Reaching and Teaching Students in Poverty: Strategies for Erasing the Opportunity Gap (Multicultural Education Series) Reviews

By | February 4, 2018
Reaching and Teaching Students in Poverty: Strategies for Erasing the Opportunity Gap (Multicultural Education Series)

The author draws from decades of research to deconstruct popular myths, misconceptions, and educational practices that undercut the achievement of low-income students. Gorski carefully describes the challenges that students in poverty face and the resiliencies they and their families draw upon. Most importantly, this book provides specific, evidence-based strategies for teaching youth by creating equitable, bias-free learning environments. Written in an appealing conversational tone, this resource will help teachers and school leaders to better reach and teach students in poverty.

Book Features:

  • A conceptual framework for creating equitable educational opportunities for low- and middle-income youth.
  • Instructional strategies based on an analysis of more than 20 years of research on what works (and what doesn’t work).
  • A depiction of teachers, not as the problem when it comes to the achievement gap, but as champions of students.
  • Activities such as a Poverty and Class Awareness Quiz.

  • Reaching and Teaching Students in Poverty Strategies for Erasing the Opportunity Gap

3 thoughts on “Reaching and Teaching Students in Poverty: Strategies for Erasing the Opportunity Gap (Multicultural Education Series) Reviews

  1. Alice of Wonderland
    0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    People who are poor are like other people, but they have no money to solve a lot of life’s burdensome problems., February 16, 2015
    Alice of Wonderland (Austin, TX USA) –

    Verified Purchase(What’s this?)
    Blaming people who are poor is currently a popular sport. Here are some concise reasons not to join in. People who are poor are like other people, but they have no to solve a lot of life’s burdensome problems.
  2. claudia swisher
    20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    A book all educators should read…and share with politicians!, December 15, 2013

    Verified Purchase(What’s this?)
    This review is from: Reaching and Teaching Students in Poverty: Strategies for Erasing the Opportunity Gap (Multicultural Education Series) (Paperback)

    “…low income people face innumerable inequities in and out of schools. These inequities regarding access to everything from adequately funded schools to playgrounds to prenatal care have nothing to do with poor people’s cultures and everything to do with what Jonathan Kozol called the ‘savage inequalities’ of schools and society. We, as a society, give low-income youths less access to educational opportunity, healthcare, nutrition, and other goods, and then blame the outcomes of these inequities on their ‘culture of poverty.'”

    Not an easy read…not a feel-good read. This challenges the reader to look closely and deeply at some assumptions and stereotypes we may bring to our work with kids from low-income families.

    Gorski takes us step-by-step from a shattering of the myth of the ‘culture of poverty.’ He is careful in his title to not talk about kids OF poverty, but kids IN poverty. Not an accident of word choice…a deliberate choice of a careful practioner.

    We as educators must confront our own biases, well-meaning as they may be. We need to develop an new kind of literacy…equity literacy. We must push back against those soft-bigotry statements: Poor parents don’t care about education; they’re lazy,drug-addicted abusers who can’t communicate and obviously care little about their children.

    It’s important to turn this around. Achievement gaps can be explained by examining OPPORTUNITY gaps…those resources most of us take for granted that poor families don’t, prenatal care, dental care…living and working conditions that are safe…recreation opportunities, with money and time and transportation NON-issues…community and social services access…affordable childcare…enrichment opportunities…a society that validates our efforts. Poor families, because they may be working two or three low-paying jobs, with little free time and no disposable cash, do NOT have these opportunities to support their families.

    We think of their inabilities as deficits, but we must stop…they are barriers to opportunity. Poor families have just as much resiliency as others when we help dismantle the barriers.

    So, how do these gaps affect families’ ability to thrive? Preschool, schools with adequate funding and resources such as libraries, shadow education (those ACT prep classes and tutoring and camp activities WE offer our own kids), support services, high expectations, WELL-PAID, CERTIFIED, EXPERIENCED TEACHERS (not 5-week wonders from TFA), higher-order, challenging curricula, the opportunity to include parents fully in their children’s education. What are the barriers? TIME and TRANSPORTATIOM, a LIVING WAGE, to name a few.

    Gorski lists the ineffective practices in schools: cutting arts and music programs, direct, scripted, instruction, tracking of students, and charter schools.

    He tells us what works: Arts programs, high expectations, higher-order, student-centered pedagogies, movement and PE, relevancy in the schools, teaching everyone about biases, analyzing materials for bias, and my favorite: LITERACY ENJOYMENT!! Woohoo!

    “The most powerful strategy is to create cultures that promote reading enjoyment…literacy instruction should not focus solely on reading or writing mechanics. More to the point, tho, it means that we ought to find ways to foster in students excitement about reading and writing even when they respond reluctantly at first… 1. Institute literature circles 2. Provide reading material options that align with stated interest of students 3. Use a variety of media…that engage students actively and interactively 4. Incorporate drama into literacy instructions.”

    I love the chapter entitled ‘THE MOTHER OF ALL STRATEGIES” and I concur…building relationships IS the mother of all. Relationships with our students and relationships with their parents. It’s not enough to set up conference times and then smugly say, ‘well, we offered time for these parents to come to school. They must not be interested.’ That’s the same as the teacher who says, ‘Well, I taught it, the students didn’t get it.’ I hate both of these messages…they point back to that deficit mindset. We need to ask ourselves how hard we tried…did we take into consideration work schedules, transportation, childcare? Did we really do everything we could to invite parents who may have negative feelings about schools? Did we truly show our value for them and their children? Were we creative in our problem solving, or did we simply shrug and blame the parents?

    I’ve had a couple of conversations with professionals about ‘those parents’ who don’t care…and I’m learning to offer alternative ways of thinking about the facts in a gentle push back. Which leads to the last chapter: SPHERES OF INFLUENCE…what IS my sphere? What can I do?

    He suggests we do our job with sensitivity and…

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