Education: Learning to Rise above Poverty 6
growth of technology and see that it will continue to grow. President Bush notes this in his position on No Child Left Behind (Harrington & Holub, 2006). How could anyone argue that these goals and ideas are wrong or misguided? The education of future generations has been a concern of our nation’s leaders throughout history. Each passing year brings new practices and methods, questioning of old methods, ideas for reform, and controversial debates, but one idea remains consistent. We want our children to be successful students and eventually, successful members and leaders of society.
These desires lead to several questions. Is “education for all” an obtainable goal? What about the students with special needs? What about the stage of development for each child? Do these things affect the outcome of a student’s education? What about socioeconomic status? Research supports the fact that poverty directly affects intellectual ability, and NCLB indicates that poverty is related to academic achievement. Therefore, one major question remains. Are there particular teacher approaches to classroom instruction that can help students learn to rise out of poverty?
Before this question can be answered, some clarifications must be made concerning the term, poverty, because it is somewhat vague. There have been numerous definitions given, but the clarifications made by Ruby Payne, Ph.D., are supportive to this research. Payne (2005) divides poverty into two categories, situational poverty and generational poverty. She refers to situational poverty as falling below the poverty guidelines as established by the government due to unforeseen circumstances, which could happen to anyone. Generational poverty, on the other hand, is a continuing pattern of dysfunctional attitudes and family problems in addition to low socioeconomic status. The distinction made between these two situations is critical to understanding the concept