented.”

My reply and last comment: When you say “all of us”, who are you talking about—after all, there are 316-million Americans and about 240-million are old enough to vote and make up their own minds? Do you claim to speak for those 240-million Americans?

As for your (earlier) claim that it is a flawed ploy that “wealthy oligarchs are funding the war on public education”, the evidence is there for anyone to read, and I already mentioned the book and provided the link earlier in this debate. How did you get a copy of Schneider’s book and read it so fast and then decide there is nothing valid to support the premise and evidence she presents?

Here’s the book again—all anyone has to do, who has an open mind, is follow the money to the source to see the obvious, because Mercedes Schneider has already done the investigative reporting and followed the money to its source, but if you think she’s wrong, then go ahead and prove her wrong. (Note: I never heard back from the Venture Capitalist who lives in my neighborhood).

“A Chronicle of Echoes: Who’s Who in the Implosion of American Public Education” by Mercedes K. Schenider

Anyone interested to discover more about Schneider, here’s the link to her about page on her blog:

http://deutsch29.wordpress.com/about/

In addition, Mercedes has written posts about all or most of the major players who are funding the corporate war on public education. She doesn’t just spout opinions. She provides the evidence (the data) to support what she says.

In addition, maybe anyone reading this thread—other than a Venture Capitalist—would be interested in what The Washington Post had to say about Bill Gates, and how he is the money man behind the implementation of the Common Core agenda to rank and yank teachers then close public schools turning our children over to corporate Charters that profit off taxpayers at our children’s expense.

How Bill Gates pulled off the swift Common Core revolution

Answer Sheet: Gates Foundation pours millions into Common Core in 2014

Then there is this quote from one of the Koch brothers, who admits what they are doing that was published in The New Yorker Magazine.

‘Charles Koch seems to have approached both business and politics with the deliberation of an engineer. “To bring about social change,” he told Doherty, requires “a strategy” that is “vertically and horizontally integrated,” spanning “from idea creation to policy development to education to grassroots organizations to lobbying to litigation to political action.” The project, he admitted, was extremely ambitious. “We have a radical philosophy,” he said.’

Or this one: “Broad school bully?”

“Today, the 79-year-old Broad (it rhymes with “road”), who lives in Los Angeles, is spending a good chunk of his fortune on education reform – steadfast in his belief that applying the same data-driven, free-market principles that made him so wealthy can also make U.S. schools great again. … Critics insist that the unseen hand of the Broad Foundation played a role on this winter’s dramatic move to close 23 public schools across Philadelphia – noting that the foundation in 2009 published an 83-page School Closure Guide, now no longer on its website, for large urban districts.”

Did you know that there are only 442 billionaires in the United States, but the United States has a population of 316 million people, in a country that is supposed to be a democracy where the people also have a right to what they think as individuals?

Does anyone want to know what the people think about the public schools?

The answer to that question may be found in the September and October 2014 PDK/Gallup Poll of the Public’s Attitudes Toward the Public Schools:

  1. 64% of Americans have trust and confidence in teachers compared to 35% who do not.
  2. 61% of Americans are against using student test results to evaluate teachers compared to 38% who favor using VAM.
  3. 77% of Americans felt it was important to help teachers improve their ability to teach
  4. Only 24% of Americans felt that performing well on a standardized test such as ACT or SAT would help students get good jobs while 86% felt learning skills like dependability, persistence and teamwork was more important.
  5. When asked what grade respondents would give the public schools in their own community, 12% gave their schools an A, 38% a B and 31% a C. Only 6% failed their community’s schools.
  6. When asked who should have the greatest influence on what public school teach, 56% said school boards and 28% state governments.
  7. 63% oppose vouchers

In addition to the debate, in conclusion, Tom Torlakson won the election by a wider margin—52% to 48%—than the lead Tuck had in the polls running-up to the election. The margin of difference came down to about 180,000 votes.

Torlakson—early in his adult working life—was a teacher who taught in the public schools for several years before he was first elected to the California State Legislature in 1996. Then in 2011, he was elected as the 27th State Superintendent of Public Instruction of California.

Tuck never taught a day in his life, and he has a history of being part of the corporate Charter school reform movement that is closing public schools and turning our children over to corporations that do not answer to the voter and/or the public.

The race between these two Democrats became a proxy war between two differing views on education overhaul. Mr. Torlakson relied on heavy support from teachers unions, while Mr. Tuck depended on a few independent supporters who Mercedes K. Schenider has linked to the corporate war on the public schools in the United States. In total, about $30 million was spent on this race this year, more than three times the amount spent for the last race in 2010, and Tuck, who lost, raised about $3 more than Torlakson.

