National News PEW Research Center


JULY 01, 2016
About half of Hispanics in the U.S. say they have experienced discrimination or have been treated unfairly because of their race or ethnicity. Experiences varied greatly by age, with younger Hispanics more likely than older Hispanics to say they have suffered discrimination or unfair treatment.  READ MORE >>

Read our full report on views of race and race relations in the U.S., based on a survey of 3,769 adults (including 654 Hispanics): On Views of Race and Inequality, Blacks and Whites Are Worlds Apart.

Large racial and gender wage gaps in the U.S. remain, even as they have narrowed in some cases over the years. In 2015, average hourly wages for black and Hispanic men were $15 and $14, respectively, compared with $21 for white men. Among women across all races and ethnicities, hourly earnings lag behind those of white men and men in their own racial or ethnic group.

The U.S. is projected to have no racial or ethnic group as its majority within the next several decades, but that day apparently is already here for the nation’s youngest children. Census Bureau estimates for July 1, 2015, say that just over half – 50.2% – of U.S. babies younger than 1 year old were racial or ethnic minorities. READ MORE >>
In 2015, 19% of all international migrants lived in the U.S., and 23% were in the EU, Norway and Switzerland. However, the origins of migrants in the U.S. are less diverse than of those in the EU. About a quarter (26%) of all immigrants in the U.S. come from just one country – Mexico. By contrast, Turkey was the top origin country for EU migrants in 2015, with an 8% share.

Kentucky in National News: Louisville District Seeks State Waiver for English-Learner Accountability


A disturbing event in my state.  Read more here:

A Majority of English-Speaking Hispanics in the U.S. are Bilingual


What we already know, here it is, officially “A majority of English-speaking Hispanics in the U.S. are bilingual”


National Trends: ESL Students on the Rise


Did you notice?  Read more here:

Political Issues: Children of Undocumented Parents and the President’s Dreamer Act


Read more about the perspective of one child in “A ‘Dreamer’ With Parents Still In The Shadows”

Free PD presentation: Accessing the Common Core: Supporting ELs Through Language Analysis


Presenter(s): Danielle Garegnani
Date: 3/29/2014 11:30:00 AM
Access here:

Stephen Krashen Pulls the Rug Out From Under the Standards Movement



Stephen Krashen Pulls the Rug Out From Under the Standards Movement
By Anthony Cody on April 3, 2012 1:33 PM

Some Comments on Paul Farhi’s “Flunking the Test”

Guest post by Stephen Krashen.

In “Flunking the Test,” Paul Farhi concludes that the media has seriously under-reported the successes of American education and have taken the pronouncements of self-proclaimed “reformers” at face-value. Farhi backs up his argument with real data: American students’ performance on international tests is much better than critics say it is, and college attendance has increased enormously.

Farhi cites Pedro Noguera, who in turn mentions a Dan Rather program that “explored the link between school performance and poverty, a subject often ignored or noted only in passing in many stories about academic achievement.” As Farhi notes, research shows that poverty is “the single greatest variable in educational achievement.”

Poverty is, in fact, the issue. While American students’ scores on international tests are not as bad as critics say they are, they are even better when we control for the effects of poverty: Middle-class students in well-funded schools, in fact, score at or near the top of world. Our average scores are respectable but unspectacular because, as Farhi notes, we have such a high percentage of children living in poverty, the highest of all industrialized countries. Only four percent of children in high-scoring Finland, for example, live in poverty. Our rate of poverty is over 21%.

The implications of this fact are enormous: It means that the “problem” of American education is not ineffective teaching, not teachers’ unions, not lack of national standards and tests, and not schools of education: It is poverty.

This conclusion is supported by additional evidence: High poverty means, among other things, lack of food and lack of quality food, lack of health care, and lack of access to books. There is massive evidence documenting the pernicious effect of hunger, illness and limited reading material have on school performance. The best teaching in the world has limited effects when children are hungry, sick and have little to read.

