The real problem with American public education

I just found this Atlantic story via FB (as well as the quote I’m about to pull).  If history is any indication, by the time I read it, I’ll fail to blog about it.  So, without actually reading the article yet, I still love this quote:

 The notion that we are “a nation at risk” from underachieving public schools is, as David Berliner asserts, errant “nonsense” and a pack of lies.

Rather, we have a poverty problem. The fact is that kids in resource-rich public school systems perform near the top on international measures. However, asDavid Sirota has reported, “The reason America’s overall scores on such tests are far lower is because high poverty schools produce far worse results — and as the most economically unequal society in the industrialized world, we have far more poverty than our competitors, bringing down our overall scores accordingly.” Addressing poverty and inequality are the keys to serving America’s educational needs.

Great and important points.  Where we do well, we are doing just fine.  Good American schools are not lagging the world.  The problem is that there are too many not good schools concentrated almost entirely in high-poverty environments   And, sadly, the rest of the first world simply does not have the concentration of poverty we do here in America.

About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State

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