ERIC Number: EJ982627
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012-Aug-29
Reference Count: N/A
Advocacy Tactics Found to Differ by Families' Class
Sparks, Sarah D.
Education Week, v32 n2 p1, 11 Aug 2012
If it's the squeaky wheel that gets the grease, middle-class children are more likely than their lower-income peers to grow up learning how to make the gears of the education system turn smoothly. Working-class parents, meanwhile, tend to raise their children to avoid conflict and be self-sufficient in problem-solving, an Indiana University researcher says. The findings, the latest from a longitudinal study of Pennsylvania students, suggest parents of different classes may teach their children very different approaches to navigating the school system and championing their own education, priming them for later academic challenges or success. The study, presented at the American Sociological Association conference in Denver this month, comes as the National PTA expands an initiative intended to help parents learn education advocacy. As part of an ongoing series of studies in an outlying suburb in Pennsylvania, sociologist Jessica McCrory Calarco of Indiana University in Bloomington observed and interviewed 56 white students from 3rd through 5th grades and their working- and middle-class families, and then conducted follow-up interviews when the students were in 7th grade. Through observations of classroom interactions with teachers, and interviews with the students and their parents, the researcher tracked students' confidence and their ability to seek help from teachers, clarify assignments or concepts they didn't understand, and resolve problems around academic issues--what Ms. McCrory Calarco called educational advocacy. While the study is small, its findings build on studies suggesting that students' ability to seek help and successfully navigate the school system can make a big difference in their academic achievement. In addition, research by special education professors David W. Test and Catherine H. Fowler, both of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, found that students who participated in programs that improved their help-seeking and advocacy skills became more engaged and better-behaved in school.
Descriptors: Academic Achievement, Student Attitudes, White Students, Advocacy, Change Strategies, Social Class, Social Status, Interviews, Classroom Observation Techniques, Developmental Studies Programs, Social Cognition, Help Seeking, Parenting Styles, Parent Child Relationship, Grade 3, Grade 4, Grade 5, Grade 7, Followup Studies, Parent Attitudes, Teacher Attitudes
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Grade 3; Grade 4; Grade 5; Grade 7
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Indiana; Pennsylvania