The poor think differently than you

My post about socioeconomic blindness triggered a memory of a study from a few years ago that shows that poor kids really do think differently from rich kids.  This is both fascinating and completely understandable.

There is an immediacy to being poor.  It’s very hard to plan a future when so many resources are spent providing for now.  This immediacy causes all sorts of problems, as shown by the kids in the study.  Throwing poor kids into a classroom and expecting them to learn because it’ll be good for them in 20 years is like giving a bear a honeycomb and telling it that it can either have that or the giant barrel of honey just in the next room.  The sad thing is that so many people then blame the kids for failing.

The good news is that there are tools that we already know will work that can help these kids.  The bad news is that society has decided that teachers are greedy and lazy and evil and we spend way too much on education already so getting them those tools will be nigh impossible.  And this is an area where rich people think like poor people.  They are too blind to see that spending some extra money now could mean huge savings in the future, with respect to necessary social services that many people would also like to see cut.

5 thoughts on “The poor think differently than you

  1. Nora Candela

    Did you see that PBS Frontline documentary “Poor Kids”? It was sad, and very much supports the points you make here.

  2. Pingback: Being poor | A Little Rebellion

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