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The Classist Underpinnings of Ruby Payne's Framework


by Paul Gorski — February 09, 2006

Ruby Payne and her book, A Framework for Understanding Poverty are standard fare in multicultural education classes, school staff development workshops, and the general educational milieu. But an analysis of her work, particularly from an equity and social justice perspective, reveals a steady stream of assumptions, stereotypes, and misperceptions which may actually contribute to classist policy and practice instead of creating an equitable learning environment for students in poverty. The purpose of this essay is to uncover these assumptions, stereotypes, and misperceptions by exploring three themes in Payne’s work: (1) a failure to consider systemic class inequities in schools, (2) a reliance on the cultural deficit perspective; and (3) fundamentally conservative underlying values.


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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record, Date Published: February 09, 2006
http://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 12322, Date Accessed: 4/18/2014 1:32:33 AM

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About the Author
  • Paul Gorski
    Hamline University
    E-mail Author
    PAUL GORSKI is an assistant professor in the Graduate School of Education at Hamline University. He is an active consultant, conducting workshops and guidance to schools and educational organizations committed to equity and diversity. Gorski is actively involved in the National Association for Multicultural Education (NAME), serving on its board of directors.
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