opening remarks & keynote

yes, the program is broken. (I noticed that yesterday; I almost pulled it apart, but stopped when C rolled his eyes.)

blah blah blah while I get my space setup.

and now the MC, who of course jokes about how they screwed up the program on purpose. ::rolls eyes::

“Education for All: Interrupting Poverty Barriers”

speaker was single mom who got it together with a start at Mt Hood CC.

“you know you need to know your audience”

family was migrant farm workers, cotton & fruit, moving from Arizona up through to WA. “houses that were condemned or should’ve been”

people in poverty are least likely to become education, continuing trend.

study in the 40s, replicated in 2000. 4 of five barriers diminished (geography, religion, race, gender (perhaps “problem” with boys in ed is more about race & poverty?)). some pretty egregious examples of educator attitudes re: race, altho it’s gotten better. no noticable progress on increased education among poor.

“who all’s talking to you about college?” complete silence followed by “don’t you know you’re at the alternative school?” from a student.

“you get an attitude from a lifetime of not having your needs met”

making information more known about financial aid. we could continue to do better on that.

(wow, my class on race, class & gender back at UPS gets me *something* 🙂 as in, I’m the only person in the room who learned anything in school about history of poverty in the US)

the meaning of school pictures in the context of poverty: the lack of personal history, no one cares. (we did almost always get the smallest possible set of pictures, when I was a kid.)

she’s the only person in her family who hasn’t been incarcerated (“and not because I haven’t broken the law”) — brother: “those two people in that great big house with all that stuff didn’t need it” 30k year/person for prison.

poor people interact with 4 groups of people who are making it: judicial people, educators, social service, health care…who are all trained not to get personal/close with the people they interact with. (mmmm…folks like Mom….)

most empowering thing to people in poverty is to learn about poverty.

350 families a day get their water shut off everyday in Portland.

the rotten teeth effect. (don’t get me started.)
ability to cope with social/personal problems (drugs, alcohol, child abuse) all stunted in cases of poverty.

women in poverty in US: same infant mortality rate as Malaysia.

structural causes of poverty.

basic literacy issues. personal story of the GREs, and those word comparison problems. (SATs were much the same, as I remember them. of course, I did absurdly well at them, but they don’t have much bearing on a whole hell of a lot.) brother is very well read, but can’t pronounce anything, and she used him as a resource to comprehend her texts. and the problem of phonetic spelling. (like Elizabeth!) and she used her daughter to help her take notes. (like me grammar-checking mom’s college papers.)

every country teaches it people what they need to belong. as explanation of buying shoes, phones, tvs, etc. vs other stuff that has an opportunity to increase long-term success. “might as well get it and we’ll figure out how to pay for it somehow”

problems finding research on generational poverty (vs immigrant, temporary, working-class) — most people studying are looking in from the outside.

her book: “See Poverty: Be the Difference” — stories, research, activities.

comparing dire/generational poverty to people’s perceptions of being poor, esp. temporary middle-class poverty. (which was my experience.) it seems like the big difference is whether a person knows people (well) who have benefitted from education.

what is the meaning of a “job”? horrible hard work that takes you away from your family vs. stability and financial success. a different kind of conversation, one that takes a lot more time.

68% of people in her research, when they deal with professionals, walk away not knowing what they’re supposed to do next. THIS IS REALLY IMPORTANT.

she keeps having trouble with her computer, but her talking doesn’t really need the visuals.

generational — working poor — immigrant — depression era — situational: differences in attitude, locus of control, internalization, barriers.

got $408 in welfare, $395 for rent. when she got evicted, was sent to money mgmt classes! wtf.

did exercise at Mt Hood, write down everything you do in a week, and then matches things from that list to professions.

professional titles are intimidating.

“you’ve got to become bilingual.” — from one of her college teachers. started with reading the paper. seems like the struggles with black english; having to go from a “home” language to middle class English. “siop”

her pilot group got housing, which was an important difference. (material reality matters a hell of a lot more than anything else, really.) build partnerships with orgs that do other things.

she had never heard a middle-class person’s life story. helped to externalize the poverty. it sounds like the approach was very much like my experience with getting out of depressive states: start where you are and take very small steps. way more help than you’d think someone should need. and recognizing visible improvement, no matter how small.

“human beings who stepped outside of their job description” (also VERY important point)

“the question is: did she get educated?”

the increasing class separation in America is going to send us to hell.

(find her site)

q: how do siblings regard her? a lot of research says you have to leave family behind, but she’s very close to them. 2 brothers have gotten BAs. lots of family have gone through exact same degrees; brings people into the comfort zone. other 3 can’t read & write, but want to. “education meant stress” (getting there on time, being right, wearing right clothes) seems a lot like other middle/upper-class attitudes with tearing people away from “less than” backgrounds.

q: how large a population is generational poverty? what’s the distribution? $19k+/year for family of 4, doesn’t include transportation, child care, health care as costs. (one estimate is it should be $30k) 37 million from census, could be double. “little katrinas going on all over the nation” data isn’t sorted that way.

q: what do you see that’s successful? [missed some of this because handouts were coming through] she has a poverty comprehension assessment tool.

q: what do we do to educate policy makers? she speaks regularly at an elite private school, asks about attitudes (pretty lousy) towards people in poverty, and those are who are going to be the policy makers & professionals.

the communications handout would be good to distribute through advising, financial aid, other front-line staff. outreach?

q: within families, how old are kids usually when they see their poverty, believing they don’t have any options? at all ages; shows progression of facial expressions in school pictures. terrible education story. (some teachers just suck, esp. with students who aren’t “good” students.) her son brings her kids in trouble all the time.