Ruby Payne's A Framework for Understanding Poverty - Rowan ...

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Ruby Payne’s A Framework
for Understanding Poverty

Terrific
?
Trendy
? or
Tragic
?

Background Info


A Framework for Understanding Poverty is……


“a cognitive study that looks at the thinking or mindsets
created by environments.

It is a naturalistic inquiry
based upon a convenience sample. The inquiry occurred
from being involved for 32 years with a neighborhood in
generational poverty.

This neighborhood comprised 50
-
70 people......mostly white.

From that, an in
-
depth
disciplinary analysis of the research was undertaken to
explain the behaviors. It does not qualify as ‘research’
against university standards because it does not have a
clean methodology.”
(
http://preview.ahaprocess.com/files/RnD_School/Resea
rchBase_Explanation_Framework.pdf
)


Consider Payne’s own background, since we are all aware that ones
own culture, values, and morals shape our opinions and belief

system




Unsuccessful finding info on her own
upbringing or background.




Married a man who lived in situational
poverty. This, according to an expert on
poverty is her “only claim to fame”.
(Gorski, 2011)


Love it or Hate it


Sold over a million copies.


Lectures, motivational speaking.


Written numerous books on the topic.


Own publishing company ahaprocess, inc.


Impressive and admirable undertaking.


Welcome to the Dark Side


Payne has quite a few scholars who dispute
almost every claim she makes.


Has been called Racist.


Has been accused of Classism.


Research is unfounded.


Methodology is questionable, at best.


Her expertise in the field is nonexistent.


Book is an opinion piece, not a study of
documented research.


Sampling



The work is based upon a sampling of 50
-
70 Caucasian people….in the same
neighborhood….


This is hardly an adequate representation
of POVERTY.

My findings


Poverty is quite a
complex

and
multifaceted

issue.



Why set out to prepare a framework for
understanding a phenomenon such as
POVERTY if no clean methodology is being
used?



Speaks often of the “culture of poverty”. There IS
NO culture of poverty. In fact, this notion has
been dismissed by intellectuals since the 1960’s.


Tends to prejudge certain ethnic groups. Racist


Again, proceed with caution.



Ignores the facts……..


admirably points out that wealthy students
she taught had no more native intelligence
than the poor.

However, she
neglects to
include

information and
documented
research

to support the fact that students
living in poverty tend to go to schools that
are sub par, and often have teachers who
are NOT qualified to teach the subjects
that they teach.


Many conclusions seem to be merely
Payne's opinion of the 50
-
70 families she
refers to as her research. For example,
she states that

The poor simply see jail as
a part of life and not


necessarily always
bad.


Quite the blanket statement, and again,
where is the documentation?

Assumptions


One of the hidden rules of poverty is that
any extra money is shared.



Does this statement come from surveys
that Payne had given?


Statistical research? One can not tell.



Moses and the Israelites….

Payne and Assimilation


Payne’s view is that in order for poor students to succeed they must
learn the norms and “hidden rules” of the middle class, AND give up
relationships for achievement. (pg 11)


Why is it important to Ruby Payne for students to assimilate into
middle class culture and give up relationships? A. She provides no
research to support that giving up relationships is effective.
In fact,
she believes that support systems are paramount to poverty
stricken students. Why does she ask them to give up their
current support systems? B. It sounds more of an opinion than
intellectual discourse on understanding poverty and
developing techniques to educate the poor.


Her ideas on leading poor students in an “exodus” out of poverty
and into the middle class rules are not only contradictory, but are
offensive.

Meet Dr. Paul Gorski


Founded Edchange
-
team of professionals dedicated to develop resources
that promote progressive change in schools and communities.


Holds
doctorate

in Educational Evaluation from University of Virginia.


Wrote 14 page essay in opposition of Payne’s work in 2005.


