Framework of Poverty

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					Framework of Poverty
An Understanding of the Division of Classes and Wealth
Amber Hubbard
• Poverty is relative.
  – If everyone around you has similar
    circumstances, the notion of poverty and
    wealth is vague. Poverty or wealth only
    exists in relationship to known quantities or
• Poverty occurs in all races in all countries.
  – The notion of middle class as a large
    segment of society is a phenomenon of this
  – The percentage of the population that is poor
    is subject to definition and circumstance.
A Continuum:
• Economic class is a continuous line, not a clear
  cut distinction,
  – In 2004, the poverty line in the United States was
    considered $18,850 for a family of four.
  – According to a census data from 2003, the median
    household income was $43,318.
  – 15% of U.S. households earned more than $100,000.
  – Individuals are stationed all along the continuum of
    income and sometimes move on the continuum as
Types of Poverty
• Generational poverty and situational
  poverty are differently.
  – Generational poverty is defined as being in
    poverty for two generations or longer.
  – Situational poverty is a shorter time and is
    caused by a circumstance (death, illness,
    divorce, etc.)
Patterns and Exceptions
• The work on poverty is based on patterns.
• However, all patterns have exceptions.
Hidden Rules
• An individual brings with him/her the
  hidden rules of the class in which he or
  she was raised.
  – Even though the income of the individual may
    rise significantly, many of the patterns of
    though, social interaction, cognitive
    strategies, etc, remain with the individual.
Poverty and Students
• Schools and businesses operate from
  middle class norms and use the hidden
  rules of the middle class.
• These norms and hidden rules are not
  directly taught in schools or businesses.
Student Success
• For students to be successful, educators
  and those around them must understand
  their hidden rules and them the rules that
  will make them successful at school and
• Educators can neither excuse students
  nor scold them for not knowing the rules.
• As educators, we must teach them and
  provide support, insistence, and
Changing Class
• To move from poverty to middle class or
  middle class to wealth, an individual must
  give up relationships for achievement (at
  least for some period of time).
Keys to Leaving Poverty
• Education and relationships can be key to
  helping individuals move out of poverty.
Moving Away from Poverty
• Four reasons one leaves poverty:
  – It’s too painful to stay.
  – A vision or a goal.
  – A key relationship.
  – A special skill or talent
Poverty Stats. in the US in 2003
• The poverty rate for all individuals was
• Children under the age of 18 had a
  poverty rate of 17.6%.
• For children under the age of 6, the
  poverty rate was 20.3%.
Families in Poverty
• There were 7.6 million poor families in the
  United States in 2003.
• Poverty-prone children are more likely to
  be in single parent families.
Consequences of Poverty
• Regardless of race or ethnicity, poor children
  are much more likely than non-poor children to
  suffer from developmental delay and damage,
  to drop out of high school and to give birth
  during the teen years.
• Poor inner city youths are 7 times more likely to
  be victims of child abuse or neglect than are
  children of high social and economic status.
• Poverty is caused by interrelated factors:
  – Parental employment
  – Parental status and earnings
  – Family structure
  – Parental Education
Marriage Matters
• Children under 6 living in families with a
  female householder and no husband
  present experienced a poverty rate of
  53.7%, more than 5 times the rate for
  children in married couples (9.7%).
Worldly Comparisons
• The United States poverty rate is
  substantially higher, sometimes more than
  2 or 3 times higher, than that of most
  other major Western industrialized
• Poverty is directly related resources
  including the accessibility and knowledge
  of these resources.
Types of Resources
•   Financial   • Support Systems
•   Emotional   • Relationships/Role
•   Mental        Models
•   Spiritual   • Knowledge of Hidden
•   Physical      Rules
• Finances – having the money to purchase
  goods and services
  – While finances are extremely important,
    financial resources do not mark the reason
    persons stay in or leave poverty.
