Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


College of Education, Doctoral Program

First Advisor

Monkman, Karen

Second Advisor

Kayne, Andrea

Third Advisor

Tovar-Murray, Darrick


Parents, family, school and community have overlapping spheres of influence in the education of children (Epstein, 2001). Schooling isolated from the home will have significant consequences for child behavior and development (Bronfenbrenner, 1979). A fact of life is that a people’s socio-political, cultural and historical life situation, context or environment, or ecological systems (Bronfenbrenner, 1977) affects their way of life.

This study seeks to understand the nature of parental engagement of Igbo families, a newer immigrant community in Chicago, in the education of their children. All immigrants are not the same, and knowing about Igbo experiences will enable scholars and educators to recognize both similarities with and differences from other immigrant communities. The study was conducted using a narrative inquiry methodology, which provides a good platform to hear these important stories about education and schooling and to better understand the particular experience of Igbo parents in Chicago relative to their involvement in the education of their children. Epstein’s theory of overlapping spheres of influence and Bronfenbrenner’s ecological systems theory frame the study.

Ten parents were interviewed in this study, six women and four men. The following themes emerged: Educating children, the Igbo parents’ perception and practice of parental involvement, Igbo parents’ relationship with the schools, the parents’ environment, the challenges encountered and the support parents have.

It is immaterial whether their kind of involvement fits the prescribed or standardized form of parental involvement in the literature or in practice elsewhere. But the crucial question is, given their circumstances, are Igbo parents’ perceptions and practices of parental involvement promoting the education of their children in Chicago?