All ETDs from UAB

Advisory Committee Chair

Jerry Aldridge

Advisory Committee Members

Lois Christensen

Lynn Kirkland

Maryann Manning

Dorothy Riley

Document Type


Date of Award


Degree Name by School

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) School of Education


With the pressures of No Child Left Behind, and many schools being identified as failing, parents are willing to make major sacrifices in order to provide what they believe is a quality education. The research addressed what it meant for twelve low socioeconomic parents to be involved in their children’s education in an affluent educational environment. The researcher defined low socioeconomics as students participating in the National School Lunch Program, as this was one of the identifiers used to determine this subgroup for the State Department of Education’s Adequate Yearly Progress. A phenomenological study was conducted to answer the following research question: What does it mean for parents of low socioeconomic students attending school in affluent educational environments to participate in their children’s education? In addition, the researcher sought the answers to four sub-questions: 1. How do participants understand their involvement in their child’s education? 2. How do parents participate? 3. What obstacles do parents encounter in participating in their child’s education? 4. How do parents feel about their involvement in their child’s education? The 12 participants were purposefully selected using snowball sampling selecting participants solely on the criteria of free/reduced lunch status to help the researcher iv understand the phenomenon of participating in their child’s education in an affluent school. They represented a variety of ethnic backgrounds, white, African American, Hispanic, African and Asian. The phenomenological interview was the primary data source to allow the participants’ meaning to be understood, provide rich, thick descriptions and achieve a deep exploration of the phenomenon. Interviews began October, 2006 and continued through May, 2007. The interviews were audio-taped and transcribed verbatim. Participants were asked to review the transcripts for authentication. The transcriptions were coded and themes identified. These themes were developed into a narrative report of the findings to address the central research question and subsequent sub-questions. The researcher identified five themes from the analysis of the data: experience with involvement, experience with obstacles to involvement, experience with a welcoming climate, experience with resources to support involvement, and experience with sacrifice.

Included in

Education Commons



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.