This study examines American Indian parents’ perceptions of parent involve- ment in their children’s education and factors that may encourage or discour- age involvement.
A better understanding of American Indian parent involvement was considered as a pos- sible solution to narrow the achievement gap for American Indian students. Five focus groups, consisting of 47 self-selected parents, were conducted in one state in the Central Region. Factors perceived to encourage parent involvement included a caring, supportive, and communicative school staff and cultur- ally respectful environment; access to Ameri- can Indian programs, resource centers, after school activities, and clubs; and the presence of an advocate or liaison in each school. Fac- tors perceived to discourage parent involve- ment included feeling unwelcome or intimi- dated at the school and perceptions of racism and discrimination; experiencing scheduling, transportation, childcare, and financial dif- ficulties; and having prior negative experiences in their own or their children’s education.