Cultural Exclusion and Critique in the Era of Good Intentions: Using Participatory Research to Transform Parent Roles in Urban School Reform
Parents of color have a rich critique of structures of inequality that disadvantage their children, but they are seldom invited to express or act upon this critique. More often, in public school settings, parent critique is censored, silenced, or condemned, used to dismiss the parents who voice it as difficult, or hostile individuals who have a negative agenda. Yet parent critique contains insights that could suggest solutions to some of the most entrenched educational problems. This article explores the critique expressed by Latino immigrant parents in an urban school reform movement and the ways in which this critique was transformed from a stigmatizing force to a catalyst for positive change by a participatory research group called Madres Unidas (Mothers United). The author argues that participatory research is one way to help parents and teachers analyze and embrace critique as a necessary step toward the goal of creating more just educational practices and outcomes.
cultural rights, identity, inclusion, Latin America, transnational immigration
Citation: Social Justice Vol. 36:4 (2009): 36-53