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[Susan notes: Three cheers for Stephen Krashen, for pursuing the points we all need to pursue.]

Submitted to U. S. News and World Report but not published

To the editor

Re: “Education: Math scores rise, but reading sparks concern,” October 20.

A comment on your statement, “Additional NAEP data

released yesterday show that the gap continues to

shrink between the scores of students eligible and not

eligible for free and reduced-price school lunch, a

key measure of socioeconomic status.” This is not true

for scores between 2002 and 2005, which is very bad

news for No Child Left Behind (NCLB).

No Child Left Behind, passed in 2001, went into effect

in 2002-2003. Since 2002, the gap between children of

poverty and children not in poverty has increased four

points in grade 4 reading, increased by one point in

grade 8 reading, and three points in grade 8 math. The

only decrease is grade 4 math, by six points. (The

usual gap between low poverty and non-poverty students

is between 25 and 30 points.) Between 2003 and 2005,

the gap remained nearly exactly the same.

This is serious. It means NCLB is not coming through

on its promise to level the playing field. NCLB has

cost American taxpayers about 100 million dollars. The

only ones to profit have been publishers who cash in

each time a new test or new set of workbook materials

is mandated.

Stephen Krashen

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