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Reaching and Teaching Students in Poverty: Strategies for Erasing the Opportunity Gap

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The author draws from decades of research to deconstruct popular myths, misconceptions, and educational practices that undercut the achievement of low-income students. He carefully describes the challenges that students in poverty face and the resiliencies they and their families draw upon. Most importantly, this book provides specific, evidence-based strategies for teachi The author draws from decades of research to deconstruct popular myths, misconceptions, and educational practices that undercut the achievement of low-income students. He carefully describes the challenges that students in poverty face and the resiliencies they and their families draw upon. Most importantly, this book provides specific, evidence-based strategies for teaching youth by creating equitable, bias-free learning environments. Written in an appealing conversational tone, this resource will help teachers and school leaders to better reach and teach students in poverty. This book features: A conceptual framework for creating equitable educational opportunities for low- and middle-income youth, instruction strategies based on analysis of more than 20 years of research on what works (and what doesn't work), a depicition of teachers, not as the problem when it comes to the achievement gap, but as champions of students, activities such as a Poverty and Class Awareness Quiz.


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The author draws from decades of research to deconstruct popular myths, misconceptions, and educational practices that undercut the achievement of low-income students. He carefully describes the challenges that students in poverty face and the resiliencies they and their families draw upon. Most importantly, this book provides specific, evidence-based strategies for teachi The author draws from decades of research to deconstruct popular myths, misconceptions, and educational practices that undercut the achievement of low-income students. He carefully describes the challenges that students in poverty face and the resiliencies they and their families draw upon. Most importantly, this book provides specific, evidence-based strategies for teaching youth by creating equitable, bias-free learning environments. Written in an appealing conversational tone, this resource will help teachers and school leaders to better reach and teach students in poverty. This book features: A conceptual framework for creating equitable educational opportunities for low- and middle-income youth, instruction strategies based on analysis of more than 20 years of research on what works (and what doesn't work), a depicition of teachers, not as the problem when it comes to the achievement gap, but as champions of students, activities such as a Poverty and Class Awareness Quiz.

30 review for Reaching and Teaching Students in Poverty: Strategies for Erasing the Opportunity Gap