_______________________

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

Crazy-is-Normal-a-classroom-expose-200x300

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!”

Brainwashing Americans for Extremism, Power and Profit (Viewed as Single Page)

An extremist is a person who holds extreme or fanatical political or religious views that are very far from what most people consider correct or reasonable and that are highly disagreeable to the majority of the population.

Dementia is a general term for loss of memory and other mental abilities severe enough to interfere with daily life, and it is caused by physical changes in the brain.

For instance, what Oliver Sacks wrote in Speak Memory, February 21, 2013, in The New York Review of Books about our ability to edit and revise our own memories to fit whatever we want to think. Oliver Sacks says, “From the Inquisition and the Salem witch trials to the Soviet trials of the 1930s and Abu Ghraib, varieties of ‘extreme interrogation,’ or outright physical and mental torture, have been used to extract political or religious “confessions.” While such interrogation may be intended to extract information in the first place, its deeper intentions may be to brainwash, to effect a genuine change of mind, to fill it with implanted, self-inculpatory memories, and in this it may be frighteningly successful.”

Then there is Eight Ways to Identify Religious Brainwashing. In part seven of this eight part series, “Leaders who emphasize ‘Doctrine Over Person’ usually have dominant personalities and rigidly interpret biblical commands. Thus, while their language sounds spiritual, in fact they merely enforce their own preferences about how to live life.”

In addition, in 6 Brainwashing Techniques  They’re Using on You Right Now, we learn that “Every cult leader, drill sergeant, self-help guru and politician knows that if you want to quiet all of those pesky doubting thoughts in a crowd, get them to chant a repetitive phrase or slogan. Those are referred to as thought-stopping techniques, because for better or worse, they do exactly that.”

I have an old friend who is an extremist and I’ll talk more about him in part 2 and 3 and why he is against abortion, and doesn’t think global warming is caused by human activity.

One issue that has been raging since Roe V. Wade in 1973, is a woman’s right to have an abortion versus the mostly extremist religious Right-to-Life mob.

Gallup publishes historical trends in respect to the abortion issue—that refuses to go away thanks to the mostly religious extremists—and my old friend is one of them.

In 1975, Gallup reported that 77% of the U.S. population felt that abortion was either legal under certain circumstances or legal under any circumstances, but only 19% felt it was illegal in all circumstances.

Thirty-eight years later, that thinking hasn’t changed much. In 2013, Gallup reported that 78% of the U.S. population felt that abortion was either legal under certain circumstances or legal under any circumstances, while 21% felt it was illegal under all circumstances.

I think it is arguable that 78% is an overwhelming majority exposing the extremist minority of the Right-to-Life mob.

The use of brainwashing techniques is used by the Right-to-Life mob when they claim that “Abortion is murder, because it kills babies.”  Using “murder” and “babies” together in the same phrase is designed to arouse emotions and fool people—in effect, brainwashing them—but the truth is that babies are never aborted—zygotes, embryos  or fetuses are aborted, and they’re not babies, toddlers or children. In fact, after the sperm fertilizes the egg, life starts as a single cell zygote and divides several times to form a ball of cells called  a morula. By the 8th week, the embryo—that develops from the zygote by the 3rd week—measures ½ inch in length, and the organism called the fetus starts to develop at about the 10th week.

Let’s be clear, a fetus is not a baby! At one month—4 weeks—there is an embryo consisting of two layers of cells from which the organs and body parts will develop. At 2 months—8 weeks—the fetus is the size of a kidney bean. At 3 months—12 weeks—the fetus is about 3 inches long and weighs almost an ounce.

Did you now that a fetus doesn’t feel pain until the 20th week? Actually, it doesn’t feel much or any pain at all until delivery—as you will discover.

The reason why I’m writing about the issue of abortion is because of my old friend, who suffers from a mental illness called extremism caused by brainwashing and/or irrational dementia. When we argue the issue of abortion, the terms he uses most often are “babies” and “murder”.

How can you murder a fetus without a developed brain that can’t feel pain, has no memoires and couldn’t survive outside the womb? The definition for a human being says: a man, woman or child of the species Homo sapiens, distinguished from other animals by superior mental development, power of articulate speech and upright stance.

And, according to the CDC, 89-92% of all abortions happen during the first trimester, prior to the 13th week of gestation; 6.9% of all abortions take place between 14-20 weeks of gestation, and 1.2% take place at or after 21 weeks of gestation.