• Emotional- being able to choose and
  control emotional responses, particularly
  to negative situations, without engaging in
  self destructive behavior. This is an
  internal resource and shows itself through
  stamina, perseverance and choices
Emotional Resources
• Emotional resources provide the stamina
  to withstand difficult and uncomfortable
  emotional situations and feelings.
• Emotional resources are the most
  important of all resources because when
  present they allow an individual not to
  return to old habits.
Emotional Sources
• In order to move from poverty to middle
  class or middle class to wealth, an
  individual must suspend his/her emotional
  memory bank because the situations and
  hidden rules are so unlike what he/she
  ahs experienced previously.
• Emotional resources come, at least in
  part, from role models.
• Mental – Having the mental abilities and
  acquired skills to deal with daily life.
  – Acquired skills include reading, writing, and
  – This is being able to process information and
    use it in daily living.
  – If an individual can read, write and compute,
    he/she has an advantage.
• If an individual has mental resources, that
  person can access information from many
  different free sources, as well as be
  somewhat self-sufficient.
• Spiritual – believing in divine purpose and
  – This is the belief that help can be obtained from a
    higher power.
  – There is also a purpose for living. Love and worth
    are gifts from God.
  – This is a powerful resource because the individual
    does not see him/herself as hopeless and useless,
    but rather as capable and having worth and value.
• Physical – having physical health and
  – Physical resources refers to having a body
    that works, that is capable and mobile.
  – This individual is capable of being self-
• Support systems – having friends, family
  and backup resources available to access
  in times of need. These are external
  – This is where one goes when help is needed.
  – Support systems are knowledge bases as
• Relationships/Role Models – having frequent
  access to adult(s) who are appropriate, who are
  nurturing to the child, and who do not engage in
  self-destructive behavior
  – All individuals have role models. However, all role
    models are not appropriate.
  – It is largely from role models that the person learns
    how to live with life emotionally.
• Knowledge of Hidden Rules – knowing the
  unspoken cues and habits of a group.
  – Hidden rules are critical to whatever class the
    individual wishes to live.
  – Hidden rules exist in all classes, ethnic
    groups and other subgroups of people.
Hidden Rules
• Hidden rules are about the salient,
  unspoken understandings that cue
  members of the group that this individual
  does or does not fit in.
Hidden Rules – An example
• Three Hidden Rules of Poverty:
  – The noise level is high (the TV is on, and
    everyone talks at once)
  – The most important information is nonverbal
  – One main value is the ability to entertain
Other Hidden Rules
• There are hidden rules about food, dress,
  decorum, and all aspects of life.
• In order to successfully move from one
  class to the next, it is important to have a
  spouse or mentor from the class the
  individual wishes to live. That person can
  model and teach hidden rules.
Hidden Rules Among Classes
• Hidden Rules are the unspoken cues and
  habits of a group.
• Distinct cuing systems exist between and
  among groups and economic classes.
Could You Survive Quiz
• The following slides contain statements
  about the various lifestyles and
  expectations among the classes.
• Place a mark in the box of the things you
  know how to do.
Could You Survive in Poverty?
 I know which churches and sections of town have the best
  rummage sales.
 I know which rummage sales have “bag sales” and when.
 I know which grocery stores’ garbage bins can be accessed for
  thrown away food.
 I know how to get someone out of jail.
 I know how to physically fight and defend myself physically
 I know how to get a gun, even if I have a police record.
 I know how to keep my clothes from being stolen at the
 I know what problems to look for in a used car.
 I know how to live without a checking account.
Poverty Quiz Continued
 I know hot live without electricity and a phone.
 I know how to use a knife as scissors.
 I can entertain a group of friends with my personality and my
 I know what to do when I don’t have money to pay the bills.
 I know how to move in half a day.
 I know how to get and use food stamps or an electronic card for
 I know where the free medical clinics are.
 I am very good at trading and bartering.
 I can get by without a car.
Could You Survive in Middle Class?
 I know how to get my children into Little League, piano
  lessons, soccer, etc.
 I know how to properly set a table.
 I know which stores are most likely to carry the clothing
  brands my family wears.
