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La Familia and Other Secret Ingredients to Latinx Student Success

Jennifer M. Matos

Almost like a well-kept family recipe, there exists in education secret ingredients into what makes Latinx students successful. La Familia and Other Secret Ingredients to Latinx Student Success demonstrates how Latinx parents, a well-kept secret ingredient, assist with the academic success of Latinx students at all educational levels. Understanding the power of this secret ingredient—and how to use it—can have a profound impact on success for Latinxs students and can be used as a model for how to work with and support students from all marginalized groups. La Familia and Other Secret Ingredients to Latinx Student Success is suitable for educators at all levels. This book can be used in general education and teacher preparation courses, ethnic studies courses, training for individuals in helping professions, or to launch exciting new dialogue.

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Chapter 3. Understanding Latinx Parental Engagement



Understanding Latinx Parental Engagement

There are many reasons that can explain the academic underachievement of Latinx students. Some of these reasons may include conditions of poverty resulting in lack of access to resources, language and communication barriers, low parental educational attainment, and low teacher expectations. Another reason may be the relationship between parents and schools (Scribner, 1999). Given the dire statistics on Latinx academic underperformance and the research that evidences parental involvement as a factor in academic achievement (Antrop-Gonzalez, Velez, & Garrett, 2005; Ascher, 1988; Chavkin, 1993; Chavkin & Gonzalez, 1995; Epstein, 1996; Floyd, 1998; Peterson, 1989), it is imperative that schools and Latinx parents have a common understanding of parental engagement so that together, they can work toward comparable and attainable goals.

I was raised in a working-class home with a single parent whose annual income was $25,000. We lived in the house that my Mother purchased by saving the purchase price of $6,000. Our home was in an economically depressed area where residents were predominantly African American and it abutted a truck yard, the last stop on our dead-end street. Other homes on my street had a backyard, but we had a front yard which meant that when the cold wind blew, we did not enjoy the shelter of neighboring homes. The downstairs←39 | 40→ floors were covered with linoleum, but the centennial house had concrete floors, and no insulation. There was no central cooling or heating system. The...

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