Thursday, April 24, 2014

Address Poverty to boost education

Published in USA Today, May 1, 2014

Address poverty to boost education: Your Say
Original title: Expert Opinion on the Common Core

USA TODAY's editorial does not mention the real opposition to the "Common Core" standards from professional educators and scholars ("'Common Core' demonized as Obamacore: Our view").
Common Core does not deal with the reason for unspectacular performance by American students. The United States has the second-highest level of child poverty among 35 economically advanced countries (now over 23%, compared with Finland's 5.3%). 
[IMPORTANT SENTENCE OMITTED BY USA TODAY EDITORS HERE: When researchers control for the effect of poverty, American scores on international tests are at the top of the world.]
Poverty means poor nutrition, inadequate health care and lack of access to books, among other things. All of these profoundly impact school performance. Instead of protecting children from the effects of poverty, the Common Core provides "tough" standards and more testing.

Stephen Krashen, professor emeritus; University of Southern California; Los Angeles

Original article:

Sources (not included in published letter)
Levels of poverty: UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre 2012, ‘Measuring Child Poverty: New league tables of child poverty in the world’s rich countries’, Innocenti Report Card 10, UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre, Florence.

Control for poverty:
Payne, K. and Biddle, B. 1999. Poor school funding, child poverty, and mathematics achievement. Educational Researcher 28 (6): 4-13; Bracey, G. 2009. The Bracey Report on the Condition of Public Education. Boulder and Tempe: Education and the Public Interest Center & Education Policy Research Unit. Berliner, D. 2011. The Context for Interpreting PISA Results in the USA: Negativism, Chauvinism, Misunderstanding, and the Potential to Distort the Educational Systems of Nations. In Pereyra, M., Kottoff, H-G., & Cowan, R. (Eds.). PISA under examination: Changing knowledge, changing tests, and changing schools. Amsterdam: Sense Publishers. Tienken, C. 2010. Common core state standards: I wonder? Kappa Delta Phi Record 47 (1): 14-17. Carnoy, M and Rothstein, R. 2013, What Do International Tests Really Show Us about U.S. Student Performance. Washington DC: Economic Policy Institute. 2012.

“Poverty means poor nutrition, inadequate health care, and lack of access to books”:
Berliner, D. 2009. Poverty and Potential:  Out-of-School Factors and School Success.  Boulder and Tempe: Education and the Public Interest Center & Education Policy Research Unit.;   Krashen, S. 1997. Bridging inequity with books. Educational Leadership  55(4): 18-22.

More testing:
Krashen, S. 2012. How much testing?­‐ krashen-­‐how-­‐much-­‐testing/

Increasing testing does not mean greater achievement:
Nichols, S., Glass, G., and Berliner, D. 2006. High-stakes testing and student achievement: Does accountability increase student learning? Education Policy Archives 14(1). OECD. Tienken, C., 2011. Common core standards: An example of data-less decision-making. Journal of Scholarship and Practice. American Association of School Administrators [AASA], 7(4): 3-18.


  1. Amen & amen. When will someone listen to the truth?

  2. It is a source of despair that in the face of overwhelming data and anecdotal evidence showing that Common Core is wrongheaded and even destructive, the so-called education policy makers pass blithely over this information and spout their baseless, fact-free assumptions as though grounded in fact. What facts?

    News media coverage of education issues has fallen prey to these education policy makers and their corporate sponsors; there is virtually no mention in the mainstream commercial news media about the socio-economic issues that lie at the heart of education outcomes. The propaganda about public education reform is so bizarre that it comes across as delusional.

    1. A profound and brilliant analysis of the entire standards movement:

  3. C'mon Stephen. Don't demean the research-based creation of best practice for what works in class rooms.

    Ridiculous joking aside, the brain research is so stunningly clear now. Chronic poverty generates an increase in stress, which releases more cortisol, which strains brain functions necessary for learning.

    But read Tacoma's view of it...

  4. Read John Taylor Gatto's The Underground History of American Education for a more complete examination of the development of compulsory schooling. The elite have been working to achieve a caste society since the mid 19th century when America experienced mass immigration from "undesirable" European countries.

  5. nice shared post,My thought are It is a wellspring of hopelessness that even with overpowering information and episodic proof demonstrating that Common Core is wrongheaded and even damaging, i am student of a Mathematics and really for for a Math Practice Test.

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