Article

Special Feature: Immigrant Parents' Concerns Regarding Their Children's Education in the United States

Family and Consumer Sciences Research Journal 05/2009; 37(4):422 - 441. DOI: 10.1177/1077727X08330671

ABSTRACT

A growing body of research suggests that as immigrant families assimilate into U.S. culture, their children's academic achievements and aspirations decline. This article explores possible reasons for this finding from the perspective of immigrant parents from Eastern European countries whose children attend U.S. schools. In-depth, qualitative interviews are conducted with 50 married mothers and fathers who hold professional-status employment. The data are analyzed using open and axial coding approach and three central, recurring themes emerge: (a) Parental Influences: “Education is a must…. The sky is the limit”; (b) The Educational System: “Parental guidance and resources are required”; and (c) Sociocultural Influences: “Everything here is about making money…. But what about our children'” Supporting, illustrative narratives are presented in connection with each theme to explain the perspectives of these immigrant parents on their children's schooling in the United States, and to add other tentative factors for further research into the decline of the children's academic achievement and aspirations with longer residence in the United States. Implications for family and consumer scientists are presented.

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    • "The longer period that rural migrant children reside in a city, the more positive effects of the improved educational resources in the city can be seen (Lin, Fang et al., 2009;Xu, 2012). For immigrant students in Western countries, as suggested by the Accommodated-without-Assimilating theory (Gibson, 1988), immigrants with shorter durations of residence adapt to new environments by selectively absorbing " the good way of the native culture; " their parents also discourage their children's interactions with the native peers to shield them from negative, risky behaviors that may be adopted in the new environment (Gibson, 1988;Nesteruk, Marks, & Garrison, 2009). First-generation and second-generation immigrant students have different durations of residence in a host country, and researchers from Western countries investigated the disparate impact of school immigrant composition on the two groups (Brännström, 2008;Okamoto et al., 2013). "

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