Listening to the Voices of Mexican-American Parents

Date
2018
Authors
Hartnett, Ana
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Abstract

This qualitative research was to gain parents’ perspectives on their children’s education using a CRT lens (Yosso, 2006) as theoretical framework. Question: What do parents of Mexican-American English learners think about their children’s education? Traditional parental involvement favor higher socioeconomic parents. The focus was to hear Mexican American parents’ forms of engagement.

The research method was a bounded multiple case study. Participants were parents of Mexican-American students in a bilingual campus. Two were considered “not involved” and two “involved” by traditional definition. Parents were interviewed in a natural setting. Data included taped interviews, field notes, observation and reflexive journal. Emerging themes were coded with Saldaña (2005) and Dedoose to analyze data.

Parent support was evidenced in interviews where parent showed their concern for their child. Improved communication between parent and school was needed. Information between school and parent must be in both languages.

Counterstories from participants’ lived experiences counter the majoritarian narrative which blame parents as not being involved in their child’s education. Each participant cared for their children and were invested in their well-being. Parents not considered to be involved were engaged in ways the school was not knowledgeable about. Findings suggest the school should learn how parents are actively engaged in their child’s learning.

This research affirms the need for continued qualitative research on parents who traditionally have been left out. If improving outcomes for all students is important and dismantling the educational pipeline described by Yosso (2006), then educators are charged to continue qualitative research.

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Keywords
counterstories, Critical race theory, Mexican American parents, parental engagement, parental involvement, qualitative research
Citation
Department
Educational Leadership and Policy Studies