A Framework for Understanding Poverty

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Fourth Revised Edition. People in poverty face challenges virtually unknown to those in middle class or wealth--challenges from both obvious and hidden sources. The reality of being poor brings out a survival mentality, and turns attention away from opportunities taken for granted by everyone else. If you work with people from poverty, some understanding of how different their world is from yours will be invaluable. Whether you're an educator--or a social, health, or legal services professional--this breakthrough book gives you practical, real-world support and guidance to improve your effectiveness in working with people from all socioeconomic backgrounds. Since 1995 A Framework for Understanding Poverty has guided hundreds of thousands of educators and other professionals through the pitfalls and barriers faced by all classes, especially the poor. Carefully researched and packed with charts, tables, and questionaires, Framework not only documents the facts of poverty, it provides practical yet compassionate strategies for addressing its impact on people's lives.

Customer Reviews:

  • Seller should be banned
    This seller never shipped the book and never returned my emails as to why. I ordered it for a course I had to teach on poverty and did not receive my book on time for the class. This seller should not be allowed to sell on the site....more info
  • Beware Ruby Payne
    This book perpetuates the institutionalized racism and classism that creates students who are unsuccessful in schools. Payne, whose "research" is anecdotal at best, completely unverified at worst, suggests that teachers teach to poverty, instead of fighting the social injustices that cause it. She works from the deficit theory of poverty, which has been widely discredited since the 60s, and her anecdotal examples are racist stereotypes.

    This book makes white, middle-class teachers think they understand poverty, when in reality, the advice she gives teachers perpetuates poverty and does nothing to address the complex causes of it. Ruby Payne is laughing all the way to the bank....more info
  • Middle Class Analysis of Generational Poverty
    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....more info
  • More Spice than Sugar
    Although there is useful information in Ruby Payne's book, it abounds with gross stereotypes and generalizations. In order to read this book, one needs a highly analytical disposition.
    Payne provides a clear and specific working definition of how she sees poverty. In asserting her usage of the additive model, she identifies specific classroom management and teaching techniques. For instance, she provides a tool for students to evaluate their negative behaviors in order to develop coping strategies.
    Although Payne sets out to write a framework, she falls drastically short. The book is littered with assumptions about the thought processes and behaviors of people on a grand scale. "Many individuals stay in poverty because they don't know there is a choice- and if they do know that, have no one to teach them hidden rules or provide resources" (pg 62). This statement demonstrates how Payne victimizes people in poverty. For Payne to assume that a person in poverty wants to stay in poverty is presumptuous to say the least.
    Ruby Payne wrote from her privileged lifestyle about individuals living in poverty. A Framework for Understanding Poverty is not a framework, but one woman's attempt to articulate her opinion. ...more info
    Economists believe that poverty is an economic phenomenon, that when an economy grows, people will simply be lifted out of poverty. Though that is true to a certain extent, this book convinced me (an economist) that there is more to it than simple economist and income.

    According to the book, there are certain characteristics of people in lower income environments that make them (1) quite able to endure the hardships and (2) quite unable to shift mindsets and move to middle class. The book also demonstrates the mindset and the basic knowledge that those in poverty, in middle class and in upper class have.

    There are important characteristics of people in lower class environments, including: the way the tell stories in roundabout ways, the lack of a support system or role models, the lack of recognition of a path to wealth, among others. There are important ways in which, for example, we should change our mindset and way of talking if we are to have a positive influence on the poor.

    This book is a very good intro to the recognition of social differences between economic classes and the difficulties of mobility among classes. It provides a path for the priviledged to help the underpriviledged in more effective ways than just giving them money....more info
  • A Framework for Understanding Poverty
    Excellent for helping to understand others. A bit simplistic but as long as we remember that there are always exceptions. A must read for all future teachers....more info
  • Hope for Understanding Poverty
    The research of Ruby K. Payne is communicated so clearly and thoroughly - it is a must-read for anyone who wants to understand more about poverty and the hurdles for overcoming struggle. She gives practical suggestions for addressing the specific concerns for poverty-stricken children. While poverty issues often seem overwhelming, she provides hope that we can work towards understanding each other and the rules which govern our lifestyles....more info
  • On Style and Religion
    The reviewers here have already addressed most of the major problems with this book, starting with its central assumption that those in poverty are best defined by their lack of the "resources" enjoyed by those in the middle class. That said, two aspects of this book still need attention.

