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Title:Mexican American parental participation in public education in an isolated Rocky Mountain rural community
Author:Birch, T. C., & Ferrin, S. E.
Resource Type:Journal Article
Equity & Excellence in Education, 35(1)

pp. 70-78
ERIC #:EJ646575 (click to view this publication's record on the ERIC Web site)
Education Level:Elementary
Literature type:Research and Evaluation

The purpose of this study is to investigate the attitudes, characteristics, background, and resources of Mexican American parents that affect involvement in their childrenÕs education in a small remote rural Utah community. Although the focus is on Mexican American parents, parents from the Anglo sample are referenced to compare and contrast with the Mexican American parentsÕ attitudes and resources. Findings revealed the depth of the involvement by both groups of parents was not the same. A higher rate of participation of Anglo American parents was found in a number of activities, including volunteer work at the school and participation in the Parent Teachers Association. Mexican American parents were more involved in fund raising than Anglo American parents. Mexican American parents gave their children more freedom with school decisions than Anglo American parents. Consequently, the authors conclude that Mexican American parents seem to place more responsibility for learning on their children. Parent indicators of their childÕs success at school were similar for both parent groups. The top three were student attitudes, student homework, and teacher assessment of student performance. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with a random sample population of 20 Mexican American families, along with a sample of 20 Anglo American families, using both open- and closed-ended questions. Gathering thorough information about family and parental attitudes as well as patterns of and barriers to participation, is essential to intervening in a positive way on behalf of minority children. Although this study used random sampling, the small sample prevents its results from being generalized to other situations

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