Citation
(Un)Invited families

Material Information

Title:
(Un)Invited families locating the institutional power of school at work against the involvement of families
Creator:
Jefferson, Antwan D. ( author )
Language:
English
Physical Description:
1 online resource (247 pages). : ;

Thesis/Dissertation Information

Degree:
Doctorate ( Doctor of Philosophy)
Degree Grantor:
University of Colorado Denver
Degree Divisions:
School of Education and Human Development, CU Denver
Degree Disciplines:
Educational Leadership and Innovation
Committee Chair:
Nocon, Honorine
Committee Co-Chair:
Zion, Shelley
Committee Members:
Espinoza, Manuel
Koester, Steven

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Postcolonialism ( lcsh )
Critical theory ( lcsh )
Schools ( lcsh )
Critical theory ( fast )
Postcolonialism ( fast )
Schools ( fast )
Genre:
bibliography ( marcgt )
theses ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )

Notes

Review:
This qualitative study examined the interaction of families and school in a local community. Data were gathered through document analysis; semi-structured interviews with family members, community members, and school professionals; group interviews; street interviews; and observer field notes. A conceptual framework consisting of postcolonial theory, critical social theory, and thirdspace theory guided data analysis. This study documented the deep and pervasive nature of school's institutional power, and severely limited opportunities available to family members to shift the power balance in their favor. The relations of power were evident in the enactment of parent involvement policy and practices that constrained family members' school involvement, the contradiction between school's purpose as stated and enacted, families' restricted access to school information and space, and the construction of family member roles through encounters with school. This study also revealed the potential of organizing to shift the balance of power in favor of families and the local community.
Thesis:
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Colorado Denver. Educational Leadership and Innovation School of Education and Human Development
Bibliography:
Includes bibliographic references,
Statement of Responsibility:
by Antwan D Jefferson.

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Colorado Denver
Holding Location:
|Auraria Library
Rights Management:
Copyright Antwan D. Jefferson. Permission granted to University of Colorado Denver to digitize and display this item for non-profit research and educational purposes. Any reuse of this item in excess of fair use or other copyright exemptions requires permission of the copyright holder.
Resource Identifier:
868701040 ( OCLC )
ocn868701040

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Full Text
(UN)INVITED FAMILIES:
LOCATING THE INSTITUTIONAL POWER OF SCHOOL
AT WORK AGAINST THE INVOLVEMENT OF FAMILIES
by
Antwan D Jefferson
B.A.Morehouse College1999
MATBrown University2000
A thesis submitted to the
Faculty of the Graduate School of the
University of Colorado in partial fulfillment
of the requirements for the degree of
Doctor of Philosophy
Educational Leadership and Innovation
2013


2013
ANTWAN JEFFERSON
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED


This thesis for the Doctor of Philosophy degree by
Antwan D Jefferson
has been approved for the
Educational Leadership and Innovation Program
by
Honorine Nocon, Co-Advisor
Shelley Zion, Co-Advisor
Manuel Espinoza
Steven Koester
April10,2013


Jefferson, Antwan, D (Ph.D., Educational Leadership and Innovation)
(Un)Invited Families: Locating the Institutional Power of School at Work Against the
Involvement of Families
Thesis directed by Honorine Nocon and Shelley Zion.
ABSTRACT
This qualitative study examined the interaction of families and school in a local
community. Data were gathered through document analysis; semi-structured interviews
with family members, community members, and school professionals; group interviews;
street interviews; and observer field notes. A conceptual framework consisting of
postcolonial theory, critical social theory, and thirdspace theory guided data analysis. This
study documented the deep and pervasive nature of schools institutional powerand
severely limited opportunities available to family members to shift the power balance in
their favor. The relations of power were evident in the enactment of parent involvement
policy and practices that constrained family members school involvementthe
contradiction between schools purpose as stated and enactedfamilies restricted access
to school information and spaceand the construction of family member roles through
encounters with school. This study also revealed the potential of organizing to shift the
balance of power in favor of families and the local community.
The form and content of this abstract are approved. We recommend its publication.
Approved: Honorine Nocon and Shelley Zion


DEDICATION
I dedicate this work to my family of four: my wifeDominiquewhom Ive loved
since elementary school), my son, Bryant, and my daughter, Bellamie, for giving me
enough space to finish, but not enough space to fail.I also dedicate this work to my
mother, Gail, my grandmothers, Gertmde and Doris, and great grandmother, Florence, for
showing me how to see things through to their end.
IV


ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
I would like to thank my dissertation committee members who supported me in
overt and subtle ways. I am deeply appreciative to Drs. Zion and Espinoza who had my
back when I became unsureand even when I grew ill. You kept me laughingpulled me
up when I got down, visited me when I was sick, fed me when I forgot to eat, and you
apprenticed me into this work over several years. You accepted my collectivist orientation
and utilized it as a way to help me complete this project.
I am grateful to the 8 who helped me maintain some semblance of a social life
while I dove into this dissertation. Each of you helped me focus on this project with
enough balance to not neglect my family. Late nights on Fridays are seared into my mind,
heartand sense of self. I cant think of any other time to do the things that matter.
I extend my thanks to each of my colleagues in the Urban Community Teacher
Education program. Your encouragement and support and space helped me balance my
professional and doctoral lives while we worked together to refine the program. The
experience has been invaluable to me.
I am thankful for Michael and Sherri Jones, as well as Ibn and Sidney Shabazz for
your presence and support. Also, to my familyommunity at Colorado Christian
Fellowship: your love and support were my home before I began this program, and you
remain a place for me to call home.


TABLE OF CONTENTS
CHAPTER
L INTRODUCTION..............................................................1
Inequity in Family Involvement.....................................3
Description of Study...............................................7
Research Questions.................................................8
Methods............................................................8
Findings...........................................................9
Results and Conclusions...........................................11
Relevance of the Study............................................12
Conceptual Framework..............................................13
Researcher Role and Assumptions...................................15
Organization of the Dissertation..................................16
II. REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE................................................18
Parent Involvement and the Purpose of Schooling...................19
Barriers to PI....................................................22
The Emergent Narrative in PI Literature: Parent Power.............30
Conceptual Framework..............................................33
Critical Social Theory............................................37
Post-Colonial Theory..............................................39
Thirdspace Theory.................................................46
Complexity of Family-School Interaction: A Conceptual Model.......47
Implications of Conceptual Model for Family-School Interaction....48
Conclusion........................................................51
vi


III. METHODOLOGY.............................................................53
Purpose of Study...................................................53
Context of Study...................................................55
Study Populations..................................................57
Data Sources.......................................................58
Data Analysis......................................................63
Summary............................................................78
IV. PRESENTATION OF FINDINGS.................................................79
Relations and Forms of Power.......................................80
Data Sources and Analysis..........................................81
Details of Finding: Relations and Forms of Power...................83
Discussion.........................................................99
Purpose of School.................................................101
Data Sources and Analysis.........................................101
Details of Finding: Stated and Enacted Purposes of School.........102
Discussion........................................................110
Barriers to Family Involvement....................................114
Data Sources and Analysis.........................................115
Details of Finding................................................116
Discussion........................................................129
Roles of Family in Response to Institutional Power of School......131
Data Sources and Analysis.........................................132
Details of Finding................................................133
Discussion........................................................140
Discussion........................................................150
vii


Discussion of Findings.....................................153
V. IMPLICATIONS AND CONCLUSION......................................159
Discussion of Findings.....................................161
Individuals Perceptions of Self and Others................167
Implications of the Study..................................169
Limitations of the Study...................................179
Contribution and Opportunities for Further Study...........186
Conclusions................................................189
REFERENCES.........................................................192
APPENDIX
A. CONCEPT MAP IMAGE................................................213
B. INTERVIEW QUESTION GUIDES........................................215
Key Informant Interview....................................216
Semi-structured Interview..................................217
Group Interview............................................218
Street Interview...........................................219
C. STREET INTERVIEW QUESTIONNAIRE...................................220
Street Interview Questionnaire.............................221
D. LIST OF DISTRICT POLICIES AND BRIEF DESCRIPTIONS.................222
E. STUDY INFORMATION SHEET..........................................225
F. RECRUITMENT FLYER................................................228
G. CURRICULUM VITA..................................................230
vm


Table
LIST OF TABLES
1111 Overview of face-to-face individual interview participants ......................61
1112 Coding characteristics for district policy documents.............................64
1113 List and examples of first- and second-level codes ..............................67
1114 Categories of calls made to OFI...................................................75
1115 Categories of resolutions to calls ...............................................76
III. 6 Revised coding structure........................................................77
IV. 1 District policy documents ......................................................119
IV.2 Categories of resolutions to calls made to OFI....................................147
IX


LIST OF FIGURES
Figure
III Adapted model of barriers to family engagement.................................26
111.1 Iterative-Reflexive analytic framework ......................................70
x


CHAPTER I
INTRODUCTION
The historical context surrounding the involvement of poor families of color in
schools reveals a pervasive deficit view held by school professionals. Prior to the 1950s,
school professionals invited parents to be involved in school to prevent and treat
childhood disease. Since the 1950s, the school involvement of parents of poor households
has largely been constructed to resolve the perceived deficits of their childrena
perception colored by students poor school performance and parents lack of adequate
effort and resources to support their childrens education. Even thenfamilies low levels
of social and economic resources and generally recognized ignorance about schooling
were understood as responsible for their childrens defiant behavior and poor academic
performance. For example, Stendler (1951)conceived of poor family members as
subverting the education endeavorstating that slum-children were more likely to grow
up in homes where they were taught to avoid being taken in by teacherswere less likely
to attend preschool, and were less likely to be prepared for school at home. This era also
was characterized by a tightening of the schools control over the involvement of parents.
In a warning against needless parent involvement, Russell Kropp (1956) argued that
encouraging parental involvement in education merely for the sake of involvement
usually achieves nothing and sometimes deteriorates the tenuous parent-teacher relations
that already exist (p.140). Education professionals and researchers associated childrens
social and academic deficiencies with low levels of parent interest in education.
The early years of parent involvement literature also reflected growing public
criticism of schoolingoccurring at such a rate that it was described as a flood tide
1


(Kropp, 1959). Much of the criticism of schools was directed to public concerns about
teacher effectivenessalthough the construction of oppositional teacher and parent roles
emerged as an element of the context of schooling. The discourse of oppositional roles
showed in academic journals and popular publications. In an editorial produced by a
former schoolteacher, The Saturday Evening Post reported:
Teachers do the actual instructingbut it is the parents job to prepare their
children to receive the instruction. Some parents do not realize that their childs
attitude is largely a reflection of their own. If parents do not show by their actions
that they regard learning as important, no amount of teacher effort can give real
motivation to the children. Co-operation with the schools is one of the most
important responsibilities of the parentAlderman1956).
Facilitating the increased involvement of parents was to be accomplished through parent
involvement programs, such as Project Head Start. Head Start targeted students identified
as having deficits such as a poor family environment or inadequate opportunities to
socialize (Foster, Berger, & McLean, 1981,p.148), and sought to counteract those deficits
by training parents in the practices of school.
In more recent years, legislation such as the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) of
2001 has required parent involvement in school, although the emphasis has continued to
be the families of disadvantaged and minority students who need to be trained
/^///2004). The goal of this legislation
was to increase the achievement of students from disadvantaged backgrounds, a goal and
subsequent legislation that reinforced the centrality of student performance on
2


standardized outcomes and required the support and involvement of family members in
advancing school values and practices.
By connecting parent involvement practices to schools receiving Title I, Part A
funding, a deficit focus became inescapable in the name of equity. Title I provides
financial assistance to local educational agencies (LEAs) and schools with high numbers
or high percentages of children from low-income families to help ensure that all children
meet challenging state academic standards (United States Department of Education
2004). In order for schools to receive Title I funding, there must be in place a written
parent involvement policy that outlines the roles and responsibilities of school
professionals and families to support the academic achievement of students (National
Coalition for Parent Involvement in Education, 2004). This policy, however, is without
enforcement provisions. The practices of schools to follow their written family
involvement programs occur with varying levels of implementation based on the local
school and district policies.
The purpose of the research reported here was to discover the dynamics of
interaction between families and school, from the perspectives of family members,
members of the community, and school professionals, and to understand the enactment of
family involvement in one community of working class families of color.
Inequity in Family Involvement
There are indicators of inequity in the school-based involvement of family
members from poor communities of color. These indicators include conceptualizations of
the role of family members and the social and economic dynamics of schools in
3


communities. Following a presentation of the indicators of inequity in the involvement of
family members in schools, I discuss the consequences of those inequities.
School roles of family members. There has been a singular focus on increasing
student achievement as conceptualized by schools throughout most of the parent
involvement literature for the past two decades, including in literature that made
significant advances beyond describing parents as passive participants in their childrens
schooling. For example, an ecological model of parent involvement was developed to
facilitate a shift from listing the activities of involved parents to understanding how and
why parents get involved in their childrens education (BartonDrakePerezLouis&
George2004). A well-cited model of parent involvement in school identifies six levels of
parent involvement: a) parenting, b) communicating, c), volunteering d)learning at home,
e) decision-making, f) collaborating with the community (Epstein, 2008). Each of these
levels of involvement describes parent practices to support student achievement and
school success; this six-level model was developed to guide the school-level development
of parent involvement programs, which is exactly what the National PTA Association did
in establishing the National Standards of Family-School Partnerships (National PTA
Association2009).
The involvement of parents in the school experiences of their children has been
described as a form of power (M. W. Young & Helvie, 1996). According to the literature,
the use of parent power through parent and family involvement in a childs schoolingin
concert with the current national emphasis on student performance on standardized
measures, should result in student learning and academic achievement as measured by
high stakes, standardized tests. The NCLB Act recognizes the power of parents as they
4


enact effective practices to improve their own children5 s academic achievementUnited
States Department of Education, 2004) with an emphasis on reducing the achievement gap
between disadvantaged and minority students and their peers This role for family
membersas supporters of academic achievementhas been constructed for them rather
than with or by them. School construction of parent roles on their behalf increases the
likelihood that family members themselves will be excluded from conversations about
their roles in schooland will enter their childrens schools expected to support the aims of
the institution.
Increasing student achievement on standardized measures has not been the only
reason for a national dialogue on involving family members in their childrens learning.
Schools also have sought to involve family members to reduce the incidences of
inappropriate school behavior. The home-based involvement practices of family members
have been found to reduce classroom behavior problems. For example, Fantuzzo,
McWayne, Perry & Childs (2004) found that family involvement in school practices at
home significantly reduced occurrences of classroom conduct problems in poor children
of color.
Involving family members in school for the aims of increased achievement and
decreased behavior problems has come at a cost to poor and working class families of
color. In particular, the involvement of these families at school has been limited by
schools practice of imposing on family members the professional practices of teachers
and administrators. Also, in advancing the involvement of poor working class family
members in school, administrators and teachers have developed a professional culture
through which they collude against these family members as outsiders (G. L. Anderson,
5


1998). While teachers often see parents as unwelcome (Souto-Manning & Swick2006)
the involvement of parents, who are at the same time outsiders, suggests that the
involvement of family members in school is not as straight-forward as parent involvement
policies, which focus on the impact of that involvement on students, suggest.
Dynamics of school in community. Although it has been argued that family
involvement in learning has a measurable impact on ensuring student academic success in
school (Center for Public Education, 2011), the dynamics of the local community have
been shown to impact significantly the involvement of family members and the school
experiences of students (Nettles, 1991; Warren, 2005). Communities with higher
populations of poor and working class families also are the communities with
disproportionately high numbers of low-performing students and schools (Warren, 2005).
School policies and practices that require the involvement of low-income families of
color, without acknowledging the complexities of cultural and economic diversity within
school communities, risk reproducing segregation. Affluent parents organize themselves
and construct their involvement in schools. The efforts of school professionals to involve
low-income family members in school practices that favor White, middle class families
effectively constrain or control the involvement of those parents (V. Gordon & Nocon,
2008).
Economically, culturally, and ethno-linguistically diverse communities offer
challenges and opportunities to the involvement of family members in the school
experiences of their children. Latino families have been found to face obstacles that result
from their linguistic diversity as well as limited access to social and economic capital
(Olivos2009). The ways in which these families support their childrens learning goes
6


overlooked by schools (Carreon, Drake, & Barton, 2005; Yosso, 2005). Schools respond
to these families by positioning the school institution as the arbiter of social and economic
capitaloffering language classes and leadership training that ostensibly help family
members feel greater efficacy to support their childrens learning (Bolivar & Chrispeels
2010). At the same time, opportunities for equity are not unlikely to take the form of
school leaders learning from the community and using the community as a text to inform
tneir professional practice (Cooper, 2009).
Changes in the community should inform changes in school practices, although
frequent or very rapid demographic shifts create obstacles to schools5 ability to respond to
the shifting needs of families and the community (Cucchiara & Horvat, 2009). This is the
case when poor and working class families move to communities where they may be more
likely to have increased access to social capital and better performing schools.
Description of Study
This was a qualitative study of the perspectives of family members, members of
the local community, and school professionals about the purpose of school and the roles of
family members in school. Over the course of one year, I conducted tms study in a local
community of poor and working class African American and Latino families in a major
western U.S. city. I collected data through school district document analysis, in-person
interviews, group interviews, street interviews, and observation field notes. Data analysis
procedures led to four major findings about the interaction of tamilies and schools. The
implications of these findings were related to the work of community organizers, school-
based parent involvement groups, education and school policymakers, family members,
and school professionals.
7


Research Questions
Three research questions guided this qualitative investigation:
1. What are the understandings of family-school interaction held by family members,
members of the local community and school professionals?
2. What are the roles of family members in school?
3. What is the purpose of school as understood by members of family members,
members of the local community and school professionals?
Beyond uncovering and understanding perspectives, this study also sought to
identify the indicators of social relationships, including the within-group relationships of
individuals and the relationships of individuals to the system of school.
Methods
This study relied upon ethnographic approaches to collection and organization of
information that eventually became data. I began by asking questions of school
professionals, members of the community at large, and family members within the
geographical community whose children were students. The contexts in which I asked
questions varied from formal in-person interviews with individuals and groups as well as
street interviews with community members in the neighborhood. In addition to asking
questions of members of these three participant categories, I also recorded observer field
notes at two study sites, one school and a community organization, collected school
district policy documents that were stored and available on the Internet, and gathered and
examined telephone call logs from a central office of the school district. I sought out key
informants to assess the layers of the community context, sought out general perceptions
8


of the role of school in the community, and sought to identify potential interview
participants.
Key informants can increase the dependability of qualitative studies (Krannich &
Humphrey, 1996). In the case of this study, the key informants assisted me in gaining
access to each of the two study sites and conducting observations in which I was able to
observe the presence and involvement of family members at a school site and at a
community organization. The key informant interviews led to two in-person interviews
with family members, a group interview with family members (n=6), a group interview
with school professionals (n=4), two in-person interviews with school professionals, two
in-person interviews with community members, and street interviews with 18 community
members. Additionallyin conducting interviews with three key informantsI was able to
acknowledge and confront my researcher bias, which was very likely to be present, given
my history in the community of study. Utilizing five sources of data allowed for
triangulation in data analysis (Golafshani2003; Patton2002). A digital audio recording
of each in-person and group interview was transcribed and entered into Microsoft Word;
Microsoft Word, lined index cards, post-it notes, and a dry erase board were used for
analysis. I used paper and pen to capture responses during each street interview, recorded
observation field notes in separate notebooks for each study site, and recorded telephone
call record data in a separate notebook.
Findings
Four major findings from this study reveal that the phenomenon of family-school
interaction sustains or opposes the status quo of the public school. These findings also
9


reveal that inherent in the interaction of families and school is the issue of power and the
experiences of actors in the struggle over power. The four major study findings are:
1. Power emerged in two forms in the interaction of families and schools:
institutional power of school and individual power of families. The institutional
power of school was coercive, historical, collective and pervasive, and school
professionals enacted this power throughout their interactions with families. The
individual power of families was resistant, confined, and subsumed. In the
interaction of families and schools, the individual power of families was either co-
opted or dismissed by school professionals enacting the institutional power of
schools.
2. A contradiction existed in the understandings of the purpose of school held by
members of families, the community, and school professionals. All agreed that the
purpose of school was to give students academic skills, although community
members and school professionals qualified the enactment of schools purpose as
different from its stated purpose because of the Chelsea Park community. Family
members, on the other hand, did not accept that the purpose of school was different
within the Chelsea Park community.
3. Family-school interaction was constrained by a context of barriers restricting
family members access to information and to the physical space of schools. These
barriers were enforced by school policies and sustained by the practices of school
professionals, and as school professionals sought to involve family members, they
subsequently restricted family member access to school information and space.
10


4. There were three school-related roles for family members, each defined in
response to the enactment of the institutional power of school. Whether family
members were a) present and engaged in school practices, b) co-opted school
leaders, or c) collective advocates, their roles in schools were the result of their
efforts being exploited by the institutional power of school.
Results and Conclusions
As family members became involved in the schools of their children, they
encountered the institutional power of school, which required family members to be
involved in schools in support of their own children. This focus on the individual children
of family members limited their opportunities to develop relationships and coalitions with
other family members and influence the local school more directly. School professionals,
who were actors on behalf of school, occupied hybrid roles in their work with families on
behalf of school: although teachers and administrators were school professionals, their
membership did not give them full access to the institution of school, which existed at the
level of the district. However, school professionals demonstrated their capacity to utilize
their limited access to the institution in support of family members. Also, throughout this
study, the school district was not evident in any person or group; instead, the district was
found in school policies that were available through the Internet, which was a mediating
tool.
As members of families interacted with schools, they faced barriers to the physical
space of school and to school information. These barriers emerged through formal school
policies developed by the district and through the school-based practices of school
professionals. And although family members, members of the local community and school
11


professionals shared the geographic community context, their interactions with the
institution of school and with local schools were restricted by school policies.
School professionals, members the community and family members held varying
perspectives of the purpose of school. Their perspectives of school purpose revealed a
contradiction: although many members of the community, including its families and
schools, agreed with the purpose of school as stated by the district, members of the
community and school professionals concluded that what was happening in school
differed from what was supposed to happen. The contradiction, however, was the result of
the local community context. Family members, on the other hand, reported in interviews
that schools did what they were supposed to do. Family members5 expectations differed
from school professionals and community members, as family members were focused on
their individual child while at-large community members and school professionals spoke
of the purpose and practices of school for all children.
Relevance of the Study
Given the roles of family members constructed by schooland the implications of
diversity within local community contexts, the question we should be asking is not, how
do we get families more involved in school? Instead, we must step away from the
assumption that family members should simply be involved in school because their
involvement will increase their childrens school achievement and decrease discipline
problems. Stepping away from this assumption means that we must trouble the notion of
school. Stepping away from this assumption requires us to disrupt the notion that families
want what schools want, and achieving this is as simple as getting families to do more. In
order step away from the assumed direct relation of family involvement and student
12


achievement, I utilize a conceptual framework that draws upon the intersections of Critical
Social Theory, Postcolonial Theory, and Thirdspace Theory. The emphasis on power,
justice, knowledge, and history within this conceptual framework acknowledges the
dynamics that emerge when individuals and groups encounter institutions. This framing
positions family-school interaction as a complex phenomenon rather than a simple
challenge to be solved by placing more responsibility on the families of students. This
study represents an initial step toward reconceptualizing family involvement in school as a
complex phenomenon that includes an overt challenge to our assumptions of consensus
about the purpose of school and the roles of adults involved in the endeavor of school.
Below, I provide more detail on my conceptual framework.
Conceptual Framework
The conceptual framework for this study draws upon three theories that, when
combined, expose and challenge the practices of institutions and social systems that
depend upon the subordination of individuals and groups for their status and existence.
These theories include Critical Social Theory, Postcolonial Theory, and Thirdspace
Theory. Within this framework, the voices and experiences of people who have been
subjected to the policies and practices of institutions are uncovered. This framework also
encourages our collective and individual reimagination of existing social arrangements
and systemsa discourse of possibilityKincheloe & McLaren2011).Through the use
of our collective and individual imagination, challenging institutional practice is not a
hopeless endeavor. Instead, it becomes the path to equity and justice for each of us
through inquiry that seeks to emancipate us from established social institutions that restrict
or deny our human agency. A critical lens, such as this conceptual framework, allows us
13


to interrogate what for many of us may appear as common sensethe way things are
because they should be.
As discussed above, parent involvement in schools in policy means family
members engage in practices that satisfy the expectations of schools to support the
academic and social experiences of their children. What is missing from this literature is a
critical discourse that problematizes the enactment of parent involvement policies and
academic outcomes-focus of parent involvement literature. Critical Social Theory supports
this discourse through uncovering and changing material (non-human, such as social
institutions) and symbolic (interactional, such as norms and patterns) reproductive
processes (Fraser1985). As Kincheloe and McLaren argueCritical Social Theory is
concerned in particular with issues of power and justice and the ways that the economy;
matters of race, class, and gender; ideologies; discourses; education; religion and other
social institutions; and cultural dynamics interact to construct a social system (Kincheloe
& McLaren, 2002, p. 90).
The school involvement practices of family members, as well as school
professionals and community members, when examined through this conceptual
framework, reveal the deep and extensive impact of the institution of school on parent-
school interaction. Understanding the ways in which the school-related roles of family
members have been constructed through the policies and practices of the institution of
school can help reveal the inequities faced by family members as they interact with
schools. Postcolonial theory, or postcolonialism, informs my efforts to achieve such an
understanding through this study. Bhabhas (1996) description of the impact of interaction
with fixed social institutions on the identities of individuals and groups supports the
14


relevance of postcolonial theory to this study. In identifying the paradox of fixed
social/cultural/historical institutions, Bhabha reveals that institutions effectively
marginalize members of the larger populous by presenting rigidity and unchanging order
while sustaining internal contradictions and disorder. Instances of contradiction and
disorder lead to the ambivalence of members of marginalized groups, effectively
obstructing their capacity to enact institutional change.
The third theory upon which the conceptual framework for this study is developed
is Thirdspace Theory as conceptualized by Soja (1996). The thirdspace is the space of
reimagination of social space, institutions, and interactions. This theory has two key
aspects related to this conceptual framework: a) it provides a basis for spatial
consciousness that grounds research within a geographic and social context, which is
necessary to community-grounded, emancipatory research, and b) in the thirdspace, the
critical socio-spatial imagination reconsiders the uses of space and the characteristics of
interaction in ways that achieve grounded and sustained equity, with those who are
peripherally involved in or subjected to the meaning-making and social construction of
others being brought to the center and becoming co-constructors of meaning and
experience. In chapter 2,1 address the conceptual framework for this research in greater
depth.
Researcher Role and Assumptions
During this study, my researcher role converged with my history in the community
of study where I used to be a schoolteacher. The challenge, then, was to reduce, as much
as possible, my bias as a member-researcher and accurately capture the perceptions I
solicited through interview techniques. In addition, I was acutely aware of the shifting
15


education context, which was the result of large-scale school turnaround in the
community. Following the collection of data, I attempted to conduct analysis by
immediately applying the conceptual framework; this significantly skewed the analysis of
data and undermined my efforts to reduce researcher bias by trying to make the conceptual
framework work. In a subsequent approach to analyzing the data, I used grounded
approaches, allowing patterns and themes to emerge and inform findings; this preceded
my application of the conceptual framework, which I used instead to guide my
interpretation of the findings. Additionally, I approached this study with a set of
assumptions about the locations of power in the communitys schools. I assumed that
schools had power because schooling was compulsory. I also assumed that family and
community members should be able to engage in schools in ways that made sense to them.
Thus, a substantial challenge for me was to reduce the biases generated by my pre-existing
perspective and experiences within the community; I attempted to mitigate the influence
of my assumptions and prior impressions of the community through reframing exercises
and methods of data triangulation, which I describe in greater detail in chapter III
Organization of the Dissertation
In chapter II, I examine more deeply Critical Social Theory, Postcolonial Theory,
and Thirdspace Theory. I also review the history and literature on family involvement in
school alongside the trajectory of national school reform policies influenced by industry.
Chapter 3 contains the detailed methodologyincluding changes to the study design as the
iterative process of inquiry unfolded, participant selection methods, the forms and tools
used, the five forms of data collected to allow for tri angulation, and the method of
analysis. I also describe the process of data analysis. Chapter IV is the presentation of
16


findings, with interpretation and discussion informed by the conceptual framework.
Chapter V includes a discussion of the implications of the study and my overall
conclusions. This chapter also addresses next steps for further research.
17


CHAPTER II
REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE
The purpose of this study was to examine the interaction between families and
schools in a community located within a major Western city in the US. Additionally, this
study sought to expand current notions of parent involvement in schools toward deeper
and more complex understandings of the interaction of schools and families beyond
perspectives reflected in research literature. As a result of these research intents, I focus
this chapter on examining current notions of parent and family involvement (PI) in
schools that emerge in the literature. I approach the field of PI in sections, beginning with
a focused presentation of three major frames of PI: typologies, programs, and models.
The discussion of PI frames is followed by a discussion of barriers to PL Following the
discussion of barriers to parent and family involvement in schools, I discuss the concept
of power, both of families and of the institution of school. To conclude this section, I
present the conceptual framework used to guide the analysis of data.
In the preceding chapter, I provide an overview of parent involvement literature
over the past six decades. Although this history will not be repeated here, an important
theme of parent involvement in schools is the emphasis on perceived deficits of children
and their families. Early parent involvement programs targeted students who were
identified as having 1 of 2 possible deficits; (a) a poor family environment, or (b)
inadequate opportunities to socialize (Foster, et al., 1981,p.148). Early on, poor student
performance in the classroom and in socializing with peers were seen as functions of
social class, solvable through social services and parent education. For example, Project
Head Start, part of the War on Poverty, was developed to provide health, mental, and
18


social services to children from poor homes (Zigler & Valentine, 1979). More recently,
PI literature of the past two decades shows that students from lower (than middle) social
classes have been identified as at an even greater schooling disadvantage in recognition
of the intersectional experiences of families and students. Researchers have recognized
that families are not monolithic, and their experiences vary widely. Class has become
confounded with race (Auerbach, 2007), ethnicity (Perna & Titus, 2005), language
(Flores, Cousin, & Diaz, 1991; Rymes, 2001), and culture (Ream & Palardy, 2008).
Nonetheless, for families of color, as well as poor families, the views and practices
guiding their involvement with schools has changed very little. As Baquedano-Lopez,
Alexander, and Hernandez (2013) note, expectations for parent involvement in schools
are largely based on White, middle-class experiences, values and understandings.
Ultimately, parent involvement in schools is an issue of equity.
Parent Involvement and the Purpose of Schooling
The role of families in schooling has been examined in relation to democratizing
education through parent involvement (Mintrom, 2009), changing school climate through
parent involvement (McDermott, 2008), typologies of parent engagement (Epstein, 2008;
Epstein & Dauber, 1991) and parent education programs (Bolivar & Cnnspeels, 2010;
Comer & Haynes, 1991). Research has extended our understanding of the role of parents
and families in schooling beyond the relationship between home culture and parenting
and students perceived social and academic inadequacies (Fosteret al.1981) to include
family participation in school governance and decision-making (Carlson, 2010;
Christenson, 2004; Cochran & Dean, 1991; Epstein, 2011) and exploring students5 home
cultures to enhance school curriculum (Gonzalez, Moll,& Amanti, 2005). While this
19


body of research reflects a shift away from blaming parents and families toward forming
family-school partnerships, it leaves largely unnamed and unexamined existing
assumptions about the roles of families in schools, although the central assumption has
been that families should be involved in schools to help students achieve school academic
success (Henderson, 1987; Henderson, Mapp, Johnson, & Davies, 2007; Jeynes, 2007;
Stanton-Salazar, 1997; Stanton-Salazar, Chavez, & Tai, 2001). This research trend has
developed a narrative about the role of families in schools and the impact of the home
culture on schooling. This narrative is that for decades, schools have sought the
involvement of family members to help remedy perceived family and community deficits
that prohibit students from achieving school academic success.
There is extensive conceptual and empirical literature supporting the benefits to
students5 school experiences of involving parents and families. Meta-analyses, survey
research, and evidence-based intervention research inform our understanding of the roles
of families in schools through their participation in programs, typologies and partnerships
(Freiberg, et al., 2005; Henderson, 1987). However, our understanding of the roles of
families in schools is limited because of the narrowed focus facilitated by this emphasis,
which aims primarily, and almost exclusively, to improve student academic achievement;
tms focus significantly restricts research on the complex interaction between families and
schools by presupposing that families should support school goals (Barnard, 2004;
Bamyak & McNelly, 2009; L J. Gordon, 1979).
The involvement of parents in schools has been identified as a predictor of
students positive school behaviors (Domina2005) and academic achievement (K. J.
Anderson & Minke2007). Positive outcomes to student academic achievement have
20


been associated with increased parent involvement in schools to improve student reading
skills (Senechal & LeFevre, 2002) and math scores (McWayne, Hampton, Fantuzzo,
Cohen, & Sekino, 2004; Sheldon, Epstein, & Galindo, 2010). Increased parent
involvement can reduce special education placements (Miedel & Reynolds, 1999), and
higher grade point averages (Gutman & Midgley, 2000). For families with diverse
culturallinguisticeconomicand structural make-uptheir practices of involvement to
support their childrens school achievement requires school professionals who are aware
of added cultural complexities (Kohl, Lengue & McMahon, 2000; irotman, 2001).
Additionally, parent involvement in schools to improve student achievement
includes their input to benefit students5 social experiences, including improved student
attendance (Epstein & Sheldon, 2002), better social interaction with peers (McWayne, et
al., 2004), and lower student dropout rates (Jimerson, Egeland, Srouge & Carlson, 2000).
Throughout this literature, parent involvement takes one of three forms: parent
involvement at school, parent as teacher, and parent as advocate. In each of these roles,
the involvement of parents and families in schooling is conceptualized as helping to
achieve school outcomes such as academic achievement and school attendance. This
narrow focus is inadequate to accommodate the multiple perspectives of schooling held
by teachers, families, administrators, and local communities.
Within the current context of schooling in the U.S., the involvement of parents
and families in schools has often been solicited and examined in response to the
challenges faced by schools that serve Black and Latino students. These challenges are
racialized and include the Black-White and Latino-White achievement gaps, perceptions
of poor student behavior, comparatively low rates of academic success, and students5
21


inadequate social skills. As school administrators, teachers and researchers have sought
to respond to these challenges, often after identifying them in isolation from the subjects
of inquiry, the growing body of research literature reveals a sustained perception of Black
and Latino parents and families as socially and academically inadequate to support the
efforts of schools. While there are exceptions, this perspective emerges in research
literature on parenting, parent-school partnerships, and parent education programs.
Although family-school partnerships have been described as complex,
indefinable, culturally and morally diverse, and unclear (Ravn, 2005), expanding the
family-school interaction discourse has been facilitated by deeper critical theoretical
approaches that challenge existing power structures and deconstruct contradictions
inauthenticies, and ideological agendas that color many existing models of inquiry (G. L.
Anderson, 1998). Examining family-school interactions requires the use of individual and
collective imagination supporting an imagination that enables individuals and social
scientists to look beyond the appearance of social facts toward.. .new social factsthe
end of class society...Agger1991). This dialectical imagination (Jay1973) is the
ability to see the world as having potential to be changed in the future, an endeavor that
requires both imagination and reason (Perkins, 1985).
Barriers to PI
As discussed above, parent and family involvement research indicates that
schools create opportunities for parent and family involvement, and these opportunities
aim to achieve school outcomes. In creating opportunities for family members to be
involvedschools develop and sustain organizational structures that prohibit the equitable
involvement of and collaboration with diverse families (see, for example, V. Gordon &
22


Nocon, 2008; Harris & Goodall, 2008). In the context of schooling, the equitable
involvement of parents and families is obstructed by a dominant discourse and
opportunities constructed by schools (Kainz & Aikens2007); dominant discourse
includes the focus on White, middle-class values and practices guiding PI in schools,
resultantly marginalizing families of color and poor families. A dominant discourse is
likely to obscure diversity in viewpoints and opportunities for diverse voices to be heard;
however, a dominant discourse, such as is often reflected in parent and family
involvement literatureis effective to control behavior (Kainz & Aikens2007).
Removing the barriers to equitable parent and family school involvement through
systematic efforts is the work of change, and this is not likely facilitated by strengthening
current family-school (Christenson & Sheridan2001)or structuring community-school
partnerships that maintain and support the current dominant discourse (see, for example
Sanders, 2009). To continue to sustain or create programs and opportunities to involve
parents and families in supporting the work of schooling is to tinker with a fundamentally
flawed system (Tyack & Cuban1995). And in diverse communities where resources and
power are not equally distributed between schools and families (Lauen, 2007), tinkering
doesnt quite work (Deluca & Rosenblatt2010).
In recent research on barriers to parent and family involvement in schools, there
remains a focus on the dominant discourse and practices of schooling but a lack of
emphasis on equity; for example, in finding that parent and family involvement programs
are effective to remove barriers obstructing access to schoolingBolivar & Chrispeels
(2011)found that parent empowerment resulted from immigrant parents learning to trust
the educational system and becoming adept at school norms such as hand raising.
23


Tellinglythe study authors conclude that a shift in the fundamental power relationships
between parents and schools did not occur as a direct consequence of PSP [Parent-School
Partnerships] although they argue that these parents were empowered through the
program to take actions in both political and educational arenasBolivar & Chrispeels
2011,p. 32). That these parents were seen as empowered because they learned to
participate in the dominant school culture, but not to challenge the fundamental dynamics
of power or to have access to the core of the institution of school, indicates that their
empowerment was constrained, and possibly was not power at all.
Research similar in its focus on barriers to parent and family involvement in
schools examines the access of family members to educational and social resources
(Barnyak & McNelly2009; Cochran & Dean1991; Sanders2009) with a focus on
student achievement and school outcomes. However, critical perspectives of parent
involvement also suggest that the intersection of culture, power and knowledge results in
tensions, contradictions and resistance in parent and family involvement (Olivos, 2006)
as families often are aware of the well-defined limits of their participation (Olivos, 2009).
Examining family-school interaction, rather than evaluating programs or defining
typologies of family involvement may prove helpful to extend the current discourse and
involvement opportunities for families while countering stereotypes of expected
participation.
The barriers to family and community engagement in schools have been defined
as the difference between what is stated (rhetoric) and what actually occurs (reality)
between schools and the families and communities (Hornby & Lafaele, 2011). While the
rhetoric may declare that families are encouraged to be engaged in schooling, the reality
24


is more likely to involve unidirectional flow of support from families to schools and a
unidirectional flow of communication from schools to families. Hornby & Lafaele (2011)
identify four areas of barriers to families engagement in schoolingbased largely on
Epsteins (1992, 1995) overlapping spheres of influence. The areas identified are: child
factors, individual parent and family factors, parent-teacher factors, and societal factors.
Although these factors are not as discrete as this model suggests; these categories of
barriers provide a helpful basis upon which to examine more closely school-family
interaction, most importantly societal factors.
The structure and organization of school has been described as bureaucraticthus
erecting barriers against change through parent-school collaboration (Henry, 1996). And
within the bureaucratic organization of schools, an expert/nonexpert tension emerges
between families and schools: school experts can easily identify what families lack and
the efforts of school experts to supplement for these lacks (de Carvalho, 2001). Similar
tmnking that attempts to distinguish the roles of families and schools also contributes to
subject-object tensions between schools and families. Within such subject-object
tensions, families are positioned as groups to be understood by school professionals;
understanding families can support schools5 efforts to increase parent involvement in
schoolsa significant difference from drawing on the capacities of parents to influence
the functioning of schools (Ferlazzo & Hammond, 2009).
Barriers to parent involvement in schools also emerges in various PI models.
Epsteins (1992, 1995) model of overlapping spheres of influence suggests three areas of
social organization that interact to influence student learning: family, school and
community. Although several other models of parent involvement can be found in the
25


research field, the overlapping spheres of influence theory demonstrates the inherent
nature of barriers erected by schools attempting to develop programs to involve parents.
Epstein reflects this notion in stating that:
"Schools make choices. They might conduct only a few communications and
interactions with families and communities, keeping the three spheres of influence
that directly affect student learning and development relatively separate. Or they
might conduct many high-quality communications and interactions designed to
bring all three spheres of influence closer togetherEpstein1992, p. 702).
Epstein is correct that schools make choices; however, these choices facilitate the
erection of barriers between families and schools through a sustained subject-object
relationship between schools and families: families are expected to passively respond to
the communicative practices of schools. Further, the individualism and school-centrism
facilitated by Epstein5 s framework of six types of parent involvement further reveals the
deeply instantiated barriers to achieving equity through PI (Baquedano-Lopez, et.al.,
2013). The six levels of parent involvement, adapted by the National PTA Association as
its National Standards for Family-School Partnerships (2009). The six levels of family
involvement are: a) parenting, b) communicating, c) volunteering, d) school practices at
home, e) decision making, and f) collaborating with the community.
In locating the barriers families face in their school involvement, Hornby &
Lafaele (2011) problematize the spheres of influence to include barrier-inducing factors
at each sphere. These factors are listed below in Figure 1.Identifying the barriers to
family involvement at the spaces of family, society, school and the individual child
allows a closer look at the various components of family and school interaction, allowing
26


us to think more deeply about family involvement than simply what family members can
do in support of school.
Child Factors Family Factors
Age Family beliefs about engagement
Learning difficulties and disabilities Perceptions of invitations to engage
Gifts and talents Current life contexts
Behavioral problems Class, ethnicity, gender
School Factors Societal Factors
Goals and agendas Historical and demographic
^Processes, practices, and philosophies Political
Attitude toward families and community Economic
Use of different language ^Distribution of power
Figure ILL Adapted model of factors that act as barriers and prohibit family engagement,
based on Hornby & Lafaele (2011).(Added items are marked with *.)
Another model of family involvement in schools is the School Development
Program. The SDP identifies three required mechanisms or teams that involve families in
schools: a school planning and management team, a mental health team, and a parent
program; this model distinguishes, and thereby limits, the roles of families in schools as
related to the development of children (Comer & Haynes, 1991). It is within the levels of
the SDP that the barriers become clearer:
"parents... work with the parent group to develop activities in support of the
comprehensive school plan. This enables all parents to feel ownership of the plan
ana its implementation, giving them a real stake in the outcome of school
activitiesComer & Haynes1991p. 273).
27


In the SDP modelthe third level involves parents derive[ing] a sense of pride and
satisfaction from seeing their children performComer & Haynes1991p. 276).
Based on these and similar models, involving poor parents and the parents of non-
White students can often take the form of imposing a stmcture within which parents can
participate in ways recognized by schools. This phenomenon has supported the
construction of barriers between communities and schools (Gonzalezet al.2005;
Hornby & Lafaele, 2011; Lareau & Horvat, 1999).
Removing the barriers to equitable parent and family school involvement through
systematic efforts is the work of change, and this is not likely facilitated by strengthening
current family-school relationships (Christenson & Sheridan2001)or structuring
community-school partnerships that maintain and support the current dominant discourse
(see, for example Sanders, 2009). To continue to sustain or create programs and
opportunities to involve parents and families in supporting the work of schooling is to
tinker with a fundamentally flawed system fTvack & Cuban, 1995). And in diverse
communities where resources and power are not equally distributed between schools and
families (Lauen2007)tinkering doesnt quite work (Deluca & Rosenblatt2010).
In recent research on barriers to parent and family involvement in schools, there
remains a focus on the discourse and practices of schooling but a lack of emphasis on
equity; for example, in finding that parent and family involvement programs are effective
to remove barriers obstructing access to schoolingBolivar & Chrispeels (2011)found
that parent empowerment resulted from immigrant parents learning to trust the
educational system and becoming adept at school norms such as hand raising. The study
authors conclude that shift in the fundamental power relationships between parents and
28


schools did not occur as a direct consequence of PSP [Parent-School Partnerships]
although they argue that these parents were "empowered through the program to take
actions in both political and educational arenasBolivar & Chrispeels2011p. 32). That
these parents were seen as empowered because they learned to participate in the
dominant school culture, but not to challenge the fundamental dynamics of power,
indicates that their empowerment was constrained by the typical subject-object
relationship of families and schools.
Research similar in its focus on barriers to parent and family involvement in
schools examines parent and family access to educational and social resources (Bamyak
& McNelly2009; Cochran & Dean1991; Sanders2009) with a focus on student
achievement and school outcomes. However, critical perspectives of parent involvement
also suggest that the intersection of culture, power and knowledge results in tensions,
contradictions and resistance in parent and family involvement (Olivos2006) as families
often are aware of the well-defined limits of their participation (Olivos, 2009). Examining
family-school interaction, rather than evaluating programs or defining typologies of
family involvement may prove helpful to extend the current discourse and involvement
opportunities for families while countering stereotypes of expected participation.
As the aforementioned discussion suggests, the prevalent focus of parent and
family involvement literature investigates and reinforces the passive roles of parents and
families as supporters of the goals of schools. This suggests a need for research to
advance a critical perspective of family-school interactions that challenges current
conceptualizations of family-school interaction that also broadens and deepens our
commitment to equity through the social spaces in which families and schools interact.
29


The Emergent Narrative in PI Literature: Parent Power
The United States Department of Education developed a handbook to support
parents in their ability to support their children^ learning in school. The report, Parent
Power: Build the Bridge to Success (2010) discusses the steps that parents can follow to
achieve the goal of making education a priority for their families. These steps include: a)
be responsible, b) be committed, c) be positive, d) be patient, e) be attentive, f) be
precised, g) be mindful of mistakes, h) be results-oriented, i) be diligent, j) be innovative,
and k) be there. Two things are clear from this model of PI:
1. Parents need to be something, presumably more than they already are, in order to be
adequate supporters of their childrens learning
2. Parent power occurs in relation to parents5 be-ing occurring outside school. Each
demonstration of the individual power of families is based in the homes of
families.
A narrative of parent involvement in schools holds families as outsiders against
whom administrators and teachers collude while establishing a professional culture (G. L.
Anderson, 1998). However, another narrative in the literature of parent involvement in
schooling has emerged in research focused on the families of Black and Latino students
as well as families in poor and working class communities. For these families, targeted
inequities emerge between schools (Henry, 1996; Lareau, 2003; Olivos, 2006), as
teachers often see parents as unwelcome outsiders (Souto-Manning & Swick2006).
While family members are consistently excluded from authentic school leadership
opportunities, (Mayrowetz, 2008), school professionals sustain a status quo of influence
over the function of schools. Despite this general exclusion of families from certain strata
30


of school functioning, White middle-class families often are welcomed into schools while
maintaining their higher status and capital. On the other hand, Black and Latino families
must persevere to gain similar opportunities and access (Shannon, 1996).
Research has extended our understanding of the role of parents and families in
schooling beyond the relationship between home culture and parenting and students5
perceived social and academic inadequacies (Foster, et al., 1981) to include family
participation in school governance and decision-making (Carlson, 2010; Christenson,
2004; Cochran & Dean, 1991; Epstein, 2011) and exploring students5 home cultures to
enhance school curriculum (Gonzalez, et al., 2005). Nonetheless, current research has not
completely moved away from focusing on perceived deficiencies of family structures as
the reason for inadequate student participation. One such deficiency has been discovered
in the number of hours a mother works, as too many or too few can be detrimental to a
childs early formal schooling (YounLeon & Lee2011).Another deficiency is found in
claims that children from dual-parent households achieve higher scores on standardized
tests than their counterparts from single-parent homes, and the children of parents with
some college experience achieve higher scores than the children of high school graduates
or non-high school graduates (Jackson, 2011).
Researchers also have established correlations between several dimensions of
families and tamily involvement in schooling. These correlations include ethnic group
affiliation and the capacity of parents and families to adequately support their childrens
learning and school success. For example, Black parents have been found to be motivated
to be involved in their childrens learning based on their needs to build relationships with
other parents and school professionals (Huang & Mason, 2011). Similarly, in order to be
31


involved with their childrens early learning experiencesLatino families may require
strong communication with other families (Durand, 2011). The relationship between
ethnicity and need for relationships with others is under-researched. However, these
dynamics are reflective of a collectivist rather than individualist identity, which provides
another important lens for understanding the dynamics of interaction between schools
and families.
Additionally, children from single-parent African American homes are more
likely to engage in poor school behavior (Mokme, Chen & Elias, 2011), and their parents
have been found to lack parenting skills and the confidence to support their childrens
development. Within Latino communities and householdsparents educational
aspirations for their children can have less impact on student academic motivation than
general parent supportparent monitoringand focused academic support. Henry
Plunkett, and Sands (2011) find that for Latino adolescents, the level of academic
motivation is directly related to general parental support in the forms of praise,
encouragement, and warmth, among other behaviors. Such trends in the school
involvement of Black and Latino families may be due to their perceptions of schools
expecting a lot from them but offering very little in return (Jeynes, 2011). While Crozier
(2001) argues that immigrant and ethnic minority parents are often perceived as deficits
to schoolingand what constitutes good parenting most often reflects the values and
behaviors of many White and middle-class families, parents often are not confident to
participate in their childrens development and require some form of training to parent
better and support school endeavors at home (de Lara, 2011).
32


