Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Special Education

First Committee Member

Kyle Higgins

Number of Pages



Current research suggests that parents are one of the key components to the school success of their children. The literature indicates that parent interest and involvement impacts education in the areas of: (a) quality of instruction received, (b) student respect for learning, and (c) student excellence in school. Involved parents simply make the educational system better. However, in today's world, parents often work long hours, have more than one job, and participate in multiple responsibilities that may limit their participation. Because of the variety of factors that impinge on parents, educators often criticize them for their non-participation or limited participation in the school environment; One group at risk for becoming alienated from the education of their children is parents from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. This alienation may be due to cultural and language differences that exist between school and home, perceptions held by school personnel, or a sense of alienation held by parents; The purpose of this study was to: (a) analyze the alienation experienced by African American parents of children with and without disabilities, and (b) examine the relationship of African American parents to the educational system in order to determine the degree of alienation, if any, they felt toward public education. Questionnaire data were analyzed to determine the factors involved in the alienation of a group of 421 African America parents in a large southwestern city. The Barriers to School Involvement Survey (Reglin, et al., 2003) was used to collect data in this study. The questionnaire was used to identify the factors involved in the alienation of African American parents. The questionnaire was comprised of a five-point Likert scale that focused on causes of parent alienation from the educational process. The 30 questions asked the parents to rate their responses from no problem (1), not a problem (2), sometimes a problem (3), often a problem (4), to always a problem (5). The questions on the Modified Barriers to School Involvement Questionnaire were factored into five problem categories for analyzes (e.g., personal concerns, work, lack of interest, logistics, teacher/parent relationship). Four churches were selected for inclusion of this study. The churches are located in a large, southwestern city in the United States. The churches typically are attended by African Americans families comprised of a wide range of educational and economic levels; In this study, although significance was found among the five problem categories (e.g., personal concerns, lack of interest, logistics, work, and teacher/parents relationship) across the six research questions (e.g., problem categories, employment status, economics, special education verses general education, family composition, and parent educational level), the significance has little interpretive value in that the means for each category indicated that parents did not view the problems as a concern impacting their school involvement. The findings of this study are in direct opposition to current research. The difference between the finding of this study and other research may be due to: (a) the collection of data in a church setting, (b) the questionnaire used, or (c) the change in factors affecting parent involvement. It maybe that research needs to focus more on school-based factors and less on parent factors.


Africa; African-American; Alienation; American; Child; Educational; Educational Environment; Employment Status; Environment; Experienced; Exploration; Family Economics; Parents

Controlled Subject

Special education; Education, bilingual; Blacks--Study and teaching

File Format


File Size

3328 KB

Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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