Great question, great Brookings institutional answer. I was watching Larry Elders on Rubin Report and he was agreeing to some of this.
My personal students, names changed of course.
John, entered GED program at 20, Latino, highly sexual, worked full time. Dropped out of program, I opened an additional program, he wanted in but I encouraged him to go back to program 1. He did. Got GED. Got in college, transferred to specialized college for fashion marketing. He's now 25-26. But at 20 he had first baby, this week his posted ultrasound of second. Not married. Working towards his BA, has fashion line project, had interned. I think he'll break the odds because he's now deeply acclimated into and environment that's middle class and higher, educating and has built self motivation.
Jordan ,John's best friend, same age, Latino, first child two years ago, not married, working full time. No GED completion. Wants to be a model. Great personality, broken, dysfunctional family. I fear life will crush his spirit because his faith is built on superficiality and bluntly say he got a modeling contract, could he even comprehend it? Two male models make less than women and have shorter career spans. Forecast doesn't look good.
Bobby. Works diligently full time to support daughter. He's almost 30, she's 8. Got ged four years ago, chugging through school. Bright. Family dysfunction, like high end but they achieved middle class ish, barely. He lacks a concrete plan. He's the smartest and brightest in his family but he's alone. Poverty family dysfunction and his own issues make forecast iffy. Eventually I think he'll tire of treading water.
Billy. Gay. Black, Latino. Broken dysfunctional family, on welfare 20 plus years. Abandoned homeless. We got him through school, into college but his emotional issues and chronic homelessness hamper him. So a two year degree is into year five now. While children are choice for him, I think the same lifetime issue of HIV will catch him as he'll get infected one day out of things he situationally has to do. Very intelligent but forecast is difficult. Its predicated on a lot ifs... if he does, if he doesn't.
Robert. 30. Did four years in prison for teenage crime. No ged yet but he tries, family sabotages him repeatedly. First baby year old. No job. Very intelligent, very moral. Trapped in family, life. Forecast: Dim. Probably jail.
Don. 28. 1 child. At 26. But incredibly hard working, mature, diligent. No ged. Illegal immigrant. Long term relationship but no marriage because of status. Forecast: Will work to hidden low middle level. Son will achieve middle class.
Just s handful of some of students, there are success stories but they came from middle class, no children, no marriage, gay, straight, etc.
Ruby Payne's work helped me immensely understand my students poverty detriments. It I a learned behavior that had to be be over-taught, approximately 3-5 years for them to shift.
But several of the above don't want to shift because poverty I familiar, simpler, less demanding. The repetition of parents mistakes seems inevitable.
As a teacher it feels like trying to psychically change a schizophrenic. They even understand poverty behaviors but circumstances prevent change.
Marriage is a big plus because two brains are better than one but it must be to a spouse slightly higher to pull someone along, lovingly. I would say that was the biggest obstacle, I wasn't in a deeper, romantic, more influencing relationship with them. So I was a mentor, father figure but they had skewed ideas of those roles. Love was either parental or sexual and parents were revered, mothers but not wholly respected so I was like an ombudsman.
I regularly bought condoms and stressed birth control to all of the above. The eight year old preceded my time with the father but all the other children were born after meeting me. Poverty provides few pleasures, they were all manically, often obsessively seeking relationships, temporary or other for sex and emotional surcease. They can't slow down so children become inevitable. When I suggested waiting traveling, building a life not having children until after thirty to lessen responsibility that incurs poverty, to a man they thought I was insane. Breeding is status in poverty. Breeding offsets lack of manhood validation from peers. And welfare offsets dying.
You can't get most full time work without ged, most needed to survive so they did legal, under the table, illegal, sex work, drug dealing to survive, all of which impaired ged attainment. A catch 22 for those who can't focus or balance more than one thing.
Annette Lareau books also teach that middle class Is a learned, taught skill set.
The poor need classes teaching social class movement and advancing basic then college education. They can understand middle class and higher exist nut they can't understand how to navigate applications, I'd, references, legalities, paperwork, time, professionality, assertive vs aggressive, love without sex---non transaction based friendship....most of them seriously hit on me, offered sex even when it was not their sexuality because its all they had to repay me with. Some other teachers played with that, preyed on it because technically the poor, disenfranchised are adults so it's not illegal just immoral.
Ruby Payne, Annette Lareau, Rueven Feuerstein . Great works.
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