It is well known that students who come from poverty backgrounds often experience
lower achievement than students from wealthier backgrounds.
The roots to the cause of this are
often complex and different for each individual student.
However, if educators understand the
possibilities of why students might be experiencing difficulties it becomes apparent that, though
we may not be able to completely fix the problem, there are a number of things that can be done
in order to aid students to achieve their greatest potential.
Ruby K. Payne’ book,
A Framework for Understanding Poverty
(1996), illustrates the
impact that poverty has on the choices one makes, one’s learning, and the work practices.
Within the book poverty is defined as, “the extent to which an individual does without resources”
and it is noted that in addition to financial poverty one can experience several other types of
poverty such as: emotional, mental, spiritual, physical, support system, relationship/role model,
and knowledge of hidden rules (Payne, 1996, p. 7).
Within Robert V. Bulough’s book
Lives: Children of Promise, Teachers of Hope
(2001) he illustrates the effect that educators can
have on the lives of children who are experiencing trying circumstances.
He does this through
an examination of the lives of 34 children attending an urban elementary school. The children
represented a “diverse group” and were interviewed, in addition to observations Bullough (2001)
made (p. 7).
His book is organized into six themes that he noticed as his case studies progressed:
poverty, missing fathers, parental drug usage, abuse, injury and death, and family instability.
one reviews these works it is possible to identify why students living in these situations struggle
and to see that it is possible for an educator to make a difference.
Children living in a state of financial poverty experience many other types of
poverty as well.
Bullough (2001) details trends that poor families experience all too often.
instance, Randall, one of the case studies appearing in
is a student who moves