The fetus starts out looking like the alien from the Alien film franchise, but eventually the fetus will develop a human form. That does not mean it is a viable, thinking, feeling creature with an active memory. In fact, it is arguable that it is not until after the 30th week that the brain has developed enough to be considered a complete human.

At week 5, the fetus’s brain, spinal cord, and heart begin to develop. At week 6-7, the fetus’s brain forms into five different areas. Some cranial nerves are visible. After week 8, the fetus’s brain will continue to grow until week 27 when it will start to grow faster.

The average unborn baby, while it is a fetus, will spend 38 – 40 weeks in the uterus.

When does consciousness arise in the human fetus? Consciousness requires a sophisticated network of highly interconnected components, nerve cells. Its physical substrate, the thalamo-cortical complex that provides consciousness with its highly elaborate content, begins to be in place between the 24th and 28th week of gestation. … What is fascinating is the discovery that the fetus is actively sedated—drugged—by the low oxygen pressure (equivalent to that at the top of Mount Everest), the warm and cushioned uterine environment and a range of neuroinhibitory and sleep-inducing substances produced by the mother’s body.

What does the Bible say about Abortion? OpenBible.Info lists 37 Bible Versus related to Abortion. Some—I’m convinced—will horrify you. For instance: Deuteronomy 28:53: “And you shall eat the fruit of your womb, the flesh of your sons and daughters, who the Lord your God has given you, in the siege and in the distress with which your enemies shall distress you.” Of course, the brainwashers will cherry pick versus they want their extremists to hear, and then tell them what to think.

My old, extremist, brainwashed friend also doesn’t believe global warming is caused by human activity, and this explains why he is against any or most environmental regulations that would limit carbon emissions—yet, there is irrefutable evidence that carbon emissions are polluting the air causing respiratory illnesses and lung disease, for instance, cancer, and that carbon emissions are altering the pH balance of the oceans threaten the food chain. Rising Acidity in the Oceans: The other CO2 Problem and How Air Pollution Contributes to Lung Disease

But that doesn’t stop extremists like my old friend—who gives me a lot to write about—from wanting a smaller government that doesn’t monitor private sector corporations that pollute the environment.

My old extremist friend seems to think that the private sector should have no restrictions and be allowed to do whatever it wants with no government intervention—he thinks that the private sector will correct itself voluntarily.

If you read this piece in a recent National Geographic Magazine about the EPA superfund going broke—thanks to people like my old, stubborn, extremist friend, for instance, and the Tea Party element of the GOP—you might appreciate the danger of stripping the government of its ability to limit pollution, corruption and/or monopoly in the private sector.

As for abortion, I think a woman should own her body and have the legal right to an abortion before, at least, the 21st week, if not longer to the 30th week. What I think my old extremist friend, who has been brainwashed, is really arguing for is less freedom for individuals and more freedom for profit hungry corporations to pollute the earth and cause more disease and illness.

Oh, one last fact: Gallup also reports that only 25% of the people are skeptical of global warming being caused by carbon emissions and human activity versus 75% who are concerned believers or somewhere in between.

Did you know that AEI routinely tries to undermine the credibility of climate science, despite at times affirming that the “weight of the evidence” justifies “prudent action” on climate change and AEI received $3,615,000 from ExxonMobil from 1998-2012, and more than $1 million in funding from Koch foundations from 2004-2011?

AFP also frequently provides a platform for climate contrarian statements, such as “How much information refutes carbon dioxide-caused global warming? Let me count the ways.” And the Koch foundations donated $3,609,281 to AFP Foundation from 2007-2011.

To discover more about who is brainwashing people like my old extremist friend, I suggest clicking on Global Warming Skeptic Organizations and read the report published by the Union of Concerned Scientists.

_______________________

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!”

International PISA test misconceptions (lies, lies and more lies) when comparing the US public schools to the world

On December 4, 2013, a New York Times headline shouted: “Shanghai Students Again Top Global Test”, and once again, America’s vocal critics of the U.S. Public Schools called for more reforms.

Not so fast. In fact, maybe not at all.

In China, the first nine years of education is compulsory starting before age 7. Primary school takes the first six of those nine years; then there’s middle school for grades 7, 8, and 9.

Fifteen is the age of students who take the international PISA test—and in China [so-called] compulsory education ends at the age of fifteen and students who decide to stay in school have a choice between a vocational or academic senior high school track. That’s where the choice ends because in China the senior high schools pick students based on merit.

To explain how this works, the CCP has acknowledged a “9-6-3 rule”. This means that nine of ten children began primary school between the ages of 6 and 7; six complete the first five years and three graduate from sixth grade with good performance.

