Term of Award

Fall 2011

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Education Administration (Ed.D.)

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (open access)

Department

Department of Leadership, Technology, and Human Development

Committee Chair

Teri Denlea Melton

Committee Member 1

Meca Williams-Johnson

Committee Member 2

Scott A. Beck

Abstract

The face of America's school is changing bringing in students from all over the world, predominantly Spanish speaking students from Mexico and Central and South America. Parents of these students are trying to balance the various challenges that moving to a new country can bring, including fostering success in school for their children. Oftentimes, their jobs, their immigration status, or their lack of education prevent them from speaking out and sharing their experiences. Many of these families are in areas of the country where immigration issues are relatively new. Unfortunately, statistics on academic achievement and drop-out rates for these Latino students are alarming. The educational community must create opportunities for these parents and students to experience academic success. Critical race theory encourages storytelling from the perspective of the less heard. Furthermore critical pedagogy encourages dialogue and an understanding of context and life experiences as educators prepare the young men and women for their future. This qualitative case study using an ethnographic design, set in a large, urban school district in Georgia provided Latino parents of elementary school children, a platform to share their perspectives on parental involvement in school and at home, its impact, and its barriers and facilitators. Using participants from the schools, the researcher conducted interviews and focus group meetings. The researcher found that parents, in spite of barriers that may exist, want their children to experience the American dream. They were prepared to do whatever it takes to help their children and remained hopeful for their future. The researcher provided insight for the educational community in the selected Georgia district as well as those that are similar on how to collaborate with Latino families to foster success for all students.

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