"The whole people must take upon themselves the education of the whole people and be willing to bear the expenses of it. There should not be a district of one mile square, without a school in it, not founded by a charitable individual, but maintained at the public expense of the people themselves." -- John Adams

"No money shall be drawn from the treasury, for the benefit of any religious or theological institution." -- Indiana Constitution Article 1, Section 6.

"...no man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever, nor shall be enforced, restrained, molested, or burthened in his body or goods, nor shall otherwise suffer on account of his religious opinions or belief; but that all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinion in matters of religion, and that the same shall in no wise diminish enlarge, or affect their civil capacities." – Thomas Jefferson

Monday, February 7, 2011

Can't they hear?

Editorialists, politicians, and pundits...non-educators all...can't seem to hear or admit out loud that one of the biggest problems facing American schools in the 21st century is poverty. It's been said over and over and over again, yet it needs to be repeated again and again. Thank goodness that Stephen Krashen keeps saying it.
Not Just Cleveland

Poverty is the major factor everywhere, not just Cleveland.

Sent to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Feb. 5, 2010

When discussing the Cleveland schools, Brent Larkin understands that it is hard to improve school achievement in the presence of "abject poverty" ("Peter Raskind starts atop bottomed-out Cleveland public schools," Feb. 5). But when Larkin discusses American students' performance on international tests, he appears to be unaware that the same factor is at work.

On the recent PISA tests, American 15-year-olds attending schools with less than 10% of students living in poverty averaged 551 on the reading test, second in the world. Our overall scores are unspectacular (tied for 10th out of 60 countries on the reading test) because we have a high percentage of children living in poverty, over 20%. This is the highest among all industrialized countries. In contrast, child poverty in high-scoring Finland is less than 4%.

For Cleveland and for the US as a whole, the major problem is poverty. Before we worry about teacher quality, institute longer school days, and increase testing, we need to make sure that all children are protected from the effects of poverty: This means adequate health care and nutrition, and access to books. When we do this, American test scores will be at the top of the world.

Stephen Krashen

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