Monday, May 17, 2010
Sent to the NY Times, May 10, 2010
In his speech at Hampton University ("Obama asks graduates to close
education gap," May 9), President Obama remarked that "…..students
in well-off areas are outperforming students in poorer rural or urban
communities, no matter what skin color. Globally, it’s not even
close. In 8th grade science and math, for example, American students
are ranked about 10th overall compared to top-performing countries."
The president is correct: Students in those well-off areas, who attend
well-funded schools, do very well. They don't rank 10th overall
world-wide: They score at the top oiin international tests of science
and math, while American children in "poorer rural or urban
communities" score below the international average. Our overall
performance is unimpressive because such a high percentage of children
in the US live in poverty, among the highest of all industrialized
countries (about 22.5%, compared to Sweden's 2.5%).
This means that there is nothing seriously wrong with American
education. The problem is poverty.
University of Southern California
Posted by P. L. Thomas at 7:09 AM