Sunday, September 28, 2014

Eliminate poverty to improve education

Eliminate poverty to improve education.  Published in the LA Times, Sept 30, 2014 under the heading: “High expectations for impoverished students”

As Garret Keizer points out, some students manage to overcome the effects of poverty and do well in school (“A level playing field at school can't make up for a broken democracy,” Op-Ed, Sept. 27).  But not many. 

Grit and determination, and the best teaching in the world has little effect when students are hungry, ill because of lack of health care,  and have low levels of literacy because of lack of access to books.

Existing evidence strongly supports Mr. Keizer’s observation that school success does not  magically improve one’s economic status. And improving test scores will not help our economy: It works the other way around:  Martin Luther King was right: "We are likely to find that the problems of housing and education, instead of preceding the elimination of poverty, will themselves be affected if poverty is first abolished”

Stephen Krashen

This letter posted at

1 comment:

  1. If MLK is right, and I believe he is, what is the responsibility of schools / teachers in abolishing poverty? Does the above belief allow an opportunity for the education system to throw up its collective hands and say "Can't do anything about the education of students living in poverty until poverty is abolished" (which would mean they are no longer living in poverty)? Until the societal changes occur that eradicate poverty, what do teachers/schools/districts/the system do?