Date of Award
Bachelor of Arts
Parental advocacy and involvement are aspects of education that continue to grow as more platforms become available for parents to utilize and create a role for themselves. However, the ability to do so often varies based on factors out of parents’ control. Previous literature has found these factors to be demographic including race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status and one’s educational attainment. Even with these publicly available platforms, like public board meetings, there are still gaps in power and one’s ability to advocate. Through observing a total of six board meetings from two school districts that have wide gaps in the demographic factors, Hartford and West Hartford Public School, this paper attempts to answer the questions: What concerns/beliefs do parents hold for their children's education? How do parents voice these concerns/beliefs at regular board meetings? Lastly, do the ways in which these concerns are voiced and/or the concerns themselves vary from the Hartford Public School district and the West Hartford Public School District? After analyzing my findings from each meeting and connecting them to demographic data on each district I found that the subject of the comments shared at both meetings are very different. I argue that parents and community members of Hartford public schools, seemingly use these board meetings to ask for basic needs and rights they should be receiving from the public school system, while in West Hartford these needs are already met. Applying a critical lens to this, it is also no coincidence that the district serving a lower-income and nonwhite community is the one of the two fighting for these basic needs.
Ravitz, Ava, "Parental Advocacy at School Board Meetings in Hartford Vs. West Hartford Public Schools". Senior Theses, Trinity College, Hartford, CT 2023.
Trinity College Digital Repository, https://digitalrepository.trincoll.edu/theses/1001
Senior project completed at Trinity College for the degree of Bachelor of Arts in Educational Studies.