EXPLORING FUNDS OF KNOWLEDGE AND CAPITAL: CASE STUDIES OF LATINO IMMIGRANT FAMILIES SUPPORTING THEIR CHILDREN'S EDUCATION, WITH A FOCUS ON MATHEMATICS
Napp-Avelli, Carolina A.
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Latino students are frequently positioned by widespread achievement gap discourse at the bottom of the attainment spectrum. Both students and families are portrayed as inadequate and deficient, and are blamed for their lack of success in mathematics. One recommendation to improve Latino students' educational performance is to increase parental involvement in mathematics among Latinos. However, life conditions of Latino immigrant families include factors that often make it difficult for parents to get involved in the education of their children in the ways that schools expect. This study explores the knowledge and resources two Latino immigrant families have acquired thorough their experiences and how they use them to support their children's education and mathematics education. In order to analyze families' resources, a theoretical framework composed by the concepts of educability, capital, and funds of knowledge and community cultural wealth was developed. The construct of educability, which analyzes the tensions between the limitations that poverty and other life conditions impose on families and the possibilities for students to succeed in school, provides the overarching structure of the framework. Bourdieu's theory of cultural capital and the cycle of reproduction of capital describe why social groups with more capital (middle and upper classes) acquire capital easily, whereas social groups with less capital (low socioeconomic working classes) have fewer opportunities to acquire capital. This piece of the framework explains why it is so difficult for students living in hard conditions to overcome them and succeed academically. The funds of knowledge and community cultural wealth perspectives made it possible to identify the resources and knowledge families have acquired through their experiences and understand their actions and hopes in connection to their life histories. In particular, the study analyzes how families use their resources along three dimensions that affect children's conditions of educability. First, the study looks at how parents influence students' dispositions towards education; second, how parents develop relationships with schools; and third, how parents influence what students do in their leisure time. The researcher's journey as a white middle-class highly educated woman working with Latino working-class families is also analyzed as part of the study.