Why are our international rankings low? Our test scores are dragged down by poverty. On the latest international test, called PISA, our schools with low poverty had scores higher than those of Japan, Finland, and other high-scoring nations. American schools in which as many as 25% of the students are poor had scores equivalent to the top-scoring nations. As the poverty level in the school rises, the scores fall.
Rhee ignores the one statistic where the United States is number one. We have the highest child poverty rate of any advanced nation in the world. Nearly 25% of our children live in poverty.
This is a scandal. Family poverty is the most reliable predictor of low test scores. How can we compare ourselves to nations like Finland where less than 5% of the children live in poverty?
Rhee and her fellow reformers say that poverty is just an excuse, but it is not. Poverty is a harsh fact of life.
Nope, it’s all the teachers’ unions’ fault. How dare they ask for pay and working conditions that could rightly be associated with a professional field requiring, at a minimum, a bachelor’s degree and typically further education beyond that?
It is clearly their fault that they are in poverty. Everyone knows that just working hard and getting a good education will get you out of it. Oh wait.