[Susan notes: ]
Submitted to Scientific American but not published
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
The problem is poverty, not lack of high standards.
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),
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.