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A Latin-American Parents' Group Participates in their Children's Schooling: Parent Involvement Reconsidered

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journal contribution
posted on 21.05.2021, 12:00 by Judith K. Bernhard, Marlinda Freire, Veronica Pacini-Ketchabaw, Virginia Villanueva
In accord with [Bourdieu] (1986; see also Lareau, 1989), we construe 'cultural capital' as those dispositions (habitus) and capabilities that establish a person of a particular background and social stratum in a set of social relations; through such relationships, he or she produces and reproduces according to a socially constructed position. In our previous work with Latin-American families, we have found there is often a disparity of esteem between the cultural capital of the Latino families and that (implicitly) required by the school. Teachers' assessment of 'parental support' was found to be highly culture bound and focused on specific models of collaboration ([Bernhard, Freire], Torres, and Nirdosh, 1998). Yet parents' actions, including the advice and guidance given to their children, are based on their own culturally bound view of the educational system. One may call this a situation of mismatch in skills and views, but in fact 'mismatch' is an ongoing aspect of social subordination. There is an undercutting of parents' abilities to positively affect their children's outcomes. We argue that there is some generality in Lareau's (1989) findings. The working-class children receive a 'generic' educational experience; their families' cultural capital is nullified, constructed as ineffective by the educational system. Supporting such a general hypothesis, as applied to particular ethno-racial groups, are disturbing reports about school performance for some immigrant and ethnic groups (Bernhard and Freire, 1996; Bernhard, Freire, et al., 1998; Brown,

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