    First, the writing is terrible. While Payne claims as her target audience middle-class, college-educated teachers, her sentence-level style fails to obey the "hidden rules" she herself identifies for middle-class communication. I, for one, felt insulted. I'm not asking for Anthony Lane, but I do not feel inclined to listen to someone who apparently thinks I'm not familiar with educated English usage. In addition, the book suffers from the creeping influence of PowerPoint. Fight the bullet!

    Secondly, I can't be the only one who was offended by her inclusion of "spirituality" as a middle-class resource. Actually (to argue anecdotally as Payne does), most of the humanists, atheists, and agnostics I know are quite middle-class, while the poor neighborhoods in my city are full of storefront churches. As an academic in the humanities, I can say that religious belief is quite rare in this utterly-middle-class profession. I certainly don't think that increased wealth and education make one _more_ likely to hold irrational beliefs in imaginary beings....more info
  • A Leader in the Field of Socio-Economic Levels
    Ever wonder why people who win the lottery often end up in worse shape after they win than before?

    It's often because our lives are governed by the way we perceive the world and think. Our social networks, entertainment, perception of resources, and so on shape our interactions with others and with the world. There is literally a different culture in generational poverty than in the "middle class" or among the wealthy. And moving across cultural strata is not so simple as just having or not having money.

    I've often wondered why (in my experience) it can be so hard to help those in need - specifically, those who seem to be living in generational poverty. Sure, I can give a few dollars to help with an urgent situation such as getting the electricity turned back on but I have often felt powerless to help bring real, lasting change to people in need. Ruby Payne addresses these issues in a powerful way. Her research and understanding make hear a well-qualified leader and her suggestions have helped shape my ability to be more effective.

    I've found this book to be so good that I have recommended this book to many of my friends and colleagues. In fact, I have loaned out copies.

    -- Bryan Entzminger...more info
  • A Framework for Stereotyping Poverty
    The book, "The Framework for Understanding Poverty" failed to live up to its high expectations. Dr. Payne talks about helpful strategies to improve instruction, such as using graphic organizers, rubrics, and activating background knowledge. She lumps all people who live in poverty into one group, assuming that every student comes to school with the same life experiences. Some of the negatives about the book are that there are more generalizations, rather than facts. This leads to some good ideas but a lot of falsehood. Payne feels that teachers need to let students know that formal registry is their way to getting high paying jobs in the future, and this could discourage children and make them feel less about their culture and background. Although learning academic language is important for students to acquire, they should also feel that their language and culture is validated in the classroom, including their registry.
    Dr. Payne focuses on the negative aspects of living in poverty. Instead, she should have addressed ways in which educators can look at strengths and experiences children living in poverty bring to the classroom. Her so-called "framework" is a far cry from what a framework should entail. It is also important to keep in mind that her own company, aha! Process Inc., published this book. She grew up in privilege so she cannot relate to those she is writing about. In order to truly understand Payne's perspective it is important to know that she is a Bush supporter and has contributed thousands of dollars to his presidential campaigns....more info
  • Excellent tool for educators
    I just went to a one-day workshop on Ruby Payne's book and found it to be extremely valuable. I teach in a school of 2500 students, 30% of whom live in poverty. This book was an excellent tool to teach the concept that students living in poverty (especially generational poverty) often live by a different "code" than the middle class. With that said, our public educational system is largely based on the middle class code, which these students may have a hard time fitting into. Payne gives a great overview of the issues that impoverished students MAY be facing, and I don't think her work can be taken as an "all or nothing" view. Obviously, not every person reacts that same way to any given situation. However, Payne's information opened my eyes to the disparities in my classroom, and gave me a great deal of insight into students' behaviors.
    This book does not perpetuate poverty--it gives educators invaluable tools to reach out to and engage our students who are living with the realities of poverty every day.
    ...more info
  • A Great Start
    I work in a large middle school which hit the 50% level of students in poverty a few years ago. The majority of our poverty students are white, while the number of African-American students is less than 5%. The percent of Hispanic students in poverty in our school/community is growing. Ruby Payne's description of students and families in poverty fits our school to a large degree. Our entire corporation has been exposed to her materials, we've had Ruby as a guest presenter and our entire middle school staff has studied her book. We continue to incorporate much of what her materials recommend. We are having good success with this endeavor, and like anything in education, it is a work in progress.

