Poverty SLC 8 08 - Nashua School District

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1

A Framework for Understanding Poverty’s

Impact on Teaching and Learning

Jennifer Seusing,


Principal, Nashua High School South

Margaret A. Reynolds


Smaller Learning Communities Grant Director


2

Overview


How Much Do You Know About Poverty in the
USA?


Quiz


Key Points


Survival Skills


Hidden Rules Among Classes


The State of Poverty in the United States


Poverty and the Working Poor


Conclusion: Poverty and Schools


Poverty, Behavior and Discipline


Relationships are Key

3

Key Points….


Poverty is Relative


If everyone around you has similar
circumstances, the notion of wealth and
poverty is vague. Poverty and wealth exist
only in relationship to known quantities or
expectations


Economic class is a continuous line not a
clear
-
cut distinction.


People are all points on the continuum

and
regularly move as their circumstances change


4

Key Point

“ You might think that unskilled jobs would
be a snap for someone who holds a Ph.D
and whose normal line of work requires
learning new things every couple of weeks.
Not so .” (
Ehrenreich, Barbara.
Nickel and Dimed.

2001)



People in low
-
wage lifestyles are far from
unskilled.


They may have life skills

survival skills


that
extend far beyond the often abstract skill sets
that schools often value.

5


HANDOUT



Survival Skills…

6

Survival Skills Assessment


Could you survive in poverty?



Could you survive in middle class?



Could you survive in wealth?


With handouts

7

Key Points


Generational and situational poverty are
different


Generational: being in poverty for two
generations or more



Situational: being in poverty for a much
shorter time due to circumstances (death,
illness, divorce, pregnancy, etc.)


People who are experiencing situational
poverty have more inner resources to
help them through a difficult period


8

Key Points


An individual brings with him/her the
hidden rules of the class in which he/she
was raised


Even though the income may be different, the
patterns of thought, behavior, social
interaction remain with the individual.


Schools and businesses operate from
middle class norms and use the hidden
rules of the middle class.


These norms/rules are NOT directly taught in
schools or businesses.

9

Key Points


For our students to be successful, we
must understand their rules AND teach
them the rules that will make them
successful in school and work



We can neither excuse students nor scold
them for not knowing. We must teach
them while providing support, insistence
and high expectations.


10

HANDOUT


Hidden Rules Among Classes



(Payne, Ruby. A Framework for Understanding Poverty. 2003)

11

The State of Poverty in the US


For the third consecutive year, the poverty rate and
the number of Americans living in poverty both rose
from the prior years.


The official poverty rate in 2003 (the most
current year for which figures are available) was
12.5 percent, up from 12.1 percent in 2002.


On average, one out of every three Americans
-

34.2 percent of all people in the United States
-

are officially classified as living in poverty at
least 2 months out of the year.


(U.S. Census Bureau,
Income, Poverty and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States:
2003
, Current Population Reports, August 2003; U.S. Census Bureau,
Dynamics of
Economic Well
-
Being: Poverty 1996
-
1999
, July 2003.)


Poverty: the Numbers


36.5 million people
-

about 1 in 8
Americans, including 1 in 6 children
-

live
below the official federal poverty level,
which was $20,000 for a family of four in
2006.


Almost half of all Americans will have
experienced poverty for a year or more at
some point in their lives by the time they
reach age 60.

12

Poverty: The Numbers


The number of people living in poverty in
the United States is equal to the combined
populations of Missouri, Kansas,
Oklahoma, Colorado, Nebraska, Iowa,
Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota,
Wyoming, Nevada, Idaho, and Alaska.

13

Poverty: Employment


Most of the poor have jobs. Nearly two out
of three families with incomes below the
poverty line include one or more workers.



The current federal minimum wage for
covered nonexempt employees is $5.85
per hour.



14

15

The State of Poverty in the US


Since 1999, the number of poor Americans
suffering from "food insecurity" and hunger has
increased by 3.9 million
-

2.8 million adults and
more than 1 million children.



