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Stevenson Center, minority parents, education


This historical document analysis explores the professional discourse on minority parents in education during the Progressive (1900-1914), Post-Civil Rights/ESEA (1960-1974), and NCLB/Accountability Eras (1995-2009). Grounded theory was used to code and analyze 430 articles mentioning parents and/or home life from two peer-reviewed journals of education. Research questions asked which minority parents are of interest to educators in each era, how minority parenting roles are portrayed in the educational discourse, and why minority parents concern educators. Findings include a focus on immigrant parents in the Progressive Era and on African American and Hispanic parents in the Post-Civil Rights/ESEA and NCLB/Accountability Eras. While NCLB/Accountability Era racial/ethnic minority parents are commonly identified as Hispanic and African American, there is a shift away from racial/ethnic identifiers towards classifying parents by SES and marital status. Nonetheless, low SES and single-parent status are consistently associated with Hispanic and African-American identity, suggesting that race continues to matter in education. Across the three eras, concern with minority parent behavior and culture is portrayed as a corollary to concern with minority student outcomes. While the discourse pays some attention to structural factors affecting minority student outcomes, its overwhelming concern is with how educators can change parents. The motives for such a focus are considered in light of questions about 1) the efficacy of school-based parent programs; 2) the complex relationships among parenting style, parental involvement, SES, racial/ethnic identity, and student success; and 3) the benefits educators reap from engaging in a symbolic discourse about minority parent

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