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[Susan notes: This piece by a New York Times reporter who writes about business and economics is really outrageous. Its call for "better teachers" ignores the facts. Watch for Economic Policy Institute's new initiative, Raising America's Pay, coming June 4.]

Submitted to New York Times but not published

To the editor

In asserting that the greatest shortcoming in the United States compared with top performers like Canada, Finland and Singapore is "a dearth of excellent teachers," Eduardo Porter ( For Schools, Long Road to a Level Playing Field) echoes the shameful corporate cry of "Blame the teachers!"

It's easy--and comfortable--to blame schools. What seems to be impossible is to solve our nation's growing poverty problem. A UNICEF study of 35 developed countries found the United States had the second-highest rate of child poverty, coming in after Romania. Finland had the second lowest poverty rate. The US minimum wage is $2.50 lower than Canada's. In Shanghai, poor children are more likely to be out working than sitting for OECD tests. (See New York Times story, "Worker Deaths Raise Questions at an Apple Contractor in China," Dec. 10, 2013).

If Eduardo Porter is serious about wanting to help students do better in school, then he should call for a living wage, not a new crop of teachers.

Susan Ohanian

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