I have been doing research on diversity and educational equity. One particular section/component that I am especially interested in is educating students that live in ‘poverty’ or have low socioeconomic status (SES). I think it’s important to think about your views on diversity because often we believe stereotypes that our culture prescribes to us without actually thinking them through ourselves.
I stumbled on Paul Gorski’s website today and some of what I read definitely made me stop and think. Wow! I recommend checking it out and consider what the impact of our stereotypes might have on the people we know, especially the people that we teach. Have a read of his article called “The Myth of the Culture of Poverty” and ask yourself if you had ever believed in any of the 4 myths that he discusses.
Do students living in poverty get a fair Educational chance in Australia?
“The most destructive tool of the culture of classism is deficit theory. In education, we often talk about the deficit perspective—defining students by their weaknesses rather than their strengths…The implications of deficit theory reach far beyond individual bias. If we convince ourselves that poverty results not from gross inequities (in which we might be complicit) but from poor people’s own deficiencies, we are much less likely to support authentic antipoverty policy and programs. Further, if we believe, however wrongly, that poor people don’t value education, then we dodge any responsibility to redress the gross education inequities with which they contend. This application of deficit theory establishes the idea of what Gans (1995) calls the undeserving poor—a segment of our society that simply does not deserve a fair shake.” (Gorski, 2008).
Gorski, P. (2008). The myth of the culture of poverty. Retrieved on 25 March, 2012 from http://www.ascd.org/publications/educational-leadership/apr08/vol65/num07/The-Myth-of-the-Culture-of-Poverty.aspx