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What's Lucy Reading?

Lucy Friedman

Lucy Friedman is president of ExpandED Schools.

The Frameworks Institute released a report recently entitled Talking About Poverty that was based on interviews in the UK exploring how the public understands the causes and the effects of poverty. Not surprising – and similar to studies done here in the US – many assigned blame to the choices of people living in poverty and not on the societal structures that perpetuate it. Furthermore, they defined poverty as complete destitution (no clothes, food, shelter) and not as lack of access to things that help people participate in civic and cultural life (such as after-school programs) and ultimately succeed. The Frameworks Institute stresses the importance of making the public understand, both here and abroad, that addressing issues of poverty is not only crucial to those living in it, but imperative to the overall health of society.

Speaking of alleviating poverty, it is no surprise that education is one of the most important levers by which to do so. And within the broad field of education, integrating schools is seen as a critical way to address issues of equity. The New School Center for New York City Affairs released a report, Five Steps to Integrate New York City Elementary Schools. We are paying close attention to policies and actions throughout the city and are heartened by the increasing focus on making our schools more diverse, both ethnically and socio-economically.

Christopher Emdin, associate professor at Columbia University’s Teachers College and author of For White Folks that Teach in the Hood … and the Rest of Y’all Too, writes about urban youth and their brilliance, “just on their own terms.” Dr. Emdin explores methods he has used and observed to be effective in engaging students through bringing their culture into the classroom. We are inspired by this book and it is influencing the teaching methods we promote in our trainings for teachers and community educators.

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