Monday, January 29, 2007

The "Hidden Rules" to Ruby Payne's Success

"Freedom without opportunity is the devil's gift." --Noam Chomsky


Ruby K. Payne has been bilking tax-payers, school districts, as well as their administrators and educators for over ten years with little resistance. Payne is the founder and CEO of aha! Process Inc., where she publishes her own work: making academic scrutiny of her ideas and theories impossible. Payne will be speaking in Helena, Montana on Wednesday, January 31, 2007 where thousands of teachers, Title 1 workers and administrators from around Montana will converge to give her the tax-payer’s money. What will the thousands of dollars get them? A classist and racist perspective on poverty…oh yeah, plus her book!

If Ruby Payne is so bad, then how has she been able to get away with it for so long? An education professor from Illinois State University recently decided to do some of her own investigations of Ruby Payne since she had been hearing so much about her. Professor Anita Bohn thought that maybe the next Jonathan Kozol (Savage Inequalities) had arrived to the scene to help lead the struggle against poverty and education’s role in addressing it. Bohn’s initial search in her university library catalog yielded no results. A secondary search again turned up dry. However, as the professor’s story goes, “[w]hen I typed the name “Ruby Payne” into a Google search, though, I hit a jackpot.”

Payne has reached hundreds of thousands of educators across the country “and even in Australia and New Zealand,” yet she is virtually unknown in the academic world. Just to test this theory last night, I called two professors of education at Carroll College (Helena, MT) and the University of Montana (Missoula). Neither knew much of anything about her work. In fact, only I had read her book. By self-publishing, Payne avoids having her “evidence” scrutinized and—similarly—her “theories” steer clear of scholarly analysis. In sum, Payne’s work remains outside the academic pipeline which may help explain her phenomenal success.

Payne charges between $60 and $300 per individual registrant. Missoula County Public Schools is paying $60 per person. The Townsend School District is paying $150 per person. If Payne’s past success in drawing large crowds is an appropriate indicator, Payne can expect to rake in a cool $60,000-$200,000 for her one-day conference! According to Professor Bohn’s research, “[s]ince 1996, Payne and her assistants have been conduction 200 seminars a year training as many as 25,000 teachers and school administrators to work with children from poverty, making her the single biggest influence on teachers’ understanding of children from poverty in the United States.” According to these numbers, if Payne were charging every single registrant the low end $60/head, she is taking $1,500,000 a year from tax payers to misinform the public education system! Bohn asserts that the cost to attend a conference is $300 (at this rate the income would be $7.5 million). Perhaps Montana’s poor got a break from kind Mrs. Payne at $60-$150 per head! P.S. Ruby Payne's aha! Process, Inc. is not a non-profit organization!

In two days time, I will be attending Payne’s conference. I was invited by my school district along with two busloads of fellow teachers from Missoula. When I decided to go I had not yet read Payne’s work, but like hundreds of thousands of others, my interest was piqued by Payne’s catchy book title: A Framework for Understanding Poverty. Perhaps most misleading, however, was the title Payne gave herself—thanks in no small part to her ability to self-publish—“The Leading U.S. Expert on the Mindsets of Poverty, Middle Class, and Wealth.” Amazingly, that title was not given to her due to academic achievement or by accomplished educationalists within the field of education or sociology.

Having now read her book, I don’t know what is more disconcerting: 1) that Payne appears to have few detractors which means—for the near future at least—she will continue to exert her damaging influence on public education; or 2) that so many educators have failed to demonstrate the ability to detect the blatant racism, classism, and assimilationism she is being allowed to pontificate. It is a sad state of affairs either way. The academic community must be alerted to her demagoguery and the snake-charmer’s appeal her one-size-fits-all answers profess.

Should Payne be allowed to be heard? Absolutely. If we don’t believe in freedom of speech for those we despise, we don’t believe in it at all. However, Payne’s work has not been exposed to the rigors of true academia. Therefore, she should be judged by peers and professionals, before school districts imprudently dump tax-payer’s money into her coffers. A Framework for Understanding Poverty is overtly emotional and anecdotal making it extremely alluring and seductive to teachers looking for magical solutions to the overwhelming issue of poverty. However, instead of addressing the causes of poverty, she misdirects readers to understand the effects of poverty to be understood as causes. Instead of questioning how the richest nation in the world could have such abject and deplorable scenarios of poverty, she stereotypes poverty with anecdotal scenarios and offers as a solution that educators teach children how to think, act and aspire to be middle class. Give them kids some bootstraps to start pulling themselves up by!

