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Case Study: Parents’ perspectives on what motivate them to

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Ebru Bilgili

on 6 October 2013

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Transcript of Case Study: Parents’ perspectives on what motivate them to

Why Islamic Schools?
Case Study: Parents’ perspectives on what motivate them to choose an Islamic school for their children’s education.
Ebru Bilgili
FSCJ and University of North Florida
CIES Conference, FSU
October 11-13, 2013
Research Questions
What is it that parents feel is lacking in a community school education (public schools)?
What is it that they feel only a faith-based school (Islamic school) education can provide for their children?
Purpose of the Case Study
Review of Related Literature
"Our children(our daughters) are like flowers that need to be protected, so that when the winds blow we know where the seeds fall and grow" -Parent
To examine the perceptions of parents regarding their expectations of an Islamic school in providing a cultural and religious educational environment to their students.
How Muslim parents who send their children to this school define the spiritual and /or religious needs they want their children to posses and what role the school plays in fulfilling such needs.
Harvard professor Diana L. Eck calls the United States the “most religiously diverse nation on earth”(2001, p.4).

“While the field of multicultural education has a strong tradition of documenting and addressing the needs of African-American and Latino youth and families, the experiences of the Muslim community have only recently, since the tragedy of September 11, 2001, come into the spotlight” (Sabry & Bruna, 2007, p.44)

Methodology and Procedures
Context of the School:

Predominately muslim student population
Low-SES(65% of students on scholarships)
Multicultural-131 students representing 20 different countries
76 girls, 55 boys
Grades Pre-K through 5 th grade
Situated adjacent to the Islamic Center and Community Mosque
Qualitative Case Study
Focus Group Interviews
Personal Journals
Semi-Structured Interviews

Parents' Perspectives
“In a country where Muslims are a minority (and one that is many times looked upon with suspicion) it is of paramount importance to instill an Islamic identity in our kids, and its importance is equaled by its difficulty. Islamic schools help give kids a Muslim identity which (in theory for me anyhow, because my children are still young) will help them circumvent the split identity crises a lot of Muslim teenagers and young adults face” (Parent A Semi Structured Interview Response)
“Academics is very important to me and my husband but if it came to having to place a priority on one versus the other in the earlier grades (Pre-K through 2nd), the Islamic school would win.” (Parent B Semi Structured Interview Response)
“Islamic schools minimize the exposure to inappropriate behaviors.” (Parent C Semi- Structured Interview Response)
“Some parents say that our kids shouldn't be sheltered at Islamic schools and should integrate in other schools, that is a matter of preference based on the parents' personal experiences. Since I attended different schools in the US and Egypt (private, public, boarding, not Islamic) my personal experience shapes my view that an education in an Islamic school can mitigate some of the difficulties Muslim children face in America.” (Parent A Semi Structured Interview Response)
The study revealed that parents choose to send their children to Islamic Schools for the following reasons:
development and nurture of Islamic Identity and have an Islamic education.
Islamic Education
Feeling of acceptance and belonging
Coherence of experiences
Exposure to all Islamic environment
Connectivity to Islamic values and attitudes
Continuity of Islamic tradition and connection to bigger Islamic community.
Hewer, C. (2001). Schools for Muslims, Oxford Review of Education, 27(4), 515-527.
Hurst, J. (2000). Religious requirements: The case for Roman Catholic schools in the
1940s and Muslim schools in the 1990s, Journal of Beliefs and Values, 21(1), 87-
Islamic Schools League of America.(1998). On-line resource available at
http://www.theisla.org/filemgmt/viewcat.php?cid=2 Retrieved September 1,
Sabry, N. S., & Bruna, K. R. (2007). Learning from the experience of Muslim students in
American schools: Towards a proactive model of school-community cooperation, Multicultural Perspectives, 9(3), 44-50.
De Jong, J. & Snik, G. (2002). Why should states fund denominational schools?, Journal
of Philosophy of Education, 35(4), 573-587.
Eck, D.L. (2001). A new religious America: How a “Christian country” has become the
world’s most religiously diverse nation. New York: HarperSanFrancisco.

Development of Islamic Identity
Faith schools help children develop a sense of identity and belonging, which in turn helps them develop their confidence and self-esteem so that they can reach their full potential (Parker-Jenkins, 2002).
Cultural membership not only supports the self-identity of people but also gives them a secure sense of belonging (DeJong and Snik, 2002, p.582).
The educational aims of faith based-schools will be in line with faith traditions and its daily practices will reflect the patterns of living at home (Hewer, 2001).
Research indicates that Muslim students and families in U.S. schools are facing many challenges that need to be taken into considerations by the stakeholders so that growing body of Muslim students would also receive an equitable and positive educational experiences through our education system (Sabry & Bruna, 2007).
According to the Islamic School League of America (ISLA), a nonprofit that connects Muslim educators and institutions, estimates that 40,000 students are enrolled in Islamic schools in the United States, a 25 percent increase from 2006.
“Most faith practicing immigrants have experienced western society as irreligious and immoral”(Hurst, 2000,p.92).
"I do not know what is coming up next in the public schools. It worries me to see my children feel singled out every time they are asked to bring in to school related to a Christmas or even Easter. I sometimes refuse to send him to school on those days”(Parent F Semi-Structured Interview Response)

“The school helps my children make connections outside of school. They have teachers who pray with them at school and outside of school.”(Parent A Semi-Structured Interview Response)

“Even though the children learn prayer, Quran, Islamic history, and dua at home, having them learn it at school inculcates these values in them from a young age”(Parent E Semi-Structured Interview Response)
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