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When Middle-Class Parents Choose Urban SchoolsClass, Race, and the Challenge of Equity in Public Education$
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Linn Posey-Maddox

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780226120188

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2014

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226120355.001.0001

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Professionalizing the MPTO

Professionalizing the MPTO

Race, Class, and Shifting Norms for “Active” Parents

(p.90) (p.91) Five Professionalizing the MPTO
When Middle-Class Parents Choose Urban Schools

Linn Posey-Maddox

University of Chicago Press

Little is known about how parental fundraising and volunteerism shape family-school relations and, specifically, norms and practices related to parent engagement within particular school contexts. This chapter addresses this issue by examining the scope and consequences of middle-class parents’ school-improvement efforts at a public elementary school. Although parents brought new resources and educational opportunities to the school, the chapter shows how their engagement through the Parent-Teacher Organization, and the school’s reliance on their contributions, engendered tensions and exacerbated existing status positions among parents. Based upon these findings, the chapter argues that there are limits to relying upon middle-class parents to sustain school funding and educational opportunities. A reliance on these parents may not only privilege middle-class norms of engagement in school settings, but also relieve the state of its responsibility to provide and ensure high-quality public schooling for all children.

Keywords:   Parent-Teacher Organization, parent engagement, fundraising, volunteerism, school funding

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