By the time a student reaches senior high school—grades 10, 11, and 12—most enrollment is in the cities and not in rural China. Most rural Chinese don’t value education as much as urban Chinese do. And many of the migrant urban workers from rural China still have some family back in the village where they often leave their younger children. And many migrant workers, when they retire from factory work, return to the village and the family home.

The United States, by comparison, keeps most kids in school until the end of high school at age 17/18. About 75% graduate on time and another 15% earn their high school diploma or equivalent GED by age 24—all on an academic track because there is no vocational public schools k to 12 in the U.S.

In addition, in China there is the Zhongkao, the Senior High School Entrance Examination, held annually to distinguish the top students who then are admitted to the highest performing senior high schools. This means that if the highest rated high school in Shanghai has 1,000 openings for 10th graders, the students who earn the top 1,000 scores on the Zhongkao get in and then the second highest rated high school takes the next batch of kids until the lowest rated senior high school in Shanghai gets the kids with the bottom scores on the Zhongkao.

Maybe actual numbers will help clarify what this means:

In 2010, 121 million children attended China’s primary schools with another 78.4 million in junior and senior secondary schools. That total is 199.4 million kids.

According to World Education News & Reviews: “In 2010, senior high schools [in China] accommodated 46.8 million students (23.4% of the  199.5 million). But about 52 percent or only 40.8 million were enrolled in general senior high school, and 48 percent of those students were attending vocational senior high schools.”

That leaves 21.2 million enrolled in the senior high school academic track designed to prep kids for college—that’s 10.6% of the total. Then consider that Shanghai’s public schools are the best in China. This means that the fifteen-year-old students who take the international PISA in China are the elite of the elite attending China’s best public schools.

For a fair comparison—not what we’ll hear from the critics of public education in the United States—the Economic Policy Institute reports: “The U.S. administration of the most recent international (PISA) test resulted in students from the most disadvantaged schools being over-represented in the overall U.S. test-taker sample. This error further depressed the reported average U.S. test score. … But U.S. students from advantaged social class backgrounds perform better relative to their social class peers in the top-scoring countries [Canada, Finland, South Korea, France, Germany and the U.K.]” and “U.S. students from disadvantaged social class backgrounds perform better relative to their social class peers in the three similar post-industrial countries.”

In fact, “U.S. students from advantaged social class backgrounds perform better relative to their social class peers in the top-scoring countries of Finland and Canada. … and—on average—for almost every social class group, U.S. students do relatively better in reading than in math, compared to students in both the top-scoring and the similar post-industrial countries.”

_______________________

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

His latest novel is the multi-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.

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What I discovered this week about the real meaning of giving

As a child—after my parents climbed out of poverty—I took Christmas for granted and expected a huge pile of wrapped gifts under the tree for me and my cousins the morning of December 25. And as I eagerly tore into the gifts revealing the latest popular toys and gadgets, I never asked what I had done to deserve them.

Decades later, as I reflect, I don’t think reluctantly dragging a trash can to the curb—rare for me as a child—or doing a half-ass job cutting the lawn or the one time I weeded my mother’s flower garden counts. And I never washed the dishes or helped clean the house. It was as if my parents had elected themselves to be my slaves and servants.

Then when I was 15 and wanted a part-time job washing dishes in a coffee shop, my father argued with me to stay home; focus on school, and he would raise my allowance. I refused and took the job until I graduated from high school and joined the U.S. Marines.


searched “why give” to find this video with 234 views.

Digging deeper into my memory from kindergarten to twelfth grade, I wasn’t a trouble maker but I was far from being a model student. The fact that I didn’t pay much attention in classes; do most of the homework or read the assignments was not the fault of the teachers, which seems to be the popular consensus these days. That was my fault.

And now that I’m much older and look back with a different perspective, I know that I did not do much as a child to earn the Christmas gifts my parents lavished on me. In fact, I was happier when we lived in poverty—without a TV—and I used my imagination to make up for the missing toys and latest fashionable clothing.

I think a perfect example of the true meaning of giving should be to help someone like this story I read from the Huffington Post about a radio host who surprised an 89-year-old grandmother with a major home renovation.

This grandmother—who was the caregiver for a husband with Parkinson’s Disease—was 70 when her adult daughter was murdered, but she didn’t hesitate to sacrifice and take in her grandchildren to raise them. The story is worth reading even if you are a Scrooge.

