Many thanks to Paul Gorski and ASCD for bringing reality (and research) to bear on the crippling, stereotypical educational philosophy that poor people are a monolithic, anti-education human wasteland.
I also appreciate the comments on the article, especially those that "get" what I think is Gorski's main point: It's teachers' expectations of poor children that do the most damage to their academic achievement.
Back when I was student teaching, my supervising teacher oriented me to her class by reciting a tired litany of how the students were from a lower socioeconomic group, and why I shouldn't get my hopes up about teaching them "too much." Her approach was not to teach them at all. She accepted whatever they turned in (this was an English class) and graded it based more on pity than content. Simultaneously, she clearly and verbally held most of the students and their parents in contempt for their "lack of interest in education."
During that same semester, the school was involved in a fundraising effort that required students to bring in sales receipts for purchases their families made at a particular grocery store chain. This teacher sat in the faculty lounge ridiculing these families on their choices (many purchased with food stamps), as in "what business do they have buying X brand, they're supposed to be poor...." That struck a nerve with me because my last year in teacher ed and my first two years as a FULL TIME teacher in MS, my family of six qualified for food stamps and my kids for free or reduced lunch in the school system (and my husband was working full-time at a minimum wage job...what does that tell you about our teacher salaries?). It was her disdain for the children and their families that I remember and that the children perceived in her classroom demeanor.
She was too happy to turn the class over to me and hide out in the teacher's lounge for the duration of my student teaching, which remains one of the best times of my teaching career. Not only did I complete my requirements as a student teacher, but also the students proved themselves capable of much higher levels of learning than they had been given opportunity to attempt. It was not so much that I was all that great a teacher (it was my student teaching semester, after all), but that I took their learning personally. When I looked at the class, I saw my own children, who were all in the same school district and would pass through that same school. How, I asked myself, would I want my children to be taught?
That experience helped shape me as a teacher and has undergirded my teaching practice over the years. To paraphrase Lisa Delpit, we should be teaching other people's children as if they were our own.