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Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 International License.

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Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in Educational Leadership for Diverse Learning Communities




School of Education and Human Services


Latinx parents have been unfairly blamed for their child’s negative educational outcomes due to how they choose to be involved in their child’s education. School expectations of parent involvement typically follow the Epstein Model, which is aligned with traditional, White, middle-class involvement such as fundraising and bake sales. Meanwhile, Latinx, low-income parents often perceive their involvement as shaping their child’s behavior at home and teaching them about moral values. This qualitative case study examines how five Latinx parents in a predominantly Latinx school district on Long Island defined school-based and home-based parent involvement, advocated for their children, as well as how their involvement practices in schools aligned with the Epstein model and how they differed. First, findings showed that Latinx parents defined school-based and home-based parent involvement in different terms, depending on language and experience with the U.S. education system. The Spanish-dominant parents characterized parent involvement as being present at home, raising their children to be responsible and well mannered, and to oversee that homework was completed. Bilingual mothers took a more active approach to ensure that homework was completed accurately, that their children attended all their extracurricular activities, and their children were held accountable for their actions. Participating at PTA meetings and being visible at the school came easier for bilingual parents. Second, Latinx parents advocated for their child in issues related to discipline, bullying, or receiving services. The Spanish-dominant mothers found it difficult to navigate the school system because of communication barriers due to a lack of Spanish-speaking staff. It is important for schools to reconsider iv the Epstein Model that often reinforces negative perceptions of the types of parent involvement common across Latinx families. Educators must recognize, cultivate, and empower the strength of Latinx parents through intentional family–school partnerships that are culturally responsive.

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