Now that I’ve mentioned Scrooge, in Charles Dickens’ 1843 novel A Christmas Carol, the theme was for people to recognize the plight of those whom the Industrial Revolution had displaced and driven into poverty, and the obligation of society to provide for them humanely—not much different from today when you think about the fifty million who live in poverty in the United States. Dickens did not suggest in any way that we should shower children with toys and gadgets because it makes them happy for a moment.

And there’s always The Gift of the Magi by O Henry—one of my favorites. The main theme of this short story is sacrifice out of love. The two characters give to each other not objects, but love.

That led me to ask: Do people really care about giving? To find out, I searched YouTube for “examples of the true meaning of giving”, and couldn’t find one popular video. Then I searched “giving to those who deserve it” and had the same results.

Not willing to give up, I finally discovered a popular YouTube video when I searched “giving to charities”.  This video was titled Do Not Give or Donate to Charities, but don’t judge the video from its title because Elliot makes sense.


more than 110,000 views

Is it possible that giving help to those who deserve it is not valued in America but giving toys and gadgets to children who have done little to nothing to earn them is? If my experience as a child counts, the answer might be yes.

For those who believe in giving to those who deserve help, here’s a list at Charity Navigator.org of the 10 highest rated charities with the lowest CEO pay.

“The leaders of these 10 organizations run highly-rated charities, yet they earn far less than the average compensation of $150,000 reported by the over 7,000 charities rated by Charity Navigator.”

Then there is this list at Charity Navigator of the 10 highest paid CEO’s at the lowest-rated charities, and four on that list were linked to lawyers—no surprise there.

Who gives the most? (NPEngage!)

Generation Y, age 18 – 32, gave 11% of total

Generation X, age 33 – 48, gave 20%

Baby Boomers, age 49 – 67, gave 43%

Matures, age 68+ gave 26%

The Atlantic.com reports on Why the Rich Don’t Give to Charities: “One of the most surprising, and perhaps confounding, facts of charity in America is that the people who can least afford to give are the ones who donate the greatest percentage of their income.”

_______________________

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!”

A Politically Correct Mob Attacks Dr. Phil

Oprah’s Dr. Phil asked a question on his Twitter account and there was immediate outrage. [Oprah owns the Dr. Phil show]. Source: The Huffington Post

The message, sent late Tuesday afternoon to the self-help guru’s 1.1 million-plus followers, asked, “If a girl is drunk, is it OK to have sex with her? Reply yes or no to @drphil.” It included the hashtag “#teensaccused.”

The anger that Dr. Phil’s Tweet unleashed is an example of how fast a mob driven by political correctness and ignorance can react.

A spokesperson for Dr. Phil’s show soon issued a statement: “This tweet was intended to evoke discussion leading into a very serious show topic. It was not intended to be taken lightly.  It’s based on a recent news story, hence the #teensaccused label.”

I don’t see Dr. Phil’s question as offensive.  I see it as a question to gather info to see what Americans think and to discover how many may think it is okay to take advantage of a drunk teen female.

For example, when I was still teaching high school English/literature, my students debated a similar topic when we were reading Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet”.

That topic was about “no” meaning “no”.  The girls all agreed that “no” meant “no”, but many of the guys disagreed and said “no” meant “yes” and that “yes” meant “yes”.

I sided with the girls!

I taught “Romeo and Juliet” for sixteen years to about five classes each year [I taught for thirty years but the first 14 were mostly in 7th and 8th grade where we did not read Shakespeare].

That adds up to about 80 debates with about 3,000 students taking part and that was one of the more lively debates. By the way, the girls ended up winning all those debates but there were a few hard-core male teens that refused to agree.  My suggestion to the girls was not to date those guys.

Dr. Phil, if you are reading this,  that response in my classroom may offer an answer to your question regarding teens.

However, I was offended by the politically correct mob’s reaction that basically censured any honest debate, because who in their right mind would say it was okay even if he thought it was okay.

I’m interested to know if there are any females out there who would agree with the teen boys who said “no” means “yes”.  Never in sixteen years of debates on that question, did one girl agree with the teen boys who thought “no” meant “yes” and “yes” meant “yes”—it seems to me that this sort of thinking among many teen boys shows that parents need to do more parenting and start early.  But I suspect that when it comes to sex, many parents feel this topic is taboo and also politically incorrect explaining the knee jerk reaction of one of today’s politically correct and ignorant mobs.


Parents need to talk to their children about safe sex starting at a young age. Ignoring it, does not make it go away.

America’s Founding Fathers warned the citizens of a newly born United States about how democracy leads to mob rule and it is a challenge to hold on to freedom. This is another example.

_______________________

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!”