    Does Ruby stereotype? Maybe. However, much of what she describes and presents fits my white students so well that I have a hard time with the accusation. Is it a stereotype or is it true? The picture of reality IS oftentimes offensive, but hopefully, calls us to action to make change, in ourselves and for others.

    I think the fact that the vast majority of reviews on this book are extremely positive says much against the negatives. I don't believe this book is intended to be the end-all and be-all regarding working with students in poverty. I believe learning about anything requires that we become well-rounded in the resources we use. I appreciate the reviewers who have provided other resources with which to expand our knowledge and information base without just slamming an author.

    I found this book to be an eye-opener, not just about students in poverty, but about people in general. In my professional and personal life, I work with individuals across all social and economic classes. This book helped me better understand them all. It also helped me become better at serving and working with individuals of all fabrics. This book is a beginning for me, not the end.

    I am amazed at the vehemence in the negative reviews and think, perhaps, that there is more behind it than just Ruby Payne....more info
  • "Poverty" Misunderstood.
    Let me start off by mentioning all the positive elements of this work (of which there are not many). In the beginning, the author shares accurate Census figures about poverty along with insight that it is a relative condition which applies to all races and creeds. She also recommends that educators should teach and strengthen rather than praise and condemn. From here, however, the work slips into the abyss.

    Unfortunately, many of this book's central suppositions are little more than unsourced assertions which are, at best, half-right while, at worst, totally counter-productive. A good example of this is the ridiculous notion that poor people have a defined conversational style. They certainly do not. You'll meet some who are garrulous and meet others who barely speak at all. Conversational diversity is more indicative of personality factors like introversion or extraversion than socio-economic status. To be honest, I found totally offensive the suggestion that poor people like to beat around the bush as opposed to discuss what's important. Furthermore, that formal speech is an example of the hidden rule of the middle class is a misguided notion. Using correct language is not an arbitrary distinction employers enforce. It results from correct speaking skills strongly correlating with workers being professional and making a positive impression upon customers. As for teaching with the casual register, there is never a reason for schools to do so. When they legitimize the use of slang then they delegitimize the purpose for having public schools. It is important to convey to children what they cannot obtain on their own.

    On aggregate, there is far too much in these breezy pages which makes one wince. Her hypothetical examples were wholly rooted in fantasy. In one case, a mother who put her husband through medical school was thrust into poverty after he became a doctor and left her for another woman. She was forced to live on [...] a week when a more likely figure would have been [...], but such a mistake is due to the author not being familiar with how divorce courts function in America. Indeed, a recent case saw a judge refuse to lower a doctor's support payments in response to his making less money at his new job. The magistrate's reasoning was that the man could have stayed at the higher paying job had he wished to. In a later example, Payne asserts that a woman who asks for more money from her ex is in danger of being declared an "unfit mother." Umm, not in this country or in this century. The only chance in which a mother in the United States could lose custody of her child was if she was a felon with recent arrests or a drug addict. Payne does appear to understand that many of her potential readers relate to the world from the perspective of "Bad man/Good woman" as she even names a character in one of her hypotheticals Oprah. Along these lines, I laughed out loud after seeing that intimate language is the mode of communication for twins, lovers, and sexual harassers. Who knew that sexual harassers made up such a large strata of society?

