Academic journal article The Spanish Journal of Psychology

Parent Involvement in School: English Speaking versus Spanish Speaking Families

Academic journal article The Spanish Journal of Psychology

Parent Involvement in School: English Speaking versus Spanish Speaking Families

Article excerpt

The purpose of the present study was to explore the relationships between three predictor variables (attitude toward school, parent-child communication, and school commitment action) and the criterion variable (parent involvement) in a representative sample and to examine if these relationships were consistent across three groups (English speaking Caucasian family, English speaking Latino family, and Spanish speaking Latino families). Using a national database (N = 9.841), multi-group SEM analyses were conducted to investigate the relationship between three predictor variables and the criterion variable in three family groups. While all three predictor variables significantly predicted parent involvement in English speaking Caucasian and Latino families, only two variables (parent-child communication and school commitment actions), significantly predicted parent involvement in Spanish speaking Latino families. The results of this study suggest that when administrators, teachers and counselors in school strive to share specific school-related information with Latino families, Spanish speaking families are more likely to become involved with schools.

Keywords: parent involvement, attitude toward school, parent-child communication, and school commitment action.

El objetivo de este estudio fue evaluar las relaciones entre tres variables predictoras (actitud hacia la escuela, comunicación padres-hijos, y acciones de compromiso escolar) y una variable criterio (implicación de los padres) para examinar si esas relaciones eran consistentes en una muestra representativa de tres grupos (familias angloparlantes caucásicas, familias angloparlantes latinas, y familias hispanoparlantes latinas). Mediante una base de datos nacional (N = 9,841) y análisis multigrupo (SEM) se evaluó la relación entre las tres variables predictoras y la variable criterio en los tres tipos de familias. Los resultados indicaron que las variables predictoras eran un indicativo de la implicación de los padres en las familias angloparlantes caucásicas, y latinas, sólo dos de esas variables (comunicación padres-hijos y acciones de compromiso escolar) predecían la implicación de los padres en las familias hispanoparlantes. Asimismo, sugieren que cuando administradores, profesores y consejeros de la escuela se esfuerzan en compartir información específicamente relacionada con la escuela con familias latinas, los hispanohablantes muestran una mayor probabilidad a implicarse en todo el proceso educativo de sus hijos.

Palabras clave: implicación parental, actitud hacia la escuela, comunicación paterno-filial, acciones de compromiso con la escuela.

The rapid rate of Latino immigration into the United States continues to create a substantial impact in US public schools. The Latino foreign-born student population (age 5-19) grew from 1.710.000 in 1995 to 2.135.000 in 2003, an increase of 25% (US Census, 2005). As schools endeavor to meet the standards outlined by the federal No Child LeftBehind Act of 2001 (US Department of Education), increasing numbers of Spanish speaking Latino students registering in the public school systems are challenging schools to adapt their educational procedures to provide these students educational achievement in the most appropriate manner. In addition, Latino students have lower high school graduation rates than their Caucasian and African American counterparts (Green, 2002; Llagas, 2003). This implies that Latino students have lower educational outcomes than students of other ethnic groups which may be an indication of lack of parental involvement in education (Garcia, 2001).

Hill et al. (2004) defined parental involvement as the process by which "parents' work with schools and with their children to benefit their children's educational outcomes and future success" (p. 1.491). Parent involvement in this research was defined in terms of the parent involvement within the school. Research by Izzo et al. (1999) focused on key aspects of parent-school relationship that increase children's school success such as: (a) frequency of contact between parent and teacher, (b) quality of communication between parent and teacher, (c) parent involvement in educational activities at home, and (d) parent involvement with activities at school. …

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