"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

School reform efforts avoid the real problem

Sent to the Daily News (Los Angeles) August 30, 2011

Re: "`Snapshot' of reform shows mixed results." August 29

School reform always has limited results because it avoids the real problem: Poverty.

Los Angeles has a very high rate of child poverty. Poverty means poor nutrition, inadequate health care, and little access to books at school, at home, and in the community. All of these impact school performance. The best teaching has little effect when students are hungry, in poor health, and have little to read.

Our efforts to protect children from the effects of poverty have been dismal: Research shows that improving access to books improves reading achievement. For children of poverty, libraries are their primary source of books. Nevertheless, Los Angeles ranks near the bottom of the country in public library quality and California ranks near the bottom in school library quality.

Stephen Krashen

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