Academic journal article Journal of Catholic Education

Latino Parents of English Learners in Catholic Schools: Home vs. School Based Educational involvement/Padres Latinos De Aprendices De Ingles En Escuelas Catolicas: Involucracion Educativa En El Hogar vs. En la Escuela

Academic journal article Journal of Catholic Education

Latino Parents of English Learners in Catholic Schools: Home vs. School Based Educational involvement/Padres Latinos De Aprendices De Ingles En Escuelas Catolicas: Involucracion Educativa En El Hogar vs. En la Escuela

Article excerpt

Parental educational involvement has been widely studied as one of the most important predictors of school success for all students (Jeynes, 2003, 2007, 2011; Niehaus & Adelson, 2014). Regardless of age, children with more involved parents tend to have higher attendance, achievement levels, and more positive attitudes toward school than children whose parents are less involved (Henderson & Mapp, 2002). While this finding has been replicated in many studies using United States samples (Jeynes, 2003, 2007), it has also been supported in studies using international samples (Davies, 1993; Smit & Driessen, 2007). Given the changing demographics of students in U.S. schools, recent attention has been paid to patterns of parental educational involvement by factors including cultural background and native language.

Recent statistics reveal that over 5 million school-aged children are categorized as English Learners (ELs), comprising 10% of the students in U.S. schools (National Center for Education Statistics [NCES], 2016). ELs have been defined as children who are still in the process of developing proficiency in English, as measured by standardized tests of speaking, listening, reading, and writing (Linquanti & Cook, 2013). This large and growing student subgroup contains ample diversity, with more than 300 languages spoken by children and their families (NCES, 2016). Nonetheless, Latinos from Spanish-speaking households are the majority, with 76.5% of ELs indicating a home language of Spanish (NCES, 2016). Across the country, whether in public, private, or parochial schools in urban, suburban, or rural settings, both sub-groups of Latinos and ELs are on the rise, with Latinos increasing from 13.5% to 25.9% of the U.S. student population from 1995 to 2015 (NCES, 2016).

With this study, we investigate parental involvement within the large and growing sub-group of Latino ELs, specifically in the context of Catholic schools in a large urban area. While all schools toil with how to best serve this student population, Catholic school settings have both unique opportunities and challenges. The large majority of Latinos are Catholic, which provides opportunities for Catholic schools to increase enrollment and positively influence Latino children and families through Catholic education (Alliance for Catholic Education [ACE], 2009). In addition to the historical trend of Catholic schools attracting students from immigrant families, more and more recent immigrants from Spanish-speaking countries are looking for parochial options to public schools (Louie & Holdaway, 2009; Ospino & Weitzel-O'Neill, 2016). With regard to ELs, Catholic schools face challenges, particularly in identifying and labeling students without federal guidelines, procedures, and funding afforded to public schools. In this way, whereas Latinos are a common demographic sub-group receiving growing attention in Catholic education circles, ELs are less scrutinized (ACE, 2009; Ospino & Weitzel-O'Neill, 2016). In this paper, we examine the predictors of educational involvement of Latino parents of ELs in Catholic schools. Findings have implications for how schools can design and implement parent outreach programs that promote educational involvement.

Literature Review

English Learners and Their Parents

Although there are many differences among children who fall into the homogenous EL category, researchers have identified several commonalities that have implications for educational achievement (Heineke, Coleman, Ferrell, & Kersemeier, 2012; Herrera, 2010; Howard, Paez, August, Barr, Kenyon, & Malabonga, 2014; Leung & Uchikoshi, 2012; Wrigley, 2000). Specifically, ELs are more likely to have parents with lower formal education levels than their non-EL counterparts (Capps, Fix, Murray, Ost, Passel, & Hewantoro, 2005) and to come from low-income, immigrant families (Garcia & Cuellar, 2006). …

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