Often, parent involvement studies fail to interrogate the cultural responsiveness of
their teachers. The body of research of family involvement continues to leave largely
unnamed and unexamined existing assumptions about the dominant narrative of
schooling. This narrative displays the role of families in schools and the impact of the
home culture on schooling: student academic achievement is the purpose and outcome of
involving families in schools (Henderson, 1987; Henderson, et al., 2007; Jeynes, 2007;
Stanton-Salazar, 1997; Stanton-Salazar, et al., 2001). With such a narrow focus on school
and academic outcomes, opportunities for more fully understanding the interaction of
families and schools are significantly limited.
As discussed above, parent and family involvement research indicates that
schools create opportunities for parent and family involvement, and these opportunities
aim to achieve school outcomes; in creating these opportunities, schools may develop and
sustain bureaucratic organizational stmctures that prohibit the equitable involvement of
and collaboration with diverse families (see, for example, V. Gordon & Nocon, 2008;
Harris & Goodall, 2008). In the context of schooling, the equitable involvement of
parents and families is obstructed by the discursive and social construction of
involvement opportunities by schools (Kainz & Aikens, 2007). Such a discourse is likely
to obscure diversity in viewpoints and opportunities for Black and Latino voices to be
heard; however, a dominant discourse, as is reflected in parent and family involvement
literature, effectively controls behavior (Kainz & Aikens, 2007).
Conceptual Framework
The conceptual framework for this study attempts to uncover the ways in which
social experiences are constructed for individuals who encounter institutions. By framing
33


the complexities of family involvement in school as social, historical, spatial, and
involving power, this conceptual framework counters the assumption, reflected in the
literature, that parent involvement involves practices to support school aims. For many
individuals who encounter the school institution, their agency or individual power is
restricted by the policies and practices that are simply, and sometimes unquestionably, a
part of the system. While there may be a discourse of possibility (Kincheloe &
McLaren, 2011) to imagine schools as something other than they are, the social dynamics
and arrangements of the institution of school within a local community can cause
significant tensions and difficulties for individuals from families or the community at-
large who attempt to access the institution. Recognizing this, I have constmcted a
conceptual framework that acknowledges three components of interaction between
individuals and institutions. These three components are access, discourse, and
imagination. Access involves the ability of individuals outside of the institution to
influence institutional policies and practices. Discourse includes the development and
maintenance of policies that determine institutional practice and the roles of individuals
who encounter the institution. Imagination refers to the powerful, beautiful, and
challenging practice of initiating change individually or through coalition-building. These
components of interaction are informed by Critical Social Theory, Thirdspace Theory,
and Postcolonialism.
There is a consensus emerging that parent involvement in schools means parents
and guardians engage in practices that satisfy the expectations of schools to support the
academic and social experiences of their individual children. The field of parent
involvement (PI) in schools contains a robust body of empirical studies revealing specific
34


involvement behaviors for family members as well as typologies and models of practice
for schools to utilize. The field, however, remains largely uncritical of institution of
schooling and instead critiques the ways in which family members construct their roles of
involvement and articulates strategies for schools to increase the supportive involvement
of family members. As evident in the body of literature growing for more than six
decades, there is only a short body of theory applied to research on family involvement in
schools; in some instances, typologies are labeled theories of parent involvement (for
example, Lewis, Kim & Bey 2011). What also is largely missing from the literature is a
critical dialogue that uncovers and challenges the academic outcomes-focus of parent
involvement literature. Challenging the outcomes-focus is all the more important for
families and students from poor communities and communities of color, as these students
struggle to succeed in school.
Research has extended our understanding of the role of parents and families in
schooling beyond the relationship between home culture and parenting and students5
perceived social and academic inadequacies (Foster, et al., 1981) to include family
participation in school governance and decision-making (Carlson, 2010; Christenson,
2004; Cochran & Dean, 1991; Epstein, 2011) and exploring students5 home cultures to
enhance school curriculum (Gonzalez, et al., 2005). Nonetheless, current research has not
completely moved away from focusing on perceiving and naming the denciencies of
family structures as the reason for inadequate student participation. MokrueChen &
Elias (2011) find that children from single-parent African American households are more
likely to engage in poor school behavior; however, tneir findings rail to interrogate the
cultural responsiveness of the teachers of these students. The result of this gap in their
35


research is that the institution of school remains faultless for the failure of students.
Similar trends in PI research have continued to emerge in several other studies (Lewis,
Takai-Kawakami, Kawakami and Sullivan, 2009; Pike, Iervolino, Eley, Price & Plomin,
2006; Turney & Kao, 2009).
The body of research of family involvement continues to leave largely unnamed
and unexamined existing assumptions about the dominant narrative of schooling. This
narrative displays the role of families in schools and the impact of the home culture on
schooling: student academic achievement is the purpose and outcome of involving
families in schools (Henderson1987; Hendersonet al.2007; Jeynes2007; Stanton-
Salazar, 1997; Stanton-Salazar, et al., 2001). With such a narrow focus, additional
interests that family members have in their children^ school experience remain on the
margins. Beyond that, opportunities to re-imagine the interaction of families and schools
are significantly limited.
The dominant narrative of schooling emerges in several trends in family
involvement research focused on poor families and families of color, including
democratizing education through parent involvement (Mintrom, 2009), changing school
climate through parent involvement (McDermott, 2008), typologies of parent engagement
(Epstein, 2008; Epstein & Dauber, 1991) and parent education programs (Bolivar &
Chrispeels, 2010; Comer & Haynes, 1991). Family-involvement research reveals that
power inequities persist between schools and families from racial and economically
diverse communities (Henry, 1996; Lareau, 2003; Olivos, 2006). While school
professionals sustain a status quo of power over the practice and institution of school,
White middle-class families often are welcomed into schools to participate in ways that
36


maintain their status. On the other hand, poor families and families of color must
persevere to gain similar opportunities and access (Shannon1996). These family
members must persevere again school contexts in which teachers often see parents as
unwelcome outsiders (Souto-Manning & Swick2006)and administrators and teachers
share a professional culture that colludes against outsiders (G. L. Anderson, 1998).
Additionally, school distributed leadership practices seem to consistently exclude parents
and families (Mayrowetz, 2008).
As an alternative to the language of parent involvement, I suggest, and will
employ hereafter, use of term family-school interaction. Interaction indicates the social
nature inherent in the literature and practice of families and schools, but is divorced from
the power dynamics and assumptions inherent in related terms: parent involvement,
parent engagement and parent-school partnerships. I consider this an important
distinction because the distribution of power in schools contributes to systems of
oppression, marginalization, and the socio-political oppression (Auerbach, 2007; M. D.
Young, 1999) of poor families and families of color. A conceptual framework that
challenges current models of involving families in schools can be useful to uncover,
challenge, and dismantle these systems. I propose a conceptual framework based critical
social theory.
Critical Social Theory
Critical social theories are oriented toward uncovering and changing material
(non-human, such as social institutions) and symbolic (interactional, such as norms and
patterns) reproductive processes (Fraser, 1985) in communities as well as in broader
society. A critical social theory is concerned in particular with issues of power and
37


justice and the ways that the economy; matters of race, class, and gender; ideologies;
discourses; education; religion and other social institutions; and cultural dynamics
interact to construct a social systemKincheloe & McLaren2002, p. 90). Soja (1989)
argued for a more robust critical social theory that demonstrates spatial-consciousness.
Further, "certain groups in any society are privileged over others and, although the
reasons for this privileging may vary widely, the oppression which characterizes
contemporary societies is most forcefully reproduced when subordinates accept their
social status as naturalnecessaryor inevitableKincheloe & McLaren1994, p.140).
Critical social theories emerge in response to the occurrence and institution of
social systems that produce between-group power relations. A helpful frame to
understand the emergence of social systems of power can be found in Emersons (1962)
Power-Dependence equation:
Power (group a/group b) = Dependence (group b/group a)
In a sentence, this equation can be understood to state that the power of group A over
group B is directly related to the dependence of group B on group A. From the
perspective of this argument then, the functioning of any social system or institution, in
order to become permanent, will require the dependence of some less powerful group. In
contemporary U.S. society, commoditized institutions such as medical and
communications technologies; oil, gas and electricity; and popular entertainment,
amongst countless others, are sustained by our perceived dependence and resultant
behavior. Beyond the psycho-social institution of these resources, the institution of social
systems such as religion, economy, education, and government are commonly accepted
complexities of society that are naturalized such that any failures of the institutions are
38


blamed on the autonomy of individuals. By maintaining control over peoples naturally
occurring ways of thinkingfeelingand behaving social institutions increase in power
while dependent individuals lose their autonomy (Reeve & Assor, 2011).
Such between-group dynamicsparticularly in the construction and enactment of a
social system, are of central concern to critical social theories. The problem at hand is the
current lack of critique of the institution of school as is reflected in research literature and
school policy. Given this lack of critique, the work of school, including predominant
models that seek to blame students, families, and teachers for school failure, evidences
school as a fixed, monolithic system that is situated much higher than the minds of those
on whom it depends, but this situation occurs in such a way that the public is made to feel
dependent upon the schools. This may be described as dialectical and is the reason that a
critical social theory is needed to inform analysis of the interaction between families and
schools. The conceptual framework developed expands on critical social theory by
incorporating key components of post-colonial theory into a critical social theory. The
literature of post-colonial theory is discussed in the following section.
Post-Colonial Theory
Post-colonial theory, or postcolonialism, refers to the socio-spatial and temporal
intellectual discourse that responds to, engages with, and contests the discourses of
colonialism. It can be considered the theoretical resistance to the mystifying amnesia of
the colonial aftermathGhandi1998, p. 4). In particularpostcolonialism acknowledges
the complex and intersecting impacts of power on the ways of being-knowing-doing of
people who have been exploited or coerced by the institutions. Postcolonialism refers to
resistance during not only the time following colonization but also to the dominant
39


narratives imposed through colonizing processes (Spivak, 1988) and the designations of
space that follow. Within the postcolonial frame, the voice and the identity of the
dominated emerge as informative of the experiences of those who are subject to
schooling. The analysis of school for equity for economically and culturally diverse
communities through the lens of postcolonialism has gained traction in recent research
literature. Keddie (2012) argues that de-centering the privilege of dominant cultural
frameworks that inferiorises [sic] and silences marginalized groups is key to making
visible spaces and practices of power and inequity in schooling. Similarly, Paperson
(2010) applies postcolonialism to analyze the socio-spatial experiences of students from
ghetto communities in Oakland, California. It should be admitted here that Paperson
(2010) provides an important articulation of postcolonialism that clarifies its application
to the analysis of contemporary schooling:
uIfpost- simply signifies after, meaning colonialism is over, then postcolonialism
really makes little sense in the ghetto context. And here I echo the mistrust of the
term by Indigenous scholars and other writers on neocolonialism... I can only
make sense of this word through its unintended meanings. The verb form of post
as in 'keep someone posted5 refers to keeping someone informed of the latest
development or news. Post+colonial studies then announce the latest development
on colonialism. Or the noun post is a place where an activity or duty is carried
out. Post+colonial then refers to the place, people, or cultural arena where
colonial activity or duties are carried outp.8).
In utilizing postcolonialism to analyze the interactions of families and schools, my
argument here is not that the dynamics of power between individuals and institutions
40


exist only in the memories of those who have been coerced or exploited by the
institutional power of school. Instead, postcolonialism facilitates a discovery of the ways
in which identities have been developed by family members and school professionals
who are directly impacted by the institution.
In developing a conceptual framework for family-school interaction that relies on
post-colonial theory, there is such great potential to dilute the temporal, spatial and social
complexities of marginalization and oppression that another, more locally and narrowly
situated theory may be prove convenient. However, given the historical, spatial, and
socio-political nature of schooling in diverse U.S. communities, the power of
postcolonialism to uncover dynamics of power and inequity is undeniably adequate.
Further, relying on the explanatory power of postcolonialism to illuminate the
mystification of the social institution of schooling and its collateral impact on local
families and communities is necessary, given the lack of theory-based analysis of family-
school interaction. To accomplish this, I have chosen to rely upon Gyatri Spivak5s (1988)
description of the complexity of the voice of the marginalized and Homi K. Bhabhas
(1996) fixity-ambivalence-processes of hybridization trialectic to uncover the problem
posed by the unchanging order of schooling as evident historically and contemporarily.
Voice. In her article Can the Subaltern Speak? Gyatri Spivak (1988) challenged
dominant discourse in favor of the voices of the once dominated, the subaltern. Spivak
advocated for developing the discourse of the subaltern as a viable alternative to the
discourse of dominationto be understood as a narrative instead of as a counter-
narrative. In this way, Spivak highlights the importance of the voice of the oppressed
being treated as equal in power and presence to that of the dominant. Through such a plea
41


as is indicated in the essay title, the dichotomy of oppressor-oppressed comes out from
the shadows of dominant discourse and is confronted directly. Similarly, Edward Said
(1978/1979) challenged dominant forms of inquiry through which the objects of
investigation were silenced in the research:
To the extent that Western scholars were aware of contemporary Orientals or
Oriental movements of thought and culture, these were perceived either as silent
shadows to be animated by the Orientalist, brought into reality by them, or as a
kind of cultural and international proletariat useful for the Orientalist's grander
interpretive activity (p. 208).
Evident in the work of Said and Spivak is the importance of the voice of the oppressed in
discovering the location and intersectionality of power and knowledge.
Another important voice in postcolonialism belongs to Homi K. Bhabha (1994),
whose efforts to uncover the impact of post-colonial processes on the identities of the
subaltern are also influential and enlightening. In a powerful passage, captured here in its
entirety, Bhabha develops fixity-ambivalence-processes of hybridization as a trialectic:
An important feature of colonial discourse is its dependence on the concept of
fixity5 in the ideological construction of otherness. Fixityas the sign of
cultural/historical/racial difference in the discourse of colonialism, is a
paradoxical mode of representation: it is rigidity and an unchanging order as well
as disorder, degeneracy, and daemonic repetition... For it is the force of
ambivalence that gives the colonial stereotype its currency: ensures its
repeatability in changing and historical discursive conjunctures; informs its
strategies of individuation and marginalization; produces that effect of
42


probabilistic and predictability which, for the stereotype, must always be in
excess of what can be empirically proved or logically construed. Yet the function
of ambivalence as one of the most significant discursive and psychical strategies
of discriminatory powerwhether racist or sexist, peripheral or metropolitan
that remains to be charted1994, p. 66).
The process offixity->ambivalence->processes oj Hyoridization reveals the inseparable
nature of spatiality, power, knowledge, and identity for marginalized groups. Within this
sequence, key components of the impact of colonizationor sustained, systemic
dominanceemerge in a way that also explains the impact of other social systems,
including schooling.
Fixity->ambivalence->processes of hybridization. The interrelated discursive
and functional notions of fixity, ambivalence, and processes of hybridization reveal the
impact of institutional dominance on subjected groups and individuals. This process
produces otherness in the object of colonial discourse.
Contained within the concept of fixity is the belief and practice of an institution as
unchanging and powerful. Fixity results from our understanding of an institutions past as
well as our relationship to it; fixity depends upon repetition and advertisement of our
need for it. Such is the case in our engendered reliance upon traffic lanes, signals and
patterns according to Topinka (2011)who relies on Lefebvres notion of abstract space
to suggest that the fixity of material space seeks to suppress difference, leading to
controlled productions of space. Fixity is not without its connection to our understanding
and relation to other institutions. Fischer (2011)in discussing the foreknowledge of God
and the will of mankind, argues that the fixity of the past as fully accomplished is what
43


grounds it as fixed. In a study of the within-region fixity of countries5 currencies and
output, Hill (2011) suggests that geographic fixity is necessary for meaningful
comparison of countrieschanging the borders eliminates the basis for comparison. In
uncovering the fixity of modern social institutions, we are warned by Bissell (2011)
against relying on dualisms to explain more complex social phenomena such as the
impacts of knowledge, power, and space on social interactions. Without a sophisticated
mode of analysis, we lend even greater power to existing institutions and social systems
as alone responsible for the current state; such a view extends unambiguous victimhood
to those who are subject to institutions and social systems, thus denying their indigenous
agency, spatial practice and contestations.
In direct result of the arrangements of fixity (i.e., repetition, advertisement and
subject-object duality) in social systems and institutions, individuals and groups are likely
to experience intricate reactions that involve both support and opposition (Oreg &
Sverdlik, 2011). According to Milner (2008) institutional support to individuals and
groups seeking to change systemic arrangements and practices occurs when the
institution will benefit. The convergence of interests explains that direction of
institutional support toward less powerful groups occurs when the institution achieves its
own aims, although divergent interests and interest conflicts result in institutional support
being withheld from less powerful groups and individuals to maintain the status of the
more powerful institution (Bell, 1980; Tate, Ladson-Billings & Grant, 1993). Whether
individuals and groups face competing or co-existing reactions comprise ambivalence, an
acknowledgement that a phenomenon, in tms case fixity of social systems and
institutions, is two things at oncesomehow necessary while also reasonably
44


unnecessary. Within the context of postcolonialism, "the efforts of cultural elites to
affirm indigenous roots while appropriating the foreign generates in the subject
ambivalent attitudes of admiration and aggressionIslam2012). Ambivalence
functions as one of the most significant discursive and psychical strategies of
discriminatory powerBhabha1994, p. 66)impacting the development of identities
dynamics of social interaction and uses of space.
Third in the socio-spatial process of marginalization are processes of
hybridization which reflect the necessary responsiveness of members of marginalized
groups to the complexities of colonialism. The phase processes of hybridization evokes
our awareness of the multiple ways through which hybridized identities are developed.
At issue in the present discussion is the impact of ambivalence on the identities of the
objects of colonial discourse. In response to the ambivalence produced by the fixity of
social systems and institutions, those who are marginalized must re-conceptualize their
identities; re-conceptualizing allows dual participation in institutions and indigenous
spaces. It must be noted here that in order to understand hybridization as open and fluid,
we must resist the lure of a dualistic understanding of colonizer and colonized. Spivak
(1988) cautions against this in declaring that the identity of the othered is irretrievably
heterogeneous SimilarlyBissell (2011) warns against colonial dualismsincluding in
spatial consciousness: the hegemony of dualistic images lies at the root of the problem
blocking or masking other interpretive possibilitiesp. 211).The hybridized identities of
those othered through colonial practices of fixity do not fit easily into the dualisms of
us/them, subject/object, colonizer/colonized. Instead, hybridized identities are blurred.
45


Thirdspace Theory
Thirdspace theoryin theorizing the spatial nature of social production and as a
tool for deconstructing the social arrangements of powerknowledgeand spacebrings
ontological and epistemological parity between often-disconnected sets of dialectics such
as space-time and hi story-geography. Its uses are broad and varied across multiple
disciplines such as education (see, for example, Gutierrez, 2008; Hurtubise, 2009),
teacher education (Martin, 2011), architecture and urban planning (Soja, 1996), and the
study of social media (Edinsinghe, Nakatsu, Widodo, & Cheok, 2011); despite this
breadth of application, at the core of thirdspace is a departure from the binaries of social
arrangements and the production of space. To some who engage the theory, thirdspace
lends itself to a space that simply exists between two existing spaces; such a space has
been referred to as a contact zone (Pratt, 1991). This in-between space also has been
referred to as the space of colonial hybndity:
uthe colonial hybrid is the articulation of the ambivalent space where the rite of
power is enacted on the site of desire, making its objects at once disciplinary and
disseminatory...Bhabha1985, p. 35).
While the movement toward thirdspace-as-hybridity has helped to explain the impact of
colonial discourse and structures on the identities of the dispossessedit is not spatially
grounded; instead, it is conceptual, as is evident in postmodernist turns toward spatiality.
Soja5s (1989) call for the reassertion of space in the examination of the social and
historical contexts of the production of culture has been referred to as the spatial turn
an important development in the emergence of space as central to our understanding of
social phenomena. Spatial consciousness remedies the treatment of space as an
46


afterthought to the history of social relations. The space of social interactions is important
not simply because interactions occur in space, but because understanding where
something happens is critical to understanding how and why it happens (Warf & Arias,
2009). Without spatial consciousness, our understanding of social phenomena such as
interactions is flat, at best.
At the core of thirdspace theory is the trialectic of history-space-social structure in
the production of our lived environments. Dialectics such as space-time or geography-
history, which are typified spatial binaries that emerge in fields such as science, flatten
spatial consciousness. A robust tmrdspace theory can be directed toward our
understandings of complex phenomena such as meaningful social change that empowers
oppressed groups and weakens systems of oppression. Herein lies the connection of
tmrdspace theory to post-colonial theory and critical social theory. The research reviewed
for this conceptual model supports the notion that understanding the complexities of
interaction between individuals and groups must be developed spatially and historically.
Thus, the conceptual model developed here incorporates the historical-spatial-social
trialectics alongside the critical social theory foci that includes power, space, and
knowledge.
Complexity of Family-School Interaction: A Conceptual Model
As claimed by Warf & Arias (2009), spatial consciousness is concerned with
more than where a phenomenon occurs. Spatial consciousness also explains why and how
a phenomenon is produced. This level of awareness is central to a community-grounded
understanding of family-school interaction. Additionally, without a theoretical foundation
for understanding the locations and relations of power of family involvement in schools,
47


our understanding of the roles of families in schools remains centered in literature and
practice. The Three Dimensions of Complexity of Family-School Interaction framework
aims to de-center the discourse of the dominant in the involvement of families in schools.
The socially and discursively constructed involvement of families in schoolsas
evident in research and popular literature, develops a mystique of public schooling; this
mystique is given life and context through flattened perspectives, such as in the argument
that the most important contribution of families to schools is the support to achieve
academic goals (see, for example, Diez, Gatt, & Racionero, 2011; Lewis, Kim & Bey,
2010). This mystique also is reflected in studies of school barriers to the participation of
poor families and families of color (see, for example, Kim, 2009). By centering the socio-
spatial and historical interactions of schools and families, a community-grounded base of
family involvement literature can emerge. Community-grounded family involvement in
schools resists the domination of communities traditionally and actively underserved by
schools school and policy.
Implications of Conceptual Model for Family-School Interaction
Postcolonialism: Implications for identity and role construction. Utilizing
theories of colonialism to examine the context of education in the U.S. has uncovered
material and psycho-cultural impacts of the structural and symbol systems of schooling
(Ladson-Billings, 1998). Applying a postcolonialism framework to schools and
classroomsSubedi & Daza (2008) argue that Eurocentric and US-centric biases emerge
in curriculum, pedagogy, and education research. Centering their framework in a
discourse of oppression and anti-oppressive struggleSubedi & Daza (2008) articulate the
impact of dominant forms of knowledge in education and society; postcolonialism is the
48


lens through which this critique of systemic and institutional dominance through fixity is
developed. Postcolonialism in education digs more deeply into the subjectivities of
international students who travel to more developed nations (Phoenix, 2009). In
experiences at contact zones, students must negotiate their identities through meeting,
clashing, and grappling with the dominant cultures in which they must learn to
participate. Within the contact zone, there are often "contexts of highly asymmetrical
relations of power, such as colonialism, slavery, or their aftermaths as they are lived out
in many parts of the worldPratt1991p. 6).
Within the present conceptual framework for analyzing the interactions of
families and schools in culturally and economically diverse communities, postcolonialism
informs the identification and critique of social relations that impose upon and hybridize
the identities of those who are subject to arrangements of power. This framework extends
the current discourse by drawing the attention of researchers to the families and
communities surrounding schools. In this way, the domination of communities through
compulsory schooling can be resisted through community-grounded research.
Critical Social Theory: Implications for perspectives of the purpose of public
school. Although postcolonialism informs analysis of the impact of social and discursive
power and domination on the identities of marginalized people and communities, this
framework intends to support efforts to change the complexities and disproportionalities
of schools in economically and culturally diverse communities. Relying upon critical
social theory, this conceptual framework moves beyond identifying relations of power,
knowledge, justice, and space toward seeking hope and change. Kincheloe & McLaren
(2011) point out this distinction as key to critical theories:
49


New poststructuralist conceptualizations of human agency and their promise that
men and women can at least partly determine their own existence offered new
hope for emancipatory forms of social research when compared with orthodox
Marxisms assertion of the iron laws of historythe irrevocable evil of capitalism
and the proletariat as the privileged subject and anticipated agent of social
transformationp. 287).
Critical social theory draws the attention of researchers to features of social space,
including the social production of knowledge, space, systems and institutions. In
attending to these features of social space, inquiry becomes deeply grounded in the socio-
spatial context. Such grounding enlightens researchers, supports emancipatory agendas in
research, and resists dominant forms of knowledge such as economic determinism and
ideology (Kincheloe & McLaren, 2011). This grounding also supports the aim of critical
social theory to understand oppressive and emancipatory knowledges within local and
contextual practices (Leonard, 1990; Freeman & Vasconcelos, 2010). This perspective
suggests a close examination of the interaction of families and schools in economically
and culturally diverse communities.
Thirdspace theory. Schools are powerful. In American society, schools are one
of the single most effective tool[s] of the twentieth century for keeping the social order
intact while appearing to offer equal opportunitySmith1995, p.138). Schools
effectively maintain power, influence, and credibility over the lives of children, and often
tneir families as wella phenomenon that is glaringly evident in urban communities.
Because the housing patterns of neighborhoods and neighborhood schools generally
50


follow the same social class lines, students in urban areas most often experience learning
environments with classmates from similar socioeconomic backgrounds.
With the perspective provided by thirdspace theory to understand the historical,
social, and spatial features of social space and interaction, thirdspace theory has
application to the intersection of geography and politics, including discourses of power,
hegemony and the oppression of marginalized groups (Anzaldua, 1999; Moje, et al.,
2004). Thirdspace theory enables critical analysis of the first and second spaces of social
production. For example, relegating certain dominated groups to less powerful social
roles is a first space function of dominance, and their responses to this relegation,
whether in a form such as resistance or in hopes of what could be, is a function of the
second space. This theory has two key aspects key to this conceptual framework: a) it
provides a basis for spatial consciousness that grounds research within a geographic and
social context, which is necessary to community-grounded, emancipatory research, and
b) in the thirdspace, the critical socio-spatial imagination reconsiders the uses of space
and the characteristics of interaction in ways that achieve grounded and sustained equity,
with those who are peripherally involved in or subjected to the meaning-making and
social construction of others being brought to the center and becoming co-constructors of
meaning and experience.
Conclusion
This research does not hold the assumption that the purpose of including families
in schools is to improve student academic achievement. With such a narrow focus,
opportunities for re-imagining the school involvement of families may be significantly
limited. Instead, this research aims to explore the perspectives of family and school
51


members related to spaces of family-school interaction beyond programs, typologies, and
partnerships. Although the aforementioned assumption is prevalent, it restricts the
potentially powerful contributions of otherwise marginalized families to change the
material and symbolic reproduction of their societies. Examining family-school
interactions, as intended in this research, aims to support an imagination that enables
individuals and social scientists to look beyond the appearance of social facts
toward ...new social factsthe end of class society...Agger1991). This dialectical
imagination (Jay, 1973) is the ability to see the world as having potential to be changed in
the future, an endeavor that requires both imagination and reason (Perkins, 1985).
As an alternative to the language of parent involvement, I suggest, and will
employ hereafter, use of term family-school interaction. Interaction indicates the social
nature inherent in the field of literature and practice of families and schools, but is
divorced from the power dynamics and assumptions inherent in related concepts: parent
involvement, parent engagement and parent-school partnerships. Such a distinction is
crucial here because the distribution of power in schools contributes to systems of
oppression, marginalization, and the socio-political oppression (Auerbach, 2007; M. D.
Young, 1999) of families from economically and culturally diverse groups. With this in
mind, the current study aims to challenge current models of involving families in schools
by uncovering and dismantle these systems and their associated assumptions.
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CHAPTER III
METHODOLOGY
Purpose of Study
Involving family members in school to support their childrens academic
achievement is a research-based practice that reflects the expectation for family members
to participate in school in ways that are determined by schools, whether the location of
activity is the school or home. Family member involvement in school activities has been
found to produce home-school overlap that supports student learning (Galindo &
Sheldon, 2012). Research further suggests that we can be more confident that students
will achieve better when their family members are involved in school-based programs for
family involvement (Jeynes, 2012), although family-school partnerships may lead to
better academic achievement than including family members in school programs (Kim,
Coutts, Holmes, Sheridan, Ransom, Sjuts & Rispoli, 2012). On either side of this debate
is an orientation to the involvement of families that does not question the phenomenon;
instead, research perspectives attempt to better understand how to get family members to
become more involved in school. Our opportunity here is to question whether the
phenomenon of school involvement of family members can be broadened beyond the
focus on academic achievement to reflect a deeper connection to families and the
community such that their interests inform schools.
Through this qualitative study, I sought to understand how different adults who
were connected to the involvement of families in school perceived the interaction of
families and school. These adults included family members, school professionals, and
community members. I also sought to understand how these adults understood the roles
53


of family members in school and the purpose of schoolmy aim was to revisit the
understandings of the role of family members as supporters of the aims of school
(Epstein2010) and school purpose as the instruction of studentspreparation for the
workforce, or preparation for responsible citizenship (Mitchell, Gerwin, Schuberth,
Mancini & Hofrichter, 2009). In order to discover these perspectives, I developed and
revised a set of research questions:
1. What are the understandings of family-school interaction held by members of
families, the local community and schools?
2. What are the roles of family members in school?
3. What is the purpose of school as understood by members of families,
communities, and schools?
These questions were refined during the process of conducting the study as I became
clearer that family-school interaction was broader than what families and schools did to
one another. The research questions were refined through early analysis of participant
responses to interview questions that indicated two unnecessary research questions {In
what ways do families and schools interact? In what ways do families and community
members identify and respond to efforts to engage them in schools?). Early analysis also
informed the formation of an additional research question {What is the purpose of school
as understood by members of families, communities, and schools?) as adamonal
important information emerged in interviews. Refining the study questions also opened
up the possibility that this study could inform possibilities for new perspectives of the
interaction of tamilies and school, perspectives that are grounded in equity and in local
communities.
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Context of Study
The context of this study was in major city in the Western US, Metropolitan City.
Metropolitan City was made up of almost 80 neighborhoods, each identified by housing
development patterns and population growth trends. The Chelsea Park neighborhood was
selected for this study, providing geographic boundaries for the study. The neighborhood
contained one high school (grades 9-12), two middle schools (grades 6-8), three schools
for students in grades K-8, and 8 elementary schools (ECE-5th grade). The middle schools
connected to Chelsea Park High School were in an adjacent neighborhood. The Chelsea
Park community was selected because of the recent school reform efforts the community
was experiencing as well as its diverse residential population.
Chelsea Park had just over 30,000 residents, with nearly 9,000 students enrolled
in schools throughout Metropolitan City. Residents were from multiple racial and ethnic
backgrounds with its resident majority made up of Latino and Black households. In
addition, approximately 12% of households were at or below the national poverty income
level and the proportion of residents with less than a 12th grade education (29.52%) was
similar to the proportion of residents with a high school only education (26.85%) and
with some college, but no degree (24.26%).
In addition to the geographic and demographic contexts of Chelsea Park, I also
was interested in the school policy context, evident in the school reform efforts occurring
in the community. Within the school reform context of this study, family-school
experiences at the elementary school level supported the study emphasisalthough school
reform was not the central research topic. Family-school interactions were closely related
to child and community development in child development literature (Bronfenbrenner,
55


1986; Henry, 1996), and the involvement of families has been shown to decrease as
children grow older (Green, Walker, Hoover-Dempsey, & Sandler, 2007; Grolnick &
Slowiaczek, 1994); thus, studying family-school interactions at the elementary school
level was emphasized because of the elementary grades5 broader and more immediate
implications for families, the community and schooling as well as the research field.
The school reform context was revealed by several articles published by the local
newspaper prior to and during the time of this study. The newspaper revealed that the
school district was engaged in school reform efforts described as forward thinking
despite the attempts of local community groups to boycott the districts efforts (2/28/11).
The paper also characterized the school reform efforts of the district as part of a "drastic
turnaround plan prompted by low performance in the region (8/11/11).As Metropolitan
Public Schools pushed an aggressive reform plan for Chelsea Park-area schools in an
effort to fix the chronically low-performing programs9/29/2010) at five schoolsthere
was wide support from school officials and some community members, and little
apparent support from the wider community. The response of many in the community
was evident in the fiery speechesimpassioned pleas and heartfelt statements that
were aired for hours Thursday night before the Board approved the largest school
turnaround plan in district history11/19/10). It was within this context that data was
collected for this study.
Two study sites were selected for this study. One study site was an elementary
school, Alcorn Elementary School. Alcorn was included because it was not experiencing
school reform at the time of this study; it was selected because its administration and staff
were willing to participate in this study. The second study site was a non-school
56


community organization, the Metropolitan Center for Kids. The Center was included for
this study because of its history in the community, high number of participating youth,
and location in the center of Chelsea Park. Selecting one school site and one community
site was done in an effort to avoid limiting voices and perspectives to adults involved in
schools as well as to include family members who may not have been actively involved
at school.
Study Populations
Participant selection for this study occurred first through key informants and then
through convenience sampling. Four key informants were contacted for this study
because of their affiliation with a school or the community. Linda was the principal at
Alcorn, Ebony was an organizer for a community-based education advocacy
organization, Brian was the Director of the Metropolitan Center for Kids, and Susan was
a former teacher in Chelsea Park and the parent of a student who recently graduated from
Chelsea Park High School. Convenience sampling using a snowball approach followed
the key informant interviews, allowing me to identify additional study participants. Linda
shared the names of teachers whom she thought would have been interested in
participating in the study, but she allowed me to attend a faculty meeting when I asked
her for an opportunity to invite all members of the school faculty to participate in the
study. I was able to share information about the study and distribute information sheets
and my contact information. From this, five teachers volunteered to participate in the
study.
Similarly, Brian volunteered to recommend family members to participate in this
study. He invited family members to participate in a group interview during a community
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event at the Metropolitan Center for Kids. Six family members participated in a group
interview that occurred at the Center.
Susan helped me identify community hubs where street interviews could be
conducted. Her recommendations were based on her history in the community, and based
on her suggestions, I conducted street interviews with 18 community members near a
Safeway grocery store and strip mall as well as a Family Dollar strip mall in Chelsea
Park. My interview with Ebony, a community organizer, did not result in the
identification of opportunities for additional study participants.
Data Sources
The collection of data for this study began with district documents from the
Metropolitan Public School District website. In addition to the district documents, I
collected observation field notes at both study sites and conducted three forms of
interviews; face-to-face individual interviews, group interviews, and street interviews
with individuals. I also accessed the record of telephone calls made to the Office of
Family Involvement for Metropolitan Public Schools; these were calls related to schools
in the Chelsea Park community over an 18-month period.
District documents. Over two months during the fall,I accessed 382 policy
documents ranging in topics from Basic Commitments of the District to Support Services
policies to School-Community Relations. Of these multiple policies, I conducted a basic
search for those policy documents that discussed the districts missionfamilies and
parents, school space, and achievement. There were seventeen documents that fit these
criteria.
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Observation field notes. I collected observation field notes at both study sites
over two months. My observations at Alcorn occurred at afternoon pickup or morning
drop-off for three days during this period. My observation of the school pickup and drop-
off lasted 15-20 minutes. I also observed a Science Fair event, School Collaboration
Team meeting, and a meeting of the Active Parents Organization. These observations
lasted between 45-90 minutes, depending on the planned length of the meeting. My
observation notes included: a) time of arrival,b)location, c) estimates of entry/exit
traffic, d) numbers of persons present, e) observable characteristics and types of persons
presentf) structure of program or eventincluding speakers and rolesand g) departure
time.
At the Metropolitan Center for Kids, my observations also occurred over two
months. My observations at the Center included activity in the lobby between adults, and
between adults and children. On two occasions, I observed a staff member leading the
afternoon education program; each of my observations lasted 20 minutes. I also observed
a two-hour parent night in recognition of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and a community
meeting to help parents select schools for their children; this was a two-hour observation.
Following each observation, within ten minutes of departing the study site, I used
the recording device to capture my recollections of events, uncertainties, possible initial
meanings, and, where appropriate, possible connections to other field experiences. Each
audio recording lasted between two and eight minutes, and supplemented my handwritten
field notes through a wide range of reactions. These impressions and questions were used
during data collection to identify potential next steps.
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Individual interviews. Questions for face-to-face interviews with individual
members of families and schools were developed based on the Research Questions. The
interviews were conducted following a general interview guide approach (Turner, 2010),
which is a somewhat structured interview approach guided by interview questions while
allowing for flexibility. As the interviewer using a general interview guide approach, I
was able to ask each participant the same interview questions, although the order of
questions may have been altered based on my interaction with the respondent and the
directions the interviews took. I conducted eight in-person individual interviews with
community members, family members, and school professionals. The interviews ranged
in length from 30-84 minutes, and each interview was recorded using a digital recording
device. The interviews were conducted at locations requested by study participants.
Interview participants, along with brief descriptions of their roles in the community, are
included in Table 3.1. The interview question guide is included in Appendix B.
Group interviews. Questions for the group interviews were developed along with
the questions for in-person individual interviews; group interview questions also were
based on the Research Questions. I conducted two group interviews. The first group
interview included six persons and occurred at the Metropolitan Center for Kids and
included family members; these family members were five mothers and a father. The
location of the first group interview was determined by convenience, as the Center
provided a closed-space away from all other activity. This interview lasted 66 minutes
and was recorded on a digital recording device. The interview was later transcribed for
analysis. The second group interview occurred at Alcorn Elementary School in an
intervention classroom and included three teachers and the school psychologist; the
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intervention classroom was the location requested by the participating school
professionals.
Table 111.1 Overview of face-to-face individual interview participants
Participant Participant Description Interview Length Location
Brian Robinson Director, Metropolitan Center for Kids (Center) 83 min. Center
Linda Dominguez Principal, Alcorn Elementary School 84 min. Alcorn School
Ebony Torres Community Organizer (self- identified) 67 min. Local Coffee Shop
Emilio Garcia Parent, Alcorn Elementary School 33 min. Local Coffee Shop
Tiffany Simon Parent, Metropolitan Center for Kids 40 min. Community Library
Susan Matthews Community Activist (self-identified) 53 min. Participants Home
Harriett Davis Teacher, Metropolitan Center for Kids 40 min. Alcorn School
Allison Lawrence Teacher, Alcorn Elementary School 30 min. Alcorn School
The interview lasted 54 minutes and was recorded on a digital recording device.
The interview also was later transcribed for analysis. The group interview question guide
is included in Appendix B.
Street interviews. The third interview procedure included street interviews
conducted over four days in the Chelsea Park community. Questions for the street
interviews were developed along with the questions for in-person individual and group
interviews; these questions were based on the Research Questions. Street interviews
occurred at high-traffic public places, outside of the local Safeway and Family Dollar
stores, as well as outside of a local barbershop. During the street interviews, I invited
passersby to answer a few questions about schools in the communityexplaining that
the interviews would take just a few minutesprobably no more than three. I conducted
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street interviews with all interested and willing patrons. The total number of street
interview participants was 18 over the four days, which is approximately one-eighth of
the total number of passersby who might have participated in the street interviews. I
wrote out summary participant responses to each question on individual question guides.
The interview question guide is included in the Appendix C.
Telephone call logs. The fifth data source was telephone call logs that I accessed
through the school districts Office of Family Involvement. I requested the call log
following document analysis and interviews with family, community and school
members. I was granted access by making a direct request to the district Parent
Involvement Specialist through an email. The telephone log contained a record of nearly
every telephone call made to the office from parents and members of the community with
concerns or complaints about schools in the district. Not every telephone call was logged
into this system; calls that were easily answered by district employees, including school
calendar inquiries, were answered by the staff member but not recorded in the log. To be
specific, through personal communication with a liaison, I learned that:
Only the calls that require follow-up from our constituency team get logged into
[the system]. If our front-line staff members can answer the question on the spot,
they will do so. Sometimes it is a matter of redirecting their calls to another
department such as Human Resources. Some questions that come in are about
school calendarsschool closuresbasic policy questionsphone numbersetc.
After an initial meeting with parent liaison from the Office of Family Involvement, I was
granted permission to access the call log containing information from August 2010-
January 2012. This included the records of 74 telephone calls.
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Data Analysis
Data for this study were analyzed iteratively over six months, requiring several
revisions to a very non-linear process. The research questions guided initial analysis of
the data, which occurred directly on the district policy documents and interview
transcripts using content analysis techniques. The topic of each research question was
used to discover big ideas, or major themes, in participant responses to interview
questions. Research question topics also were used to discover big ideas in district policy
documents. The research question topics were: a) role of participant, b) role of family, c)
purpose of school,d) why family-school interaction, e) how family-school interaction,
and f) context of family-school interaction. Each of these deductive topics was treated as
an initial code and applied to the district documents and interview transcripts.
I narrowed the list of early information categories to three descriptive codes that
appeared to contain the key themes regarding family and community involvement in the
school district. Descriptive codes require little interpretation as they attribute a class of
phenomena to a text segment (Miles & Huberman, 1994). It seemed necessary to narrow
this list of early information categories in order to build more directly on a more focused
set of indicators that emerged. These codes were a) role of family, b) purpose of school,
and c) school space. Examples of these categories are included in Table 111.2.
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Table 111.2. Coding characteristics for district policy documents.
Early Information Categories Description Policy Document Name Text Segment
Role of Family This document category addresses, directly or indirectly, the forms and opportunities for involvement of family members in the practices of school at the district, school or classroom level. Parent Involvement ...believes that parents (including those who are economically disadvantaged, have disabilities, have limited English, have limited literacy, are of any racial or ethnic minority background, or are parents of migratory children) are partners with teachers and other staff in the education of their children and that parent involvement and empowerment are essential at all levels throughout the school district.
Purpose of School Documents in this category indicate a stated or understood purpose, mission, or vision of schooling, including at the district, school or classroom level. Policy Framework for Accelerating Gains in Academic Achievement for All Students We will lead the nation's cities in student achievement, high school graduation, college preparation, and college matriculation. Our students will be well prepared for success in life, work, civic responsibility, and higher education. To fulfill this vision, the Board expects the district to accomplish the following mission: ...provide all students the knowledge and skills necessary to become contributing citizens in our diverse society and to compete in the 21st century global economy
School Space Documents included in this category designate specific uses of school district buildings, including access protocols and policies, restrictions, and descriptions of intended use. Visitors to Schools In order to insure that no unauthorized persons enter buildings with wrongful
intent, ^11 visitors to the schools shall report to the school office when Dntering, receiving authorization before nsitina elsewhere in the building. This
will not apply when parents have been invited to a classroom or assembly program.
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Following this first attempt at getting the lay of the land I extracted big ideas
that emerged through constant comparative analysis. Constant comparative analysis
(Boeije, 2002) allowed me to form categories through comparing and contrasting
participants5 responses to questions. Comparison and contrast of participants5 responses
to interview questions occurred through steps to fragment and connect ideas in the texts. I
developed a series of concept map images that allowed me to identify connections and
disconnections between responses to interview questions. An example of the concept map
is included in Appendix A.
The transcript linguistic context surrounding statements about the big ideas made
by study participants determined the nature of connections and disconnections. These
connections and disconnections were triangulated through comparison to observation
field notes and digital recordings following observation and interviews. An example of a
disconnection emerged in a participants response to a question about her history of being
involved with her childrens schools: this family member initially stated that Ohits
great for me because memyselfteachers and administratorswere all on the same page
when it comes to my kids education. Laterthis family member says about her sons
experience in school that its like youre taking this child with these issues and putting
him into a regular environment and youre expecting him to excel. And thats just not
going to happen.For these sorts of responses within an interview transcript, I used
arrows and question marks on the concept map.
The next step in my data analysis was the comparison between interview
transcripts and participant response to interview questions. I attempted to analyze the
interview transcripts by hand, using margins first, and then index cards as I continued to
65


generate initial codes from the district documents. Throughout each interview transcript, I
used the margins to identify descriptive topics of respondents comments (Miles &
Huberman, 1994). This analysis required little inference (Carspecken, 1996), as it was
close to the primary record of the interview transcripts. For example, when participants
discussed their role within the local community or school, whether voluntarily or in
response to a particular questionthe labelRole-Commor Role-Sch was written in
the margins. Engaging in low-level coding in this way helped me to identify segments of
text that were applicable to each of the research question categories and to capture
additional ideas that emerged during the interviews. Based on each research question
category, which provided initial codes to analyze interview data, I developed a second
level of codes from the individual and group interviews. This resulted in 11 descriptive
codes at a second coding level. These codes focused on connecting responses according
to emergent themes, between and among study participants, and helped to elucidate
possible response clusters that were emerging from the data. Both levels of codes are
reflected in Table 111.3.
In applying codes, I tried to make connections between responses in order to
identify themes or categories beyond these levels of codes. What seemed to be missing
from my analysis was the meaning that codes should generate. In order to dig a bit deeper
into my data, I utilized an analytic framework developed by Srivatava & Hopwood
(2009).
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Table 111.3. List and examples of first- and second-level codes of in-person and group
interviews.
Initial codes Second-level codes Example
Understandings of Interaction Interaction in Setting of School So let me give you an example. CSAP night that we did with parents, teaching parents about how to prepare their kids for CSAP night, not just to bed early and all that, which the skitnot just that. Thats what people say they do with parents. Thats a simple thing. Thats likebasic. We had parents working with their kids on CSAP items
Interaction in Practice of School All their friends are on the busget to go to the Metro Center and hang out. And theyre aoing tutoring at the Metro Center. Like right now, they have tutoring Monday and Wednesday. So I take advantage of everything. I go to. I cant afford. Im a single mother.
Role of Family Members Complexities I just think its a central part of a neighborhood especially this neighborhood. Because I think all the schools allowed the kids to be able to go get the support they might need in regards to what theyre not getting at homethey can get it in school
Constraints Theyre mostly relyingI thinkon word of mouth. I hope that many of them are going to the school and making a visit. But...I dont know realistically how many people are doing that. So that would say to me that theyre not necessarily relying on the school or the district for information. I think that its hard to get useful information from the district. To get it, you have to go to a website, which means that you have to have a certain... level of computer knowledge.
Agency The goal is to build tneir knowledge capacity their leadership capacity to advocate for themselves, for their own child, and really for all children in a public school system. So that if they move from Chelsea Park to Detroit or New Orleans or Chicago and theres an issue with that school, then they can organize themselves and get that thing taken care of.
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Table 111.3. contc
Role of Family Members Options ...we had a meeting with somebody who could translate.. .1 saidTell her that shes welcome to come in my classroom. She can observe. She could do something with me. She could work with her child. She came in. Shes been in twice now.
Purpose of School Neighborhood/ Community .giving something to do with some educational setupopposed to out on the street running around. It keeps those kids out of the bad elements
Society I think ideally a school is creating students that are prepared for the future, so not just prepared for the world today, not being just able to navigate the world today and get into a college, but are teaching them to be fully formed people.
Family I thinkfor methe purposeI think school is to kind of help nurture what is already there because I think at homes there5 s some foundation thats laid
Students & Learning "Well, you know, the purpose of public education is to helpFm going to speak to my level of students hereto help our students become successful in life. And they have to do that with the tools of the trade. And the trade is readingwritingarithmeticright? If you dont have those toolsyou cant make it in life. And so our job is to help kids become proficient and advanced, in my opinion, in all those major content areas so they literally can leave here prepared for middle school.
Schooling So the purpose of public education is to make sure that it levels the playing field so that everybody can have an opportunity to live well... in this country... I believe that they believe that that is the purpose of the schools out hereeven though its not happening... My friends say their purpose is doing just what theyre doing: putting out kids who cant go to collegecant go to a two-year collegecant get a job. Because as soon as they cant fill out the applicationeven one linethe boss saysYoure disqualified right there.
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Reflexive and iterative analysis required that I acknowledge my interpretation of data
according to theoretical frameworkssubjective perspectivesontological and epistemological
positionsand intuitive field understandingsSrivatava & Hopwood2009). Srivatava and
Hopwood (2009) developed a practical iterative framework for analyzing qualitative data
consisting of three questions:
1. What are the data telling me?
2. What is it I want to know?
3. What is the dialectical relationship between what the data are telling me and what I
want to know?
I found this framework useful to continue data analysis across the documents, in-person
individual interviews and group interviews and to integrate street interviews into the analysis.
In order to continue the analysis of data in a reflexive, iterative manner, drawing upon the
multiple levels of inquiry, I generated an analytic model connecting the levels of inquiry with
the various sources of data, as shown in Figure 1111.This analytic model required a component
that would acknowledge the emerging constructs as they were related to the interaction
between the homeschoolcommunityand district. Bronfenbrenners (1977) Ecological
Systems Theory seemed apt for this level of analysis of the broader context of study.
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Iterative-Reflexive Analytic Framework
Q1:What are the data telling me?
Q2: What is it I want to know?
Q3: What is the dialectical relationship between what the data are telling me and what I want
to know?
Q3a: How does the conceptual framework resolve or sustain the tension posed by the
dialectical relationship between what the data are telling me and what I want to know?
Figure 1111 Iterative-Reflexive analytic framework used during analysis stage 2.
In recognition of these differences, I analyzed the data further. When I asked
participants to explain why family members should be involved in schools, the
responses of family members would focus on sharing responsibility (well they
shouldnt put the responsibility on schools because you have to think about the fact that
you are the parent and the best example is going to be youwhile the responses of
members of schools would focus on the education and professional experiences of
family members (well I think that depends on their background and what their own
experiences have been, you know"). Subsequently, data for this question was coded into
two themes: roles and responsibilities or qualifications and criteria. When I asked
participants to describe the purpose of school, their responses would focus on the idea
(I think ideally a school is creating students that are prepared for the futureso not just
prepared for the world today, not just being able to navigate the world today and get into
70


