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A Framework for Understanding Poverty 4th Edition Paperback – May 15, 2005

ISBN-13: 978-1929229482 ISBN-10: 1929229488 Edition: 4th

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 199 pages
  • Publisher: aha Process, Inc.; 4 edition (May 15, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1929229488
  • ISBN-13: 978-1929229482
  • Product Dimensions: 10 x 7 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (246 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,827 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Only a handful of books have impacted my career as an educator, but none as much as Dr. Ruby Payne's, A Framework for Understanding Poverty. Through reading and studying Dr. Payne's book, I came to find out that what I really needed to know was what my students were dealing with outside of school and how that was affecting their behaviors in college. I teach at Big Sandy Community and Technical College in eastern Kentucky, working with developmental education students (transitional students) who do not have entry-level skills in reading, writing, and/or math. With each page that I read, I found myself thinking more and more about what my developmental education students say and do. Why they don't have any self-esteem or have any sense of responsibility toward their education. And why many times they don't even have any motivation to persist toward graduation. Payne's book helped me look at my students' behaviors through a different lens. As a result, I have completely changed my perspective and my pedagogy. --Judith Valade, Faculty, English, Big Sandy Community and Technical College

The concepts from Framework were taught by Bethanie Tucker to many of our faculty and Administrators last spring. Those concepts, combined with increased Student Services advisors & Program Directors, community outreach, faculty involvement and a lot of hard work resulted in our annual attrition rate going from 6% to 4.3% last year. After all, it does take a village. --Ada Gerard, Campus President, Heald College, Rancho Cordova, CA

Poverty is not just a condition of not having enough money. It is a realm of particular rules, emotions, and knowledge that override all other ways of building relationships and making a life. This book was written as a guide and exercise book for middle-class teachers, who often don't connect with their impoverished students--largely because they don't understand the hidden rules of poverty In the same way, poor children misconnect with school because they don't understand the hidden rules of middle-class life. Ruby Payne, a former teacher and principal who has been a member of all three of the economic cultures of our time (poor, middle-class, and wealthy) compassionately and dispassionately describes the hidden rules and knowledge of each. I think it's useful not just for educators, but for anyone who has to deal with people of different backgrounds. Having read it, I feel a lot more confident about dealing with people as people, not as representatives of their social class. Especially noteworthy is the Could you survive? quiz on page 53. For example, can you keep your clothes from being stolen at the laundromat, or entertain friends with stories? (That's essential knowledge for the world of the poor.) Can you get a library card or use a credit card? (Essential for middle-class life.) Can you ensure loyalty from a household staff, or build a wall of privacy and inaccessibility around you? (Essential knowledge for wealth.) Every class assumes that their knowledge is known by everyone, which is one reason they assume that people in other classes don't & get it. I also appreciate the telling point about upward mobility in America: It's possible for anyone to shift classes, but only at the price of leaving behind your existing personal relationships. One sign of A Framework's value is the way that educators who grew up in poverty from a variety of ethnic backgrounds, embrace this book. --Whole Earth, Art Kleiner, [former editor]

The concepts from Framework were taught by Bethanie Tucker to many of our faculty and Administrators last spring. Those concepts, combined with increased Student Services advisors & Program Directors, community outreach, faculty involvement and a lot of hard work resulted in our annual attrition rate going from 6% to 4.3% last year. After all, it does take a village. --Whole Earth, Art Kleiner, [former editor]

The concepts from Framework were taught by Bethanie Tucker to many of our faculty and Administrators last spring. Those concepts, combined with increased Student Services advisors & Program Directors, community outreach, faculty involvement and a lot of hard work resulted in our annual attrition rate going from 6% to 4.3% last year. After all, it does take a village. --Ada Gerard, Campus President, Heald College, Rancho Cordova, CA

Poverty is not just a condition of not having enough money. It is a realm of particular rules, emotions, and knowledge that override all other ways of building relationships and making a life. This book was written as a guide and exercise book for middle-class teachers, who often don't connect with their impoverished students--largely because they don't understand the hidden rules of poverty In the same way, poor children misconnect with school because they don't understand the hidden rules of middle-class life. Ruby Payne, a former teacher and principal who has been a member of all three of the economic cultures of our time (poor, middle-class, and wealthy) compassionately and dispassionately describes the hidden rules and knowledge of each. I think it's useful not just for educators, but for anyone who has to deal with people of different backgrounds. Having read it, I feel a lot more confident about dealing with people as people, not as representatives of their social class. Especially noteworthy is the Could you survive? quiz on page 53. For example, can you keep your clothes from being stolen at the laundromat, or entertain friends with stories? (That's essential knowledge for the world of the poor.) Can you get a library card or use a credit card? (Essential for middle-class life.) Can you ensure loyalty from a household staff, or build a wall of privacy and inaccessibility around you? (Essential knowledge for wealth.) Every class assumes that their knowledge is known by everyone, which is one reason they assume that people in other classes don't & get it. I also appreciate the telling point about upward mobility in America: It's possible for anyone to shift classes, but only at the price of leaving behind your existing personal relationships. One sign of A Framework's value is the way that educators who grew up in poverty from a variety of ethnic backgrounds, embrace this book. --Whole Earth, Art Kleiner, [former editor]

About the Author

Ruby K. Payne, Ph.D. is founder of aha! Process and an author, speaker, publisher, and career educator. Recognized internationally for A Framework for Understanding Poverty, her foundational book and workshop, Dr. Payne has helped students and adults of all economic backgrounds achieve academic, professional, and personal success. As an expert on the mindsets of economic classes and overcoming the hurdles of poverty, she has trained hundreds of thousands of professionals who work with people from poverty, from educators and school administrators to community, church, and business leaders. She has presented to groups in every state in the U.S. and more than 10 countries.