    Her constant referencing of "class" also made me uneasy, particularly after she includes quotes from socialist legend, Michael Harrington, and leftist activist, Jonathan Kozol. The section in which questions are asked to determine whether or not readers could survive within a particular socio-economic class has to be one of the silliest things I've ever read. The author rigidly equates wealth with intelligence and education despite, at best, only a correlation exsting. She implies that poor people live without electricity or phones which is simply not the case in this country for the majority of them. This reviewer has always been middle class, but apparently he cannot survive as a member of the class in which he lives due to his never learning how to properly set a table or decorate the house for the holidays. Appliances in his house were rarely fixed immediately which suggests that our family always lived in the gutter without knowing it--despite my parents' jobs, home, cars, and savings. The best one of these though concerned the wealthy who appear to prefer their menus in French, support individual artists, and employ oodles of domestic servants. Yes, this book was a cliche going out of business sale. ...more info
  • Understanding Poverty
    Excellent book by Ruby Payne. She has changed the way educators teach to children living in poverty. The book provides tools that can help break the cycle of generational poverty. Should be required reading for all educators and social service professionals!...more info
  • Everyone should read this book
    This book is almost a workbook. It presents the culture of poverty in a way that is easy to understand and helpful to all. This should be required reading for teachers. ...more info
  • Amazingly accurate
    Coming from poverty myself and having moved out of it, I was pleasantly surprised to read something that is so accurate about the culture of poverty. ...more info
  • Very Interesting
    I thought I understood poverty..it means your poor or have little money. I was wrong, it turns out there was a lot I didn't know about poverty. I work as an educator and in our school people are not divided by race, but by social/economic differences. I found this book very helpful. Payne does a great job high lighting and explaining the different social norms in each class (poverty, middle class, wealth) and why people in these classes think the way they do, say what they say and what needs ,however basic, drive them.
    The quizes (ex: Could You Survive in Poverty..etc) are great and interesting. I found some of the scenarios to be shocking, perhasp because to some people they are similar to their own lives, and very eye opening. This book has given me a better understanding of some of the students I encounter everyday. ...more info
  • Condescending view of poverty
    Payne has done much to further the "it's their own fault" view of poverty. She makes broad, sweeping generalizations about class for which she cites little to no research. Her view of poverty comforts us white middle class folks because she doesn't ask us to look at any of the systemic causes of poverty, all we have to do is know that the po' folk is different than us and it is mostly their choice and ignorance that leads to poverty. It is up to teachers than to "fix" the poor so they can be more like the dominant classes. She claims that poverty is a "relative" term. No, Ruby, there is a level of income at which it is nearly impossible to live and many people are there despite the fact that they have strong families, a strong work ethic (the full time working poor are expanding at an alarming rate) and want the same things in life for their children as more affluent people do.

    Do not read this book unless you want to read simplistic stereotypes and want to be assured that you're okay and "they" are not. My suggestion is to read something by people who have truly studied poverty and the people who live in it....more info
  • Ruby Payne is amazing!
    This book is a quick, easy read and should be a requirement for all! You will gain an appreciation for all economic/social classes and learn more about yourself. As a teacher, this book brought clarity to situations in the past and will guide my behavior in the future. I believe that every lawmaker and politician should read this book before making decisions about helping the poor. An amazing book and a must read!...more info
  • A Must Read for any...
    This is a must read for all teachers, pastors, doctors, lawyers,who deal with various social levels and just about anyone else who feels they can't understand why poor people are poor and stay that way generation after generation.
    It is a eye opening, thought provoking look as to why generations of people never reach their piece of the pie, and are seemingly content that way.
    I will go so far as to say that if this were manditory reading for everyone, that this world might just be a better place to be.
    A very easy and wonderful read!...more info
  • Eye-opening
    This book opened my eyes to many issues I have had as an educator, and school-based speech-language pathologist, with parents not participating in meetings, students not completing homework, and attitudes in the classroom. I really feel as if I have a better understanding of poverty and the changes I needed to make in order to help students meet the expectations in my class language lessons and individual speech therapy sessions, that will hopefully carry over into all aspects of their lives....more info
  • Oh for heavens sake
    As an individual who works with children in a variety of settings (club settings, classrooms, Youth Groups, etc), I picked up this book thinking it would provide me with some useful insights.

