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[Susan notes: We need to follow Krashen's lead and keep reminding newspapers that "It's the poverty, stupid!"]

Submitted to Washington Post but not published
08/20/2014

To the editor

The Post has reported that according to a recent PDK/Gallup poll, the Common Core educational standards are losing support nationwide (August 19). The poll asked those opposed to the Common Core why they were opposed, giving them several possible reasons.



The options did not include the reasons many educators oppose the Common Core: There is no need for a radical change in curriculum or testing. Substantial improvement will come only when we deal with the real problem: Poverty. When researchers control for the effect of poverty, American test scores are near the top of the world. Our unspectacular overall scores are because the US has the second highest level of child poverty among all 34 economically advanced countries (now over 23%, compared to high-scoring Finland's 5.4%).



Poverty means poor nutrition, inadequate health care, and lack of access to books, among other things. All of these negatively impact school performance. Instead of protecting children from the effect of poverty, the common core is investing billions in an untested curriculum and massive testing, despite research showing that increasing testing does not increase achievement.

Stephen Krashen


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