 My children know the best name brands in clothing.
 I know how to order in a nice restaurant.
 I talk to my children about going to college.
 I know how to help my children with their homework and
  do not hesitate to call the school if I need additional
Middle Class Continued
 I know how to use a credit card, checking account, and savings
  account – and I understand an annuity. I understand term life
  insurance, disability insurance, and 20/80 medical insurance policy,
  as well as house, flood and replacement insurance.
 I know how to get one of the best interest rates on my new-car loan.
 I understand the difference among the principal, interest and
  escrow statements on my house payments.
 I know how to get a library card.
 I know how to use most of the tools in the garage.
 I repair items in my house almost immediately when they break- or
  know a repair service and call it.
Could You Survive in Wealth?
I can read a menu in French, English, and
 another language.
I have several favorite restaurants in different
 countries of the world.
During the holidays, I know how to hire a
 decorator to identify the appropriate themes and
 items with which to decorate the house.
I know who my preferred financial advisor, legal
 service, designer, domestic employment
 services and hairdresser are.
Wealth Continued
 I have at least 2 or 3 “screens” that keep people whom I do not wish
  to see me away from me.
 I have at least two residences that are staffed and maintained.
 I fly in my own plane or the company plane.
 I know how to enroll my children in the preferred private schools.
 I know how to host the parties “key” people attend.
 I am on the boards of at least 2 charities.
 I know the hidden rules of the Junior League.
 I support or buy the work of a particular artist.
 I know how t read a corporate financial statement and analyze my
  own financial statements.
Exercise Evaluations
• If you fall mostly in the middle class, you may
  think that the items in the middle class category
  would be common knowledge.
• However, this exercise points out that there are
  hidden rules among the classes, that members
  of that class take for granted.
• It is assumed that all people know those
  particular items.
• Each class has a set of values. Those the
  following chart will outline that which is
  important to the various persons in each
  class. This is relative to a person being
  generational in his/her class.
Hidden Rules Among Classes
                  Poverty                 Middle Class               Wealth
Money             To be used, spent       To be managed              One a kind objects,
                                                                     legacies, pedigress
Personality       Is for entertainment,   Is for acquisistion and    Is for connections.
                  sense of humor is       stability. Achievement     Finanical, plitical, social
                  highly valued           is highly valued           connectioncs are highly
Social Emphasis   Social inclusion of     Emphasis is on self-       Empahsis is on social
                  people he/she likes     governance and self-       exlcuion
Food              Key ? – Did you have    Key ? – Did you like it?   Key ? – Was it
                  enough. Quantity        Quality important          presented well?
                  important                                          Presentation is
Clothing          Clothing valued for     Clothing valued for its    Clothing valued for its
                  individual style and    quality and acceptance     artice sense and
                  expression of           into norm of middle        expresssion. Designer
                  personality             class. Label important     important.
Time              Present most            Future most important.     Traditions and history
                  important. Decisions    Decisions made             most important.
                  made for the moment     against future             Decisions made
                  based on feelings or    ramifications.             partially on basis of
                  survuval                                           tradition and decorum.
Hidden Rules Among Classes
                   Poverty                   Middle Class              Wealth

Education          Valued and revered as     Crucual for climbing      Necessary tradition for
                   abstract but not as       success lader and         making and maintaining
                   reality                   making money              connections
Destiny            Believes in fate.         Belives in choice. Can    Noblesse oblige.
                   Cannot do much to         change future with
                   mitigate change           good choices now.
Language           Casual register.          Formal register.          Formal register.
                   Language is about         Language is about         Language is about
                   survival.                 negotioation              networking.
Family Structure   Tends to be matriacharl   Tends to be patriarchal   Depends on who has
World View         Sees world in terms of    Sees world in terms of    Sees world in terms of
                   local setting             natinal setting.          international view.