Why should anyone aspire to transcend to the next class level if one had previously experienced that class as oppressive? Should it be a child’s goal to obtain the money and power to oppress those below them? Are we supposed to inspire kids by explaining to them that if they make it to our level they will no longer be on the bottom and then they can have someone else dig their ditches, or pick their fruit? Where is the debate about the legitimacy of maintaining a system that allows for poverty and oppression? Are we to teach kids that poverty is inevitable and that nothing can be done to distribute the “American Dream” equitably? Payne’s attempt to abstract “the hidden rules” of the class system from the unimaginably complex “bigger picture” of economics, society, culture, and politics for observation intentionally ignores our “me-first” society’s biggest dilemma: the equitable distribution of wealth. Instead of offering a solution to poverty, Payne is helping to maintain it. The poor need money, food, housing, health care, and education, not “hidden rules.”

  • To read the ONLY TWO scholarly critiques available (please do your own Internet searches and let me know if any other school’s of education are on to her) on Ruby Payne follow these links:

  • Montana educators should also be alerted to a recent Missoulian article expressing contentions that the UM Native American Studies department has with Payne’s work.

Please help save underfunded school districts money by forwarding this story.

28 comments:

Renegade Eye said...

It is too bad someone like that slips through the cracks. This is the age of "No Child Left Behind", so screw real scholarship.

Ché Bob said...

Ren,

Thanks for your feedback. I'm feeling despair and would like to ask for everyone's help to expose this woman.

"Ruby's position re-instills a Christian paradigm of charity and sin and so on," said Kate Shanley, the University of Montana's Native American Studies Department director. "It's very Christian in shape, and it reinstates the hierarchal notion as opposed to allowing people to come as full partners in conversation."

People should also know that further research of this woman revealed that she has been an unwavering proponent of No Child Left Behind and a financial supporter of George W. Bush. Follow the money!

troutsky said...

Dude, who is in charge of bringing speakers to Montana at tax payer expense? We need to apply pressure at the level where she gets her bookings.We will also count on you to bring up the structural nature of poverty and capitalisms maintenence of unemployment levels conducive to profit making.

GraemeAnfinson said...

another "class doesn't exist" moron eh? And they claim communism is an unrealistic utopia! These people already believe we are living in a utopia, poor people are just too lazy to capitalize.

Renegade Eye said...

Marie posted about Argentina on my blog. I believe you'll find it interesting.

LeftyHenry said...

sounds like the hitler of American Academics...

Joe said...

I didn't know "assimilationism" was a word -- and I'm still not sure, frankly -- but from the context it appears to mean a bias in favor of the poor being assimilated into the middle class through changing the habits and behaviors that keep them poor -- rejecting learning, solving problems through physical violence, out of wedlock child production, clinging to habits of speech that mark them as uneducated, running their finances like children, substance abuse, an indifference to or rejection of the notions of planning ahead and deferred gratification, and worse, taking pride in all such things. Seems only a moron, a sadist, or someone who has a financial or professional stake in the industries that perpetuate poverty -- and I don't mean McDonald's, I mean the educators, academics, politicians and bureaucrats who've enabled generational poverty in this country -- would NOT be "assimilationist." Never heard of Ruby Payne before I read about her in the Times today, and she may well be a snake oil salesman, but I'm certain "che Bob" and his yes men commenters are. And I hate to disappoint you, but I've never voted for George Bush, even when he was first running for governor. Too much of a statist for me.

Anonymous said...

I certainly understand your anger with respect to those who live in poverty. However, I can't help but notice you offer no alternative solution in this posting. How do you propose we eliminate poverty in the "most wealthy nation on earth?"

Noting, with interest, your Chomsky quote and the two references to Che in your name and avatar, I can only assume you might propose a Socialist solution.

Never going to happen, my friend. Hope you have some better ideas, other than allowing the impoverished to rot in the ghetto so they can be trotted out as examples of everything that is wrong with Capitalism.

