Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Can Middle Class Families Make Urban Schools Better?

Date:
April 24, 2009
Source:
Temple University
Summary:
Middle-class parents can indeed have an impact on urban education. But whether that impact is beneficial or sustainable depends on the attitude of the parents themselves.

Due to the economy, more middle-class families are passing on private schools in favor of the local public school.

According to various educational studies, it's a move that urban school districts in particular should applaud. Studies show urban schools benefit educationally from an influx of middle class students and parents because of the resources (most notably time and money) that accompany them.

According to a Temple University study presented at this month's American Educational Research Association conference, middle-class parents can indeed have an impact on urban education. But whether that impact is beneficial or sustainable depends on the attitude of the parents themselves.

Professors Erin Horvat and Maia Cucchiara of the College of Education found that schools with middle-class parental participation fare better when the parents focus on making the school as a whole better instead of just making the school better for their child only.

The researchers analyzed two urban schools and interviewed parents in each for their study, "The Perils and Promises of Middle-Class Parental Involvement in Economically Integrated Urban Schools: A Comparative Analysis".

For Horvat, taking a look at this subject was personal as well as academic. While searching for schools for her two daughters, she found herself talking with other middle-class parents and asking questions like, 'what makes a school a 'good school?' Is it engaged parents, top-notch facilities, or is it a race or class issue?'

Because of the power that middle-class parents bring in terms of resources and know how, class was more of a deciding factor, the researchers say.

"The resources that these parents can bring are linked to class," Horvat said. "If you're a parent that has time to volunteer in your child's class, you're going to do that. If you're working two jobs, you're not going to have that time. Middle class parents also feel more than poorer parents that they have the right to throw their weight around."

However, it shouldn't be assumed that the resources provided by middle-class parents are going to all students, Cucchiara said. What made the two schools profiled in the study so different is that the middle-class parents of one viewed their involvement in the school as universal while the parents of the other saw it as individualized.

"This involvement can sometimes benefit all kids, but you can't assume that it's that way all of the time," she said. "Plus, these resources are no substitute for making sure schools have quality teachers."

Also, according to the study, there can be consequences to other students in the school if middle-class parents exert their influence solely to benefit their own children. For example, a group of parents put together a reading program for students in K-6 grades, but didn't concern themselves with providing additional reading help for the students in the 7th and 8th grades because it didn't benefit them.

The study also shows that while middle-class parents and the resources they bring can attract other students and parents from their class, it often does so at the expense of working class students. In one instance cited by the study, parents put together a public relations campaign designed to bring in more middle class parents while encouraging district officials to disallow low-income students the ability to transfer into the school.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Temple University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Temple University. "Can Middle Class Families Make Urban Schools Better?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 April 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/04/090424174544.htm>.
Temple University. (2009, April 24). Can Middle Class Families Make Urban Schools Better?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/04/090424174544.htm
Temple University. "Can Middle Class Families Make Urban Schools Better?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/04/090424174544.htm (accessed July 23, 2014).

Share This




More Science & Society News

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Courts Conflicted Over Healthcare Law

Courts Conflicted Over Healthcare Law

AP (July 22, 2014) Two federal appeals courts issued conflicting rulings Tuesday on the legality of the federally-run healthcare exchange that operates in 36 states. (July 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
What Self-Made Women Need to Know Financially Before Getting Hitched

What Self-Made Women Need to Know Financially Before Getting Hitched

TheStreet (July 21, 2014) Halle Berry was recently ordered to pay her ex-boyfriend Gabriel Aubry $16,000 a month in child support by a California judge for their daughter Nahla. As women make strides in the workforce, they are increasingly left holding the bag when relationships end regardless of marital status. 'What Monied Women Need to Know Before Getting Married or Cohabitating' discusses information such as debt incurred during the marriage is both spouse's responsibility at divorce, whether after ten years of marriage spouses are entitled to half of everything and why property acquired within the marriage is fair game without a pre-nup. Video provided by TheStreet
Powered by NewsLook.com
$23.6 Billion Awarded To Widow In Smoking Lawsuit

$23.6 Billion Awarded To Widow In Smoking Lawsuit

Newsy (July 20, 2014) Cynthia Robinson claims R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company hid the health and addiction risks of its products, leading to the death of her husband in 1996. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Clock Ticks Down on Internet Speed Debate

Clock Ticks Down on Internet Speed Debate

Reuters - US Online Video (July 18, 2014) The FCC received more than 800,000 comments on whether and how internet speeds should be regulated, even crashing its system. Lily Jamali reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins