Understanding and Addressing Poverty in an Education Setting
In the introduction of her book, Payne explains that her expertise on poverty resulted primarily from being married for over 30 years to her husband, Frank, who grew up in “situational” (or temporary) poverty, but lived for several years with others who were in “generational” (or long-term) poverty. As she spent time with his family and got to know “the many other players in their neighborhood,” her personal observations led her to conclude that there were major differences between those in generational poverty and those in the middle class—the most important of which were not about money (Payne, 2005). These insights were ...view middle of the document...
And because most schools operate from an implicitly middle-class perspective, educators must first understand the class culture from which their students come and then teach them explicitly the rules of the middle class needed to function more successfully in schools and society.
Dr Payne refers to three social classes: poverty, middle and wealth and characterize each class according to possessions, money, personality, social emphasis, food, clothing, time, education, destiny, language, family structure, world view, love and humor. While the descriptions for each hidden rule are interesting, I think Payne descriptions for the hidden rules are too extensive. One of the hidden rules of class, Payne describes on page 42-43 is how love is presided among classes: (1) love and acceptance for the poverty class is conditional on being liked, (2) love and acceptance for the middle class is conditional and based on achievement, and (3) love and acceptance for the wealthy class is conditional and related to social standing and connections. In respect to love and the differences of class listed by Payne, the assertions are highly subjective and values determined.
Characteristics of Generational Poverty and Home Structure of Families in Poverty
The difference between generational poverty and situational poverty include that those who have been in poverty for two generations or more are, obviously, in generational poverty; those who are poor due to tragic or life-altering event (death, divorce, marriage, illness) are considered in situational poverty (47).
Some key thoughts mentioned about generational poverty are that these individuals believe that "society owes them a living (47)." They think only on a concrete level when it comes to work; they do not strive for a career, only for a job that will get them by for the moment. They are also more likely to quit if they do not like their teacher/boss/colleague/etc. There is also incredible emphasis on the mother figure in the family. Payne breaks down the basic structure of relationships between mother and children, and of husband and wife. She explains repeatedly that the mother is the most important person in the family (54), but those allegiances between parents or extended family member’s changes often and without warning. This causes confusion in basic elements of the student's life, such as he or she is going him with, who will sign their permission forms or homework papers, who will send lunch money, etc. This was a great reminder to consider the whole child, and not to judge or become frustrated with them, as these things are inevitable and totally out of their control.
Families in generational...