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Dear Neighbors,
This newsletter is the first part of a presentation I've given to a few groups recently, using visual aids about Massachusetts education.  If you find it interesting, please feel free to share this newsletter, and to invite others to subscribe.
The concept of "alternative facts" helps explain the wide-spread, inaccurate beliefs that shape American education policy.  Here's an example:
“Americans want great schools for their children…but for too many of our citizens a different reality exists…An education system flush with cash but which leaves our young and beautiful students deprived of all knowledge.”
-- President Trump's Inaugural Address
Alternative Fact #1: American Schools are Failing
Screenshot 2017-02-13 14.20.50.png
This chart shows that American schools where 10% or fewer of the students are in poverty have higher scores on PISA than those in any other country.  Schools with 50% or fewer students in poverty score above the international average.  Schools with more than half the students in poverty score near the bottom.
 Screenshot 2017-02-13 14.25.29.png
(PISA: Program for International Student Assessment)
And this chart shows that poverty rates in the United States are higher than in any other PISA country.
As for Massachusetts, we are high in achievement
In 2016, Education Week ranked Massachusetts:
#1 in 4th grade English/Language Arts and Math achievement
#1 in 8th grade ELA and Math achievement

But we're low in equity
We have the 16th highest gap in achievement between low-income students and more affluent students
We are the 8th most unequal in school funding

It's no surprise that we have high test scores and high achievement gaps; test scores are closely correlated with income.
Massachusetts is 2nd highest in income after Connecticut
We have the 6th most income inequality
The top 1% receive 23% of Mass. income
The average income of the top 1% is 30 times that of the lower 99%

Sources: US Commerce Department, Economic Policy Institute
Original charts based on DESE profiles:

This chart shows the percent of low-income children in the 10 districts with the lowest MCAS scores on the left, and the districts with the highest MCAS scores on the right.  For example, almost 90% of Springfield students are low-income; less than 1% of those in Wayland are.

What does this mean for education policy?   Stay tuned and stay in touch.
Copyright © *Committee to Re-Elect Pat Jehlen, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:
CTE Pat Jehlen, 67 Dane St, Somerville MA 02143

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