    Two pages into it I was annoyed by a "hidden rule" she listed as applying to families who live in generational poverty. Half-way through I put it down in search of better resources.

    I'm sure Dr. Payne's intentions are good and I suspect many of her offerings are useful. But close examination of the specific "hidden rules" as they apply to the supposed societal group who live in poverty (as though there was only one kind) reveals an author who needs to spend more time with people and less time writing books about them. It's so riddled with stereotypes it's difficult to take it seriously.

    One for instance: Payne's first reference to one of the "hidden rules" of poverty is that households of this group are noisy--with televisions always on and everyone talking at once. I read it twice as I was sure I'd missed something. Surely someone with a Ph.D who'd done the proper research, would know better than to make a generalization of such ridiculous proportions, I thought.

    'Guess not.

    Personally, I come from a large middle-class loud German-Irish family with a television always on, music always playing (often live), and people talking all at once. The ability to tell a good joke or story was extremely important in our family, as was a sharp wit and the ability to defend one's point of view. This family produced three educators of which I am one. We're readers, thinkers, amatuer actors, singers, writers, and communicators. So for the life of me I can't quite grasp how on earth a noisy household is equated with class.

    The idea that there are educators out there who are using this book as a basis to understand children who come from poor families concerns me. Apart from sparking discussion, I don't see this book as offering much of real value to educators and I would recommend those considering it to look past the hype and the slick marketing techniques and give this one a miss.

    ...more info
  • A framework for creating bigots *or *Classist Bigotry in Action*
    Many educators have turned to this book to help them understand the home life that their students come from. Instead of helping them develop a healthy, well-rounded picture, they come away with reinforced stereotypes and bigoted views. Please, conduct a google search and see what many educational scholars have had to say about Ruby Payne's work- it is not pretty. She self publishes, so her research does not have to be valid, replicable, or acceptable to others in the community. Please, if you feel like throwing away your money today, give it to a charity!

    While her heart may be in the right place, her research is flawed, and her framework is classist and bigoted.
    -A preview of the type of thinking that prevades this book is the following quiz (borrowed from the text) -Could you survive poverty? It includes the following two multiple choice answers and others:
    I know how to get a gun, even if I have a police record.
    I know how to get someone out of jail.
    I am hoping you are as horrified as I was when I first read this. Are you getting the picture now? Balanced and fair, maybe not. Helpful, not so much.
    A link to one of her detractors papers for those of you who are intersted.

    [...]...more info
  • Would you survive?
    I teach in the inner city, and a fellow teacher recommended this book after hearing me say that I didn't understand why the children in my class would never stop talking. Well, now I know why they talk constantly--and I might even have some idea of what to do about it. My favorite part of the book were the scenarios, which paint a grim picture of life in poverty, but aren't too far removed from what I see my students experiencing. It was interesting to see how the people in the scenarios would react, and compare it to the way that I would handle myself. I also enjoyed the "Would you survive?" quizzes. As suspected, I would not survive in poverty or wealth. Nope, firmly middle class, not a doubt.
    An interesting read for people who work with the poor or have an interest in class structure. ...more info
  • These are My Students!
    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. Learn about how to change that mindset and inspire a special and unique individual buried within that limiting shell. I am realizing that I can help do this! I can help students make this change. This book is one of the major keys to doing so!