Ché Bob said...

from the context it appears to mean a bias in favor of the poor being assimilated into the middle class through changing the habits and behaviors that keep them poor

Joe, here is one major place you and I diverge. You misunderstand poverty and like so many others in this country of wealth disparity and maldistribution blame being poor on the poor. Like Ruby you believe some form of middle class discipline will elevate the poor.

Poverty is not a choice. It isn't as simple as making different choices. Besides, I do not believe from your comments you nor anonymous want to see a classless society. If you did, you'd be more serious about the equal distribution of capital and democratic power.

Instead, it seems you would prefer to pass on ridiculous notions of boot-strap discipline and paternalism for the poor. Do you not remember our own history with the Native Americans and our program of assimilation? It doesn't evoke the warmest and fondest memories for those that suffered through it.

Anon,

As far as offering solutions, peruse my blog. I think I offer plenty. By the way, "I'm the kettle...you're the pot...and you're black!" What are your solutions...errr...oh yeah you don't have any. That's why you're an anonymous blogger...nothing to offer...only here to disseminate hypocrisy and double standards.

After a thousand more times of responding to those like you that only want to derail the blogosphere with banal, irrational discourse I'm going to finally catch on and stop responding to you. But until then I guess I am a sadist and enjoy swatting you flies!

Anonymous said...

