We have lived through more than two decades of shaming schools with low test scores, blaming and shaming their teachers and principals for scores that are primarily the result of poverty, poor housing, poor health, poor nutrition.

One reader asserted that excellent schools attract wealthy families.

He was corrected by Steve Nelson, who wrote First Do No Harm: Progressive Education in a Time of Existential Risk.

When I read anything he writes, I find myself nodding vigorously in agreement.

He wrote here that excellent communities create excellent schools, not the other way around.

“You still misstate the cause and effect by writing, “When a neighborhood has excellent schools.” The schools are not excellent. The neighborhood is “excellent.”

“It is, to be sure, a subtle point, but in my book I refer to my own public high school. It was “rated” among America’s best. Graduates went to college at high rates and won prizes of all kinds. The orchestra was considered among the 2 or 3 best in the country. But the teachers and classes were dull and uninspired. The orchestra was good because the kids were privileged and studied at the Cleveland Institute of Music. The parents were either affluent or in higher education or medicine or both.

“The community did not have excellent schools. The schools had an excellent community.

“The schools in the adjacent, poverty-riddled neighborhood were just as good in terms of dedicated teachers and curriculum. The community? Not so lucky.”

Many schools closed because of low test scores were excellent schools filled with dedicated teachers. They were serving the neediest kids and were punished for it.