  1. 4 out of 5

    Claudia

    "...low income people face innumerable inequities in and out of schools. These inequities regarding access to everything from adequately funded schools to playgrounds to prenatal care have nothing to do with poor people's cultures and everything to do with what Jonathan Kozol called the 'savage inequalities' of schools and society. We, as a society, give low-income youths less access to educational opportunity, healthcare, nutrition, and other goods, and then blame the outcomes of these inequiti "...low income people face innumerable inequities in and out of schools. These inequities regarding access to everything from adequately funded schools to playgrounds to prenatal care have nothing to do with poor people's cultures and everything to do with what Jonathan Kozol called the 'savage inequalities' of schools and society. We, as a society, give low-income youths less access to educational opportunity, healthcare, nutrition, and other goods, and then blame the outcomes of these inequities on their 'culture of poverty.'" Not an easy read...not a feel-good read. This challenges the reader to look closely and deeply at some assumptions and stereotypes we may bring to our work with kids from low-income families. Gorski takes us step-by-step from a shattering of the myth of the 'culture of poverty.' He is careful in his title to not talk about kids OF poverty, but kids IN poverty. Not an accident of word choice...a deliberate choice of a careful practioner. We as educators must confront our own biases, well-meaning as they may be. We need to develop an new kind of literacy...equity literacy. We must push back against those soft-bigotry statements: Poor parents don't care about education; they're lazy,drug-addicted abusers who can't communicate and obviously care little about their children. It's important to turn this around. Achievement gaps can be explained by examining OPPORTUNITY gaps...those resources most of us take for granted that poor families don't have..healthcare, prenatal care, dental care...living and working conditions that are safe...recreation opportunities, with money and time and transportation NON-issues...community and social services access...affordable childcare...enrichment opportunities...a society that validates our efforts. Poor families, because they may be working two or three low-paying jobs, with little free time and no disposable cash, do NOT have these opportunities to support their families. We think of their inabilities as deficits, but we must stop...they are barriers to opportunity. Poor families have just as much resiliency as others when we help dismantle the barriers. So, how do these gaps affect families' ability to thrive? Preschool, schools with adequate funding and resources such as libraries, shadow education (those ACT prep classes and tutoring and camp activities WE offer our own kids), support services, high expectations, WELL-PAID, CERTIFIED, EXPERIENCED TEACHERS (not 5-week wonders from TFA), higher-order, challenging curricula, the opportunity to include parents fully in their children's education. What are the barriers? TIME and TRANSPORTATIOM, a LIVING WAGE, to name a few. Gorski lists the ineffective practices in schools: cutting arts and music programs, direct, scripted, instruction, tracking of students, and charter schools. He tells us what works: Arts programs, high expectations, higher-order, student-centered pedagogies, movement and PE, relevancy in the schools, teaching everyone about biases, analyzing materials for bias, and my favorite: LITERACY ENJOYMENT!! Woohoo! "The most powerful strategy is to create cultures that promote reading enjoyment...literacy instruction should not focus solely on reading or writing mechanics. More to the point, tho, it means that we ought to find ways to foster in students excitement about reading and writing even when they respond reluctantly at first… 1. Institute literature circles 2. Provide reading material options that align with stated interest of students 3. Use a variety of media…that engage students actively and interactively 4. Incorporate drama into literacy instructions." I love the chapter entitled 'THE MOTHER OF ALL STRATEGIES" and I concur...building relationships IS the mother of all. Relationships with our students and relationships with their parents. It's not enough to set up conference times and then smugly say, 'well, we offered time for these parents to come to school. They must not be interested.' That's the same as the teacher who says, 'Well, I taught it, the students didn't get it.' I hate both of these messages...they point back to that deficit mindset. We need to ask ourselves how hard we tried...did we take into consideration work schedules, transportation, childcare? Did we really do everything we could to invite parents who may have negative feelings about schools? Did we truly show our value for them and their children? Were we creative in our problem solving, or did we simply shrug and blame the parents? I've had a couple of conversations with professionals about 'those parents' who don't care...and I'm learning to offer alternative ways of thinking about the facts in a gentle push back. Which leads to the last chapter: SPHERES OF INFLUENCE...what IS my sphere? What can I do? He suggests we do our job with sensitivity and respect...that is our sphere, but he says, "...when we do anything, anything at all, to push back against the defunding of schools or the underfunding of education mandates and to resist the imposition of corporate-style accountability and high-stakes testing, we are also advocating, whether we know it or not, for low-income students. Of course, we also are self-advocating, which is an added bonus." He offers advocacy goals: preschool, community agency access, smaller classes, ongoing PD for teachers, access to healthcare, PE, arts and music. Surely every one of us could choose ONE of these issues to become advocates for. Important book...I read it twice, once highlighting, the second, collecting all those quotes for reference later. Would make great reading for our legislators who continue to chip away at the few support systems poor families have.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer Mangler

    The thing I liked most about this book is that it constantly forced me to reflect on my own beliefs and actions and it didn't let me off the hook because I have good intentions. My PLN is reading about and discussing poverty this quarter, and I wanted to get a different take on it. Teachers looking for a lot of strategies or "things to do" might not be happy with this book, but I think that's exactly why they need to read it. Often we adopt a strategy without really examining its impact. We look The thing I liked most about this book is that it constantly forced me to reflect on my own beliefs and actions and it didn't let me off the hook because I have good intentions. My PLN is reading about and discussing poverty this quarter, and I wanted to get a different take on it. Teachers looking for a lot of strategies or "things to do" might not be happy with this book, but I think that's exactly why they need to read it. Often we adopt a strategy without really examining its impact. We look for a quick fix or a thing we can do that will have an impact. But this is one area that doesn't have a quick fix. Teachers are so busy doing things that we rarely stop for serious self-reflection. This book encourages and demands that we do.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Trina

    I appreciated how this book made me continually reflect about what equity really means in education. It helped me think deeply about some of my own stereotypes with poverty and culture and what I can do about it. This line, found on page 143, is what I want to remember about this book: "Our instruction and how we interact with students and families are within our immediate spheres of influence." I appreciated how this book made me continually reflect about what equity really means in education. It helped me think deeply about some of my own stereotypes with poverty and culture and what I can do about it. This line, found on page 143, is what I want to remember about this book: "Our instruction and how we interact with students and families are within our immediate spheres of influence."

