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.