Date of Award

Spring 3-2016

Access Restriction

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctorate in Education

Department

Education

School or College

School of Education

First Advisor

Karen Huchting, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Rebecca Stephenson, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Manuel Aceves, Ed.D.

Abstract

Research clearly indicates that parental involvement plays an essential role in the educational process of any student regardless of grade level. However, technology is changing the way schools communicate, which affects the way parents are involved in their children’s education. Research on the digital divide indicates that there are differences in access based on race and family income. In other words, lower income and minority families tend to have less access to technology, and therefore may be less able to fully participate in schools.

This issue of social justice was investigated at a small charter school located in West Los Angeles, California, where the researcher was an administrator. Over the past several years, there had been a demographic shift in enrollment. Teachers and administrators noticed a problem related to parental involvement at the school and all school communication relied on technology. The purpose of this study was to investigate the intersection of technology and parental involvement at West Los Angeles Charter (WLAC). Applying the theoretical lens of Epstein’s (1988) work on parental involvement and Davis’s (1989) work on technology acceptance, the administrator-researcher interviewed 16 parents, stratified by income level to guarantee that various experiences were represented, and concluded that while all parents expressed interest in being involved in their child’s education, barriers limited that involvement, particularly for the lower-income families. These barriers included issues related to language rather than issues related to access, which WLAC will be able to address to support parental involvement among all families.

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