- “US has one of the highest poverty rates among developed countries. 22 percent of Americans live in poverty compared to Finland a Denmark who have poverty rates under 3 percent.”
- About half of the 40 million elementary and secondary students in the United States qualify for free or reduced lunches.
- The United States has the greatest income inequity among developed countries as well.
- The United States has the greatest demographic diversity with more than 25 percent of our students who speak English as a second language.
- The United States has one of the highest low-birth weight and worst access to health care to any of these countries.
I must agree with Dr. Taylor though when he admits that for a large segment of our students, the education system does not work. He puts that segment at 60 percent. We do need to find a way to make education work for all our students.
Let’s not minimize the real problems we have in our schools and education system. We do have some persistent and difficult problems in our schools. But instead of panic and dispensing with the rhetoric of gloom and doom, let’s roll up our sleeves and get to work.
UPDATE: This afternoon, I stumbled across this post from NASSP entitled "PISA: It's Poverty Not Stupid." It shows even more dramatically what happens when the United States poverty rate is taken into consideration with these international comparisons.