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 Nickeled and Dimed 
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Joined: Thu Aug 24, 2006 5:25 pm
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Location: Conover, NC
On pages 212-213, Barbara states: The larger society seems to be caught up in a similar cycle: cutting public services for the poor, which are somtimes referred to collectively as the 'social wage,' while investing ever more heavily in prisons and cops.

As teachers, we're told to identify and remediate our at-risk learners/readers because if these things are nipped early, there is less likelihood that problems will develop in the future. I really think that we need to keep resources in our own country to remediate our issues with the poor, welfare, and wages before helping others with their problems. I hate to seem callous and mean, but truly, we need to take care of the poor, dying, uneducated in our own country! We need to start with programs here aimed at education and help with resources to help those in poverty working 3 jobs as a single parent make ends meet. There are programs available, but there are not many in the poverty level who know how to access the programs we do have. There has to be a major overhaul of our social programs and assistance before this problem will every "go away," though I doubt heavily that it will. Books of this nature should be required reading at the high school level. We have kids who will be greatly influenced at this level and who won't want this to happen to them.

One other issue that struck me on page 213 was that the average living wage it $30,000. I don't make much more than this as a teacher. My husband and I are worried about how we'll make ends meet when we start our family. I cannot fathom what it would be to be the adult making less than this on his/her own and trying to keep the family together.

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Lisa Bernosky-Wade
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South Newton Elementary


Mon Oct 02, 2006 7:28 pm
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I agree with you that books like this should be required reading for high school students. I know by this point a lot of students think their future has already been determined by their circumstances. Such as generational poverty. They see their parents working way too hard and not getting anywhere. But readiing something like this might motivate some to get a colledge education and not struggle so much even when working hard. Cedric could also be an inspiration to them.

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Lori Standish


Sun Oct 08, 2006 9:15 pm
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In Ruby Payne's book A Framework for Understanding Poverty she states that "two things that help one move out of povety are education and relationships." Isn't it interesting that we offer both of those in schools. What I think this means to us is that we need to make a concerted effort, early in a students life, to build those relationships, which will in turn create a positive perception of school.

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Melanie Huss


Mon Oct 09, 2006 3:55 pm
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Lisa I was shocked this summer to hear that some states estimate that need for prisons in the future based on elementary test scores. I guess they are just giving up hope to remediate them and really insulting the institution of education itself.

Melanie I agree with what you are saying about building strong relationships with students. We need try to be that strong influence on those children. I'm glad that NC doesn't base the increase in the prison population on test scores. There is no need for that, some children with a little love and understanding can come around. We also need to remember that not all students who don't test well are bad kids. Some are just slow learners.

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Kelly Drum


Mon Oct 16, 2006 9:17 pm
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What great points you all make about the book Nickel and Dimed! If this book were made required reading in high school, I believe many students would change their minds about how they should be preparing for the future. I think getting higher education would be a goal for many students if they did read this book. The faculty at my school is involved in a staff development opportunity on Ruby Payne's book, A Framework for Understanding Poverty. Melanie, it was interesting that you mentioned this book. It has been very interesting to read that one way out of poverty is through education and relationships. We provide education, and we try to build strong relationships in our jobs as teachers. Ruby Payne's book relates so closely to what we are studying in our class. I teach in a school with many students that do come from poverty, and I am constantly thinking about what I have learned through this course, as well as, our staff development on Ruby Payne's book.

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Elizabeth Lawson


Wed Oct 18, 2006 6:50 pm
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I agree fully with Melanie. We do offer education and relationships to all of the children that we work with. I feel that sometimes we get so caught up in the testing aspect of education that our relationships suffer. As teachers and administrators we must try to be present in our students lives. We must find the time to make those connections and build relationships. How many times have I been so preoccupied with other things when students, or for that matter, my own children have attempted to interact with me.

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Mitzi Story


Sun Oct 22, 2006 3:14 pm
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You know it is easy to say, I can't help their home life...or ask how can I help them when home is the issue. I just finished reading School Leadership that Works by Robert Marazano. In it, the authors talk about factors that determine success in school, two of which are home environment and background knowledge. They suggest specific strategies to use to meet these needs. One is to provide training and support to parents to enhance communication with their children about school and expectations. Another is to involve students in out-of-school activities that are academically oriented. And finally to provide indirect experiences that generate virtual experiences that enhance background knowledge (includes direct vocabulary and reading instruction). I just thought this was an interesting addition to the thought of changing a student through relationships and education.

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Melanie Huss


Thu Oct 26, 2006 8:56 am
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