Doctor of Education (EdD)
Instructional and Curricular Studies
Number of Pages
Having Their Say: Parents of High-Achieving African American Elementary Students Talk About the Home-School Relationship describes a qualitative research study that explored parents' perceptions of their role in education and how these perceptions translate into specific parent involvement practices both at home and at school. It also identifies the concerns that African American parents have about their children's schooling and offers their suggestions for improvement; Twelve parents of African American students identified as "high-achieving" and of varying socioeconomic levels participated in either a focus group discussion or in an individual in-depth interview about parent involvement in education. Epstein's theoretical model of overlapping spheres of influence and typology of parent involvement practices were used as the bases for formulating the questioning route; Interview data revealed that parent participants were able to distinguish between the responsibilities of families and the responsibilities of schools in the education of children but also recognized that families and schools must work together to insure student success. Parents perceived their responsibilities as teaching their children the value of education, instilling a strong work ethic, and supporting learning at home. Parents reported that the school's primary responsibility is to teach students the content and skills appropriate for each grade level and to use a variety of instructional approaches; In describing their parent involvement practices, parents reported being actively involved in three types of activities: (1) communicating with the school; (2) supporting learning at home; and (3) volunteering and/or attending school events. Parents talked about their concerns with the racial identity development of their children and expressed their views on Black History Month and the recruitment of minority teachers. However, parents did not view teacher race as a critical factor related to their children's racial identity development; instead, they described their concerns with the teacher placement policies of large urban school districts and how these policies can shortchange students in at-risk schools; Finally, parents made suggestions for improving home-school relationships that have implications for all parents, teachers, school administrators, human resources departments of school districts, and teacher educators interested in parent involvement and multicultural issues in education. The findings of this study identify the need for more staff development in these areas. They add to the growing body of literature that suggests family environment is more predictive of student achievement than status variables such as race or social class.
Achieving; African; African-American; American; Elementary; High; Home; Involvement; Parent; Parent Involvement; Parents; Relationship; School; Students
Education, Elementary; Educational sociology; Social psychology; Ethnology--Study and teaching; Blacks--Study and teaching
University of Nevada, Las Vegas
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Mahler, Donna, "Having their say: Parents of high-achieving African American elementary students talk about the home-school relationship" (1996). UNLV Retrospective Theses & Dissertations. 3023.