Conference "Shines a Light " on the Effects of Poverty on Teaching and Learning
KEENE, N.H. 3/24/06 - New Hampshire has the highest per capita income in the United States, but the income disparity between towns within a 50-mile radius of the Keene State College campus can be huge. According to a 2004 N.H. Dept. of Education report, 21 percent of the students in the Monadnock Region schools are eligible for free or reduced lunch (a common measure of poverty) - nearly three times higher than the number of people living below the federal poverty line in Cheshire County (8 percent), and statewide (6.5 percent).
Many of these children and families are clustered in low-income towns where public schools struggle to educate the neediest and most complex children. Neighboring communities may see little poverty and have trouble understanding the issues surrounding children living in generational poverty.
The effects of poverty on teaching and learning are the focus of a two-day conference that will be held in the Lloyd P. Young Student Center at Keene State College from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. on Friday, April 7 (registration begins at 5:30 p.m.), and from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 8. All events are free and open to the public. Donations will be accepted to support ongoing conversations after the conference. The conference is sponsored by the Principals Residency Network, the LOFT Foundation, and the Campus Commission on Diversity and Multiculturalism.
Roundtables, workshops, and seminars will be held on topics including how socioeconomic issues influence teachers, using student activism as a tool to create educational equality, how to increase parental involvement in low-income homes, the relationship between trauma and homelessness, the role of social workers in the schools, and how employers can better understand the impact of poverty on job seekers.
Three keynote speakers will address the conference. Rob Fried, associate professor of education at Northeastern University, will present "There Is No Free (or Reduced) Lunch," at 7:15 p.m. on Friday, April 7, in the Mabel Brown Room of the Student Center. Fried is the author of The Passionate Teacher, The Passionate Learner, and The Game of School: Why we all play it, how it hurts, and what it will take to change it.
Michelle Kennedy, author of the memoir Without a Net, Middle Class and Homeless (with Kids) in America: My Story, will speak at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday, April 8, in the Mabel Brown Room, Student Center. Kennedy is an author, columnist, and the mother of four children. She has written a series of parenting books called the Last Straw Strategies.
PBS independent filmmaker David Sutherland will speak on Saturday, April 8, at 1:15 p.m., in the Mabel Brown Room of the Student Center. His documentary portraits include Country Boys, The Farmer's Wife, Out of Sight, and Paul Cadmus: Enfant Terrible at 80. David Sutherland's last two PBS specials have dealt with people living beyond the established lines of poverty.
For information please contact Tom McGuire at email@example.com or 603-358-2304. To register please contact Mark Taft at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.keene.edu/ps/poverty.cfm.