The Immigrant Parent Disadvantage: Parent Linguistic Capital and Student School Performance
Jason J. Fontana
Researchers, teachers and policy makers continue to wrestle with understanding why children of immigrants perform more poorly in school than their counterparts with native born parents. While parental involvement through checking of homework and participation in school events have been identified as relevant factors, the findings of research are not conclusive. This study re-examines the relationships of these two factors with school performance among the children of Spanish-speaking immigrants by introducing a third variable: parental English proficiency. The results reveal that after controlling for parental English proficiency, homework checking no longer has a significant impact and the effect of parental school involvement is reduced; English language abilities of parents, on the other hand, have a significant effect on student performance. This finding suggests that improving parental English proficiency and cultural awareness can produce a positive impact on the school performance of the children of non-native English speaking parents.
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