In light of the fact that the number of Hispanic children enrolled in American schools is dramatically increasing and that these children are at higher risk of academic difficulty than any other group, the present study investigates the educational and child-rearing beliefs held by Hispanic parents. Understanding these beliefs is pivotal in any attempt to improve Latinos' educational attainment since current research recognizes that parental educational beliefs influence home-literacy practices, which in turn influence subsequent academic achievement. The research questions focus on two types of potential differences in terms of educational and child-rearing beliefs: (1)intercultural (Anglo-Americans vs. Hispanics), (2) intracultural (Hispanics with varying educational levels). To address these questions, 199 participants (114 Hispanics and 85 Anglo-Americans) filled out two surveys, The Parental Modernity Scale and The Rank Order of Parental Values, about educational and child-rearing beliefs. The two instruments used yielded a total of five scores for each participant. One-way ANOVAs followed by Tukey post-hoc tests revealed the existence of statistically significant intercultural differences (p < .0001) while no significant intracultural differences were observed. Overall, Hispanic participants had a propensity to endorse the following beliefs while Anglo-Americans tended to disagree with the same beliefs: (1) the home and the school are two separate entities and parents should not question the teacher's teaching methods, (2) children should be treated the same regardless of differences among them, (3) children are naturally bad and must therefore be trained early in life, (4) the most important thing to teach children is absolute obedience to adults, and (5) learning is a passive process where teachers fill children's heads with information. However, both groups shared the following beliefs: (1) what parents teach their children at home is important to their school success, (2) children learn best by doing rather than listening, (3) children have a right to their own point of view and should be allowed to express it. Possible explanations behind the apparent paradox of having Hispanic parents agree with opposite beliefs are presented. Implications for the results of this study and suggestions for future research are discussed.



College and Department

Humanities; Linguistics and English Language



Date Submitted


Document Type





parental beliefs, Hispanic immigrants, home-literacy, child-rearing beliefs, educational attitudes



Included in

Linguistics Commons