Don’t believe one optimistic word from any public figure about the economy or humanity in general. They are all part of the problem. Its like a game of Monopoly. In America, the richest 1% now hold 1/2 OF ALL UNITED STATES WEALTH. Unlike ‘lesser’ estimates, this includes all stocks, bonds, cash, and material assets held by America’s richest 1%. Even that filthy pig Oprah acknowledged that it was at about 50% in 2006. Naturally, she put her own ‘humanitarian’ spin on it. Calling attention to her own ‘good will’. WHAT A DISGUSTING HYPOCRITE SLOB. THE RICHEST 1% HAVE LITERALLY MADE WORLD PROSPERITY ABSOLUTELY IMPOSSIBLE. Don’t fall for all of their ‘humanitarian’ CRAP. ITS A SHAM. THESE PEOPLE ARE CAUSING THE SAME PROBLEMS THEY PRETEND TO CARE ABOUT. Ask any professor of economics. Money does not grow on trees. The government can’t just print up more on a whim. At any given time, there is a relative limit to the wealth within ANY economy of ANY size. So when too much wealth accumulates at the top, the middle class slip further into debt and the lower class further into poverty. A similar rule applies worldwide. The world’s richest 1% now own over 40% of ALL WORLD WEALTH. This is EVEN AFTER you account for all of this ‘good will’ ‘humanitarian’ BS from celebrities and executives. ITS A SHAM. As they get richer and richer, less wealth is left circulating beneath them. This is the single greatest underlying cause for the current US recession. The middle class can no longer afford to sustain their share of the economy. Their wealth has been gradually transfered to the richest 1%. One way or another, we suffer because of their incredible greed. We are talking about TRILLIONS of dollars. Transfered FROM US TO THEM. Over a period of about 27 years. Thats Reaganomics for you. The wealth does not ‘trickle down’ as we were told it would. It just accumulates at the top. Shrinking the middle class and expanding the lower class. Causing a domino effect of socio-economic problems. But the rich will never stop. They will never settle for a reasonable share of ANYTHING. They will do whatever it takes to get even richer. Leaving even less of the pie for the other 99% of us to share. At the same time, they throw back a few tax deductable crumbs and call themselves ‘humanitarians’. IT CAN’T WORK THIS WAY. This is going to end just like a game of Monopoly. The current US recession will drag on for years and lead into the worst US depression of all time. The richest 1% will live like royalty while the rest of us fight over jobs, food, and gasoline. Crime, poverty, and suicide will skyrocket. So don’t fall for all of this PR CRAP from Hollywood, Pro Sports, and Wall Street PIGS. ITS A SHAM. Remember: They are filthy rich EVEN AFTER their tax deductable contributions. Greedy pigs. Now, we are headed for the worst economic and cultural crisis of all time. SEND A “THANK YOU” NOTE TO YOUR FAVORITE MILLIONAIRE. ITS THEIR FAULT. I’m not discounting other factors like China, sub-prime, or gas prices. But all of those factors combined still pale in comparison to that HUGE transfer of wealth to the rich. Anyway, those other factors are all related and further aggrivated because of GREED. If it weren’t for the OBSCENE distribution of wealth within our country, there never would have been such a market for sub-prime to begin with. Which by the way, was another trick whipped up by greedy bankers and executives. IT MAKES THEM RICHER. The credit industry has been ENDORSED by people like Oprah, Ellen, Dr Phil, and many other celebrities. IT MAKES THEM RICHER. So don’t fall for their ‘good will’ BS. ITS A LIE. If you fall for it, then you’re a fool. If you see any real difference between the moral character of a celebrity, politician, attorney, or executive, then you’re a fool. WAKE UP PEOPLE. The 1% club will always say or do whatever it takes to get as rich as possible. Without the slightest regard for anything or anyone but themselves. Vioxx. Their idea. Sub-prime. Their idea. NAFTA. Their idea. Outsourcing. Their idea. The commercial lobbyist. Their idea. The multi-million dollar lawsuit. Their idea. $200 cell phone bills. Their idea. $200 basketball shoes. Their idea. $30 late fees. Their idea. $30 NSF fees. Their idea. $20 DVDs. Their idea. Subliminal advertising. Their idea. The MASSIVE campaign to turn every American into a brainwashed credit card, pharmaceutical, love-sick, celebrity junkie. Their idea. All of which concentrate the world’s wealth and resources and wreak havok on society. All of which have been CREATED AND ENDORSED by celebrities, athletes, and executives. IT MAKES THEM RICHER. So don’t fall for their ‘ good will’ ‘humanitarian’ BS. ITS A SHAM. NOTHING BUT TAX DEDUCTABLE PR CRAP. Bottom line: The richest 1% will soon tank the largest economy in the world. It will be like nothing we’ve ever seen before. and thats just the beginning. Greed will eventually tank every major economy in the world. Causing millions to suffer and die. Oprah, Angelina, Brad, Bono, and Bill are not part of the solution. They are part of the problem. EXTREME WEALTH HAS MADE WORLD PROSPERITY ABSOLUTELY IMPOSSIBLE. WITHOUT WORLD PROSPERITY, THERE WILL NEVER BE WORLD PEACE OR ANYTHING EVEN CLOSE. GREED KILLS. IT WILL BE OUR DOWNFALL. Of course, the rich will throw a fit and call me a madman. Of course, their ignorant fans will do the same. You have to expect that. But I speak the truth. If you don’t believe me, then copy this entry and run it by any professor of economics or socio-economics. Then tell a friend. Call the local radio station. Re-post this entry or put it in your own words. Be one of the first to predict the worst economic and cultural crisis of all time and explain its cause. WE ARE IN BIG TROUBLE.

Amanda said...

I despise Ruby Payne's work. It makes broad assumptions and generalizes poor people in the most offensive and unflattering ways possible. However, I think that one of the reasons that she has gained such a foothold in American education is because she presents strategies that work. For example, she says that teachers must be respectful to students and tells them how. I agree with this. It is a strategy that will help you "reach" your students. Yet, I like to think of it as the way people used to do science. They can mix things together, perform actions, add things and predict, name and "cause" results. However, the entire reasoning behind why it works is TOTALLY AND COMPLETELY FLAWED.

Unfortunately, school districts and administrators (which unfortunately control the school that I work in) are too lazy to go find real, researched strategies from multiple sources. So often in education the quick fix with a catchy name and interesting promoter gets the bucks. It's not good for our kids!

Although I had already read a Ruby Payne book, when my district invited her to speak I was cautiously optimistic. I thought perhaps she'll be a better speaker in person; more able to explain her reasoning. No, it was anecdotal bullshit and I was disappointed. She took stabs at Middle Eastern cultures and tried oversimplify eastern Europe.

What a disappointment.
What a waste of money.
Such sadness for those educators who will buy into this crap.

Oh, and there was an article in educational leadership magazine entitled "The Myth of the Culture of Poverty." It was very interesting. You should check that out.

Ché Bob said...

