Integrating race, racism, and critical consciousness in Black parents' engagement with schools

Document Type


Publication Date



Leadership and Counseling

Publication Title

Journal of Family Theory and Review


Although decades of research document the positive benefits of parent involvement in schools, Black parents are not always welcomed in schooling spaces. Black parents have sometimes been perceived as uncaring about their children's education, and often racism has precluded their full inclusion and meaningful participation. This article uses critical race theory to understand the ways that racism influences Black parents' experiences in schools. We propose a novel form of parent involvement—critical parent engagement—which we define as parents' recognition of issues related to race and racism in schools that informs the actions they take to ensure their children's academic success. This new conceptualization of parent involvement relies on critical race theory and critical consciousness theory to provide a conceptual framework to understand how Black parents critically analyze issues that are present in the schools and how they subsequently engage in action. We conclude with suggestions for future research and practice.

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