a good collegebut are teaching them to be fully formed people)or the perceived
actual, in which the outcome differs from the purpose (uso the purpose of public
education is to make sure that it levels the playing field so that everyone can have an
opportunity to live well, or to live, you know, comfortably in this country. I would say
the outcome is not that). Responses to the question of the purpose of school fell into the
categories of ideal/should be and actual/as is.
Another significant decision at this stage of the study resulted from the realization
that I had not adequately refined the research questions to frame the information that this
study was intended to elicit. While the original research questions were connected under
the conceptual umbrella of family-school interaction, they were not developed adequately
to uncover the systemic arrangements of family-school interaction. Nonetheless, in the
analysis of data, systemic arrangements of family-school interaction emerged. What
became evident in the data I analyzed was that the components of the interaction of
families and schools included space, contextual nature of roles, and understanding of the
purpose of school.
Outliers emerged in participant responses during in-person individual and group
interviews as participants shared their perspectives of others. For example, during a group
interview, one family member criticized other family members as less inclined to be
involved in their childrens schooling (We don't have those kind of parents anymore.
Parents need to be fully involved in what their children's doing, whether it's here, whether
it's at the school.I mean you get those parents that may have vacation time, take a day
offwell they'll theyll lay up and watch TV all day instead of walk in here and see what
my child is doing at school). In another interviewa school member described her efforts
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to engage family members as at a higher level than her colleagues (It's hard for people to
be able to do the work with people that they don't know or feel comfortable with. And I
think thats one of the biggest problems). In order to understand this phenomenon better
I looked into Carl Jungs (1936) theory of archetypes.
Jungian archetypes. An archetype is one5s collective, often unconscious,
understanding of people in definite forms (Jung, 1936). An archetype also may be a
broad, generic form of a person, such as a damsel in distress, hero, or mother figure. For
example, the traditional Hero archetype aims to be perceived as in engaged in some
mythic quest. The use of the archetype construct has found footing in other fieldsso I did
not consider it too great a stretch to consider it as a tool to analyze these data. The
professional-as-hero archetype has been discussed in other professions, such as Law and
Medicine. In analyzing the lawyer hero archetype in film, Elkins describes the hero as
great warriorsengaged in epic courtroom battlesfacing mean-spirited foesand
prevailing in the name of justiceElkinsn.d.). In an online web logDr. Anthony Youn
(2011) characterizes the god complex of many physicians by posing the rhetorical
questionSo what causes some doctors to think they are on par with God? He goes on
to elaborate that it is likely the result of having the power to make life or death decisions
for their patients gets to some doctors5 heads. Physicians are the ones that, with a pen,
can write an order for a patient that saves his or her life.
I identified four archetypes intially: the Exceptional Self, the Compensating
Educator, the Inadequate Other, and the Advocating Community Member. Each of these
archetypes seemed to help explain the patterns of responses from study participants.
However, upon further analysis, I discovered that two were shared across each category
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of participant. These two were: Exceptional Self and Inadequate Other. I discuss these
archetypes further in Chapter IV.
District call log. In analyzing the study data, I recognized that the broader voices
of family members were not included in the data I collected. Only those participants who
were accessed through key informant interviews and convenience sampling were
involved, and I considered the implications of keeping a much broader population of
family members silenced by not including them in this study. I viewed these implications
as undermining the purpose of this study, which was to understand the interactions of
family members and schools. I sought to gain access to the record of telephone calls
made to the district, as these telephone calls would reflect the broad array of concerns for
which family members called the district.
I was granted access to the telephone call log developed and maintained by the
Metropolitan Public School District Office of Family Involvement (OFI) for the date
range August 2010-January 2012.1 limited my search to the nine elementary schools in
the Chelsea Park community and closely reviewed each of the 74 telephone calls that
came in during this 18-month period. This was also particularly helpful because neither
the format nor the questions included in the street interviews provided access to specific
interactions between families and schools in the Chelsea Park community. The telephone
call logs provided details of specific interactions between families and schools. For
examplea parent called OFI because her daughter was attacked by four boys and a
school employee, a paraprofessional, did not respond to the attack. After speaking with
the principal who asked the offending students to write letters of apology to the girl, the
childs mother contacted OFI to seek an alternativemore severe consequence for the four
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boys. The telephone call log was a running record of telephone calls made by members of
families and communities within the Metropolitan Public School District. While not
every call into the OFI was recorded in the call log, logged calls provided necessary
contribution to this study.
The Iterative-Reflexive Analytic Framework in Figure III.1 guided my analysis of
the phone call logs. I developed a list of descriptive codes for the various documented
reasons for calls made by family and community members from Chelsea Park to the
Metropolitan Public Schools District. The research question categoriespurpose of
school, role of families in school, and interaction between families and schoolwere not
adequate to organize what the telephone call log data revealed. However, it was apparent
that family and community members made calls to the district (OFI) after having an
experience at school that provoked them to pursue recourse. The data revealed that calls
were made to express concerns about the policies of schools and practices of members of
schools. After reviewing each of the 74 telephone calls made to the OFI, low-level
descriptive coding informed five categories of calls: a) family or community member
access to school;b) interpersonal interaction between school person and a non-school
person; c) school policy; d) school environment; and e) the academic program. These
categories are described in Table 111.4.
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Table 111.4. Categories of calls made to Metropolitan Public Schools District Office of
Family Involvement (OFI) between Aug. 2010-Jan. 2012 for elementary schools in
Chelsea Park community^_________________________________________________________
Category No. of calls Characteristics Example from field notes
Access to school 4 Family or community member calls to express concern about a perceived barrier to accessing the school building. 1/23/12: Parent concerned about gates to parking lot being locked. Wife has handicap and needs accessbut this has not happened even after contact with principal.
Interpersonal 19 Family or community member called to express concerns about a negative interaction that occurred between a school person, such as a teacher, office staff member, or administrator, and a non- school person such as a child or family member. 1/5/12: Parent thinks Assistant Principal is aide and not a people person. Complains that administration was not chosen well.
School policy 38 Family or community member called to express concerns about a school policy that was inaccessible or that affected a childs education experience. 5/12/11:Child wrote on bookcase. Parent concerned about change in status of offense from Type 1 u damage to school property to Type 3 damage to school property-including graffiti with a price range from $500-$5000 in damages
School environment 27 Family or community member called to express concerns about the environment of the school, including student safety, well-being, or overall school experience. 11/15/11: Son, grade 3 Jumped three times in a week. Threatened by fourth graders: "we^e going to f g kill you^ Daughter, 4th grade, hit by student went to hospital for concussion check. Other daughter, 5th grade, teased for weight. Para told 4th grade daughter that 3rd grade brother is freaking coo coo Principal has not intervened.
Academic program 3 Family or community member called to express concerns about school5s support of childs academic performance, including access to special education services. 4/19/11:3rd grade child at 1st grade level. School recommended summer program, advised against retention, but parent wants disability testing. School social worker suggests emotional damage from retention. Parent also (and husband) has learning disabilities.
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Table 111.5. Categories of resolutions to calls made to OFI between Aug. 2010-Jan. 2012
for elementary schools in Chelsea Park community. ________________________________________
Resolution category No. of calls Characteristics Contextualized example from field notes
Meeting with school 35 The issue was (to be) resolved through a meeting with the school principal, school psychologist or other member of the school administration. This does not include meetings with district personnel. Issue: 3/23/11: Daughter attackedby four boys. Para not responsive to treatment of their daughter (Environment). Resolution: Boys are Hispanic [sic]. Parents think it was racially motivated. Parent thinks principal lied about boys writing apology notes which daughter did not receive. Meeting was requested but was not held father thought it would be pointless.
Family member resolved 6 The issue was resolved by the concerned family member, without the direct involvement of a member of the school. This often occurred when family members were not satisfied with the response of the school or OFI. Issue: 5/23/11: Child is bullied. Parent feels teacher calls for her child5 s behavior but does not respond when she is being bullied. (Environment) Resolution: Parent withdrew child. Principal is willing to meet with parent.
Not resolved or resolution not available 8 The resolution to the issue was recorded in a journal that was not available, or no resolution to the issue was recorded. Issue: 9/7/11: Parents feel daughter is treated unfairly at school. (Environment) Resolution: Journal
School or district policy reinforced 28 The issue was (to be) resolved by the invocation or reinforcement of a school or district policy. Issue: 8/31/11: School secretary continues to call parent about child, who is being home schooled. (Interpersonal/School Policy) Resolution: School will not withdraw child until formal Home School Office paperwork is completed. Child was eventually registered for homeschool.
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Additionally, the call log recorded the various resolutions to each of the recorded
calls. Through low-level descriptive coding, four categories of resolutions were
identified: a) a meeting with a member of the school;b) reinforcement of the school or
district policy; c) issue was not resolved or resolution was not included in the log; and the
d) family member resolved issue independently. These resolutions are described in Table
111Examples provided are drawn from researcher field notes.
Wrapping up these steps of analysis required some efforts to find the alignment
among the data. This was the final push toward generating findings, and it required
triangulation. Triangulation involves the use of different sources of information in order
to increase validity in a qualitative study (Guion, Diehl,& McDonald, 2011). Also,
triangulation of methods seeks to corroborate findings across the various biases and
strengths of the data collection method (Denzin & Lincoln, 1998), while avoiding
assumption of correspondence of data. Triangulation led to a revised coding structure
which is included in Table 111.6.
Table 111.6. Revised Coc ing Structure
Codes from Documents Codes from Calls Codes from Intervie ComDined/Revised Code
Role of Family Interpersonal Complexities Constraints Agency Options Power of Family
Purpose of School Policy Academic Program Schooling Learning Family Community Society Power of Institution Purpose of School
Space Access Environment School Setting School Practice Access
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Summary
My purpose in developing this study has been to understand the perceptions of
family-school interaction held by members of schools, families, and a local community.
Eliciting the perceptions of various members of families, school and communities was
intended to shift the lens away from academic outcomes of schooling to the perceived
characteristics of a social phenomenon with important implications for our society and
the ways in which we conduct the endeavor of school. To be specific, schooling is
compulsory, and the involvement of family members is required, but the practice of
school is created for, rather than with, family and community members. In studying this
phenomenon, several perspectives emerged, indicating the complexity of family-school
interaction. In the next chapterI articulate the studys findings and apply a socio-critical
lens to the data in order to uncover the multiple layers of complexity of family-school
interaction.
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CHAPTER IV
PRESENTATION OF FINDINGS
In this chapter, I present the four major findings of this study. These findings
reveal that the phenomenon of family-school interaction both sustains and opposes the
status quo of the public school. These findings also reveal that inherent in the interaction
of families and school is the issue of power. The four major study findings are:
1. Power emerged in two forms in the interaction of families and schools:
institutional power of school and individual power of families and family
members. The institutional power of school was coercive, historical,
collective and pervasive, and school employees enacted this power
throughout their interactions with families. The individual power of families
was resistant, confined, and subsumed. In the interaction of families and
schools, the individual power of families was either co-opted or dismissed by
school professionals enacting the institutional power of schools.
2. A contradiction existed in the understandings of the purpose of school held by
members of families, the community, and school professionals. All agreed
that the purpose of school was to give students academic skills, although
community members and school professionals qualified the enactment of
schools purpose as different from its stated purpose because of the Chelsea
Park community. Family members, on the other hand, did not acknowledge
that the purpose of school was different within the Chelsea Park community.
3. Family-school interaction was constrained by a context of barriers restricting
family members access to information and to the physical space of schools.
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These barriers were enforced by school policies and sustained by the
practices of school professionals, even as they sought to involve family
members in school.
4. There were three school-related roles for family members, each defined in
response to the enactment of the institutional power of school. Whether
family members were a) present and engaged in school practices, b) co-opted
school leaders, or c) collective advocates, their roles in schools were the
result of their efforts being exploited by the institutional power of school.
Throughout this chapter, in order to present and support these findings, I provide an
analysis informed by the multiple data sources used for this study. For each finding,
following the presentation of data sources and analysis, details are discussed and
examples are provided. Additionally, a discussion follows each finding with explicit
connections made to the conceptual framework presented in Chapter 1.A conclusion
brings this chapter to its end.
Relations and Forms of Power
In this study of the interaction of families and school, power emerged in two
forms. The institutional power of school was evident in the historical and current coercive
policies of the school district and the related practices of school professionals as they
interacted with the families of their students. The institutional power of school also was
apparent in the oppositional practices of family members, as the power of family
members emerged in response to the enactment of the power of school. These forms were
the institutional power of school and the individual power of families.
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The concept of individual family power was conceptualized by the U.S.
Department of Education (2010), as parent power. Parent power emphasizes the
behaviors of family members in support of their childrens learning outside of school.
The steps to accomplish the goal of the parent power program, which is to make
education a priority and a legacy for the family, include: a) be responsible, b) be
committed, c) be positive, d) be patient, e) be attentive, f) be precise, g) be mindful of
mistakes, h) be results-oriented, i) be diligent, j) be innovative, and k) be there. In
addition to the location of these practices outside of school, the emphasis of the parent
power concept highlights the inadequacies of families. This conceptualization of parent
power emerges in the data I gathered for this study; in an effort to emphasize the
individualistic nature of parent power, I have renamed it individual power of families.
Both forms of power demonstrated characteristics related to their enactment.
However, the involvement of family members as a form of power was evident in this
study as constrained by the institutional power of school. The characteristics of the forms
of power and the features of their enactment guide the discussion of this finding.
Data Sources and Analysis
In the process of conducting this study to understand the interaction of families
and schools,17 documents were collected from the website of the Metropolitan Public
Schools, face-to-face interviews were conducted with three school professionals, two
family members, and three members of the local community, and field observations were
conducted at two sites in the community. Each of the school district policy documents
revealed the forms and relations of power between schools, families and the community;
those documents inform this finding. Additionally, this finding is informed by a group
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interview with four teachers from Alcorn Elementary School,a group interview with six
family members at the Metropolitan Center for Kids, in-person interviews with two
family members, an in-person interview with one community activist and an in-person
interview with a community organizer. Observations at the school site and the site of a
local community organization conducted over a period of three weeks also reveal the
forms and relations of power and inform this finding.
These data were analyzed iteratively using coding practices that informed the
identification of patterns and themes. The initial codes of power influence telling
restricting resisting and opposing were narrowed into the themes of power of
school and powernon-school.After repeated attempts to apply these codes to the
data, and after revisions to the codes, the systemic and coercive nature of school power
became clearer, as did the resistant and confined nature of the power of families. During
the analysis of power relations, a pattern of responses became apparent in which study
participants demonstrated parallel ways of describing themselves and others. To better
understand this pattern, a separate step was utilized to analyze these data. I developed an
additional set of codes to isolate and understand the ways in which study participants
described themselves differently from others. This subsequent analysis led to an
additional feature of this finding, that study participants saw themselves as exceptional
while perceiving others as inadequate. This feature of the finding provided further
evidence of the institutional power of school, and is discussed in detail following the
initial presentation of this finding.
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Details of Finding: Relations and Forms of Power
Through this study I found that the power of schools differed from the power of
families with children enrolled in school. While the institutional power of school was
evident in policies of the school district, including the articulation of consequences for
the violation of some of the districts policiesit also was evident in the practices of
school employees as they interacted with members of families. On the other hand, the
power of families was not evident in the policies of the district or in the practices of
school employees, even when those policies ostensibly supported the engagement of
family members. Members of families enacted the institutional power of school when
they were involved with school; their individual power was excluded from the school
context, both by policy and school practice. The individual power of families was enacted
through their resistance and the establishment of boundaries.
Institutional power of school. The institutional power of school was revealed by
the policy documents of the school district as well as in-person and group interviews.
Field observations also uncovered the practices of schools that indicated the
arrangements of school power. A total of 17 district policy documents described the
parameters of school practice and the involvement of members of families and the
community. These documents included guidelines for the conduct of family members on
school property and at school meetings, the involvement of family and community
members in decision making committees, and the role of family members in the
development of school curriculum. The institutional power of school to involve members
of families was coercive; coercion refers to the practices of school that attain school aims
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through the involvement of families while constraining the involvement of members of
families and the community, which are less powerful (Marcuse, 2010).
Coercive school power to control the involvement of family members was evident
in a district document entitled Public Conduct on School Property. The policy states
that:
The Board of Education encourages and depends on full parental engagement as a
strong component of student achievement. Further, the Board affirms and
recognizes all parental rights to advocate for their children, to seek clarification
and express opinions about curriculum matters and school governance, as well as
to seek resolutions to safety or other issues that interfere with their childs right to
receive a quality public education, without fear of retaliation in any
form. However, it is the responsibility of staff to ensure a safe and secure school
environment conducive to learning, and therefore require the operation of schools
to be free of any conduct intended to obstructdisrupt or interfere with teaching
research, service, administering or disciplinary functions or any other activity
sponsored or approved by the Board. As such, parents are required to comport
themselves on school grounds according to the guidelines delineated above.
In the event that a parent / legal guardian is found to violate this policy of
conduct on school property, he/she may be restricted from the otherwise free
access normally afforded to parents and legal guardians to ensure the safe and
orderly operation of the school. In that event, a written communication will be
provided to the parent or guardian.
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Similar policy guidelines with specific attention to constraining the involvement of
family and community members in schools were found in the Visitors to Schools
policythe Parent Involvement policyand the Community Use of School Facilities
policy.
The historical nature of schools institutional power was evident in community
members descriptions of the context in which the involvement of members of families
and the community were constrained by the school district. For example, Ebony, a
community organizerdescribed the school districts practice of designating schools in
Chelsea Park for turnaround as an exercise of power over the community. She states that:
There has been a lot of efforts to turn around schools prior to actually going
through turnaround that have failed. And so it builds a distrust. It's these people
who generally don't live in this community, don't understand the community, only
come here unless it's to make some kind of judgment or make some kind of
change or say that we're going to do things very differently or we're going to take
this out or we're going to do this and not do it without having a real connection to
those families and to those parents and really getting their input. So there's a
divide there.
AdditionallySusana community activistdescribed a pattern of the school districts
exercise of its institutional power over the Chelsea Park community as evident in
turnaround efforts that did not include families:
What you may not be aware of, Antwan, and I'm aware because I've been in this
from the ground floor of it, MPS does not want community input. And they have
various really criminal,I would say, fraudulent ways to make it seem as if they
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are involving families and community in the decisions. But they're not. They
basically make a plan, come to you as a community when the plan is a done deal,
ask for your opinion, and if your opinion is against what they want, they simply
go ahead and do it anyway. That's what they did with this first turnaround.
The districts turnaround processes for several schools in Chelsea Park were exercises in
institutional school power. Supporting Ebony and Susan5 s descriptions of the school
district exercising institutional power by constraining the involvement of members of
families and the Chelsea Park community in the practices of school, the local paper
reported that "opponents [of school turnaround] question whether the turnaround
decisions were made too quickly, without incorporating community input or without
giving the schools time to improve before being slated to close (3/25/11).
The institutional power of school also was a collective phenomenon, as it was
shared by school employees who engaged in practices that confined the behaviors of
family members to those that were consistent with the aims of school. Each school
employee indicated their complicity in enacting the confining practices of school
institutional power when they described the ways in which members of families were
taught to be involved in school. In her description of involving families in school, Linda,
the principal at Alcorn, stated that the responsibility to qualify members of families to be
involved at school was the collective responsibility of school employees if these family
members did not have adequate professional experience:
So those are the kinds of things that I think schools arent good at is providing the
structures for parents to understand how to get involved and how they can really
maximize their support for kids. We're too general. You want to volunteer? Well
86


for what. And so we have to help them. So we've tried to become more and
we're still working on it. For example, we had a group of parents who were
organizing parent volunteers. Well the challenge was to me that I pretty much ran
out of time. I work with them as much as I can but with my goal of overall
improving student achievement, I got to be in the classrooms, I got to be working
with teachers, but I still want to spend time with parents because it's important to
me. And when I have to no longer be leading the parents and helping grow them
and helping them learn how to do some of the work because a lot of parents
don't come in here knowing how to do all this work. You know some parents do,
especially if they have professional experience. Other parents who don't have feel
uncomfortable. There could be language, different languages spoken. So there's
a whole different level of engagement and involvement that a principal has to do
and the school has to do.
The institutional power of school was pervasive, with subtle and nuanced
evidence emerging throughout the school, in communication to members of families, and
during school events. Observation field notes, collected over several weeks, indicated that
schools institutional power was revealed directly and indirectly during a School
Collaboration Team meeting and a standardized test preparation event for family
members. During a School Collaboration Team meeting, for example, a community
member described the power of school to betray the trust of the community. The
observation field note from this meeting is partly transcribed below:
There is some discussion about district disappointment re: inadequate spaces at
AES, distrust with the district re: use of bond issues such as at Global View HS.
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MD: we voted on that bond for a high school for overflow at Chelsea Park and
100k what happened. We got stung.
In claiming that the community got stung by voting in support of a bond issuea
community member was referring to a ballot issue to request additional taxpayer dollars
in support of constructing a campus shared by five charter schools for grades K-5, 6-8, 9-
12 in addition to K-12. During several months leading up to the election, however, the
sign on the land stated that the land would be used for a "Future Global View High
School The Global View community is directly adjacent to Chelsea Park and many
Chelsea Park community members would likely have chosen this new neighborhood high
school for their children.
During a standardized test preparation event at Alcorn, I observed a conversation
between Linda Dominguez, principal at Alcorn, and a teacher at the school. Linda asked
the teacher, Mr. Lee, to direct family members5 attention to a school ratings website as
way for parents to thank us for our work with their children. Also, she asked Mr. Lee to
make family members aware of the website so that they can comment on the great
things happening at Alcorn. Lindas effort to have a teacher encourage family members
to make positive comments about the schools work with children served to reinforce the
status of the school through coercing family members to somehow return the favor of
service they have received from the school.
Individual power of families. Members of families were found to possess
individual power that differed significantly from the institutional power of school; this
was a form of power that was resistant to the collective institutional power of school,
confined to individual family members rather than shared amongst members of families,
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and external to the school context. Individual family power emerged through four in-
person interviews, one group interview,12 street interviews and analysis of a record of
74 telephone calls.
Resistance as a form of the individual power of families included the practices of
family members to reject or oppose the practices of school employees to constrain the
involvement of family members. Examples of this form of power were shared in a group
interview with six family members at the Metropolitan Center for Kids and in an in-
person interview with another family member. During the group interview, Megan
expressed her resistance to the institutional power of school wielded by her sons teacher
during a telephone call. Megan described the conversationinterlacing her frustrations
and resistance, in which the teacher5s access to the institutional power of school allowed
her to actively constrain Megans efforts to challenge the teachers classroom practice:
Well this week I received a call from his homeroom teacher. And it was a really
quick snappy call, real disrespectful, not "hi how are you doing" boom to the
point. Well I just want to let you know that your son told a girl that she was
growing a moustache Okayhe probably did say thatdon't get me wrong. But
the kind of child that I have, he's real mellow tempered. It takes a lot for him to
even lash out at someone. He's never been in a fight. He's a real good student,
real active in sports, you know. So I said, "So what did the other child do to
prompt him to do this?" "Oh, I don't know. I'll research that tomorrow." But
you're calling me telling me what he's done because some child had told you that,
not knowing that this incident started early on in the day. So she don't know it but
I know that. I did my homework...He didn't push or beat her down or anything
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Full Text

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( UN ) INVITED FAMILIES: LOCATING THE INSTITUTIONAL POWER OF SCHOOL AT WORK AGAINST THE INVOLVEMENT OF FAMILIES by Antwan D Jefferson B.A., Morehouse College 1999 MAT Brown University 2000 A thesis submitted to the Faculty of the Graduate School of the University of Colorado in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy Educational Leadership and Innovation 2013

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! ! ! 2013 ANTWAN JEFFERSON ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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ii This thesis for the Doctor of Philosophy degree by Antwan D Jefferson has been approved for the Educational Leadership and Innovation Program by Honorine Nocon Co Advisor Shelley Zion Co Advisor Manuel Espinoza Steven Koester April 10, 2013

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iii Jefferson Antwan D ( Ph.D., Educational Leadership and Innovation) (Un )Invited Families: Locating the Institutional Power of School at Work Against the Involvement of Families Thesis directed by Honorine Nocon and Shelley Zion ABSTRACT This qualitative study examined the in teraction of families and school in a local community. Data were gathered through document analysis; semi structured interviews with family members, community members, and school professionals; group interviews; street interviews; and observer field notes. A conceptual framework consisting of postcolonial theory, critical social theory, and thirdspace theory guided data analysis. This study documented the deep and pervasive nature of school's institutional power, and severely limited opportunities available to family members to shift the power balance in their favor. The relations of power were evident in the enactment of parent involvement policy and practices that constrained family members' schoo l involvement, the contradiction between school 's purpose as stated and enacted, families' restricted access to school information and space, and the construction of family member roles through encounters with school. This study also revealed the potential of organizing to shift the balance of power in favor of fam ilies and the local community. The form and content of this abstract are approved. We recommend its publication. Approved: Honorine Nocon and Shelley Zion

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iv DEDICATION I dedicate this work to my family of four: my wife, Dominique, (whom I've loved sinc e elementary school), my son, Bryant, and my daughter, Bellamie, for giving me enough space to finish, but not enough space to fail. I also dedicate this work to my mother, Gail, my grandmothers, Gertrude and Doris, and great grandmother Florence, for sho wing me how to see things through to their end.

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v ACKNOWLEDGMENTS I would like to thank my dissertation committee members who supported me in overt and subtle ways. I am deeply appreciative to Drs. Zion and Espinoza who had my back when I became unsure, and even when I grew ill. You kept me laughing, pulled me up when I got down, visited me when I was sick, fed me when I forgot to eat, and you apprenticed me into this work over several years. You accepted my collectivist orientation and utilized it as a w ay to help me complete this project. I am grateful to the "8" who helped me maintain some semblance of a social life while I dove into this dissertation. Each of you helped me focus on this project with enough balance to not neglect my family. Late nights on Fridays are seared into my mind, heart, and sense of self. I can't think of any other time to do the things that matter. I extend my thank s to each of my colleagues in the Urban Community Teacher Education program. Your encouragement and support and sp ace helped me balance my professional and doctoral lives while we worked together to refine the program. The experience has been invaluable to me. I am thankful for Michael and Sherri Jones, as well as Ibn and Sidney Shabazz for your presence and support. Also, to my family/community at C olorado Christian Fellowship: your love and support were my home before I began this program and you remain a place for me to call home.

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vi TABLE OF CONTENTS CHAPTER I. INTRODUCTION ................................ ................................ ................................ ........... 1 Inequity in Family Involvement ................................ ................................ ........ 3 Description of Study ................................ ................................ ......................... 7 Research Questions ................................ ................................ ........................... 8 Methods ................................ ................................ ................................ ............. 8 Findings ................................ ................................ ................................ ............ 9 Results and Conclusions ................................ ................................ ................. 11 Relevance of the Study ................................ ................................ ................... 12 Conceptual Framework ................................ ................................ ................... 13 Researcher Role and Assumptions ................................ ................................ .. 15 Organization of the Dissertation ................................ ................................ ..... 16 II. REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE ................................ ................................ .............. 18 Parent Involvement and the Purpose of Schooling ................................ ......... 19 Barriers to PI ................................ ................................ ................................ ... 22 The Emergen t Narrative in PI Literature: Parent Power ................................ 30 Conceptual Framework ................................ ................................ ................... 33 Critical Social Theory ................................ ................................ ..................... 37 Post Colonial Theory ................................ ................................ ...................... 39 Thirdspace Theor y ................................ ................................ .......................... 46 Complexity of Family School Interaction: A Conceptual Model ................... 47 Implications of Conceptual Model for Family School Interaction ................. 48 Conclusion ................................ ................................ ................................ ...... 51

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vii III METHODOLOGY ................................ ................................ ................................ .... 53 Purpose of Study ................................ ................................ ............................. 53 Context of Study ................................ ................................ ............................. 55 Study Populations ................................ ................................ ........................... 57 Data Sources ................................ ................................ ................................ ... 58 Data Analysis ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 6 3 Summary ................................ ................................ ................................ ......... 78 IV. PRESENTATION OF FINDINGS ................................ ................................ ............. 79 Relations and Forms of Power ................................ ................................ ........ 80 Data Sources and Analysis ................................ ................................ .............. 81 Details of Finding: Relations and Forms of Power ................................ ......... 83 Discussion ................................ ................................ ................................ ....... 99 Purpose of School ................................ ................................ ......................... 101 Data Sources and Analysis ................................ ................................ ............ 101 Details of Finding: Stated and Enacted Purposes of School ......................... 102 Discussion ................................ ................................ ................................ ..... 110 Barriers to Family Involvement ................................ ................................ .... 114 Data Sources and Analysis ................................ ................................ ............ 115 Details of Finding ................................ ................................ ......................... 116 Discussion ................................ ................................ ................................ ..... 129 Roles of Family in Response to Institutional Power of School .................... 131 Data Sources and Analysis ................................ ................................ ............ 132 Details of Finding ................................ ................................ ......................... 133 Discussion ................................ ................................ ................................ ..... 140 Discussion ................................ ................................ ................................ ..... 150

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viii Discussion of Findings ................................ ................................ .................. 153 V. IMPLICATIONS AND CONCLUSION ................................ ................................ ... 159 Discussion of Fin dings ................................ ................................ .................. 161 Individuals' Perceptions of Self and Others ................................ ................. 167 Implications of the Study ................................ ................................ .............. 169 Limitations of the Study ................................ ................................ ................ 179 Contribution and Op portunities for Further Study ................................ ........ 186 Conclusions ................................ ................................ ................................ ... 189 REFERENCES ................................ ................................ ................................ ............... 192 APPENDIX A. CONCEPT MAP IMAGE ................................ ................................ .......................... 213 B. INTERVIEW QUESTION GUIDES ................................ ................................ ......... 215 Key Informant Interview ................................ ................................ ............... 216 Semi structured Interview ................................ ................................ ............. 217 Group Interview ................................ ................................ ............................ 218 Street Interview ................................ ................................ ............................. 219 C. S TREET INTERVIEW QUESTIONNAIRE ................................ ............................. 220 Street Interview Questionnaire ................................ ................................ ..... 221 D. LIST OF DISTRICT POLICIES AND BRIEF DESCRIPTIONS ............................ 222 E. STUDY INFORMATION SHEET ................................ ................................ ............ 225 F. RECRUITMENT F LYER ................................ ................................ .......................... 228 G. CURRICULUM VITA ................................ ................................ .............................. 230

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ix LIST OF TABLES Table III .1 Overview of face to face individual i ntervie w participants ................................ ...... 6 1 III .2 Coding characteristics for district policy documents ................................ ................. 64 III .3 List and examples of first and second level codes ................................ ................... 67 III .4 Categories of calls made to OFI ................................ ................................ ................. 75 III .5 Categories of resolutions to calls ................................ ................................ ............... 76 III.6 Revised coding st ructure ................................ ................................ ............................ 77 IV .1 District policy documents ................................ ................................ ........................ 119 IV. 2 Categories of resolutions to cal ls made to OFI ................................ ........................ 147

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x LIST OF FIGURES Figure II 1 Adapted model of barriers t o family engagement ................................ ....................... 26 III .1 Iterati ve Reflexive analytic framework ................................ ................................ ..... 70

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1 CHAPTER I INTRODUCTION The historical context surrounding the involvement of poor families of color in schools reveals a pervasive deficit view held by school professionals Prior to the 1950s, school professionals invited parents to be involved in school to prevent and treat childhood disease. Since the 1950s, the school involvement of parents of poor hou seholds has largely been constructed to resolve the perceived deficits of their children a perception colored by students' poor school performance and parents' lack of adequate effort and resources to support the ir children's education Even then, familie s' low levels of social and economic resources and generally recognized ignorance about schooling were understood as responsible for their children's defiant behavior and poor academic performance. For example, Stendler (1951) conceived of poor family memb ers as subverting the education endeavor, stating that "slum children" were more likely to grow up in homes where they were taught to avoid "being taken in" by teachers, were less likely to attend preschool, and were less likely to be prepared for school a t home. This era also was characterized by a tightening of the school's control over the involvement of parents. In a warning against needless parent involvement, Russell Kropp (1956) argued that "encouraging parental involvement in education merely for t he sake of involvement usually achieves nothing and sometimes deteriorates the tenuous parent teacher relations that already exist" (p. 140). Education professionals and researchers associated children's social and academic deficiencies with low levels of parent interest in education. T he early years of parent involvement literature also reflected growing public criticism of schooling occurring at such a rate that it was described as a "flood tide"

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2 (Kropp, 1959) Much of the criticism of schools was directed to public concerns about teacher effectiveness, although the construction of oppositional teacher and parent roles emerged as an element of the context of schooling The discourse of oppositional roles showed in a cademic journals and popular publications. In an editorial pro duced by a former schoolteacher, The Saturday Evening Post reported: "Teachers do the actual instructing, but it is the parents' job to prepare their children to receive the instruction. Some parents do not realize that their child's attitude is largely a reflection of their own. If parents do not show by their actions that they regard learning as important, no amount of teacher effort can give real motivation to the children. Co operation with the schools is one of the most important responsibilities of th e parent" (Alderman, 1956) Facilitating the increased involvement of parents was to be accomplishe d through parent involvement programs such as Project Head Start. Head Start targeted students identified as having deficits such as a poor family environment or inadequate opportunities to socialize (Foster Berger, & McLean, 1981, p. 148) and sought to counteract those deficits by training parents in the practices of school. In more recent years, legislation such as the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) of 2001 has required parent involvement in school, al though th e emphasis has continued to be the families of "disadvantaged and minority students" who need to be trained ( Parental involvement: Title I, Part A: Non regulatory guidance 2004) The goal of this legislation was to increase the achievement of students from disadvantaged ba ckgrounds, a goal and subsequent legislation that reinforced the centrality of student performance on

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3 standardized outcomes and required the support and involvement of family members in advancing school values and practices B y connecting parent involvemen t practices to schools receiving Title I, Part A funding, a deficit focus became inescapa ble in the name of equity. Title I provides "financial assistance to local educational agencies (LEAs) and schools with high numbers or high percentages of children fr om low income families to help ensure that all children meet challenging state academic standards" ( United States Department of Education, 2004) In order for schools to receive Tit le I funding, there must be in place a written parent involvement policy th at outlines the roles and responsibilities of s chool professionals and families to support the academic achievement of students ( National Coalition for Parent Involvement in Education, 2004) This policy, however, is without enforcement provisions. T he practices of schools to follow their written family involvement programs occur with varying levels of implementation based on the local school and district policies The purpose of the research reported here was to discover the dynamics of interaction between families and school, from the perspectives of family members, members of the community, and school professionals, and to understand the enactment of family involvement in one community of working class families of color I nequity in Family Involvement There are indicators of inequity in the school based involvemen t of family members from poor communities of color. These indicators include conceptualization s of the role of family members and the social and economic dynamics of schools in

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4 communities Following a presentation of the indicators of inequity in the involvement of family members in schools, I discuss the consequences of those inequities. School roles of family members There has been a singular focus on increasin g student achievement as conceptualized by schools throughout most of the parent involvement literature for the past two decades, including in literature that made significant advances beyond describing parents as passive participants in their children's s chooling. For example, an ecological model of parent involvement was developed to facilitate a shift from listing the activities of involved parents to understanding how and why parents get involved in their children's education (Barton, Drake, Perez, Louis, & George, 2004) A well cited model of parent involvement in school identifies six levels of parent involvement: a) parenting, b) communicating, c), volunteering d) learning at home, e) decisio n making, f) collaborating with the community (Epstein, 2008) Each of these levels of i nvolvement describes parent practices to support student achievement and school success ; this six level model was developed to guide the school level development of parent involvement programs, which is exactly what the National PTA Association did in esta blishing the National Standards of Family School Partnerships (National PTA Association, 2009). The involvement of parents in the school experiences of their children has been described as a form of power (M. W. Young & Helvie, 1996) According to the literature, the use of parent power through parent and family involvement in a child's schooling, in concert with the current national emphasis on student performance on standardized measures, should result in student learning and academ ic achievement as measured by high stakes, standardized tests. The NCLB Act recognizes the power of parents as they

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5 enact "effective practices to improve their own children's academic achievement" (United States Department of Education, 2004) with an empha sis on reducing the achievement gap between "disadvantaged and minority students and their peers." This role for family members, as supporters of academic achievement, has been constructed for them rather than with or by them. School construction of parent roles on their behalf increases the likelihood that family members themselves will be excluded from conversations about their roles in school, and will enter their children's schools expected to support the aims of the institution. Increasing student achi evement on standardized measures has not been the only reason for a national dialogue on involving family members in their children's learning. Schools also have sought to involve family members to reduce the incidences of inappropriate school behavior. Th e home based involvement practices of family members have been found to reduce classroom behavior problems. For example, Fantuzzo, McWayne, Perry & Childs (2004) found that family involvement in school practices at home significantly reduced occurrences of classroom conduct problems in poor children of color. Involving family members in school for the aims of increased achievement and decreased behavior problems has come at a cost to poor and working class families of color In particular, the involvement o f these families at school has been limited by school's practice of imposing on family members the professional practices of teachers and administrators. Also, i n advancing the involvement of poor working class family members in school, administrators and teachers have developed a professional culture through which they collude against these family members as outsiders (G. L. Anderson,

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6 1998) While t eachers often see parents as unwelcome (Souto Manning & Swick, 2006) the involvement of parents who are at the same time outsiders suggests that the involvement of family members in school is not as straight forw ard as parent i nvolvement policies which focus on the impact of that involvement on students suggest Dynamics of school in community Although it has been argued that family involvement in learning has a measurable impact on ensuring student academic success in school ( Center for Public Education 2011), the dynamics of the local community have been shown to impact significantly the involvement of family members and the school experiences of students (Nettles, 1991; Warren, 2005) Communities with higher populations of poor and working class families also are the communities with disproportionately high numbers of low performing students and sch ools (Warren, 2005) School policies and practices that "require" the involvement of low income families of color without acknowledging the complexities of cultural and economic diversity within school communities, risk reproducing segregation. Affl u ent parents organize themselves and construct their involvement in schools The efforts of sc hool professionals to involve low income family members in school practices that favor W hite, middle class families effectively constrain or control the involvement of those parents (V. Gordon & Nocon, 2008) Econom i cally, culturally, and ethno linguistica lly diverse communities offer challenges and opportunities to the involvement of family members in the school experiences of their children. Latino families have been found to face obstacles that result from their linguistic diversity as well as limited ac cess to social and economic capital (Olivos, 2009) The ways in which these families support their children's learning goes

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7 overlooked by schools (Car reon, Drake, & Barton 2005 ; Yosso, 2005) Schools respond to these families by posit ioning the school institution as the arbiter of social and economic capital, offering language classes and leadership training that ostensibly help family members feel greater efficacy to support their children's learning (Bolivar & Chrispeels, 2010) At the same time, opportunities for equity are not unlikely to take the form of school leaders learning from the community and using the community as a text to inform their profess ional practice (Cooper, 2009 ). Changes in the community should inform changes in school practices, although frequent or very rapid demographic shifts create obstacles to schools' ability to respond to the shifting needs of families and the community (Cucchiara & Horvat, 2009) This is the case when poor and working class families move to communities where they may be more likely to have increased access to social capital and better performing schools. Description of Study T his was a qualitative study of the perspectives of family members members of the local community, and school professionals about the purpose of school and the roles of family members in school. Over the course of one year, I conduct ed this study in a local community of poor and working class African American and Latino families in a major western U.S. city I collected d ata through school district document analysis, in person interviews, group interviews, street interviews, and obser vation field notes. Data analysis procedures led to four major findings about the interaction of families and schools. The implications of these findings were related to the work of community organizers, school based parent involvement groups, education an d school policymakers, family members, and school professionals.

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8 Research Questions Three research questions guided this qualitative investigation: 1. What are the understandings of family school interaction held by family members, members of the local commun ity and school professional s? 2. What are the roles of family members in school? 3. What is the purpose of school as understood by members of family members, members of the local community and school professional s ? Beyond uncovering and understanding perspective s, this study also sought to identify the indicators of social relationships, including the within group relationships of individuals and the relationships of individuals to the system of school. Methods This study relied upon ethnographic approaches to collection and organization of information that eventually became data. I began by asking questions of school professionals members of the community at large, and family members within the geographical community whose children were students. The contexts in which I asked questions varied from formal in person interviews with individuals and groups as well as street interviews with community members in the neighborhood. In addition to asking questions of members of these three participant categories, I also recorded observer field notes at two study sites, one school and a community organization, collected school district policy documents that were stored and available on the Internet, and gathered and examined telephone call logs from a central office of th e school district. I sought out key informants to assess the layers of the community context, sought out general perceptions

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9 of the role of school in the community, and sought to identify potential interview participants. Key informants can increase the dependability of qualitative studies (Krannich & Humphrey, 1996). In the case of this study, the key informants assisted me in gaining access to each of the two study sites and conducting observations in which I was able to observe the presence and involve ment of family members at a school site and at a community organization. The key informant interviews led to two in person interviews with family members, a group interview with family members (n=6), a group interview with school professionals (n=4), two i n person interviews with school professionals two in person interviews with community members, and street interviews with 18 community members. Additionally, in conducting interviews with three key informants, I was able to acknowledge and confront my res earcher bias, which was very likely to be present, given my history in the community of study. Utilizing five sources of data allowed for triangulation in data analysis (Golafshani, 2003; Patton, 2002) A digital audio recor ding of each in person and group interview was transcribed and entered into Microsoft Word; Microsoft Word, lined index cards, post it notes, and a dry erase board were used for analysis. I used paper and pen to capture responses during each street intervi ew, recorded observation field notes in separate notebooks for each study site, and recorded telephone call record data in a separate notebook. Findings Four major findings from this study reveal that the phenomenon of family school interaction sustains o r opposes the status quo of the public school. These findings also

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10 reveal that inherent in the interaction of families and school is the issue of power and the experiences of actors in the struggle over power. The four major study findings are : 1. Power emer ged in two forms in the interaction of families and schools: institutional power of school and individual power of families. The institutional power of school was coercive, historical, collective and pervasive, and school professionals enacted this power t hroughout their interactions with families. The individual power of families was resistant, confined, and subsumed. In the interaction of families and schools, the individual power of families was either co opted or dismissed by school professionals enacti ng the institutional power of schools. 2. A contradiction existed in the understandings of the purpose of school held by members of families, the community, and school professionals. All agreed that the purpose of school was to give students academic skills, although community members and school professionals qualified the enactment of school's purpose as different from its stated purpose because of the Chelsea Park community. Family members, on the other hand, did not accept that the purpose of school was dif ferent within the Chelsea Park community. 3. Family school interaction was constrained by a context of barriers restricting family members' access to information and to the physical space of schools. These barriers were enforced by school policies and sustai ned by the practices of school professionals and as school professionals sought to involve family members, they subsequently restricted family member access to school information and space.