    Highly recommended!

    ...more info
  • Stereotypical and Generalized!
    I read this book for a college course on classroom management and diversity and was sorely disappointed. Payne's advice and comments are based on only her findings (her private publishing company does not have to justify research) and perpetuated the stereotypes she was trying to fight even more. It didn't make me feel more prepared for dealing with impoverished students but made me angry with her. I would look to other books for advice!...more info
  • A Framework for Misunderstanding Poverty
    This book was well-intentioned, and provided some strategies and information that could help students of all backgrounds. However, it was quite short of being a framework for understanding and working with students from diverse backgrounds. Ruby Payne was able to articulate some good arguments for why students may not be as prepared as other students who come from more affluent backgrounds, but most of her examples and explanations were overgeneralizations and lacked credibility of those who really experience poverty firsthand.

    This book should be read with a critical eye, and the ideology from which Ruby Payne writes should not be taken at face value. Many of her examples were negative and stereotypical, sometimes offensive; in fact, her view on poverty was based on a deficit model in which people are in poverty because they lack middle class values, beliefs, language use, knowledge and skills. It could be dangerous to recommend this book to teachers and employers who are not critical, and take the author's ideology as universal truth without further research.

    Ruby Payne attempts to provide some kind of "framework for understanding poverty," but it is more like trying to analyze people who come from such a background, and not necessarily poverty in and of itself. She makes some good points; however, we do not agree with everything she states about people who live in poverty. "Violence and jail" as a part of their everyday life and seeing it as normal is highly questionable. As a teacher, this book may provide some insight as to how to work with people from different classes, but there are many other strategies and theories that prove to be more powerful than some of the ones she explains. Some exemplary alternatives to this book are Christine E. Sleeter's "Un-Standardizing Curriculum," "Sonia Nieto's Affirming Diversity," and George Michie's "Holler if You Hear Me."
    ...more info
  • Reviewed by Barb Radmore
    Ms Payne has recently published a revised edition of her popular book, A Framework for Understanding Poverty, that addresses how poverty affects student performance and explores ways to help all students succeed in today's schools and world. The original book has received many reviews and much press so this discussion will cover the changes in this latest edition.

    The major change in this edition is a sleeker, more scholarly appearing format. Cartoon graphics, the use of bold type and underlining have disappeared to be replaced by paragraphs, shaded blocks and more uniform lists. Unfortunately it has lost much of its user friendly feel that drew the reader inside the original book. Although there are very few concrete changes the over all feel of the book is greatly different. The other changes are in vocabulary, "cognitive deficiencies" has been replaced by "cognitive issues," and some race references are deleted or vocabulary altered (white to Caucasian and vice versa) in scenarios and elsewhere. All statistics have been updated to 2003 and there is a web address to obtain the latest ones.

