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Opinion
Jodi Rave: Writer's views on poverty draw heat


"Who is Ruby Payne? And why should anyone care? Payne wrote a book in demand by educators who are using it as a guide to teach poverty-ridden students about the �hidden rules� of the middle class. School administrators also pay her thousands of dollars to teach workshops, which promote her theory-based ideas. And while middle-class educators tend to embrace her teachings, a growing number of others are revolting against her teachings. Her work, they say, promotes stereotypes, lacks research and devalues students of color while ignoring pertinent issues, such as gender, culture and race.

The message isn't being lost on many communities of color.

�Indian people are like, �Aha, we've been saying this for years,' � said Ellen Swaney, director of American Indian/minority achievement for the Montana University System, who helped organize the 2006 Conference on Race. She invited Ahlquist to help broaden discussion of Payne's work.

Mike Jetty, a conference participant and former adjunct instructor at Montana State University, said he used to critique Payne's work. �She has this list: Could you survive in poverty? Could you survive in wealth? Could you survive in middle class? Some of those things, as I looked at them, I thought these could really perpetuate stereotypes of people in poverty.

�Ruby's position re-instills a Christian paradigm of charity and sin and so on,� said Kate Shanley, the University of Montana's Native American Studies Department director. �It's very Christian in shape, and it reinstates the hierarchal notion as opposed to allowing people to come as full partners in conversation.

�It isn't openly hostile and racist, but it is racist in its condescension.�"

Get the Story:
Writer panned by educators for stereotypes, treatment of students of color (The Missoulian 12/1)

Relevant Links:
Jodi Rave - http://www.missoulian.com/jodirave

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