Mr. Thomas Ford does us a service in his letter to the editor by reminding us that the vulnerabilities created by poverty are legion – including the lower educational achievement of poor children.

But he then argues that this explains the data I had cited that “the U. S. spends more per student than any other developed nation on public education yet ranks 34th of 71 nations in math.”

Does educational achievement correlate with national incomes and poverty levels? I think not.

Let’s sample some numbers. According to the Program for International Student Assessment, the math scores of 15-year-olds in 71 nations rank as follows: United States (ranked 39th) has annual income of $59,160 and percent living below national poverty level of 12.3 percent. South Korea (6th), $28,380 and 14.4 percent. Hong Kong (2nd), $46,310 and 19.9 percent. Japan (5th), $38,520 and 16.1 percent. Poland (17th), $12,730 and 17.6 percent. Vietnam (21st), $2,160 and 8.0 percent.

Here are examples of five countries that have higher math outcomes than the U.S. yet have substantially lower national incomes and higher levels of poverty.

Clearly, there is no discernible correlation between income, poverty, and educational achievement internationally. Mr. Ford’s argument fails.

Perhaps we can persuade him that when one cherry picks his data he should be prepared for his conclusions to flounder.

He further claims that I “chastised” former Owosso High School Principal Roger Elford.

Even the most careless reading of my previous comments would debunk this claim, and there is nothing to be gained by Mr. Ford’s attempt to create a slight where there is none.

Mr. Ford appears unwilling to distinguish between a critique of our national educational system and a criticism of a local school official.

His argument requires the use of fallacies in propositional logic which students in the classical Christian curriculum at Spring Vale would be quick to point out.

Mr. Elford’s commendable record of achievement in Owosso schools is secure — whatever comments Mr. Ford thinks I may have made.

The classical Christian curriculum is one that teaches students how to learn and how to think critically within a system that integrates knowledge across disciplines.

This typically results in higher test scores, higher rates of college admissions, and greater adaptability to future challenges.

These are virtues long neglected in our public schools — which is why Spring Vale offers parents a choice in educational philosophies.

Charles F. Adams

Spring Vale Christian School

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