  4. 5 out of 5

    Monica

    Informative and well-written.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Joe

    “Education is the great equalizer. That’s what I heard growing up, the son of a mother from poor Appalachian stock and a father from middle class Detroit. If you work hard, do well in school, and follow the rules, you can be anything you want to be. It’s a fantastic idea. How remarkable it would be if only it were true.” In Reaching and Teaching Students in Poverty: Strategies for Erasing the Opportunity Gap, Paul C. Gorski, the founder of EdChange and an associate professor of integrative studie “Education is the great equalizer. That’s what I heard growing up, the son of a mother from poor Appalachian stock and a father from middle class Detroit. If you work hard, do well in school, and follow the rules, you can be anything you want to be. It’s a fantastic idea. How remarkable it would be if only it were true.” In Reaching and Teaching Students in Poverty: Strategies for Erasing the Opportunity Gap, Paul C. Gorski, the founder of EdChange and an associate professor of integrative studies at George Mason University, encourages his readers to have the uncomfortable conversation about socioeconomic class and to fight against the systemic inequities that students in poverty face in their schools and societies today, which work greatly to their disadvantage in the classroom and beyond, and he points us to some troubling facts regarding poverty in the United States. For example, poor students are disproportionately assigned to the most inadequately funded schools, and they are more likely than their wealthier peers to be bullied. Also: 1) According to the Children’s Defense Fund (2010), a child is born into poverty in the United States every 32 seconds. 2) According to the Center for American Progress (2007), one-third of U.S. citizens will live at least one year of their lives in poverty. 3) Most poor people in the United States live outside of inner cities. 4) Suburban areas are seeing the greatest increases in poverty rates. 5) One in ten White children in the United States is poor according to the CDF (2008), and one in four Latino children in the United States is poor. 6) According to a study sponsored by the Pew Research Center, the median wealth of White households in the United States is twenty times larger than that of African American households. 7) According to the National Coalition for the Homeless (2009), four in ten homeless men in the United States are military veterans. 8) According to the wealth analysis group WealthInsight, during President Barack Obama’s first term in office, the number of millionaires in the United States increased by 1,100,000. 9) In low-poverty U.S. schools, one out of every nine courses is taught by a teacher who is not certified to teach it. In high-poverty schools the proportion is one in four. In addition to shedding light on the alarming statistics regarding poverty in the United States, by using empirically supported evidence, Gorski works to refute the notion of the United States as a meritocracy and to dispel the false, negative stereotypes about poor people—for example, that people in poverty are poor because they are lazy or that they are more prone to abusing alcohol and drugs—perpetuated by fallible ideologies like rugged individualism and unrealistic stories like those written by Horatio Alger, and he repudiates the notion of the “culture of poverty” and the association of poverty with deficiency; instead, he presents himself as a proponent of Equity Literacy, which suggests that poverty comes to be as a result of inequitable practices, institutions, and circumstances rather than a person’s supposed deficiencies. The reality is, as many studies indicate, that poor people do value education, that poor people are not inherently lazy, that poor people are not necessarily substance abusers, that poor people are not necessarily linguistically deficient and poor communicators, and that poor people are not ineffective and inattentive parents; rather, poor people are subject to a variety of inexorably inequitable forces that place them in disadvantageous positions in our society. Gorski’s principles of Equity Literacy are as follows: “1. The right to equitable educational opportunity is universal. 2. Poverty and class are intersectional in nature. 3. Poor people are diverse. 4. What we believe, including our biases and prejudices, about people in poverty informs how we teach and relate to people in poverty. 5. We cannot understand the relationship between poverty and education without understanding biases and inequities experienced by people in poverty. 6. Test scores are inadequate measures of equity. 7. Class disparities in education are the result of inequities, not the result of cultures. 8. Equitable educators adopt a resiliency rather than a deficit view of low-income students and families. 9. Strategies for bolstering school engagement and learning must be based on evidence for what works. 