Student Achievement Letter to the Editor

Addressing the Effects of Poverty Is as Important as ‘Standards’

January 09, 2007 1 min read
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To the Editor:

It was gratifying to read William A. Proefriedt’s Commentary “Outsider in the Locker Room” (Dec. 6, 2006) after so many years of suppression of the opinions, views, and, indeed, even the research findings of all those educators who attempt to discuss socioeconomic-status factors in student achievement, only to be ruthlessly shouted down.

Teachers who are willing to speak of these issues are told in a variety of ways that they are not confident in the abilities of students who have historically done poorly in school, or have left without graduating. Worse, it might be implied that these teachers are racists who hold negative views about the children of ethnic minorities. All to support the notion that simply upholding standards, planning lessons “aligned” with standards, and measuring outcomes according to the standards is enough. Mention children who lack sufficient food, sleep, or a place to call home, who have no books or access to books, or suffer the effects of poverty in other ways, and you may find yourself accused of espousing a deficit view of them.

I concur with others who believe that the nation’s children would be far better served by investment in initiatives to address poverty than in more standards programs or standardized testing in schools.

Juliet Luther

Bilingual Educator/ESL Specialist

Bronx, N.Y.

A version of this article appeared in the January 10, 2007 edition of Education Week as Addressing Poverty is as Important as ‘Standards’


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