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The Myth of the Culture of Poverty

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Elisa Parry

on 8 May 2015

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Transcript of The Myth of the Culture of Poverty

The Myth of the Culture of Poverty
What does "poverty" mean to you?

What does it look like?
Article overview
Key points
Myth of the "culture of poverty"
Deficit theory
Political stances on poverty: Republican Party
Myths of the "culture of poverty"
What myths does Gorski mention in his article?
What other myths about the "culture of poverty" did he leave out?
What are the truths?
Do you personally see myths or truths more often in your educational experience?
What does “poverty” look like to you now?
What solutions do you have?
THANK YOU!
References
Unpacking Paul Gorski
Capucine Chapman, Sister Mary Elisha Glady,
Liu Yang, Elisa Parry

Move more welfare recipients off the welfare rolls

In 1996, the Republican Congress made history by passing welfare reform. The federal government gave states the flexibility to manage the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program, and both states and federal authorities began treating welfare as a step up rather than a way of life. (Source:2004 Republican Party Platform, p. 82 , Sep 1, 2004 )

Faith-based welfare grants equal with secular groups
The federal government is ending discrimination against faith-based organizations and now welcomes these groups as partners and allies in the effort to deliver social services to people in need. (Source: 2004 Republican Party Platform, p. 75-76 , Sep 1, 2004)

Tax reform will enable more poor to own a home
Reward work with tax reform that takes 6 million families off the tax rolls, cuts rate for those on the rolls, and doubles the child tax credit to $1,000.
Implement the “American Dream Down Payment” program, which will allow a half million families who currently draw federal rental assistance to become homeowners.
Increase the supply of affordable housing by establishing the Renewing the Dream tax credit.
Build savings and personal wealth through Individual Development Accounts.
(Source: Republican Platform adopted at GOP National Convention , Aug 12, 2000
http://www.ontheissues.org/celeb/Republican_Party_Welfare_+_Poverty.htm)



Political stances on poverty:
Democratic Party


We believe in constitutionally sound, evidence-based partnerships with faith-based and other non-profit organizations to serve those in need and advance our shared interests. There is no conflict between supporting faith-based institutions and respecting our Constitution, and a full commitment to both principles is essential for the continued flourishing of both faith & country. (Source: 2012 Democratic Party Platform , Sep 4, 2012)

However, we believe that partnerships with faith-based organizations should augment - not replace - government programs, should respect First Amendment protections, and should never use taxpayer funds to proselytize. (Source: 2000 Democratic National Platform as adopted by the DNC , Aug 15, 2000)

Is there any progress in recognizing that poverty is a societal issue?


The "culture of poverty" in China
Not purely an American phenomenon
Attitude towards education: students in poverty vs. students from wealthy families
Combating the myths
XChange TV show: http://v.qq.com/cover/2/2lqopmrgci0g5hg/s001464sm3m.html

Real statistics of poverty
The Attitude of AFDC Recipients Towards Work--statistical analysis (Wynn, 2003):
"Do people who have been on AFDC have different work values? Are they members of a sub-group called a culture of poverty?"
"Those who tend to receive AFDC the longest have stronger (not weaker) values towards work and its role in earning money. The more educated tend to rank work of less importance than the less educated."
Negative effects on self-worth and future orientation:
"By today's standards, education is a necessity for achieving economic independence. AFDC results in a more pessimistic view of the world."
Debunking Poverty Myths and Stereotypes (Jones, 2013):
2/3 = 1.7 jobs
83% of children from low-income families: at least one employed parent; ~60%: at least one parent who works full-time, year-round
"Poor working adults spend more hours working each week than their wealthier counterparts."
Implications for educators
Teachers should be aware of their biases, how they may affect their interactions with students in poverty (Gorski, 2008b)
Poverty has a material impact on students as well as a symbolic impact (Wrigley, 2012)
Structure classroom to avoid putting students at a material disadvantage
Structure classroom to avoid putting students at an emotional disadvantage

Implications of the
"culture of poverty" myth
and deficit theory
Change values of poor to “fix” the culture of poverty (Gorski, 2008a)
Both encourage a notion of the undeserving poor, discourage funding to alleviate poverty (Gorski, 2008a)
Poverty is correlated with low academic achievement (Ravitch, 2014)

Is the deficit in the:

Students who live in poverty?
Educational system?
Teachers and their attitudes? (Gorski, 2008b)

The "culture of poverty"
Myth of the "culture of poverty"
There is a consistent, observable culture among people in poverty (Gorski, 2008b)
The “culture of poverty” consists of shared values and behaviors among people in poverty (Gorski, 2008b)
Different expressions of the “culture of poverty” over time (Wrigley, 2012)


Deficit theory
Moral, intellectual deficiencies are the reason why poor people are poor (Gorski, 2008b)
This mindset:
is reinforced by stereotypes
ignores societal inequalities, injustices that perpetuate poverty (Gorski, 2008b)
Locates the causes of poverty within individuals, not society (Gorski, 2010)

Do we look at the face only, or do we look at the root of the issue?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Democratic_Party_(United_States)
http://www.enkivillage.com/differences-
between-democrats-and-republicans.html
(Walter Bennett/Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images)
Group scenarios
Discuss:

What does this say about the culture of poverty? How would you handle this situation as an educator?
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2008/nov/17/china-poverty-united-nations-growth
Gorski, P. (2008a). Peddling poverty for profit: Elements of oppression in Ruby Payne’s framework. Equity and Excellence in Education, 41(1), 130-148.
Gorski, P. (2008b). The myth of the culture of poverty. Educational Leadership, 65(7), 32-36.
Gorski, P. (2010). Unlearning deficit ideology and the scornful haze: Thoughts on authenticating the class discourse in education,
Gorski, P. (2012). Teaching against essentialism and the culture of poverty. In P. Gorski, K. Zenkov, N. Osei-Kofi, & J. Sapp (Eds.), Cultivating social justice teachers: How teacher educators have helped students overcome cognitive bottlenecks and learn critical social justice concepts. Sterling, VA: Stylus.
http://v.qq.com/cover/2/2lqopmrgci0g5hg/s001464sm3m.html
Ravitch, D. (2014). Reign of Error: The hoax of the privatization movement and the danger to America’s public schools. New York, NY: Vintage Books.
Rogalsky, J. (2009). "Mythbusters": Dispelling the culture of poverty myth of urban classrooms.
"War on Poverty." http://www.childtrends.org/our-research/poverty/war-on-poverty/. Accessed April 29, 2015.
Wrigley, T. (2012). Poverty and Education in an age of hypocrisy. Education Review, 24(2), pp. 90-98.
Wynn, L. (2003). The attitude of AFDC recipients towards work. Sociation Today 1(3). http://www.ncsociology.org/sociationtoday/v2/wynn.htm
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