Leaving Home

In A Framework for Understanding Poverty, Payne looks at the difficulties associated with moving from poverty to the middle class. She suggests that “. . . in order to move from poverty to middles class or from middle class to wealth, one must trade off some relationships for achievement at least for a period of time (Payne 65).” At points in the book, she goes so far as to say one must break off ties with friends and family during the transition from poverty to middle class, adding that once you have established yourself in the middle class, you can revisit former relationships.

Her argument feels extreme at times, but it underscores the need for students to join the academic community–especially students that are coming from families with lower levels of education. I’m not so sure it is critical to break relationships, but I am certain that students from lower SES backgrounds need to form new relationships with faculty, students and college personnel if they are to have a successful college experience.

My question goes out to faculty and staff that work at commuter schools serving lower income students. How do you get your students to transition from their pre-college network of relationships to a new network of relationships at the college?

See more ideas at www.cerritos.edu/ifalcon.

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4 Responses to Leaving Home

  1. ifalconatcerritoscollege says:

    Bryan, I think it’s a difficult task to get students to see that as they soar, they will have to leave behind some of their relationships and shift others to a different kind of interaction. Richard Rodriguez writes about this exact thing in “The Hunger of Memory.” iFALCON will go a long way in helping students realize why and how their efforts in college are worth it. Lynn

  2. Kay says:


    You would be interested in Vincent Tinto’s model on students departure that focuses on students’ integration into the college life and how in order for students to persist and become successful they would have to separate themselves from their family and high school friends and indentify with and embrace the values of the institution that they enrolled in, as well as the values of their professors and academic peers. -KVN

    • bryanreece says:

      Very interesting. I know Tinto’s work but I was not aware of this finding in his literature. This is particulalry relavent given the recent student engagement survey results. Joining the academic community is the lowest scored characteristic on the survey. We need to adopt an institutional strategy that encourages students to LINK UP.

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