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[Susan notes: Here's the good advice: Look for opportunities to publish the message about poverty anywhere and everywhere. And then do it.]

Published in USC Trojan Family Magazine
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To the editor

The deck preceding the stimulating interview with gaming experts ("Deep play," Spring 2011) announced that online games "may help salvage our failing schools." The experts interviewed made an excellent case for games, but our schools are "failing" for only one reason: Poverty.



Studies show that American students from well-funded schools who come from middle-class families outscore students in nearly all other countries on international tests. Our average scores are less than spectacular because the US has the highest percentage of children in poverty of all industrialized countries (over 20%; in contrast, high-scoring Finland has less than 4%).



Poverty means inadequate nutrition, inadequate health care, exposure to environmental toxins, and little access to books, all of which are strongly associated with lower school performance. If all of our children had the same advantages middle class children have, our test scores would be at the top of the world.







Stephen Krashen, Professor Emeritus, USC


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