Date of Award

6-2010

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Department

Sociology

First Advisor

Dr. David J. Hartmann

Second Advisor

Dr. Douglas Davidson

Third Advisor

Dr. Susan Carlson

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Campus Only

Abstract

Latino high school students across the United States are dropping out at extremely high rates. Students in Kalamazoo are not the exception. The enactment of the Kalamazoo Promise in the city of Kalamazoo has increased student aspirations, teachers' expectations of students, college readiness and guidance, enrollment, and student motivation. However, one has to wonder if all of these factors reflect the experiences of Latino students since graduation rates for Latino students are extremely low. The Kalamazoo Promise is not a reality for many of these students when they fail to graduate.

Parents make up a very important social capital for students in their educational experiences (Stanton-Salazar, 2001). Therefore, in this study I examined the parental social capital for Latino students by analyzing Latino parental participation in their children's education. I expected parental participation to be affected by the parents' income, educational, and English knowledge proficiency levels. The data in this study revealed that Latino parental participation was affected by their income, educational, and English knowledge proficiency levels as well as the school/teacher cultural awareness and school support for parental participation.

I conducted 15 in-depth interviews through a snowball sample with parents whose children attend Kalamazoo Public Schools as a part of a qualitative study with open ended questions.

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