Friday, August 19, 2016

Failing schools or inaccurate reporting?

Sent to the Los Angeles Times, August 19

Dave Pierce ("Early Learning," letters, August 19) is tired of reading stories about failing schools.  Mr. Pierce thinks the problem is parents who don't make their children do homework, but there is good evidence that the problem is that the media gives the public the impression that our schools are much worse than they are.

Every year, national polls report that people rate their local schools much more positively than they do schools in the US in general. In last year's Gallup Poll, 70% of parents said they would give the public schools their oldest child attended a grade of A or B, but only 19% would give public schools in the nation A or B.

The explanation: Parents have direct information about the school their children attend, but their opinion of American education comes from the media. For decades, the media has been reporting more academic failure than actually exists.

American schools are doing quite well: When researchers control for poverty, American students' international test scores rank near the top of the world.

Stephen Krashen


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