In 2002, 34.9 million people lived in households
experiencing food insecurity
-

that is, not
enough food for basic nourishment
-

compared
to 33.6 million in 2001 and 31 million in 1999.


(U.S. Department of Agriculture,
Household Food Security in the United States,
2002
, October 2003.)

16

The State of Poverty in the US


The Midwest experienced the greatest increase
in poverty rates, rising from 9.4 percent in 2001
to 10.3 percent in 2002
-

yet the American South
still had the highest poverty rate at 13.8 percent.


The South had a disproportionately large share
of those in poverty: 40.6 percent, compared with
35.6 percent of all people.


And the American suburbs saw the highest rise
in poverty, from 12.1 million and 8.2 percent in
2001 to 13.3 million and 8.9 percent in 2002.



(U.S. Census Bureau,
Poverty in the United States
: 2002, Current
Population Reports, September 2003.)


17

The Working Poor


One out of every three Americans living in
poverty held a job during 2002
-

37.9
percent or 9 million out of everyone living
in poverty
-

yet, despite working, could
not earn enough to afford the basic
necessities, like food, housing and
healthcare.


(U.S. Census Bureau,
Poverty in the United States: 2002
, Current Population
Reports, September 2003.)

18

The Working Poor


Of all Americans living and working in
poverty, 2.6 million, or 11.2 percent, held
full
-
time jobs that did not pay enough to
raise them above the official "poverty
threshold."


(U.S. Census Bureau,
Poverty in the United States: 2002
, Current Population
Reports, September 2003.)


19

The Working Poor


A single parent of two young children working
full
-
time in minimum wage job for a year would
make $10,712 before taxes
-

a wage more than
$1,000 below the poverty threshold set by the
federal government.


(U.S. Department of Labor; U.S. Census Bureau.)


About 40 percent of poor single
-
parent, working
mothers who paid for child care paid at least half
of their income for child care; an additional 25
percent of these families paid between 40 and 50
percent of their incomes for child care.


(Child Trends, 2001.)


20

The Working Poor


The working poor in America grew poorer
during 2002, with incomes dipping farther
below the poverty line than in any other
year since 1979, the first year for which
such data is available.


The average amount by which people
living in poverty fell below the federal
"threshold" was $2,813 in 2002.


(Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, September 2003)


21

Key Point


To move from poverty to middle class or
middle class to wealth, an individual often
must give up a old relationship for
achievement (at least for a time)



Two things help a person move out of
poverty:


Education


Relationships




Handouts:


Registers of Language


How the Characteristics of Poverty Surface at
School

22

23

Poverty, Behavior and Discipline

Behavior Related to Poverty


Laugh when disciplined


a way to save face in
matriarchal poverty

Intervention


Understand the
reason for the
behavior. Tell student
what behavior is more
appropriate

24

Poverty, Behavior and Discipline

Behavior Related to Poverty



Argue loudly with the
teacher



Poverty is participatory and
the culture has a distrust of
authority



Intervention



Don’t argue with
the student.



Use a 4
-
part
worksheet that
involves student in
analyzing their
actions



25

Poverty, Behavior and Discipline

Behavior Related to Poverty




Inappropriate or vulgar
comments or language


Reliance on “casual register.”


May not know “formal
register.”


Intervention




Talk about phrases
that could be used
to say the same
thing in an
appropriate manner

26

Poverty, Behavior and Discipline

Behavior Related to Poverty



Talks Incessantly


Intervention



Have students write
all questions and
responses on a note
card 2 days a week


Tell students that each
person gets to make 5
comments a day


Build participatory
activities into the
lesson


27

Poverty, Behavior and Discipline

Behavior Related to Poverty




Hands always on
someone else


Poverty has a heavy reliance
on non
-
verbal data and
touch




Intervention




Allow them to draw
or doodle. Instruct
them to keep their
hands behind their
backs when in line


Give them as much
as possible to do
with their hands.


