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The point of departure for this new edition, as it was for the first, is the unacceptable reality that, for students of color, school is often not a place to learn but a place of low expectations and failure. In urban schools with concentrations of poverty, often fewer than half the ninth graders leave with a high school diploma.

This second edition has been considerably expanded with chapters that illuminate the Asian American, Native American, and Latina/o experience, including that of undocumented students, in our schools. These chapters offer insights into the concerns and issues students bring to the classroom. They also convey the importance for teachers, as they accept difference and develop cultural sensitivity, to see their students as individuals, and avoid generalizations. This need to go beneath the surface is reinforced by a chapter on adopted children, children of mixed race, and “hidden minorities”.

White and Black teachers, and teachers of different races and ethnicities, here provide the essential theoretical background, and share their experiences and the approaches they have developed, to create the conditions – in both urban and suburban settings – that enable minority students to succeed.

This book encourages reflection and self-examination, and calls for recognizing and reinforcing students’ ability to achieve. It also calls for high expectations for both teachers and students. It demonstrates what it means to recognize often-unconscious biases, confront institutional racism where it occurs, surmount stereotyping, adopt culturally relevant teaching, connect with parents and the community, and integrate diversity in all activities.

This book is replete with examples from practice and telling insights that will engage teachers in practice or in service. It should have a place in every classroom in colleges of education and K-12 schools. Its empowering message applies to every teacher working in an educational setting that recognizes the empowerment that comes in celebrating diversity.

Each chapter concludes with a set of questions for personal reflection or group discussion.
Through a rich mix of essays, memoirs, and poetry, the contributors to The Poverty and Education Reader bring to the fore the schooling experiences of poor and working class students, highlighting the resiliency, creativity, and educational aspirations of low-income families.

They showcase proven strategies that imaginative teachers and schools have adopted for closing the opportunity gap, demonstrating how they have succeeded by working in partnership with low-income families, and despite growing class sizes, the imposition of rote pedagogical models, and teach-to-the-test mandates.

The contributors--teachers, students, parents, educational activists, and scholars--repudiate the prevalent, but too rarely discussed, deficit views of students and families in poverty. Rather than focusing on how to "fix" poor and working class youth, they challenge us to acknowledge the ways these youth and their families are disenfranchised by educational policies and practices that deny them the opportunities enjoyed by their wealthier peers. Just as importantly, they offer effective school and classroom strategies to mitigate the effects of educational inequality on students in poverty.

Rejecting the simplistic notion that a single program, policy, or pedagogy can undo social or educational inequalities, this Reader inspires and equips educators to challenge the disparities to which underserved communities are subjected. It is a positive resource for students of education and for teachers, principals, social workers, community organizers, and policy makers who want to make the promise of educational equality a reality.
What is it that gives many of us White people a visceral fear about discussing race?

Do you realize that being able to not think about or talk about it is a uniquely White experience?

Do you warn your children about how people might react to them; find store staff following or watching you; get stopped by the police for no reason?

The students of color in your classroom experience discrimination every day, in small and large ways. They don’t often see themselves represented in their textbooks, and encounter hostility in school, and outside. For them race is a constant reality, and an issue they need, and want, to discuss. Failure to do so can inhibit their academic performance.

Failure to discuss race prevents White students from getting a real, critical and deep understanding of our society and their place in it. It is essential for the well-being of all students that they learn to have constructive conversations about the history of race in this country, the impact of racism on different ethnic communities, and how those communities and cultures contribute to society.

The need to model for our students how to talk openly and comfortably about race is critical in America today, but it is still an issue that is difficult to tackle.

To overcome the common fear of discussing race, of saying “something wrong”, this book brings together over thirty contributions by teachers and students of different ethnicities and races who offer their experiences, ideas, and advice. With passion and sensitivity they: cover such topics as the development of racial consciousness and identity in children; admit their failures and continuing struggles; write about creating safe spaces and the climate that promotes thoughtful discussion; model self-reflection; demonstrate the importance of giving voice to students; recount how they responded to racial incidents and used current affairs to discuss oppression; describe courses and strategies they have developed; explain the “n” word; present exercises; and pose questions.

For any teacher grappling with addressing race in the classroom, and for pre-service teachers confronting their anxieties about race, this book offers a rich resource of insights, approaches and guidance that will allay fears, and provide the reflective practitioner with the confidence to initiate and respond to discussion of race, from the pre-school and elementary classroom through high school.
Through a rich mix of essays, memoirs, and poetry, the contributors to The Poverty and Education Reader bring to the fore the schooling experiences of poor and working class students, highlighting the resiliency, creativity, and educational aspirations of low-income families.

They showcase proven strategies that imaginative teachers and schools have adopted for closing the opportunity gap, demonstrating how they have succeeded by working in partnership with low-income families, and despite growing class sizes, the imposition of rote pedagogical models, and teach-to-the-test mandates.

The contributors—teachers, students, parents, educational activists, and scholars—repudiate the prevalent, but too rarely discussed, deficit views of students and families in poverty. Rather than focusing on how to “fix” poor and working class youth, they challenge us to acknowledge the ways these youth and their families are disenfranchised by educational policies and practices that deny them the opportunities enjoyed by their wealthier peers. Just as importantly, they offer effective school and classroom strategies to mitigate the effects of educational inequality on students in poverty.

Rejecting the simplistic notion that a single program, policy, or pedagogy can undo social or educational inequalities, this Reader inspires and equips educators to challenge the disparities to which underserved communities are subjected. It is a positive resource for students of education and for teachers, principals, social workers, community organizers, and policy makers who want to make the promise of educational equality a reality.
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