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[Susan notes: Stephen Krashen packs a lot of research information refuting typical editorialist claims like this one. Go forth and use this info in your letters.]

Submitted to New York Times but not published

To the editor

Imposing new standards and more tests will not close the achievement gap ( Making 'no child' better", Feb 4). Low achievement by low-income students is not due to lack of determination or poor teaching but is because of poverty itself.

US schools with few children of poverty, less than 25 percent, outscore children in nearly all other countries in math and science. American children only score below the international average when 75 percent or more of the students in a school live in poverty. The obvious reason: Poverty means hunger, poor diet, environmental toxins and a lack of reading material, which seriously affect academic performance. The US has the highest level of childhood poverty of all industrialized countries (25%, compared to Denmark's 2%).

When all American children have the advantages middle-class children have, the achievement gap will disappear, and our test scores will be among the best in the world.

Stephen Krashen

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