The Economic and Opportunity Gap has a great deal of information, ideas and resources focused on children and families living in poverty. Specifically, how teachers and other professionals working with students can reflect, improve, and implement inclusive practices. The information in this book is based in research, such as the foundational starting piece that nearly one-fourth of our children in the United States are living in poverty, a whopping 21%. This number, one that is doubled in some communities and does not consider children in families near the poverty line, is striking when compared to other similarly situated countries. Understanding that many students and families are on the trajectory of poverty will come to light as readers make their way through from statistics, to research, to definitions, to action items.
Anni K. Reinking specializes in early childhood education and multicultural education. She currently provides training in topics focused on poverty, trauma, multicultural education, and developmentally appropriate practice. Her research agenda has consistently focused on multicultural education and social justice.
Theresa M. Bouley is a professor of education at Eastern Connecticut State University. She specializes in reading/language arts and teaches courses primarily in early literacy, reading/writing development, pedagogy and assessment. Her research agenda has consistently been focused on multicultural education and social justice.
Chapter 1: What is Poverty?
Chapter 2: Mindsets
Chapter 3: Theories of Poverty
Chapter 4: Poverty as Trauma
Chapter 5: Homelessness
Chapter 6: Economic Shaming, Food Shaming, Behavior Shaming
Chapter 7: The Importance of Building Positive Relationships and School Climates
Chapter 8: Supporting Ourselves, and Each Other
Chapter 9: Supporting Families: Community Resources and More
Chapter 10: Student-Centered Intentional Teaching
Chapter 11: Literature-Based Lesson Plans
The book fills a void in teacher education that has remained vacant for far too long. Teachers are not always aware of the impact that poverty has on their students because they are so focused on content and testing. The book did an excellent job of making educators aware of the many complexities that their students who live in poverty face. The most poignant part of the book for me focused on the idea of chronic toxic stress and how this will affect student achievement and development and is a key to impress upon educators. Additionally, I felt that this was a book for a veteran teacher more so than a teacher education student or novice teacher. There are so many variables discussed in the book that I could see a novice educator feeling either overwhelmed or guilted into despair. I feel that the goal was to make educators aware of the issues their students face, but it came off so strong that it may cause some to think that there will never be a solution.
This book blends research, theory, and practical opportunities for educators to reflect on their own beliefs and practices when working with children and families that experience poverty. Reflection questions prompt readers to apply the knowledge and concepts to classroom experience. Concepts such as implicit bias, anti-bias curriculum, and culturally relevant and responsive pedagogy are explained based on current U.S. perspectives and global trends. Educators are encouraged to examine the cultural, social, and economic aspects of poverty and the impact of poverty on brain development, resilience, and academic achievement. Highly recommended for professionals across educational settings seeking to engage in inclusive practices and improve school climate.
Childhood poverty has been a stain on the United States for decades, and the anger, resentment, and problems it causes are bubbling up more now than ever before. Reinking and Bouley not only diagnose the problem, but also offer practical, evidence-based solutions. They show that we don’t have to settle with having so many children living in poverty in our country, feeling like strangers in their own communities. We can do better. Their book is required reading for anyone concerned about the direction our country is heading in.
This text is a ground-breaking introduction to research and applications for welcoming and nurturing children from families living with the challenges of poverty. From diverse perspectives on poverty, the authors review research on mindsets, anti-bias, cultural relevant and responsive teaching, the implications of theories on poverty, homelessness, and poverty-induced trauma. They discuss strategies for reconceptualizing schooling to enhance positive school climates, eliminate economic shaming, support educators to avoid burnout, build strong connections with families and communities, and develop student-centered intentional teaching and learning. The text concludes with literature-based lesson plans aligned with PK-12 curriculum. A valuable text that will serve as a foundation for renewed conversations in equity in education and society.