Amanda,

Thanks for your comment. Indeed Ruby Payne is very anecdotal, a strategy that is very emotional and effective when talking to people. You are right that many educators seek methods that work right away and perhaps there is some effectiveness to Payne's assimilationist approach, but that does not make it ethical.

Besides, she is far from original in asking that educators "respect students." In fact, many educationalists, such as Paulo Freire, demonstrated the ethical imperative of respecting students, their backgrounds, identities, and especially, their class. However, unlike Freire, Payne wrongly believes the poor are responsible for transcending poverty, and not that society is responsible for ending poverty.

I keep thinking that Ruby Payne must have been reared on the model of My Fair Lady.

Again thanks for your comment.

Anonymous said...

If anyone would like to know the real solution to greed and poverty, I suggest you speak to one of Jehovah's Witnesses. Even if you are not in the least religiously-minded, it will offer you a different perspective on an age-old problem. Have a super day!

Anonymous said...

Well - I'm taking a class in which we are reading a Framework for understanding poverty. I have to admit that I am somewhat embarrassed to be defending Ruby Payne now that I have read so many academic critics ripping her theory to shreds. I should not have to apologize for thinking that Payne has some good ideas. Certain aspects of Payne's work resonated with me as being true and useful. What is wrong with Payne's attemt at promoting new opportunities to build relationships with kids?
Payne makes a lot of helpful suggestions as to things schools can do to help kids, such as promoting supplemental reading programs...and teaching kids how to use goal-setting and problem solving to become better students.
I do not see the harm in teaching students coping strategies for success. This can only be beneficial to kids.I work with poor children, mostly kids who were born in the USA to Mexican immigrant parents. As a teacher I have felt very frustrated by the fact that these poor kids generally lag behind. Their parents work VERY hard...but the children are completely unaware of the sacrifices their parents have made to give the kids a better lot in life. Many second generation immigrants do WORSE than their parents do. There is downward mobility among Mexican immigrants over the course of generations.
Is our school doing everything it could do to help poor kids succeed? No, but honestly we are investing LOTS of money on them in the form of literacy interventions. Do we really give kids the bilingual education help they deserve? No, but we try within the financial restraints put on our school system. Schools can certainly do more to help kids at the lower end ... But I do think it is also correct and good for teachers to help kids become more responsible for their own destiny. I personally have observed that many poor families do believe in fate as Payne suggests. They sometimes give up on trying to change things because they believe that being poor is their destiny.
One other thing that I think Payne got right on the mark: she points out that consumerism is a huge problem in our society. We have to teach kids that their primary goal in life is NOT and acquisition of more and more plastic objects from Walmart. Payne says "It is better to be a barn-raiser than a consumer." This is wisdom to live by for all of us.

Anonymous said...

Well - I'm taking a class in which we are reading a Framework for understanding poverty. I have to admit that I am somewhat embarrassed to be defending Ruby Payne now that I have read so many academic critics ripping her theory to shreds. I should not have to apologize for thinking that Payne has some good ideas. Certain aspects of Payne's work resonated with me as being true and useful. What is wrong with Payne's attemt at promoting new opportunities to build relationships with kids?
Payne makes a lot of helpful suggestions as to things schools can do to help kids, such as promoting supplemental reading programs...and teaching kids how to use goal-setting and problem solving to become better students.
I do not see the harm in teaching students coping strategies for success. This can only be beneficial to kids.I work with poor children, mostly kids who were born in the USA to Mexican immigrant parents. As a teacher I have felt very frustrated by the fact that these poor kids generally lag behind. Their parents work VERY hard...but the children are completely unaware of the sacrifices their parents have made to give the kids a better lot in life. Many second generation immigrants do WORSE than their parents do. There is downward mobility among Mexican immigrants over the course of generations.
Is our school doing everything it could do to help poor kids succeed? No, but honestly we are investing LOTS of money on them in the form of literacy interventions. Do we really give kids the bilingual education help they deserve? No, but we try within the financial restraints put on our school system. Schools can certainly do more to help kids at the lower end ... But I do think it is also correct and good for teachers to help kids become more responsible for their own destiny. I personally have observed that many poor families do believe in fate as Payne suggests. They sometimes give up on trying to change things because they believe that being poor is their destiny.
One other thing that I think Payne got right on the mark: she points out that consumerism is a huge problem in our society. We have to teach kids that their primary goal in life is NOT and acquisition of more and more plastic objects from Walmart. Payne says "It is better to be a barn-raiser than a consumer." This is wisdom to live by for all of us.

