This chapter in A Framework for Understanding Poverty includes a breakdown of the hidden rules of the classes. There is a quiz for each class where the reader can explore what they know about poverty, middle class, and wealth. Some of the items for the poverty list were:
-which rummage sales have "bag sales" and when.
-which grocery stores' garbage bins can be accessed for thrown-away food.
-how to get someone out of jail.
-how to keep my clothes from being stolen at a laundromat.
-how to use a knife as scissors.
-how to move in half a day.
-how to get by without a car, electricity, a phone, or money to pay the bills.
It's overwhelming the number of my students to whom these issues are no big deal. It's also troublesome that I am living my life operating on the hidden rules of the middle class, and I have little to no idea about the culture of poverty (which is where over half of our student population is classified).
In this chapter, there is also a neat table that explores topics such as money, personality, food, clothing, time, education, destiny, family structure, world view, and even humor as they relate to the various classes. Standing out to me were time and money. With regard to time, in poverty, the present is most important and every decision made is based on feelings or survival. In the middle class, the future is most important and every decision is made based on future impact. In wealth, traditions and history are of utmost importance, therefore every decision is based on tradition and decorum. In terms of money, in poverty it is to be spent, in the middle class it is to be managed, and in wealth it is to be conserved and invested. Very interesting! The question is, how do we fix it? How are we going to help transition students from a culture of poverty to something better?