Spoke directly with Dr. Gorski via email on his opinion about the problems
with Payne’s book. (more on this later)


Areas of specialty include:



Poverty
, class, and
anti
-
poverty education and activism



The connection between self
-
transformation and institutional transformation


School and community reform for the elimination of racism, sexism, heterosexism, and other
inequities


The digital divide and educational technology


Multicultural curriculum transformation


Leadership development and the training of trainers for equity and diversity in education



Dr. Gorski’s Email



From:
gorski <gorski@edchange.org>
To:
teach9798 <teach9798@aol.com>
Subject:
Re: Ruby
Payne
Date:
Mon, Nov 7, 2011 4:59 pm


Hi Laura, Thanks for writing. I think by calling what Payne did a "study" you're giving her too much
credit. She wasn't collecting data. If she did a "study" you should be able to email her and request
her data, even if they're qualitative. She didn't do a study. She wrote, she suggests, based on a
"case study" she never actually did. All she did was marry a man who had a low
-
income family,
then reflect back on that experience. I think we do a disservice to people who are actually doing
studies on poverty to call what she did a "study." The three biggest problems with her work in my
view:. (1) She starts with a hypthesis or model, the "culture of poverty," that was debunked in the
social sciences by the late 1960s. There is no evidence that a "culture" or "mindset" of poverty
exists, and anybody who has tried to find such a culture or mindset in any organized way has
failed to do so. There is nothing we can assume about anybody based on a single dimension of
her or his identity, and that's what Payne does through her book(2) She has a lot of blatant
inaccuracies throughout her book. She suggests that poor people don't value education, but there
is no research that supports that claim. She suggests in her case studies about poor families that
poor families tend to abuse drugs and alcohol, but wealthy people are more likely than poor peole
to do so. Her whole discussion of language registers is completely counter to what linguists have
been saying since the 1960s about language. In other words, her book is just plain inaccurate. (3)
She fails to put any of her observations in a larger context of economic injustice and inequality, so
that her work contributes to deficit ideologies. I struggle to understand how a framework for
"understanding poverty" can omit the causes of poverty, a discussion of who profits from poverty,
an exploration of how people in poverty are denied basic rights, or even a mention of how poor
people are sent, on average, to vastly different kinds of schools than their wealthy peers. You can
find a couple other things I've written more recently about Payne, summarizing the critiques, here:
http://www.edchange.org/publications.html

Best of luck! Paul

Gorski’s First Criticism


(1) She starts with a hypthesis or model, the
"culture of poverty," that was debunked in the
social sciences by the late 1960s. There is no
evidence that a "culture" or "mindset" of poverty
exists, and anybody who has tried to find such a
culture or mindset in any organized way has
failed to do so. There is nothing we can assume
about anybody based on a single dimension of
her or his identity, and that's what Payne does
through her book

Gorski’s 2
nd

Criticism


(2) She has a lot of blatant inaccuracies
throughout her book. She suggests that poor
people don't value education, but there is no
research that supports that claim. She suggests
in her case studies about poor families that poor
families tend to abuse drugs and alcohol, but
wealthy people are more likely than poor peole
to do so. Her whole discussion of language
registers is completely counter to what linguists
have been saying since the 1960s about
language. In other words, her book is just plain
inaccurate.

Gorski’s 3
rd

and final criticism


(3) She fails to put any of her observations in a
larger context of economic injustice and
inequality, so that her work contributes to deficit
ideologies. I struggle to understand how a
framework for "understanding poverty" can omit
the causes of poverty, a discussion of who
profits from poverty, an exploration of how
people in poverty are denied basic rights, or
even a mention of how poor people are sent, on
average, to vastly different kinds of schools than
their wealthy peers.


Because Gorski’s holds a doctorate from
UVA in Educational Evaluation, AND one
of his areas of expertise is Poverty, class,
and anti
-
poverty education and activism,
AND he instructs classes on class and
poverty, AND he has written over 35
articles in well respected publications, I am
inclined to consider him more of an expert
on poverty than Payne.