Publication Date


DOI (Digital Object Identifier)



Leadership and Higher Education


Doctor of Education (Ed.D)

Dissertation Chair

Jose Lalas, Ph.D.

Committee Members

Carol Franklin, Ed.D.

Enrique Murillo, Ph.D.


social sciences, education, cultural capital, family cultural capital, funds of knowledge, Hispanic working-class students, school cultural capital, student engagement


Educational Leadership | Secondary Education


Hispanic students' life experiences are influenced by factors related to cultural capital that are imbedded in the fabric of the family's culture and interwoven in the tapestry of the school setting in relationship to student engagement. Many researchers have argued that middle-to-upper class parents who possess high-status capital know how to navigate a school system that is congruent with the dominant group. In contrast, working-class minority parents are perceived as lacking cultural capital, and consequently struggle to access school resources necessary to benefit their children's educational attainment. This dissertation is concerned with examining how the role of cultural capital from home and school settings influence student engagement of Hispanic students, by using the theoretical framework derived from Bourdieu's (1986) cultural capital. This qualitative narrative inquiry looked at 30 participants comprised of two administrators, three counselors, seven teachers, nine parents and their nine students from the only high school in a small bedroom community located in one of the largest counties in Southern California. The authentic "voices" of the participants were captured through individual face-to-face audio taped interviews, which were coordinated, transcribed and synthesized over a three month period. The data was triangulated using the responses of the participants to answer the three research questions. The analysis of the findings revealed that minority Hispanic students possess familial and school cultural capital that influences student engagement. This work implies that Hispanic students have access to cultural capital at school through the extra assistance received from teachers and counselors, coupled with parent's strong desire not only to see their children succeed in academia but also vicariously fulfill the parent's own personal academic and career dreams and aspirations. Recommendations were made to inform educators how to avoid assumptions that Hispanic working-class students lack cultural capital.


© 2013 Margarita Flores-Vance

All Rights Reserved

ISBN: 9781303245930