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[Susan notes: Here's an important letter by Stephen Krashen, presenting Ed Trust-LA Times puffery with facts.]

Submitted to Los AngelesTimes but not published
12/28/2003

To the editor

According to the Times ("LAUSD's Twin Challenges", December 26, 2003)

there was an "upward trend" on federal tests (the "NAEP") in

mathematics and reading in LAUSD. Not so.



There was no way to determine a trend in math; scores for LAUSD are available only for 2003.



Reading scores for eighth graders in LAUSD decreased from 257 in 2002 to 254 in 2003. English learners in grade 4 in 2003 did significantly better than English learners in 2002, but the gain for all students (191 to 194) was not statistically significant. Reading scores for LAUSD are not available for previous years.



In comparison, the national average for grade 4 reading in 2003 was 216, the state average was 206.



The Times quotes Russlyn Ali from Education Trust West as saying that LAUSD's scores are low because "we teach them less." There are more

obvious causes: high numbers of English learners, poverty, and little access to reading material, Jeff McQuillan's research has shown clear connections between access to print (home, school libraries, public libraries) and scores on the NAEP reading test.



As the Times notes, seventy-two percent of LAUSD students are from low-income families. Children of poverty have fewer books at home, live in neighborhoods with inferior libraries, and attend schools with inferior school libraries. LAUSD's elementary school libraries are dismal with few books (9 books per child, compared to 18 to 1

nationally) and no certified librarians.



Stephen Krashen, Emeritus Professor, USC


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