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11 4. There were three school related roles for family members, each de fined in response to the enactment of the institutional power of school. Whether family members were a) present and engaged in school practices, b) co opted school leaders, or c) collective advocates, their roles in schools were the result of their efforts being exploited by the institutional power of school. Results and Conclusions As family members became involved in the schools of their children, they encountered the institutional power of school, which required family members to be involved in schools in support of their own children. This focus on the individual children of family members limited their opportunities to develop relationships and coalitions with other family members and influence the local school more directly School professionals wh o were actors on behalf of school, occupied hybrid roles in their work with families on behalf of school: although teachers and admin i strators were school professionals their membership did not give them full access to the institution of school, which exi sted at the level of the district. However, school professionals demonstrated their capacity to utilize their limited access to the institution in support of family members. Also, throughout this study, the school district was not evident in any person or group; instead, the district was found in school policies that were available through the Internet, which was a mediating tool. As members of families interact ed with schools, they face d barriers to the physical space of school and to school information. These barriers emerge d through formal school policies developed by the district and through the school based practices of school professionals And although family members, members of the local community and school

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12 professional s share d the geographic commu nity context their interactions with the institution of school and with local schools we re restricted by school policies. School professionals members the community and family members held varying perspectives of the purpose of school. Their perspectiv es of school purpose revealed a contradiction: although many members of the community, including its families and schools, agreed with the purpose of school as stated by the district, members of the community and school professionals concluded that what wa s happening in school differed from what was supposed to happen. The contradiction, however, was the result of the local community context. Family members on the oth er hand, reported in interviews that schools did what they were supposed to do Family mem bers' expectations differed from school professionals and community members, as family members were focused on their individual child while at large community members and school professionals spoke of the purpose and practices of school for all children. Relevance of the Study Given the roles of family members constructed by school, and the implications of diversity within local community contexts, the question we should be asking is not, how do we get families more involved in school? Instead, we must ste p away from the assumption that family members should simply be involved in school because their involvement will increase their children's school achievement and decrease discipline problems. Stepping away from this assumption means that we must trouble t he notion of school. Stepping away from this assumption requires us to disrupt the notion that families want what schools want, and achieving this is as simple as getting families to do more. In order step away from the assumed direct relation of family i nvolvement and student

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13 achievement, I utilize a conceptual framework that draws upon the intersections of Critical Social Theory, Postcolonia l Theory, and Thirdspace Theory The emphasis on power, justice, knowledge, and history within this conceptual fram ework acknowledges the dynamics that emerge when individuals and groups encounter institutions. This framing positions family school interaction as a complex phenomenon rather than a simple challenge to be solved by placing more responsibility on the famil ies of students. This study represents an initial step toward reconceptualizing family involvement in school as a complex phenomenon that includes an overt challenge to our assumptions of consensus about the purpose of school and the roles of adults involv ed in the endeavor of school. Below, I provide more detail on my conceptual framework. Conceptual Framework The conceptual framework for this study draws upon three theories that, when combined, expose and challenge the practices of institutions and socia l systems that depend upon the subordination of individuals and groups for their status and existence. These theories include Critical Social Theory, Postcolonial Theory, and Thirdspace Theory. Within this framework, the voices and experiences of people wh o have been subjected to the policies and practices of institutions are uncovered. This framework also encourages our collective and individual reimagination of existing social arrangements and systems, a "discourse of possibility" (Kincheloe & McLaren, 2011) Through the use of our collective and individual imagination, challenging institutional practice is not a hopeless endeavor. Instead, it becomes the path to equity and justice for each of us through inquiry that seeks to emancipate us from established social institutions that restrict or deny our human agency. A critical lens, such as this conceptual framework, allows us

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14 to interrogate what for many of us may appear as common sense the way things are because they should be. As discussed above, parent involvement in schools in policy means family members engage in practices that satisfy the expectations of schools to support the academic and social experiences of their children. What is missing from this literature is a critical discourse that problematizes the enactment of parent involvement policies and a cademic outcomes focus of parent involvement literature. Critical Social Theory supports this discourse through unc overing and changing material (non human, such as social institutions) and symbolic (interactional, such as norms and patterns) reproductive processes (Fraser, 1985) A s Kincheloe and McLaren argue, Critical Social T heory "is concerned in particular with issues of power and justice an d the ways that the economy; matters of race, class, and gender; ideologies; discourses; education; religion and other social institutions; and cultural dynamics interact to construct a social system" (Kincheloe & McLaren, 2002, p. 90) The school involvement practices of family members, as well as school professionals and community members when examined through this conceptual framework, reveal the deep and extensive impact of the institution of school on parent school interaction. Understanding the ways in which the school related roles of family members have been constructed through the policies and practices of the institutio n of school can help reveal the inequities faced by family members as they interact with schools Post colonial theory, or postcolonialism informs my efforts to achieve such an understanding through this study Bhabha's (1996 ) description of the impact of interaction with fixed social institutions on the identities of individuals and groups supports the

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15 relevance of postcolonial theory to this study In identifying the paradox of fixed social/cultural/historical institutions, Bhabha reveals that institution s effectively marginalize members of the larger populous by presenting rigid ity and unchanging order while sustaining internal contradictions and disorder. Instances of contradiction and disorder lead to the ambivalence of members of marginalized groups, e ffectively obstructing their capacity to enact institution al change. The third theory upon which the conceptual framework for this study is developed is Thirdspace T heory as conceptualized by Soja ( 1996 ) The thirdspace is the space of reimagination of s ocial space, institutions, and interactions. This th eory has two key aspects related to this conceptual framework: a) it provides a basis for spatial consciousness that grounds research within a geographic and social context, which is necessary to communit y grounded, emancipatory research, and b) in the thirdspace, the critical socio spatial imagination reconsiders the uses of space and the characteristics of interaction in ways that achieve grounded and sustained equity, with those who are peripherally inv olved in or subjected to the meaning making and social construction of others being brought to the center and becoming co constructors of meaning and experience. In chapter 2, I address the conceptual framework for this research in greater depth. Researc her Role and Assumptions During this study, my researcher role converged with my history in the community of study where I used to be a schoolteacher. The challenge, then, was to reduce, as much as possible, my bias as a member researcher and accurately c apture the perceptions I solicited through interview techniques. In addition, I was acutely aware of the shifting

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16 education context, which was the result of large scale school turnaround in the community. Following the collection of data, I attempted to co nduct analysis by immediately applying the conceptual framework; this significantly skewed the analysis of data and undermined my efforts to reduce researcher bias by trying to make the conceptual framework work. In a subsequent approach to analyzing the d ata, I used grounded approaches, allowing patterns and themes to emerge and inform findings; this preceded my application of the conceptual framework, which I used instead to guide my interpretation of the findings. Additionally, I approached this study wi th a set of assumptions about the locations of power in the community's schools. I assumed that schools had power because schooling was compulsory. I also assumed that family and community members should be able to engage in schools in ways that made sense to them. Thus, a substantial challenge for me was to reduce the biases generated by my pre existing perspective and experiences within the community; I attempted to mitigate the influence of my assumptions and prior impressions of the community through re framing exercises and methods of data triangulation, which I describe in gre ater detail in chapter III Organization of the Dissertation In chapter II I examine more deeply Critical Social Theory, Postcolonial T h eory, and Thirdspace T heory. I also revi ew the history and literature on family involvement in school alongside the trajectory of national school reform policies influenced by industry. Chapter 3 contains the detailed methodology -including changes to th e study design as the iterative process of inquiry unfolded, participant selection methods, the forms and tools used, the five forms of data collected to allow for triangulation, and the method of analysis. I also describe the proc ess of data analysis. C hapter IV is the presentation of

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17 findings, with interpretation and discussion informed by the conceptual framework. Chapter V includes a discussion of the implications of the study and my overall conclusions. This chapter also addresses next steps for fu rther research.

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18 CHAPTER II REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE The purpose of this study was to examine the interaction between families and schools in a community located within a major Western city in the US. Additionally, this study sought to expand current notio ns of parent involvement in schools toward deeper and more complex understandings of the interaction of schools and families beyond perspectives reflected in research literature. As a result of these research intents, I focus this chapter on examining curr ent notions of parent and family involvement (PI) in schools that emerge in the literature. I approach the field of PI in sections, beginning with a focused presentation of three major frames of PI: typologies, programs, and models. The discussion of PI f rames is followed by a discussion of barriers to PI. Following the discussion of barriers to parent and family involvement in schools, I discuss the concept of power, both of families and of the institution of school. To conclude this section, I present th e conceptual framework used to guide the analysis of data. In the preceding chapter, I provide an overview of parent involvement literature over the past six decades. Although this history will not be repeated here, an important theme of parent involvemen t in schools is the emphasis on perceived deficits of children and their families. Early parent involvement programs targeted students who were identified as having 1 of 2 possible deficits; (a) a poor family environment, or (b) inadequate opportunities to socialize (Foster, et al., 1981, p. 148) Early on, poor student performance in the classroom and in socializing with peers were seen as functions of social class, solvable through social services and paren t education. For example, Project Head Start, part of the War on Poverty, was developed to provide health, mental, and

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19 social services to children from poor homes (Zigler & Valentine, 1979) More recently, PI literature of the past two decades shows that students from lower (than middle) social classes have been identified as at an even greater schooling disadvantage in recognition of the intersectional experienc es of families and students. Researchers have recognized that families are not monolithic, and their experiences vary widely. Class has become confounded with race (Auerbach, 2007) ethnicity (Perna & T itus, 2005) language (Flores, Cousin, & Diaz, 1991; Rymes, 2001) and culture (Ream & Palardy, 2008) Nonetheless, for families of color, as well as poor families, the views and practices guiding their involvement with schools has changed very little. As Baquedano Lopez, Al exander, and Hernandez (2013) note, expectations for parent involvement in school s are largely based on White, middle class experiences, values and understandings. Ultimately, parent involvement in schools is an issue of equity. Parent Involvement and the Purpose of Schooling The role of families in schooling has been examined in relat ion to democratizing education through parent involvement (Mintrom, 2009) changing school climate through parent involvement (McDermott, 2008) typologies of parent engagement (Epstein, 2008; Epstein & Dauber, 1991) and parent education programs (Bolivar & Chrispeels, 2010; Comer & Haynes, 1991) Research has extended our understanding of the role of parents and fa milies in schooling beyond the relationship between home culture and parenting and students' perceived social and academic inadequacies (Foster, et al., 1981) to include family participation in school governance and decision making (Carlson, 2010; Christenson, 2004; Cochran & Dean, 1991; Epstein, 2011) and exploring students' home cultures to enhance school curriculum (Gonzalez, Moll, & Amanti, 2005) While this

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20 body of research reflects a shift away from blaming parents and families toward forming family school partnerships, it leave s largely unnamed and unexamined existing assumptions about the roles of families in schools although the central assumption has been that families should be involved in schools to help students achieve school academic success (Henderson, 1987; Henderson, Mapp, Johnson, & Davies, 2007; Jeynes, 2007; Stanton Salazar, 1997; Stanton Salazar, Chavez, & Tai, 2001) This research trend has developed a narrative about the role of families in schools and the impact of the hom e culture on schooling. This narrative is that for decades, schools have sought the involvement of family members to help remedy perceived family and community deficits that prohibit students from achieving school academic success. There is extensive conceptual and empirical literature supporting the benefits to students' school experiences of involving parents and families. Meta analyses, survey research, and evidence based intervention research inform our understanding of the roles of families in sch ools through their participation in programs, typologies and partnerships (Freiberg, et al., 2005; Henderson, 1987) However, our understanding of the roles of families in schools is limited because of the narrowed focus facilitated by this emphasis, which aims primarily, and almost exclusively, to improve student academic achievement; this focus significantly restricts research on the complex interaction between families and schools by presupposing that families should support school goals (Barnard, 2004; Barnyak & McNelly, 2009; I. J. Gordon, 1979) The involvement of parents in schools has been identified as a predictor of students' positive school behaviors (Domina, 2005) and academic achievement (K. J. Anderson & Minke, 2007) Positive outcomes to student academic achievement have

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21 been associated with increased parent involvement in schools to improve student reading skills (Senechal & LeFevre, 2002) and math scores (McWayne, Hampton, Fa ntuzzo, Cohen, & Sekino, 2004; Sheldon, Epstein, & Galindo, 2010) Increased parent involvement can reduce special education placements (Miedel & Reynolds, 1999) and higher grade point averages (Gutman & Midgley, 2000) For families with diverse cultural, linguistic, economic and structural make up their practices of involvement to support their children's school achievement requires school professionals w ho are aware of added cultural complexities (Kohl, Lengue & McMahon, 2000; Trotman, 2001). Additionally, parent involvement in schools to improve student achievement includes their input to benefit students' social experiences, including improved studen t attendance (Epstein & Sheldon, 2002) better social interac tion with peers (McWayne, et al., 2004) a nd lower student dropout rates (Jimerson, Egeland, Srouge & Carlson, 2000). Throughout this literature, parent involvement takes one of three forms: parent involvement at school, parent as teacher, and parent as advocate. I n each of these roles, the involvement of parents and families in schooling is conceptualized as helping to achieve school outcomes such as academic achievement and school attendance. This narrow focus is inadequate to accommodate the multiple perspectives of schooling held by teachers, families, administrators, and local communities. Within the current context of schooling in the U.S., the involvement of parents and families in schools has often been solicited and examined in response to the challenges fa ced by schools that serve Black and Latino students. These challenges are racialized and include the Black White and Latino White achievement gaps, perceptions of poor student behavior, comparatively low rates of academic success, and students'

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22 inadequate social skills. As school administrators, teachers and researchers have sought to respond to these challenges, often after identifying them in isolation from the subjects of inquiry, the growing body of research literature reveals a sustained perception of Black and Latino parents and families as socially and academically inadequate to support the efforts of schools. While there are exceptions, this perspective emerges in research literature on parenting, parent school partnerships, and parent education prog rams. Although family school partnerships have been described as complex, indefinable, culturally and morally diverse, and unclear (Ravn, 2005) expanding the family school interaction discourse has been facilitated by deeper critical theoretical approaches that challenge existing power structures and deconstruct contradictions, inauthenticies, and ideological agendas that color many existing models of inquiry (G. L. Anderson, 1998) Examining family school interactions requires the use of individual and collective imagination support ing an imagination that enables individuals and "social scientists to look beyond the ap pearance of social facts towardnew social facts the end of class society" (Agger, 1991) This dialectical imagination (Jay, 1973) is the ability to see the world as having potential to be changed in the future, an endeavor that requires both imagination and reason (Perkins, 1985) Barriers to PI As discussed above, parent and family involvement research indicates that schools create opportunities for parent and family involvement, and the se opportunities aim t o achieve school outcomes. I n creating opportunities for family members to be involved, schools develop and sustain organizational structures that prohibit the equitable involvement of and collaboration with diverse families (see, for example, V. Gordon &

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23 Nocon, 2008; Harris & Goodall, 2008) In the context of schooling, the equitable involvement of parents and families is obstructed by a dominant discourse and opportunities constructed by schools (Kainz & Aikens, 2007) ; dominant discou rse includes the focus on White, middle class values and practices guiding PI in schools, resultantly marginalizing families of color and poor families. A dominant discourse is likely to obscure diversity in viewp oints and opportunities for diverse voices to be heard; however, a dominant discourse, such as is often reflected in parent and family involvement literature, is effective to control behavior (Kainz & Aikens, 2007) Removing the barriers to equitable parent and family school involvement through systematic efforts is the work of change, and this is not likely facilitated by strengthening current family school (Christenson & Sheridan, 2001) or structuring community school partnerships that maintain and support the current dominant discourse (see, for example Sanders, 2009) To continue to sustain or create programs and opportunities to involve parents and families in supporting the work of schooling is to t inker with a fundamentally flawed system (Tyack & Cuban, 1995) And in diverse communities where resources and power are not equally distributed between schools and families (Lauen, 2007) tinkerin g doesn't quite work (Deluca & Rosenblatt, 2010) In recent research on barriers to parent and family involvement in schools, there remains a focus on the dominan t discourse and practices of schooling but a lack of emphasis on equity; for example, in finding that parent and family involvement programs are effective to remove barriers obstructing access to schooling, Bolivar & Chrispeels (2011) found that parent emp owerment resulted from immigrant parents learning to trust the educational system and becoming adept at school norms such as hand raising.

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24 Tellingly, the study authors conclude that "a shift in the fundamental power relationships between parents and school s did not occur as a direct consequence of PSP [Parent School Partnerships]," although they argue that these parents were "empowered through the program to take actions in both political and educational arenas" (Bolivar & Chrispeels, 2011, p. 32) That these parents were seen as empowered because they learned to particip ate in the dominant school culture, but not to challenge the fundamental dynamics of power or to have access to the core of the institution of school, indicates that their empowerment was constrained, and possibly was not power at all. Research similar in its focus on barriers to parent and family involvement in schools examines the access of family members to educational and social resources (Barnyak & McNelly, 2009; Cochran & Dean, 1991; Sanders, 2009) with a focu s on student achievement and school outcomes. However, critical perspectives of parent involvement also suggest that the intersection of culture, power and knowledge results in tensions, contradictions and resistance in parent and family involvement (Olivos, 2006) as families often are aware of the well defined limits of their participation (Olivos, 2009) Examining family school interaction, rather th an evaluating programs or defining typologies of family involvement may prove helpful to extend the current discourse and involvement opportunities for families while countering stereotypes of expected participation. The barriers to family and community e ngagement in schools have been defined as the difference between what is stated (rhetoric) and what actually occurs (reality) between schools and the families and communities (Hornby & Lafaele, 2011) While the rhetoric may declare that families are e ncouraged to be engaged in schooling, the reality

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25 is more likely to involve unidirectional flow of support from families to schools and a unidirectional flow of communication from schools to families. Hornby & Lafaele (2011) identify four areas of barriers to families' engagement in schooling, based largely on Epstein's (1992, 1995) overlapping spheres of influence. The areas identified are: child factors, individual parent and family factors, parent teacher factors, and societal factors. Although these fac tors are not as discrete as this model suggests; these categories of barriers provide a helpful basis upon which to examine more closely school family interaction, most importantly societal factors. The structure and organization of school has been describ ed as bureaucratic, thus erecting barriers against change through parent school collaboratio n (Henry, 1996) And within the bureaucratic organization of schools, an expert/nonexpert tension emerges between families and schools: school experts can easily id entify what families lack and the efforts of school experts to supplement for these lacks (de Carvalho, 2001). Similar thinking that attempts to distinguish the roles of families and schools also contributes to subject object tensions between schools and f amilies. Within such subject object tensions, families are positioned as groups to be understood by school professionals; understanding families can support schools' efforts to increase parent involvement in schools, a significant difference from drawing o n the capacities of parents to influence the functioning of schools (Ferlazzo & Hammond, 2009). Barriers to parent involvement in schools also emerges in various PI models. Epstein's (1992, 1995) model of overlapping spheres of influence suggests three are as of social organization that interact to influence student learning: family, school and community. Although several other models of parent involvement can be found in the

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26 research field, the overlapping spheres of influence theory demonstrates the inhere nt nature of barriers erected by schools attempting to develop programs to involve parents. Epstein reflects this notion in stating that: "Schools make choices. They might conduct only a few communications and interactions with families and communities, k eeping the three spheres of influence that directly affect student learning and development relatively separate. Or they might conduct many high quality communications and interactions designed to bring all three spheres of influence closer together" ( Epst ein, 1992, p. 702). Epstein is correct that schools make choices; however, these choices facilitate the erection of barriers between families and schools through a sustained subject object relationship between schools and families: families are expected to passively respond to the communicative practices of schools. Further, the individualism and school centrism facilitated by Epstein's framework of six types of parent involvement further reveals the deeply instantiated barriers to achieving equity through PI (Baquedano Lopez, et.al., 2013). The six levels of parent involvement, adapted by the National PTA Association as its National Standards for Family School Partnerships (2009). The six levels of family involvement are: a) parenting, b) communicating, c) volunteering, d) school practices at home, e) decision making, and f) collaborating with the community. In locating the barriers families face in their school involvement, Hornby & Lafaele (2011) problematize the spheres of influence to include barrier ind ucing factors at each sphere. These factors are listed below in Figure 1. Identifying the barriers to family involvement at the spaces of family, society, school and the individual child allows a closer look at the various components of family and school i nteraction, allowing

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27 us to think more deeply about family involvement than simply what family members can do in support of school. Child Factors Age Learning difficulties and disabilities Gifts and talents Behavioral problems Family Factors Family beliefs about engagement Perceptions of invitations to engage Current life contexts Class, ethnicity, gender School Factors Goals and agendas *Processes, practices, and philosophies Attitude toward families and community Use of different language Societal Facto rs Historical and demographic Political Economic *Distribution of power Figure II 1. Adapted model of factors that act as barriers and prohibit family engagement, based on Hornby & Lafaele (2011). (Added items are marked with *.) Another model of famil y involvement in schools is the School Development Program. The SDP identifies three required mechanisms or teams that involve families in schools: a school planning and management team, a mental health team, and a parent program; this model distinguishes, and thereby limits, the roles of families in schools as related to the development of children (Comer & Haynes, 1991) It is within the levels of the SDP that the barriers become clearer: "parentswork with the parent group to develop act ivities in support of the comprehensive school plan. This enables all parents to feel ownership of the plan and its implementation, giving them a real stake in the outcome of school activities" ( Comer & Haynes, 1991, p. 273).

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28 In the SDP model, the third le vel involves "parents derive[ing] a sense of pride and satisfaction from seeing their children perform" ( Comer & Haynes, 1991, p. 276). Based on these and similar models, involving poor parents and the parents of non W hite students can often take the form of imposing a structure within which parents can participate in ways recognized by schools. This phenomenon has supported the construction of barriers between communities and schools (Gonzalez, et al., 2005; Hornby & Lafaele, 2011; Lareau & Horvat, 1999) Removing the barriers to equitable parent and family school involvement through systematic efforts is the work of change, and this is not likely facilitated by strengthening current family school relationships (Christenson & Sheridan, 2001) or structuring community school partnerships that maintain and support the current dominant discourse (see, for example Sanders, 2009) To continue to sustain or create progr ams and opportunities to involve parents and families in supporting the work of schooling is to tinker with a fundamentally flawed system (Tyack & Cuban, 1995) And in diverse communities where resources and power are not equally distributed between schools and families (Lauen, 2007) tinkering doesn't quite work (Deluca & Rosenblatt, 2010) In recent resea rch on barriers to parent and family involvement in schools, there remains a focus on the discourse and practices of schooling but a lack of emphasis on equity; for example, in finding that parent and family involvement programs are effective to remove bar riers obstructing access to schooling, Bolivar & Chrispeels (2011) found that parent empowerment resulted from immigrant parents learning to trust the educational system and becoming adept at school norms such as hand raising. T he study authors conclude th at "a shift in the fundamental power relationships between parents and

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29 schools did not occur as a direct consequence of PSP [Parent School Partnerships]," although they argue that these parents were "empowered through the program to take actions in both po litical and educational arenas" (Bolivar & Chrispeels, 2011, p. 32) That these parents were seen as empowered because they learned to participate in the dominant school culture, but not to challenge the fundamental dynamics of power, indicates that their empowerment was constrained by the typical subject object relation ship of families and schools. Research similar in its focus on barriers to parent and family involvement in schools examines parent and family access to educational and social resources (Barnyak & McNelly, 2009; Coc hran & Dean, 1991; Sanders, 2009) with a focus on student achievement and school outcomes. However, critical perspectives of parent involvement also suggest that the intersection of culture, power and knowledge results in tensions, contradictions and resi stance in parent and family involvement (Olivos, 2006) as families often are aware of the well defined limits of their participation (Olivos, 2009) Examining family school interaction, rather than evaluating programs or defining typologies of family involvement may prove helpful to extend the current discourse and involvement opportunities for families while countering stereotypes of expected particip ation. As the aforementioned discussion suggests, the prevalent focus of parent and family involvement literature investigates and reinforces the passive roles of parents and families as supporters of the goals of schools. This suggests a need for resear ch to advance a critical perspective of family school interactions that challenges current conceptualizations of family school interaction that also broadens and deepens our commitment to equity through the social spaces in which families and schools inter act.

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30 The Emergent Narrative in PI Literature : Parent Power The United States Department of Education developed a handbook to support parents in their ability to support their children's learning in school. The report, Parent Power: Build the Bridge to Succ ess (2010) discusses the steps that parents can follow to achieve the goal of making education a priority for their families. These steps include: a) be responsible, b) be committed, c) be positive, d) be patient, e) be attentive, f) be prÂŽcised, g) be min dful of mistakes, h) be results oriented, i) be diligent, j) be innovative, and k) be there. Two things are clear from this model of PI: 1. Parents need to be something, presumably more than they already are, in order to be adequate supporters of their child ren's learning 2. Parent power occurs in relation to parents' be ing occurring outside school. Each demonstration of the individual power of families is based in the homes of families. A narrative of parent involvement in schools holds families as outsiders a gainst whom administrators and teachers collude while establishing a professional culture (G. L. Anderson, 1998). However, another narrative in the literature of parent involvement in schooling has emerged in research focused on the families of Black and L atino students as well as families in poor and working class communities. For these families, targeted inequities emerge between schools (Henry, 1996; Lareau, 2003; Olivos, 2006) as teachers often see parents as u nwelcome outsiders (Souto Manning & Swick, 2006) While family members are consistently excluded from authentic school leadership opportunities, (Mayrowetz, 2008), school professionals sustain a status quo of influence over the function of schools. Despite this general exclusion of families from certain strata

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31 of school funct ioning, W hite middle class families often are welcomed into schools while maintaining their higher status and capital. On the other hand, Black and Latino families must persevere to gain similar opportunities and access (Shannon, 1996) Research has extended our understanding of the role of parents and families in schooling beyond the relationship between home culture and parenting and students' perceived social and academic inadequacies (Foster, et al., 1981) to include family participation in school governance and decision making (Carlson, 2010; Christenson, 2004; Cochran & Dean, 1991; Epstein, 2011) and exploring students' home cultures to enhance school curriculum (Gonzalez, et al., 2005) Nonetheless, current research has not completely moved away from focusing on perceived deficiencies of family structures as the reason for inadequate student part icipation. One such deficiency has been discovered in the number of hours a mother works, as too many or too few can be detrimental to a child's early formal schooling ( Youn, Leon & Lee, 2011). Another deficiency is found in claims that children from dual parent households achieve higher scores on standardized tests than their counterparts from single parent homes, and the children of parents with some college experience achieve higher scores than the children of high school graduates or non high school gr aduates (Jackson, 2011). Researchers also have established correlations between several dimensions of families and family involvement in schooling. These correlations include ethnic group affiliation and the capacity of parents and families to adequately s upport their children's learning and school success. For example, Black parents have been found to be motivated to be involved in their children's learning based on their needs to build relationships with other parents and school professionals ( Huang & Mas on, 2011). Similarly, in order to be

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32 involved with their children's early learning experiences, Latino families may require strong communication with other families ( Durand, 2011). The relationship between ethnicity and need for relationships with others i s under researched. However, these dynamics are reflective of a collectivist rather than individualist identity, which provides another important lens for understanding the dynamics of interaction between schools and families. Additionally, children from single parent African American homes are more likely to engage in poor school behavior (Mokrue, Chen & Elias, 2011), and their parents have been found to lack parenting skills an d the confidence to support their children's development. Within Latino communities and households, parents' educational aspirations for their children can have less impact on student academic motivation than general parent support, parent monitoring, and focused academic support. Henry, Plunkett, and Sands (2011) find that for Latino adolescents, the level of academic motivation is directly related to general parental support in the forms of praise, encouragement, and warmth, among other behaviors. Such tr ends in the school involvement of Black and Latino families may be due to their perceptions of schools expecting a lot from them but offering very little in return (Jeynes, 2011). While Crozier (2001) argues that immigrant and ethnic minority parents are o ften perceived as deficits to schooling, and what constitutes "good" parenting most often reflects the values and behaviors of many White and middle class families, parents often are not confident to participate in their children's development and require some form of training to parent better and support school endeavors at home (de Lara, 2011).

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33 Often, parent involvement studies fail to interrogate the cultural responsiveness of their teachers. The body of research of family involvement continues to leave largely unnamed and unexamined existing assumptions about the dominant narrative of schooling. This narrative displays the role of families in schools and the impact of the home culture on schooling: student academic achievement is the purpose and outcome of involving families in schools (Henderson, 1987; Henderson, et al., 2007; Jeynes, 2007; Stanton Salazar, 1997; Stanton Salazar, et al., 2001) With such a narrow focus on school and academic outcomes, opportunit ies for more fully understanding the interaction of families and schools are significantly limited. As discussed above, parent and family involvement research indicates that schools create opportunities for parent and family involvement, and these opportu nities aim to achieve school outcomes; in creating these opportunities, schools may develop and sustain bureaucratic organizational structures that prohibit the equitable involvement of and collaboration with diverse families (see, for example, V. Gordon & Nocon, 2008; Harris & Goodall, 2008) In the context of schooling, the equitable involvement of parents and families is obstructed by the discursive and social construction of involvement opportunities by schools (Kainz & Aikens, 2007) Such a discourse is likely to obscure diversity in viewpoints and opportunities for Black and Latino voices to be heard; however, a dominant discourse, as is reflected in parent and family involvement literature, effectively controls behavior (Kainz & Aikens, 2007) Conceptual Framework The conceptual framework for this study attempts to uncover the ways in which social experiences are constructed for individuals who encounter institutions. By framing

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34 the complexities of family involv ement in school as social, historical, spatial, and involving power, this conceptual framework counters the assumption, reflected in the literature, that parent involvement involves practices to support school aims For many individuals who encounter the s chool institution, their agency or individual power is restricted by the policies and practices that are simply, and sometimes unquestionably, a part of the system. While there may be a "discourse of possibility" (Kincheloe & McLaren, 2011) to imagine scho ols as something other than they are, the social dynamics and arrangements of the institution of school within a local community can cause significant tensions and difficulties for individuals from families or the community at large who attempt to access t he institution Recognizing this, I have constructed a conceptual framework that acknowledges three components of interaction between individuals and institutions. These three components are access, discourse, and imagination. Access involves the ability o f individuals outside of the institution to influence institutional policies and practices. Discourse includes the development and maintenance of policies that determine institutional practice and the roles of individuals who encounter the institution. Ima gination refers to the powerful, beautiful, and challenging practice of initiating change individually or through coalition building. These components of interaction are informed b y Critical Social Theory, Thirdspace Theory, and Postcolonialism. There is a consensus emerging that parent involvement in schools means parents and guardians engage in practices that satisfy the expectations of schools to support the academic and social experiences of their individual children. The field of parent involvement (PI) in schools contains a robust body of empirical studies revealing specific

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35 involvement behaviors for family members as well as typologies and models of practice for schools to utilize. The field, however, remains largely uncritical of institution of sc hooling and instead critiques the ways in which family members construct their roles of involvement and articulates strategies for schools to increase the supportive involvement of family members. As evident in the body of literature growing for more than six decades, there is only a short body of theory applied to research on family involvement in schools; in some instances, typologies are labeled theories of parent involvement (for example, Lewis, Kim & Bey 2011). What also is largely missing from the lit erature is a critical dialogue that uncovers and challenges the academic outcomes focus of parent involvement literature. Challenging the outcomes focus is all the more important for families and students from poor communities and communities of color, as these students struggle to succeed in school. Research has extended our understanding of the role of parents and families in schooling beyond the relationship between home culture and parenting and students' perceived social and academic inadequacies (Foster, et al., 1981) to include family participation in school governance and decision making (Carlson, 2010; Christenson, 2004; Cochran & Dean, 1991; Epstein, 2011) and exploring stude nts' home cultures to enhance school curriculum (Gonzalez, et al., 2005) Nonetheless, current resear ch has not completely moved away from focusing on perceiving and naming the deficiencies of family structures as the reason for inadequate student participation. Mokrue, Chen & Elias (2011) find that children from single parent African American households are more likely to engage in poor school behavior; however, their findings fail to interrogate the cultural responsiveness of the teachers of these students. The result of this gap in their

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36 research is that the institution of school remains faultless for the failure of students Similar trends in PI research have continue d to emerge in several other studies (Lewis, Takai Kawakami, Kawakami and Sullivan, 2009; Pike, Iervolino, Eley, Price & Plomin, 2006; Turney & Kao, 2009 ). The body of research of family i nvolvement continues to leave largely unnamed and unexamined existing assumptions about the dominant narrative of schooling. This narrative displays the role of families in schools and the impact of the home culture on schooling: student academic achieveme nt is the purpose and outcome of involving families in schools (Henderson, 1987; Henderson, et al., 2007; Jeynes, 2007; Stanton Salazar, 1997; Stanton Salazar, et al., 2001) With such a narrow focus, additional in terests that family members have in their children's school experience remain on the margins. Beyond that, opportunities to re imagine the interaction of families and schools are significantly limited. The dominant narrative of schooling emerges in severa l trends in family involvement research focused on poor families and families of color including democratizing education through parent involvement (Mintrom, 2009) changing school climate through parent involvement (McDermott, 2008) typologies of parent engagement (Epstein, 2008; Epstein & Dauber, 1991) and parent education programs (Bolivar & Chrispeels, 2010; Co mer & Haynes, 1991) Family involvement research reveals that power inequities persist between schools and families from racial and economically diverse communities (Henry, 1996; Lareau, 2003; Olivos, 2006) W hile school professionals sustain a status quo of power over the practice and institution of school W hite middle class families often are welcomed into schools to participate in ways that

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37 maintain their status. O n the other hand, poor families and families of color must persevere to gain similar opportunities and access (Shannon, 1996) These family members must persevere again school contexts in which teachers often see parents as unwelcome outsiders (Souto Manning & Swick, 2006) and adm inistrators and teachers share a professional culture that colludes against outsiders (G. L. Anderson, 1998) Add itionally, school distributed leadership practices seem to consistently exclude parents and families (Mayrowetz, 2008) As an alternative to the language of parent involvement, I suggest, and will employ hereafter, use of term family school interaction Interaction indicates the social nature inherent in the literature and practice of families and schools, but is divorced from the power dynamics and assumptions inherent in related terms: parent invo lvement, parent engagement and parent school partnerships. I consider this an important distinction because the distribution of power in schools contributes to systems of oppression, marginalization, and the socio political oppression (Auerbach, 2007; M. D. Young, 1999) of poor fami lies and families of color. A conceptual framework that challenges current models of involving families in schools can be useful to uncover, challenge and dismantle these systems. I propose a conceptual framework based critical social theory. Critical Soc ial Theory Critical social theories are oriented toward uncovering and changing material (non human, such as social institutions) and symbolic (interactional, such as norms and patterns) reproductive processes (Fraser, 1985) in communities as well as in broader society A critical soc ial theory "is concerned in particular with issues of power and

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38 justice and the ways that the economy; matters of race, class, and gender; ideologies; discourses; education; religion and other social institutions; and cultural dynamics interact to construc t a social system" (Kincheloe & McLaren, 2002, p. 90) Soja (1989) argued for a more robust critical social theory that demons trates spatial consciousness. Further, "certain groups in any society are privileged over others and, although the reasons for this privileging may vary widely, the oppression which characterizes contemporary societies is most forcefully reproduced when su bordinates accept their social status as natural, necessary, or inevitable" (Kincheloe & McLaren, 1994, p. 140). Critical social theories emerge in response to the occurrence and institution of social systems that produce between group power relations. A helpful frame to understand the emergence of social systems of power can be found in Emerson's (1962) Power Dependence equation: Power (group a/group b) = Dependence (group b/group a) In a sentence, this equation can be understood to state that the power of group A over group B is directly related to the dependence of group B on group A From the perspective of this argument then, the functioning of any social system or institution, in order to become permanent, will require the dependence of some less pow erful group. In contemporary U.S. society, commoditized institutions such as medical and communications technologies; oil, gas and electricity; and popular entertainment, amongst countless others, are sustained by our perceived dependence and resultant beh avior. Beyond the psycho social institution of these resources, the institution of social systems such as religion, economy, education, and government are commonly accepted complexities of society that are naturalized such that any failures of the institut ions are

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39 blamed on the autonomy of individuals. By maintaining control over "people's naturally occurring ways of thinking, feeling, and behaving," social institutions increase in power while dependent individuals lose their autonomy (Reeve & Assor, 2011). Such between group dynamics, particularly in the construction and enactment of a social system, are of central concern to critical social theories. The problem at hand is the current lack of critique of the institution of school as is reflected in resea rch literature and school policy. Given this lack of critique, the work of school, including predominant models that seek to blame students, families, and teachers for school failure, evidences school as a fixed, monolithic system that is situated much hig her than the minds of those on whom it depends, but this situation occurs in such a way that the public is made to feel dependent upon the schools. This may be described as dialectical and is the reason that a critical social theory is needed to inform ana lysis of the interaction between families and schools. The conceptual framework developed expands on critical social theory by incorporating key components of post colonial theory into a critical social theory. The literature of post colonial theory is di scussed in the following section. Post Colonial Theory Post colonial theory, or postcolonialism, refers to the socio spatial and temporal intellectual discourse that responds to, engages with, and contests the discourses of colonialism. It can be considere d the "theoretical resistance to the mystifying amnesia of the colonial aftermath" (Ghandi, 1998, p. 4). In particular, postcolonialism acknowledges the complex and intersecting impacts of power on the ways of being knowing doing of people who have been ex ploited or coerced by the institutions Postcolonialism refers to resistance during not only the time following colonization but also to the dominant

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40 narratives imposed through colonizing processes (Spivak, 1988) and the designations of space that follow. Within the postcolonial frame, the voice and the identity of the dominated emerge as informative of the experiences of those who are subject to schooling. The analysis of school for equity for economically and culturally diverse communities through the len s of postcolonialism has gained traction in recent research literature. Keddie (2012) argues that de centering the privilege of "dominant cultural frameworks that inferiorises [sic] and silences marginalized groups" is key to making visible spaces and prac tices of power and inequity in schooling. Similarly, Paperson (2010) applies postcolonialism to analyze the socio spatial experiences of students from ghetto communities in Oakland, California. It should be admitted here that Paperson (2010) provides an im portant articulation of postcolonialism that clarifies its application to the analysis of contemporary schooling: "If post simply signifies after meaning colonialism is over, then postcolonialism really makes little sense in the ghetto context. And here I echo the mistrust of the term by Indigenous scholars and other writers on neocolonialism I can only make sense of this word through its unintended meanings. The verb form of post as in keep someone posted' refers to keeping someone informed of the late st development or news. Post+colonial studies then announce the latest development on colonialism. Or the noun post is a place where an activity or duty is carried out. Post+colonial then refers to the place, people, or cultural arena where colonial activi ty or duties are carried out" (p.8). In utilizing postcolonialism to analyze the interactions of families and schools, my argument here is not that the dynamics of power between individuals and institutions

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41 exist only in the memories of those who have bee n coerced or exploited by the institutional power of school Instead, postcolonialism facilitates a discovery of the ways in which identities have been developed by family members and school professionals who are directly impacted by the institution In d eveloping a conceptual framework for family school interaction that relies on post colonial theory, there is such great potential to dilute the temporal, spatial and social complexities of marginalization and oppression that another, more locally and narro wly situated theory may be prove convenient. However, given the historical, spatial, and socio political nature of schooling in diverse U.S. communities, the power of postcolonialism to uncover dynamics of power and inequity is undeniably adequate. Further relying on the explanatory power of postcolonialism to illuminate the mystification of the social institution of schooling and its collateral impact on local families and communities is necessary, given the lack of theory based analysis of family school interaction. To accomplish this, I have chosen to rely upon Gyatri Spivak's (1988) description of the complexity of the voice of the margina lized and Homi K. Bhabha's (1996 ) fixity ambivalence processes of hybridization trialectic to uncover the problem po sed by the unchanging order of schooling as evident historically and contemporarily. Voice In her article "Can the Subaltern Speak?" Gyatri Spi vak (1988) challenged dominant discourse in favor of the voices of the once dominated, the subaltern. Spivak ad vocated for developing the discourse of the subaltern as a viable alternative to the discourse of domination to be understood as a narrative instead of as a counter narrative. In this way, Spivak highlights the importance of the voice of the oppressed bein g treated as equal in power and presence to that of the dominant. Through such a plea

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42 as is indicated in the essay title, the dichotomy of oppressor oppressed comes ou t from the shadows of dominant discourse and is confronted directly. Similarly, Edward Sa id (1978 /1979 ) challenged dominant forms of inquiry through which the objects of investigation were silenced in the research: To the extent that Western scholars were aware of contemporary Orientals or Oriental movements of thought and culture, these were perceived either as silent shadows to be animated by the Orientalist, brought into reality by them, or as a kind of cultural and international proletariat useful for the Orientalist' s grander interpretive activity (p. 208). Evident in the work of Said and Spivak is the importance of the voice of the oppressed in discovering the location and intersectionality of power and knowledge. Another important voice in postcolonialism belongs to Homi K. Bhabha (1994), whose efforts to uncover the impact of post colon ial processes on the identities of the subaltern are also influential and enlightening. In a powerful passage, captured here in its entirety, Bhabha develops fixity ambivalence processes of hybridization as a trialectic: "An important feature of colonial discourse is its dependence on the concept of fixity' in the ideological construction of otherness. Fixity, as the sign of cultural/historical/racial difference in the discourse of colonialism, is a paradoxical mode of representation: it is rigidity and a n unchanging order as well as disorder, degeneracy, and daemonic repetition For it is the force of ambivalence that gives the colonial stereotype its currency: ensures its repeatability in changing and historical discursive conjunctures; informs its strat egies of individuation and marginalization; produces that effect of

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43 probabilistic and predictability which, for the stereotype, must always be in excess of what can be empirically proved or logically construed. Yet the function of ambivalence as one of the most significant discursive and psychical strategies of discriminatory power whether racist or sexist, peripheral or metropolitan that remains to be charted" (1994, p. 66). The process of fixity >ambivalence >processes of hybridization reveals the insepar able nature of spatiality, power, knowledge, and identity for marginalized groups. Within this sequence, key components of the impact of colonization or sustained, systemic dominance emerge in a way that also explains the impact of other social systems, in cluding schooling. Fixity >ambivalence >processes of hybridization The interrelated discursive and functional notions of fixity, ambivalence, and processes of hybridization reveal the impact of institutional dominance on subjected groups and individuals. This process produces otherness in the object of colonial discourse. Contained within the concept of fixity is the belief and practice of an institution as unchanging and powerful. Fixity results from our understanding of an institution's past as well as our relationship to it; fixity depends upon repetition and advertisement of our need for it. Such is the case in our engendered reliance upon traffic lanes, signals and patterns according to Topinka (2011), who relies on Lefebvre's notion of abstract spac e to suggest that the fixity of material space seeks to suppress difference, leading to controlled productions of space. Fixity is not without its connection to our understanding and relation to other institutions. Fis c her (2011), in discussing the forekno wledge of God and the will of mankind, argues that the fixity of the past as fully accomplished is what

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44 grounds it as fixed. In a study of the within region fixity of countries' currencies and output, Hill (2011) suggests that geographic fixity is necessa ry for meaningful comparison of countries changing the borders eliminates the basis for comparison. In uncovering the fixity of modern social institutions, we are warned by Bissell (2011) against relying on dualisms to explain more complex social phenomena such as the impacts of knowledge, power, and space on social interactions. Without a sophisticated mode of analysis, we lend even greater power to existing institutions and social systems as alone responsible for the current state; such a view extends una mbiguous victimhood to those who are subject to institutions and social systems, thus denying their indigenous agency, spatial practice and contestations. In direct result of the arrangements of fixity (i.e., repetition, advertisement and subject object duality) in social systems and institutions, individuals and groups are likely to experience intricate reactions that involve both support and opposition (Oreg & Sverdlik, 2011). According to Milner (2008) institutional support to individuals and groups se eking to change systemic arrangements and practices occurs when the institution will benefit. The convergence of interests explains that direction of institutional support toward less powerful groups occurs when the institution achieves its own aims altho ugh divergent intere sts and interest conflicts result in institutional support being withheld from less powerful groups and individuals to maintain the status of the more powerful institution (Bell, 1980; Tate, Ladson Billings & Grant, 1993). Whether indiv iduals and groups face competing or co existing reactions comprise ambivalence, an acknowledgement that a phenomenon, in this case fixity of social systems and institutions, is two things at once somehow necessary while also reasonably

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45 unnecessary. Within the context of postcolonialism, "the efforts of cultural elites to affirm indigenous roots while appropriating the foreign" generates in the subject ambivalent attitudes of "admirat ion and aggression" (Islam, 2012 ). Ambivalence functions as one of the most "significant discursive and psychical strategies of discriminatory power" (Bhabha, 1994, p. 66), impacting the development of identities, dynamics of social interaction and uses of space. Third in the socio spati al process of marginalization are process es of hybridization which reflect the necessary responsiveness of members of marginalized groups to the complexities of colonialism. The phase "processes of hybridization" evokes our awareness of the multiple ways through which hybridized identities are de veloped. At issue in the present discussion is the impact of ambivalence on the identities of the objects of colonial discourse. In response to the ambivalence produced by the fixity of social systems and institutions, those who are marginalized must re c onceptualize their identities; re conceptualizing allows dual participation in institutions and indigenous spaces. It must be noted here that in order to understand hybridization as open and fluid, we must resist the lure of a dualistic understanding of co lonizer and colonized. Spivak (1988) cautions against this in declaring that the identity of the othered is "irretrievably heterogeneous." Similarly, Bissell (2011) warns against colonial dualisms, including in spatial consciousness: "the hegemony of duali stic images lies at the root of the problem, blocking or masking other interpretive possibilities" (p. 211). The hybridized identities of those othered through colonial practices of fixity do not fit easily into the dualisms of us/them, subject/object, col onizer/colonized. Instead, hybridized identities are blurred.

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46 Thirdspace Theory Thirdspace theory in theorizing the spatial nature of social production and as a tool for deconstructing the social arrangements of power, knowledge, and space brings ontologic al and epistemological parity between often disconnected sets of dialectics such as space time and history geography. Its uses are broad and varied across multiple disciplines such as education (see, for example, Gutierrez, 2008; Hurtubise, 2009), teacher education (Martin, 2011), architecture and urban planning (Soja, 1996), and the study of social media (Edirisinghe, Nakatsu, Widodo, & Cheok, 2011); despite this breadth of application, at the core of thirdspace is a departure from the binaries of social a rrangements and the production of space. To some who engage the theory, thirdspace lends itself to a space that simply exists between two existing spaces; such a space has been referred t o as a contact zone (Pratt, 1991 ). This in between space also has bee n referred to as the space of colonial hybridity: "the colonial hybrid is the articulation of the ambivalent space where the rite of power is enacted on the site of desire, making its objects at once disciplinary and disseminatory" (Bhabha, 1985, p. 35). While the movement toward thirdspace as hybridity has helped to explain the impact of colonial discourse and structures on the identities of the dispossessed, it is not spatially grounded; instead, it is conceptual, as is evident in postmodernist turns to ward spatiality. Soja's (1989) call for the reassertion of space in the examination of the social and historical contexts of the production of culture has been referred to as the "spatial turn," an important development in the emergence of space as centra l to our understanding of social phenomena. Spatial consciousness remedies the treatment of space as an

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47 afterthought to the history of social relations. The space of social interactions is important not simply because interactions occur in space, but becau se understanding where something happens is critical to understanding how and why it happens (Warf & Arias, 2009). Without spatial consciousness, our understanding of social phenomena such as interactions is flat, at best. At the core of thirdspace theo ry is the trialectic of history space social structure in the production of our lived environments. Dialectics such as space time or geography history, which are typified spatial binaries that emerge in fields such as science, flatten spatial consciousness A robust thirdspace theory can be directed toward our understandings of complex phenomena such as meaningful social change that empowers oppressed groups and weakens systems of oppression. Herein lies the connection of thirdspace theory to post colonial theory and critical social theory. The research reviewed for this conceptual model supports the notion that understanding the complexities of interaction between individuals and groups must be developed spatially and historically. Thus, the conceptual mode l developed here incorporates the historical spatial social trialectics alongside the critical social theory foci that includes power, space, and knowledge. Complexity of Family School Interaction: A Conceptual Model As claimed by Warf & Arias (2009), sp atial consciousness is concerned with more than where a phenomenon occurs. Spatial consciousness also explains why and how a phenomenon is produced. This level of awareness is central to a community grounded understanding of family school interaction. Addi tionally, without a theoretical foundation for understanding the locations and relations of power of family involvement in schools,

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48 our understanding of t he roles of families in schools remain s centered in literature and practice. The Three Dimensions of C omplexity of Family School Interaction framework aims to de center the discourse of the dominant in the involvement of families in schools. The socially and discursively constructed involvement of families in schools, as evident in research and popular li terature, develops a mystique of public schooling; this mystique is given life and context through flattened perspectives, such as in the argument that the most important contribution of families to schools is the support to achieve academic goals (see, fo r example, Diez, Gatt, & Racionero, 2011; Lewis, Kim & Bey, 2010). This mystique also is reflected in studies of school barriers to the participatio n of poor families and f amilies of color (see, for example, Kim, 2009). By centering the socio spatial and h istorical interactions of schools and families, a community grounded base of family involvement literature can emerge. Community grounded family involvement in schools resists the domination of communities traditionally and actively underserved by schools school and policy. Implications of Conceptual Model for Family School Interaction Postcolonialism: Implications for identity and role construction Utilizing theories of colonialism to examine the context of education in the U.S. has uncovered material a nd psycho cultural impacts of the structural and symbol systems of schooling (Ladson Billings, 1998). Applying a postcolonialism framework to schools and classrooms, Subedi & Daza (2008) argue that Euro centric and US centric biases emerge in curriculum, p edagogy, and education research. Centering their framework in a discourse of oppression and anti oppressive struggle, Subedi & Daza (2008) articulate the impact of dominant forms of knowledge in education and society; postcolonialism is the

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49 lens through wh ich this critique of systemic and institutional dominance through fixity is developed. Postcolonialism in education digs more deeply into the subjectivities of internati onal students who travel to more developed nations (Phoenix, 2009). I n experiences at c ontact zones, students must negotiate their identities through meeting, clashing, and grappling with the dominant cultures in which they must learn to participate. Within the contact zone, there are often "contexts of highly asymmetrical relations of power such as colonialism, slavery, or their aftermaths as they are lived out in many parts of the world" (Pratt, 1991, p. 6). Within the present conceptual framework for analyzing the interactions of families and schools in culturally and economically divers e communities, postcolonialism informs the identification and critique of social relations that impose upon and hybridize the identities of those who are subject to arrangements of power. This framework extends the current discourse by drawing the attentio n of researchers to the families and communities surrounding schools. In this way, the domination of communities through compulsory schooling can be resisted through community grounded research. Critical S ocial Theory: Implications for perspectives of the purpose of public s chool Although postcolonialism informs analysis of the impact of social and discursive power and domination on the identities of marginalized people and communities, this framework intends to support efforts to change the complexities and disproportionalities of schools in economically and culturally diverse communities. Relying upon critical social theory, this conceptual framework moves beyond identifying relations of power, knowledge, justice, and space toward seeking hope and change Kincheloe & McLaren (2011) point out this distinction as key to critical theories:

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50 "New poststructuralist conceptualizations of human agency and their promise that men and women can at least partly determine their own existence offered new hope for eman cipatory forms of social research when compared with orthodox Marxism's assertion of the iron laws of history, the irrevocable evil of capitalism, and the proletariat as the privileged subject and anticipated agent of social transformation" (p. 287). Criti cal social theory draws the attention of researchers to features of social space, including the social production of knowledge, space, systems and institutions. In attending to these features of social space, inquiry becomes deeply grounded in the socio sp atial context. Such grounding enlightens researchers, supports emancipatory agendas in research, and resists dominant forms of knowledge such as economic determinism and ideology (Kincheloe & McLaren, 2011). This grounding also supports the aim of critical social theory to understand oppressive and emancipatory knowledges within local and contextual practices (Leonard, 1990; Freeman & Vasconcelos, 2010). This perspective suggests a close examination of the interaction of families and schools in economically and culturally diverse communities. Thirdspace t heory Schools are powerful. In American society, schools are one of "the single most effective tool[s] of the twentieth century for keeping the social order intact while appearing to offer equal opportunity (Smith, 1995, p. 138) Schools effectively maintain power, influence, and credibility over the lives of children, and often their families as well a phenomenon that is glar ingly evident in urban communities. Because the housing patterns of neighborhoods and neighborhood schools generally

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51 follow the same social class lines, students in urban areas most often experience learning environments with classmates from similar socioe conomic backgrounds. With the perspective provided by thirdspace theory to understand the historical, social, and spatial features of social space and interaction, thirdspace theory has application to the intersection of geography and politics, including discourses of power, hegemony and the oppression of marginalized groups (Anzaldua, 1999; Moje, et al., 2004) Thirdspace theory enables critical analysis of the first and second spaces of social production. For example, relegating certain dominated groups to less powerful social roles is a first space function of domina nce, and their responses to this relegation, whether in a form such as resistance or in hopes of what could be, is a function of the second space. This theory has two key aspects key to this conceptual framework: a) it provides a basis for spatial consciou sness that grounds research within a geographic and social context, which is necessary to community grounded, emancipatory research, and b) in the thirdspace, the critical socio spatial imagination reconsiders the uses of space and the characteristics of i nteraction in ways that achieve grounded and sustained equity, with those who are peripherally involved in or subjected to the meaning making and social construction of others being brought to the center and becoming co constructors of meaning and experien ce. Conclusion This research does not hold the assumption that the purpose of including families in schools is to improve student academic achievement. With such a narrow focus, opportunities for re imagining the school involvement of families may be sign ificantly limited. Instead, this research aims to explore the perspectives of family and school

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52 members related to spaces of family school interaction beyond programs, typologies, and partnerships. Although the aforementioned assumption is prevalent, it re stricts the potentially powerful contributions of otherwise marginalized families to change the material and symbolic reproduction of their societies. Examining family school interactions, as intended in this research, aims to support an imagination that e nables individuals and "social scientists to look beyond the appearance of social facts towardnew social facts the end of class society" (Agger, 1991) This dialectical imagination (Jay, 1973) is the ability to see the world as having potential to be changed in the future, an endeavor that requires both imagination and reason (Perkins, 1985) As an alternative to the language of parent involvement, I suggest, and will employ hereafter, use of term family school interaction Interaction indicates the social nature inherent in the field of literature and practice of families and schools, but is divorced from the power dynamics and assumptions inherent in related concepts: parent involvement, parent engagement and parent school partnerships. Such a distinction is crucial here because the distribution of power in schools contributes to systems of oppression, marginalization, and the socio political oppression (Auerbach, 2007; M. D. Young, 1999) of families from economical ly and culturally diverse groups. With this in mind, the current study aims to challenge current models of involving families in schools by uncovering and dismantle these systems and their associated assumptions.

