Sent to the Seattle Times, March 20
The Rice-Klein task force (“Education woes linked to national security,” March 19) ignores the facts about American schools. There is no evidence that American schools are failing. Middle-class American students in well-funded schools score at the top of the world on international tests; our overall scores are unspectacular because we have the highest percentage of children living in poverty among all industrialized countries.
This means that the major problem in American education is not a lack of standards. The major problem is poverty, which means food deprivation, lack of health care, and little access to books. The most ambitious standards, the highest quality teaching and the fanciest technology will have little impact when students are hungry, ill, and have little to read.
University of Southern California
Berliner, D. 2009. Poverty and Potential: Out-of-School Factors and School Success. Boulder and Tempe: Education and the Public Interest Center & Education Policy Research Unit. http://epicpolicy.org/publication/poverty-and-potential;
Coles, G. 2008/2009. Hunger, academic success, and the hard bigotry of indifference. Rethinking Schools 23 (2);
Rothstein, R. (2010). How to fix our schools. Economic Policy Institute, Issue Brief #286. http://www.epi.org/publications/entry/ib286;
Krashen, S. 1997. Bridging inequity with books. Educational Leadership 55(4): 18-22;
Original article: http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/nationworld/2017790002_apuseducationnationalsecurity.html