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PARENTAL INVOLVMENT, FAMILY STRUCTURE, AND ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT - page 18 / 102

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races/ethnicities and gender, the need for a renewed evaluation of the extent to which

parents are involved with their children’s education takes on added significance.

Perhaps as important as the picture of changing demographics is the trend toward

greater income inequality in America. According to Morris and Western (1999) the

United States’ economy is cyclical, and over the last three decades, median income has

fallen, and “the distribution of income has grown markedly more unequal[…]reversing a

pattern of earnings growth and equalization dating back to 1929” (p.623). Although it is

still premature to evaluate the economic collapse that began in late 2008, it is not difficult

to imagine that massive mortgage foreclosures and lost jobs would have a substantial

effect on parental involvement in their children’s academic progress — more than the

expected cyclical changes already mentioned. Changes in family income due to expected

and cyclical economic factors also necessitate revisiting prior research on parental

involvement in adolescent academic achievement.

Sociological Theory

Because the original research gives considerable attention to the effect of SES on

academic achievement, this research will do the same, lending itself well to several

sociological frameworks including structural / bureaucracy theories discussed by Weber,

and theories of social capital more recently discussed by Coleman. Even though limited

access to higher education, often a product of academic achievement, could be easily

viewed from Marx’s conflict theory perspective, this replication will most frequently

refer to Coleman’s theory of social capital. In fact, some of the literature on prior

research indicates that parental involvement is one form of social capital (see below).

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