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Miseducating Teachers about the Poor: A Critical Analysis of Ruby Payne's Claims about Poverty.

Posted By: Norma Rice on January 20, 2008
Your analytic dissection of Payne's distorted misrepresentation of the millions of people classified as below the poverty line is an intellectually impressive and a badly needed antidote to what is best described as a mean vicious infection that is seemingly impervious to reason, realism, or propriety. When I was introduced to her work by a well meaning teacher 15 years ago, I had never heard of her but recognized in its description a rather weak version of the Cultural Deficit argument that arose in the early 60's in resistance to the initial stages of desegregation. During the 70's (the Nixon years) Cultural Differences displaced Deficits as the basis for exploring the dynamics of the Nation's racial and class legacy for its future as a complex technological global leader. By the 1990s cultural diversity in its various manifestations had become, I thought, the standard lense for enabling our decentralized public school system to create curricula and identities for our students as American citizens. In the middle of that decade I moved to Texas and learned that it was possible to be IN but not OF the United States.

It was while adjusting to the time warp that I heard of Ruby Payne and her obviously defective work. I assumed that she was a fading figment of the time lag that cause that peculiar 1930's sensibility to insert itself in day to day exchanges. To find that she has not only persisted but prospered is disheartening. In light of the success she apparently has achieved, it would appear that Scarlett may have, at last, found a way to save TARA. It is hard not to believe that Karl Rove or some one very much like him is not an intimate advisor. Certainly, Rhett Butler would have nothing to do with her. What I find totally inexplicable is how, when the 'scientific based research' mantra is continually asserted by NCLB supporters, Payne is able to retain the support of the state educational agencies that promote her platform to the local education agencies they serve at the encouragement of the DOE.

It is time for closer scrunity of Payne's support and supporters. Your study makes an erudite and a powerful appeal. I hope that it is put to use to alert educators, politicians, and concern citizens to take action against this discrimanatory fanasty before more people are damaged.
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 Miseducating Teachers about the Poor: A Critical Analysis of Ruby Payne's Claims about Poverty. by Norma Rice on January 20, 2008
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