The Role of Parental Education, Household Income, and Race on Parents’ Academic Beliefs and the Provision of Home Learning Opportunities for 4- to 8-Year-Old Children


  •  Peter Zheng    
  •  Melissa Libertus    

Abstract

Previous research has highlighted the importance of parents’ education, household income, and race for children’s academic achievement. In addition, these factors relate to their beliefs about their children’s academic achievement and their provision of opportunities to strengthen learning. However, direct comparisons of the unique roles of parents’ education, household income, and race are rare and the current study seeks to fill this gap. A heterogeneous sample of 398 parents of 4- to 8-year-old children in the US completed a survey assessing beliefs about the importance of math and reading/writing for their child, how frequently they provided learning opportunities in these skill sets at home, and demographic information. We found that parents’ education was significantly related to their beliefs about the school’s importance in teaching their child math, but when splitting our sample by race, this effect was only significant for White non-Hispanic parents. No significant effects were found for parents’ education on their beliefs about the importance of the school or home in teaching their child reading/writing. In addition, we found that household income was significantly related to parents’ beliefs about the school’s but not the home’s importance in teaching their child math. Finally, household income was found to be significantly related to parents’ beliefs about the home’s but not the school’s importance in teaching their child reading/writing, but this effect was only significant for African American parents. These results suggest that parents’ education and income play different roles in determining parents’ beliefs about the importance of the school or the home in teaching math and reading/writing to their child and these relations were modulated by race.



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