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Parental Critical Consciousness: Conceptualization, Measurement, and Links to Parental School Engage

Primary Investigator(s): Matthew Diemer

Funding Agency: Corporation for National and Community Service

Period: 10/1/2017 - 9/30/2019

Using Critical Race Theory (CRT) to understand the ways in which race influences Black parents’ experiences and participation within the public educational system and infrastructure, this mixed-methods study will explore Black parents’ critical consciousness (CC). Parental CC is hypothesized to relate to the ways Black parents critically engage with their children’s schools. Critical parent engagement can be conceptualized as an extension of civic engagement in that it encompasses the efforts and activities performed to benefit the academic success of their children and other children within their community (Flanagan, 2013). To explore these open questions, qualitative interviews will be conducted with approximately 20 Black parents in Southeastern Michigan. The research questions motivating this study include: 1) How do Black parents’ personal experiences with schools and with the larger society influence how they view and interact with their children’s school? 2) How do Black parents conceptualize their role in their children’s education? What are Black parents’ motivations for engaging with their children’s schools? 3) How do Black parents’ critical analysis of social and educational inequities influence their knowledge, skills, and motivations to interact with their children’s school? The results of these interviews will be used as the foundation of a new instrument to measure parental CC.