10. The inalienable right to equitable educational opportunity includes the right to high expectations, higher-order pedagogies, and engaging curricula.” It is a shame that many poorly funded schools in the United States, pressurized by high-stakes, state-mandated standardized tests and the risk of having their funding cut upon receiving substandard scores on these tests, are disposing of art, music, and physical education programs in favor of spending more time on reading, writing, and math instruction when the studies cited in this book indicate that art, music, and physical education programs positively affect the academic performance and educational progress of students in poverty, whose families often lack the money needed to enroll them in productive extracurricular activities outside of school. In fact, inequity begins, for many people afflicted by generational poverty, in utero, as women in poverty often have restricted access to prenatal care, and during their lifetime, students in poverty and other impoverished people have limited—and sometimes nonexistent—access to healthcare, healthy living and working environments, recreation options, community and social services, quality childcare, cognitive enrichment resources, and a validating society. The so-called “achievement gap” can more aptly be called an opportunity gap; the emphasis should not be as heavily placed on a student’s performance as it should be on the opportunities they are provided (or the lack thereof) that could be conducive to their success. Students in poverty need access to preschool, well-funded and adequately resourced schools, shadow education, school support services, affirming school environments, opportunities for family involvement, instructional technologies, high academic expectations, and well-paid, certified, and experienced teachers as well as student-centered, higher-order curricula and pedagogies. Gorski points his readers to a number of instructional strategies that could potentially benefit teachers of students in poverty: incorporate music, art, and theater across the curriculum, have and communicate high expectations for all students, adopt higher-order, learner-centered, rigorous pedagogies, incorporate movement and exercise into teaching and learning, make curricula relevant to the lives of low-income students, teach about poverty and class bias, analyze learning materials for class (and other) bias, and promote literacy enjoyment; but, he also realistically concedes that no scholar could ever know a group of students as well as their teacher knows them, and ultimately, it is up to a teacher to employ the aforementioned strategies in any way that they can in order to best accommodate their students. It is not up to a teacher to single-handedly solve the problem of poverty, but it is up to them to adopt a resiliency view of poor and working class families, engage in persistent family outreach efforts, build trusting relationships with her or his students, and ensure that opportunities for family involvement are accessible to poor and working class families, and they should also be aware of the forces that may prevent these processes from occurring. Additionally, Gorski argues that teachers should also do their best to expand their sphere of influence and employ advocacy initiatives beyond the classroom like advocating for universal preschool and Kindergarten, cultivating relationships with community agencies and organizations, advocating for smaller class sizes, attending (and providing) ongoing, nuanced professional development opportunities on reaching and teaching low-income youth and their families, extending health services and screenings at schools, protecting physical education and recess and encouraging fitness, protecting arts, music, and drama programs, and protecting school and local libraries in high-poverty neighborhoods. Gorski notes that “letting go of our deficit view and focusing, instead, on student strengths and resilience is good for teaching, but it’s also good for teacher morale, a win-win.” Just because a student in poverty fails to perform well academically does not mean that they are less intelligent or less committed to their success than other students; rather, the success of students in poverty is related to the resources to which they have access and how much these resources contribute to their success as students. Teachers need to understand the lives of students in poverty as well as the institutions behind their circumstances if they are to be successful instructors, and Gorski makes a very convincing case as to why this is so in this data-driven book—and if you need more specific information as to why this is so, then you should read this book and look into the works cited in his 50-odd page list of references; perhaps Gorski and many other scholars could persuade you. “Respect and the extent to which we demonstrate it in our teaching is tied up in those things, those sometimes little bitty things, we do or don’t do, say or don’t say, or even think or don’t think. And it’s about our willingness to take a stand when one of our students is being shortchanged—not standing in front of or standing in place of, but standing next to, standing with low-income students and families. If students know they’re being cheated out of the kind of education wealthier or Whiter or more English-proficient students are getting, and if they know we know they’re being cheated, and if we’re not responding, not just with good intentions, but with equity, then how can we say we’re respecting our students? Of course, we all know that students who are being cheated do know full well they’re being cheated. They might not say so out loud because there’s always a price to pay for speaking up. There’s the shushing and labeling and ostracizing. The good news is, we can stand up. We can start by standing up to our own biases about families in poverty, even if it means taking the oddly unpopular view that poor people are not poor because of their deficiencies, that something bigger than that is amiss. Then we can do everything humanly possible in our spheres of influence to align our teaching and relationship-building and family outreach efforts with our good intentions. We can listen.”

