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ERIC Number: ED563242
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: 240
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-3034-9680-6
Parent Power and Public Education Reform: The Experience of Participation in Grassroots Organizing
Mediratta, Kavitha
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, New York University
This dissertation examines the effects of participation in grassroots organizing on the capacity and commitment of public school parents and community members to engage in future activism. The study used a mixed-methods research design, drawing on qualitative and quantitative data collected from individuals involved in seven exemplar organizations. A growing literature has examined the impacts of grassroots community organizing on public schools, but to date, there has not been a systematic examination of how participation in such efforts influences the personal trajectory of members involved to determine if they develop greater propensity to engage in activism, in school reform or other social issues, over the long term. Drawing on social capital, resource and learning theories, I develop a conceptual model explaining how and why involvement in grassroots organizing increases the propensity for future activism among participants. Hierarchical multiple regression analysis was used to test this model. Results indicate that participation in organizing is significantly and positively related to: (1) beliefs in collective action; (2) sense of self-efficacy; and (3) feelings of community attachment and engagement. The relationship between participation and the propensity for activism was influenced by organizational learning practices, specifically, the extent to which members were helped to develop democratic leadership skills, understanding of systems and advocacy knowledge, and awareness of their capacity to generate change. Organizational strategies that supported this development include: (a) apprenticeship and mentoring; (b) a focus on engaging members through participatory deliberation and action; and (c) the cultivation of members' understanding of power dynamics and their critical consciousness. Learning strategies appeared most influential on newer members, suggesting a need to develop higher-order learning opportunities for more experienced members. This study is relevant to policymakers, researchers and practitioners who aim to improve urban public schooling. Successful reform requires creating a normative and political context that will be supportive of change both inside schools and within the surrounding community. Therefore, forms of parental engagement that enhance community members' awareness of the structural contributors to schooling inequalities, and build their leadership and base of power to address them, are critically important to generating long-term improvements in public schools. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A