Middle-Income Latinos in Middle-Class Communities: A Study on Parental Involvement Dynamics

Rafael Inoa


The academic underperformance of students of Latino backgrounds is a serious cause for concern in the United States, especially considering the significant portion of the total U.S. population that Latinos constitute. Since parental involvement is known as a powerful resource in helping all students succeed academically, it can be used as a way to counter the achievement gap that Latinos are currently facing. However, middle-class Latinos, who are also plagued by this gap in academic achievement, are continuously overlooked throughout the educational literature. The current study lays focus on this group by centering on the perspectives of middle-income Latino parents living in a middle-class community. Twenty-one participants meeting this criteria were engaged in a semi-structured, interview-based method of inquiry. Accounts of their involvement in the educational development of their children were documented.

Findings from the current study showed that participants followed trajectories similar to the childrearing of other middle-income parents not of Latinos background; however, much earlier than traditionally thought, parents in the current study interacted with their children in intellectually equal terms, gauged their opinions, and prompted independent thinking. Participants in the current study also laid focus on the importance in the emotional wellbeing and social development of their children and the role of family in childrearing, both of which are common themes found in the literature among lower-income Latinos. It is the general recommendation of this study that, while middle class Latino parents share commonalities with non-Latino middle class parents and lower-income Latino parents, they be consciously thought of in group specific ways. These and other implications for future research and policy recommendations are discussed in further detail.