“Sadly, the reality is that more and more students entering the educational pipeline have had curdled childhoods.”

It is not poverty per se that distinguishes these students, Karen Gross writes, but it’s a childhood burdened by “hunger, exposure to or experience with drugs, alcohol, abandonment, frequent moves, abuse, self-harm or harm of others.” Do we know which of our students have had these experiences? Probably not. I was surprised to learn that the author of this book, a former college president, lived through four of them as a child. Now her mission is to show us how to help students with “curdled” childhoods succeed academically. The first step, clearly, is to stop making assumptions about our students.

Gross, Karen. Breakaway Learners: Strategies for Post-Secondary Success with At-Risk Students. Teachers College Press, Columbia U., 2017,  p. 25.

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