Social Work and Special Education Students' Attributions of Poverty: A Leadership Opportunity for School Social Workers

By Zosky, Diane L.; Avant, Deneca Winfrey et al. | School Social Work Journal, June 2014 | Go to article overview

Social Work and Special Education Students' Attributions of Poverty: A Leadership Opportunity for School Social Workers


Zosky, Diane L., Avant, Deneca Winfrey, Thompson, James, School Social Work Journal


Introduction

Even today, poverty remains one of America's most incessant social problems. Poverty results in human suffering: despair, low self-esteem, malnutrition, social and emotional isolation, and physical and psychological problems. Populations at risk for poverty include large or oneparent families, older adults, children, women, people of color, and people with disabilities. People living in poverty have greater susceptibility to violent crime, deprivation, marginalization, low living standards, unemployment or low-paying jobs, disabilities, emotional problems, substance abuse, lower educational achievement, racial discrimination, and inadequate housing (Zastrow, 2008). According to Zastrow, people living in poverty are often stigmatized as lacking the ability or motivation for self-sufficiency, are judged as being dependent on others for meeting their needs, and are viewed by society as incapable or lazy.

Children are disproportionately represented in poverty statistics (Children's Defense Fund, 2011). The ramifications on the learning capacity of children who live in poverty are of serious concern. Children who come to school with challenges to their basic needs, such as inadequate nutrition, health care, and housing, are less able to learn. Schools and teachers are ill-equipped to respond to these complex social issues that accompany students to the learning environment.

Many in the helping professions, including teachers and social workers, are concerned with the issue of poverty. Social workers, in particular, are guided by the Code of Ethics of the National Association of Social Workers (NASW, 1999) that encourages advocacy on behalf of vulnerable and oppressed individuals and groups of people. These guiding principles focus on issues of poverty, discrimination, and other forms of social injustice. Social work education strives to sensitize students to the institutionalized structural barriers faced by impoverished populations. These barriers include institutionalized power structures, inequalities perpetuated by public policy, and embedded prejudice and oppression. Curricular content in many teacher education programs may not clearly address these structural issues that are embedded in poverty.

Although nearly all teacher education curricula include a course on the sociopolitical aspects of schooling, there has been pressure to deemphasize issues associated with social justice for well over a decade (Neumann, 2009). For example, in 2006 the nation's largest teacher accrediting organization (the National Council on the Accreditation of Teacher Education, NCATE), removed the term social justice from its professional standards in response to concerns raised by the U.S. Department of Education and others regarding the merits of instruction that is focused on shaping attitudes and dispositions of preservice teachers (Heybach, 2009).

This study explores comparative beliefs about the causes of poverty among undergraduate social work and special education students.

Review of the Literature

Poverty Data

The United States Census Bureau released new data on poverty in America in September 2011. The news was not good for young families and students. The poverty rate in 2010 was 15.1 percent, which was up from 14.3 percent in the previous year (DeNavas-Walt, Proctor, & Smith, 2011)t This was the third consecutive annual increase for poverty in America. This rate represented 46.2 million people in poverty, the highest number of people in poverty for the 52 years that the Census Bureau has been collecting data. The rates increased across racial groups of whites, African Americans, and Hispanics, with no statistically significant change for Asian-Americans.

The increase in poverty rates disproportionately affected young families and students. Poverty rates for families with a head of household older than sixty-five did not appreciably change over the last decade, whereas poverty rates for families with a head of household whose age was between thirty-one and sixty-five increased by 1. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Social Work and Special Education Students' Attributions of Poverty: A Leadership Opportunity for School Social Workers
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.