Love               Love and acceptance       Love and acceptance       Love and acceptance
                   are conditional, based    conditiona and based      condtional and related
                   upon whether the          largely on achievement    to social standing and
                   individual is liked                                 connectiosn
Driving Forces     Survival, relatiohsips,   Work, achievement         Finanicial, political,
                   entertainmnet                                       social connections
Humor              About people and sex      About situations          About social faux pas.
• One of the greatest difficutlies in moving out of
  poverty is the ability to manage money and the
  general information base around money.
• Money is seen in poverty as an expression of
  personality and is used for entertainmnet.
• The idea of using money for secruity is
  grounded in the middle and wealth classes.
An Exammple
• In wealth, to be introduced or accetped, one
  must have an indivudal already approved by
  that group make the introductions.
• In middle class, one is expected to introudced
• In poverty it is not unutusal to have a comment
  made about the individual beofre he/she is ever
Hidden Rules Relative to the
School/Work Setting:
• Assumpitions made about individuals intelligence and
  apporaches to the school and or work setting my relate
  more ot their understanding of hidden rules.
• Students need to be taught the hidden rules of middle
  class – not in denigration of their own, but rather as
  another set of ruels that can be used if they so choose.
• Many of the attitudes that students and parents bring
  with them are an integral part of hteir cutlure and belif
• Middel class solutions should not necessarily be
  imposed with other more workable, solutins might be
A Better Understanding
• An understanding of the culture and
  values of poverty will lessen the anger
  and frustration that educators may
  periodically feel when dealing with these
  students and parents.
Personal Opinion
• Most students do not believe they are
  poor, even when on welfare. Most of the
  wealthy adults do not believe they are
  wealthy. Most can name someone that
  has more wealth.
• Poverty and wealth are truly relative.
Generational Poverty
• Generational poverty is defined as having been
  in poverty for at least two generations.
   – However, patterns begin to surface much sooner
     than two geneartions if the family lives with others
     who are from geneartional poverty.
• Situation poverty is defined as a lack of
  resources due to a particular event.
Attitudes of Poverty
• Often the attitude in generational poverty is that
  society owes one a living.
• Individuals in situational poverty often have the
  attidude of pride and a refusal to accept charity.
   – Individuals in situational poverty often bring more
     resoruces with them to the situation than those in
     generational poverty. One very important resrouce is
     the abiility to use the formal register.
Characterisitcs of Generational
• Background noise – Almost always the TV is on,
  no matter what the circumstance. Conversation
  is particpatory, often with more than one person
  talking at a time.
• Importance of personality – Individual
  peronsality is what one brings to the setting, as
  mney is not brought. The ability to entertain, tell
  stories, and have a sense of humor is highly
Characterisitcs of Generational
• Signifcance of entertainment – when one
  can merely surviven, then the respite from
  the survival is impornat. In fact,
  entertiamnet brings respite.
• Importance of relationships – One only
  has people upon whom to rely and those
  relationships are important to survival.
  One often ahs favorites.
Characterisitcs of Generational
• Matriarchal structure – the mother has the
  most powerful situation in the society if
  she functions as a caretaker.
• Oral langugae traditions – casual register
  is used for everything.
Characterisitcs of Generational
• Survival orientation – discussion of
  academic topic is generally not prized.
  There is little room for the abstract.
  – Discussions center around people and
     • A job is about making enough money to sruvive.
       A job is not about a career (I was looking for a job
       when I found this one).
Characterisitcs of Generational
• Identity tied to lover/fighter role for men – the
  key issue for males is to be a “man”.
   – The rules are rigid and a man is expected to work
     hard physically and be a lover and a fighter.
• Identity tied to rescuer/martyr role for women –
  A “good” woman is expected to take care of and
  rescue her man and her children as needed.
Characterisitcs of Generational
• Importance of nonverbal/kinethetic
  communication – touch is used to
  communciate, as arre space and
  nonverbal information.
• Ownership of people – people are
  possesstions. There is a great deal of
  fear and comment about leaving the
  culture and “getting above your raisings”.
Characterisitcs of Generational
• Negative orientation – failure at anything
  is the source of stories and numerous
  belittling comments.
