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WSU: “Understanding the Impact of Poverty on Education” Conference, Feb. 5-7

Poverty is a continuing crisis affecting many lives each year. It particularly impacts children, the way they learn and the decisions families make regarding education. Data shows that poverty affects over eight million children nationally, including 25 percent of Michigan children — over 50 percent of whom live in Detroit.

To explore what can be done to mitigate the impact of poverty on learning,  the College of Education at Wayne State University will host  its third annual conference, “Understanding the Impact of Poverty on Education: Research Symposium and Educational Dialogue” Feb. 5-7, 2014, at the McGregor Memorial Conference Center on the university’s main campus.


This year’s conference will feature a strong community presence. More than 15 local, regional and national nonprofit organizations have partnered with the college to engage with educators from Michigan, Ohio, North Carolina, Texas, Canada, Ghana, and Indonesia. These scholars from around the world will deliver presentations on best practices in working with impoverished and homeless children to encourage academic success, share classroom strategies for better psychological understanding of the trauma of poverty, and much more. 

The conference kicks off Feb. 5 with a free reception and keynote speech that is open to the community. 

Michael Dantley, professor and dean at the School of Education of Loyola University Chicago, will deliver a keynote address, “We Are They and They Are We: The Personal Praxis of Probing Poverty.” Dantley has more than 20 years of experience in higher education, including academic appointments in the School of Education, Health and Society at Miami University. The event will also include a poetry performance by Kinetic Affect, a Michigan-based duo who combined their diverse pasts and powerful voices to create an entirely new spoken word poetry experience.

Prior to the opening reception and keynote speech, registered guests will have an opportunity to attend a pre-conference poverty simulation workshop coordinated by the Steinbruck Center for Urban Studies in Washington, D.C. The workshop is designed enlighten participants regarding the perpetuation of stereotypes and misinformation about the homeless and people living in poverty.  

Ingrid J. Guerra-López, associate professor and director of the Institute for Learning and Performance Improvement in the College of Education, will share her personal experiences with poverty — particularly as an immigrant and daughter of a single mother struggling to learn a new culture and language — and the impact it has had on her life and career. Guerra-López was born in Ecuador and moved to Los Angeles when she was 11. By the time she was 13, she had moved several times and attended eight schools before finding stability in Miami. Carolyn Shields, dean of the College of Education, will take on the issues of poverty from a social justice perspective in her presentation, “America’s Longest War Can Be Won.” Kurt Metzger, director emeritus of Data Driven Detroit, will share demographic data and trends that impact the Detroit community.

Registration for the full three-day conference is $180. Registration is $100 for a single day. Discounted rates are available for community partners, members of nonprofit organizations, students, and Wayne State faculty and staff. For more information or to register, visit www.coe.wayne.edu/poverty




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