VIDEO: 'It's poverty, not 'bad' schools or 'bad' teachers... Stephen Krashen spoke to Chicago Teachers Union staff on December 8, 2011.

Internationally known professor and researcher Stephen Krashen spoke to the staff of the Chicago Teachers Union during a luncheon on December 8, 2011. A video of Krashen's remarks is now available on the CTU website and is highly recommended for teachers and others who are interested in knowing the facts about the research on the necessity of providing reading materials to children (and the nonsense behind "accountability" based on high stakes testing.

The URL for the video is:

Although there is no transcript yet of the video (CTU staff, organizers, and friends have been pretty busy lately), readers can find a great deal by going to Stephen Krashen's own website, or by reading any of his books and articles.

Substance did take notes and can share a little bit:

“Everybody thinks that our schools our broken…” Not true. It all rides on a few tests, and when you look at the impact of poverty, you see a different picture. Many researchers have looked at this and found the same thing. Richard Rothstein. David Berliner. The late Gerald Bracey. "We all came to the same conclusion. Middle class students who go to well funded schools do very well on these tests. In fact they rank at the top of the world…" Even if you don’t control for poverty, we look pretty good…

The reason our overall scores are low we have the highest level of poverty of any country… It’s now over 21 percent….

This means it’s not the schools but the poverty. In a wonderful contrast to some of Chicago's mayor's talking points, Professor Krashen debunked to myth of the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) "crisis…." We have enough engineers. We just don't have jobs for our engineers. We know from Richard Rothstein’s research, David Berliner’s research the impact of poverty…

One solution is to give poor children the same access to books, through the schools, as wealthy children have both at home and at school.

Poor children have practically no access to books. Nearly zero. We did a study comparing Beverly Hills and Watts. … Beverly Hills the average was 200… In Watts the average number of books at home is less than one…

I want to immediately go to what I think is a solution to all this… We’ve got to stop the standards and testing movement. There is no reason to stop and draw up new plans right now. The only solution is full employment and a living wage right now.

"Until that happens I have a stopgap. "Protect children against the effects of poverty.

This means three things:

1. Let’s work on the breakfast and lunch programs.

2. School nurses. Let’s make sure these kids have access to health care somewhere.

3. Books and libraries, books and libraries, books and libraries"

More to come


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