An exploratory study of the perceptions and experiences of u.s.-born latino parents in a high-poverty urban school district in relation to their role in the education of their children
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The purpose of this qualitative interpretive research study was to explore the perceptions and experiences of seven second- and third-generation U.S.-born Latino parents in a high-poverty urban school district in Texas regarding their role in their children’s schooling. Specifically, this study was organized to understand what the selected Latino parents perceived as parent involvement, what expectations they had of the school and, conversely, what expectations the school personnel had of them, and finally, what perceptions the parents held about their role in school-parent activities. Though parent involvement is considered to be one of the most important factors in a child’s success in school, this study also explored the perceived chasm in the alignment between the school and the home of the U.S.-born Latino family. The interpretative approach and dialogical exchange, through a semi-structured interview process, provided the opportunity to add the voices of second- and third-generation U.S.–born Latino parents to the current discourse about parent involvement. All of the participants met a general description as a second- or third-generation U.S.-born Latino, whose primary language is English, whose children have been involved in the identified school system for at least five years and were academically successful, and who the school considered to be uninvolved in the schooling process. The data analysis process involved a methodical process of breaking down the information presented in in-depth interview transcripts, observation, field notes, documents, and participant and researcher texts. By using a focused coding technique, patterns or concepts that best represented the participants’ voices surfaced. The codes were reviewed and categories or themes were then developed. The parents’ voices also provided information suggesting that the perceived lack of participation in the sanctioned school activities by some U.S.–born Latino parents stems from an apparent failure on the part of school personnel to recognize the cultural capital and richness of the culturally diverse household. Specifically, through the theoretical framework of funds of knowledge, the stories of the seven second- and third-generation U.S.-born Latinos noted that Latino families have assets that contribute to the academic success of their children, yet they are often dismissed by school personnel.
Reyna, Sylvia Ramirez (2008). An exploratory study of the perceptions and experiences of u.s.-born latino parents in a high-poverty urban school district in relation to their role in the education of their children. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from