The purpose of this review of parental involvement scholarship was to examine epistemologies and existent research pertaining to family engagement in the African American community. Particular attention is paid to the discrepancies between how African American families typically engage versus what teachers have been socialized to recognize and value as engagement. These discrepancies are evaluated and solutions to rectify this disconnect are discussed. Searches of major electronic databases were used yielding over a thousand results, yet only 20 pieces of literature proved substantive due to their specific focus on how African American families show involvement in their child’s education. Findings included similar ways in which African American parents participate, how teachers and schools view parental engagement through an exclusive, White, middle-class lens, and solutions to bridge the gaps in knowledge about these practices for educators. Findings also showed that utilizing a community cultural wealth framework in assessing parental engagement is helpful for educators in reversing deficit-orientations about diverse families and seeing them through a strengths-based lens. One invaluable solution will focus on the need for more culturally responsive education amongst teachers to help in understanding family engagement for African American families to help create more collaborative family-school partnerships between them and the school.



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