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(2) Economic Studies

Poverty

Some key points to remember:

1. Poverty is relative. If everyone around you has similar circumstances, the notion of poverty and wealth is vague. Poverty or wealth only exists in relationship to known quantities or expectations.

2. Poverty occurs in all races and in all countries. The notion of middle class as a large segment of society is a phenomenon of this century. The percentage of the population that is poor is subject to definition and circumstance.

3. Economic class is a continuous line, not a clear-cut distinction. In 2010, the poverty line in the United States was considered $20,000 for a family of four.

According to census the median household income was $60,000, and 15% of U.S. households earned more than $100,000 per year. Individuals are stationed all along the continuum of income; they sometimes move on that continuum as well.

4. Generational poverty and situational poverty are different. Generational poverty is defined as being in poverty for two generations or longer. Situational poverty is a shorter time and is caused by circumstance (i.e., death, illness, divorce, etc.).

5. This key points are based on patterns. All patterns have exceptions.

6. An individual brings with him/her the hidden rules of the class in which he/she was raised. Even though the income of the individual may raise significantly, many of the patterns of thought, social interaction, cognitive strategies, etc., remain with the individual.

7. Schools and businesses operate from middle-class norms and use the hidden rules of middle class. These norms and hidden rules are not directly taught in schools or in businesses.

8. For our students to be successful, we must understand their hidden rules and teach them the rules that will make them successful at school and at work.

9. We can neither excuse students nor scold them for not knowing; as educators we must teach them and provide support, insistence, and expectations.

10. To move from poverty to middle class or middle class to wealth, an individual must give up relationships for achievement (at least for some period of time).

11. Two things that help one move out of poverty are education and relationships.

12. Four reasons one leaves poverty are: It's too painful to stay, a vision or goal, a key relationship, or a special talent or skill.

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