Date of Graduation

2015

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)

College/School

School of Education

Department/Program

International and Multicultural Education

First Advisor

Dr. Patricia Mitchell

Second Advisor

Dr. Betty Taylor

Third Advisor

Dr. Rosita Galang

Abstract

Truancy is an issue that markedly impacts many children nationwide. Truancy takes root in many elementary schools. When socioeconomic and engagement problems are unaddressed, students exhibit a much higher likelihood of abusing drugs and alcohol and engaging in criminal behaviors that are harmful to themselves and society at large. Research on truancy has mainly focused on high school students; however, little research has been conducted specific to elementary school students and parental involvement as it relates to truancy. This research study queried the perspectives of minority parents of habitually truant elementary school students on truancy. The key question was if school attendance review board letters sent to truant families monthly effectively resolved truancy at the school in this study. This study captured the voices of parents using semistructured interviews, examining the effectiveness of current truancy-reduction strategies at the school site studied and gain insight from parents about possible solutions to truancy problems. Predicated on Ogbu’s cultural-inversion theory and Cummins’s cultural-invasion theory, the study focused on minority families’ attitudes and behaviors toward systemic and crystallized institutions of learning. The following themes emerged from participants’ responses to the interview questions: a lack of academic impact, a different perception of truancy, illness as a challenge, lack of support, and limited ability to be involved with school matters. In conclusion, findings revealed that parents genuinely cared about their child’s education and felt disempowered due to socioeconomic challenges. Also, impersonal letters were ineffective as parents desired to be treated as individuals by the school. Additional research is needed concerning parents’ knowledge and understanding of truancy laws.

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