“We Have a Lot of Sleeping Parents”: Comparing Inner-City and Suburban High School Teachers’ Experiences with Parent Involvement

  • David Wilkerson Indiana University School of Social Work
  • Hea-Won Kim
Keywords: Parent involvement, high school teachers, home/school relations, school social work


Teachers’ experiences with parent involvement were compared at an inner-city high school and a suburban high school. Parent involvement has been described as underutilized by teachers, due to either ideological barriers or cultural biases against parents of lower socio-economic status. A sample of 62 teachers found no significant group differences between teachers at the two schools for either problematic or collaborative parent involvement. There was a significant difference for beliefs about parent competency. Results may suggest that the ideological barrier of a “protective model” for home/school relations devalues parent involvement for teachers. Parent involvement may be further devalued for inner-city teachers, who hold beliefs that parent competence is reduced by socioeconomic challenges.