28

Poverty, Behavior and Discipline

Behavior Related to Poverty



Disrespectful to Teacher


Has a lack of respect for
authority and the system.


May not know adults worthy
of respect


Intervention



Tell students that
respect is NOT a
choice. Identify for
students the correct
voice tone and an
acceptable word
choice.


Let them practice

29

Poverty and Schools….


Assumptions made about individuals’
intelligence and approaches to the school
and/or work setting may relate more to
their understanding of the rules.


Students need to be taught the hidden
rules of the middle class

not in
denigration of their own but, rather, as
another set of rules that can be used if
they so choose.

30

Poverty and Schools….


Many of the attitudes that students and
parents bring with them are an integral
part of their culture and belief systems.



Middle class solutions should not
necessarily be imposed when other, more
workable solutions, might be found.

31

Poverty and Schools….


An education is the key to getting of and
staying out of generational poverty


Four things can help a person leave poverty


A goal or vision of something they want to be or
have


A situation that is so painful that anything would
be better


Someone who sponsors them/shows them a way
out


A specific ability or talent that provides an
opportunity


32

Poverty and Schools….


For students and adults who leave poverty, the
PRIMARY motivation for their success will be
their relationships with people who can …


Provide emotional and informational support


People who are truly THERE


Serve as role models


People who are nurturing and appropriate


Provide knowledge of the hidden rules


People who help others fit in







33

Bibliography


Ehrenreich, Barbara.
Nickel and Dimed: On (NOT)
Getting By in America.

2001


Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, September 2003


“One Nation: Free From Poverty.” United States
Conference of Catholic Bishops. (website) 2004


Payne. Ruby.
A Framework for Understanding Poverty.
2003


“Society at a Glance” Organization for Economic Co
-
operation and Development, 2002.)


US Census Bureau

Assorted Studies


US Dept. of Agriculture

Assorted Studies


US Dept. of Labor

Assorted Studies



34

THE END

Thank You!


For more information:


seusing j@nashua.edu

603
-
589
-
2743


reynoldsm@nashua.edu

603
-
589
-
6412



35

Poverty in America


#
1


Asian Americans experienced the greatest
decrease in poverty.



True


|


False












36

Poverty in America



#1


The answer is false.


The number of Asian Americans living in
poverty remained the same at 10.3
percent. Hispanic Americans experienced
the greatest decrease in poverty from 21.8
percent in 2005 to 20.6 percent in 2006.

37

Poverty in America



#2


Asian Americans experienced the greatest
increase in poverty




True


|


False



38

Poverty in America


#2


The answer is false.



There are 16 million Non
-
Hispanic White Americans
in poverty.



There are


9.3 million Hispanics in poverty


9 million African Americans and


1.4 million Asian Americans in poverty.


39



# 3


The rate of child poverty in America is
higher than it is in most of the world's
industrialized countries.


True


|


False


40

Poverty in America



# 3


T
he answer is true.


The U.S. child poverty rate is two
-
to
-
three times higher
than other major industrialized nations. According to the
latest comparative numbers, the child poverty rate in
Sweden in recent years has been less than four percent;
in the Czech Republic, less than six percent; France,
seven percent; Germany, 10 percent, Australia and
Japan, 12 percent; Canada, 14 percent; while, in the
United States, the child poverty rate has remained at
over 16 percent for the past two years
-

with some
sources placing the comparative number at more than
23 percent of all children in America living in poverty.
(Society at a Glance, Organization for Economic Co
-
operation and Development, 2002.)






















































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41

Poverty in America



# 5


The federal minimum wage is now $5.85
per hour.


True


|


False




42

Poverty in America


# 5


Correct, the answer is true. But for a
mother who works full
-
time at minimum
wage to support one small child, that
translates to earnings of $12,168 a year
before taxes
--

which is $999 below the
2006 poverty threshold for a family of
two.



43

Poverty in America



# 6


While the number of people in poverty is
increasing, the number of people in
extreme poverty is decreasing.


