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[Susan notes: ]

Submitted to Scientific American but not published

To the editor

I have discussed this wretched article.

Scientific American thinks that high science standards are

the reason some states do better than others on science tests (Can the US get

an Ć¢€˜AĆ¢€™ in Science? August 2012). There is no evidence this is so. The two top states, in science, as mentioned

by Scientific American, are Massachusetts and Minnesota. They also rank near

the bottom of the country in percentage of children living in poverty.

Study after study has shown that children who come from

high-poverty families do poorly on standardized tests, and the factors related

to poverty, insufficient food quality and quantity, lack of health care, and

lack of access to books, have been shown to be strongly related to student


American children from middle class families who attend

well-funded schools score at the top of the world on standardized tests,

including math and science. Our mediocre

overall scores are because of our unacceptably high level of poverty: 23% of our

children live in poverty, which ranks us 34th out of 35 economically

advanced countries.

The problem is poverty, not lack of high standards.

Stephen Krashen

Professor Emeritus

University of Southern California

Notes and sources:

Massachusetts has only 14% child poverty, Minnesota, 15%.

Child poverty in the US, individual states: National Kids Count Program: http://datacenter.kidscount.org/data/acrossstates/Rankings.aspx?ind=43

Children from high poverty families:

Berliner, D.C. (2006). Our impoverished view of educational

reform. Teachers College Record, 108(6),


Berliner, D.

2009. Poverty and Potential: Out-of-School Factors and School Success. Boulder and Tempe: Education and the Public

Interest Center & Education Policy Research Unit. http://epicpolicy.org/publication/poverty-and-potential;

Payne, K. and

Biddle, B. 1999. Poor school funding, child poverty, and mathematics


Educational Researcher 28 (6): 4-13.

Stephen Krashen

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