Poverty and education. Students are not to blame: Understanding the structural causes of family poverty

Part 1 of this paper discusses why it is important for educators to challenge assumptions and beliefs about the structural causes of poverty. How we think, feel, and communicate about poverty makes a difference in how students feel about themselves and their school community. This section also draws on educational research to explore conceptual issues around the framing of poverty and children. Part 2 of this paper draws on current policy and statistical reports to examine how economic, political, and social changes over the past decade have contributed to child and family poverty. Improving our understanding of the structural determinants of poverty can help to raise awareness of the external factors that undermine the efforts of many families to achieve economic security. The response of the British Columbia government to the issue of child and family poverty is compared to that of other Canadian provinces. This section concludes by describing poverty reduction strategies proposed by social policy advocates. Implications for the public education system are discussed throughout the paper.

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