|Citation:||Lightfoot, D. (2004). ÒSome parents just donÕt careÓ: Decoding the meanings of parental involvement in urban schools. Urban Education, 39(1), 91-107.|
This study examines two different definitions of the term "parental involvement" and the problems that occur when a precise definition is not determined. The author investigated ways in which language can shape and constrain how we perceive parent involvement. The results of these analyses indicated that a seemingly simple-to-define term such as parental involvement can be interpreted in different ways that serve to divide and confuse those involved. This study focused on the two definitions of empty/full and having/lacking and illustrated how these definitions place parents into discrete categories. In addition, this study discussed how language and word choice shaped thoughts and behaviors that had consequences on children's education. The author analyzed texts dealing with school expectations of parental involvement, as applied to two contrasting groups-well-educated upper-middle-class parents and low-income immigrant parents. This article provides one perspective in a larger field of works helping to unpack the meanings of parental involvement. This study is a literary criticism, and the conclusions drawn should be examined empirically in future research.
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