Date of Award

Spring 2020

Document Type

Open Access Dissertation

Department

Educational Leadership and Policies

First Advisor

Edward Cox

Abstract

The purpose of this qualitative study was to examine the readiness of teachers to partner with immigrant Latinx parents. Using a comparative case study approach, the researcher investigated two above-average high schools on opposite ends of the United States and ideological spectrum. Specifically, this study explored (a) the political attitudes conveyed through each state’s education code of laws and (b) teachers’ sense of self-efficacy (perception of capability) and level of preparation (knowledge of best practices and acquisition of related skills) to partner with immigrant Latinx parents.

Data collection methods included (a) document analysis, (b) semi-structured interviews with 10 teachers, two school leaders, and two district administrators, and (c) a teacher questionnaire. Critical race theory, social cognitive theory, and a model of contextual interaction were integrated to form the theoretical framework for this study. Analysis of the data led to a deeper understanding of how contextual factors at various levels of society influence teachers’ readiness to partner with immigrant Latinx parents.

The findings of this study support the conclusion that California laws are more often characterized by progressiveness, more focused on ensuring equitable access to resources and opportunities, and more forcefully assert that all people should feel safe, respected, and valued in school. California teachers’ preservice training tended to include more attention to working with English Learners and engaging families from diverse backgrounds than that of South Carolina teachers. California teachers also communicated higher feelings of self-efficacy than did South Carolina teachers.

Based on this study’s findings, being bilingual in English and Spanish may increase teachers’ self-efficacy for partnering with immigrant Latinx parents. In order to create the next generation of teachers who are fluent in both languages, immersive language study should begin as early as possible in a student’s educational career, and institutions of higher learning should continue to engage preservice teachers in becoming bilingual. Institutions of higher learning and teacher preparation programs should also make discussions of race and culture a core component to the preparation of aspiring teachers. Finally, school leaders and district administrators are encouraged to implement critically conscious models of parent and family engagement.

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