Monday, June 04, 2012
Science Education: We can do even better
Sent to USA Today, June 4, 2012
Rising scores on the national (NAEP) science test are indeed reasons to “Quit fretting. U.S. is fine in science education” (June 3).
But we can make more progress: The average score for students not eligible for free and reduced price lunch was 164, just below the demanding proficient level (170), Those eligible for free/reduced lunch averaged 137, just below the basic level (141).
This is no surprise: Our middle class students who attend well-funded schools score at the top of the world on international tests. Our overall scores are less than spectacular because of our high rate of poverty, now 23%, highest in the industrialized world. Poverty means food deprivation, lack of health care, and lack of reading material, which all contribute strongly to poor school performance.
Let’s take some of the billions spent on testing and invest it in improved food programs, better health care, and libraries.
Professor Emeritus, University of Southern California
American students in well-funded schools …
Berliner, D. The Context for Interpreting PISA Results in the USA: Negativism,
Chauvinism, Misunderstanding, and the Potential to Distort the Educational Systems of Nations. In Pereyra, M., Kottoff, H-G., & Cowan, R. (Eds.). PISA under examination: Changing knowledge, changing tests, and changing schools. Amsterdam: Sense Publishers. In press.
Bracey, G. 2009. Education Hell: Rhetoric vs. Reality. Educational Research Service
Payne, K. and Biddle, B. 1999. Poor school funding, child poverty, and mathematics
achievement. Educational Researcher 28 (6): 4-13.
Poverty and hunger, health and access to books:
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
Krashen, S. 1997. Bridging inequity with books. Educational Leadership 55(4): 18-22.
Original article: http://www.usatoday.com/news/opinion/forum/story/2012-06-03/science-math-education-us-schools/55363868/1