  6. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    Gorski reminds readers that there is no "culture of poverty"--that children and families continue to fall victim to false assumptions based on their socioeconomic status. The book not only exposes us to basics of economics that all teachers should understand, but also includes research on schools and programs that are having positive impacts on students learning within, and pushing through, opportunity gaps. Great read for teachers and activists, easy to understand, and timely. Gorski's voice is Gorski reminds readers that there is no "culture of poverty"--that children and families continue to fall victim to false assumptions based on their socioeconomic status. The book not only exposes us to basics of economics that all teachers should understand, but also includes research on schools and programs that are having positive impacts on students learning within, and pushing through, opportunity gaps. Great read for teachers and activists, easy to understand, and timely. Gorski's voice is direct and committed--it makes you sit up and take note; however, it is also down to earth. Powerful read.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Jeanie Phillips

    Check out a podcast conversation about this book here: https://tiie.w3.uvm.edu/blog/reaching... Insightful, well researched, and important! This is crucial reading for all educators. Check out a podcast conversation about this book here: https://tiie.w3.uvm.edu/blog/reaching... Insightful, well researched, and important! This is crucial reading for all educators.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Cliff

    In this culmination of four decades' research, Gorski paints a thorough picture of the disparities faced by working-class students in America's schools. Rather than focusing on "culture of poverty" and character deficit theories, the author takes a materialist approach in explaining the "achievement gap" between high- and low-income students. Combining gentle rhetoric with hard data, Gorski dispels the popular American myth of the proletariat as a lazy, drunken, violent mob which does not value In this culmination of four decades' research, Gorski paints a thorough picture of the disparities faced by working-class students in America's schools. Rather than focusing on "culture of poverty" and character deficit theories, the author takes a materialist approach in explaining the "achievement gap" between high- and low-income students. Combining gentle rhetoric with hard data, Gorski dispels the popular American myth of the proletariat as a lazy, drunken, violent mob which does not value education. With these distractions out of the way, he proceeds to describe the failures of the pedagogies they've informed and moves on to offer scientifically-supported alternatives. With the first nine chapters of the book centered around a coherent definition of class and the ways it affects education, I'm willing to forgive the short burst of "call your senator" liberalism near the end. While there are certainly aspects of the class conflict Gorski overlooked (wage exploitation of teachers, police presence in schools, etc.), the strategies outlined here for working with the workers' students are indispensable. This quick read will be useful to anyone interested in combating capital's tendency to punish children for the sin of being born poor.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Jamila

    Gorski's work is important, careful, and detailed. This book could have used more specific pedagogical examples, but really, his approach is nothing short of a breath of fresh air. As an academic who is economically marginalized hoping to transform the classroom students who are economically marginalized, I appreciate the way this book brings attention to the various structures that limits academic excellence. I also like the way it flies in the face of the ways Grit theory and Mindset have been Gorski's work is important, careful, and detailed. This book could have used more specific pedagogical examples, but really, his approach is nothing short of a breath of fresh air. As an academic who is economically marginalized hoping to transform the classroom students who are economically marginalized, I appreciate the way this book brings attention to the various structures that limits academic excellence. I also like the way it flies in the face of the ways Grit theory and Mindset have been misused and abused. An important read for anyone in education.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Bailey Frederking

    This book opens up your eyes to think about poverty from a perspective that works against the stereotypes and narratives that are generally in place. I find this read imperative for all teachers because whether you teach in an affluent area or a more impoverished area, poverty will always affect some of our students. We must be invested in the work of this book and how to better support our students.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Cathy

    Lots of important information about what Gorski rightly calls the opportunity gaps in education between poor students and their economically more advantaged peers, challenges to teachers to check our misconceptions, and many useful strategies to make things more equitable in our classrooms, even if we can’t fix all of the issues outside them. He focuses on K-12, but I found much to use in my community college classrooms.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Charley

