Opinion
Education Letter to the Editor

The Problem Is Poverty, Not a Lack of Standards

October 19, 2009 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

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.

A version of this article appeared in the October 21, 2009 edition of Education Week as The Problem Is Poverty, Not a Lack of Standards

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Law & Courts Webinar
Future of the First Amendment:Exploring Trends in High School Students’ Views of Free Speech
Learn how educators are navigating student free speech issues and addressing controversial topics like gender and race in the classroom.
Content provided by The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Student Well-Being Webinar
Start Strong With Solid SEL Implementation: Success Strategies for the New School Year
Join Satchel Pulse to learn why implementing a solid SEL program at the beginning of the year will deliver maximum impact to your students.
Content provided by Satchel Pulse
Jobs Virtual Career Fair for Teachers and K-12 Staff
Find teaching jobs and other jobs in K-12 education at the EdWeek Top School Jobs virtual career fair.

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education Briefly Stated: June 8, 2022
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated: June 1, 2022
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated: May 11, 2022
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
9 min read
Education Briefly Stated: April 27, 2022
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
9 min read