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

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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 children's 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 expectations-a "deficit perception"-can affect a child's achievement and stresses optimism as a central tenet of elementary schools' 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. Children inevitably endeavor to fit the words, actions, and deeds of those around them into narratives of their own. The authors convey how vitally important it is for members of the education community to work together to ensure that youngsters receive a view of the future that inspires hope and validates the potential of each child.

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Editorial Reviews

Daren Berringer
"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."
Belinda J. Raines
"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.”
Elizabeth Alvarez
"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."
Rebecca S. Compton
"This book is the perfect guide for those administrators and teachers who are truly interested in equalizing educational opportunities at all levels."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781412969031
  • Publisher: Corwin Press
  • Publication date: 7/28/2009
  • Pages: 160
  • Product dimensions: 7.20 (w) x 10.00 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Tish Howard has twenty years of experience as an educator working with children and parents in low SES schools. She has been recognized by the Association of Supervision and Curriculum Development for development of positive school climate. She lives in Alexandria, Virginia.

Sandy Grogan Dresser is a human resources management consultant. She was a public school teacher and administrator for twelve years and lives in Reston, Virginia.

Dennis R. Dunklee is professor emeritus in the Education Leadership Department in the Graduate School of Education at George Mason University. He lives in Fairfax, Virginia.

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Table of Contents

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
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