The Poverty and Education Reader

A Call for Equity in Many Voices

October 2013
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  • Publisher
    Stylus Publishing
  • Published
    30th October 2013
  • ISBN 9781579228590
  • Language English
  • Pages 388 pp.
  • Size 7" x 10"
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November 2013
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  • Publisher
    Stylus Publishing
  • Published
    1st November 2013
  • ISBN 9781579228583
  • Language English
  • Pages 388 pp.
  • Size 7" x 10"
  • Request Exam Copy
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December 2013
More details
  • Publisher
    Stylus Publishing
  • Published
    6th December 2013
  • ISBN 9781579228606
  • Language English
  • Pages 388 pp.
  • Size 7" x 10"
E-Book (ePub)
December 2013
More details
  • Publisher
    Stylus Publishing
  • Published
    6th December 2013
  • ISBN 9781579228613
  • Language English
  • Pages 388 pp.
  • Size 7" x 10"
  • Request E-Exam Copy

Through a rich mix of essays, memoirs, and poetry, the contributors to The Poverty and Education Reader bring to the fore the schooling experiences of poor and working class students, highlighting the resiliency, creativity, and educational aspirations of low-income families.

They showcase proven strategies that imaginative teachers and schools have adopted for closing the opportunity gap, demonstrating how they have succeeded by working in partnership with low-income families, and despite growing class sizes, the imposition of rote pedagogical models, and teach-to-the-test mandates.

The contributors—teachers, students, parents, educational activists, and scholars—repudiate the prevalent, but too rarely discussed, deficit views of students and families in poverty. Rather than focusing on how to “fix” poor and working class youth, they challenge us to acknowledge the ways these youth and their families are disenfranchised by educational policies and practices that deny them the opportunities enjoyed by their wealthier peers. Just as importantly, they offer effective school and classroom strategies to mitigate the effects of educational inequality on students in poverty.

Rejecting the simplistic notion that a single program, policy, or pedagogy can undo social or educational inequalities, this Reader inspires and equips educators to challenge the disparities to which underserved communities are subjected. It is a positive resource for students of education and for teachers, principals, social workers, community organizers, and policy makers who want to make the promise of educational equality a reality.

"The Poverty and Education Reader is a top pick for teachers and educators as well as social issues readers, and packs in essays, memoirs and poetry with the idea of analyzing the schooling experience of poor and working-class students. Low-income family experiences are targeted with the idea of profiling proven strategies teachers and schools have used for closing educational gaps, and contributions come from a range of writers, from teachers and students to parents and scholars, discussing views of poor students and their families and approaches that have made a difference. Don't consider this a 'fix' for poor students: look at it as a series of articles on ways youth is alienated by education practices - and how to overcome this with new school and classroom routines."

- Midwest Book Review


Part One: Counterstories: Insiders’ Views on Poverty and Schooling

1) First Grade Lesson - Sandy Nesbit Tracy
2) On Lilacs, Tap-Dancing, and Children of Poverty - Bobby Ann Starnes
3) Class, Race, and the Hidden Curriculum of Schools - Buffy Smith
4) How School Taught Me I Was Poor - Jeff Sapp
5) The Places Where We Live and Learn: Mementos From a Working-Class Life - Jaye Johnson Thiel
6) Alone at School - Scot Allen
7) Low-Income Urban Youth Speaking Up About Public Education - Iabeth Galiel Briones, Diamond Dominique Hull, and Shifra Teitelbaum

Part Two: Identifying the “Problem”: From a Deficit View to a Resiliency View

8) Save You or Drown You - Stacy Amaral
9) On Grifters, Research, and Poverty - Bobby Ann Starnes
10) There Really Is a Culture of Poverty: Notes on Black Working-Class Struggles for Equity and Education - Kristen L. Buras
11) Way Down Yonder in the Pawpaw Patch: Resiliency in Appalachian Poverty - Joy Cowdery
12) Mending at the Seams: The Working-Class Threads That Bind Us - Jaye Johnson Thiel
13) “Student Teachers”: What I Learned From Students in a High-Poverty Urban High School - Lori D. Ungemah
14) The Poor Are Not the Problem: Class Inequality and the Blame Game - Nicholas Daniel Hartlep

Part Three: Making Class Inequity Visible

15) blissful abyss or how to look good while ignoring poverty - Tricia Gallagher-Geurtsen
16) The Great Equalizer? Poverty, Reproduction, and How Schools Structure Inequality - Taharee Jackson
17) A Pedagogy of Openness: Queer Theory as a Tool for Class Equity - Whitney Gecker
18) First Faint Lines - Sherrie Fernandez-Williams
19) “Who Are You to Judge Me?”: What We Can Learn From Low-Income, Rural Early School Leavers - Janet Kesterson Isbell
20) Looking Past the School Door: Children and Economic Injustice by Steve Grineski and Ok-Hee Lee

Part Four: Insisting on Equity: Students, Parents, and Communities Fight for Justice

21) Reckoning by Paul C. Gorski
22) Traversing the Abyss: Addressing the Opportunity Gap - John Korsmo
23) Fostering Wideawakeness: Third-Grade Community Activists - Lenny Sánchez
24) Parents, Organized: Creating Conditions for Low-Income Immigrant Parent Engagement in Public Schools - Russell Carlock
25) Challenging Class-Based Assumptions: Low-Income Families’ Perceptions of Family Involvement - Lisa Hoffman

Part Five: Teaching for Class Equity and Economic Justice

26) V - Elizabeth E. Vaughn
27) Coming Clean - Carolyn L. Holbrook
28) Insisting on Class(room) Equality in Schools - Curt Dudley-Marling
29) Cultivating Economic Literacy and Social Well-Being: An Equity Perspective - Susan Santone and Shari Saunders
30) Becoming Upstanders: Humanizing Faces of Poverty Using Literature in a Middle School Classroom - Wendy Zagray Warren
31) Literacy Learning and Class Issues: A Rationale for Resisting Classism and Deficit Thinking - Peggy Semingson
32) Imagining an Equity Pedagogy for Students in Poverty - Paul C. Gorski

Part Six: Poverty, Education, and the Trouble With School “Reform”

33) Student Collage - Henry Hughes
34) The Teach For America Story From a Voice of Dissent - Mariah Dickinson
35) “Do You Have Fidelity to the Program?” Matters of Faith in a Restructured Title I Middle School - Brian R. Horn
36) The Inequity Gap of Schooling and the Poverty of School “Reform” - P. L. Thomas
37) Homage to Teachers in High-Poverty Schools - Moriah Thielges
38) Questioning Educational “Reform” and the Imposition of a National Curriculum - Mark Brimhall-Vargas
39) Local Education Foundations and the Private Subsidizing of Public Education - Richard Mora and Mary Christianakis

About the Editors and Contributors


Paul C. Gorski

Paul C. Gorski is Associate Professor of Integrative Studies in New Century College at George Mason University. He is the founder of EdChange and the Multicultural Pavilion, a Web site that has won more than a dozen awards internationally for its contribution to multicultural education scholarship and practice.

Julie Landsman

Julie Landsman has taught in Minneapolis Public Schools for 25 years. She has also been a visiting Professor at Carleton College in Northfield Minnesota, and an adjunct professor at Hamline University and Metro State University in St. Paul. She is the author of numerous books on race and education and a frequent speaker and consultant around the country and abroad. She can be reached through her website at