Changing the Subject in Considering Poverty and Education

In the ongoing arguments between those who argue that the high rates of childhood poverty in the U.S. explains much of the disparity in comparisons of international achievement test scores (particularly when so many other developed nations have much lower rates of childhood poverty)and those who believe that we simply have worse schools and teachers comes this round:

Researchers from Harvard recently released the “Not Just the Problems of Other People’s  Children” study in which they claim to present data showing that all children, not just those from low-income and “minority” households, lag behind students in other countries.

Yet as David Berliner points out in his detailed response, the Harvard researchers use parental education, not income in their data.  And as Berliner points out, many parents with college degrees are now working relatively low wage jobs and living in neighborhoods with lower-resourced schools.  Changing the analysis from income to education level is simply changing the subject.

I give the “win” on this round to Berliner.

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