    While the book is definitely full of dense material and educational jargon, I would recommend this book for anyone involved with students/young people or active members of a community. So often we forget about the marginalized people's needs and our unintentional biases. Time to check those, people. Gorski does a great job introducing and defining poverty within America before diving into action plans and real-life examples. While the book is definitely full of dense material and educational jargon, I would recommend this book for anyone involved with students/young people or active members of a community. So often we forget about the marginalized people's needs and our unintentional biases. Time to check those, people. Gorski does a great job introducing and defining poverty within America before diving into action plans and real-life examples.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Miranda

    A lot of obvious points that are still worth stating clearly because too many of us teachers need them repeated - like respect and listen to families that are different from you. Main takeaway from my first read of it was to remove times when students or families have to "perform their poverty" like having to get waivers for field trip or activity fees each time. Used this concept to convince my school to not have families share all of their financial information when requesting financial aid! A lot of obvious points that are still worth stating clearly because too many of us teachers need them repeated - like respect and listen to families that are different from you. Main takeaway from my first read of it was to remove times when students or families have to "perform their poverty" like having to get waivers for field trip or activity fees each time. Used this concept to convince my school to not have families share all of their financial information when requesting financial aid!

  14. 4 out of 5

    Mandy Martin

    Equity literacy - removing the deficit view of poverty Good read- repetitive at times. Some repetition is reinforcement, tying things together, but other times it feels unnecessary, could be more concise. But maybe that’s what it takes to combat decades of victim blaming people in poverty,

  15. 4 out of 5

    heather

    If you are a teacher or work in education, you need to read this book. Grounded in research and practice, it encourages you to think deeply about how you think about poverty and your relationships with families living in poverty. It is a lens on equity that should be required reflection, reading, and action for all educators.

  16. 5 out of 5

    April

    I appreciated that the book wasn't written just for teachers, but for anyone who interacts with youth from poverty. As a speech language pathologist and church youth leader, it was nice to feel included in the target demographic of the book! I appreciated that the book wasn't written just for teachers, but for anyone who interacts with youth from poverty. As a speech language pathologist and church youth leader, it was nice to feel included in the target demographic of the book!

  17. 5 out of 5

    Caleb Romoser

    LOVED this! All educators should read this book. Gorski's framework of Equity Literacy is a very powerful framework for engaging in education and I definitely have a lot of reflecting and modifying to do! LOVED this! All educators should read this book. Gorski's framework of Equity Literacy is a very powerful framework for engaging in education and I definitely have a lot of reflecting and modifying to do!

  18. 4 out of 5

    Shannon

    This book is very challenging, informative and practical. Lots of useful strategies for changing ourselves, our schools and our world.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Kristin

    Yes! I wish I had been required to read this during my university years. Gorski does a great job of breaking his thoughts down into meaningful chunks and offers accessible ideas. Would recommend.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Maggie

    Very informative and easy to read. I think everyone can benefit from reading this book; not just teachers and administrators.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Brian

    This is a book every teacher should read and commit to memory. 10 gold stars out of 10

  22. 5 out of 5

    Krissa Boman

    Repetitive at times. A great guideline for teachers just stepping into the equity game.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Alex Bergland

    Absolutely loved this book! Every educator, and especially educational leaders, should read this.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Chloe Glynn

    This book is a literature review of poverty and education research in America. It is easy to read and critically important background information. The "strategies" appear in only one chapter and are more good ideas than ready-to-implement techniques for the classroom. He is a researcher and teacher of teachers, not working through the conditions on the ground. This book is a literature review of poverty and education research in America. It is easy to read and critically important background information. The "strategies" appear in only one chapter and are more good ideas than ready-to-implement techniques for the classroom. He is a researcher and teacher of teachers, not working through the conditions on the ground.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jonna Higgins-Freese

