Monday, August 15, 2016

The problem is poverty, not unions: Response to Fox News

August 15, 2016.

The low ranking of US students on international tests (“If your child's school is failing, thank a union," foxnews, August 15) has nothing to do with unions.  There is overwhelming and consistent research that it has everything to do with poverty. When researchers control for the effects of poverty, American students rank near the top of the world. Also, middle class American students in well-funded schools score very well on international tests.     
About 25% of American children live in poverty – the highest level of all industrialized countries, and in some urban districts, 80% of students live in poverty. This is the reason for our mediocre overall scores.
Poverty means poor nutrition, poor health care, and underfunded school libraries, which means little access to books.  Spending on schools is NOT directed at protecting students from high poverty families from the effect of poverty.
Real reform means less spending on useless tests and computers – let's only spend on tests and technology demonstrated to help students. Instead, lets spend on making sure no child is left unfed, no child is without proper health care, and every child has access to good libraries and helpful librarians.

Stephen Krashen
Author: The Power of Reading (2004, second edition, Libraries Unlimited).

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