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Some Facts from Richard Rothstein

Susan Notes:

Ohanian Comment:This is a repeat of information previously posted, but we all need to be reminded of how easy it would be to fix serious problems--if our corporatre politicos only had the will. Instead of promoting the skills-intensive LEARN (sic) Act, Senators Murray and Franken should be getting the lead out and promoting dental clinics in the schools.

Try writing the Senators. Because of anthrax searches, it's better to write their home offices than D. C.

Senator Patty Murray
2988 Jackson Federal Building
915 2nd Avenue
Seattle, Washington 98174
Phone: (206) 553-5545
Toll Free: (866) 481-9186
Fax: (206) 553-0891

Senator Al Franken [D-MN]
60 East Plato Blvd
Suite 220
Saint Paul, MN 55107
(651) 221-1016

Senator Mark Begich [D-AK]
Peterson Tower, Suite 750
510 L St
Anchorage, AK, 99501
phone. (907) 271 - 5915
toll free. (877) 501 - 6275*
fax. (907) 258 - 9305

Senator Sherrod Brown [D-OH]
1301 East Ninth St., Suite 1710
Cleveland, Ohio 44114
p (216) 522-7272
f (216) 522-2239

From Chapter 1 of Class and Schools: Using Social, Economic, and Educational Reform To Close the Black-White Achievement Gap by Richard Rothstein

"Despite these big race and social class differences in childrearing, role modeling, and cultural characteristics, the poor achievement of lower-class students may not mainly be caused by these differences. Childrearing practices, role modeling, and values play a role, but even more important may be differences in the actual social and economic conditions of the classes. . . .

"Overall, lower-income children are in poorer health. Their greater incidence of vision problems has the most obvious impact on their relative lack of school success. . . .

"Fifty percent or more of minority and low-income children have vision problems that interfere with their academic work. . . .

"Lower-class children also have more hearing problems. . . .

"Children without dental care are more likely to have toothaches; untreated cavities are nearly three times as prevalent among poor as among middle-class children. Although not every dental cavity leads to a toothache, some do. Children with toothaches, even minor ones, pay less attention in class and are distracted more during tests, on average, than children with healthy teeth. So differences in dental care also contribute another bit to the achievement gap between lower- and middle-class children.

"Children who live in older buildings have more lead dust exposure than harms cognitive functioning and behavior. High lead levels also contribute to hearing loss. Low-income children have dangerously high blood lead levels at five times the rate of middle-class children. . . .

Iron deficiency anemia also affects cognitive ability: 8% of all children suffer from anemia, but 20% of black children do so. . . .

Rothstein's paper (11 pages) Reforms that could help narrow the achievement gap is a good, informative read (pdf file).

— Richard Rothstein
Reforms that could help narrow the achievement gap


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