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Blog Entry: A Response to “The Classist Underpinnings of Ruby Payne’s Framework”


by Ruby K. Payne - July 14, 2006

These comments are a response to Paul Gorski’s commentary “The Classist Underpinnings of Ruby Payne’s Framework”.

Gorski states that his lens is critical social theory. My theoretical lens is economic pragmatism. The two theoretical frames are almost polar opposites. While both have something to say to the other, I make no apologies for emphasizing the practical and pragmatic. No one can touch all the bases all the time. Focus is essential.


Gorski’s first argument is that the Framework approach “fails to consider the class inequities that pervade U.S. schools.” My work was designed to help teachers educate so that the class inequities that do pervade U.S. schools are lessened. So the work does not minimize the inequities but speaks to how to address them.


His second argument is that a deficit perspective is used because individual behaviors are examined. Individual behaviors are shaped by environments—by racial, economic, religious, and cultural environments. The rules for survival in poverty are different from the rules for survival in middle class. Schools and businesses operate largely out of middle-class hidden rules. The book gives the hidden rules for surviving in school. Poverty doesn’t make one deficient; schools are simply a different environment. All this has little to do with personal deficit—rather the demands of the environment.


His third argument is that my values are “fundamentally conservative and not transformative.” If economic pragmatism is fundamentally conservative, so be it. However, the work does transform. To educate is to transform.




Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record, Date Published: July 14, 2006
https://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 12593, Date Accessed: 11/29/2021 9:21:28 PM

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About the Author
  • Ruby Payne
    aha! Process, Inc.
    RUBY K. PAYNE, Ph.D., author, speaker, publisher, business owner and career educator, is an expert on the mindsets of economic classes and on crossing socioeconomic lines in education, work, and for social change. Dr. Payne’s work stems from more than 30 years of first-hand experience in the public schools, as head school department head, principal, and central office administrator of staff development. She became known for helping students from all economic backgrounds to achieve academic success. She received her B.A. from Goshen (IN) College, earned a master’s degree in English Literature from Western Michigan University, and her doctorate in Educational Leadership & Policy from Loyola University in Illinois. She has written or co-authored more than a dozen books - with her seminal work, A Framework for Understanding Poverty, having sold over 1,000,000 copies. As founder and president of aha! Process, Inc., she has published more than fifty books and audio-visual products. Dr. Payne presents her work throughout the United States, Canada, and Australia, traveling extensively. She presents a variety of workshops based on her book, A Framework for Understanding Poverty, together with her strategies for successfully raising student achievement and negotiating economic class barriers.
 
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