Date of Award

January 2014

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Gary L. Schnellert


This qualitative study explored the perceptions of four Native American mothers and one English Traveller parent regarding their children's educational experiences. A comparative case study was used with a qualitative approach that presented a framework for international comparative studies in education, which can be helpful in better understanding and meeting the needs of all learners from culturally diverse backgrounds. The case study identified the relationship between two very different cultures, schools, and demographical areas with many common similarities. Some of the most serious problems confronting Native American and Traveller children are low academic achievement, a high percentage of students identified with special needs, and a high dropout rate. Through this analysis, the comparison identified the relationship between socioeconomic conditions, culture, student achievements, and school-to-parent relationships through the eyes of the parents. All parents had a voice and maybe one day they will help educators understand how factors within the home, school, and community affect student achievement.

The populations that were chosen in this study were two very diverse groups that helped to identify the relationship between the educational experiences of culturally diverse children. This qualitative study identified (a) the world of socioeconomics in education through a parental lens emphasizing how influential cultural practices are on a students' academic ability, (b) the generational cycle of poverty and its recurring effects, and (c) the connection between culture, social class, and relationships. The conclusion addresses these concerns and provides recommendations in regard to how to improve the education and higher expectations for culturally diverse children, how to communicate and educate parents in a more equitable manner, and ultimately how to work to educate diverse learners. Utilizing data from the research findings titled "Building Bridges," provides educational interventions that can be quite potent in raising student achievement, attainment, and parent involvement.