Published Online: October 19, 2009
Published in Print: October 21, 2009, as The Problem Is Poverty, Not a Lack of Standards

Letter

The Problem Is Poverty, Not a Lack of Standards

Article Tools
  • PrintPrinter-Friendly
  • EmailEmail Article
  • ReprintReprints
  • CommentsComments

To the Editor:

"Standards Aren't Enough," the recent Commentary by Susan H. Fuhrman, Lauren Resnick, and Lorrie Shepard (Oct. 14, 2009), implies that the United States’ lack of clear and uniform standards is the reason other countries do better on international tests of math and science. It also implies that in the absence of externally imposed and detailed standards, American teachers do not know how to help students make progress.

Gerald W. Bracey, in his book Education Hell: Rhetoric vs. Reality, points out that U.S. schools with less than 25 percent of their enrollments made up of children in poverty outscore all other countries in math and science. U.S. children only fall below the international average when 75 percent or more of the students in a school live in poverty. Studies also confirm that hunger, poor diet, and a lack of reading material seriously affect academic performance. The United States has the highest level of childhood poverty of industrialized countries.

The fact that American students not in poverty do so well strongly suggests that, in general, American educators know what they are doing. The problem is not lack of standards, the problem is poverty.

Stephen Krashen
Professor Emeritus
Rossier School of Education
University of Southern California
Los Angeles, Calif.

Vol. 29, Issue 08, Page 26

Related Stories
You must be logged in to leave a comment. Login |  Register
Ground Rules for Posting
We encourage lively debate, but please be respectful of others. Profanity and personal attacks are prohibited. By commenting, you are agreeing to abide by our user agreement.
All comments are public.

Back to Top Back to Top

Most Popular Stories

Viewed

Emailed

Commented