Teachers, Ruby Payne, and Moving the Conversation Forward
January 5, 2009
I wrote last week about Scott McLeod’s post on Dangerously Irrelevant about the large number of districts hiring Ruby Payne to speak to issues of childhood poverty in spite of how little evidence there is for most of her claims.
There was a lively discussion in the comments on Scott’s post, and Alice Mercer, one of the women chiming in there, has continued the conversation on the In Practice blog with the first of what she promises will be a series of posts on “Why not ‘cure’ poverty instead”.
The conversation threatens to degenerate into camps of “theorists/ practitioners”, as if those lines are completely clean.
But perhaps, in these ongoing discussions, there’s the chance to move beyond the unfortunate assumption in too much of this discussion that people who critique Payne for ignoring the deeper structural causes of poverty somehow expect teachers to solve problems of poverty themselves or to simply suspend further work in classrooms until all children come to school well fed, toting their photos from Disney World, and dreaming of Harvard.
So, perhaps some of the teachers, scholars, parents, staff people, and the idly curious who read Education and Class could head over there to join the conversation.