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Last article review 5/6/99 Sue Janson Cohort 3
Gerald Bracey, in his article: "SES (socioeconomic status) and Involvement" takes a 180 degree turn in his thinking regarding the effect of parents' SES on the degree of involvement in their child's education in this Phi Delta Kappan article from October 1996.
Bracey now feels that parents with lower SES are not involved with their child's education because they simply do not have time and energy as opposed to his old thought that they just don't care. He feels that they are just too tired due to working shift jobs and/or two or more jobs outside of the home, instead of a "normal" eight hour, 8:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m., job. "My sense was that the working-class parents were indeed concerned about their children's schooling but that their positions left them unable to get involved." (p 170)
This "theory" may be true in some instances, however, as our thesis group does more and more research, we are realizing that the SES of parents is quite predictive of the degree of involvement in their child's education. Interrelated to this is the parents' ethnic background, which may reflect long-seated traditions and attitudes toward education. Research also states that minority groups are often the part of the population that generally has the lower SES. The parent's level of education also seems to be quite an influential factor. If a parent is in the lower SES, chances are they have not attained a higher education which also results in a parent having a negative attitude about school, because they themselves did not have a positive educational experience. Consequently, they do not like any kind of contact with a school for any reason; whether it be for helping their child with homework, going to a PTA meeting or reading to a small class in the school.
Parent involvement is crucial to a child's success in school. If this disparity did not exist with the SES of parents, I believe that positive parent involvement would be the norm and students from all different backgrounds would excel. As our research project concludes in one year, we hope to offer several suggestions on how parents can become involved and the importance of doing so.
-- Anonymous, April 29, 1999