This analysis pulls the rug out from under the current standards movement, a movement that includes not only detailed and “rigorous” standards, but also an astonishing amount of testing, far more than currently required under No Child Left Behind. The standards/national tests movement is based on the unsupported assumptions that our schools are doing poorly (not true), that ineffective teaching is the major problem, and that standards and tests are necessary to insure a more rigorous curriculum, as well as frequent and precise evaluations of student progress and teacher effectiveness.

Ironically, the cure proposed for the non-existent crisis will prevent schools from improving: The money we are spending on national standards and starting to spend on national tests, could be used to provide better nutrition, improved health care, and libraries for children of poverty. In other words, we can protect children of poverty from at least some of the effects of poverty. This will not only raise overall test scores, it will lead to a better life for millions of American children.

What do you think? Are we wasting billions on tests that would be better spent elsewhere? Is poverty the real problem here?

References and sources:

Farhi, P. 2012. Flunking the Test. American Journalism Review.

American students in well-funded schools …

Berliner, D. The Context for Interpreting PISA Results in the USA: Negativism,
Chauvinism, Misunderstanding, and the Potential to Distort the Educational Systems of Nations. In Pereyra, M., Kottoff, H-G., & Cowan, R. (Eds.). PISA under examination: Changing knowledge, changing tests, and changing schools. Amsterdam: Sense Publishers. In press.

Bracey, G. 2009. Education Hell: Rhetoric vs. Reality. Educational Research Service
Payne, K. and Biddle, B. 1999. Poor school funding, child poverty, and mathematics
achievement. Educational Researcher 28 (6): 4-13.

Poverty and hunger, health and access to books:

Berliner, D. 2009. Poverty and Potential: Out-of-School Factors and School Success. Boulder and Tempe: Education and the Public Interest Center & Education Policy Research Unit.
Coles, G. 2008/2009. Hunger, academic success, and the hard bigotry of indifference. Rethinking Schools 23 (2);
Krashen, S. 1997. Bridging inequity with books. Educational Leadership 55(4): 18-22.
Krashen, S. 2011. Protecting students against the effects of poverty: Libraries. New England Reading Association Journal 46 (2): 17-21.
Rothstein, R. 2010. How to fix our schools. Economic Policy Institute, Issue Brief #286.

Dr. Stephen Krashen is a professor emeritus at the University of Southern California. He has written numerous books on his research into literacy and language acquisition. In recent years he has emerged as a persistent voice pointing towards the basic steps we should take to build literacy and strong academic skills for our students.

Common core standards ,
education reform ,
equity ,
poverty ,
standardized tests

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2:50 PM on April 3, 2012

Krashen and Farhi provide the reason to sign the Letter to Obama at Join nearly 6000 parents and educators in calling for an end to corporate-driven school takeovers and high-stakes testing. Return the public schools to local control.
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10:06 PM on April 3, 2012
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8:36 AM on April 4, 2012

Just cited/quoted Stephen from this excellent blog in a piece to appear soon in The Atlantic online…

Thanks for including this here at Teacher/EdWeek…
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12:39 PM on April 4, 2012

This is how we now StudentsFirst, Stand for Children, Parent Revolution, etc., etc., are astroturf fronts for dismantling public education. Any movement that truly puts children first will put addressing child poverty first.
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1:58 PM on April 4, 2012

Yep, and the classroom teacher is expected to do something about that too! Enough is enough- no longer is our primary function guides for inquiry and imparters of information; we are EVERYTHING a child needs. I cannot go on much longer… This intrusion by BIG BROTHER in dictating the scope of teaching is breaking us. Please leave.
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Sarah Puglisi

2:46 PM on April 4, 2012

One of the very first focuses of “improvement” in our then underperforming school (using the improvement factory model) was on the walls. We’d “focus” on them.
So we’d all look the same. With all the content one ever needed. Display ourselves as if that was where learning occurred-it took us a mighty long time to realize that was just where the “observer” looked.
And I doubt it has ever filtered out that observer and learner are two different things.

