Qualitative Sociology

, Volume 26, Issue 1, pp 3–34 | Cite as

High Stakes: Time Poverty, Testing, and the Children of the Working Poor

  • Katherine S. Newman
  • Margaret M. Chin


Sociological interest in the implementation of policy generally focuses on the ways a single stream of policy creates a set of measurable consequences either for parents or children. This article takes an ethnographic approach to the study of conflicting policy mandates that collide in the lives of families moving from welfare to work at the same time that schools are implementing high stakes tests and the end of social promotion. We show that these two policies make contradictory demands on parents, to the potential detriment of children. Ethnographic research reveals the ways in which multiple and incompatible forms of policy impact poor families, putting them in the unhappy position of choosing between economic stability or mobility and children's educational performance.

welfare reform testing working poor time poverty children in poverty 


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Copyright information

© Human Sciences Press, Inc. 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Katherine S. Newman
    • 1
  • Margaret M. Chin
  1. 1.School of GovernmentHarvard UniversityCambridge

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