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Poverty Is NOT a Learning Disability
Howard, Tish

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Über den Autor

Lizette (Tish) Howard has 20 years of experience as an educator working with children and parents in low socioeconomic schools. She is an elementary principal in a Title I school in which 43 percent of its families are classified as living in poverty. In this position, Howard is responsible for the design and implementation of numerous programs and a school climate that raised the level of student academic success and closed the achievement gap between students of poverty and those residing in homes of economic stability. Howard works with parents, civic associations, clergy, and the business community to level the economic playing field for disadvantaged students and has implemented numerous initiatives to provide the necessary background knowledge many children from poverty lack when entering school.

Prior to her role as a school administrator, Howard served 10 years as a speech and language pathologist with a full caseload of language delayed children. She spent eight of those 10 years delivering services to emotionally disturbed adolescent males in an alternative educational setting. It was in that capacity that Howard introduced inclusion language therapy to her school district as opposed to the standard pull-out method. This form of therapeutic delivery is now widely used districtwide.

Howard has served as an education consultant for local preschool and summer camp experiences. She designed an educational summer experience for low socioeconomic children that focused on providing a foundation for the academic challenges they would face in the upcoming academic year. She also served on the Minority Student Achievement Board for her school system and has presented programs on intervention methods at the local school and university level.

Howard earned her bachelor's and master's degrees in speech and language pathology from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and her PhD in education leadership from George Mason University. While completing her postgraduate work, Howard was a contributing writer to the USA Today educational web site, and she continues to mentor prospective administrators through the university mentoring program. She has been nominated for Principal of the Year honors in her school district, recognized by the Association of Supervision and Curriculum Development for development of positive school climate, and featured in numerous television and print articles.


About the Authors
1. The Changing Realities of America's Public Education: Foundational Facts and Implications
School Readiness
Lack of Parent Involvement
Deficit Perceptions
Special Education and NCLB
2. The Unfortunate Link Between Low Socioeconomic Status and Learning Disabilities
Understanding Learning Disabilities
Poverty Is Not a Learning Disability
Educators' Lack of Understanding of Poverty
Teachers' Role in Learning Disability Referrals
The Cost of Misidentifying Children as Learning Disabled
3. Teaching Strategies and Techniques Proven to Work With Low SES Children
Four Teaching Strategies That Work
Creating a Positive Climate for Instruction
4. The Importance of Strong School-Home Relationships in Educating Low SES Children
The Importance of Parent Involvement
The Importance of Home-Based Involvement
The Importance of School Climate
Meeting the Challenges Presented by Low SES Neighborhoods
Embracing Cultural Diversity
5. How Strong School-Business Relationships Can Benefit Low SES Students
Creating a Partnership With Structure and Reciprocity
Looking Beyond Dollars in School-Business Partnerships
Recognizing the Partnership Value of Small Local Businesses
6. The Role Networking Can Play in the Effective Education of Low SES Students
Networking With Central Offices
Networking Beyond the School District
7. Managing Change Successfully
Why People Resist Change
Strategies to Reduce Resistance to Change and Promote Successful Implementations
8. Selecting the Right People
Identifying the Characteristics and Qualifications You're Looking For
Assessing Your Faculty and Staff's Strengths and Weaknesses to Clarify Your Needs
Communicating Your Needs and Interests to Human Resources
Structuring the Interview Process
Managing the Interview and Selection Process
9. Identifying the Core and Individual Competencies That Promote the Most Successful Learning Environment
What We Mean by Competencies
Identifying Core School and Individual Competencies That Promote Student Success
10. Identifying Expectations and Managing Performance
Some Basic Assumptions
Communicating Your Expectations
Managing Performance Around Your Expectations
Providing Constructive Feedback
11. A Proven Approach to Improving Educational Opportunities for Low SES Children
Professional Climate
Behavioral Climate
Community Climate
Instructional Practices
12. Summary and Conclusions
Being the Leader in Your School
Making the Most of an "Ambiguous" Situation


This book is designed to improve the education of elementary school children with low school-readiness skills (low SES children) by preventing their misidentification as learning disabled. It is built on the premise that the time and money spent on special education services will be better used if educators focus on the needs of children with low school readiness skills before their deficits become so great that neither intervention nor remediation will work, and before the childrenÆs self perceptions are so badly damaged that they quit trying to succeed and accept failure.Poverty Is NOT a Learning Disability challenges educators and parents to consider how low expectationsùa ôdeficit perceptionöùcan affect a child's achievement and stresses optimism as a central tenet of elementary schoolsÆ day-to-day teaching/learning programs and school-community relationships. The authors emphasize that an attitude of optimism is strongly connected to hope for the future and crucial to providing children with a positive vision of what they can accomplish. This resource also covers how to build trusting relationships throughout the school community, among teachers, administrators, the school staff, and parents.áChildren inevitably endeavor to fit the words, actions, and deeds of those around them into narratives of their own. The authors conveyáhow vitally important it is forámembers of the education community to work togetheráto ensure that youngstersáreceive a view of the future that inspires hope and validates the potential of each child.