Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Dec. 1 Dissertation Defense on Latino Education

The Educational Leadership Program invites all RU students, faculty, and alumni to a dissertation defense led by Gregory T. Harris, a doctoral student in the Ed.D. program in Educational Leadership.  Mr. Harris's dissertation is entitled: “To Get a Better Future for My Children”:  Overcoming the Structural Barriers to Parental Involvement for Spanish-Only Latino Families.

The details about the defense and the dissertation are below.

Date: December 1, 2014
Time: 10:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Location: Gage Building, Room 801, 18 South Michigan Ave.
Dissertation Chair: Dr. Leslie Rebecca Bloom, Ph. D.
Committee Members: Dr. Tammy Oberg de la Garza, Ph. D.
Dr. Alberto López-Carassquillo, Ph. D

Dissertation Abstract:

Parental involvement plays a significant role in student achievement.  For Latino families who are Spanish-only speakers, however, the hegemony of English-only ideology may impede a parent’s ability to be involved.  Shifting demographics in the United States means there are more families who do not speak English, but many schools are not effectively accommodating them.  Thus, many families are finding it difficult to form meaningful, productive relationships with their children’s teachers. Through the theoretical lens of critical theory, this study analyzed the narrative data of Spanish-only Latino parents to make recommendations for addressing the structural deficiencies of the education system that hinder parental involvement.  The stories from four parents, gathered using narrative inquiry, affirm that the language barrier considerably impacted their parental involvement experiences.  The parents felt embarrassed by their lack of English-speaking skills and frustrated by the inadequate accommodations provided by the schools.  Yet these families demonstrate a resolute dedication to their children’s educations, and it was the parents’ immense efforts that allowed the children to be successful despite the disobliging nature of their schools.  These stories reveal that there are significant structural failures in the public schools system, such as ineffectual translation services, a lack of cultural sensitivity, and banal community-building initiatives aimed towards Latino families.  These deficiencies need to be immediately addressed by culturally intelligent school leaders in order to effect social justice for Spanish-only Latino families in the communities.

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