Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Linda Holcomb


Parental involvement in schools has been linked to student academic success and dropout prevention. However, some parents are disenfranchised by the educational system because they do not know how to become involved in the schools. The purpose of this study was to identify the barriers to parental involvement in a rural school district with increased dropouts and low academic success. Epstein's framework provided structure to analyze the ways parents participate in schools, classify the barriers, and organize suggestions for improvement. The research questions focused on African American parents' perceptions of barriers to parental involvement by using a focus group, interviews, and a questionnaire. A qualitative research design and case study interviewing approach identified barriers to parental involvement. The sample consisted of 20 African American parents of middle and high school students. Data analysis included coding and categorizing themes. Findings revealed 4 specific barriers to parental involvement that included (a) unclear understanding of parental involvement, (b) inadequate school communication, (c) ineffective school leader support, and (d) communal disintegration. In addition, most parents identified varied teacher conference times as the most effective influence in promoting parental involvement. The project stemming from this doctoral study is the beginning of an ongoing parent engagement network that will utilize the educational network platform Edmodo to aid parents in implementing effective parental practices. The potential for social change includes increased academic success, improved behavior, and increased esteem among students as a result of active parental involvement.