True


|


False



44

Poverty in America



#6


The answer is false. In 2003, the number
of people living in extreme poverty


that
is, with incomes below half the poverty
line


rose by 1.2 million, to 15.3 million
people. The number of Americans living in
extreme poverty reached the highest level
on record, since data first became
available in 1975.


45

Poverty in America


#7




The rate of child poverty in America is
higher than it is in most of the world's
industrialized countries.


True


|


False


46

Poverty in America



#7


The answer is true. In fact, the U.S. child poverty
rate is two
-
to
-
three times higher than other major
industrialized nations.


According to the latest comparative numbers, the
child poverty rate in Sweden in recent years has
been less than four percent; in the Czech
Republic, less than six percent; France, seven
percent; Germany, 10 percent, Australia and
Japan, 12 percent; Canada, 14 percent, while, in
the United States, the child poverty rate has
remained at over 16 percent for the past two years
-

with some sources placing the comparative
number at more than 23 percent of all children in
America living in poverty.


(Society at a Glance, Organization for Economic Co
-
operation and
Development, 2002.)


47

Poverty in America


#8


The federal minimum wage is now $5.15
per hour.


True


|


False


48

Poverty in America



#8


The answer is true. But for a mother who
works full
-
time at minimum wage to
support one small child, that translates to
earnings of $10,712 a year
--

which is
$1,044 below the 2003 poverty threshold
for a family of two.


US Census Bureau

49

Poverty in America



#9


The elderly poverty rate is higher than any
other age group.


True


|


False


50



#9


Correct, the answer is false. The
poverty rate for America's elderly
population
-

those people over 65
-

stands at 9.4 percent, or one out of
every ten seniors, while the child
poverty rate is 17.4 percent, or one out
of every six children in America.


US Census Bureau


51

Poverty in America


#10


Most Americans believe that the federal
government should play less of a role in
helping the poor.


True


|


False


52

Poverty in America


# 10


The answer is false. Nine out of ten
Americans believe the federal government
has a responsibility to alleviate poverty. A
strong majority believes that government
should do more, not less, to help people
move from welfare to work by providing
skills needed to be self
-
sufficient.


(Lake, Snell, Perry & Associates, January 2002.)


53

Poverty in America


#10


Most Americans believe that the federal
government should play less of a role in
helping the poor.


True


|


False


54

Poverty in America


# 10


The answer is false. Nine out of ten
Americans believe the federal government
has a responsibility to alleviate poverty. A
strong majority believes that government
should do more, not less, to help people
move from welfare to work by providing
skills needed to be self
-
sufficient.


(Lake, Snell, Perry & Associates, January 2002.)


55

Survival Resources


Financial


Having the money to purchase goods and services


Emotional


Being able to choose and control emotional responses (particularly in
negative situations)


Mental



Having the mental abilities and acquired skills (reading, writing and
computing) to deal with daily life


Spiritual


Believing in divine purpose and guidance


Support Systems


Having friends, family and back
-
up resources available to access in times
of need (external resources)


Relationships/Role Models


Having frequent access to adult (s) who are appropriate, who are nurturing
and who do not engage in self
-
destructive activities


Knowledge of the Hidden Rules


Knowing the unspoken cues and habits of a group


56

Survival Resources: Discussion


Scenarios


1. John and Adele


4. Maria and Noemi


5. Eileen and Wisteria


Group Discussion


Evaluate (chart)


Debrief



Resource

#1

#4

#5

Financial

Emotional

Mental

Spiritual

Physical

Support System

Hidden Rules

Role Models

57

Survival Resources: Discussion


Scenarios


1. John and Adele


4. Maria and Noemi


5. Eileen and Wisteria


Group Discussion


Evaluate (chart)


Debrief




Resource

#1

#4

#5

Financial

N

N

?

Emotional

N

Y

?

Mental

Y

Y

Y

Spiritual

N

Y

Y

Physical

Y

Y

Y

Support System

N

Y

Y

Hidden Rules

Y

N

Y

Role Models

?

Y

?