    Gorski points out that the "achievement gap" is actually an opportunity gap, an artifact of the effects of systemic poverty. He points out specific pedagogical ways to address this, and also advocates working with rather than on families in poverty. He points out that research shows that it's best to teach high level conceptual and reasoning skills to students in poverty, versus low-level math and literacy skills -- what would be useful to me, as a parent, is to understand what each looks like, a Gorski points out that the "achievement gap" is actually an opportunity gap, an artifact of the effects of systemic poverty. He points out specific pedagogical ways to address this, and also advocates working with rather than on families in poverty. He points out that research shows that it's best to teach high level conceptual and reasoning skills to students in poverty, versus low-level math and literacy skills -- what would be useful to me, as a parent, is to understand what each looks like, and how to tell what my kids are getting in their Title I school (x). Stanley Pogrow (2006) found that "instituting a higher-order pedagogical approach 'yields substantially higher test score gains than remedial or test-prep approaches -- approximately three times the growth in reading comprehension -- even as it produces gains in overall intellectual and social development" (227). Annie Georges (2009) found that "students whose math instruction focused on reasoning and analytic skills rather than on worksheets and other skills-and-drills pedagogies scored higher on standardized math tests than their peers" Pogrow, S. 2009. Restructuring high-poverty elementary schools for success: A description of the Hi-Perform school design. Phi Delta Kappan, 88 (3), 223-229. Georges, A. 2009. relation of instruction and poverty to mathematics achievement gains during kindergarten. Teachers College Record, 111 (9), 2148-2178 Much writing on teaching for class equity in schools does not acknowledge structural inequity, and therefore "interpret[s] educational outcome disparities almost exclusively as reflections of what they deem to be the deficient or diminished cultures, values, intellectual capabilities, and attitudes of poor families" rather than understanding them in the context of the lived experience of poverty -- multiple jobs, lack of ability to be absent from work, to travel to school, etc. He points out that parents in poverty "have the exact same attitudes about the value of schooling as their more economically solvent counterparts" (Compton-Lilly, 2000; Jennings, 2004; Moll, Amanti, Neff & Gonzalez, 1992; West-Olantunji, Sanders, Metha, and Behar-Horenstein, 2010) (5) Strengths of those in poverty (31-32).: -more prosocial than wealthier counterparts and more attuned to needs of others (Krause and Keltner, 2009) -more generous and charitable, giving higher proportions of their incomes to charities and causes that help other people (Greve 2009; James & Sharpe 2007; Johnston 2005) -more kind to strangers, more likely to help others with onerous tasks and more compassionate than their wealthier peers (Piff, Krause, Cote, Cheng & Keltner 2010) -lower levels of perceived stress despite having more stressors (Krueger & Chang 2008) demonstrating skill at adapting to challenging conditions "research shows that immigrants to the United States today are learning English faster than any previous generation of immigrants" (81). standardized tests don't measure what we think they measure (Toch, T. 2011. Beyond Basic Skills. Phi Delta Kappan, 92(6), 72-73). "More than one's ability or aptitude or potential as a learner, they measure the opportunity and access test-takers have enjoyed in their lives up to the point of taking their tests (85). Andrea Elkin, 2012, Students Hop, Skip, and Jump their Way to Understanding. Teaching Children Mathematics, 18(9), 524. Instructional Strategies that Work: 1. incorporate music, art, and theater across the curriculum 2. high expectations for all students 3. higher-order, student centered, rigorous pedagogies 4. movement and exercise incorporated into teaching and learning 5. make curricula relevant to lives of low-income students (no questions about portaging) 6. teaching about poverty and class bias Amber was brave, Essie was smart; Si, se puede; somebody's new pajamas; those shoes; voices in the park 7. analyze learning materials for class and other bias 8. promote literacy enjoyment interesting studies showing class size does matter: Krueger (1999) found that "students in smaller classes performed better than their peers in bigger classes, adn that the performance disparity increased each year they were in smaller classes. Rouse and Barrow (2006) found that class size actually matters more for students who are eligible for free and reduced lunch than for their wealthier peers (147). small class size results in higher test scores, more positive student and teacher attitudes, higher level sof student engagement, and more effective and engaging teaching (147, sources listed)

  26. 5 out of 5

    Loriann Chiarito

    Information on Poverty A great read for teachers feeling defeated in low income areas/title one schools. The book gives many different strategies that educators or anyone in the community who are willing to help out can utilize to help students in poverty.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Laura LeAnn