• Disicpline – Punishment is about penance
  and forgiveness. It is not about change.
• Belief in fate – destiny and fate are the
  major tenets of the belief system. Choice
  is seldom considered.
Characteristics of Generational
• Polarized thinking – Options are hardly ever
  examined. Everything is polarized. It is one
  way or the other.
  – “I quit” and “I can’t” are common statements.
• Mating dance – the mating dance is about using
  the body in a sexual way and verbally and
  subverbally complimenting body parts.
  – If one has few financial resources, the way to
    sexually attract someone is with the body.
Characteristics of Generational
• Time – Time occurs only in the present. The
  future does not exist except as a word. Time is
  flexible and not measured. Time is often
  assigned on the basis of the emotional
  significance and not the actual measured time.
• Sense of humor – A sense of humor is highly
  valued, as entertainment is one of the key
  aspects of poverty. Humor is almost always
  about people – either situations that people
  encounter or things people do to other people.
Characteristics of Generational
• Lack of order/disorganization – Many of the
  homes of people in poverty are unkempt and
  cluttered. Devices for organizations (files,
  planners, etc) do not exist.
• Lives in the moment – does not consider future
  ramifications – being proactive, setting goals,
  and planning ahead are not part of generational
  poverty. Most of what occurs is reactive and in
  the moment. Future implications of present
  actions are seldom considered.
Relating to the School Setting
• Persons in poverty tend to:
• Get mad and quit the work. If they don’t like the teacher
  they will quit. Emphasis is on the feeling, not long term
• Work hard if they like you.
• Not use conflict resolution skills, prefer settle issues in
  verbal or physical assaults.
• Use survival language.
• Not be emotionally reserved when angry, saying exactly
  what is on their mind.
The School Setting Continued
• Have extreme freedom of speech, enjoy a sense of
  humor, use the personality to entertain and have a love
  of stories about people.
• Are very independent. They do not take kindly to the
  parent voice.
• Need time off or late arrival due to family emergencies.
• Need emotional warmth to feel comfortable.
• Exhibit a possessiveness about the people they really
• Show favoritism for certain people and give them
  preferential treatment.
Students tend to…
• Be very disorganized, frequently lose papers,
  don’t have required signatures, etc.
• Bring many reasons why something is missing,
  or the paper is gone, etc.
• Not do homework
• Be phsically aggressive
• Like to entertain
• Only see part of what is on the page
• Only do part of the assignment
Students Continued
• Not be able to get started Not be able to monitor their
  own behavior.
• Laugh when they disicplined
• Decide whether they will or will not work in your
  classroom based on whether or not they like you.
• Tell stories in the casual register structure.
• Not know or use the middle class courtesies.
• Disliek authoriyt.
• Talk back and are extremely particpatory.
Difficulties in School
• It is becoming more and more difficult to
  conduct school as done in the past as there are
  less and less middle class students coming and
  more and more students in poverty coming to
  the schools.
• Generally, the prevailing rules and policies
  eventually give way to the group with the
  largenst numbers.
• This would entail great changes for the schools.
A Better Understanding
• As educators, it is vital to have a basic understanding of
  the lifestlyes and expectations of those students who
  come from poverty.
• Students are from poverty do not lack intelligence, but a
  knowledge of choice.
• Educators must be aware of such differences, and
  neither punish or condone such behaviors. However,
  educators must use these moments for teaching
  students, not what is right and wrong within the cultures,
  but what is generally acceptable.
• Cummings, Carol. Winning Strategies for
  Classroom Management.
• Payne, Ruby K. A Framework for
  Understanding Poverty
• Payne, Ruby K. Discipline Strategies for the
  Classroom – Working with Students
• Payne, Ruby K. Understanding Learning –The
  How, the Why, the What
Additional Information
• Additional information and discussion
  based information (application) taken from
  The North Carolina Center for the
  Advancement of Teaching Seminar on
  The Framework for Understanding

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