    The other noteworthy difference is the addition, in an appendix, of the article "Additive Model: aha! Process's Approach to Building High Achieving Schools. The author is Philip E. DeVol, coauthor with Ms Payne of the book Bridges Out of Poverty. In this article he discusses the difference between the deficit model, with its emphasis on fixing the individual, and the naming or identifying the underlying issues, which he calls the additive model. DeVol describes aha! Process's term 'additive model' as combing "the value of accurate problem identification with a positive, strength-based, communitywide approach to change." He reviews the information contained in A Framework such as the hidden rules, language, family structure and branches out to community sustainability. He explains this all in terms of the goals and focus of aha! Process. It is a direct answer to much of the current criticisms concerning lack of quantifiable research and classism being leveled at Ms Payne's A Framework for Understanding Poverty.
    ...more info
  • Read with Caution!
    Ruby Payne's A Framework for Understanding Poverty describes a personal journey, but falls short of creating an entire framework of poverty applicable to all situations. Since her evidence is based solely on her personal experience, if readers apply her theories, it will only exacerbate existing stereotypes.
    Payne's book is riddled with over generalizations. It has been our experience that people in poverty do not feel a "need to beat around the bush" (30). And by stating this, is she implying that all middle and upper class people always speak directly to the point? The fact remains that patterns of discourse (and poverty), rely more on regional, cultural, and societal factors, which Payne simply does not address. Furthermore, her assertion that "fighting and physical violence are a part of poverty" (37) confirms the bias of her own personal experience imbedded in her publication, and about people in poverty around the world.
    The result is a deficit theory perspective that
    adversely affects her approach in dealing with an impoverished population. Even more frightening is the fact that she influences the approach of many others who read her book without a critical mindset, and assume the same biases and stereotypes which may hinder rather than help those trying to escape poverty. We recommend future readers of this book to
    read with caution, and resist her attempts to facilitate assimilation into a classist society....more info
  • 5-Star Review
    Fast shipping and received the item in excellent condition. Thank you; I look forward to ordering from you in the future! ...more info
  • A Framework for Understanding Poverty
    The book arrived in perfect condition.
    I had a big problem though.
    Amazon told me that the shipping would cost $2.90
    Seller charged me $8.75
    I sent an email but the issue was not resolved.
    I wish I would have simply purchased at Barnes and Noble or
    Borders- it would have cost me a lot less....more info
  • Building a Framework for Understanding Poverty
    The purchase of this book was prompted by a training I attended. It is cogent, fascinating, informative reading for anyone working in the social services, teaching, psychiatric fields....more info
  • The Poverty Paradigm
    I believe that Ruby Payne's work is definitely a "must-read" for educators (as indicated in the subtitle) regardless of opinions about poverty and the reasons that individuals or families remain there. This book provides a needed baseline of information for educators with which to assess themselves and their readiness to effectively serve individuals who come from poverty. Some educators may read this book and believe they've not learned anything new; others may now have the vocabulary to discuss and address what they already know about poverty and how it affects students' learning; and still others may become enlightened and begin to understand a paradigm and useful strategies that they've yet to uncover. Dr. Payne's book forced me to think differently and seek ways to act differently when serving students and families living in poverty. A Framework for Understanding Poverty is a resource that classroom teachers and administrators can read and extract practical strategies immediately to support and increase student learning and students' future success in school and beyond. Education is the key to success in today's world; all students should have access to it. Educators who can teach hidden rules among classes, serve as role models, create relationships, and provide support systems will have the deepest impact on students' lives and futures....more info
  • !Caution!
    This book was a good attempt at understanding poverty; however, some of the information was unsupported. Payne provides strategies for working with students from a low socio-economic status that were positive. For instance, the strategies were charts, graphs, and scenarios that were provided to better understand her message. Payne also explains that poverty is not always about finances. She is well intentioned, but she could have provided more unbiased research.
    In an effort to understand poverty she defines and describes "Hidden Rules" within each social class. For example, Dr. Payne claims education for people in poverty is abstract. We would disagree with this point of view for the simple fact that it is over generalization. On the other hand, she makes a good point in saying that the different rules are to be used for different situations and not one set of rules or behaviors is better than the other.
    We feel that anyone who plans on reading "A Framework for Understanding Poverty" should do so, but only with a critical eye. For those who wish to understand poverty and this is the first book they read, must be aware that some of the information is not supported by statistics or studies. For instance, Payne says that women in poverty use their bodies to acquire what they want and need. She also says that if you are in poverty, everything in life is seen as a joke.
