How African American, middle class parents learn and enact a racism resistant critical race achievement ideology in their adolescents in gifted and AP classes
Fisher, Tracey Simmons
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The purpose of this qualitative study was to examine African American, middle class parents’ facilitation of an academic achievement ideology that is racism-resistant in their adolescent offspring in AP and Gifted Education classrooms. Three research questions guided the study: (1) how do African American, middle class parents come to acquire or learn an achievement ideology that is resistant to racism? (2) how do African American, middle class parents of adolescents enact an achievement ideology with them that resists racism? (3) what are the consequences or results of African American, middle class parents enacting an achievement ideology with their adolescents that is resistant to racism? The method used to gather data in this qualitative study was the person-to-person, semi-structured interview. A modified version of the Seidman (2013) interview method captured rich, narrative data. A stratified purposeful sample of potential parent participants was accessed at one southeastern high school. Potential parent participants were identified through their African American adolescent children who had earned above average grades, were in AP and gifted classes, and earned high AP national test scores. Participation was voluntary. Additional screening criteria were the parents’ college experience and income level. Major themes are: (a) understand that education impacts life quality (b) expect to work twice as hard to get half as far as Whites (c) use available resources to support learning (d) engage in high expectation conversations at home (e) network to enhance educational, racial and social class experiences. Conclusions are that the African American parents in this study intentionally pass on racially and culturally relevant knowledge to their adolescents about academic achievement resisting racism and compel them to be in, excel in, and understand the benefits of, AP and gifted. The parents in this study also reported that their adolescents developed friendships across racial lines in AP and gifted which is a consequence of enacting a racism resistant achievement ideology that includes enhancing their adolescents’ social class connections.