Anonymous said...

Well - I'm taking a class in which we are reading a Framework for understanding poverty. I have to admit that I am somewhat embarrassed to be defending Ruby Payne now that I have read so many academic critics ripping her theory to shreds. I should not have to apologize for thinking that Payne has some good ideas. Certain aspects of Payne's work resonated with me as being true and useful. What is wrong with Payne's attemt at promoting new opportunities to build relationships with kids?
Payne makes a lot of helpful suggestions as to things schools can do to help kids, such as promoting supplemental reading programs...and teaching kids how to use goal-setting and problem solving to become better students.
I do not see the harm in teaching students coping strategies for success. This can only be beneficial to kids.I work with poor children, mostly kids who were born in the USA to Mexican immigrant parents. As a teacher I have felt very frustrated by the fact that these poor kids generally lag behind. Their parents work VERY hard...but the children are completely unaware of the sacrifices their parents have made to give the kids a better lot in life. Many second generation immigrants do WORSE than their parents do. There is downward mobility among Mexican immigrants over the course of generations.
Is our school doing everything it could do to help poor kids succeed? No, but honestly we are investing LOTS of money on them in the form of literacy interventions. Do we really give kids the bilingual education help they deserve? No, but we try within the financial restraints put on our school system. Schools can certainly do more to help kids at the lower end ... But I do think it is also correct and good for teachers to help kids become more responsible for their own destiny. I personally have observed that many poor families do believe in fate as Payne suggests. They sometimes give up on trying to change things because they believe that being poor is their destiny.
One other thing that I think Payne got right on the mark: she points out that consumerism is a huge problem in our society. We have to teach kids that their primary goal in life is NOT and acquisition of more and more plastic objects from Walmart. Payne says "It is better to be a barn-raiser than a consumer." This is wisdom to live by for all of us.

Anonymous said...

As a teacher of students who are English Language Learners, I struggle with Payne's generalizations of all people living in poverty. Most of my students qualify for free and reduced lunch which can mean that they are living in poverty. But each of my families come from a different area of the globe and have a certain set of skills, beliefs, work ethic, and views on the importance of education. They may be living in low income neighborhoods or attending a school where many low income students attend but that does not mean that they are better or worse than people in middle or upper class. It does not mean that they are unintelligent or immoral for the way they choose or are forced to live. And Ruby... where is your research and data analysis? I'd like to read it more closely to see how you arrived at your conclusions.

Anonymous said...

After reading Payne's book and many of the blog comments, what concerns me the most is that it appears that:
• Payne’s work was written for popular publication without academic peer review or scholarly analysis.
• Payne’s conclusions are either wrong, or at least cannot be generalized to all populations of people in poverty.
• Many of Payne’s solutions are not her own ideas, and have been suggested as remedies by others many times in the past. She is not, in fact, an expert, and she has ignored research that contradicts her conclusions.

These allegations are much more serious, and appear to have merit. As a published researcher myself, I know the importance of peer review before information is released to the public. If Payne’s methodology and statistics are, in fact, questionable, then it is negligent of her to publish them without first making corrections, or perhaps re-thinking her premise. Only through strict adherence to scholarly methods and academic review can those who choose to publish their work be respected.

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Crest32 said...

I think Ruby Payne brings up some very valid positions. One must not look at Ruby views as a single (only) approach; one must look at her characterizations of poor students as a part of the fix. It is important that teachers understand the characteristics of students who live in poverty in order to implement teaching methods presented by people such as Eric Jensen and Paul Gorski.

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tmasek said...

