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No Such Thing as a Free Lunch

The science portion of The Nation’s Report Card was released on February 24th, with test scores from school districts in seventeen urban centers. Almost every district performed below the national average. Greg Laden explains, “Poverty determines the outcome of the results, and this is probably exacerbated in urban zones where private schools siphon off the small number of higher-income kids.” Although Department of Education officials were firm in their stance that “correlation does not equal causality,” Greg plots test scores against poverty level in the cities surveyed and reveals a very clear trend. Mike the Mad Biologist produces a similar slope using data from Massachusetts, where “a one percent increase in school lunch eligibility means the expected percentage of poorly performing students in math increases 0.88%.” He concludes, “our educational ‘crisis’ is one intimately associated with poor children. Yet our political betters refuse to comprehend that.”