Date of Award

Spring 2015

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Major

Educational Studies

First Advisor

Rachel Leventhal-Weiner

Second Advisor

Jack Dougherty

Abstract

A growing body of research suggests that parents’ involvement in their children’s schooling is an important factor for student academic achievement. In the Greater Hartford area, the changing landscape of public education options emerging from the 1996 Connecticut Supreme Court ruling in Sheff v. O’Neill has put an emphasis on understanding factors impacting academic achievement for low-income students of color. This study examines how parents of color living in public housing perceive their role in their children’s schooling. Through semi-structured interviews, parents expressed which forms of involvement are most important to them as well as their perceived barriers and motivations for school involvement. Data was collected from parents (N = 11) who have children in elementary school, kindergarten through fifth grade. Findings suggest that parents perceive their role to be crucial to their children’s success and social mobility. Parents indicate that the forms of involvement most important to them pertain to choosing the best school for their children; helping their children with their academic work; and supporting their children with overall school preparedness. Parents also expressed varying degrees of alienation from or pressure for involvement based upon the type of school their children attend. This study implicates the need for an approach to the analysis of low-income parent-school involvement that is considerate of the nuances of this group as well as the changing educational environment.

Comments

Senior thesis completed at Trinity College for the degree of Bachelor of Arts in Educational Studies.

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