At-risk students face many complex issues and there will never be one quick fix, easy button to solve these problems. What we can do is use Ruby Payne’s perspective as a tool in our frame of reference when working with these at-risk students. Anytime someone can help you think outside the box and look at things from a different perspective there is opportunity to learn. Simplifications and generalizations yes, but the truth is there are difference among lower, middle, and upper class and Payne’s generalizations bring them to light in an easy way to understand and in a manner that many of us have personally experienced in our work with at-risk students and their families. I also appreciate her strategies for helping students succeed. She promotes building relationships instead of judging, offering respect to all students, and meeting the needs behind the behaviors. None of these are new strategies but so often people get caught up in students behavior and they don’t take the time to analyze why the behavior is occurring. I like the fact that she reinforces and reminds people to take the time to make the connection between behavior and what need the child is trying to meet. Ultimately this understanding is what will help us engage these students so they can achieve higher.

Anonymous said...

I just finished reading Ruby Payne's A Framework for Understanding Poverty and I have to say that she hits it right-on. A a Special Education Teacher in a rural community I work with many students in poverty and their families and have experienced the "hidden rules". I care very much about my students and I set high expectations regardless of social class. I think Payne is providing another tool for educators to use in order to effectively teach all students. Teachers have to become more individualized in instruction because we are not all the same, and sometimes the playing field needs to be leveled so all students can experience success!

s.ferg9093 said...

I currently work in a school where 80% of the students are considered "Low Income" students. Due to our district being high on the charts, A Ruby Payne workshop was offered, which I attended. While, at the time, I was impressed with the workshop, I have since explored the critics of Ruby Payne and believe they have some merit. However, after reading Payne's "A Framework for Understanding Poverty," which I did for a class I'm currently enrolled in, and which was years after the workshop, I feel many of Payne's hidden rules are accurate. I was a single mother with little resources of my own, so I was able to relate to some of those "hidden rules." I don't believe Ruby Payne should be discredited so quickly, as many of her ideas are similar to some of her critics. For instance, relationship building between teachers and students is important in both Payne's book as well as those of her critics. On the other hand, I do believe that Payne generalizes, and some things are not as simple as she would like us to believe. With more and more critics, perhaps there will be more and more solutions to this continuing problem within our schools.

Saebom Park said...

I did read her book and I did notice the lack of angle which she posed. As all point of view, we need to research and read about the topic in depth and decide what to take and not to take away from it.

knub said...

I agree wholeheartedly with tmarsek’s comments. Although Payne makes generalizations and reinforces stereotypes, the strategies she offers are valid ones. I have read Payne’s Framework and Eric Jensen’s Teaching with Poverty in Mind, and each text reminds teachers that building relationships with students is key to their finding success. It isn’t just our students from poverty who come to us with very serious issues, and we should use all of the tools available to us to help them achieve.

Anonymous said...

I am currently taking a class where reading her book A Framework for Understanding Poverty and as a teacher in rural area with a high population of low-income struggling students this book has been helpful. While I might not agree with everything her ideas on building relationships is key for getting students to buy into your curriculum/class. I think that having students set goals and having high expectations for them is crucial. While I think that there are many more classes that the three she presents and that "changing classes" requires more supports than she presents, she gives teachers some practical strategies that can help support not only poor students but all students. Also as a teacher you can't just use one persons ideas but as many different points of view as possible.

Anonymous said...

AnonymousJune 17, 2017 at 12:06 AM
I'm happy to join the ongoing discussion regarding Ruby Payne and her book, a framework for UNDERSTANDING POVERTY, copyright, 2013. An indicator of a book's success is the fuel it gives for thought and discussion. Payne's book has been, and continues to give educators and people in other professions, food for thought.
Despite whether you agree with her causes of poverty, and the idea that positive and emotional relationships foster greater academic achievement, I would surmise her knowledge regarding the hidden rules, which walk hand in hand with the variance of income levels, correct. It would be difficult for most people to live life in poverty and have society stereotype character, academic performance, career goals, or the ability to get ahead financially. Those, which find themselves in the circumstance of poverty, regardless of type, may need assistance navigating strategies for interventions.
Poverty is often described as doing without or with lessened resources. Payne offers the view that those in poverty need to solve life's problems using only the resources they have. Although a degree of individual choice and consequence may contribute to poverty, some within the middle and upper class exploit, or take advantage of those less fortunate.
I agree educators must utilize engaged instruction and encourage a mindset of growth, however; exceptional educators treat all students fairly and tap into every student's potential to ensure academic and lifelong success.

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