Next in reform came the forced “book club” for teachers- as literature was hauled off to “informational reading only” or “test prep reading,” so in came Ruby Payne.
Ruby Payne in to define to us “poverty” and our kids as pathological-needing fixed with academic language.
No look in that work at all at societal structures or how poverty really functions, or origins of poverty, not at racial issues, nothing remotely sociological. Just the need to improve academic language.
Then came the scripts. But. In those early times came the propaganda and rites of underperforming schools spelled out as rigidly as anything ever could be-no one could voice a concern about what was mandated, everyone had to tattoo the teacher’s lounges with “no excuses.”
This way, early on, IF a teacher IN a poverty area wished to suggest the poverty WAS a factor- it was clear she wasn’t teaching “hard” enough, or was needing to read the time management book bought for her with public funds on her unfunded time.
Meanwhile for kids in poverty the inadequate $ for supplies, art, music, science labs, field trips, assemblies, manipulatives, libraries, literature so on got directed to …consultants or mandated scrip like materials-basically huge testing companies and publishing companies-one that give you pieces like Dibels. Ones who made it clear if you discussed poverty outright you were “off topic.”
And then came along data driven, data workers that said that this off-topic stuff could be managed right out of meetings or teacher work completely with effective agendas and control.
Power. But that if you selected a powerful enough “standard” and worked as a team, everyone doing everything exactly the same way in that “learning community”-that would make a school “that mattered.”
And Scores, that’s the name of your child now.
Mr. Proficient or Miss Far Below Basic but on the Cusp.
Meanwhile the economy failed.
Kids in severe poverty went into a society that cut its services. Taking from the least of us when the greatest of us need more.
I saw children that once had dental decay, now eat at school entirely, and never mention hurting teeth.
Kids waiting after school to scarf an apple from you. Kids appearing in my hood school whose parents lost everything-homes, kids who have new levels of pain…across the board. I am not ALLOWED to speak.

You know what I’m worried about this spring break? A child in my room who is homeless, dumped out of the homeless shelter that only runs in winter in Ventura. With a mentally off mom,siblings who can’t even get in a car to live because there is no car. And there is no service to get him a home or car. I drive to several local parks with basket of food and some blankets looking for him-but no luck. He doesn’t see a doctor. He’s not important enough for him to matter more than people talking about our scores on the state test. He’s living in parks or a river bottom for gosh sakes within a class where poverty allows violence and pain to be a part of everyday. I’m supposed to convince myself this rhetoric developed by folks that are not working directly with children, who in fact are taking this small amount out there to consult-I’m supposed to stop daily and stare up at the “no excuses” banner by the stage and think-well if he comes back to school maybe I can get his fluency to 100 words a minute for that Dibel’s test….ok.

It is obvious that nothing really was designed around the poverty. Not really. Because then there would be supports to go to, services that I had in hand, ways to make it so that as he passed through this childhood he felt the compassion of community. Not the folks in to stare from the corner to “catch you” off script.
One day Juan will grow up. If he survives. He may- like an older brother be lost to us-homeless, uneducated, potentially in trouble. I can’t see a way now for him to hang on and get to community college and through-I can’t see how he’ll have a computer sleeping in a park, always roaming, I can’t see how the world will learn he’s very insightful and creative. I can’t even see how his depression will manifest into a drive to make it…I can see however how the design of what he is in now turned Juan into the invisible boy.

Through the era when saying it was the poverty was verboten. I hear Dr. Krashen repeating the refrain now…but, on the stage of schools, we might better add a new banner that reads
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Sarah Puglisi

2:50 PM on April 4, 2012

last word “help.”
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3:16 PM on April 4, 2012

Poverty is not an issue that will go away. When did the government start the ‘War on Poverty’ – and what has been the result? We are not talking about billions of dollars – this is trillions of dollars. Government has done no better in this war than the have in the ‘War on Drugs’ – or as many teachers have experienced the ‘War on Education’. How long as the Department of Education been in existence and how many billions has it spent – with what results?

Most government programs don’t succeed because they just throw money at the problem – they don’t teach people how to get out of poverty, they pay to keep them in a position of poverty. They don’t teach students how to learn, they teach them how to pass a test.

And while the government may not have created the problem, they are certainly not providing solutions that work. People in poverty typically stay in poverty because they are paid by the government to do so. They have little incentive to do otherwise.

So yes, poverty is a critical issue to solve – but it is only a piece of the larger puzzle – one that is getting more complex and harder to solve due to government interference.

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