Factors That Influence Latino Parents' Selection of Schools
Factors That Influence Latino Parents' Selection of SchoolsBarbara L. Monsegur, Ph.D.Director: Merylann J. Schuttloffel, Ph.D.This study investigated the relationships between Latino American Catholic, societal and educational experiences, and school selection, and how they differ for Latino parents who have their children in a Catholic school, and those who do not. The historical context of the Latino experience places their current Catholic, societal and educational experience within its cultural context. Data for this study were obtained from 748 Latino parents from the four Diocese of Tucson metropolitan vicariates, with children enrolled in either a parish religious education program, a Catholic school or both. Participants responded anonymously to 57 items on the Parental Selection of Schools. The survey measured Latino American Catholic, societal and educational experiences. Through examination of 11 predictor variables on school selection, the analysis indicates a positive relationship between Latino American Catholic, societal and educational experience and school selection. The greatest difference between Latino parents with children in Catholic schools, and those with children not in Catholic schools was in income, followed by liturgical cultural sensitivity and Spanish language preference. Compared with Latino parents who did not have children in a Catholic school, the Latino parents with children in a Catholic school were more likely not to have a high preference for the use of Spanish in the Catholic liturgy, nor in everyday speaking, thinking and praying. On the other hand, Latino parents who did not have children in a Catholic school were more likely to have a higher preference for the use of Spanish in the Catholic liturgy, everyday speaking, thinking and praying. The importance of the Spanish language in Latinos' experiences of American Catholicism, American society, and American education and its relationship to school selection must be taken into account by Church leadership if it is to continue its educational mission to the Latino community, while ensuring a future for the American Catholic Church. The findings from this study provide information that gives support to Catholic Church leadership in meeting its pressing responsibility to embrace the growing Latino population; a community that has such an important role to play in the future of the Catholic Church in the United States.
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