Customer Reviews

Ruby Payne will not help you understand your poor students.
K19170
This is a must read for all educators who work in a Title I urban school district.
Vanessa
I think anyone working with people from poverty should read this book!
Mike

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

105 of 113 people found the following review helpful By Timothy Haugh VINE VOICE on April 7, 2007
Format: Paperback
For a middle class reader and former teacher like myself, it is easy to like this book. There is so much that jumps out from the page to make a reader say, "I know people like that" or "I've seen that before." Still, a more considered, less emotional reading shows that Ms. Payne's analysis does have some limitations.

The strengths: I was impressed by the opening with its reference to the types of resources (of which financial are only a part) people need to break out of poverty. I was intrigued by the section on the "hidden rules" of the different classes. Equally intriguing was the section on use of the "formal" and "casual registers" in speaking. There are also a number of practical classroom techniques described in the latter part of the book.

The weaknesses: Payne did a great job of describing resources but never brought out anything useful from it. The practical examples of speaking registers seemed silly and out-of-date, lessening the impact of a useful idea though I think many teachers already take this into account even if they can't articulate it as well as Payne. Payne also has a tendency to make generalizations I'm not sure stand up across the board. In the end, though I think her analysis is useful in connecting better with parents and students stuck in generational poverty, it is less effective in understand other situations; particularly, borderline cases.

All books are impacted by the experience a reader brings to them. This one, however, even more so. For a someone deeply entrenched in the middle class, this books speaks directly to you. I think that a reader from poverty or wealth (or a middle class reader with wider experience of other classes) will hear a more sour notes in this text. Nevertheless, there is much of value here.
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50 of 57 people found the following review helpful By Barbara R. Jensen on April 6, 2007
Format: Paperback
I teach developmental English in a community college. Unfortunately and regretably, I used to enter my classrooms with my middle-class perceptions. Heck... I am middle class. What else could I enter with? I didn't know any better. However, this book has changed my perceptions and therefore my teaching strategies and practices. I want my students to succeed. I'm addicted to student success. I live for it! Still, I just couldn't seem to get my students to think beyond the immediate present, to see a world beyond their own neighborhoods, to see that options do exist, to accept responsibility for their choices, and to stop blaming someone or something for their failures -- that's in the past - deal with what you can do and use NOW! No more "victim" mentality! Where was their motivation to strive instead of slack? Where was their motivation to go to school for something more than a financial aid check? Why did they seem addicted to their adrenalin rush of chaos followed by the crash of their roller coaster lives of happiness and then sorrow? Why were they stuck? Why was it okay to just "get by"? Overall, why weren't they like I was as a student? After reading this book, I found many of the answers I needed to help my students change their thinking -- their perceptions - their unproductive behavior -- most of all my attitudes, teaching methods, and best practices for reaching them and helping them.

In spite of my personal affinity for each student, I often felt frustrated, defeated, lost, angry, unsure of where to turn, but then I read this book. Seriously, I would advise all to turn here! Turn each page! Learn about the defeatist and survivalist mindset so many of our students enter our classes with.
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146 of 182 people found the following review helpful By H. Ponthieux on December 12, 2007
Format: Paperback
I stumbled across this title as I was searching through university materials being taught in current education courses. As a non-profit circuit employee experienced in my own history of poverty and that of the South Louisiana/ New Orleans area, I find her ideas and presentations of the poor to be unrealistic in the least. For example, Payne cites her 3-year (at the time) marriage to her husband Frank, who grew up in poverty, as a source for her ideas and experience in poverty. She also included a list of "Could you survive in..." and lists various classes. Under wealth, she lists being able to order from menus in various languages as a staple for survival. Dr. Payne, these are not necessary for survival in the middle and upper class -- they are mainly ways of fitting in. When addressing poverty, she states one needs to know how "to use a knife as scissors" and "which churches have the best rummage sales." These reflect survival, although creating or enforcing stereotypes if not followed up with field experiences or more VALID research.
My main concern however falls on educators. Teachers and administrators alike have praised Payne's work and used it as the basis for their own understanding of poverty. PLEASE look to more salient research and prominent authorities. Too often have I overheard educators fall all over this book, despite its extreme flaws. I DO NOT recommend this title to anyone looking to learn about children or poverty. However, I do recommend Lisa Delpit, bell hooks, and the Rethinking Schools publishers for accurate information about classism, racism, and social justice in the classroom.
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More About the Author

Ruby K. Payne, Ph.D. of Baytown, Texas has been a professional educator since 1972. She has been a secondary-school teacher and department chairperson, an elementary-school principal, a consultant, and a central-office administrator. The lessons learned during these years are the bedrock on which aha! Process, Inc. has been built.

Her first book, A Framework for Understanding Poverty, is a powerful tool for educators to use when teaching children from poverty. She has led hundreds of workshops and has worked with several thousand teachers and administrators, both nationally and internationally. Ruby Payne founded aha! Process, Inc. (formerly RFT Publishing Co.) in 1996 and serves as its president. In that capacity, she continues to consult and write.