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[Susan notes: Once again, Stephen Krashen nails it. Use his model letter for letters of your own. Don't let false allegations about schools go unchallenged. Stephen makes our job easy.


Submitted to New York Times but not published

To the editor

Thomas Friedman ("Weâre 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.

Stephen Krashen

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