A survey and analysis of the attitudes of non-negro parents in selected Portland elementary schools Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/1z40kw88t

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  • The study of parent attitudes in Portland, Oregon, elementary schools was designed to accomplish three purposes: (1) To identify the attitudes of Non-Negro parents toward integration of Negroes into the schools and community, (2) To measure the effects of socioeconomic classes (low, middle, upper), of schools (control versus transfer), and of grade levels (intermediate versus upper) on the responses of Non-Negro parents, (3) To provide for further elaboration of parent attitudes by open-ended interviews. The first two purposes of the study were resolved by the formation of three hypotheses which not only identified the attitudes of parents but measured the school effects, the socio-economic effects, and the grade effects on the responses of the parents. The three hypotheses stated in null form were: 1. There is no significant school effect in the responses of Non-Negro parents. 2. There is no significant socio-economic effect in the responses of Non-Negro parents. 3. There is no significant grade effect in the responses of Non-Negro parents. The instrument used in the study was a questionnaire containing eight variables which were used to identify the attitudes of parents being interviewed. The parents were questioned about their attitudes toward the following: 1. The transfer program of Negro students to their schools. 2. The effect of Negro students on the academic progress of their children. 3. The effect of Negro students on the socialization progress of their children. 4. The retention of the neighborhood school concept. 5. The integration of schools by one-way bussing. 6. The integration of schools by two-way bussing. 7. The integration of Negroes into their neighborhood community. 8. The effect of Negro militancy upon their attitudes. The responses to the questions were marked on a Likert type (five point) scale. The means derived from the scale were used to identify the attitudes of parents and to test for significant differences in parent responses. Analysis of variance technique was used to test for significant differences, using the F statistic. The .05 level served as the criterion of significance. The findings which resulted from the testing of the main hypotheses showed the following: 1. There was a pronounced socio-economic effect on the responses of Non-Negro parents. Response to four of the eight questions showed significant differences. The middle socio-economic class was significantly more negative toward the Negro than the other classes on the question about social behavior. The lower socio-economic class was significantly less positive toward the concept of neighborhood schools. The lower socio-economic class was significantly less negative toward two-way bussing. The middle socio-economic class was significantly less positive toward open housing. 2. There was a minimal school effect on the responses of Non- Negro parents. Only one of the eight questions showed significant differences. The transfer schools were more negative toward two-way bussing than were the control schools. 3. There was some grade level effect, two of the eight questions showing significant differences. The upper grades were more negative toward two-way bussing than were the intermediate grades. The upper grades were less positive toward open housing than were the intermediate grades. To resolve the third purpose in the study, four hypothetical questions about bussing, fair employment, housing, and socialization were presented to the parents. Comments made by parents were recorded and used for further elaboration of parent attitudes. These comments showed the following: 1. The parents were strongly negative toward bussing. The lower socio-economic class seemed more concerned about the inconvenience and the economic cost of bussing. The middle and upper socio-economic classes seemed more concerned about the psychological and social effect of bussing on their children. 2. The parents were positive toward fair employment. The middle socio-economic class was the least positive in its comments when it was expected that the lower socio-economic class would be the least positive. 3. Parents were strongly positive toward open housing. There seemed to be no differences in the comments by socio-economic classes. 4. Parents were strongly negative toward socialization. Socialization meant the threat of dating and possible intermarriage. The lower socio-economic class seemed slightly less negative than the middle and upper classes. In summary, it was found that the Non-Negro parents were: 1. Opposed to bussing. 2. Favorable toward the concept of neighborhood schools. 3. Concerned about the effect of the Negro child on the social behavior of other children. 4. Strongly opposed to displays of militancy. 5. Concerned about interracial relationships between boys and girls. 6. Very favorable toward open housing and fair employment. The middle socio-economic class parent seem to have the most negative attitudes toward the integration of Negros. Implications and conclusions of the study indicate the following: 1. Non-Negro parents have strong reservations about the use of public schools as the instrument to achieve integration. Positive attitudes toward open housing and fair employment suggest alternative approaches to solving the problem. 2. The unexpected negative reaction of the middle socioeconomic class to school integration of the Negro suggests that there are other value priorities than the economic ones which affect the attitudes of the Non-Negro toward the Negro. 3. Plans for reorganization of the Portland School District with middle schools as a possible instrument for facilitating integration may be frustrated because of the present attitudes of Non-Negro parents in Portland.
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