The only adjustment for social class used in this study is the student estimate of the number of books in his or her home
. In 2009 a higher percentage of U. S. students (than those in the other six countries) told PISA, the international testing agency, that they came from a family with few books in the home. Condensing Carnoy-Rothstein’s six categories into three, the table below summarizes the facts reported in their table 2A.....
To Carnoy and Rothstein these data show that the lower class is nearly three times as large in the United States as in Korea. Even more bizarre, they want us to think the Korean upper class is nearly twice as big as that of the United States
. If that is correct, one must expect a major migration from the United States to Korea.
If the number of books in the family home accurately measures a person’s social class, both you, dear reader, and I, myself, could now enjoy the pleasure of membership within the highest ranks of the upper, upper one percent of the social class distribution.
The researchers defend their methodology on the ground that no other indicator of social class improves the correlation between social class and achievement. That’s hardly surprising, as many studies have shown that family income is a poor predictor of achievement once other variables are taken into account
. The failure of any other variable to add much to the achievement prediction simply shows that good reading habits are much more important to achievement than family income and other measures of social class. Schools can do something about good reading habits, and American schools need to be much better in this regard....