Nav: Home

Moms more likely than dads to favor both school diversity and neighborhood schools

October 12, 2016

In the first empirical study on gender and school assignment, researchers find that mothers are more likely than fathers to favor both school diversity and so-called neighborhood schools. The study also finds that mothers are more likely to be concerned about challenges, dangers and uncertainty related to school assignments.

"Our threshold question was whether there were gender differences among parents toward their children's public school assignments - and we found clear differences," says Toby Parcel, a professor of sociology at North Carolina State University and lead author of a paper on the research.

"This is the first time researchers have measured, in an empirical way, how school assignment concerns break down along gender lines," Parcel says. "And it gives us a deeper, fundamental understanding of parental concerns about schooling."

For the study, researchers analyzed survey data from 547 parents of children in Wake County (N.C.) Public Schools. Survey participants were split about evenly between men and women.

"We found that mothers were more pro-diversity and more supportive of neighborhood schools than fathers, regardless of any other variables - such as race, education, income or political affiliation," Parcel says. "This highlights the policy challenges facing school administrators, who often have to find a balance between promoting school diversity and drawing a school population from its immediate neighborhood."

The researchers also found that mothers were more concerned than fathers about potential logistical challenges a school reassignment might pose, were more fearful that a reassignment may harm a child's learning or friendships, and were more uncertain about the likelihood of a child being reassigned to a different school.

"We do know that school boards do take these concerns into account," Parcel says. "For example, in Wake County, these concerns have slowed down the rate, and limited the number, of school reassignments."

Parcel notes that while this study focused on one North Carolina county, the underlying variables that the researchers examined are broadly applicable to other parts of the United States.

The study highlighted another area of potential interest for future research.

"We think the work of making school choices - such as choosing among public, private, charter, magnet and home-schooling options - is significant; it takes time, effort and emotional energy," Parcel says. "And it's an understudied area. We'd like to see questions about this incorporated into national surveys that focus on the division of household labor."

The paper, "'How Far is Too Far?' Gender, Emotional Capital and Children's Public School Assignments," is published in the journal Socius. The paper was co-authored by Andy Taylor of NC State and Joshua Hendrix, a former Ph.D. student at NC State, now at RTI International.
-end-


North Carolina State University

Related Diversity Articles:

Revealing Aspergillus diversity for industrial applications
In a Feb. 14, 2017 study published in Genome Biology, an international team report sequencing the genomes of 10 novel Aspergillus species, which were compared with the eight other sequenced Aspergillus species.
Important to maintain a diversity of habitats in the sea
Researchers from University of Gothenburg and the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) show that both species diversity and habitat diversity are critical to understand the functioning of ecosystems.
Discovering what shapes language diversity
A research team led by Colorado State University is the first to use a form of simulation modeling to study the processes that shape language diversity patterns.
Making the switch to polarization diversity
New silicon photonic chip that offers significant improvement to the optical switches used by fiber optic networks to be presented at OFC 2017 in Los Angeles.
Deciphering the emergence of neuronal diversity
Neuroscientists at UNIGE have analysed the diversity of inhibitory interneurons during the developmental period surrounding birth.
Epigenetic diversity in childhood cancer
Tumors of the elderly carry many DNA mutations that can influence disease course.
Diversity without limits
Now, researchers at Temple and Oakland universities have completed a new tree of prokaryotic life calibrated to time, assembled from 11,784 species of bacteria.
Threatened by diversity
Psychologist Brenda Major identifies what may be a key factor in many white Americans' support for Donald Trump.
Diversity as natural pesticide
Monoculture crops provide the nutrient levels insect pests crave, explains a study led by the University of California, Davis, in the journal Nature. Returning plant diversity to farmland could be a key step toward sustainable pest control.
A missing influence in keeping diversity within the academy?
A new study of science Ph.D.s who embarked on careers between 2004 and 2014 showed that while nearly two-thirds chose employment outside academic science, their reasons for doing so had little to do with the advice they received from faculty advisors, other scientific mentors, family, or even graduate school peers.

Related Diversity Reading:

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Anthropomorphic
Do animals grieve? Do they have language or consciousness? For a long time, scientists resisted the urge to look for human qualities in animals. This hour, TED speakers explore how that is changing. Guests include biological anthropologist Barbara King, dolphin researcher Denise Herzing, primatologist Frans de Waal, and ecologist Carl Safina.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#SB2 2019 Science Birthday Minisode: Mary Golda Ross
Our second annual Science Birthday is here, and this year we celebrate the wonderful Mary Golda Ross, born 9 August 1908. She died in 2008 at age 99, but left a lasting mark on the science of rocketry and space exploration as an early woman in engineering, and one of the first Native Americans in engineering. Join Rachelle and Bethany for this very special birthday minisode celebrating Mary and her achievements. Thanks to our Patreons who make this show possible! Read more about Mary G. Ross: Interview with Mary Ross on Lash Publications International, by Laurel Sheppard Meet Mary Golda...