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Successful african american students: the role of parental involvement

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The article “ Successful African American Students: The Role of Parental Involvement” highlighted the correlation between the successful performance of African American students in school associated with positive parental involvement and socioeconomic status, social interactions and family structure . This article is motivated by two research questions in its attempt to address parental involvement effects and social capital theory.

The stated effects that parental involvement had on the child academically, behaviorally and socially and the specific variables of the levels of social capital by comparing successful African American students to successful White and non-successful African American peers. This study measures the theory of social capital through : parent-teen interactions, parent-school interactions, parent-parent interactions, and family norms.

The majority of studies indicate that, African American students will more than likely come from lower socioeconomic status (SES) families than white students and normally, come from single parents who are less-educated parents. This study focuses on the correlation between successful African American students and higher earning African American parent social economic status. Successful African American parents believe strongly in home and school-based involvement and positively intervene inside their children’s schools more than White families, however, they possessed much lower parent-parent and parent-teen interaction than White families.

Data for this study were drawn from the National Educational Longitudinal Study (NELS: 88). The target group consisted of successful African American students and two comparison groups, one composed of successful White students and one composed of non-successful African American students. Although coming from disadvantage families, African American students demonstrated higher levels of parental involvement than successful White students. Social Capital theory is grounded in the foundation that families can provide three levels and types of capital : financial, human and social.

Financial capital is considered wealth or income, families that are at a lower level , may still have high aspirations for their children and their educational pursuits , some these families are capable of attaining high social capital, resulting in positive academic/educational outcomes. Human Capital is equivalent to the educational attainment of the parents, parents who have attained a formal education are more often able to provide home environments that are more supportive and encourage educational training and extracurricular and related academic activities,

Social Capital is more related to social networks and the parent-children relationship, which includes the amount of time children spend with their parents and the ability of these parents to provide a safe, secure, positive and healthy environment for their children to learn and grow. Other variables of social capital include capturing social interactions between parent to teacher, parent to school , parent to school , school to family, parent-teacher organizations, knowing other parents, children’s friends, family roles, norms and rules. Research shows that social capital and family structure are related.

Successful African American students possessed a higher level of social capital than the comparison groups in this study. Teachers know that parental involvement in children’s schooling is substantial, links have been established between involvement and achievement, teachers rate greater parental involvement as associated with increased motivation of children to excel in school, stronger literacy skills, academic achievement, less behavioral problems, stronger attendance and positive communication among parents, teachers, students and school administrators.

The author suggests that the role of parental involvement in the academic success of African American students is statistically significant and that financial, social and human capital have a positive impact on the level of involvement. The implications for teachers concerning parental involvement is the importance of communication between the teacher and student, parent and teacher, school and community, setting high expectations and standards for all students and establishing a positive rapport within the community.

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