    Gorski provides a detailed and thorough analysis of the intersectionality of poverty and education. While many teachers and others in the US would argue that education is the "great equalizer," Gorski argues that this is not the case at all simply because students living in poverty attend schools that are not equal to those attended by their wealthier counterparts. He also effectively argues that there is no such thing as a "culture of poverty" because you can not have a culture based solely on Gorski provides a detailed and thorough analysis of the intersectionality of poverty and education. While many teachers and others in the US would argue that education is the "great equalizer," Gorski argues that this is not the case at all simply because students living in poverty attend schools that are not equal to those attended by their wealthier counterparts. He also effectively argues that there is no such thing as a "culture of poverty" because you can not have a culture based solely on one characteristic, especially one that is only about someone's socioeconomic class label; a poor white person living in rural Appalachia is quite different from a new Latino/a immigrant living in Phoenix is quite different from an African American living in Baltimore. And you can't assume that all poor whites are the same or all poor African Americans are the same, etc. Even though the book is titled "Reaching and Teaching Students in Poverty: Strategies for Erasing the Opportunity Gap," Gorski doesn't actually get to those strategies until the last couple of chapters of the book. However, I think if you pay attention to what Gorski states throughout the first 6 or 7 chapters, the strategies should be self-explanatory, at least to some degree. He writes throughout the book of the issues that low-income students and their families experience as a result of their socio-economic status and how those exacerbate and compound onto the people living in poverty. As educators we need to challenge our own assumptions and biases about those in poverty (or any other number of categories we put students into), and that is simply one way of working towards reaching and teaching those in poverty. I highly recommend this book to others interested in how poverty affects people in the US (not just in urban areas). While Gorski's book is focused on the impact on education, this is a good primer related to the issues of poverty.

  28. 5 out of 5

    William

    Gorski starts out with an eye-opening and transformative review of the inequities inherent in our society that lead to and are replicated by public schools as they currently operate. It challenged my ideas about the so-called "culture of poverty" and how to best help students raised in poverty. This was the strength of the book. The strategic portion of the book, on the other hand, was a bit disappointing. Gorski was dismissive of direct instruction, with really very little evidence to back up h Gorski starts out with an eye-opening and transformative review of the inequities inherent in our society that lead to and are replicated by public schools as they currently operate. It challenged my ideas about the so-called "culture of poverty" and how to best help students raised in poverty. This was the strength of the book. The strategic portion of the book, on the other hand, was a bit disappointing. Gorski was dismissive of direct instruction, with really very little evidence to back up his dismissal, though he claimed to have reviewed "mountains" of data. And the strategies he did recommend, such as incorporating art and "higher order" pedagogies were too vague to be really helpful and also poorly supported. I found it interesting that he never referenced Hattie's work (Visible Learning), which in my opinion takes a much more objective approach to analyzing the literature about what works in schools. All-in-all, worth reading for the first section on inequities, but I'll be using Hattie for instructional advice.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Khristie

    I can't say this book will provide a teacher with much in regards to new ideas on how to reach and teach students in poverty. The majority of this book is about living in poverty and ideals for how a world without poverty would be a more just and equitable place. I found several instances where the author debunked stereotypes only to give statistics that supported the same stereotype. I will continue to see all people as individuals and do what I can within my classroom world. Unless you really I can't say this book will provide a teacher with much in regards to new ideas on how to reach and teach students in poverty. The majority of this book is about living in poverty and ideals for how a world without poverty would be a more just and equitable place. I found several instances where the author debunked stereotypes only to give statistics that supported the same stereotype. I will continue to see all people as individuals and do what I can within my classroom world. Unless you really don't know anything about poverty, this book won't tell you anything new.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Barb Simpson

    This book is a must read for anyone working with kids in public school systems. American education keeps getting labeled as ineffective while the impact of poverty on our system is ignored. This book points out the flaws in our current practices, and has real strategies that systems need to consider when supporting students from poverty. Really makes you think! And is very readable, not too "textbook" like. Read this book. This book is a must read for anyone working with kids in public school systems. American education keeps getting labeled as ineffective while the impact of poverty on our system is ignored. This book points out the flaws in our current practices, and has real strategies that systems need to consider when supporting students from poverty. Really makes you think! And is very readable, not too "textbook" like. Read this book.

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