Barriers to School-Based Parent Involvement While Living in Public Housing: A Mother's Perspective

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Research
May 18, 2018
Stephanie Lechuga-Pena and Daniel Brisson for TQR
Parent involvement is associated with child academic outcomes, positive behaviors, and social skills. This qualitative study explored school-based parent involvement barriers experienced by nine low-income mothers. In-depth interviews were used to collect data from mothers participating in a community-based program offered in a large public housing neighborhood. Findings included three main barriers: (a) cultural and language differences in their children’s school, (b) undertones of racism from teachers and parents, and (c) being the primary caregiver or sole provider for their children. Although all parents experience challenges to school involvement, low-income mothers face additional obstacles preventing them from engaging in their children’s schools. This perceived lack of school involvement can lead to feelings of helplessness, shame, and stigma.