Date of Award

Spring 5-17-2020

Document Type


Degree Name

PHD - Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Dr. Lisa B Fiore

Second Advisor

Dr. Yvonne Liu-Constant

Third Advisor

Dr. Lisa Jennings


Research into family engagement with schools states that the participation of a child’s family in schooling increases a student’s academic success. In education, family engagement is the newest policy tool to help children, especially those from marginalized communities, grow into successful adults. However, in sociology, intensive family engagement, defined as parental over-involvement in a child’s schooling, results in a narrow focus on traditional academic measures of success and the micromanaging of a child’s educational experience. Research indicates that this amped up oversight of a child’s education is the source of emotional, academic, psychological harm for children. As a result, parent involvement in education can be seen as either critical to or actively sabotaging a child’s future success. The purpose of this study was to use Standpoint Theory to examine the similarities and differences in perceptions of the family-school relationship among parents from various socioeconomic backgrounds with children attending public schools in communities with high incomes. Furthermore, this study explored how parents describe their relationship with their children’s schools and to what they attribute the positive, negative or neutral interactions. This study incorporates the survey responses of 115 parents living outside a large city on the East Coast and it also reflects the voices, apprehensions, and caring of seven parents from a range of socioeconomic backgrounds gathered through interviews. Data analysis resulted in conclusions related to how: 1) surveys benefit from qualitative context; 2) parental perceptions of the purpose of school varies by socioeconomic background; 3) intensive parenting creates stress in schools; 4) standpoint theory can reveal power dynamics within groups; and 5) parents in the higher income groups are more likely to be heard and this may be increasing inequity in these communities.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.




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