Monday, March 22, 2010
Best Quote I've Heard Today
On my way to sunny San Diego, we passed a casino at 4:00 am on a Sunday morning. The casino was packed. Likewise, on Saturday morning going to a mock trial tournament, we passed the Catfish casino in Burlington,Iowa. That casino was packed too. One of my travel companions had a thought that I think is relevant to teachers.
"One difference between those who live in poverty and those who do not is how they view the results of their choices. A person who lives in poverty might believe that they have to get lucky to escape poverty so they might gamble at a casino. But most of us, (meaning those riding to San Diego) believe that our choices can influence the future. If we work hard, for example, then something good will become of it." I think this captures the essence of poverty. Poverty robs the spirit of hope.
At the heart of economics is a chain of thinking that goes: resources are scare; people must make choices; when people make a choice, there's a cost. The cost is opportunity cost or what you give up. People from poverty think their choices are all or none. It would be hard for me to believe that they make choices at the margin.
Ruby Payne's research shows that children of generational poverty believe that exogenous forces will steal their wealth. Economic hardships will make learning hard for these young people. In the movie, Blind Side, one parent made a difference in a young man's life by "adopting" him. I think more kids need to be paired with community resources so help them combat the exogenous forces that rob children of their wealth and hope.