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53 CHAPTER III METHODOLOGY Purpose of Study Involving family members in school to support their children's academic achievement is a research based practice that reflects the expectation for family members to participate in school in ways that are determined by schools, whether the location of activ ity is the school or home. Family member involvement in school activities has been found to produce home school overlap that supports student learning (Galindo & Sheldon, 2012). Research further suggests that we can be more confident that students will ac hieve better when their family members are involved in school based programs for family involvement (Jeynes, 2012), although family school partnerships may lead to better academic achievement than including family members in school programs (Kim, Coutts, H olmes, Sheridan, Ransom, Sjuts & Rispoli, 2012). On either side of this debate is an orientation to the involvement of families that does not question the phenomenon; instead, research perspectives attempt to better understand how to get family members to become more involved in school. Our opportunity here is to question whether the phenomenon of school involvement of family members can be broadened beyond the focus on academic achievement to reflect a deeper connection to families and the community such t hat their interests inform schools. Through this qualitative study, I sought to understand how different adults who were connected to the involvement of families in school perceived the interaction of families and school. These adults included family membe rs, school professionals and community members. I also sought to understand how these adults understood the roles

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54 of family members in school and the purpose of school my aim was to revisit the understandings of the role of family members as supporters of t he aims of school (Epstein, 2010 ) and school purpose as the instruction of students, preparation for the workforce, or preparation for responsible citizenship (Mitchell, Gerwin, Schuberth, Mancini & Hofrichter 2009). In order to discover these perspecti ves, I developed and revised a set of research questions: 1. What are the understandings of family school interaction held by members of families, the local community and schools? 2. What are the roles of family members in school? 3. What is the purpose of school a s understood by members of families, communities, and schools? These questions were refined during the process of conducting the study as I became clearer that family school interaction was broader than what families and schools did to one another. The res earch questions were refined through early analysis of participant responses to interview questions that indicated two unnecessary research questions ( In what ways do families and schools interact? In what ways do families and community members identify an d respond to efforts to engage them in schools? ). Early analysis also informed the formation of an additional research question ( What is the purpose of school as understood by members of families, communities, and school s? ) as additional important informat ion emerged in interviews. Refining the study questions also opened up the possibility that this study could inform possibilities for new perspectives of the interaction of families and school, perspectives that are grounded in equity and in local communit ies.

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55 Context of Study The context of this study w as in major city in the Western US, Metropolitan City. Metropolitan City was made up of almost 80 neighborhoods, each identified by housing development patterns and population growth trends. The Chelsea Pa rk neighborhood was selected for this study, providing geographic boundaries for the study. The neighborhood contained one high school (grades 9 12), two middle schools (grades 6 8), three schools for students in grades K 8, and 8 elementary schools (ECE 5 th grade). The middle schools connected to Chelsea Park High School were in an adjacent neighborhood. The Chelsea Park community was selected because of the recent school reform efforts the community was experiencing as well as its diverse residential popu lation. Chelsea Park had just over 30,000 residents, with nearly 9,000 students enrolled in schools throughout Metropolitan City. Residents were from multiple racial and ethnic backgrounds with its resident majority made up of Latino and Black households. In addition, approximately 12% of households were at or below the national poverty income level and the proportion of residents with less than a 12 th grade education (29.52%) was similar to the proportion of residents with a high school only education (26. 85%) and with some college, but no degree (24.26%). In addition to the geographic and demographic contexts of Chelsea Park, I also was interested in the school policy context, evident in the school reform efforts occurring in the community. Within the scho ol reform context of this study, family school experiences at the elementary school level supported the study emphasis, although school reform was not the central research topic. Family school interactions we re closely related to child and community develo pment in child development literature (Bronfenbrenner,

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56 1 986; Henry, 1996) and the involvement of families has been shown to decrease as children grow older (Green, Walker, Hoover Dempsey, & Sandler, 2007; Grolnick & Slowiaczek, 1994) ; thus, studying family school interactions at the elementary school level was emphasized because of the elementary grades' broader and more immediate implications for families, the community and schooling as well as the resear ch field. T he school reform context was revealed by several articles published by the local newspaper prior to and during the time of this study. The newspaper revealed that the school district was engaged in school reform efforts described as "forward th inking" despite the attempts of local community groups to boycott the district's efforts (2/28/11). The paper also characterized the school reform efforts of the district as part of a "drastic turnaround plan prompted by low performance in the region" (8/1 1/11). As Metropolitan Public Schools pushed "an aggressive reform plan for Chelsea Park area schools in an effort to fix the chronically low p erforming programs" (9/29/2010) at five schools, there was wide support from school officials and some community members, and little apparent s upport from the wider community The response of many in the community was evident in the "fiery speeches, impassioned pleas and heartfelt statements" that "were aired for hours Thursday night" before the Board approved "the l argest school turnaround plan in district history" (11/19/10). It was within this context that data was collected for this study. Two study sites were selected for this study. One study site was an elementary school, Alcorn Elementary School. Alcorn was i ncluded because it was not experiencing school reform at the time of this study; it was selected because its administration and staff were willing to participate in this study. The second study site was a non school

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57 community organization, the Metropolitan Center for Kids. The Center was included for this study because of its history in the community, high number of participating youth, and location in the center of Chelsea Park. Selecting one school site and one community site was done in an effort to avoi d limiting voices and perspectives to adults involved in schools as well as to include family members who may not have been actively involved at school. Study Populations Participant selection for this study occurred first through key informants and then through convenience sampling. Four key informants were contacted for this study because of their affiliation with a school or the community. Linda was the principal at Alcorn, Ebony was an organizer for a community based education advocacy organization, Br ian was the Director of the Metropolitan Center for Kids, and Susan was a former teacher in Chelsea Park and the parent of a student who recently graduated from Chelsea Park High School. Convenience sampling using a "snowball" approach followed the key inf ormant interviews, allowing me to identify additional study participants. Linda shared the names of teachers whom she thought would have been interested in participating in the study, but she allowed me to attend a faculty meeting when I asked her for an o pportunity to invite all members of the school faculty to participate in the study. I was able to share information about the study and distribute information sheets and my contact information. From this, five teachers volunteered to participate in the stu dy. Similarly, Brian volunteered to recommend family members to participate in this study. He invited family members to participate in a group interview during a community

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58 event at the Metropolitan Center for Kids. Six family members participated in a g roup interview that occurred at the Center. Susan helped me identify community hubs where street interviews could be conducted. Her recommendations were based on her history in the community, and based on her suggestions, I conducted street interviews wit h 18 community members near a Safeway grocery store and strip mall as well as a Family Dollar strip mall in Chelsea Park. My interview with Ebony a community organizer, did not result in the identification of opportunities for additional study participant s. Data Sources The collection of data for this study began with district documents from the Metropolitan Public School District website. In addition to the district documents, I collected observation field notes at both study sites and conducted three for ms of interviews; face to face individual interviews, group interviews, and street interviews with individuals I also accessed the record of telephone calls made to the Office of Family Involvement for Metropolitan Public Schools; these were calls related to schools in the Chelsea Park community over an 18 month period. District documents Over two months during the fall I accessed 382 policy documents ranging in topics from Basic Commitments of the District to Support Services policies to School Communi ty Relations. Of these multiple policies, I conducted a basic search for those policy documents that discussed the district's mission, families and parents, school space, and achievement. There were seventeen documents that fit these criteria

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59 Observation field notes I collected observation field notes at both study sites over two months. My observations at Alcorn occurred at afternoon pickup or morning drop off for three days during this period. My observation of the school pickup and drop off lasted 15 20 minutes. I also observed a Science Fair event, School Collaboration Team meeting, and a meeting of the Active Parents Organization. These observations lasted between 45 90 minutes, depending on the planned length of the meeting. My observation notes inc luded: a) time of arrival, b) location, c) estimates of entry/exit traffic, d) numbers of persons presen t e) observable characteristics and types of persons present, f) structure of program or event, including speakers and roles, and g) departure time. At the Metropolitan Center for Kids, my observations also occurred over two months. My observations at the Center included activity in the lobby between adults, and between adults and children. On two occasions, I observed a staff member leading the aftern oon education program; each of my observation s lasted 20 minutes. I also observed a two hour parent night in recognition of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and a community meeting to help parents select schools for their children; this was a two hour observat ion. Following each observation, within ten minutes of departing the study site, I used the recording device to capture my recollections of events, uncertainties, possible initial meanings, and, where appropriate, possible connections to other field expe riences. Each audio recording lasted between two and eight minutes, and supplemented my handwritten field notes through a wide range of reactions. These impressions and questions were used during data collection to identify potential next steps.

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60 Individ ual interviews. Questions for face to face interviews with individual members of families and schools were developed based on the Research Questions The interviews were conducted following a general interview guide approach (Turner, 2010), which is a some what structured interview approach guided by interview questions while allowing for flexibility. As the interviewer using a general interview guide approach, I was able to ask each participant the same interview questions, although the order of questions m ay have been altered based on my interaction with the respondent and the directions the interviews took. I conducted eight in person individual interviews with community members, family members, and school professionals The interviews ranged in length fro m 30 84 minutes, and each interview was recorded using a digital recording device. The interviews were conducted at locations requested by study participants. I nterview participants, along with brief descriptions of their roles in the comm unity, are includ ed in Table 3.1 The interview question guide is included in Appendix B. Group interviews Questions for the group interviews were developed along with the questions for in person individual interviews; group interview questions also were based on the Rese arch Questions. I conducted two group interviews. The first group interview included six persons and occurred at the Metropolitan Center for Kids and included family members; these family members were five mothers and a father. The location of the first gr oup interview was determined by convenience, as the Center provided a closed space away from all other activity. This interview lasted 66 minutes and was recorded on a digital recording device. The interview was later transcribed for analysis. The second g roup interview occurred at Alcorn Elementary School in an intervention classroom and included three teachers and the school psychologist; the

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61 intervention classroom was the location requested by the participating school professionals. The interview lasted 54 minutes a nd was recorded on a digital recording device. The interview also was later transcribed for analysis. The group interview question guide is included in App endix B. Street i nterviews The third interview procedure included street interviews conducted over f our days in the Chelsea Park community. Questions for the street interviews were developed along with the questions for in person individual and group interviews; these questions were based on the Research Questions Street interviews occurred at high traf fic public places, outside of the local Safeway and Family Dollar stores, as well as outside of a local barbershop. During the street interviews, I invited passersby to "answer a few questions about schools" in the community, explaining that the interviews would take "just a few minutes, probably no more than three." I conducted Table III.1 Overview of face to face individual interview participants Participant Participant Description Interview Length Location Brian Robinson Director, Metropolitan Center for Kids (Center) 83 min. Center Linda Dominguez Principal, Alcorn Elementary School 84 min. A lcorn School Ebony Torres Community Organizer (self identified) 67 min. Local Coffee Shop Emilio Garcia Parent, Alcorn Elementary School 33 min. Local Coffee Shop Tiffany Simon Parent, Metropolitan Center for Kids 40 min. Community Library Susan Matt hews Community Activist (self identified) 53 min. Participant's Home Harriett Davis Teacher, Metropolitan Center for Kids 40 min. Alcorn School Allison Lawrence Teacher, Alcorn Elementary School 30 min. Alcorn School

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62 street interviews with all interested and willing patrons. The total number of street interview participants was 18 over the four days, which is approximately one eighth of the tota l number of passersby who might have participated in the street interviews. I wrote out summary participant responses to each question on individual question guides. The interview question guide is included in the Appendix C Telephone call log s The fifth data source was telephone call logs that I accessed through the school district's O ffice of Family Involvement I requested the call log following document analysis and interviews with family, community and school members. I was granted access by making a direct request to the district Parent Involvement Specialist through an email. The telephone log contained a record of nearly every telephone call made to the office from parents and members of the community with concerns or complaints about schools in th e district. Not every telephone call was logged into this system; calls that were easily answered by district employees, including school calendar inquiries, were answered by the staff member but not recorded in the log. To be specific, through personal co mmunication with a liaison, I learned that: "Only the calls that require follow up from our constituency team get logged into [the system] If our front line staff members can answer the question on the spot, they will do so. Sometimes it is a matter of r edirecting their calls to another department such as Human Resources. Some questions that come in are about school calendars, school closures, basic policy questions, phone numbers, etc." After an initial meeting with parent liaison from the Office of Fami ly Involvement I was granted permission to access the call log contain ing information from August 2010 January 2012. This included the records of 74 telephone calls.

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63 Data Analysis Data for this study were analyzed iteratively over six months, requiring s everal revisions to a very non linear process. The research questions guided initial analysis of the data, which occurred directly on the district policy documents and interview tra nscripts using content analysis techniques. The topic of each research ques tion was used to discover big ideas, or major themes, in participant responses to interview questions. Research question topics also were used to discover big ideas in district policy documents. The research question topics were: a) role of participant, b) role of family, c) purpose of school, d) why family school interaction, e) how family school interaction, and f) context of family school interaction. Each of these deductive topics was treated as an initial code and applied to the district documents and interview transcripts. I narrowed the list of early information categories to three descriptive codes that appeared to contain the key themes regarding family and community involvement in the school district. Descriptive codes require little interpretatio n as they attribute a class of phenomena to a text segment (Miles & Huberman, 1994). It seemed necessary to narrow this list of early information categories in order to build more directly on a more focused set of indicators that emerged. These codes were a) r ole of f amily, b) purpose of s chool, and c) school sp ace. Examples of these cate gories are included in Tab le III .2

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64 Table III.2. Coding characteristics for district policy documents. Early Information Categories Description Policy Document Name Text S egment Role of Family This document category address es directly or indirectly, the forms and opportunities for involvement of family members in the practices of school at the district, school or classroom level. Parent Involvement believes that parents (including those who are economically disadvantaged, have disabilities, have limited English, have limited literacy, are of any racial or ethnic minority background, or are parents of migratory children) are partners with teachers and other staff in the ed ucation of their children and that parent involvement and empowerment are essential at all levels throughout the school district. Purpose of School Documents in this category indicate a stated or understood purpose, mission, or vision of schooling, includ ing at the district, school or classroom level. Policy Framework for Accelerating Gains in Academic Achievement for All Students We will lead the nation's cities in student achievement, high school graduation, college preparation, and college matriculatio n Our students will be well prepared for success in life, work, civic responsibility, and higher education. To fulfill this vision, the Board expects the district to accomplish the following mission: provide all students the knowledge and skills necessar y to become contributing citizens in our diverse society and to compete in the 21st century global economy School Space Documents included in this category designate specific uses of school district buildings, including access protocols and policies, rest rictions, and descriptions of intended use. Visitors to Schools In order to insure that no unauthorized persons enter buildings with wrongful intent, all visitors to the schools shall report to the school office when entering, receiving authorization befo re visiting elsewhere in the building This will not apply when parents have been invited to a classroom or assembly program.

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65 Following this first attempt at getting the "lay of the land," I extracted big ideas that emerged through constant comparative a nalysis. Constant comparative analysis (Boeije, 2002) allowed me to form categories through comparing and contrasting participants' responses to questions. Comparison and contrast of participants' responses to interview questions occurred through steps to fragment and connect ideas in the texts. I developed a series of concept map images that allowed me to identify connections and disconnections between res ponses to interview questions. An example of the concept map is included in Appendix A The transcrip t linguistic context surrounding s tatements about the big ideas made by study participants determined the nature of connections and disconnections. These connections and dis connections were triangulated through comparison to observation field notes and dig ital recordings following observation and interviews. An example of a disconnection emerged in a participant's response to a question about her history of being involved with her children's schools: this family member initially stated that "Oh, it's great for me because me, myself, teachers and administrators, we're all on the same page when it comes to my kids' education." Later, this family member says about her son's experience in school that "it's like you're taking this child with these issues and putt ing him into a regular environment and you're expecting him to excel. And that's just not going to happen." For these sorts of responses within an interview transcript, I used arrows and question marks on the concept map. The next step in my data analysis was the comparison between interview transcripts and participant response to interview questions. I attempted to analyze the interview transcripts by hand, using margins first, and then index cards as I continued to

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66 generate initial codes from the distric t documents. Throughout each interview transcript, I used the margins to identify descriptive topics of respondent's comments (Miles & Huberman, 1994) This analysis required little inference (Carspecken, 1996) as it was close to the primary record of the interview transcripts. For example, when participants discussed their role within the local community or school, whether voluntarily or in response to a particular question, the label "Role Comm" or "Role Sch" was written in the margins. Engaging in low l evel coding in this way helped me to identify segments of text that were applicable to each of the research question categories and to capture additional ideas that emerged during the interviews. Based on each research question category, which provided ini tial codes to analyze interview data, I developed a second level of codes from the individual and group interviews This resulted in 11 descriptive codes at a second coding level These codes focused on connecting responses according to emergent themes, be tween and among study participants, and helped to elucidate possible response clusters that were emerging from the data. Both levels of codes are reflected in Table III .3 In applying codes, I tried to make connections between responses in order to identi fy themes or categories beyond these levels of codes. What seemed to be missing from my analysis was the meaning that codes should generate. In order to dig a bit deeper into my data, I utilized an analytic framework d eveloped by Srivatava & Hopwood ( 2009)

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67 Table III.3. List and examples of first and second level codes of in person and group interviews. Initial codes Second level codes Example Understandings of Interaction Interaction in Setting of School "So let me give you an example. CSAP night that we did with parents, teaching parents about how to prepare their kids for CSAP night, not just to bed early and all that, which the skit not just that. That's what people say they do with parents. That's a simple thing. That's like, basic. We had parents working with their kids on CSAP items." Interaction in Practice of School "All their friends are on the bus, get to go to the Metro Center and hang out. And they're doing tutoring at the Metro Center. Like right now, they have tutoring Monday and Wednesd ay. So I take advantage of everything. I go to. I can't afford. I'm a single mother." Role of Family Members Complexities "I just think it's a central part of a neighborhood, especially this neighborhood. Because I think all the schools allowed the kids t o be able to go get the support they might need in regards to what they're not getting at home, they can get it in school." Constraints "They're mostly relying, I think, on word of mouth. I hope that many of them are going to the school and making a visi t. ButI don't know realistically how many people are doing that. So that would say to me that they're not necessarily relying on the school or the district for information. I think that it's hard to get useful information from the district. To get it, you have to go to a website, which means that you have to have a certainlevel of computer knowledge." Agency "The goal is to build their knowledge capacity, their leadership capacity to advocate for themselves, for their own child, and really for all child ren in a public school system. So that if they move from Chelsea Park to Detroit or New Orleans or Chicago and there's an issue with that school, then they can organize themselves and get that thing taken care of."

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68 Table III.3. cont'd. Role of Family Me mbers Options "we had a meeting with somebody who could translateI said, Tell her that she's welcome to come in my classroom. She can observe. She could do something with me. She could work with her child.' She came in. She's been in twice now." Purpos e of School Neighborhood/ Community "giving something to do with some educational setup opposed to out on the street running around. It keeps those kids out of the bad elements." Society "I think ideally a school is creating students that are prepared f or the future, so not just prepared for the world today, not being just able to navigate the world today and get into a college, but are teaching them to be fully formed people." Family "I think, for me, the purpose, I think school is to kind of help nur ture what is already there because I think at homes there's some foundation that's laid." Students & Learning "Well, you know, the purpose of public education is to help I'm going to speak to my level of students here to help our students become successf ul in life. And they have to do that with the tools of the trade. And the trade is reading, writing, arithmetic, right? If you don't have those tools, you can't make it in life. And so our job is to help kids become proficient and advanced, in my opinion, in all those major content areas so they literally can leave here prepared for middle school." Schooling "So the purpose of public education is to make sure that it levels the playing field so that everybody can have an opportunity to live wellin this c ountry I believe that they believe that that is the purpose of the schools out here, even though it's not happening My friends say their purpose is doing just what they're doing: putting out kids who can't go to college, can't go to a two year college, c an't get a job. Because as soon as they can't fill out the application, even one line, the boss says, You're disqualified right there.'"

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69 Reflexive and iterative analysis required that I acknowledge my interpretation of data according to "theoretical fra meworks, subjective perspectives, ontological and epistemological positions, and intuitive field understandings" (Srivatava & Hopwood, 2009). Srivatava and Hopwood (2009) developed a "practical iterative framework" for analyzing qualitative data, consistin g of three questions: 1. What are the data telling me? 2. What is it I want to know? 3. What is the dialectical relationship between what the data are telling me and what I want to know? I found this framework useful to continue data analysis across the documents, in person individual interviews and group interviews and to integrate street interviews into the analysis. In order to continue the analysis of data in a reflexive, iterative manner, drawing upon the multiple levels of inquiry, I generated an analytic mode l connecting the levels of inquiry with the various sourc es of data, as shown in Figure III .1. This analytic model required a component that would acknowledge the emerging constructs as they were related to the interaction between the home, school, communi ty, and dis trict. Bronfenbrenner's (1977) Ecological Systems T heory seemed apt for this level of analysis of the broader context of study.

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70 In recognition of these differences, I analyzed the data further. When I asked parti cipants to explain why family members should be involved in schools, the responses of family members would focus on sharing responsibility ("well they shouldn't put the responsibility on schools because you have to think about the fact that you are the par ent and the best example is going to be you") while the responses of members of schools would focus on the education and professional experiences of family members ("well I think that depends on their background and what their own experiences have been, yo u know"). Subsequently, data for this question was coded into two themes: roles and responsibilities or qualifications and criteria. When I asked participants to describe the purpose of school, their responses would focus on the idea ("I think ideally a sc hool is creating students that are prepared for the future, so not just prepared for the world today, not just being able to navigate the world today and get into Iterative Reflexive Analytic Framework Q1: What are the data telling me? Q2: What is it I want to know? Q3: What is the dialectical relationship between what the data are telling me and what I want to know? Q3a: How does the conceptual framework resolve or sustain the tension posed by the dialectical relationship between what the data are telling me and what I want to know? Home Microsystem Community Macrosystem/E xosystem District Macrosystem /E xosystem Sc hool Microsystem Figure 3.1 : Iterative Reflexive Analytic Framework used during analysis stage 2. Figure III.1 Iterative Reflexive analytic framework used during analysis stage 2.

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71 a good college, but are teaching them to be fully formed people"), or the perceived actual i n which the outcome differs from the purpose ("so the purpose of public education is to make sure that it levels the playing field so that everyone can have an opportunity to live well, or to live, you know, comfortably in this country. I would say the out come is not that"). Responses to the question of the purpose of school fell into the categories of ideal/should be and actual/as is. Another significant decision at this stage of the study resulted from the realization that I had not adequately refined the research questions to frame the information that this study was intended to elicit While the original research questions were connected under the conceptual umbrella of family school interaction, they were not developed adequately to uncover the systemic arrangements of family school interaction. Nonetheless, in the analysis of data, systemic arrangements of family school interaction emerged. What became evident in the data I analyzed was that the components of the interaction of families and schools incl uded space contextual nature of roles, and understanding of the purpose of school. Outliers emerged in participant responses during in person individual and group interviews as participants shared their perspectives of others. For example, during a group interview, one family member criticized other family members as less inclined to be inv olved in their children's schooling (" We don't have those kind of parents anymore. Parents need to be fully involved in what their children's doing, whether it's here, whether it's at the school. I mean you get those parents that may have vacation time, take a day off, well they'll they'll lay up and watch TV all day instead of walk in here and see w hat my child is doing at school"). In another interview, a school memb er described her efforts

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72 to engage family members as at a higher level than her colleagues (" It's hard for people to be able to do the work with people that they don't know or feel comfortable with. And I think that's one of the biggest problems"). In ord er to understand this phenomenon better, I looked into Carl Jung's (1936) theory of archetypes. Jungian a rchetypes An archetype is one's collective, often unconscious, understanding of people in definite forms (Jung, 1936). An archetype also may be a bro ad, generic form of a person, such as a damsel in dis tress, hero, or mother figure. For example, t he traditional Hero archetype aims to be perceived as in engaged in some mythic quest. The use of the archetype construct has found footing in other fields, s o I did not consider it too great a stretch to consider it as a tool to analyze these data. The professional as hero archetype has been discussed in other professions, such as Law and Medicine. In analyzing the lawyer hero archetype in film, Elkins describ es the hero as great warriors, engaged in epic courtroom battles, facing mean spirited foes, and prevailing in the name of justice" (Elkins, n.d.). In an online web log, Dr. Anthony Youn (2011) characterizes the god complex of many physicians by posing th e rhetorical question, So what causes some doctors to think they are on par with God?" He goes on to elaborate that it is likely the result of having "the power to make life or death decisions for their patients gets to some doctors' heads. Physicians are the ones that, with a pen, can write an order for a patient that saves his or her life." I identified four archetypes intially: the Exceptional Self, the Compensating Educator, the Inadequate Other, and the Advocating Community Member. Each of these arche types seemed to help explain the patterns of responses from study participants. However, upon further analysis, I discovered that two were shared across each category

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73 of participant. These two were: Exceptional Self and Inadequate Other. I discuss these ar chetypes further in Chapter IV District call l og In analyzing the study data I recognized that the broader voices of family members were not included in the data I collected. O nly those participants who were accessed through key informant interviews and convenience sampling were involved, and I considered the implications of keeping a much broader population of family members silence d by not including them in this study I viewed these implications as undermining the purpose of this study, which was to u nderstand the interactions of family members and schools. I sought to gain access to the record of telephone calls made to the district, as these telephone calls would reflect the broad array of concerns for which family members called the district. I was granted access to the telephone call log developed and maintained by the Metropolitan Public School District Office of Family Involvement (OFI) for the date range August 2010 January 2012. I limited my search to the nine elementary schools in the Chelsea P ark community and closely reviewed each of the 74 telephone calls that came in during this 18 month period. This was also particularly helpful because neither the format nor the questions included in the stree t interviews provided access to specific intera ctions between families and schools in the Chelsea Park community. The telephone call logs provided details of specific interactions between families and schools. For example, a parent called OFI because her daughter was "attacked" by four boys and a schoo l employee, a paraprofessional, did not respond to the attack. After speaking with the principal who asked the offending students to write letters of apology to the girl, the child's mother contacted OFI to seek an alternative, more severe consequence for the four

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74 boys. The telephone call log was a running record of telephone calls made by members of families and communities within the Metropolitan Public School District. While not every call into the OFI was recorded in the call log, logged calls provided necessary contribution to this study. The Iterative Reflexiv e Analytic Framework in Figure III .1 guided my analysis of the phone call logs. I developed a list of descriptive codes for the various documented reasons for calls made by family and community me mbers from Chelsea Park to the Metropolitan Public Schools District. The research question categories purpose of school, role of families in school, and interaction between families and school were not adequate to organize what the telephone call log data revealed. However, it was apparent that family and community members made calls to the district (OFI) after having an experience at school that provoked them to pursue recourse The data revealed that calls were made to express concerns about the policies of schools and practices of members of schools. After reviewing each of the 74 telephone calls made to the OFI, low level descriptive coding informed five categories of calls: a) family or community member access to school; b) interpersonal interaction be tween school person and a non school person; c) school policy; d) school environment; and e) the academic program. These catego ries are described in Table III .4.

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75 Table III.4. Categories of calls made to Metropolitan Public Schools District Office of Family Involvement (OFI) between Aug. 2010 Jan. 2012 for elementary schools in Chelsea Park community. Category No. of calls Characteristics Example from field notes Access to school 4 Family or community member calls to express concern about a perceived barri er to accessing the school building. 1/23/12: Parent concerned about gates to parking lot being locked. Wife has "handicap" and needs access, but this has not happened even after contact with principal. Interpersonal 19 Family or community member called t o express concerns about a negative interaction that occurred between a school person, such as a teacher, office staff member, or administrator, and a non school person such as a child or family member. 1/5/12: Parent thinks Assistant Principal is rude and not a people person. Complains that administration was not chosen well. School policy 38 Family or community member called to express concerns about a school policy that was inaccessible or that affected a child's education experience. 5/12/11: Child wro te on bookcase. Parent concerned about change in status of offense from Type 1 "damage to school property" to Type 3 "damage to school property including graffiti with a price range from $500 $5000 in damages." School environment 27 Family or community me mber called to express concerns about the environment of the school, including student safety, well being, or overall school experience. 11/15/11: Son, grade 3, jumped three times in a week. Threatened by fourth graders: "we're going to f'g kill you." Daug hter, 4 th grade, hit by student went to hospital for concussion check. Other daughter, 5 th grade, teased for weight. Para told 4 th grade daughter that 3 rd grade brother is "freaking coo coo." Principal has not intervened. Academic program 3 Family or comm unity member called to express concerns about school's support of child's academic performance, including access to special education services. 4/19/11: 3 rd grade child at 1 st grade level. School recommended summer program, advised against retention, but parent wants disability testing. School social worker suggests emotional damage from retention. Parent also (and husband) has learning disabilities.

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76 Table III.5. Categories of resolutions to calls made to OFI between Aug. 2010 Jan. 2012 for elementary sc hools in Chelsea Park community. Resolution category No. of calls Characteristics Contextualized example from field notes Meeting with school 35 The issue was (to be) resolved through a meeting with the school principal, school psychologist or other memb er of the school administration. This does not include meetings with district personnel. Issue: 3/23/11: Daughter "attacked" by four boys. Para not responsive to treatment of their daughter (Environment). Resolution: Boys are Hispanic [sic]. Parents think it was racially motivated. Parent thinks principal lied about boys writing apology notes which daughter did not receive. Meeting was requested but was not held father thought it would be pointless. Family member resolved 6 The issue was resolved by the c oncerned family member, without the direct involvement of a member of the school. This often occurred when family members were not satisfied with the response of the school or OFI. Issue: 5/23/11: Child is bullied. Parent feels teacher calls for her child' s behavior but does not respond when she is being bullied. (Environment) Resolution: Parent withdrew child. Principal is willing to meet with parent. Not resolved or resolution not available 8 The resolution to the issue was recorded in a journal that wa s not available, or no resolution to the issue was recorded. Issue: 9/7/11: Parents feel daughter is treated unfairly at school. (Environment) Resolution: Journal School or district policy reinforced 28 The issue was (to be) resolved by the invocation or reinforcement of a school or district policy. Issue: 8/31/11: School secretary continues to call parent about child, who is being home schooled. (Interpersonal/School Policy) Resolution: School will not withdraw child until formal Home School Office paper work is completed. Child was eventually registered for homeschool.

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77 Additionally, the call log recorded the various resolutions to each of the recorded calls. Through low level descriptive coding, four categories of resolutions were identified: a) a mee ting with a member of the school; b) reinforcement of the school or district policy; c) issue was not resolved or resolution was not included in the log; and the d) family member resolved issue independently. These reso lutions are described in Table III .5. Examples provided are drawn from researcher field notes. Wrapping up these steps of analysis required some efforts to find the alignment among the data. This was the final push toward generating findings, and it required triangulation. Triangulation invol ves the use of different sources of information in order to increase validity in a qualitative study (Guion, Diehl, & McDonald, 2011). Also, triangulation of methods seeks to corroborate findings across the various biases and strengths of the data collecti on method (Denzin & Lincoln, 1998), while avoiding assumption of correspondence of data. Triangulation led to a revised coding structu re, which is included in Table III .6. Table III.6. Revised Coding Structure Codes from Documents Codes from Calls Codes f rom Interviews Combined/Revised Code Role of Family Interpersonal Complexities Constraints Agency Options Power of Family Purpose of School Policy Academic Program Schooling Learning Family Community Society Power of Institution Purpose of School Sp ace Access Environment School Setting School Practice Access

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78 Summary My purpose in developing this study has been to understand the perceptions of family school interaction held by members of schools, families, and a local community. Eliciting the perceptions of various members of families, school and communities was intended to shift the lens away from academic outcomes of schooling to the perceived characteristics of a social phenomenon with important implications for our society and the ways in which we conduct the endeavor of school To be specific, schooling is compulsory, and the involvement of family members is required, but the practice of school is created for, rather than with, family and community members. In studying this ph enomenon, several perspectives emerged, indicating the complexity of family sch o ol interaction. In the next chapter, I articulate the study's findings and apply a socio critical lens to the data in order to uncover the multiple layers of complexity of fami ly school interaction.

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79 CHAPTER IV PRESENTATION OF FINDINGS In this chapter, I present the four major findings of this study. These findings reveal that the phenomenon of family school interaction both sustains and opposes the status quo of the public scho ol. These findings also reveal that inherent in the interaction of families and school is the issue of power. The four major study findings are : 1. Power emerged in two forms in the interaction of families and schools: institutional power of school and indiv idual power of families and family members. The institutional power of school was coercive, historical, collective and pervasive, and school employees enacted this power throughout their interactions with families. The individual power of families was resi stant, confined, and subsumed. In the interaction of families and schools, the individual power of families was either co opted or dismissed by school professionals enacting the institutional power of schools. 2. A contradiction existed in the understandings of the purpose of school held by members of fami lies, the community, and school professionals. All agreed that the purpose of school was to give students academic skills, although community members and school professionals qualified the enactment of school 's purpose as different from its stated purpose because of the Chelsea Park community. Family members, on the other hand, did not acknowledge that the purpose of school was different within the Chelsea Park community. 3. Family school interaction was constra ined by a context of barriers restricting family members' access to information and to the physical space of schools.

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80 These barriers were enforced by school policies and sustained by the practices of school professionals even as they sought to involve fam ily members in school. 4. There were three school related roles for family members, each defined in response to the enactment of the institutional power of school. Whether family members were a) present and engaged in school practices, b) co opted school lead ers, or c) collective advocates, their roles in schools were the result of their efforts being exploited by the institutional power of school. Throughout this chapter, in order to present and support these findings, I provide an analysis informed by the m ultiple data sources used for this study. For each finding, following the presentation of data sources and analysis, details are discussed and examples are provided. Additionally, a discussion follows each finding with explicit connections made to the conc eptual framework presented in Chapter 1. A conclusion brings this chapter to its end. Relations and Forms of Power In this study of the interaction of families and school, power emerged in two forms. The institutional power of school was evident in the his torical and current coercive policies of the school district and the related practices of school professionals as they interacted with the families of their students. The institutional power of school also was apparent in the oppositional practices of fami ly members, as the power of family members emerged in response to the enactment of the power of school. These forms were the institutional power of school and the individual power of families.

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81 The concept of individual family power was conceptualized by t he U.S. Department of Education (2010), as parent power. Parent power emphasizes the behaviors of family members in support of their children's learning outside of school. The steps to accomplish the goal of the parent power program, which is to make educa tion a priority and a legacy for the family, include: a) be responsible, b) be committed, c) be positive, d) be patient, e) be attentive, f) be precise, g) be mindful of mistakes, h) be results oriented, i) be diligent, j) be innovative, and k) be there. I n addition to the location of these practices outside of school, the emphasis of the parent power concept highlights the inadequacies of families. This conceptualization of parent power emerges in the data I gathered for this study; in an effort to emphasi ze the individualistic nature of parent power, I have renamed it individual power of families. Both forms of power demonstrated characteristics related to their enactment. However, the involvement of family members as a form of power was evident in this st udy as constrained by the institutional power of school. The characteristics of the forms of power and the features of their enactment guide the discussion of this finding. Data Sources and Analysis I n the process of conducting this study to understand the interaction of families and schools, 17 documents were collected from the website of the Metropolitan Public Schools face to face interviews were conducted with three school professionals two family members and three members of the local community, and field observations were conducted at two sites in the community. Each of the school district policy documents revealed the forms and relations of power between schools, families and the community; those documents inform this finding. Additionally, this fi nding is info rmed by a group

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82 interview with four teachers from Alcorn Elementary School, a group interview with six family members at the Metropolitan Center for Kids, in person interviews with two family members an in person interview with one community activist and an in person interview with a community organizer. Observations at the school site and the site of a local community organization conducted over a period of three weeks also reveal the forms and relations of power and inform this finding. Th ese data were analyzed iteratively using coding practices that informed the identification of patterns and themes. The initial codes of "power," "influence," "telling," "restricting," "resisting," and "opposing" were narrowed into the themes of "power of s chool" and "power, non school." After repeated attempts to apply these codes to the data, and after revisions to the codes, the systemic and coercive nature of school power became clearer, as did the resistant and confined nature of the power of families. During the analysis of power relations, a pattern of responses became apparent in which study participants demonstrated parallel ways of describing themselves and others. To better understand this pattern, a separate step was utilized to analyze these data I developed an additional set of codes to isolate and understand the ways in which study participants described themselves differently from others. This subsequent analysis led to an additional feature of this finding, that study participants saw themsel ves as exceptional while perceiving others as inadequate. This feature of the finding provided further evidence of the institutional power of school, and is discussed in detail following the initial presentation of this finding.

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83 Details of Finding: Relatio ns and Forms of Power Through this study I found that the power of schools differed from the power of families with children enrolled in school. While the institutional power of school was evident in policies of the school district, including the articula tion of consequences for the violation of some of the district's policies, it also was evident in the practices of school employees as they interacted with members of families. On the other hand, the power of families was not evident in the policies of the district or in the practices of school employees even when those policies ostensibly supported the engagement of family members Members of families enacted the institutional power of school when they were involved with school; their individual power was excluded from the school context, both by policy and school practice. The individual power of families was enacted through their resistance and the establishment of boundaries. Institutional power of school. The institutional power of school was revealed by the policy documents of the school district as well as in person and group interviews. Field observations also uncovered the practices of schools that indicated the arrangements of school power. A total of 17 district policy documents described the para meters of school practice and the involvement of members of families and the community. These documents included guidelines for the conduct of family members on school property and at school meetings, the involvement of family and community members in deci sion making committees, and the role of family members in the development of school curriculum. The institutional power of school to involve members of families was coercive; coercion refers to the practices of school that attain school aims

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84 through the in volvement of families while constraining the involvement of members of families and the community, which are less powerful (Marcuse, 2010). Coercive school power to control the involvement of family members was evident in a district document entitled "Publ ic Conduct on School Property." The policy states that: The Board of Education encourages and depends on full parental engagement as a strong component of student achievement. Further, the Board affirms and recognizes all parental rights to advocate for their children, to seek clarification and express opinions about curriculum matters and school governance, as well as to seek resolutions to safety or other issues that interfere with their child's right to receive a quality public education, without fear of retaliation in any form. However, it is the responsibility of staff to ensure a safe and secure school environment conducive to learning, and therefore require the operation of schools to be free of any conduct intended to obstruct, disrupt or interfer e with teaching, research, service, administering or disciplinary functions or any other activity sponsored or approved by the Board. As such, parents are required to comport themselves on school grounds according to the guidelines delineated above. In th e event that a parent / legal guardian is found to violate this policy of conduct on school property, he/she may be restricted from the otherwise free access normally afforded to parents and legal guardians to ensure the safe and orderly operation of the s chool. In that event, a written communication will be provided to the parent or guardian

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85 Similar policy guidelines with specific attention to constraining the involvement of family and community members in schools were found in the "Visitors to Schools" policy, the "Parent Involvement" policy, and the "Community Use of School Facilities" policy. The historical nature of school's institutional power was evident in community members' descriptions of the context in which the involvement of members of famili es and the community were constrained by the school district. For example, Ebony a community organizer, described the school district's practice of designating school s in Chelsea Park for turnaround as an exercise of power over the community She states t hat: There has been a lot of efforts to turn around schools prior to actually going through turnaround that have failed. And so it builds a distrust. It's these people who generally don't live in this community, don't understand the community, only come here unless it's to make some kind of judgment or make some kind of change or say that we're going to do things very differently or we're going to take this out or we're going to do this and not do it without having a real connection to those families and to those parents and really getting their input. So there's a divide there. Additionally, Susan, a community activist described a pattern of the school district's exercise of its institutional power over the Chelsea Park community as evident in turnaro und efforts that did n ot include families: What you may not be aware of, Antwan, and I'm aware because I've been in this from the ground floor of it, MPS does not want community input. And they have various really criminal, I would say, fraudulent ways t o make it seem as if they

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86 are involving families and community in the decisions. But they're not. They basically make a plan, come to you as a community when the plan is a done deal, ask for your opinion, and if your opinion is against what they want, th ey simply go ahead and do it anyway. That's what they did with this first turnaround. The district's t urnaround processes for several schools in Chelsea Park were exercises in institutional school power. Supporting Ebony and Susan' s description s of the sc hool district exercising institutional power by constraining the involvement of members of families and the Chelsea Park community in the practices of school, the local paper reported that opponents [of school turnaround] question whether the turnaround d ecisions were made too quickly, without incorporating community input or without giving the schools time to improve before being slated to close" (3/25/11). The institutional power of school also was a collective phenomenon, as it was shared by school em ployees who engaged in practices that confined the behaviors of family members to those that were consistent with the aims of school. Each school employee indicated their complicity in enacting the confining practices of school institutional power when the y described the ways in which members of families were taught to be involved in school. In her description of involving families in school, Linda, the principal at Alcorn, stated that the responsibility to qualify members of families to be involved at scho ol was the collective responsibility of school employees if these family members did not have adequate professional experience: So those are the kinds of things that I think schools aren't good at is providing the structures for parents to understand how t o get involved and how they can really maximize their support for kids. We're too general. You want to volunteer? Well

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87 for what. And so we have to help them. So we've tried to become more and we're still working on it. For example, we had a group of parents who were organizing parent volunteers. Well the challenge was to me that I pretty much ran out of time. I work with them as much as I can but with my goal of overall improving student achievement, I got to be in the classrooms, I got to be workin g with teachers, but I still want to spend time with parents because it's important to me. And when I have to no longer be leading the parents and helping grow them and helping them learn how to do some of the work because a lot of parents don't come in here knowing how to do all this work. You know some parents do, especially if they have professional experience. Other parents who don't have feel uncomfortable. There could be language, different languages spoken. So there's a whole different level o f engagement and involvement that a principal has to do and the school has to do. The institutional power of school was pervasive, with subtle and nuanced evidence emerging throughout the school, in communication to members of families, and during school events. Observation field notes, collected over several weeks, indicated that school's institutional power was revealed directly and indirectly during a Sc hool Collaboration Team meeting and a standardized test preparation event for family members During a School Collaboration Team meeting, for example, a community member described the power of school to betray the trust of the community. The observation field note from this meeting is partly transcribed below: There is some discussion about district disa ppointment re: inadequate spaces at AES, distrust with the district re: use of bond issues such as at Global View HS.

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88 MD: "we voted on that bond for a high school for overflow at Chelsea Park and look what happened. We got stung." In claiming that the comm unity "got stung" by voting in support of a bond issue, a community member was referring to a ballot issue to request additional taxpayer dollars in support of constructing a campus shared by five charter schools for grades K 5, 6 8, 9 12 in addition to K 12. During several months leading up to the election, however, the sign on the land stated that the land would be used for a "Future Global View High School." The Global View community is directly adjacent to Chelsea Park and many Chelsea Park community me mbers would likely have chosen this new neighborhood high school for their children. During a standardized test preparation event at Alcorn, I observed a conversation between Linda Domin guez, principal at Alcorn, a nd a te a cher at the school. Linda asked t he teacher, Mr. Lee, to direct family members' attention to a school ratings website as way for "parents to thank us for our work" with their children. Also, she asked Mr. Lee to make family members aware of the website so that they can "comment on the gre at things happening" at Alcorn. Linda's effort to have a teacher encourage family members to make positive comments about the school's work with children served to reinforce the status of the school through coercing family members to somehow return the fav or of service they have received from the school. Individual power of families Members of families were found to possess individual power that differed significantly from the institutional power of school; this was a form of power that was resistant to th e collective institutional power of school, confined to individual family members rather than shared amongst members of families,

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89 and external to the school context. Individual family power emerged through four in person interviews, one group interview 12 street interviews and analysis of a record of 74 telephone calls Resistance as a form of the individual power of families included the practices of family members to reject or oppose the practices of school employees to constrain the involvement of fami ly members. Examples of this form of power were shared in a group interview with six family members at the Metropolitan Center for Kids and in an in person interview with another family member. During the group interview, Megan expressed her resistance to the institutional power of school wielded by her son's teacher during a telephone call. Megan described the conversation, interlacing her frustrations and resistance, in which the teacher's access to the institutional power of school allowed her to activel y constrain Megan's efforts to challenge the teacher's classroom practice: Well this week I received a call from his homeroom teacher. And it was a really quick snappy call, real disrespectful, not "hi how are you doing" boom to the point. "Well I just want to let you know that your son told a girl that she was growing a moustache." Okay, he probably did say that, don't get me wrong. But the kind of child that I have, he's real mellow tempered. It takes a lot for him to even lash out at someone. He' s never been in a fight. He's a real good student, real active in sports, you know. So I said, "So what did the other child do to prompt him to do this?" "Oh, I don't know. I'll research that tomorrow." But you're calling me telling me what he's done b ecause some child had told you that, not knowing that this incident started early on in the day. So she don't know it but I know that. I did my homework...He didn't push or beat her down or anything

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90 like that. And I told the teacher, I said she goes, "Well I don't like the fact that he's making a student feel very uncomfortable." I said, "Uncomfortable?" I said, "Uncomfortable to me would be if he was bullying her, putting his hands on her, threatening her." I said, "But just saying that she's growi ng a moustache, that to me is not an appropriate word. You need to use a different word." So she got defensive. "Well if you don't like the way I'm handling things then you can just talk to somebody else." I mean she was so rude to me, like I couldn't get one word in. And I was like, "Are you going to call the other child's parent?" "I'll handle it the way I think I should handle it." You know, it was really like snappy rude. And all the other kids came in, wanted to most of the kids go here that go there. "She slammed down the phoneafter you got off t he phone. We knew you was talking to her." I mean you know they tell everything. Yeah, they were sitting right in the back room during the conversation so they heard all they heard the whole co nversation. They heard everything. So they knew the whole story. They wanted to fill me in on the story. You know and it's like tha t's not cool with me, you know? So I called the administrator and they didn't call me back yet, so now tomorrow I have t o be present. I have to act like a mother, not a teacher but like a parent you know, because I'm just not happy with that. Megan rejected the teacher's assumptions about her son and challenged the teacher's lack of adequate information; she also express ed frustration that the teacher was "so rude to me, like I couldn't get one word in." However, Megan's resistance to the teacher's enactment of the collective institutional power of school was limited to a telephone call to

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91 the school's administrator. Alte rnative routes for Megan, and for other family members in Chelsea Park, to overcome the school based enactment of power were inaccessible. Analysis of the school district's telephone call records revealed that the individual power of families was confined by the pervasive institutional power of school, despite the efforts of family members to overcome school's power. Through analysis of the 74 telephone calls made to the district's Office of Fami ly Involvement (OFI) during an 18 month period, it became cle ar that family members' efforts to resist the enactment of school's institutional power by school employees were effectively confined. Members of families attempted to overcome the enactments of power by school employees through contacting OFI; of the 74 t elephone calls made to the Office, none of them resulted in a meeting with district personnel. A total of 35 were to be resolved through a meeting with local school's administration, six were resolved by the family member withdrawing their child or complai nt, eight had no recorded resolution, and 28 were resolved by reinforcement of the school or district policy. In one representative example of confinement of the individual power of families as reflected in the telephone records at OFI, a family member a llowed her child to move in with a neighbor to avoid domestic violence in the home. The anecdotal record of this telephone call, as captured in observer field notes, is described below: 8/20/10 (call date) Registration (category) parent had child move in with a neighbor because of domestic violence in the home. Social worker came to confirm but was not let in. Son was admitted again to former school although he should have been choiced into a different school. Also, principal said her student was not w elcomed' at the former school. Resolution: OFI will inquire but cannot

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92 override decision, meetings, and conversation related to enrollment. Recommended to enroll in another school. This is what happened. As members of families enacted their individual powe r to resist the collective institutional power of school, the pervasive nature of school institutional power confined their efforts. In addition to the individual power of families being confined to the local school context, family members' efforts to enac t their individual power were subsumed by schools when the efforts of families were to the school's benefit. In person interviews and group interviews with school employees and families revealed that the individual power of families was subsumed under th e larger agenda of schools. This occurred when members of families sought to influence schools to adjust their practices to meet the needs of their children. Participants described the ways in which schools subsumed the individual power of families under t he priorities of school, a practice that sustained school's institutional power. One of these family members, Emilio, described his efforts to oppose Alcorn's failure to respond to the bullying his daughter experienced, efforts that became subordinated to the priorities of the school as he eventually directed his efforts toward supporting the school's technology program As Emilio described his interaction with his daughter's school, he revealed that his resistance to the school's practices was mitigated o nce it was clear that his interests aligned with the interests of school: My daughter was bullied. The school didn't seem to be adhering to the standards set by the school district. I did a lot of research, what I could do. And I figured the best thing that I could do is to be involved, to be there for them, to

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93 demonstrate to the staff that I wasn't just going to let them know, hey a problem exists, but I was going to be part of the solution. There was a lot of resistance up front, and I think there was a lot of resentment. Initially, when my daughter was bullied it was my first wakeup call that I really needed to do something to help the school. So I did a lot of research, and I presented a lot of options to the administration. And I shared with them that I didn't feel that they were what doing what was aligned with the district And they were not happy. But after a time they changed And I've gotten to a point where I'm comfortable to say that they come to me for advice I have a close relationship with most of the teachers and the principal. And I've been asked by her to help integrate technology in her school Emilio discovered that as a family member who was resistant to the practices of school, he was not successful in shifting the practices of the school. Consequently, he allowed his individual power to resist to be subsumed by a broader need of the school that was identified by the school princ ipal. While other family members, such as Tiffany and Megan, described experiences in which their efforts to influence school on behalf of their children were subsumed under the priorities of schools, school professionals also described such practices. For example, Linda, Alcorn's principal, described the way in which she influenced family members' de sires in the school's decision making processes, ultimately arriving at the conclusion that the principal considers best for the school.

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94 If I had to cut a grade level, I show them all the numbers of the kids at each grade level. This would be this many classrooms at first grade, this would be this many classes in the second grade at 32 a classroom, at 28 a classroom. You know whatever that is They could literally say, "Hey, you know what? I'd rather have high classrooms and k eep the drama teacher." Or, "No we want a lower class size and we want to get rid of that." Because I let them k now you can't have it all; you can't tell me you want drama and low class size. It s not going to work. And also, by the way, where am I going to p ut those other ki ds? Which kid am I going to tell they can't come here that belong in this community? So you know I helped them with that. I helped them understand the big picture, and then they helped me make those decisions. Yeah, I guide them, sure I do. I mean I'm not going to let them go down a path that I think is a path of no return. I'm going to give them my very best, what I think. And if they don't agree with it, I need to go along with that and so does the school and we move forward. So that's kind of wha t -that's the most thing that any school would have on that. In her discussion of the ways in which the School Collaboration Team made decisions, Linda demonstrate d that the individual power of family members could be subsumed under the institutional pow er of school through the actions of school professionals. Her comments also demonstrated that the individual power of families functions only within the context provided by school. Institutional power of school revealed through perceptions of self and ot hers. An important phenomenon that emerged in the analysis of power as participants described its enactment was that individual members of families, schools and the

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95 community displayed parallel patterns of describing themselves and others when discussing t heir participation in the interaction of families and school. Members of families, school and the community consistently described some aspect of their involvement with family school interaction by separating themselves from their peers; in many cases, thi s indicated a "me vs. them" dichotomy in which the participant described him/herself as the exception. Such a pattern emerged in Tiffany's description of other family members blaming schools for their children's poor school performance in contrast to her being "on top of it" and "really good friends with the principal." This pattern also emerged in Linda's portrayal of the district's expectations of parent involvement as "minimal" and her colleagues as principals who "don't know how to do to this work," wh ile she characterized her own work as high level: It's hard for people to be able to do the work with people that they don't know or feel comfortable with. And I think that's one of the biggest problems. I mean the district can mandate that everybody will have a parent group. The district can mandate that everyone's going to have whatever. But it's not about mandating to me. I don't do things because they're mandated well certain things I have to but I do things because to me it's the right thing to do. So when they say when I talk to principals about active parent engagement or I talk, you know we were the spokesperson at a district parent engagement thing because they wanted us to model us with some other schools people could not even conceptualize w hat we do. It's that high level. Another, similar phenomenon emerged in the responses of family members, members of the local community and school professional s as they described others whose

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96 behavior they described as inadequate For example, as Alexis, a teacher at Alcorn, described the low involvement of the family of one of her students, she explained how she had "one particular child that I've never met his mom and we're already eight weeks away from the end of the year." Within its context, this com ment demonstrated that the teacher placed a judgment on the involvement of this child's family. The discussion of the behaviors of others as inadequate also emerged in Ebony's characterization of the members of families in Chelsea Park. In sharing her thou ghts about f amily members, Ebony articulated the view that family members did not possess adequate information to choose schools for their children: I think any person has enough expertise to say, "Well, that seems like a good school," but they don't. They often don't know what they're basing that on, other than my neighbor told me it was good, my cousin told me it was good. I looked at the district website; it seems good. But getting to that next layer beneath that, going any deeper than that surface level is really difficult for a parent. In recognizing the patterns of describing one's self as the exception and characterizing others as inadequate, I engaged in additional analysis intended to understand better the breadth of the pattern as well as to qual ify its implications. This supplemental analysis was motivated, in part, by the Jungian theory of the psyche, particularly the collective unconscious, which refers to the reservoir of experiences shared by all members of the human species (Boeree, 2006). A ccording to Jung, an archetype is one's collective, often unconscious, understanding of people in definite forms (Jung, 1936). The archetype also may be a broad, generic form of a person, such as a damsel in distress, hero, or mother figure.

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97 In the cont ext of this study, participants shared the emergent communicative patterns of exception and inadequacy across the family, school or community groups. As a result, the potential of the collective unconscious, as characterized by Jung, provided a lens throug h which I was able to engage in further analysis of study participants' practices of referring to themselves in relation to others, whether to highlight their own exceptionalism or to label the inadequacies of others. Analysis of these patterns involved identifying characteristics of the perspectives shared by study participants who gave voice to the phenomena. Drawing upon the contexts in which study participants described themselves or others I not ic ed that as family school inter action occurred in Chel sea Park, it was impacted by static perceptions rather than deep, interpersonal interactions I also not ic ed that study participants relied upon a set of criteria through which they judged the behaviors of others. It was not clear, though, that these crite ria were openly discussed with those who were scrutinized. Identifying these two patterns proved helpful to my understanding of the subtle and overt perceptions informing the interaction of families and schools. The pattern that emerged in participants' d escriptions of themselves as exceptions to the behaviors of their peers I named the Exceptional Self. The Exceptional Self wa s deeply connected to one's behavior or partic ipation with others and reflected a belief that the self is not responsible for failu re or inadeq uacy. In other words, the self wa s more than adequate while the other must strive to become adequate. Family members, members of the local community and school professional s adhered to the archetype of the Exceptiona l Self in their responses t o interview questions, especially when asked to discuss broader social practices in which they were involved. Although their responses may have sought to set them apart as

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98 atypical and notable, the resulting implication was that their counterparts whether members of other families, school professional s, or community members were lackin g or inadequate by comparison. The pattern that emerged in the designation of others as not meeting a set of criteria I named the Inadequate Other. The Inadequate Other is a general characterization of a person as in need of some skill or ability broadly understood as common and typically it is something that the Exceptional Self is assumed to possess The perception of particular skills and abilities as basic and common to all supports the designation of another who may be without these skills or abilities as inadequate. Thus the person who identifies another as inadequate holds a perception of her/himself as not judging, but simply stating the obvious. No category of study participant failed to identify the Inadequate Other. This archetype was evident in comments made by family members about school professionals and the community, by community members about school professionals and families, and by school professionals abou t members of families and the community. The presence of the Inadequate Other also uncovered perceptions that undermined solidarity, which was evident in comments made by study participants about members of the same study participant category. Family memb ers commented on the inadequacies of other family members and school professionals discussed the inadequacies of other school professionals. Thus, it became apparent that family members were not a solid unit within the community and school professionals w ere not unified representatives of the school institution.

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99 Discussion Postcolonial theory provides a lens through which the interaction of families and school can be more closely examined, including uncovering the clash of power between the institution o f school and individual families. The two forms of power that emerged in the interaction of families and schools correlate directly to the interaction of the dominant and the oppressed in postcolonial theory. Although conceptualizing the nature of public s chool as colonizing may seem problematic, even unpatriotic, this study demonstrates that there are significant correlations between colonized nations and members of families and local communities as they interact with the institution of school. These corre lations suggest that individual family members are oppressed by the institutional power of school, and their oppression is to the advantage of school. Members of families were only allowed to participate in school on the school's terms; their power was con fined by school practices and subsumed under school aims. The resultant dynamics of the institutional power of school and the individual power of families were that family members were forced to relinquish their power in order to be involved in school, as the school institution oppressed rather than facilitated the enactment of individual family power. Also, members of families remained separated from one another, despite attempts of community members to organize them. It is not unreasonable to suggest tha t family members thought it a waste of time to try to organize coalitions with members of other families, given the district's history of pursuing its own goals at the expense of family members. As Bhabha (1994) contends, fixed social institutions are perc eived to be unchanging by members of oppressed groups; and this perception allows fixed

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100 institutions to be further instantiated. The collateral impact of fixity is that it leads to ambivalence for those who are oppressed by the institution. Ambivalence ref ers to an acknowledgement that a phenomenon, in this case the institution of school, is two things at once somehow necessary while also reasonably unnecessary. Thus, family members continue to enroll their children in schools in the community while express ing tremendous frustration at the practices of school. The result of ambivalence is the development of hybridized identities. In the case of families subjected to the institutional power of school, hybridity emerges in seeing oneself as exceptional and the refore not fully disempowered by school. Hybridity allows individuals to be two things at once: a family member, but better than other family members; a principal, but more effective than other principals. The Exceptional Self serves to preserve one's perc eption of one's individual power while acknowledging that the institution subsumed the individual power of others; those who were exceptional were allies of the school all along. It was not the case that only members of families engaged in the practice of setting themselves apart from others whose individual power was subsumed by the institution of school. School professionals and the community also described themselves as exceptions while their peers were inadequate. As family members, members of the loc al community and school professional s responded to the subsuming of their individual power by the institutional power of school by pointing out the inadequacies of their peers, they demonstrated that the institutional power of school co constructs with ind ividuals the disempowerment of others and the power of school obstructs the formation of coalitions by members of families and the community. Another component of the way the

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101 institutional power of school is instantiated and supportive of the disempowerme nt of individuals is the academic focus of school purpose. Purpose of School A contradiction existed in the understandings of the purpose of school shared by family members, members of the local community and school professional s : the stated purpose of sch ool differed significantly from school as it was enacted in the community of study. The stated purpose of school was the development of academic skills in students along with preparing children for adultho od. School's enacted purpose, however, was to accom modate for the inadequacies of children from Chelsea Park in addition to providing academic skills. The stated purpose and the enacted purpose differed because of characteristics of the local community. Data Sources and Analysis A total of five in person two group, and 16 street interviews as well as two policies of the local school district informed this finding. In in person interviews, three community members described both a stated and enacted purpose of school. Additionally, three school employees i ndicated differences between the stated and enacted purposes of school during in person interviews, while one teacher indicated a difference during a group interview. Family members' understanding of school as stated but differently enacted emerged during a group interview in which two family members described a perspective that differed from the dichotomy described by members of the community and school professionals No family member identified a difference between the stated and enacted purpose of schoo l during an in person interview.

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102 I analyzed interview data iteratively in two rounds. The first round of analysis involved identifying patterns of participant responses to the question, "What is the purpose of school?" A second round of analysis involved developing a concept map, a visual image of connections amongst themes. It was through this visual image that the relationship between participant responses became apparent. The supplemental feature of the distinction made by study participants, the disti nction between the stated and enacted purposes of school as a result of the local community context, was identified during the development of the concept map and the use of arrows to identify the relations of understandings held by participants. A concept map is included in Appendix A. Details of Finding: Stated and Enacted Purposes of School Family members, members of the local community and school professional s described the purpose of school in ways that were consistent with the school district's descrip tion of the purpose of school. The school district developed an "official" statement of the purpose of school, which was to provide all students the opportunity to achieve the knowledge and skills necessary to become contributing citizens in our diverse s ociety (Mission Statement, 1997). I considered this statement official because of the district's significant philosophical and pragmatic influence over schools. The district's influence over the practices of schools was described in its Comprehensive Scho ol Accountability System (CSAS) which articulated the relationship between the district's mission and school practice: Student achievement is the primary measure of performance of all scho ols and departments under the CS AS. The District will incorporate m ultiple measures, including measures of performance other than student achievement, where it is

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103 possible and where it will improve the quality of performance information. The CS AS will inspire all MPS employees and students to make their best efforts to im prove their performance (2007) As indicated in the mission statement, both the development of academic skills and preparation for adulthood were components of the stated purpose of school. Within the context of the institutional power of school, this was school's stated purpose. Within the setting of in person, group, and street interviews, I asked study participants to describe the purpose of school through a direct question, "What is the purp ose of school?" In general, study participants described the pu rpose of school as facilitating students' development of academic skills and preparation for adulthood. As s chool professionals and the community described the purpose of school, they offered a distinction in the enactment of school's purpose, indicating t hat the difference between the enacted and stated purposes of school were the result of characteristics of the local community context. Although one family member made a similar distinction, members of families identified the purpose of school based on the needs of their children, and were less likely to describe a different enactment of school's purpose. According to school professionals the purpose of school was to give children academic and social skills although they qualified students' increased need for these skills because they lived in Chelsea Park. For example, Harriett, a teacher at Alcorn, described the purpose of school as intended to "make our future." In elaborating this idea, she described schools as intended to provide character education and to help students become good citizens, an important goal for children in the community who "need so many different things from us

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104 Other members of Alcorn's staff echoed Harriett's v iews of the academic purposes of school qualified for children who p articipate in the context of the local community Allison described the purpose of school as intended "to support our studentsto make sure that our students thrive and achieve academically; also socially and emotionally," a role she considered uniquely co ntextualized by Chelsea Park and the challenges faced by families there. Allison shared that she felt lacking because she and other teachers at Alcorn were not "trained in psychology or how to work with kids s ometimes with certain issues." The principal at Alcorn, Linda, qualified her description of the purpose of school within the context of the additional needs of students in Chelsea Park : Well, you know the purpose of public education is to help I'm going to speak to my level of students here to help our students become successful in life And they have to do that with tools of the trade. And the trade is reading, writing, arithmetic, right? If you don't have those tools you can't make it in life. And so our job is to help kids become proficient a nd advanced, in my opinion, in all those major content areas so they literally can leave here prepared for middle school, prepared for high school, prepared for college and/or anything else they choose. And I want our students to have that same opportunity t hat they have an opportunity to choose, not if they go to college but which college. That's the purpose of public education, that it be fair for everybodyYou know, not just saying, "I want to go to Harvard" and they can't do algebra. There's no way th ey'll do that if they can't do algebra. So it's getting them all those little

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105 scaffolding their life so that they have the vocabulary that they need, especially poor kids don't have that vocabulary. [italics added for emphasis.] In describing the purpose of school, Linda, like other school professionals confirmed the district's statement of school's purpose while also qualifying it for children in the local community. Similarly, community members, distinguished between a stated and an enacted purpose of school. The local context of Chelsea Park was implicated by community members' descriptions as presenting obstacles to schools achieving their purpose. Thirteen community members identified features of the local community context such as a lack of stabili ty and guidance making it harder for children, family members who were too busy with work, and children who were out of control and had no respect as obstructions to schools' efforts to achieve their purposes of helping students develop academic skills and preparation for adulthood. These perspectives of community members that identified aspects of the local community context echoed the perspectives of school professionals who qualified their descriptions of the purpose of school Through street interviews, community members described the purpose of school in ways that were consistent with the academic emphasis of the district's Mission Statement, although these perspectives were less likely to corroborate the district's focus on citizenship. One community m ember did include citizenship in describing school's purpose, stating that the purpose of school was "to educate our children to pursue whatever potential or gift or mandate or purpose they have. Be the best they can be. Be a productive citizen of country and community." However, other members of the community who pa rticipated in street interviews focused more broadly on preparation for

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106 adulthood as a purpose for school. For example, one community member described a dual purpose in stating that schools "nee d to give a foundation so you can do things, like get jobs." However, when asked to describe whether schools were achieving their purpose, community members very often shared that schools in Chelsea Park were not achieving their purpose. Of the 18 communi ty members interviewed during street interviews, three indicated that schools were achieving their purpose. In one such interview, a community member stated that schools were achieving their purpose because "teachers are doing their jobs." However, twelve community members responded that schools were not achieving their purposes. One community member responded "Not really. I like school uniforms, but kids are getting lost in the testing focus, which doesn't show learning." Another community member stated th at schools were not achieving their purpose because his child was bullied at school and he believed that "there was a lack of classroom discipline and low teacher preparedness." For these community members, what was supposed to happen in school differed fr om what was actually happening in schools. Through in person interviews, c ommunity members described the purpose of school as providing access to opportunities that may not reach children through the resources of the local community; however, schools in C helsea Park may not adequately accomplish this purpose. In one example of this perspective, Brian, director of the Metropolitan Center for Kids, described the purpose of school as giving children access to "opportunities galore," because the children in Ch elsea Park need ed access to opportunities, since "some folks, I feel in this neighborhood, that feel like because of the kid's circumstances, they lower the bar for themThey lower expectations for those kids

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107 and the kids live up to the lower expectations. In Brian's view, while the purpose of school is to bridge gaps in the community, schools in Chelsea Park also lower expectations for students, who then live up to them. He elaborates on this by describi ng a time when he was on the School Collaboration Te am (SCT) of a school in the community and "some of the teachers did not want to put the kid's writing up on the wall it was so bad. They got what they expected. Now it's a turnaround school." Two other community members described the purpose of school as intended to improve the opportunities available to children in Chelsea Park, although their descriptions of the limitations faced by these children was a result of systemic inequities that disproportionately impacted the community rather than inadequaci es of the community. The distinction that emerged in these interviews suggested that while the enactment of school's purpose differed for Chelsea Park, there also were broader district practices that caused the enactment of school purpose to differ in oth er communities. While there were no district policies confirming this possibility, Ebony described the purpose of school as intended to develop "functioning, effective and well educated community membersthat are prepared for the future." In articulating t his viewpoint further, Ebony stated that schools in other communities were more effective at helping children learn to interact and improve this world. And when I see schools that are really high performing, they're doing that in some way or another. And it looks different at every school. And they may not be sitting them down and saying, "It's really important for you to be a good person and give back to your community." But high performing schools are also providing lots of opportunities for volunteer ism.

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108 Susan, another community member, described the purpose of school as to level "the playing field so that everybody can have an opportunity to live well, or to live, you know, comfortably in this country." Within the context of Chelsea Park, however, Susan articulated that the outcome of schooling is different from its intended purpose In fact, Susan says that she refuses "to think that anybody's motive would be to squash a group of people or a group of children. So I believe that they believe that t hat is the purpose of the schools out here, even though it's no t happening, okay?" While school professionals and the community members identified a stated purpose of school and an enacted purpose of school that were contextualized by the experiences of st udents and families in Chelsea Park, members of families described the purpose of school as contextualized by the needs of their children. Thus, for family members, their understanding of the purpose of school was not a dichotomy of school as stated and en acted; for them, the purpose of school was to give their children academic skills that complemented the life skills that they were learning at home. This was the only purpose of school. In describing the purpose of school, fa mily members were aware of perc eptions that the local community context presented additional needs for students. However, these family members did not accept perceptions of the purpose of school as differently enacted for students in Chelsea Park. Instead, f amily members expressed their understanding of the purpose of school as enacted in ways that were consistent with its stated purpose; in this way, family members effectively troubled the dual and dichotomous purposes of school that members of communities and school professional s descr ibed.

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109 During a group interview, Tiffany, the parent of two students, described the purpose of school as helping children acquire academic skills while supporting the further development of lessons learned at home: I think the purpose of school also is hel ping me to educate them, to give them a skill that they need to be able to be out in the world and be successful. Now you as a parent, you're trying to rear your child that way. And they take on that role of being the teacher. So at that point the pur pose of school is that kids will be in there learning, you know. Then I expect for my kids to be getting a quality education, not just be passed by just because. Another family member, Megan, described the purpose of school within the context of her paren ting; this included reinforcing and contributing to the way she was raising her children. Thus, for Megan, teachers were supposed to build upon her parenting practices: I think for me, the purpose I think school is to kind of help nurture what is already t here because I think at homes there's some foundations that's laid, which a lot of time they can't just go and say, "When my family did this at home." It's kind of nurturing what they already have. So it comes out. And I think when they teach, the kids kind of get, depending on what they're teach and how they teach it. Because there's some things that my kids have stuck to that they know. They know the way the teacher taught it, they got it, and so I don't expect them to raise my kid. I heard some par ents say, "They better raise my kid." No. I don't want you to raise my kid. Whatever I done already sewed into her, I need it to come out in the right way. And I need it to be proper. So when she get out, we still you

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110 know from here on up, it's going to the next level. Every level, you're going up. Because if you here and you still stuck what was the point of her coming here? These perspectives of the purpose of school were shared by each of the family members included in this study, with the exceptio n of one family member. Emilio, the parent of three students, described the purpose of school in a way that was consistent with the school district's dual focus on academic skills and preparation for citizenship. Emilio stated that: From my view, being a responsible citizen goes far beyond just going to college, doing a lot of things. Because people can go to college and not be responsible citizens. In my view, their primary purpose for responsible citizenship has to do with the whole student and their a bility to choose whether or not they want to go to college. So yes, they have an obligation to meet that goal, but that shouldn't be the end all. Emilio provided a perspective of the purpose of school that differed from the perspectives of other family me mbers. According to Emilio, the purpose of school was to prepare children for adulthood, while other family members understood the purpose of school as to provide children with academic skills. He was the only family member who viewed the purpose of school as preparation for college and citizenship, and his viewpoint demonstrated that his interests converged with the interests of the institution of school. The interest convergence concept is discussed in detail later in this chapter. Discussion The dichot omous relationship of the purpose of school as stated and enacted can be understood through the theories of thirdspace and postcolonialism. These theories lend

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111 themselves to explaining the relationship of individuals to institutions (thirdspace theory) and the meaning making practices of those who are directly impacted by the enacted power of institutions (postcolonial theory). A significant consequence of the singular purpose of school as stated by the school district was th e ambivalence and hybridity of s chool professionals Postcolonial theory provides critical insight into the understandings of school professionals that the stated purpose of school is differently enacted, particularly because school professionals function professionally as actors on beh alf of the institution although they once were students, and likely oppressed by the institution As postcolonial theory reveals, former oppressed members of social systems occupy a hybrid space, and subsequent hybridized identities, as they negotiate the spaces between the institution and society. This hybridized space has been called a "flo ating buffer zone" (Spivak, 1988 ). I discuss this in more detail below. School professionals did not question the two purposes of school as their role as the instituti on's actors met the reality of their practices within a local community context. Although they recognized the district's stated mission, and integrated this mission into their description of the purpose of school, school professionals also indicated the fa ilure of the one size fits all belief included in the mission. As Bhabha (1994) explains, fixity of a social institution leads to ambivalence of those who are external to and subjected to the coercive power of the institution. School professionals are bot h subjected to the institution, as actors, and external to the institution, as their responsibilities as district employees are carried out at satellite locations to which the district sends its policies for enactment. As school professionals

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112 described the dichotomous nature of the purpose of school, their status as external and subjected to school became evident. The responsibility of school employees was to fulfill the school district's mission, which was not developed to differentiate school's purpose in response to variations among communities and families. Instead, school professionals accepted this responsibility as a component of their work, resultantly protecting the institution from the instability of change. Members of the community acknowledged th e dichotomous nature of the stated and enacted purposes of school. Each of the community members who described the dichotomous nature of school's purpose engages in a zone that is between the school and families within the community, a zone of engagement t hat demonstrates Gyatri Spivak's ( 1988 ) critical question, "can the subaltern speak?" In their attempts to facilitate access and provide voice to members of families whose resistance power was confined or subsumed by the institutional power of school, comm unity members are buffers (Guha, 1982; Spivak, 1 988 ) in a floating buffer zone. This "floa ting buffer zone," (Spivak, 1988 ) allows community members to leverage their understanding of the school institution on behalf of family members. However, their under standings of the function of the institution and their perceptions of what constitutes adequate responses from families leaves members of the community sometimes working alone Ebony's description of her efforts to organize family members and support them in becoming involved in their children's schools provi d es an example of community members working alone. Ebony stated that her goal was to get people up to a big policy piece, understanding what's happening in the legislature because that's where the big d ecisions are made that trickle down to

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113 the state house, that trickle down to the district, that trickle down to the school, that trickle down to the individual classroom and ultimately affect the individual child. But that's a really long staircase, right? And I think parents often get stuck here with their individual child for whatever reason. They're working two jobs, there's no missing family. They have a lot of kids and they have foster kids, and they're taking care of their cousin's child as well. As members of families demonstrate, school professionals and the community held the dichotomous view of school's purpose as stated and differently enacted. Only one family member identified a difference between the stated purpose of school and the way in whic h it was enacted. This family member, a mother named Megan, described this distinction by locating the inconsistency with families. She stated that I heard some parents say, "They better raise my kid." No. I don't want you to raise my kid. Whatever I done already sewed into her, I need it to come out in the right way. And I need it to be proper. So when she get out, we still you know from here on up its ones who want to be, every level, you're going up. Because if you here and you still stuck, what's the p oint of her coming here? Although Megan was the only family member who articulated a difference between the stated purpose of school and its enactment, the difference was the result of family members' conflicting expectations for school. Otherwise, family members accepted the stated purpose of school, expecting school to give their children academic skills and preparation for adulthood. These family members did not acknowledge that the Chelsea Park context generated a need for different enactment of school' s purpose. Critical social theory uncovers the perspective of family members who have accepted

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114 their state as subordinated or powerless. As Kincheloe & McLaren (1994) state, "certain groups in any society are privileged over others and, although the reason s for this privileging may vary widely, the oppression which characterizes contemporary societies is most forcefully reproduced when subordinates accept their social status as natural, necessary, or inevitable." Family members demonstrated accepting the pr actices of school as they are, and they offered limited descriptions of the practices of school. Consistent with Critical Social Theory, the restriction of resources through institutions of society including religion, economy, and gover nment, in addition to school is a commonly accepted complexity of society that has become common such that failures of an institution can be blamed on the autonomy of individuals. By maintaining control over "people's naturally occurring ways of thinking, feeling, and behavi ng," social institutions increase in power while dependent individuals lose their autonomy (Reeve & Assor, 2011). The coercive power of the institution of school, then, can be enacted to confine or subsume the individual power of families in diverse commun ities, as it elicits their support of school's aims through participating in practices focused on their individual child while limiting their access beyond the scope of the local school. Barriers to Family Involvement Another finding of this study was th at the interaction of families and school was constrained by a context of barriers restricting family members' access to space and information; these barriers were historical and institutional in nature. The barriers that family members faced were enforced and sustained by school policies and practices to

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115 involve families; as schools enacted practices to involve families, they also restricted family members' access to school space and information. Data Sources and Analysis The data for this finding include d in person interviews, street interviews, group interviews, district policy documents, telephone call records, and observation field notes from observations. Barriers to family members' access to school physical space were described in in person interview s with two school employees and a group interview with family members. These barriers also emerged in the records of five telephone calls made by family members to the district Office of Family Involvement. Barriers to family members' access to school info rmation were identified by two school professionals during in person interviews and emerged in four district documents In person interviews with two community members also revealed these barriers. Additionally, telephone call records revealed that eight c alls made to OFI were because family members' access to school information was restricted. Observation field notes at two school meetings revealed that information was withheld from members of families. Analysis of these data began with an observer commen t captured during an observation a t a school meeting. The comment what ot her decisions are made for them? followed an observation of a discussion between the principal of Alcorn and members of the Active Parents Organization (APO) in which the principal as ked APO members to tell other family members about one event rather than the multiple events they wanted to consider. Following my return to this comment during analysis of data, interview transcripts and street interview notes were examined for similar in dicators of information restricted by school. As patterns emerged, I developed a coding scheme, which i ncluded

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116 the following codes: a) access school information b) access restricted, c) information filtered, d) decisions made, e) opportunity for decision making Also, I analyzed observation notes and telephone call logs provided by OFI using the codes. These data also were analyzed further as the codes were too narrow and unlikely to reveal a set of useful categories. Therefore, in a second analysis of th e data I coded with the following codes: a) institutional barrier to family b) individual barrier from school member, c) physical barrier to family member access, d) family context as barrier to school, e) family context as opportunity for school power and f) school practice ignores family context. Details of Finding Barriers obstructing family members' access to the space of school were the result of the ins titutional power of school. Th e characteristics of these barriers included a) the constrained inv olvement of families and the community in the practices of school by restricting information and access to specific times and events, and b) the designation of school physical space and the restriction of access to this space for members of families and th e community. The institutional power of school to constrain the involvement of families and the community in the practices of school was revealed by the statements made by members of families, school, and the community during in person and group interviews Additionally, the power of school to designate uses for school space and restrict the access of members of families and the community was revealed through school district policy documents. The enactment of school institutional power to restrict family me mber access to school information was revealed during in person interviews, records of telephone calls made to OFI, and observation field notes. The specific practices that restricted the access

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117 of family members to school information that was relevant to the experiences of families were the result of school professionals adhering to school district policies as well as intentional efforts to limit information available to families. Discussion of restricted access to information follows a discussion of restr iction of family member access to school space. Designation and restriction of school physical space The institutional power of school was evident in the district's designation of appropriate uses of school physical space and the articulated restrictions placed on family and community member access to sc hools buildings and classrooms. School policies described guidelines for family and community member access to school buildings and classrooms, while the practices of school professionals constrained family and community member access to school buildings and classrooms. For example, the school district's policy of visitors to schools demonstrated the school's institutional power over the designation of physical space : The Board encourages parents and other c itizens of the district to visit classrooms at any time to observe the work of the schools. The Board believes that there is no better way for the public to learn what the schools actually are doing. In order to insure that no unauthorized persons enter bu ildings with wrongful intent, all visitors to the schools shall report to the school office when entering, receiving authorization before visiting elsewhere in the building. This will not apply when parents have been invited to a classroom or assembly prog ram.

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118 Additionally, mo re broadly than the district's Visitors P olicy, three other district policies demonstrated the institutional power of school over the designation of school space and restriction of access to school space for members of families and the community. T he policies described in Table IV .1 uncover the use of school power as a mechanism to determine the ways in which members of families and the community access school space; the Public Conduct on School Property policy describes penalties to m embers of families for failing to access school space in ways consistent with school policy. Similarly, the Parent Involvement policy and the Alternative Grade Level policy describe specific practices for family members to be involved in school space. Ea ch of these school district policies demonstrates the institutional power of school to constrain the ways in which family members participate on school grounds. While the policies may appear benign, such as the "Parent Involvement" policy, it was through a n in person interview with a classroom teacher that the restrictive nature of volunteering emerged.

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119 Table IV.1. District policy documents demonstrating institutional power of school to designate and restrict access to school space (italics added to emphasi ze institutional power of school over family and community member access to school space). District Policy Document Policy segment containing focus on school physical space Public Conduct on School Property It is the responsibility of staff to ensure a s afe and secure school environment conducive to learning, and therefore require the operation of schools to be free of any conduct intended to obstruct, disrupt or interfere with teaching, research, service, administering or disciplinary functions or any ot her activity sponsored or approved by the Board. As such, parents are required to comport themselves on school grounds according to the guidelines delineated above. In the event that a parent / legal guardian is found to violate this policy of conduct on school property, he/she may be restricted from the otherwise free access normally afforded to parents and legal guardians to ensure the safe and orderly operation of the school. In that event, a written communication will be provided to the parent or guar dian to inform them of the restriction in the building. Parent Involvement Parents/Guardians are asked and encouraged to be involved in their children's learning and education by: participating in training opportunities that will include but are not li mited to: strategies/reinforcing learning at home, discipline and understanding cultural differences; valuing diversity and the need for equity in each child's learning; participating in site based leadership and decision making; volunteering in thei r children's schools ; and supporting and engaging in developing partnerships within the Metropolitan community. Alternative Grade Level Organization in Neighborhood Schools (K 8 Policy) The district believes parental and community support and involvemen t within the schools is critical to the success of students in the district and the delivery of the educational program, and increased parental and community support is fostered and enhanced by parents having the opportunity for their children to attend sc hool close to home as well as the ability to select from among the numerous educational offerings of the district and to participate in site based governance

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120 Allison described her challenges with having family members volunteer in school, which does not indicate an overt policy against family involvement, although it does identify the policy layers that are not included in the policy documents included on the Internet. Allison stated that Volunteering this has been a little bit more different becau se we have had an interest in volunteering but for logistical trying to do you have to do background checks and all this. And then if someone doesn't have papers it just gets because we try to have parents volunteer out on the playground to increase the safety outside. So we have some that will come. And we have special vests that they wear. And we had training on what their duties would be outside. But it kind of seems hard to keep that going just because all the red tape you need to go through to keep that going. But I know a lot of teachers at the back to school night have a sign up. If you ever want to come into class or there's something you're interested in helping out with or teaching, if you have any skills you want to share with our kid s. Allison revealed that the institutional power of school was arranged to invite family member involvement without disclosing details of the procedures to become involved. These procedures served to restrict access to the classroom for some family membe rs. The Public Conduct on School Property policy defined acceptable behavior on school groun ds and specified consequences for family m embers who behave in ways that we re not consistent with the policy. Similar behavior guidelines were not developed for community members or others who may have access ed school property. Also, the "Alternative Grade Level Organization in Neighb orhood Schools" policy described

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121 family member access to school choice as an opportunity for all family members, although informatio n access was restricted to those with Internet access, as this was the only way provided by the district for family members to learn about and select schools for their children. In addition to the school policy documents limiting access to information for family members, the practices of school professionals served similar ends. School district policies gave school professionals access to school power in order to actively constrain the access of family and community members to the space of school. As school employees invited family members into classrooms, their goal was to have family members participate in the practices of school In other words, access required conformity to school sanctioned roles and behaviors. For example, Allison, a teacher at Alcorn stated this clearly when she told me that she loved "inviting them into the classroom and sharing with them what we're doing and showing them ways that they can do the same kind of strategies at home with their kids." Each member of school described thei r practices to invite families into school space in their efforts to introduce or augment engagement in school related practices of school in the homes of students In another example, Harriett, a teacher at Alcorn, described her efforts to collude with ot her school professionals to coerc e a family member to become involved her cl assroom : I don't know if she was avoiding. They said mom never was involved. I had a student teacher who spoke Spanish, had her call. We got a hold of the aunt. Mom wouldn't ret urn calls. Was she just tired of it? I don't know because that day of the meeting she actually did not show up. But one of the ladies, because she's the parent that did the translating knew where the mom was. And they were over

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122 her e at the rec center d oing something for the English class. And she called and said, "You need to be at a meeting." And the mom said, "I didn't know about a meeting." And that wasn't true but once she got there, it was like let's make her think that we're together. We're no t beating her up saying, "Your son's not doing this." It's like what can we do together to make him more successful. We care about him. So I think and the people around me was like don't make her feel like we're beating her up. And so was that what t urned her around? Was she tired of getting phone calls saying, "You r son's not working"? I don't know. But so far, so good. Harriett's discussion revealed that school professionals may go to various lengths in order to involve family members in school p ractices. Through the practices of school professionals the institutional power of school was extended toward the homes of students, further subsuming the individual power of families under the aims of school It was not only the practices of individual teachers to use invitations as an act of school power. At Alcorn, teachers were expected to invite family members to school in order for them to support school practices Linda, Alcorn's principal, described her expectations for family school interaction i n her description of the family involvement pra ctices of one of the school's teachers : Like for her back to school night, it really blew my mind. Not only did we have the big one for the whole school, she held one before that, had invited all her parents and explained what her expectations were in a nice way, and what they'd be learning this year and how they could help their kids at home. And then she's the one that started having these classes with parents during the day like

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123 periodically to show them h ow to help with time. Time is hard in second grade, telling time, how to help with money. That's another hard one. She literally had these are Spanish speaking parents come and you know dads with "Jose" on their shirt and would b e showing up because aki d said, "Yo u need to be there. My teacher said so." So it was packed, babies crying and the room packed. Well now we're doing it by entire grade levels and how we're doing it school wi de twice a year. So that grade level still does it more often. Allison, she does more than everybody. But now we're doing it as a whole school twice a semester once per semester, excuse me. So and it's a little different. But I wanted you to see now she's like at the highest level, all right. Then I have some that are still feeling uncomfortable when they do that. They're doing it but they don't invite that many parents. Somehow I notice they don't have as many parents in their room as the other school. So I'm figuring it's going to take them a while to get to that point. But Antwan, not everyone here is at as high a level as I am in parent engagement but I'm really working on that. I'm really hoping that some day it will be like that. I want to sustain it but I don't know what will happen really. School p rofessionals did not discuss family school interaction occurring at locatio ns determined by family members, although two school professionals discussed participating in home visits, a practice in which school professionals visited the homes of students' fa milies in order to extend the practices of school to the homes of students. Records of telephone calls made by members of families and the community to the Office of Family Involvement revealed that school power to control access to space caused problems for family members. Five telephone calls made to OFI were to make

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124 complaints about restrictions of callers' access to school property. For example, a family member called OFI in response to a conduct letter that she received from her children's school. The letter informed her that she was no longer allowed to come to the school after she argued with a member of another family while on school grounds (3/7/11). Another family member called OFI to complain about having been locked in the gate at her child's sc hool after she dropped off her child. The family member noted that a school staff member saw her and proceeded to lock the gate (4/14/11). Although institutional power allowed schools to determine the use of school physical space, members of families and t he community sought to resist this power when they experienced the school imposed restrictions of their access to school space. Nonetheless, consistent with district policy, the resistant power of these family members was subsumed under the power of school and these family members often were denied access to school space. Restriction of family member access to school information As members of families attempted to access school information that was related to their experience with school, they encountered several barriers erected by school pol icy and practice. Four interviews, eight telephone call records, and two field observations provided information for this finding. Access to school information was restricted for family members who did not have ease of access to the Internet, which was the location of school district policies and enrollment information. Within a community of poor and working class families in which the average annual wage was $18,227 and annual household income was $52,142, it was unlik ely that many family members were able to easily access the internet from their homes. According to the United States Census Bureau, within this income range, 41% of

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125 families nationwide access the internet at home and 10% use the library to access the inte rnet ( United States Census Bureau 2010). Hence, if family members must access school information through the Internet, families in Chelsea Park are likely to face significant access obstacles. Ebony identified the challenges of family members to access school information, including during their attempts to select schools for their children. The school district utilized a school selection process that many perceived as replacing traditional neighborhood schools. The school selection process presented chal lenges to families, according to Ebony, for two reasons: a) first, the process was new and complicated, and b) the information families needed to select schools for their children was available only online. Naming this challenge, Ebony described her effort s in Chelsea Park to help families gain greater access to the information they needed rather than rely on an informal information network: It's a complicated system. It's hard to get really good information about what to do. I think we also saw a need fo r helping folks really understand what a good school is. I think I get that question a lot. And they say, "Well you, you should know. Tell me. Here are the three schools I like. Which one would you chose?" Parents ask me that question all the time. A nd I'll give them my honest opinion, based on what I've seen and working with that school. But it shouldn't be based on my opinion. The purpose was to get tools into their hands that were going to enable them to ask questions and uncover whatever it is t hey're looking for in a particular school because it's going to vary from family to family based on their needs and their individual child, but empower them to be able to do that in

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126 any school district in the country and help them just again a level of exp ertise in how to make a really good choice. So I can comfortably navigate that website, you can comfortably navigate that website. The first time I went to that website, I was like this is the most ridiculous website I've ever seen. How are you expecte d to find anything? And I think if you're thinking about a working parent, in particular, they don't have time for that. So I think that there's some limited information available from the districts. I think a lot of I hope a lot of parents are going to the school. But again, if they're often coming to someone like me and saying, "What do you think? You're the experts" and really I wouldn't consider myself an expert on quality schools then that suggests to me that they're really talking to their friends, they're really talking to their family and that's the information they're using to make a decision. It varies from person to person. But I think the average person is very focused on the needs of their child and however difficult it is, will even tually figure out what to do. And sometimes for them it's like beating their heads against the wall if they have a real problem. It's hard to know who to go to and how to get help and how to get to the next level. So if I meet someone and they have a pa rticular need, then I'll do what I can to figure out who exactly is the person that can solve this problem for them. But on the broader scale, my focus is on bringing them together in groups, because there's strength in numbers, and get them working on on e issue together and changing it for that school and for that school community.

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127 Limitations and restrictions placed on family member access to school information allowed schools to sustain their institutional power. Susan, a community activist, also descr ibed the implications of restrictions to family member access to school information. She identified sch ool performance information, an important component of family member participation in school selection processes, which was not easily available to membe rs of families. Anyway, so we've been trying to get information out on what's happening. Because most people, lay people especially, don't know what's happening in the schools. They don't know what's happening with the corporatists and the charters. An d so we've simply been trying to inform them so they can make informed decisions. Because most of them hear that [various charter schools] are good are good fits for our children. And so they think at the beginning they thought that anybody's kid who wanted to go to ____ could go. And anybody's kid who wanted to go to ____ could go. And they were like highly upset when they found out that it's a lottery. And before the lottery we're trying to let them know that before the lottery they look at you r kid's score and behavior and they choose who they want to put into the lottery. So we are trying to inform our neighborhood so they know, so they're informed about what's going on because they don't know. So that's where we are. In addition to inter view data describing limitations to family member access to school information, records of telephone calls made to the district's OFI revealed that family members frequently faced barriers to information that was necessary to their involvement in school. E ight telephone calls made to OFI were to complain about or to

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128 seek resolution to the attempts of family members to access school information about enrollment procedures or discipline practices involving their children. A district wide student database syst em was used to support communication between school and home allowing family members "to be informed and proactive in your student's education" ( Infinite Campus 2013). Family members throughout Metropolitan Public Schools were given login credentials to a ccess real time information about their children includi ng grades, discipline records, approaching assignments and attendance records. A family member called OFI to inquire about her child's suspension from school, as there was no record in the district w ide student database system regarding her child's suspension (4/4/11). Although this family member sought information that the school was supposed to provide, this information was not made available to her through the district system intended to facilitate this access. In addition to the telephone calls made to OFI by family members whose access to school information was restricted by school practice, my observation field notes also indicated restrictions to information facilitated by the practices of scho ol employees. During a meeting of Alcorn's School Collaboration Team, family members, members of the local community and school professional s discussed staffing and budget scenarios for the following school year. During the discussion, the school's princip al presented scenarios based on enrollment projections from the district. One of the scenarios was to split a Language Arts class so that the responsibility for transitioning native Spanish speaking students to English was divided amongst two teachers rath er than one. The members of SCT approved this scenario rather than developing other scenarios, which they were able to do. In my in person interview with Harriett, a teacher at Alcorn and

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129 also a member of the SCT, she revealed that this scenario actually w as developed for her so that she could maintain her job without having to split language instruction between two grades: So the Leadership Team is a group of teachers and Linda and the union rep who make decisions. So, for example Linda I think went to budget today or next week she goes maybe. So the Team sat down and said, "This is what the teachers want as far as staffing next year...So then she takes that information to SCT and then see what the parents want. And then the SCT votes. The one where I was it was a self fulfilling prophecy. I was covering myself because I don't want to do a 4:5 split again. And Linda knows that. And so yeah, I was fighting for my own job at that one. I noticed a similar restriction on parent access to information du ring an observation of the Active Parents Organization meeting at the school. The principal asked members of families and the school to limit the number of event opportunities they shared with families at the school, because she "did not want to tax the fa milies too much." Discussion Critical Social Theory can facilitate understanding the practices of the school institution to restrict family member access to school space and information. Critical Social Theory seeks to uncover the practices of institutio ns that serve to reproduce the arrangements of power, and in the case of school, reproduction of power is achieved through bureaucracy. Bureaucracy emerged in this study as a mechanism to sustain the power of school and to instantiate the marginalized sta te of family members evident in district policies and practices prohibiting access to the institution beyond the location of

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130 the local school. As family members made telephone calls to the district in order to disrupt the practices of members of the local school, they were advised to return to the local school, an enactment of policy that protected the institution while restricting access to school information related to the families' individual children. In the efforts of school professionals to follow d istrict policies, their practices also disrupted the attempts of community members to coalesce family members to challenge the practices of schools. As Ebony explained most family members in this community were encouraged to focus on the needs of their ow n children, as their attempts to access and influence school practices became like beating their heads against the wall ." Their experiences in attempting to access schools and school information, despite invitations from school and a technology system int ended to facilitate their access to school information, resulted in family members having neither the time, interest, nor energy to devote to organizing. Similarly, school practices to restrict family member access to school space served as a constant rem inder of family member status as members of a less powerful group. The institutional power of school allowed schools to enact penalties to family members who did not engage in school space in ways that were consistent with district policies. However, schoo l policy did not appear to constrain the practices of individual teachers who were rude to parents, or school employees who sought to control the flow of information. The individual efforts of school employees acting as agents of the institution were effe ctive to reproduce dominant subordinate power arrangements between the institution of school and the members of families and the community.

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131 The local school context, as was evident at Alcorn, demonstrated an instantiated practice of restricting family mem ber access to school space accomplished through practices of inviting family members to school ; this was a conundrum School professionals invited family members to be involved in their children's classrooms, yet their opportunities for involvement were fo cused specifically on classroom practices or attendance at school programs. Also, the Visitors to School policy expressed an open invitation to family members to visit school, but clarified that a classroom teacher must first invite them. Family members we re effectively prohibited by policy from visiting the school unless a member of school invited them. As Allison and Harriett disclosed, inviting family members to be involved in the classroom focused specifically on soliciting parental support toward stude nt compliance in behavior and academic practice. In these ways, family members faced barriers established by school policy and the practices of classroom teachers. These barriers served to prohibit family members from obstructing the goals of the instituti on. In this way, invitations to school space served to control family members' presence at school and sustain their status as members of the less powerful group by keeping them on the margins Roles of Family in Response to Institutional Power of School T his study uncovered three school related roles for family members, each defined in response to the enactment of the institutional power of school. Study participants were asked to describe the role of family members in school, and their responses revealed that roles for family members were understood as reactions to the practices of school. Whether family members were a) present and engaged in school practices, b) co opted school leaders, or c) collective advocates, their roles in schools resulted from thei r

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132 individual family power being constrained or subsumed under the institutional power of school through its policies and the practices of school professionals. Data Sources and Analysis The finding was informed by responses of study participants to the qu estion "What is the role of family in school?" I asked this question in eight in person interviews, two group interviews, and 18 street interviews. Not every participant responded to this question during group interviews, as the discussion format frequentl y involved only some participants respond ing to questions. In addition to interview questions asked of participants, six school district documents revealed the role of family members in school as conceptualized by the school district. The process of analy zing the data gathered and related to the role of family members in school occurred in two steps. The first step of analysis included identifying patterns of responses to the question, "What is the role of family in school?" which informed the development of descriptive codes. While descriptive, these codes did not reveal much about the sets of relationships between participants and responses As a next step in analysis, the patterns of participant responses to this question were compared against a set of a priori codes that emerged from the literature of parent and family involvement. These initial codes included: "parent," "communicator," "decision maker," "practitioner of school at home," "community collaborator," and "volunteer." In this second step of a nalysis, it became clear that these a priori codes were consistent with the responses of school professionals, although they were not consistent with the ways in which family members and members of the community described the role of family members in scho ol. In another step to analyze the data, I developed a concept map in

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133 which e mergent patterns of responses related to the institutional power of school and the individual power of families was captured The development of a concept map allowed me to identi fy relationships among individual participant responses according to their participant category (i.e., member of family, member of community, member of school). A version of the concept map is included in Appendix A. In developing a concept map to underst and the perceptions of the role of family members held by community members, family members, and school employees, the relationships between participants and responses became clearer, as did gaps in responses and outlier responses Details of Finding Durin g individual interviews and group interviews, study participants discussed their perceptions of the roles of family members in schools. T he roles of family members constituted a core topic of this study, related direc tly to the Research Questions which we re: 1. What are the understandings of family school interaction held by members of families, the local community and schools? 2. What are the roles of family members in school? 3. What is the purpose of school as understood by members of families, communities, and schools? A specific question to solicit study participants' perspective s of the roles of families in school was asked of each study participant during in person interviews with individuals and during group interviews. Broadly, the role of family members w as

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134 described as practices in relation to the school, either internal and confined or subsumed by school, or external resistance that was not based on direct contact with the school Parents as present and engaged in school practices Several study partici pants and school district policy documents described the role of fam ily members as support ers of their individual children through involvement in programs and events offered by the school. A significant distinction emerged in participants' responses, howev er. Community members shared perspectives that family members should use their power to ensure that schools fulfilled the stated purpose of school which was to provide the development of academic skills and preparation for adulthood Family members, on th e other hand described the role of family members in school as supporting the efforts of school in achieving school's stated purpose The distinction between family members working to ensure or support the efforts of school was important in understanding perspectives of the role of family members in school. T he participation of family members was constrained so that it direct ly affected persons such as students and other family members. Family member involvement in school was restricted from impacting the school space, employees practices, or policies. The district's Parent In volvement policy documented the specific ways in which family members were expected to be involved in their children's school. The policy specified that Parents/Guardians are asked a nd encouraged to be involved in their child ren's learning and education by" adhering to a specific set of expectations, including: a) understanding and respecting the mission and values of the school; b) respecting teachers and supporting school staff as partners in the education of their children;

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135 c) demonstrating respect for the school as a whole, including the faculty and staff; d) understanding school procedures and opportunities to contribute or receive support; and e) participating in training opp ortunities that will include but are not limited to: strategies/reinforcing learning at home, discipline and understanding cultural differences; participating in site based leadership and decision making; volunteering in their children's schools; and suppo rting and engaging in developing partnerships within the Metropolitan community. The details of this policy demonstrate d that the district's view of the role of family members was to support schools in achieving their goals of developing academic skills an d preparing students for adulthood In the street interviews, eleven of the 18 study participants indicated that the role of family members in schools was to be involved in the practices of school in order to support their children. For example, one perso n interviewed on the street did not identify a specific role for family members This community member suggested instead that they (family members) "keep kids in schools, on the right track and giving them a good foundation for work and to help them get a job Additionally, s everal study participants specifically identified helping with homework (n=6) or being physically present at school (n=6) as the roles of family members in school. In person interviews revealed that members of families and the commun ity understood the role of family members as ensurers or supporters of school achieving its stated purpose. For example, c ommunity organizer Ebony discussed several opportunities for family members to ensure that schools were deve loping students'

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136 academic skills and preparing them for adulthood I n response to the question, "If you were speaking to a p arent, however, and that parent simply said to you Why should I be involved in schools at all?' How would you respond to that question?" Ebony stated that family members should utilize their power to ensure that the practices of school we re consistent with the stated purpose of school : When you think about it, a child spends what, eight hours a day, six to eight hours a day in a school building, longer if t hey're involved in some extra curricular thing, maybe ten hours a day. That is a lot of time that someone else is in control of what's going on with your child. It's a lot of time and you're not there. So how do you ensure that your child is getting th eir needs met just on an individual level, just on a day to day their basic needs are being met in that building, but also their future needs are being met? How are they being prepared for that next level? If they're in elementary school, how are they bei ng prepared for middle school? And if you don't know that, it's really ha rd for you to, when they get to be a senior in high school and they're taking their exams, SAT, ACT what have you to get into college and they can't get in because they can't get h igh enough scores, I mean what are you going to do then? Because it's too late. You really only have one chance with their education. They're only going to be young once and if you miss the opportunity now to real have an impact on how they're performin g, you're never going to get it back. They can't start from the third grade over again. Ebon y's response revealed an understanding of family members' individual power to remain involved in order to ensure that school s achieve their stated purposes. The la rger

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137 group of family members, however, did not share this understanding of the role of family members in school. A small number of street interview participants also described the role of family members as ensuring that schools fulfilled their stated purp ose. One member of the community responded that family members should keep teachers from mistreating kids and grouping them into one group. Another community member described the role of family members as attending meeting s to see what's really going on. Family members identified their role in school as being present and engaged in the practices of school. However, their descriptions of family involvement in school revealed the ir exceptionalism alongside the inadequacy of other family members For example Tiffany the mother of two children in Chelsea Park, described the role of family members a s supporters of the practices of school, explaining that family members who we re not involved in school practice we re misled to believe that schools may not be ach ieving their stated purposes, and that a dichotomy of stated and e nacted purposes of school existed : I think that they might tend to be more dissatisfied because the y think the schools aren't doing what they need to be doing but they really are. And I ju st think, you know, they don't see a lot of parents don't see it as a two way street. It's like you have to be involved in order to, you know, get whatever involvement or level of, you know, production you want out of the schools and administration. Be cause if you don't talk to them, they're not going to know what your issues and what your problems are.

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138 Similarly, d uring the group interview at the Metropolitan Center for Kids, two parents commented directly about the role of family members ; other famil y members involved in the group interview did not respond to this question posed to the group The comments of these two parents demonstrate d a perspective of the role of family members as supporters of the stated purpose of school. One family member, Hila ry provided a response to the question, "What is the role of family in school?" in which she identified the inadequacy of other family members who were not involved in the practices of school : Parent s need to be fully involved in w hat their children's do ing, whether it's here, whether it's a t the school. I mean you get those parents that may have vacation time, take a day off, well they'll lay up and watch TV all day instead of walk in here and see what my child is doing at school. Talk to the teacher b ecause each child is different. Each family is different. Her family may go through some things that my family may never go through. But each child is different and they need to establish that rapport. But more importantly as a parent, we need to have a relationship with that teacher. That teacher is your child's parent while you're away. Stephanie, another family member who participated in the group interview, shifted the dialogue toward family members supporting the practices of individual school tea chers. While this was consistent with family members as supporters of the stated purpose of school, the nuances of Stephanie's response indicate d a more specific focus on the individual needs o f each student. Stephanie stated that I think they need to tel l us

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139 what they need, what they want, how they want it and then be willing to be flexible because whatever you put in is what you going to get out. School professionals also described the role of family members as supporters of their children through being present at school and enacting school practices at home For example, a teacher at Alcorn Elementar y School, Harriett, described the role of family members as responsible for supporting their child ren in academic practices. Harriett's characterization of this role for families demonstrated a perception that the role of family members was to partner with school employees, which required the directing of their individual power to ward school practices : Again, they're [parents and teachers] a team. If the pa rents are encouraging their students to do that 30 minutes of reading a night and check their homework and just showing an interest that I care about how you do in school. Because a lot of parents say, "I don't know how to do the math" it's okay. It's ok ay but if you see your student sitting there working on it and you can't help them and they've tried. First of all that tells me that they weren't paying attention in class that day because that's homework. But we tried and then I know they made the effo rt. It makes such a difference. And what they expect from me is I think transparency. Tell me if my kid's not doing the homework. I want to know. Tell me if my kid's doing great too. They want to know what's going on with their kid. They don't want s urprise, get a report card and they're failing kind of thing. They like it. And I've heard parents say that in feedback and stuff is they want to know what's going on. School district documents also described the role of family members as supporters of t heir individual children. This role was evident in 5 district policy documents, and was

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140 contained in at least one phrase in each of the documents reflecting this perspective. The policy documents describing the role of family members as supporters of their children through involvement in programs a nd events offered by the school were a) Visitors to Schools, b) Public Conduct on School Property, c) Preschool Council, d) Parent Involvement, and e) Alternative Grade Level Organization in Neighborhood Schools ( K 8 Policy). All of these documents defined the role of family members as supporting their children's academic success by participating in school in ways that aligned with the school's stated purpose. Descriptions of these policy documents can be found in Appendix D. Discussion School's extension of the opportunity for family members to be present and engaged in the practices of school convinces family members to compromise their voice in order to participate in their children's school. While school involv ement was a voluntary act of individual family members, the school district's policies articulated specific roles for family members to be present and engaged in the practices of school. The parents demonstrated agency in their involvement in school in wa ys sanctioned by the school, but that agency was co opted by the schools. In these roles, family members were invited to support school employees in supporting the school institution. The language of school policy guiding family member involvement in scho ol identified specific actions for family members, each targeting specific school practices while excluding others. Community members also discussed in street interviews specific practices for family members to be involved in school. Additionally, school p rofessionals

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141 and family members identified behaviors for family members to help schools achieve the aims of the institution through being present and engaged in school's practices. This role for family members, being present and engaged in the practices o f school, was an example of family members appropriating the practices of the institution in order to ensure the institution's success, even at the disregard of other family members who were not involved in similar ways As a postcolonial theory perspectiv e suggests, the impact of individual encounters with dominating social institutions is apparent in the individual's hybridized identity as well as in their adoption of the institution's values. As I described above, only a small number of study participant s described the roles of family members as ensuring that school achieved its stated purpose. Although resistance to fully adopting the practices of the institution may have allowed family members to uncover and make visible the spaces and practices of powe r and inequity in schooling their status as the Inadequate Other marginalized their stances. In fact, it was only in the responses of community members that the role of family members as ensuring that schools achieved their stated purpose was discussed H owever, as family members devote d their efforts to practices that we re constructed by the institution of school, their complicity in maintaining the power of the institution went unquestioned by other supporters of school. Subsequently, family members and community members who understood the role of family members as ensuring that schools achieved their stated purpose may be looked down upon as unsupportive of schools or of their own children. Parents as co opted school leaders A s study participants descr ibed the roles of family members in school, multiple references to the SCT were made. The School Collaboration Team was the decision making committee required of all schools in the

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142 district, a collaborative team with representation from parents, community faculty, administrators and classified staf f (School Collaboration Teams). T he district policy describing the function of the SCT at each of the district's schools specified the aim to enhance "student achievement and school climate by engaging the sch ool community in collaborative efforts supporting the school and District's goals; in addition to my observation of the SCT meeting at Alcorn and in person interview with Linda, five study participants discussed the School Collaboration Team during in per son interviews and four school professionals described the SCT during a group interview. In total seven school professionals one family member, and two community members discussed the SCT when describing the role of family members in school. The School Collaboration Team formalized school's institutional power to subsume the power of families by funneling the voice and involvement of family members toward school based efforts to support the school and district's goals. Because of this, a lthough the goal s of family and community members may have been similar to those of the school and district, the designation of responsibilities and practices of the SCT eliminated opportunities for the voices of the community and families to emerge. Additionally, the dis trict policy did not specify community membership in the SCT to members of the local community; instead, members of all groups that made up the community of the district were eligible to join the SCT. Ebony's description of the role of family members in sc hool based decision making named this clearly: I think there should be a parent voice. So it's mandated by the state that there have to be these SCTs in public schools. And I think I've seen a lot of SCTs that don't function. They're either completely toxic environments where folks who

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143 don't really have a stake in that school performing well are there to run their political agenda or whatever, whatever it is, they get involved or they're not properly run. Or you know there's multiple things that can go wrong with these SCTs. And they're actually not being a strong parent voice in that building. And I think it's incredibly important. Co opted school leadership reflected the role of family members as participants in school decision making toward enactme nt of the school's goals rather than the goals of the family or community. Thus, despite the opportunity to participate in a school based committee such as the SCT, the participation of members of families and the community was limited to supporting the ai ms of the school. Emilio, who described the way members for Alcorn's SCT were chosen, identified the focus of SCT participation to accomplish the aims of school: There's something called the PTA which is run by two most two people, my wife and a lady who works in the office. And they raise funds. They have a series of fundraisers for the school. And all the money gets kind of put into a pot where the principal makes all the decisions. Now I trust her ability to make decisions. I trust her wholehe artedly. However, the parents don't have a voice in that. The SCT is, for me, seems like it's usually handpicked, people that are handpicked that may be going with what the administration wants. And there's nothing wrong with that because I believe the administration is doing things that are for the best interest. Now, the Active Parents Organization, that's open to everybody, and everybody has an opportunity. So there's a lot of people that choose not to, but I would say that everybody has an opportun ity to have a voice,

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144 to have a say. And whether they speak English or not. Because we have plenty of folks that are part of that group that can translate. School professionals did not share the perspective of co opted family member involvement in decisio n making. Harriett, a teacher at Alcorn, described the role of family members in school decision making as partners with teachers. This perspective was supported by Allison, another Alcorn teacher, who described the role of family members as informing some parts of the work of the school, as the school planned "out the whole year based on what the parents said they wanted." Four teachers who participated in the group interview at Alcorn also described the SCT These teachers described the role of family mem bers in school decision making by identifying the forms of enactment of these roles in organized activities such as the SCT, parent constituency groups, and completing school surveys. Although teachers at Alcorn perceived the roles of family members in sch ool decision making as occurring within open opportunities in which their voices informed school practice, the principal at Alcorn, Linda Dominguez, described the role of family members in decision making at the school in a slightly different way. Linda st ated that parents drive hiring and budget decisions for the SCT, but contextualized the partnership roles of family members as requiring her administrative guidance: "But they literally would sit wit h us and we would say, Okay, this is how much money we'v e got. And I always recommended them first, here's what I recommend, what do you think." Linda also mentioned during our interview that she guided family members who participated in SCT so that they did n ot go down a "path of no return while helping her "make those decisions." Through thi s discussion, Linda corroborated Vincent's (1996) critique of

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145 school governmental efforts to involve parents in decision making as coopting, intended to reinforce school agendas by confining decision making roles to "app rove or slightly modify previously made administrative decisions (Bolivar & Chrispeels, 2011). Parents as organized advocates Members of the community as well as school professionals, held a perception that the role of family members in school was to col lectively act against the institutional power of school. Street interviews revealed that members of the community considered individual family members capable of resisting the institutional power of school through their own efforts ; however, there were no actual examples of this resistance Also, t elephone call logs demonstrated that family members felt capable of responding on their own to the power of schools although their efforts to do so were constrained by school policy I n person interview data reve aled that organizing famil y members to coalesce their efforts could disrupt the institutional power of school. Although interview data uncovered only one instance of the collective power of family members enacted by members of families and the school to di srupt school institutional power, the power of organizing was corroborated by an additional five members of families and the community. The perspective of family members as able to utiliz e their individual power to advocate for their children emerged duri ng two of the street interviews. As I described in the previous section, t wo community members described the role of family members in schools as participating in schools and attending meetings to see what's really going on and keeping teachers from mist reating kids and from errantly grouping them together. Telephone calls made to OFI gave further evidence of the efforts of individual family members to disrupt the power of school.

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146 Although family members attempted to resist the institutional power of scho ol through their individual efforts, records of telephone calls made to OFI demonstrated that family members' individual efforts would not disrupt school power For example, a mother contacted OFI because the school's administration reduced her son's kinde rgarten schedule from full time to part time without a meeting with her. The mother decided to withdra w her son after OFI informed her that they were unable to overturn the administration's decision. Of the 74 telephone calls family members made to the Off ice to voice complaints or concerns about their interactions with schools, none of them resulted in disruption to the institutional power of school. In fact, each call was resolved in one of three ways. The resolutions were: a) family members were instruct ed to meet with the administration at their child's school, b) family members were reminded of the district's policies, or c) family members resolved the issue on their own, such as through withdrawing their child or no longer pursuing the complaint. In so me instances, no resolution was available in the telephone call log. Table IV .2 provides characteristics and examples of these responses family members received to their attempts to disrupt the power of school.

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147 Table IV.2. Categories of resolutions to ca lls made to OFI between Aug. 2010 Jan. 2012 for elementary schools in Chelsea Park community. Resolution category No. of calls Characteristics Contextualized example from field notes Meeting with school 35 The issue was (to be) resolved through a meeting with the school principal, school psychologist or other member of the school administration. This does not include meetings with district personnel. Issue: 3/23/11: Daughter "attacked" by four boys. Para not responsive to treatment of their daughter (Env ironment). Resolution: Boys are Hispanic [sic]. Parents think it was racially motivated. Parent thinks principal lied about boys writing apology notes which daughter did not receive. Meeting was requested but was not held father thought it would be pointle ss. Family member resolved 6 The issue was resolved by the concerned family member, without the direct involvement of a member of the school. This often occurred when family members were not satisfied with the response of the school or OFI. Issue: 5/23/11 : Child is bullied. Parent feels teacher calls for her child's behavior but does not respond when she is being bullied. (Environment) Resolution: Parent withdrew child. Principal is willing to meet with parent. Not resolved or resolution not available 8 The resolution to the issue was recorded in a journal that was not available, or no resolution to the issue was recorded. Issue: 9/7/11: Parents feel daughter is treated unfairly at school. (Environment) Resolution: Journal School or district policy reinf orced 28 The issue was (to be) resolved by the invocation or reinforcement of a school or district policy. Issue: 8/31/11: School secretary continues to call parent about child, who is being home schooled. (Interpersonal/School Policy) Resolution: School will not withdraw child until formal Home School Office paperwork is completed. Child was eventually registered for homeschool.

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148 The collective power of members of families to disrupt the institutional power of school occurred in response to school overcr owding. Linda, principal of Alcorn, described her role in organizing family members to oppose the practices of school that were causing hardships at the school: I had 38 kids in some classrooms. And they were getting teachers were getting mad at me. Pa rents were getting mad at me. So I brought everyone together and I said, "Now tell me which kids am I going to tell can't come to this school? How am I going to -" So then I went to the district and I started screaming. I was screaming at the district before they even were screaming at me saying, "This is ridiculous. How could you expect us to have this many kids in the classroom, that many kids go through a lunchroom, to have those lunch times?" It was getting longer in the day having lunch, earlier and longer because I had so many kids. How are we going to get them through their specials rotation? I mean it was becoming really a challenge. And finally the district, I went to the district. They'd say, "Well Linda, you just have to make it work." It was like and then I come back here and get beat up? Finally I told parents, "You know what, I need your help. I need your help to come talk with me to people in the district without you telling that I asked you to help me do that because I'll get i n trouble." I used parents as advocates for our school. And man, they started calling and we asked people to come from the planning department here. We asked our instructional superintendent that was very I had to use that very carefully. That's my b oss. And we had to listen to parents. Parents were screaming and yelling at the district. And I had to kind of calm them down. But what it led to is them

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149 building ____ Academy where our ECE and K Kids go. That was their response. But our parents help ed make that happen. As Linda demonstrated, collective effort of family members to resist the institutional power of school required a scope of concern beyond the individual efforts of famil y members Instead, family members' collective efforts to resist t he institutional power of schools would be more effective even if those efforts were organized by individual school professionals What this demonstrated was that school professionals also were able to oppose the policies of school in support of family me mbers while remaining school employees. As Linda pointed out, the interests of family members converged with the interests of an individual school professional who was willing to utilize her role as a member of the institution to challenge institutional pr actice on her own behalf as well as on behalf of families The convergence of interests is an important component of the interaction of families and schools, and I discuss it further at the conclusion of this section. Ebony also identified the need for col lective efforts of family members to impact the institution of school as she described her goal in working with families. Ebony stated that she aimed to "build their knowledge capacity, their leadership capacity to advocate for themselves, for their own ch ild, and really for all children in a public school system. So that if they moved from Chelsea Park to Detroit to New Orleans or Chicago, and there's an issue with that school, then they can organize themselves and get that thing taken care of."

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150 After desc ribing the relationship between schools and families in Chelsea Park as "a very toxic, broken relationship," Susan also identified collective resistance as the way to disrupt the institutional power of school and to effect change in MPS: And so right now, if parents are informed, I think we need to get a revolution of sorts. And some people are afraid that we mean a real revolution with real fighting. But right now it's all meaning words and the proper channels for us to do this. And knowledge. So we're trying to do that because I think parents see the big picture, maybe we can get them to come out and try to effect change in MPS, although MPS is aware of my little group. And they're making sure that, to the best way they can, that we're not listened to. It's really getting kind of scary. Susan's description here makes it clear that a community gathering is not the same as community organizing. In describing the efforts of the school district as scary, Susan was referring to the district's recent history of engaging school reform efforts without the support or buy in of the larger community. As members of Chelsea Park heard the district's turnaround announcements in meetings held throughout the community, they openly responded that they were against the c hanges. However, their efforts were not organized and the school turnaround efforts occurred as the district planned. Discussion This finding demonstrates that the institutional power of school constrained the construction of roles for family members by c o opting their power or eliminating opportunities for the enactment of the individual power of families through school policy. The data suggest that the institution of school sustains a social order that protects its existence. From the perspective of Thir dspace theory, the existing social order, one in

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151 which institutions are developed and maintain ed can be described as the first space. The first space is society's institutions and arrangements as they are (Soja, 1996), relying largely on the coercion and e xploitation of a less powerful group. In contrast, the second space of production exists in the imagination of members of less powerful groups as they envision new social arrangements, particularly with a redistribution of power and a reorganization of soc ial institutions to honor their voices and power. Both the first and second spaces of production result in disproportionate distribution of power amongst groups and their members. Two of the roles of family members, as supporters (or enforcers) of school p ractices or as co opted school leaders, allow the institution of school to maintain its institutional power and status as a fixed entity in society. These roles serve the aims of school while allowing family members to feel meaningfully engaged in the prac tices of school through supporting their children's learning, developing relationships and partnerships with teachers, and making decisions that impact the school. However, these roles also position family members as complicit in the current arrangements o f society and supporters of the first space of social production. On its own, P ostcolonial theory is inadequate to explain these arrangements, as members of families who assume these roles are not participating in a post colonial environment. Instead, they develop their practices of involvement with schools in a current colonized state. In other words, family members who act as supporters of school's systems and practices allow the institution of school to maintain its fixed state as family members adapt th eir involvement accordingly. However, the data presented above suggest that members of families may be able to resist the institutional power of school through their collective organiz ing. There also

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152 is the possibility that family members may be able to c hallenge school fixity through access to the district facilitated by a school professional such as the principal. As the data demonstrate, it is a significant challenge for family members to challenge the institutional power of school on their own The ba rriers are layered and numerous as well as overt and subtle. While there was only one example of family members successfully challenging and changing the practices and policies of school, community members demonstrated a wider awareness of the power of org anizing. The data for this study showed that organizing family members to utilize their collective resistance power to disrupt the institution of school required the involvement and vision of someone who saw things as they were and as they could be someon e who also was a school professional with access to the district The involvement of an organizer such as Ebony or Susan or Emilio had the potential to challenge the first space of social production through collective buy in of family member s to challenge the institution. However, the realization of this challenge needed to be facilitated by a person who was both inside and outside of the institution. This inside outside position occupies the position of hybridity, engaged on behalf of families at the conta ct zone (Pratt, 1991 ). Linda's work to organize families to reduce class sizes at Alcorn demonstrated the second space of social production on a local scale, as her efforts sought to challenge the enactment of school institutional power at the level of t he local school. It also was the case of interest convergence as she sought to convince the district to respond to class overcrowding. In education, interest convergence stresses that equality and equity for people from marginalized groups will be pursued and advanced when that interest converge s with the interests, needs, expectations, and ideologies of the dominant

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153 institution (Milner, 2008). This was evident in Li nd a's admission that parents were getting mad at her because of over populated classrooms. T he second space of social production, though, relies on those with less power imagining social arrangements that are to their benefit. Linda was able to envision and communicate a second space of social production that was to benefit several members of a g roup that was less powerful than the institution of school. However, it is more likely the case that the district responded favorably to the request of family members and the school principal as their interests converged with the interests of the district. A press release from Metropolitan Public Schools revealed that construction of ____ Academy that relieved classroom overcrowding was part of the 2008 voter approved General Obligation Bond, including dozens that were not part of the original scope of bon d projects but were made possible thanks to $90 million in savings from strong cost management and favorable market conditions" (7/11/11). This press release reveals that Linda's interests may not have been enough to instigate institutional change. Instead the access to additional economic resources for the school district led to the new school being built. This insight clarifies the role of interest convergence in family school interaction. Discussion of Findings The findings of this study reveal that th e institutional power of school relies on significant control of the interaction of families and school through practices of coercion, restriction and exploitation. School policies effectively coerce and exploit the involvement of family members toward the aims of school. These data also reveal that school institutional power is sustained through school policies and practices that are intended to restrict the access of family members to the core of the institution. The

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154 records of telephone calls made to the district Office of Family Involvement reveal the practice of restricting family member access to the institution through developed district policies and the practices of the institution's actors; the practices of school employees at the local school level also serve to reinforce the policies of the district that protect the status of the institution as it has been fixed in society. However, as Linda's involvement demonstrates, family members may be able to effectively challenge the practices of the institu tion through collective efforts facilitated by a school professional. The institutional power of school influenced all parts of this study, as it was pervasive throughout the school district, the local school, and the perceptions of school employees, famil ies, and the community. This influence was an unexpected feature of this study's design, as I originally conceptualized the interaction of families and school more broadly than a specific community. However, the pervasiveness of school's institutional powe r throughout the entire study context makes the theories of this study all the more relevant and powerful. Postcolonial theory's emphasis on the discourses of power and the discourses that challenge and engage institutional power on behalf of individuals a nd groups that are subjected to institutions directly informs our understanding of the interaction of families and school. Postcolonial theory also helps explain the ways in which members of family and the community have appropriated the dominant discourse and practice of schools as a tool to navigate their involvement with school Because family and community members have responded to the institutional practices of school in this way, they have "clipped their wings" to actively and productively resist scho ols power enacted over them and their children. A powerful example of someone appropriating the dominant discourse of the institution of school in

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155 support of family members challenging the institution is Linda's hybridized practice. Without Linda's hybrid ized practice utilized to provide family member access to the institution, the indigenous agency of the community would be denied to those who are subject to the exercises of institutional power. Linda's support of families is made more complex by her defi cit perspective of the community, which emerges in her identification of the unique needs of family members at Alcorn who require additional help. To understand this better, the dualism of colonizer/colonized must be avoided; hybridized identities are ofte n open and fluid, or "irretrievably heterogeneous" as Spivak (1988) denotes. Linda's willingness to utilize her capital as a school professional on behalf of family members demonstrates both the postcolonial perspective of the floating buffer zone (Spivak 1994) and the thirdspace perspective of the contact zone (Pratt, 1991) The floating buffer zone, as Spivak (1994) argues, is the socio spatial location of those who are capable of navigating both the institution of power as well as the shared spaces of those who are dominated by institutional practice. In these zones, the individual who acts on behalf of the institution and attempts to act on behalf of those subjected to the power of the institution must grapple with the tensions and conflicts. Pratt (19 91 ) defines contact zones as "social spaces where cultures meet, clash and grapple with each other, often in contexts of highly asymmetrical relations of power such as colonialism, slavery or their aftermaths as they are lived out in many parts of the worl d today" (63). Pratt, similar to Soja, hooks, Bruyneel, and Bhabha, describe the contact zone or boundary as the place where the subaltern, those who are "othered" by the dominant, deconstruct the ways in which they were represented by creating "self repre sentations."

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156 Throughout the development of this study's findings, Critical Social Theory has informed the analysis of each finding and the findings overall. In particular, the Critical Social Theory perspective seeks to uncover social reproduction by unco vering the ways in which institutions such as school are able to reproduce the social arrangements of power and justice. As this study demonstrates, the institutional power of school is reified by the practices of school to confine and subsume the power of individual family members, resulting in their complicity with the institution even in their collective resistance This is evident in family members' practices of involvement in school events, partnering with school employees, and becoming involved in sc hool decision making committees. Each of these school based activities rewards family members' involvement by reducing family school conflict and allowing family members to participate in fulfilling the mission of school on behalf of their children. The po wer of these forms of involvement to reproduce the first space of production in which the institution of school exhibits significant power over the families of its students is far reaching. School remains a fixed institution in our broader social system, i t perpetuates societal inequities, and its fixity leads families to develop ambivalent roles that may acknowledge the enactment of institutional power while suggesting that resistance may not be worth the effort. And for those families that attempt to resi st on their own, their efforts are confined or subsumed by school's institutional power. The biggest opportunity for members of families, school, and the community to disrupt the enactments of school institutional power begins with pursuing the shift from the first space of production to the second space of production. This shift will allow members of families and the community to inform the policies and practices of school.

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157 However, the risk of making such a shift is that those who once were oppressed can easily adopt the practices of the oppressor. This would only lead to a cycle of oppression through which the relations or scales of power simply shift from one group to another. Instead, a possibility of moving away from the first space of social productio n toward the second space of production would be pushing this movement even further toward the thirdspace. This possibility will be discussed in the next and final chapter of this study.

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158 CHAPTER V IMPLICATIONS AND CONCLUSION The purpose of this study was to understand the interaction of families and schools in a major c ity located in the western U.S. T he perspectives of a small number of school professionals families, and members of a local community were collected and examined for this study. In gatherin g the perspectives of family members school professionals and community members, I aimed to situate family school interaction within a particular spatial context, bounded by zip code and contained to a single geographic community within a soci et al conte xt connected by residential and professional membership status. The decision to bound this study socially and spatially was guided by Critical Social Theory (Carspecken, 1996; Kincheloe & McLaren, 2011), which was a component of the conceptual framework. R esearch in the field of parent involvement in schools consistently lacks a critical perspective (Auerbach, 2007) and adequate theoretical substantiation. Thus, this study investigated the various perceptions of the interaction of families and schools by r elying on Postcolonial Theory (Bhabha, 1994) and Thirdspace Theory (Soja, 1996) in addition to Critical Social Theory ; these theories rounded out the Conceptual Framework and informed the study design. Also, these theories were utilized to inform the analy sis that generated the four major study findings. Investigating the perceptions of members of families school and the community reflects a community grounded approach in which I, as the researcher must remain aware of the dangers that can emerge when c onducting education research that is not mindful of the need to "circumvent misinterpretations, misinformation, and

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159 misrepresentation of individuals, communities, institutions, and systems" (Milner, 2007). En gaging in education research that questions how school based programs and policies involve families may help schools satisfy NCLB legislative requirements for parent involvement However this form of research effectively narrows the role of family members to supporters of school, bypassing the broader access issue of family involvement in the schools beyond the achievement of school aims for their individual children. Approaching investigation of the interaction of families and schools in this way also avoids attention to the institutional power of scho ol, which emerged in this study as important to the finding s due to its significant implications for the entire study context and all of the interactions between school and families. With this in mind, I conducted this study with the assumption that the va rious perspectives of family and community members were comparable in importance to the perspectives of members of schools. I also broadly questioned the purpose of family involvement in school beyond the achievement of school aims; thus, I was willing to ask questions to elicit people's perceptions of the purpose of school. Although this study included a relatively small sample, the perceptions gathered indicate a divergence between a school and its surrounding community. These two considerations, equity a mong stakeholders as a core element of family school interaction and questioning the purpose of school, were important to the study design and conduct. I also utilized a critical approach to examine the interaction of families and a school; doing so allowe d me to uncover the dynamics and locations of power within the study context the points of access or barriers to family member involvement in a school, and the perceptions and enactment of roles within a particular community and its particular set of scho ol family relations

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1 60 Further, a focus on family school partnerships, which is a major theme in the current field of family involvement, is much too narrow to understand family school interaction, as the partnership emphasis undermines the possibility of ed ucational equity through its focus on maintaining the power relations between school and families This study provides a case in point; t here was no evident family school partnership within the community of study In this study, t he location of power rem ains with the institution of school, and family members are expected to react to school's overtures and invitations for the involvement of families on the terms of the school and the school district B elow, I discuss the limitations associated with this pe rspective To be clear, while NCLB legislation requires the development of a parent involvement policy for schools to receive Title I funding, the requirement does not include enforcement provisions ( work, P. E., & Education, I. 2003 ). Thus, schools are e xpected to develop policies f or family involvement without any expectation that the relations of power can be shifted toward family members. This study has looked at those policies and their enactment in one school community. In considering the implication s of this study and my conclusions, I provide a reminder of my epistemological perspective of schooling S chools are social institutions with colonizing practices in racially, ethnically, and economically diverse communities. Because of the histories of fa milies and students of color in a post de segregation system of schooling in the U.S., it would be irresponsible and ahistorical to think of the institution and endeavor of school as the "great equalizer." With this perspective in mind, the two sections of this chapter are: Discussion of Findings and Study Implications. In the Discussion of Findings section, the four major findings are discussed collectively, with

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161 the associated discussion informed by the Conceptual Framework. In the Study Implications sect ion, I discuss the implications of this study for the work of parent teacher organizations, community members, school professionals, family members and education policymakers In addition to these two topics, this chapter also includes a presentation of th e limitations of this study and concluding remarks. Discussion of Findings This study was designed to uncover the nature of family school interaction within a single residential community, relying on the perspectives held by members of families and school professionals within the community as well as other self identified community members; in addition, this study examined the policies of the local school district in order to understand the policy context of family school interaction as developed by local p olicymakers and practiced by members of schools. The aim of this study, then, was to utilize a critical theoretical and analytic perspective that did not rely on traditionally accepted family involvement models and considered the interaction of families an d schools as an issue of education equity. In order to emphasize the interrelationships between the four major findings, four key lessons that emerged from the data analysis will guide the Discussion of Findings. These key lessons are that: 1. School is a rel atively fixed social institution. As such, its policies, actors and philosophies reinforce its position and status while also constraining family members from disrupting school's position and status. 2. The purpose of school as stated by the district was cor roborated by the adults involved in this study. However, the enactment of school practice was in

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162 contradiction to stated purpose of school because of the local community context. Thus, context is an important feature of family school interaction. 3. While the individual power of families has been conceptualized and named by the United States Department of Education as parent power, this form of power is limited to the practices of family members that support school aims for student achievement In this way th e experiences of families in school does not support them as possessors of their own power, particularly as power is defined as the capacity to influence the behaviors of others (Handgraaf, Van Dijk, Vermunt, Wilke & De Dreu, 2008). 4. Adults who interact wi th schools judge their behavior and the behavior of others in terms of the policies and practices defined by the institution of school; in doing so, there is decreased likelihood that family members can be organized in any efforts to influence school. One possible exception is through interest convergence with school insiders who can mobilize the power of parents. In the sections that follow, I will explore these four themes in relation to their meanings for the interaction of families and school. Thereafte r, I will discuss the implications of this study for community organizers, parent teacher organizations, school teachers and administrators, education and school policymakers and family members School as a r elatively fixed social i nstitution This study demonstrates that the institution of school occurs at the level of the historic institution as well as across the district; however, the institution is not clearly located in the practices of a single school campus This became apparent in the responses I received to the question, "what is the

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163 purpose of school?" All study participants responded by describing a phenomenon with implications for larger society, but no study participant responded by discussing the purpose of a particular school building. How ever, in describing particular instances in which they interacted with school, study participants discussed their experiences with individual school professionals. From this, it became apparent that the school district in this study is part of a pervasive institution at the larger historical and soci et al level s although its aims are carried out at the level of the district and at specific school sites. At the specific school site, the school district employ s actors whose behaviors promote the values of the entire district Family members have access to the school building while not having access to the school district, a larger, more powerful historical and social institution Similarly, school professionals have different levels of capital within the insti tution of school at the level of the district Teachers were able to develop and implement practices that fulfill the values of the institution, although they did not have access to the institution and were unable to instigate change across or within the s chool district The s chool principal, on the other hand, ha s greater institutional capital, granting them access to district level employees who are able to make decisions that impact the functioning of the institution. There is bureaucracy within the sch ool district that sustains the status of the institution of school as a relatively fixed social entity with local campus es in which its aims are enacted. Below, I discuss the limitation associated with under clarified definition of the school institution. Purpose of school in c ontext A major lesson from this study is that although there may be shared understandings of the purpose of school, this purpose is qualified for a communit y in which achievement is low and where schools have not been successful.

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164 In such a communit y school ha s the added purpose of compensating for family members who are perceived as not knowing how to enact school practices at home, family members who believe that schools should meet the needs of their individual children, and studen ts who do not know how to participate in school and interact with their teachers in ways defined by schools as appropriate In this study, s chool professionals, community members, and family members agreed that the purpose of school was to help students a chieve academic skills while preparing them for adulthood. I found this to be a fascinating construct because members of the community and school professionals qualified the purpose of school in the local community as requiring some special consideration. Their views were that the purpose of school in the local community differed from the purpose of school in other communities. The difference is that the economic and cultural context of the community presented challenges that changed the way school was enac ted. T his suggests that, within the context of this study, there emerged a deficit view of the local community and a broad view of families and students as inadequate to achieving the purpose of school without additional support. This lens of the purpose o f school also was consistent with the broad sweeping school reform efforts occurring in the community. The school reform context involved multiple schools in the community experiencing major changes, despite resistance from families and members of the comm unity. Within this context, the voices of family and community members did not alter the plans of the district. In all cases, with one exception, school professionals were not able to alter the plans of the district, either. The inherent problem with the i dea of a qualified purpose of school is that it will lead to sustained inequity ; each school's purpose will differ significantly based on

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165 perceived needs, deficits, and assets of the community as defined by the institution While some schools are more succ essful at achieving national standards for student achievement and others may be more successful at preparing students for adulthood, as defined by college or career attainment, other school s may perceive that there is added, challenging work to do becaus e of the disconnection between the practices of school, the families of its students and the local community. Nonetheless, qualifying the purpose of school based on the local community context allows the institution of school, school professionals, and fa mily members to low er their expectations for students and families in these contexts without any change to conceptualizing the practices and purpose of school School remains fixed, as the location of the problem is with families and the community rather t han with the institution of school. Power r elations Another important lesson from this study is that the institution of school exercise s its power and individuals are not fully able to shift the distribution of power on their own. Power is defined as a c apacity to influence the behaviors of others (Handgraaf, Van Dijk, Vermunt, Wilke & De Dreu, 2008). Within the context of family school interaction, school exercises its power through the development and enactment of policies that determine the involvement of members of families and the practices of school professionals. In this study, the power to influence behavior belonged to the institution of school and its actors; this took on the form of families being invited or coerced to support the aims of the in stitution in order for their children to be successful in school. I began developing the se finding s around power relations by claiming that family members possessed individual power, as this seemed consistent with perspectives of

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166 family member involvement in school. My assumption was informed, in large part, by the language of parent power utilized by family partnership proponents such as the United States government. In examining the enactment of family power, however, it became clear that the family membe rs included in this study do not have power in the formal sense: the ability to directly influence the practices of the school in which their children are enrolled This is especially true in the context of family interaction with the school system. Family members do have the "power" to choose from a v ery narrow set of options such as selecting the school s their children attend and participating in school on school terms among other opportunities to respond to the practices and policies of the school dist rict The parent p ower focus of the U.S. Department of Education reflects eleven principles that parents should adopt as exercises of their power: a) be responsible, b) be committed, c) be positive, d) be patient, e) be attentive, f) be precise, g) be mind ful of mistakes, h) be results oriented, i) be diligent, j) be innovative, and k) be there ( United States Department of Education, 2010 ). I did not discover in this study evidence corroborating the school involvement of families as demonstration of their c apacity to influence the practices of school on their own Because the school district described the purpose of school as the development of academic skills and preparation for adulthood, family members were expected to engage in school in support of this purpose ; efforts to engage differently, such as in direct challenge to the fidelity of school's enactment of district policy, were directly rebuffed or not acknowledged by school employees School policies instantiated the purpose as defined by the schoo l district, even more deeply by articulating consequences for family members who did not comply. Essentially, the local school was able to restrict the access

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167 of family members, subsume their interests under the aims of school, and limit the involvement of family members to those that maintained the school status quo. If we categorize the practices of family members that are in support of school as a form of power, then the power of parents and families is legitimized for those whose practices align with t he institution. However, for those family members whose past experiences, current social and cultural context, and work and family responsibilities disrupt or contradict the practices of the school institution, their only options are to become aligned with school or resist. Resistance, however, is not very productive as an individual endeavor. Organizing with other family members may provide greater leverage for family members to influence the practices and policies of the institution of school, as this stu dy demonstrated that individual effort s to resist were rebuffed. There is potential for family members to collectively organize with the help of a n at large community member or school professional with institutional capital ; however, as this research demon strated, community members were not successful in organizing families, and the school professional s held a deficit view of the families and students they served. Individuals' Perceptions of Self and Others It also became apparent during this study that t he influence of the institution of school was even more far reaching than its policies suggested While school policies targeted the behaviors of family members, family members' responses to school policies showed that their self perceptions and their jud gments of others, were formed in response to school policies. As I talked with family members, community members, and school professionals, their descriptions of their own efforts were positioned in opposition to others. For this study, this comparison too k on the form of an Exceptional Self in

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168 which individuals from each participant category described their own, unique roles and practices as exemplary and good as compared to their peers or colleagues whose roles and practices were inadequate. School profes sionals and community members described themselves as really good at their work compared to others who were less good. For them, taking on the Exceptional Self was a way to display greater professional ability. Family members who took on the Exceptional Se lf, however, demonstrated a different outcome. As family members described themselves as good parents who engaged with schools correctly, compared to other family members whom they described as poorly engaged, they took on the identity of the institution i n order to legitimize their interactions with schools. Their taking on the identity of the institution was reflected in family members utilizing the school institutional lens of appropriate family involvement practices to diminish the behaviors of other fa mily members. A clear example of this was Tiffany's description of herself as "best friends with the principal" while describing other family members as uninvolved parents who blame schools whenever something goes wrong. This dichotomous perception came at the cost, however, of family members not partnering with other family members in support of the ir children at the local school, or in unified opposition to the dominance of the institution of school. Community members were aware of this and attempted to o rganize family members as activists opposed to the institution or as advocates working together in support of the local school. However, community members were not able to organize these family members to effectively counter the power of the institution of school. This was something that a school professional was able to do.

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169 Implications of the Study This study sought to understand the interaction of families and school by uncovering the perspectives of a relatively small number of family members, communit y members, and school professionals in a single community In developing an understanding of family school interaction as a phenomenon, this study provided evidence that family school interaction is distinct from other categories of family involvement in s chool. A major distinction of family school interaction is its departure from the default emphasis of the family involvement literature on school aims focused on academic achievement. Family school interaction necessarily troubles the notion that the purpo se of school is to achieve the aim of the institution, which is to provide academic skills for children in preparation for their adulthood. This is a widely accepted understanding of the school purpose. However, this view of the purpose of school effective ly marginalizes dissenting perspectives, particularly those of family and community members who have different hopes and expectations for school. In developing t he implications of this study I acknowledge that it is a formidable challenge to tease out la rger scale meaning from a relatively small sample size; nonetheless, the implications below indicate opportunities to better understand and respond to the institutional practice of marginalizing the voices of family and community members whose views of sch ool purpose are inconsistent with the policies and practices of the school institution. In the following section, I discuss the implications of this study for the work of parent teacher organizations, c ommunity members, schools and school professionals, fa mily members and education policymakers Implications are linked to an

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170 over arching finding, which is that although school policy invites the involvement of family members, their involvement is constrained by school practice Parent teacher o rganizations One implication of this study is directly related to the formal school organizations in which family members and school professionals interact. S chool based parent teacher organization provided a space for family members to become connected to one another and to learn about the context of a local school. Although several models of parent teacher organizations exist, I will draw upon the National PTA Association to elaborate on the implications of this study for such organizations. The National PTA Associa tion adopted a six standards framework as its National Standards for Family School Partnerships. These standards include: 1. Welcoming all families into the school community 2. Communicating effectively 3. Supporting student success 4. Speaking up for every child 5. Shar ing power 6. Collaborating with the community This framework builds upon the work of Joyce Epstein (1995, 2001), whose six levels of parent involvement identified the roles of family members in school and sought to expose and reduce the barriers that schools erect by only acknowledging the involvement of family members as participants in school programs. This has proved to be a helpful framework to support schools in recognizing the various ways that family members become involved in their children's learning.

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171 An important opportunity for parent teacher organizations is to rethink the ir practices and goals. For example, National PTA Standards as well as Epstein's framework maintain a narrow focus on what parents can do in support of school. Instead, parent t eacher organizations should consider the roles of family members more broadly than based on specific practices that support the status quo organization of school. A starting point for this work is to question the role of "sharing power," which Epstein refe rs to as "decision making." In their roles at the contact zones between the institution and the families their schools serve, school professionals can dismantle the enactment of school policies that marginalize family members and partner with family membe rs to co construct authentic opportunities for family members to be involved in their children's school. School professionals also can advocate for the institutional power of schools to shift toward the local community and the families of students. This st udy revealed that decision making roles for family members served only to co opt their participation in order to help schools achieve their aims. For these family members, co optation wa s not a true sharing of power as they we re involved in low impact deci sion making on topics previously filtered by the school's principal. As an alternative, parent teacher organizations should actually share power by sharing voice on all aspects of school that family members are willing to be involved in. Rather than thinki ng for family members by restricting opportunities for them to be involved, their involvement should be supported by school professionals with capital and access to institutional school power, leveraging that power in support of the equit able interaction o f family members.

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172 Community m embers This study also involved community members whose roles afford a significant opportunity for family school interaction. At large community members can be an effective resource when they are involved in the phenomenon of family school interaction. This study demonstrated that community members might be motivated by a deep sense of care and concern for the well being and thriving of their communities a feat to be achieved through successful schools. A disposition of care f or the community, both its present and future states, allows community members to establish trust with family members while thinking broadly about the impact of school policy on the experiences of family members. Their perspectives, informed by understandi ng school policies and the voices of family members, bring vital information to the phenomenon of family school interaction. First, because family members may face a contradiction between invitations for school involvement and constrained or restricted opp ortunities to be involved, community members can support family members in remaining engaged while responding to contradictions. For those family members who are unaware of school policies, which can be a challenge when access to information is restricted, community members can provide information access. Second, community members hav e the potential ability to generate unity within the local community in support of equity in family school interaction by organizing groups of family members Community member s at large occupy a unique position between schools and families, as they do not have to be focused on an individual child and / or be complicit with the institution of school. Because of this in between position, community organizers and activists can work strategically to leverage their social capital

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173 within the community to draw together family members and mitigate the enactment of the Exceptional Self and the Inadequate Other in the views of family members who have come to rely on these archetypes for the ir own legitimacy. In doing so, community members can support family members in identifying their own legitimacy as family members within a community that do not have to borrow legitimacy from being complicit with the school institution and delegitimizing their peers. In another sense, community members can use their social capital to mitigate the "crabs in a bucket" phenomenon that occurs between family members interacting with schools. The crabs in a bucket analogy refers to individuals diminishing the importance of others who achieve success beyond theirs. Community members also can draw upon their positions outside of the institution to generate buy in f rom family members who resist the power of school, while drawing upon their understandings of school practices to generate buy in from family members who align with the institution. Achieving these ends would require that community members acknowledge and develop their hybrid roles. In these ways, community organizers and activists can become effective agents for helping broaden the views of family members beyond their own children toward considering the endeavor of school for all children within the community. Building coalitions amongst family members in this way can impact schools as well as the local community. The impacts to the community, which occur through the efforts of community members to build coalitions amongst family members, might include the organizing of the voices of family members to respond to practices of school reform whether in resi stance or in support. Additionally, community members can support

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174 family members in being informed about changes within the local school district as well as at their child's school. School s and school p rofessionals For school teachers and principals, tw o distinct points of action emerge from this study. School teachers are able to leverage their individual relationships with students and their families to create new spaces for family members to be involved in the education of their children School princ ipals, on the other hand, are able to utilize their institutional capital to build new understandings of the purpose of school based on the insights and values of their students' families. Both school teachers and principals can rely on their students' fam ilies to reconceptualize the purpose of school so that the practices of school rely less rigidly on district policy and more so on the values and history of the members of the local community. In this way, the practices of schooling can shift to focus on t he education of the community's youth which involves their development within a situated context. To be specific, s chool teachers and principals can provide access to school space and information while seeking family member buy in. School professionals c an communicate interactively with family members to learn what they identify as the needs of their children Family members are likely to be concerned with their entire child rather than academic performance alone. Thus, when teachers and administrators co mbine th e insight of family members with best practices based on empirical research the opportunities to ground family school interaction in the values and interests of the local community can be broad Such a combination of family members' knowledge and wisdom, combined with educational experience, research and scholarship, can lead the way to new purposes of public school.

