Blame students or blame poverty?
**Sent to The New York Times, Sept 13, 2010**
**Thomas Friedman ("We’re No. 1(1)!,"9/11) asserts that American
education has declined, our test scores are low, and that we must
therefore demand more of our students.**
This is all wrong. American students from well-funded schools who come
from high-income families outscore nearly all other countries on
international tests. Only our children in high-poverty schools score
below the international average. Our scores look low because the US
has the highest percentage of children in poverty of all
industrialized countries (25%, compared to Denmark's 3%). American
education has been successful; the problem is poverty.
The solution is not to blame students for being lazy (our elders said
this about us). The solution is to protect children from the damaging
effects of poverty: better nutrition (Susan Ohanian suggests the motto
"No Child Left Unfed"), excellent health care for all children, and
universal access to reading material.
Friedman article at: