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[Susan notes: Excellent letter that uses research to refute popular view expressed in the media.]

Published in Fresno Bee

To the editor

Poverty is the problem

Superintendent Michael Hanson and the Fresno Unified School District board are being foolish. Their idea to tear apart schools and replace staff to improve school quality has absolutely no merit in research.

A study from the Mid-Atlantic Equity Center in December 2009 reported: "The evidence on the effectiveness of restructuring, charter schools, or EMOs suggests that none of these reform strategies show clear advantages over other approaches to school reform." Yet, we as a public are supposed to buy into Fresno Unified's idea that we are supposed to destroy our public school system to fix it? Hardly.

Many of these schools are in areas loaded with poverty, drugs, gangs, and violence. These kids are trying to survive, let alone do well in school.

Dr. Stephen Krashen, a reading expert from USC, has stated, "The problem in education is not the lack of uniformity of standards nor is it a failing of our teachers. The problem is poverty. When studies control for poverty, American children do very well on international tests, indicating that there is nothing seriously wrong with our educational system. Study after study confirms that high levels of poverty mean lower academic achievement."

Fresno Unified and Mr. Hanson have it wrong.

Joseph Lucido

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