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175 Family members and school professionals working together to make the endeavor of school about educating children and children's lea rning rather than academic achievement in isolation, may be able to effectively shift the balance of power in favor of families and local communities. For example, in response to events such as school co location during school reform processes, school pro fessionals can share important information with family members about the implications of school reform decisions. If this is the case, which this study suggests is likely through Linda's negotiation of a meeting between family members and the local school district, then the concept of parent power can reflect the actual power of family members influencing the educative school experiences of their children. However, the challenge to this work is that interests must converge rather that conflict or diverge. A chieving this shifting power and creation of new understandings of school requires school professionals' navigation of information and interests in support of re conceptualized family power The challenge, however, is that instigating institutional change on behalf of family members and the community is undermined by deficit perspectives, an inability to deeply understand the interests and needs of the community and its families, and a lack of both institutional and community credibility. Although hybridize d agency is open and fluid, maintaining fluidity in the zones of contact demands the balancing of interests of multiple voices, a tremendous challenge for school professionals More specific to the implications of this research for the work of school pri ncipals, there is an added opportunity to build upon their access to the institutional power of school on behalf of the collective families of their students. District policies that require schools to include decision making bodies made up of family and co mmunity

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176 members can be utilized as points of leverage for school principals who wish to be deeply and meaningfully connected to the community. This will require, however, that school principals develop and maintain an assets based focus on the local commun ity and its families rather than focusing on deficits An assets based focus should become integral to the local school culture In some of the most challenging schools, this would require principals to look beyond the few family members who already are ac tive and work to build greater involvement and participation from less active family members in order to tap into their community based local knowledge and values. Accomplishing this would require two significant steps. First, principals will have to build relationships with community organizers and activists, rather than relying on formal organizations and special interest groups for community support. Additionally, school principals will have to challenge deficit perspectives of the local community and it s families held historically by the institution of school and often by district and school personnel. Deficit perspectives undermine equity and lead to interactions with family members that seek to repair them. Seeking to leverage local assets will provide a broader range of access to family members who can provide people power to support the deep integration of schools into the community as well as critical le nses about the work of schools. Family members An implication of this research for family membe rs stems from the ways in which invitations to be involved in schools require family members to focus on their own children. Focusing on one's own child diminish es the collective power of family members and this is effectively accomplished through school based invitations for family member involvement in school

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177 This study revealed that the policies and practices of a school district to involve family members to participate can exist alongside policies that specify penalties for family members who do not participate in schools in ways that are consistent with the values and behaviors of the institut ion. Awareness of this contradiction is important for family members to develop and maintain in their interactions with school. In response to school policies family members can work together, with at large community members, and with school professionals to devel op coalitions and relationships to combine family members' efforts to support their own children and to bring attention to contradictions in family inv olvement policies and practices Combining efforts can lead to more productive interactions with schools that satisfy family members as well as schools C ombining efforts can also build toward active attention directed toward school policies that are suppo rted by the institutional power of school, which severely restricted the individual power of families By combining efforts, family members can reverse the practice of diminishing the value or ignoring the efforts of other family members whose behaviors do not align with the values and practices of the institution. Instead, family members can strengthen the school community relationship by bringing a collective, community focus into their involvement with schools rather than focusing on their individual chi ld. Additionally, family members can improve their children's school experiences by broadening their perspective to think of the well being and school success of all children. Developing a perspective that recognizes and seeks to support each of the childr en enrolled in a school can challenge the individualistic focus generated by school invitations to family members to support their own children

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178 Education p olicymakers Education policy is developed at the federal and state level s as well as within local school districts. This study focuses on education policy within local school districts that involve s the work of local school boards and district superintendents. As this study suggests school board members and district superintendents should take care to craft policies that are informed by a broad array of constituents, including community members and family members. Crafting district policies that are informed by family and community members requires the development and enactment of community engagement strategies that involve broad representation of impacted communities and the prioritizing of family and community member voices and perspectives. Contradictions, such as that between parent involvement policies and school practices, can prevail when these constituents are not involved in the development of school district policies. Developing school district policies that are informed by the community can provide meaningful collaborative opportunities that will increase buy in from the community as well as reduce the dominance of school institutional power over family and community members. Achieving this, however, depends upon including family and community members beyond those who are routinely or likely to be involved a result of historical practices of marginalization that increase the likelihood that family members who do not conform to school norms and values will remain on the margins. The onus to involve family and community members in processes to develop policies belongs to school districts, and ca reful steps must be taken to avoid practices of exclusion. If policymakers engage more broadly in the development of education policy through policymaking with the community and families rather than for them, then

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179 policies can become tools to achieve equi ty. Further, in developing policies through meaningful engagement with local community members, policymakers can facilitate the re distribution of institutional power through co constructing the purposes of school and the roles of family members and school professionals. In doing so, family members less likely be marginalized by their interactions with the institution of school and schools would be shared with the communities they serve. This should be the aim of community grounded schools. Limitations of t he Study The findings of this study must be considered in light of several limitations related to the meaning of power as it was conceived for this study, participant sampling the study context and presence of researcher bias I discuss each of these be low. Power This study is limited by its conceptualization of an institutional and individual power dichotomy I utilized a critical definition of power as a capacity to influence the behaviors of others (Handgraaf, Van Dijk, Vermunt, Wilke & De Dreu, 200 8). This lens acknowledges that power exists in the broad array of interactions between individuals, groups, and social systems and the presence of disproportionate power owned and exercised by dominant social groups and their institutions significantly i mpacts the nature of interaction This view of power, consistent with a critical theoretical perspective assumes that dominant groups and their institutions oppress marginalized groups and, particularly, individuals in situated interaction s although the f orms of power and specific relations will vary. A lternate view s of power may uncover greater and more nuanced complexity in its dynamics, particularly those views that consider the agency of the individuals and groups who act to subvert institutional and s ocial power structures.

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180 These alternate views inform an interesting opportunity for further study. However, in this study, available data showed those attempts of individuals to alter systemic power ineffective Ineffective attempts to alter systemic power do not align with power as it has been conceptualized for this study This conceptualization of power is not intended to indicate that family members do not have agency Defining power as the capacity to influence the behavior of another intends to locate the relations of power as they are situated and enacted in the community by family members who are interacting with their children's school. Further, the particular relations analyzed here have been considered in a particular social and geographic communi ty at present and in very recent history. This analysis does not take into account temporal and social lenses on the enactments of power which may demonstrate shifting processes of power relations between families and schools. In relying upon a binary rel ationship between individual and institutional power there is a missed opportunity to examine power more broadly than in situated actions in a present context, which aligns more directly to the experiences of a specific sample of family members In a subs equent study, I would examine power in more depth, with attentio n to social and temporal scales as well as a broader view of the efforts of multiple family members across time, such that the enactment of family members' power could be better understood wit hin the context of the interaction with the institution of school over time Sampling m ethod A challenge of conducting a study of this size and scope is that the sample size may be too small to achieve adequate variation of participants, responses, and experiences. Because the group of study participants was not larger, I did not achieve information redundancy or thematic saturation. Because of this, each of the

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181 findings must be held considered with this limitation in mind For example, it is a reasonabl e critique of this study that there may be a wider variety of school experiences of family members in response to school invitations. Similarly, there is likely a broader range of roles of family and community members than those that emerged in this study, particularly in communities of different racial, ethnic, and economic contexts. What mitigates, to a degree, the limitation of the sample size of interviewees is triangulation of that data with the phone logs and archival policy records. Each of the dat a sources utilized for this study became vital to the overall study, including each of the findings. At times, I relied more upon analysis of policy documents, such as to understand the school district's stated purpose of school. At other times, I relied m ore heavily upon interview data, such as to understand themes in the experiences of school professionals or family and community members in their interactions. In particular, the telephone call records emerged as a particularly salient data source, both as tools for triangulation as well as sources of the voices of a wider range of family members. As such, each of the data sources contributed significantly to my analysis of data and development of findings. Another limitation of this study, related to sampl ing method, is in the limitations associated with the key informant interviews, particularly given the short time frame guiding identification of key informants and their relatively limited interviews. The use of key informants in this study was limited in that my interviews with key informants did not occur "intensively over an extensive period of time for the purpose of providing a relatively complete ethnographical description of the social and cultural patterns" of the community context (Tremblay, 1957) Although I began with key informants to

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182 understand the study context and identify study participants, the perspectives of key informants were highly contextualized by their roles in the community and school as well as their perspectives of school and sch ool reform in the community of study. This led to tumultuous waters to tread, as each of the key informants provided a distinct perspective of the study context, and at times, these perspectives were conflicting. Without extensive interaction with the key informants over time, this study has the added limitation of potentially inadequate depth. However, given the multiple roles of the key informants for this study, I made the conscious decision to interview key informants whose roles varied rather than mul tiple members of one constituent group I sought out key informants with direct school connections as well as key informants who were embedded in the local community but were not directly involved in schools. This decision was made in order to extend the b readth of the study across the community context while accessing multiple layers of the community and schools. Also, each of the key informants provided access to different components of the study context and participants. With a school professional key in formant, I was able to access other school professionals; a community activist provided access to sites in the community where community members were likely to be accessible; a community organization director was able to provide access to family and commun ity members. Additionally, the use of multiple data sources, along with the key informant interviews, provided a rich overall set of data. Another limitation of this study, inherent in the use of a convenience sampling strategy, is that multiple voices were excluded from the sample. I used a convenience sampling approach to access a broad range of study participants who were affiliated with

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183 a school or community organization. However, there were other community organizations, including churches and educa tion advocacy groups, that could have been included in this study as well. The limitation that the convenience sampling technique imposes, particularly in the application of convenience sampling at a particular study site, is that alternate voices may be m issing from this study Also, the times that I visited community sites to conduct street interviews may not have been times when many members of the community were present at the location. Such a limitation also means that important voices may have been ex cluded from this study. While t he total number of in person study participants ( N = 35 ) also reflects a study limitation, a total of 17 people were included in the group interviews and face to face interviews with individuals. Another 18 people were include d in the street interviews, which sought to elicit a broader range of perspectives for this study. Additionally, I analyzed 74 telephone calls and made several observations at both study sites. A nalyzing telephone call records provided an opportunity to le arn about the school interactions of a broader range of family members. The third limitation of this study related to the sampling techniques is the representation of study participants from different demographic groups. The community of study included re sidents from Latino and African American groups as well as a smaller proportion of White, Asian, and Native residents. The limitation of the sampling techniques that I used is located in the absence of voices of family members from different racial and eth nic groups. My sampling and interview methods did not include identifying study participants as members of different demographic contexts, although nearly all study participants from families or the community appeared to be Latino and

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184 African American. Thi s includes the street interview participants. Similarly, at the school site, all but one of the scho ol professionals was a W hite female. The school principal self identified as Latina during my interview with her. Without intentional attention devoted towa rd understanding the perspectives of members of demographic groups, whose experiences in school may differ significantly fr om others (Ladson Billings, 1998 ; Olivos, 2006), this study is limited. Identifying and interviewing family members from different de mographic groups represents a potential direction for future research. Study l ocation The location of this study imposes another significant limitation. I conducted this study in a community context that has been locally described as urban, although its u rban designation is the result of its racial and economic composition rather than its population density. The community in which I conducted this study had 30,348 residents (based on available 2010 statistical data) and an average household income of $52,1 42, which was approximately $3000 lower than the city average. Also, this was not an urban context as compared to other major U.S. cities that are much more densely populated and containing more substantial income disparities. The local community context i ncludes school reform efforts that are disproportionate compared to other communities within the city. Thus, this study is limited by a narrowly defined urban context within a broader city education landscape in which community school contexts vary widely. In considering the district, i.e., phone logs, policies, and even the school's enrollment area, versus the limited spatial context of the families, this analysis is actually engaging different spatial contexts. Thus, the generalizability of the findings o f this study even to other school and district communities is significantly limited.

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185 Another limitation imposed by this study is the shifting context imposed by the district's school selection process. The policies for family members to select schools f or their children permitted them to enroll their children in schools outside of the community. The community in which I conducted this study had the largest under 18 population in the entire city, although nearly twenty percent of school aged children enro lled in schools outside of the community. This lack of school and community alignment was not adequately examined in this study, and the likely consequence is that family members who decided to enroll their children in schools outside of the local communit y were absent from this study. Although a small number of those family members were included in the street interviews, their relative absence is a limitation to this study. Researcher bias The fourth major limitation of this study is the critical stance utilized to examine family school interaction. Unlike completely grounded approaches to understanding social phenomena, I entered the research context utilizing a critical perspective seeking to understand the forms of power relations between school and f amilies. I did not assume that the context of school was completely balanced and equitable for families. Nor did I assume that the institution of school is benign. On the contrary, I assumed that inequitable power relations would be present, favoring the d ominance of school as an institution of the dominant culture. The associated data collection procedures and discussion of findings were heavily influenced by this perspective, from which I did not aim to depart during the conduct of this study. Instead, I embraced this critical lens, and utilized a more grounded approach to the development of study findings. The limitation of thi s perspective is that possibilities of hope and building upon nuance and complexity may be subordinated to understanding the forms of

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186 institutional dominance This is not to deny the discourse of what is possible. Instead, this study identifies the relations of power between schools and families as a step toward exploring and examining possibilities and nuances at multiple levels. Su ch opportunities for further study are discussed in greater detail below. Contribution and Opportunities for Further Study In spite of the limitations of the study, the contributions of this study are: 1. Exposure of the ways in which school policies margi nalize family members, which occurs in contrast to the invitations extended to family members to be involved in school. 2. A demonstration of the ways in which power relations between school (at the levels of the local school and school district) and familie s occur through the contradictions between school district policy and local school practice 3. An analysis of the individualism that emerges as family members navigate the constraints and opportunities of being involved in their child's school. A form of th e individualism of family members emerges through their emphasis on their own children which is encouraged by school, district, local, state, and federal policies and guidelines. A second form of the individualism of family members emerges in the ways in which they talk about themselves compared to other family members Both of these forms of family member individualism inform future research opportunities for education researchers, equity implications for policymakers, and organizing principles for commun ity organizers.

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187 4. An understandin g of the potential role of schoo l professionals as supporters of family members' access to the institutional power of school while meaningfully supporting the work of schools to help students develop academic skills. 5. A conne ction to existing critical perspective s of schooling, by specifically highlighting the ways power relations are played out between schools and families in this situated context 6. Exposure of the ways in which the practices of school create contradictions f or family members as they attempt to be involved in schools. The focus of this research could be meaningfully expanded based on further study intended to incorporate voices that are missing from this study. These voices include the representative perspec tives of family members from the different demographic groups that make up the study context. By directing attention to these family members, the implications of race, ethnicity, and income for the interaction of families and schools can be investigated an d better enhance our understandings of the phenomenon of family school interaction. Also, this study could be duplicated in other contexts in order to investigate which aspects of the power relations suggested here hold across contexts and which do not. Th is would allow us to better understand the role of context in family school interaction. Further investigation of the perspectives of key informants to understand the locations and practices of school institutional power in the local community as well as the ways in which family members enact their agency and power, also would be a useful addition to this research. In investigating the institutional power of school through the

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188 perspectives of key informants in schools and the community, our understanding of the true complexities of family school interaction would be enhanced. This work also would further trouble the unquestioned acceptance of the purpose of school as academic achievement and preparation for adulthood reflected in the current literature of the field and enacted through school practice Key informants would provide powerful insights into the perspectives of family and community members whose voices can inform our understanding of the endeavor of public schooling in such a way that schools are more directly informed by the local community context. Key informants also can broaden our understanding of the institutional complexities of school and the social complexities of the community, while helping us to identify leverage points for building co llaboration amongst family members. In doing so, key informants can inform our understanding of how to use family and community coalitions as opportunities for school professionals, such as principals, to mitigate the imbalance of power by bringing the voi ces of the community to the school district, which is a space that this study found family members are unable to access on their own. Further examination can be conducted to deepen our understanding of the hybri d roles of school professionals. As the ind ividualism of family members is reinforced by school practices that reinforce policies and marginalize families, the efforts of school professionals to advocate for families are undermined by deficit perspectives of families and the community. In cases whe n school professionals really believe that their work is altruistic and motivated by deep concern and care for students, deficit perspectives of families or the community may counter school professionals' efforts to meaningfully involve families or the com munity. The field of parent and family involvement in school

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189 can gain important theoretical and conceptual depth through research into the complexities of practice as hybridized individuals at contact zones between the institution of school and the local c ommunity. This research agenda can inform more nuanced understandings of the power relations between the school institution (at the local, district, and socio historical levels) and members of families and the local community. The local school and social context in which I conducted this study was impacted by a school reform climate in which several schools were designated for school turnaround because of consecutive years of low academic performance. The designation of schools for turnaround was a tumult uous process in which community members and family members were resistant and oppositional to the turnaround decisions. Nonetheless, school turnaround occurred and family members had to navigate a rapidly shifting education climate in order to select schoo ls for their children. The process of designating schools for turnaround, despite opposition and resistance from the community suggests a broader arena for the types of power relations described in this study, one that is also an opportunity for further r esearch. Conclusions I began this research in an effort to understand the phenomenon of family school interaction, a phenomenon that I conceptualized more broadly than family involvement which emphasizes family member support of the institution of school. I conclude this research with an explication of the complex nature of family school interaction that involves school professionals and community members as hybridized actors on behalf of the institution of school and the families within local community co ntexts.

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190 Through face to face interviews with individuals, group interviews, street interviews, document analysis, and observation field notes, the perspectives of members of families and a local community as well as school professionals were collected and analyzed for this study. While it was not clear that family members wanted to focus on the larger endeavor of school, t hese perspectives revealed that family members focused on their own children because the larger institution of school prohibited their f ocus on the institution. Community members who sought to co develop a broader lens on the institution in their work with family members were not successful on their own. The study methods informed four findings which revealed that the parent and family inv olvement policies and practices of schools act to restrict family members' access to being involved in their children's schools despite invitations for their school involvement There is a contradiction in school's practice of inviting families into school s to support school aims, while restricting family member access to the institution. This contradiction, which is embedded in school policies and evident at the local school level, must be resolved so that the school supported and encouraged involvement of family members in school is responsive to the voices and perspectives of family members alongside the voices and perspectives of school professionals. Engaging members of families in schools often appears to be in reaction to poor academic trends such as achievement gaps, attendance patterns, test scores, and discipline records. Such reactions are likely to result in dependence on existing systems and structures, and from this it is unlikely that family engagement in any form can dismantle oppressive syst ems characteristic of existing family school interaction, or result in meaningful change. However, critically re imagined interactions between schools and

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191 families in ways that actually empower and truly involve family members may have power to change the system. Referring to the school involvement of family members as a form of power is inadequate as it fails to acknowledge the institutional power of school that controls the context within which family members interact with school As school professionals community members and family members collectively and individually interact with the institution of school, there is a tremendous opportunity to imagine and pursue a new school endeavor that is deeply grounded in the local community and its families. Whi le achieving this will require coalitions built across schools, homes, communities and societies, allowing the current supporters only emphasis of family involvement literature and practice to continue will only lead to further narrowing of the practices o f school and more deeply isolated students whose participation in society is facilitated by an institution that intentionally marginalizes their families and communities.

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207 Oreg, S., & Sverdlik, N. (2011). Ambivalence toward imposed change: The conflict between dispositional resistanc e to change and the orientation toward the change agent. Journal of Applied Psychology 96 (2), 337. Paperson, L. (2010). The postcolonial ghetto: Seeing her shape and his hand. Berkeley Review of Education 1 (1). Parental involvement: Title I, Part A: No n regulatory guidance (2004). U.S. Department of Education. Patton, M. Q. (2002). Qualitative Research & Evaluation Methods (3 rd ed.). Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications. Perkins, D. N. (1985). Reasoning as imagination. Interchange, 16 (1), 14 26. Perna, L. W ., & Titus, M. A. (2005). The relationship between parental involvement as social capital and college enrollment: An examination of racial/ethnic group differences. The Journal of Higher Education, 76 (5), 485 518. Phoenix, A. (2009). De colonising practice s: negotiating narratives from racialised and gendered experiences of education. Race Ethnicity and Education 12 (1), 101 114. Pike, A., Iervolino, A. C., Eley, T. C., Price, T. S., & Plomin, R. (2006). Environmental risk and young children's cognitive and behavioral development. International Journal of Behavioral Development 30 (1), 55 66. Pratt, M. L. (1991). Arts of the contact zone. Profession 33 40.

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211 Turney, K., & Kao, G. (2009). Barriers to school involvement: Are immigrant parents disadvantaged?. The Journal of Educational Research 102 (4), 257 271. Tyack, D., & Cuban, L. (1995). Tinkering Toward Utopia Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. UNESCO (1994). The project 2000+ declaration: The way forward Paris: UNESCO. United States Census Bureau (2010). Computer and internet use in the United States. Retrieved from http://www.census.gov/hhes/computer/. United States Department of Education (2010). Parent power: Build the bridge to success (2010). U.S. Department of Education. Washington, D.C. United States Department of Education (20 04). Paren tal involvement: Title I, Part A: Non regulatory guidance. Retrieved from www.ed.gov/programs/ titleipart a/ parent invguid.doc Warf, B. Sa nta Arias (red.)(2009) The spatial t urn: Interdisciplinary Perspectives Warren, M. (2005). Communities and schools: A ne w view of urban education reform. Harvard Educational Review, 75 (2), 133 173. Wilson, B. (1981). The cultural contexts of science and mathematics education: Preparation of a bibliographic guide. Studies in Science Education, 8 27 44. Yosso, T. J. (2005). Whose culture has capital? A critical race theory discussion of community cultural wealth. Race Ethnicity and Education, 8 (1), 69 91. Youn, A. (n.d.). Physician=God complex? Retrieved from http://freelancemd.com/blog/2011/8/6/physician god complex.html.

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212 Yo un, M. J., Leon, J., & Lee, K. J. (2012). The influence of maternal employment on children's learning growth and the role of parental involvement. Early Child Development and Care 182 (9), 1227 1246. Young, M. D. (1999). Multifocal educational policy rese arch: Toward a methodology for enhancing traditional educational policy studies. American Educational Research Journal, 36 (4), 677 714. Young, M. W., & Helvie, S. R. (1996). Parent power: A positive link to student success. The Journal of Educational Issue of Language Minority students, 16 (11). Zigler, E., & Valentine, J. (Eds.). (1979). Project Head Start: A legacy of the War on Poverty New York: The Free Press.

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213 APPENDIX A CONCEPT MAP IMAGE

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214

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215 APPENDIX B INTERVIEW QUE STION GUIDES

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216 Key Informant Interview Research Question: What is the purpose of schools as understood by families community members and members of schools ? What understandings do families have of their roles in local school design? How and why do famil y school interactions occur? How do families and community identify and respond to efforts to engage them in schools? Key Informant Interview (School Principal, Community Leader) Question Guide 1. Describe your role at this school and in the Chelsea Park community. a. What brought you to this school and community? 2. How would you describe the relationship between families and schools? 3. What types of interactions occur between families and schools? a. What are the roles and relationships between families and school s? (probe for role construction and roles of families in school design) 4. In what ways do district policies and practices regarding family involvement influence practices of involving families at this school? (for principal only): a. Are there family involveme nt practices at this school that you would describe as innovative? (probe for purpose of schooling and role of families) b. At this school, what are the characteristics of families that you would describe as the most involved (the least involved)? c. Which schoo l personnel are most effective at involving families? In what ways? (for Community Leader only): d. How do you perceive the efforts of schools to involve family and community members? e. For what types of things are family and community members invited to be in volved? 5. How would you describe the overall purpose of public schooling? 6. From your perspective, what is the purpose of school in a community such as Chelsea Park ? a. What role or roles do school teachers and administrators have achieving in this purpose? b. What role or roles do family members hold in achieving this purpose?

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217 Semi structured Interview Research Question: What is the purpose of schools as understood by families community members and members of schools ? What understandings do families have of th eir roles in local school design? How and why do family school interactions occur? How do families and community members identify and respond to efforts to engage them in schools? Semi structured Interview (community agents, parent school leaders) Ques tion Guide 1. How do you see your role as a member of this community? 2. What is the relationship between schools and families in Chelsea Park ? a. Is this similar to or different from your perception of the relationship between schools and families in other communi ties? (probe for perceptions of community characteristics) 3. What are some reasons for families to be involved in schools? (probe for opportunities and purposes for family involvement) 4. What opportunities exist for families to be involved in schools? a. In what ways do families respond to these efforts ? (probe for family members' responses to engagement efforts) 5. To what degree are families and members of the community involved in school decision making? 6. What is the purpose of schooling? 7. From your perspective, wha t is the purpose of school in a community such as Chelsea Park ? a. What role or roles do school teachers and administrators have achieving in this purpose? b. What role or roles do family members hold in achieving this purpose?

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218 Group Interview Research Questio n: What is the purpose of schools as understood by families community members and members of schools ? What understandings do families have of their roles in local school design? How and why do family school interactions occur? How do families and commu nity members identify and respond to efforts to engage them in schools? Group Interview (family members, parent school leaders) Question Guide 1. Please introduce yourselves to other group members by telling us your name and your connection to this school and community. How long have you been a part of this school and/or community? 2. What do you see is the purpose for school? 3. What do you see as the relationship between school and the families of its students? 4. To what degree are you or other members of this co mmunity involved in the school? a. How, or why not? (probe for response to efforts to engage family and community members in schools) 5. What opportunities are there for you and other members of this community to be involved in this school? a. How do you respond t o these opportunities? (probe #2 for response to efforts to engage family and community members in school) b. How are families and members of the Chelsea Park Community involved in determining what type of school this is? (probe for roles in school design) 6. T hinking about the family school connection that we just discussed, what are some other things that may be helpful for me to know?

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219 Street Interview Research Question: What is the purpose of schools as understood by families community members and members of schools ? What understandings do families have of their roles in local school design? How and why do family school interactions occur? How do families and community members identify and respond to efforts to engage them in schools? Unstructured "St reet" Interview (family members, parent school leaders) Question Guide 1. How would describe the purpose of schools? 2. What is the relationship between schools and the families and communities where they are located? 3. From your perspective, what is the role of families and other members of this community in determining what types of schools there are? 4. What is your sentiment about the schools in Chelsea Park ? Do you see this sentiment as similar to that of others in this community?

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220 APPENDIX C STREET INTERVIEW QUESTIONNAIRE

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221 Street Interview Questionnaire Research Question: What is the purpose of schools as understood by families community members and members of schools ? What understandings do families have of their roles in local school design? How and why do family school interactions occur? How do families and community members identify and respond to efforts to engage them in schools? Unstructured "Street" Interview 1. Are you a member of the Chelsea Park community? _________ a. If yes in wh at way? b. If yes are you a family member of a student who attends a Chelsea Park area school? _________ c. If yes for how long have you been a resident of Chelsea Park ? __________ 2. In a single word (or phrase), please complete the foll owing statement: Schools in Chelsea Park are _____________. a. Why did you choose to describe schools in Chelsea Park in this way? 3. What role do families and the community have in schools in Chelsea Park ? 4. In general, what is the purpose of s chools? 5. If you were to give schools in Chelsea Park a grade for achieving this purpose, what grade would you give? _______ a. Why? 6. If you were to give Chelsea Park families and the community a grade for achieving this purpose, what gr ade would you give? _______ a. Why? Thanks. Hand out flyer with more info, in case they are interested.

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222 APPENDIX D LIST OF DISTRICT POLICIES AND BRIEF DESCRIPTIONS

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223 District Policy Document Brief Description Public Comment Sessions Provides guideli nes for community members who wish to make public comments during School Board meetings. Guidelines include length of time allotted for individual or group public comments, type of language prohibited, and Board authority to alter time allotted for public comment. Preschool Council Provides guidelines for Preschool Council membership, duties, and meeting frequency. Preschool council must include two parents of preschool children and two members of the local business community, among others. Community Us e of School Facilities Provides a general guideline for use of public school facilities for non school events; stipulates that buildings and facilities are "available to the community for the use of responsible organizations or groups of citizens when sch ool is not in session ." Board of Education Articulates the vision and mission of Metropolitan Public Schools, including its emphasis on preparing students for "success in life, work, civic responsibility, and higher education." Also includes 5 Core Belief s held by District. Grade Retention or Acceleration of Students Elementary and Middle School Procedures Provides procedural guidelines for acceleration or retention of students in elementary or middle grades, typically K 8. Also describes parent's right to determine whether her/his child is retained or accelerated. Visitors to Schools Provides guidelines for parents and other citizens of the district to visit the school and classrooms. Also clarifies that the guidelines are somewhat different when paren ts are invited by school personnel. Also discusses prohibition of use of controlled substances on school campuses. Public Concerns and Complaints Provides guidelines for members of the public who have concerns and wish to file formal complaints or grievan ces. Also describes the proper channeling of complaints involving instruction, discipline or learning materials." Home Schooling Provides guidelines for children to receive academic instruction under arrangements for home study. Includes specific proced ures for parents/guardians to follow in making these arrangements. Also includes academic requirements to be met for on going home schooling. Public Conduct on School Property Describes actions and behaviors that are not permitted on school property. Cont ains a section with the header Restriction of parents and legal guardians from school grounds. Also describes conditions under which parent/guardian restriction from school property may be lifted. Voluntary School Initiated Design Articulates legal co ntext under which school design can occur; also defines school design as to the educational program offered by a school, including but not limited to the subject matter taught,

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224 programs and methods of instruction, assessments, use of staff, organization o f the school year and day, and school based rules. Also articulates Board of Education's interest in school designs that meet the unique needs of a school community and expand choice options for students and families in Metropolitan City. Comprehensive Accountability System Describes a major emphasis of the District as leading the nation in "student achievement, high school graduation, college preparation and college matriculation." Describes accountability system as setting standards for students, emp loyees, schools and departments including principals, teachers, managers and other employees. Family Life/Sex Education Describes the role of schools in providing family life education to students; articulates that the primary responsibility belongs to parents," and schools, churches, and other community agencies should support parents in this. Also provides guidelines for teacher training prior to providing family life education to students. Collaborative School Committees Provides guidelines for the presence of Collaborative School Committees at every school in the District, including membership ( representation from parents, community, faculty, administrators and classified staff), purpose and scope of these Committees. Also provides guidelines for wh at the Committees will and will not do. Parent Involvement Describes parents and guardians as the partners of teachers and other staff in educating children. Describes the roles of Central Administration and local school personnel in working with parent s and guardians. Also describes the roles of parents and guardians in working with schools. Also describes briefly a district wide parent advisory council, to be approved by Superintendent, tasked to make recommendations to the Board regarding parent invol vement strategies. Community Use of School Facilities Procedures Provides guidelines for determining the use of school facilities by organizations within the community, including restricted facilities such as classrooms and teacher work rooms. Also categ orizes community agencies District School Organizations, Not for Profit organizations, and Commercial private. Provides rental fee structures for each and care of facility guidelines. Educational Philosophy/School District Mission Describes the mission of the Metropolitan Public Schools as "to provide all students the opportunity to achieve the knowledge and skills necessary to become contributing citizens in our diverse society." Alternative Grade Level Organization in Neighborhood Schools (K 8 Policy) P rovides guidelines for configuration of schools that do not maintain traditional neighborhood school designs. Provides guidelines for consistent implementation of school program in alternative grade level organization schools as in traditional schools. Als o discusses school choice as evidence of parent and community support.

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225 APPENDIX E STUDY INFORMATION SHEET ( Participant Recruitment Letter )

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226 Study Information Sheet Study Title: Spaces of Family School Interaction Principal Investigator: Antwan Jefferson You are being asked to be in a research study. This form provides you with information about the study. A member of the research team will describe this study to you and answer all of your questions. Please read the information below a nd ask questions about anything you don't understand before deciding whether or not to take part. Why is this study being done? This study plans to learn about people's perceptions of family engagement in schools in the Chelsea Park Community of Metropolit an City You are being asked to be in this research study because you are a member of the Chelsea Park Community and because you may have a connection with elementary schools in the Chelsea Park Community. Up to 112 people from your area will participate i n the study. What happens if I join this study? If you join the study, you will be interviewed by a researcher. You will be asked to share your thoughts and opinions about family engagement in schools in this community. You also will be asked to discuss yo ur school related experiences as a member of the school and greater Chelsea Park community. The interview will last one and one half hours. In this study I will be recording the group interview. I will use an electronic recording device. I will keep this i nformation secure and private. I will store it for 7 years. At the end of that time, I will destroy it. What are the possible discomforts or risks? You may feel uncomfortable in the interview and are free to leave at any time. This study may include risks that are unknown at this time. What are the possible benefits of the study? This study is designed for the researcher to learn about the opinions that people hold about the engagement of families in schools. This study also is designed for the researcher to learn about the relationships between schools and families in the Chelsea Park community. There may be risks, as discussed in the section describing the discomforts or risks. Will I be paid for being in the study? You will not be paid for being in thi s study. Will I have to pay for anything? It will not cost you anything to be in the study. Is my participation voluntary? Taking part in this study is voluntary. You have the right to choose not to take part in this study. If you choose to take part, yo u have the right to stop at any time. If you refuse or decide to withdraw later, you will not lose any benefits or rights to which you are entitled.

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227 Who do I call if I have questions? The researcher carrying out this study is Antwan Jefferson. You may ask any questions you have now. If you have questions, concerns, or complaints later, you may call Antwan Jefferson at .720.432.9256. You will be given a copy of this form to keep. You may have questions about your rights as someone in this study. You can c all Antwan Jefferson with questions. You can also call the responsible Institutional Review Board (COMIRB). You can call them at 303 724 1055. Who will see my research information? We will do everything we can to keep your records a secret. It cannot be guaranteed. Both the records that identify you and the consent form signed by you may be looked at by others. These include: Federal agencies that monitor human subject research People at the Colorado Multiple Institutional Review Board (COMIRB) The Unite d States Food and Drug Administration (US FDA) Regulatory officials from the institution where the research is being conducted who want to make sure the research is safe The results from the research may be shared at a meeting. The results from the resear ch may be in published articles. Your name will be kept private when information is presented. Agreement to be in this study I have read this paper about the study or it was read to me. I understand the possible risks and benefits of this study. I know that being in this study is voluntary. I choose to be in this study: I will get a copy of this consent form. Signature: _____________________________________ _____________________ __ __ Date: ________________ Print Name: __________________________________ _________________ ________ Print Name: _________________________________________________ ____________ Investigator: _____________________________________________________________

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228 APPENDIX F RECRUITMENT FLYER

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229 About the Study: This study is being done t o understand the interactions between families and schools in the Chelsea Park community. Understanding these interactions can help educators and members of the community respond to the learning needs of students in the Chelsea Park community. The best way to understand how schools and families interact is to ask. This study involves educators, community members, and family members. This will be done through individual and group interviews. If you are interested in participating in this study, or if you h ave questions about this study, contact information is provided below. Basic Eligibility Criteria: Be an adult member of the Chelsea Park Community Be willing to share your thoughts about families and schools in the Chelsea Park Community Time Commitment : Face to face interviews will last 60 75 minutes Group interviews will last 75 90 minutes (refreshments will be provided) Location of Research: Chelsea Park Community Principal Investigator: antwan jefferson, Doctoral Candidate, University of Colorado D enver Contact: (email: antwan.jefferson@ucdenver.edu / phone: 720 432 9256) COMIRB protocol number: 11 1157 Family School Interaction Research to Understand the Interactions Between Families and Schools in the Chelsea Park Community

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230 APPENDIX G CURRICULUM VITA Antwan Jefferson Instructor, Urban Community Teacher Education Doctoral Candidate, Educational Leadership and Innovation School of Education and Human Development University of Colorado Denver antwan.jefferson@ucdenver.edu As an early career researcher and educator, I bring to my work an interest in adapting qualit ative inquiry strategies to understand the school experiences of families and communities in geographic areas immediately surrounding, impacting and contextualizing schools. I utilize critical social theories that are community grounded to discover and exp lore the locations of knowledge, power, justice, and space within geographic communities, with particular interest in family and community involvement in schools, the professional preparation and development of teachers, and the practices of schooling. ED UCATION Degree Details University of Colorado Denver, Ph.D. Educational Leadership and Innovation Emphasis: Family School Interaction Anticipated 5/2013 Degree Details Brown University, Providence, RI M.A.T. Emphasis: Secondary English Education 05/ 2000 Degree Details Morehouse College, Atlanta, GA B.A. Emphasis: English 05/1994 PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE 08/10 to current Instructor, Urban Community Teacher Education, School of Education & Human Development University of Colorado Denver Denver, C O My responsibilities include teaching two to four courses per semester in the Urban Community Teacher Education program and one fall course in Continuing and Professional Education, course development and refinement, site professor duties at local compreh ensive high school in support of teacher candidates regular participation in program and affiliate faculty endeavors and the development and development of Professional Learning Days for teacher candidates enrolled in the Urban Community Teacher Educatio n Program. 01/07 to 08/10 Director, Christian Vocational Training School Aurora, CO

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231 My work in this capacity included identifying and training volunteer instructors; developing 35+ courses for a religious adult education program serving 500+ adult learner s; developing assessment and feedback processes to instructional and administrative improvement; developing and maintaining course and enrollment management programs; and regular instruction of courses. 06/04 to 01/07 Youth Pastor Colorado Christian Fell owship Aurora, CO My work in this capacity included developing a series of programs and religious activities for middle and high school students and young adults. It also included providing training and leadership to adult volunteers and coordinating vario us resources to the families of more than 100 teens and students. 07/02 to 06/05 English Teacher Montbello High School Denver, CO My professional responsibilities included teaching courses in Composition, Introduction to Literature, American Literature, English Literature and African American Literature to students in grades 9 12. The students with whom I worked were from diverse social and economic contexts, and were largely identified as Latino and Black. My responsibilities also included developing and coordinating a social and academic program for male students from diverse cultural and economic backgrounds. 08/00 to 06/02 English Teacher Maury High School Norfolk, VA My responsibilities included teaching Composition and British Literature to studen ts in grades 9, 12. This included teaching college preparation courses, remedial courses, and introductory courses to students from diverse racial, ethnic, and economic contexts. 05/00 to 07/00 English Teacher Central Falls High School Central Falls, RI M y work here included developing and teaching a curriculum for a multi grade (i.e., 9 12) summer Language Arts program. PUBLICATIONS IN PREPARATION & REVIEW Jefferson, A. (in preparation). "Rethinking Family School Interaction ." Jefferson, A., & Zion, S (in revision). Diversity Understood Narrowly: Understanding In Service Teachers' Perceptions of Working with Urban and Diverse Families ." COURSES TAUGHT University of Colorado Denver, School of Education and Human Development UEDU 5010: Social Foundat ions and Cultural Diversity in Urban Education Urban Community Teacher Education 2012, Summer, Fall

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232 2011, Summer 2010, Summer, Fall UEDU 5020: Co Developing Culturally Responsive Classroom Environments 2012, Spring, Summer, Fall 2011, Summer SPED 5030: Data Informed Decision Making for Diverse Learners 2013, Spring 2012, Spring 2011, Spring, Fall 2010, Fall IPTE 5910: Site Professor: Internship and Site Seminar Montbello High School 2012, Spring, Fall 2011, Fall CLDE 5180: Working with Families an d Communities 2012, Fall REFEREED RESEARCH PRESENTATIONS April 2012 Arnold, S. Gutierrez, C. Jefferson, A., Sobel, D. Enriching the student's world through school, family, and community partnerships, for Presentation at CEC (Council for Exceptional Chil dren) 2012 Annual Convention and Expo (Denver, CO) April 2012 Jefferson, A., Zion, S., Sands, D. Searching for Socially Just Practices in Schools: A Self Study and Planning Process for Presentation at CEC (Council for Exceptional Children) 2012 Annual C onvention and Expo (Denver, CO) April 2012 Jefferson, A. Reconceptualizing Family School Interaction using Thirdspace Theory for Presentation at 2012 Annual Meeting of American Educational Research Association (Vancouver, BC). Division G Social Contex t of Education: Section 5: Social Context of Research on Schools and Communities November 2011 Sobel, D., Elliott, L., Jefferson, A., Daily, N. Maximizing a wealth of online resources with culturally responsive graphic organizers Presented at Teacher Edu cation Division (TED) Conference (San Antonio, TX) October 2011 Jefferson, A. & Zion, S. Exploring Teachers' Perceptions of the Families of Urban and Diverse Students: Connecting Perceptions to Practice Presented at Colorado Association for Bilingual Ed ucation (CABE) Fall 2011 Conference (Denver, CO) July 2011 Jefferson, A. Theorizing the Thirdspace of Family School Interaction. Presented at Sixth International Conference on Interdisciplinary Social Sciences 2011 (New Orleans, LA) April 2011

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233 Jefferson, A., & Zion, S. Uncovering Teachers' Perceptions of Family: How Engaging with Urban and Diverse Families Can Affect Professional Practice. AERA Division K Teaching and Teacher Education (New Orleans, LA) INVITED PRESENTATIONS January 2013 Jefferson, A. & Bohanan, B. Dismissing the Myth of Disinterest: Acknowledging and Building on the Contributions and Potential of Families of Color to Advocate for their Children Educating Children of Color Summit. Colorado College. Colorado Springs, CO. October 2012 Jefferson, A. Use Your Imagination: ReThinking the Interaction of Families and Schools in Diverse Communities. Teachers of Color and Allies Summit. Boulder, CO. October 2012 Jefferson, A. Away from engagement: Enacting socially just practices toward dec olonized family school interaction. National Network for Educational Renewal Denver, CO. July 2011 Zion, S. & Jefferson, A. Exploring the Opportunity Gap. Summer Migrant Youth Leadership Institute. Regis University, Denver, CO. April 2011 Zion, S. & J efferson, A. Transforming Education, Empowering People. Colorado Department of Education Language, Culture, and Equity Department Annual Conference. Denver, CO. April 2011 Jefferson, A. Empowering Parents Toward Critical School Engagement. Anschutz Med ical Campus Health Professional Opportunity Day. Denver, CO. INVITED PANELS April 2013 Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association. Discussant: A New Normal: Young Men of Color, Trauma and Engagement in Learning November 2011 Denver J ustice Conference September 2011 Center for Culturally Responsive Urban Education: Equity in Education Film Festival WORKSHOPS AND INSTRUCTIONAL MATERIALS Practitioner Tools Zion, S., Sands, D., Jefferson, A., Cordova, D., & Cross, C. (April 2010) T ransforming Schools for Social Justice (TSSJ): A Guide for Self Study and Planning Sobel, D., Elliott, L. Jefferson, A Daily, N. (May 2011). Urban Community Teacher Education program course support organizers. Doing What Works Clearinghouse Course Deve lopment

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234 2012 2013 University of Colorado Denver, Office of Continuing and Professional Education Led design of new course: CLDE 5810: Working with Families and Communities 2011 2012 University of Colorado Denver, Urban Community Teacher Education Progra m Collaborated with Lead Instructors to refine and develop UCTE 5020: Co Developing Culturally Responsive Classroom Communities 2010 2011 University of Colorado Denver, Urban Community Teacher Education Program Redesign Collaborated with Lead Instructor s to refine and develop UCTE 5010: Social Foundations and Cultural Diversity in Urban Education and SPED 5030: Data Informed Decision Making for Diverse Learners FACILITATED TRAININGS 2012 2013 Teache rs Working Together To Develop and Implement Culturally a nd Linguistically Responsive Practices Co Facilitated multi day Professional Development training for faculty at Bruce Randolph Middle High School 2011 2012 Transforming Schools for Social Justice Self Study Team Training Facilitated one full and one half day trainings for Professional Development School self study team 2010 2011 Transforming Schools for Social Justice Self Study Team Training Co Facilitated two full and two half day trainings for two Professional Development Schools self stud y teams 2010 Littleton High School (Littleton, CO) Co Developed and led 3 day training for all high school faculty (75) on Culturally Responsive Practices. With Shelley Zion, Suzanne Arnold, Jenna Ream 2007 2010 Christian Vocational Training School ( Aurora, CO) Developed training materials and delivered training through facilitation of six full day volunteer faculty training and orientation meetings. PROFESSIONAL ORGANIZATIONS 2012 current Council for Exceptional Children 2011 current Internati onal Society for Interdisciplinary Social Sciences 2010 current American Educational Research Association Division G Social Contexts of Education Research Focus on Black Education SIG

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235 OTHER INDICATORS OF SCHOLARSHIP Funded Grants Zion, S., Arnold, S. Jefferson, A., & Ream, J. (November 2011). Better Together: Engaging Stakeholders at the Convergence of Education and Health in Urban Communities". UCD Diversity and Excellence grants, $2300. Mitchell, K., Gutierrez, C., Jefferson, A., Matias, C., & McDermott, J. (November 2011). Recruiting, Supporting and Retaining Students from Diverse Backgrounds in Urban Community Teacher Education." UCD Diversity & Excellence grants, $3000. Zion, S., Arnold, S., Jefferson, A., & Ream, J. (October 2010). "Nar rative and Counter Narrative in the Debate about Urban School Reform." UCD Diversity and Excellence grants, $3000. Jefferson, A. (April 2011). Graduate Student Travel Award, American Educational Research Association, Division G, $200. Unfunded Grants Zi on, S., Espinoza, M., & Jefferson, A. (October 2010). Education as the Practice of Freedom Certificate Development Grant, Colorado Department of Higher Education, $18,000. SERVICE School of Education and Human Development, University of Colorado Denve r 2012 current Member: Diversity Committee, School of Education and Human Development Member: University of Colorado Denver Association of Lecturers and Instructors Urban Community Teacher Education Student Support Coordinator 2011 2012 Urban Community Teacher Education Student Support Coordinator 2011 2012 Member: Urban Community Teacher Education Course Renewal Team 2011 Participant: Teacher Education Course Alignment Retreat 2010 current Member: Urban Community Teacher Education program faculty Member: Urban Community Teacher Education Collaborative and Site Councils Local Community 2013 Strand Organizer, Planting the Seed Conference 2012 Facilitator, Black Male Initiative Summit Denver African American Philanthropists Facilitator, Circle of Gr eatness African American Male Program to Develop Social and Academic Resiliency Q Cities Conference Advisory Board Denver Justice Conference Advisory Board

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236 2011 Co founder, Co facilitator, Denver Street Psalms Initiative 2010 2011 Board Chairman, Global Change Network, USA 2007 2011 Board of Directors, Colorado Christian Fellowship, Aurora, CO 2005 present Member, Global Change Network, USA 2003 2004 Program Coordinator, National Urban League of Metropolitan Denver Montbello High School 2002 2005 Director, Minority Aptitude Clinic, Denver, CO 2000 2005 Co Director, Minority Aptitude Clinic, Norfolk, VA 2001 2002 Norfolk Public Schools BELL Award for Instructional Excellence 2000 2002 Friends for Family Mentoring Program, Chesapeake, VA 1999 2000 Pre College Enrichment Program, Providence, RI Howard R. Swearer Center for Public Service, Providence, RI 1997 1999 Effective Means of Encouraging Responsibility in our Global Environment (EMERGE), Atlanta, GA Atlanta Area High School Lecture Ser ies, Founding Member 1995 1999 Emma & Joe Adams Center for Public Service, Atlanta, GA