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ur average scores are respectable but unspectacular because, as Farhi notes, we have such a high percentage of children living in poverty, the highest of all industrialized countries. Only four percent of children in high-scoring Finland, for example, live in poverty. Our rate of poverty is over 21%.
It means that the "problem" of American education is not ineffective teaching, not teachers' unions, not lack of national standards and tests, and not schools of education: It is poverty.