Uri Tresiman of the Dana Center at the University of Texas spoke to the annual NCTM conference about the true needs of American education.

This is an important speech in which he shows how shallow current reforms are and how deeply poverty affects children’s performance in school.

I intend to post this speech twice this week. It is that powerful.

I may post it more than twice.

It meant a lot to me because Dr. Treisman agreed with what I have been saying. We will not narrow the achievement gaps unless we act to reduce poverty. He does not say–nor do I–that schools don’t matter. We agree that schools and teachers matter very much. But so does poverty.

A few days ago, I wrote that if we halved the child poverty rate–now a scandalous 23%–then achievement would score. A faithful reader and blogger who works for a conservative think tank wrote offline to disagree with me. He said that we don’t know how to reduce child poverty, and he doubted that it would matter much even if we did. He countered that if we increased the number of charter schools, then achievement would soar.

I challenge him to watch Dr. Treisman’s speech. Pay particular attention to his evidence about the effects of charter schools.