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Understanding Variations of Family Involvement with Low-Income, Culturally Diverse Families: Practice and Policy Implications of Recent Findings

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Title: Understanding Variations of Family Involvement with Low-Income, Culturally Diverse Families: Practice and Policy Implications of Recent Findings


1
Understanding Variations of Family Involvement
with Low-Income, Culturally Diverse Families
Practice and Policy Implications of Recent
Findings
Presentation at the National Association for the
Education of Young Children Annual
Conference November 19, 2009
  • Christine McWayne, Ph.D., New York University

2
Problems with the operationalization of FI in the
majority of studies
  • Unidimensional definitions of FI ? fragmented
    measures , unrepresentative of multiple FI
    behaviors
  • Disconnected from developmental issues and, thus,
    poor for informing developmentally appropriate
    family involvement
  • Unidirectional no account of transactional
    nature of family-school collaboration
  • Unrepresentative existing measures tend to be
    created with mainstream populations, highlighting
    need more culturally relevant measures of FI

3
The Family Involvement Questionnaire (FIQ
Fantuzzo, Tighe, Childs, 2000)
  • Based on Epsteins 6 types
  • Careful co-construction in partnership
  • Research Committee of various stakeholders
  • Focus groups of larger group of stakeholders
  • Field tested with multiple groups of parents
  • Data collected from more than 600 parents
  • Subjected to rigorous multivariate analysis
  • Result a 42-item questionnaire

4
Three Reliable Dimensions of FIQ
  • Mapping onto Epsteins Model
  • HBI Parenting Learning at Home
  • SBI Volunteering Decision-Making
  • HSC Communicating
  • Home-Based Involvement (a.85)
  • School-Based Involvement (a.85)
  • Home-School Conferencing (a.81)

5
FIQ (Fantuzzo et al., 2000)
  • Home-Based Involvement
  • Spending time at home on reading, numbers, and
    creative activities.
  • Bringing home learning materials (e.g., videos).
  • Limiting my childs TV and video watching.
  • Keeping a regular morning and bedtime schedule
    for my child.
  • Talking about parents own experiences in school.
  • Taking child to places in the community (e.g.,
    zoo, museum, public library).

6
FIQ (Fantuzzo et al., 2000)
  • Volunteering in the classroom.
  • Going on class trips.
  • Participating in fundraising activities at my
    childs center
  • Meeting with other parents to plan events.
  • Attending workshops for parents.
  • School-Based Involvement

7
FIQ (Fantuzzo et al., 2000)
  • Home-School Conferencing
  • Talking with childs teacher about childs
    learning difficulties and accomplishments.
  • The teacher and I write notes to each other about
    my child or center activities
  • Scheduling meetings with administrators to talk
    about problems or to gain information
  • Discussing with childs teacher ways to promote
    learning at home.
  • I feel that teachers and administrators welcome
    and encourage parents to be involved at school.

8
Findings with low-income, African American
families (Fantuzzo, McWayne, Perry, Childs,
2004)
when controlling for the effects of the other
two dimensions, only home-based involvement
related to child competencies and low levels of
behavior problems
9
Findings with low-income, Latino families
(McWayne, Manz, Ginsburg-Block, 2007)
STUDY 1
10
Findings with low-income, Latino families
(McWayne, Manz, Ginsburg-Block, 2007)
STUDY 2
N 100 Latino families. p lt .05 p lt .01
School-related FI activities appear to be more
influential for Latino families, in contrast with
home-based activities for African American
families!!!
11
What about when we focus on immigrant families
and take both parents into account?
  • McWayne, Owsianik, Campos (2008)

12
Comparing results for mothers fathers
  • MOTHERS (N 108)
  • FATHERS (N 63)
  • HBI was not predicted by demographic or
    satisfaction variables
  • Satisfaction was a strong, positive predictor of
    SBI
  • Education (-) and satisfaction () were moderate
    predictors of HSC
  • R2 .25-.31
  • HBI was not predicted by demographic or
    satisfaction variables
  • Language (-) and satisfaction () were strong
    predictors of SBI
  • Child sex (males), language (-), and satisfaction
    () were strong predictors of HSC
  • R2 .42- .60

13
What predicts FI for these families?
Home-Based
School-Based Home-School Fixed Effects
Involvement Involvement
Conferencing Level 1 Predictors Parent
sex (fathers) -.33 -.40
.70
Education lt high school -.14
-.04 -.24 gt high
school -.05 -.19
-.02 Level
2 Predictors Child sex (boys)
.26 .04 .27
Employment -.11 -.21
-.14 Marital status
(married) .42 .33
.34 Primary language
Spanish (primary) -.26
-.13 -.35
Polish (primary) -.40 -.02
-.53
Bilingual -.12 -.13
-.17 Satisfaction with contact
.22 .79 .71 N 110
individuals 55 dyads. plt.05, plt.01, plt.001
14
How does looking at the family unit change what
we know about FI?
  • Parent sex emerged as a moderate to strong
    predictor of involvement
  • Satisfaction still emerged as a strong predictor
    of the school-related activities
  • Marital status became important for home-based
    activities (consistent with other literature)
  • Language no longer important for SBI, but
    remained important for HSC for Polish-speaking
    families (more recent immigrants)
  • Maternal education no longer a significant
    predictor

15
IMPLICATIONS
  • FOR PRACTICE
  • FOR POLICY PROGRAMMING
  • Satisfaction appears to be very important
    consider ways to build trust (i.e., through
    mutual respect and cooperative problem-solving)
  • Consider ways to more meaningfully engage fathers
    at school (Hauser-Crams assertions re
    problem-focused coping)
  • Consider how to support involvement at home by
    understanding already existing (largely,
    invisible) practices ? adapt culture-specific
    methods to the classroom ? higher congruence btw
    home and school (Molls Funds of Knowledge
    approach Weisners eco-cultural understanding
    of daily routines)
  • PDs to develop cultural awareness and sensitivity
    among teachers and staff (go out into the
    community!)
  • Co-construct family involvement programming with
    members of the parent community
  • Hire knowledgeable, bilingual and male
    involvement staff
  • By understanding distinct family roles, i.e., how
    individuals within a family affect one anothers
    FI, programs can develop specific intervention
    components to address all family members
    participation in their children's education

16
PRIMARY GOALS OF SUCCESSFUL FI EFFORTS
Increasing congruence between home and school
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