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[Susan notes: We need to get this message into every paper in the country. Every week.]

Published in Santa Monica Dailyl Press
02/12/2011

To the editor

Santa Monica's Catholic schools intend to lengthen the school year because "studies show American students falling behind their counterparts around the world ("Local Catholic schools move to longer school year," Feb. 5-6, page 1)."



Studies actually show that American children from middle class families who attend well-funded schools score at the top of the world on international tests. Our overall scores are less than spectacular because the U.S. has the highest rate of child poverty of all industrialized countries, over 20 percent. The rate of child poverty in high-scoring Finland is under 4 percent.



Poverty means inadequate nutrition, inadequate health care, exposure to environmental toxins, and little access to books, all of which are associated with lower school performance. The problem is not our teachers and not the length of our school year: The problem is poverty.

Stephen Krashen


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