    As well intended as Dr. Payne's attempt is at establishing a "framework" she fails to address issues of race and gender and how these issues also affect ones socio-economic class. Over all, this book should be read but the reader should understand that it is not a "framework" and the ideas should not be applied to "all" individuals in poverty.
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  • Payne as a Culture of Poverty Theorist
    I have been reading "Bridges out of Poverty" for a social work class I am taking at The Ohio State University. I am a senior in psychology and sociology, and I find this book academically lacking and socially irresponsible. This text is classic culture of poverty--the theory that those in poverty are there because of character flaws and bad behavior. Payne never confronts the structural barriers which bar the poor from increasing their economic position. Education, full-time employment (at a living-wage), and inadequate social safety-nets are stronger correlates to poverty than language and perspective as Payne would suggest. Payne suggests, though never directly, that the family is the primary socializing force in the development of an individual. Schools, and the staff and educators who operate them; neighborhoods and their relationship to the city as a whole; and the national and political culture, defused to homes through the media, are all prominent factors in the socialization of every individual.
    Thus, when one receives messages of worthlessness and derogation from the whole of society, when your existence is viewed as a cause to herald and correct, when you are bombarded by a consumerist culture in which you cannot participate, the logical end is an attitude of hopelessness and dissociation. Instead of a steadfast defense of "middle-class ideals," I propose a more critical analysis of this society. A society with more wealth than any other nation in the world, but also with a poorly performing education system (which is blamed on the student and not the lack of funding), a service focused economy which will force us to sell to each other the products of distant lands, and an obsession with consumption which is destroying our planet.
    When it is proposed that a critical look be taken toward a particular group, we must first look at ourselves. Before we espouse the lifestyle and ideology of one group onto another, we must first determine if that lifestyle is "correct." In my opinion, there is no certificate or qualification which a person can obtain that gives them the power to do that. It is hypocritical to ask of the poor what we would not ask of ourselves. Ruby Payne, and "academics" like her, have become unable to see the forest for the trees.
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  • Helpful Book
    I bought this book after getting a job at a school with a lot of students who live in poverty. The book gave me a lot of insight into what life is like for students and how their life outside of school affects them in school. Also, the book was interesting to read and not boring. I learned a lot from this book and would recommend it to others who want to learn more about how poverty affects children....more info
  • Understanding Poverty by the Tip of an Iceberg
    Ms. Payne had a few good points in her book, such as I.Q. tests being biased, using graphic organizers, teachers serving as role models for their students, and the notion of an emotional bank. However, there were more missing components in her book. Ms. Payne subscribes to the deficit theory, which doesn't help to understand poverty thoroughly. Her book ignores the positive aspects that students bring to the classroom; their ethnicity, varied educational experiences, cultural values, and historical experiences. Her book only looks at a very biased, one dimension of social class. She stereotypes poverty when in reality poverty is more complex than how she describes it in her book. She focuses on social class without situating it with a large sociopolitical context. A 117-page book cannot help someone understand the uniqueness of every individual in poverty. The best way to understand students, who live in poverty, is to get to know your student on an individual basis through home visits, interactive journals, and establishing good teacher-parent relationships. A better book to understand students living in poverty would be "Affirming Diversity: The Sociopolitical Context of Multicultural Education" by Sonia Nieto or "Holler if You Hear Me" by Gregory Michie....more info
  • Excellent
    This is an excellent book for any teacher or anyone who works with diverse populations....more info
  • Very Important Concepts
    I bought several extra copies to give to friends as I have been a fan of Ruby Payne for many years. Anyone who is concerned about poverty and wants to be in a position to provide meaningful help should be familiar with this work and it's very important concepts. Bridges out of Poverty is an expanded follow up. I recommend it to anyone who reads A Framwork... I cannot recommend this work highly enough. ...more info
  • I passed my test
    Very enlightning book, gives a deeper understanding of povery and why it is hard to break the cycle. ...more info
  • Great insights for reasons why some kids fail in schools
    There are so many things that we don't think about when we look at children from different social classes. I had never thought of my upbringing as middle-class, but I did bring middle-class values to my education and that made all the difference in the world. This book showed me why some children have so many problems adapting to the expectations schools have of them and how, as a teacher, I can adapt to reach these children. Children may have to learn the social norms of school before they can even begin to learn how to read and write. This book gives educators a start to learning how to integrate these children into the school system without expecting them to turn their backs on their home cultures....more info


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