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

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Protect children from the effects of poverty: Response to Paul Peterson

Protect children from the effects of poverty
Sent to the New York Daily News, March 11, 2012

Paul Peterson says we should “Fix public schools before child poverty,” (March 11), arguing that low parental income is the not cause of low school performance. But Peterson agrees with the massive research showing that factors associated with poverty are related to school performance. These include factors Peterson doesn’t mention that have a powerful impact on learning: poor diet, lack of health care, exposure to environmental toxins, and little access to books. The best teaching in the world will have little effect when children are hungry, sick, and have very little to read.
We are now planning to spend billions on a huge nation-wide testing program, far more than is needed to accurately measure student achievement. We all recognize the need for assessment, but this money would be better spent if it were used to expand breakfast and lunch programs, provide more school nurses and improve school libraries in schools in high-poverty areas. Protecting children from the effects of poverty will raise test scores and improve school achievement, and, more important, it will improve the quality of life for millions of children.
Stephen Krashen

Peterson article: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/fix-public-schools-child-poverty-article-1.1036393#ixzz1opak85rR

some sources:
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;
Martin, M. 2004. A strange ignorance: The role of lead poisoning in “failing schools.” http://www.azsba.org/lead.htm.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous7:57 PM

    Thank you Stephen. That message needs to be shouted from the rooftops until all policy makers in government hear it and accept it! That we have close to 20% poverty in this country, and that we have close to a million homeless kids, is totally unacceptable in America. We are better than that.