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Poverty Is NOT a Learning Disability

Poverty Is NOT a Learning Disability
Equalizing Opportunities for Low SES Students

Edited by:

July 2012 | 160 pages | Corwin
This book is designed to improve the education of elementary school children with low school-readiness skills (low SES children) by preventing their misidentification as learning disabled. It is built on the premise that the time and money spent on special education services will be better used if educators focus on the needs of children with low school readiness skills before their deficits become so great that neither intervention nor remediation will work, and before the childrenÆs self perceptions are so badly damaged that they quit trying to succeed and accept failure.Poverty Is NOT a Learning Disability challenges educators and parents to consider how low expectationsùa ôdeficit perceptionöùcan affect a child's achievement and stresses optimism as a central tenet of elementary schoolsÆ day-to-day teaching/learning programs and school-community relationships. The authors emphasize that an attitude of optimism is strongly connected to hope for the future and crucial to providing children with a positive vision of what they can accomplish. This resource also covers how to build trusting relationships throughout the school community, among teachers, administrators, the school staff, and parents.áChildren inevitably endeavor to fit the words, actions, and deeds of those around them into narratives of their own. The authors conveyáhow vitally important it is forámembers of the education community to work togetheráto ensure that youngstersáreceive a view of the future that inspires hope and validates the potential of each child.
About the Authors
1. The Changing Realities of America's Public Education: Foundational Facts and Implications


School Readiness

Lack of Parent Involvement

Deficit Perceptions

Special Education and NCLB


2. The Unfortunate Link Between Low Socioeconomic Status and Learning Disabilities
Understanding Learning Disabilities

Poverty Is Not a Learning Disability

Educators' Lack of Understanding of Poverty

Teachers' Role in Learning Disability Referrals

The Cost of Misidentifying Children as Learning Disabled


3. Teaching Strategies and Techniques Proven to Work With Low SES Children
Four Teaching Strategies That Work

Creating a Positive Climate for Instruction


4. The Importance of Strong School-Home Relationships in Educating Low SES Children
The Importance of Parent Involvement

The Importance of Home-Based Involvement

The Importance of School Climate

Meeting the Challenges Presented by Low SES Neighborhoods

Embracing Cultural Diversity


5. How Strong School-Business Relationships Can Benefit Low SES Students
Creating a Partnership With Structure and Reciprocity

Looking Beyond Dollars in School-Business Partnerships

Recognizing the Partnership Value of Small Local Businesses


6. The Role Networking Can Play in the Effective Education of Low SES Students
Networking With Central Offices

Networking Beyond the School District


7. Managing Change Successfully
Why People Resist Change

Strategies to Reduce Resistance to Change and Promote Successful Implementations


8. Selecting the Right People
Identifying the Characteristics and Qualifications You're Looking For

Assessing Your Faculty and Staff's Strengths and Weaknesses to Clarify Your Needs

Communicating Your Needs and Interests to Human Resources

Structuring the Interview Process

Managing the Interview and Selection Process


9. Identifying the Core and Individual Competencies That Promote the Most Successful Learning Environment
What We Mean by Competencies

Identifying Core School and Individual Competencies That Promote Student Success


10. Identifying Expectations and Managing Performance
Some Basic Assumptions

Communicating Your Expectations

Managing Performance Around Your Expectations

Providing Constructive Feedback


11. A Proven Approach to Improving Educational Opportunities for Low SES Children
Professional Climate

Behavioral Climate

Community Climate

Instructional Practices


12. Summary and Conclusions
Being the Leader in Your School

Making the Most of an "Ambiguous" Situation


"This book is more than well-researched theory. This is a lifelong study in practical experience that proves once again that the value of building relationships within a community is vital to success."

Daren Berringer, Political Consultant
Joe Trippi & Associates

"An excellent book. This book embodies a powerful message that covers all the necessary steps to help transform individual mind-sets regarding poverty and learning disabilities.”

Belinda J. Raines, Principal
Northwestern High School, Detroit, MI

"The issues with special education are rarely addressed because many educators themselves do not feel qualified to tackle the concerns. This book allows the reader to see that there is a need to reform special education and to give a hard look at what we are doing and to begin making a change not only for special education, but for all students, so that as educators we lead them on the road to success."

Elizabeth Alvarez, Assistant Principal
John C. Dore Elementary School, Chicago, IL

"This book is the perfect guide for those administrators and teachers who are truly interested in equalizing educational opportunities at all levels."

Rebecca S. Compton, Professor of Elementary Education
East Central University

Sample Materials & Chapters


Chapter 1

Lizette Y. Howard

Lizette (Tish) Howard has 20 years of experience as an educator working with children and parents in low socioeconomic schools. She is an elementary principal in a Title I school in which 43 percent of its families are classified as living in poverty. In this position, Howard is responsible for the design and implementation of numerous programs and a school climate that raised the level of student academic success and closed the achievement gap between students of poverty and those residing in homes of economic stability. Howard works with parents, civic associations, clergy, and the business community to level the economic playing field... More About Author

Sandy Grogan Dresser

Sandy Grogan Dresser is a human resources management consultant who consults with clients in the areas of compensation, performance management, management development, employee communications, and human resources policy and administration. She has more than 30 years experience in the field of human resources management, including six years in her private consulting practice and 15 years as an assistant vice president with Aon Consulting in Bethesda, Maryland. Prior to joining Aon, Dresser served as a human resources director in both the public and private not-for-profit sectors. She has also served as an executive development consultant to... More About Author

Dennis R. Dunklee

Dr. Dennis R. Dunklee is an Emeritus Professor in the Education Leadership Department in the Graduate School of Education at George Mason University. During his twenty-five years in public schools, he served as a teacher, elementary school principal, junior high and middle school principal, high school principal, and central office administrator. During his more than twenty years at George Mason University, he taught courses in education law and school leadership and served as an advisor and chair for master’s and doctoral candidates in school leadership.Because of his expertise and practical experience, he continues to be frequently... More About Author

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ISBN: 9781412969048

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