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[Susan notes: Journalists and commentators continue to ignore the fact that poverty and lack of access to books is the issue. We must all be grateful to Stephen Krashen for continuing to pound this point home. We should follow his lead.]

Submitted to Los Angeles Times but not published

To the editor

Only 9% of low-income eighth graders in California are

“well-prepared” for high school compared to 23%

nation-wide (“California's going to get a shocking

education,” Nov 26). This is devastating: Over one and

a half million children in California live in poverty

(17%), and nearly four million (41%) come from

low-income families.

At least part of the reason California does a poor

job, compared to other states, in educating children

of poverty is the condition of our libraries. Studies

consistently show a strong relationship between access

to books and how well children read, and children of

poverty are nearly completely dependent on libraries

for reading material. California has the worst school

libraries in the US and ranks among the worst in

public libraries in the US. The state now invests

only 3% of the national average in school libraries,

and half the national average on public libraries.

Stephen Krashen

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