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Parents’ Working Hours and Children’s Academic Development, Business Plan Example

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Business Plan

Introduction

Through its selective focus on schools and education institutions in general, a great deal of the educational or academic research and policies has focused on improving the academic performance of poor students over several years. However this effort have failed to take into account the significant and often ignored non-school factors that greatly influence the student’s academic achievement (Fisher & Villarruel, 1998).

According to Edelbrock & Achenbach, (1984) the factors external and exogenous to the school set up such as characteristics of the family set up in general and parent employment predominantly have been pointed out as significant attributes in the determination of the academic outcomes of the poor children. The current research study seeks to establish the possible relationship and correlation in the rise of the parental employment schedule triggered by the 1996 welfare reforms and the academic achievement of their child who age between 6 to 12 years ( Edelbrock & Achenbach, 1984).

It has been noted through research studies that children have an increased academic achievement, if their parents are involved in education through the creation of time (Levitt et al1993). Parent’s participation in the education of the children at young age fosters the development of better and comprehensive understanding of the learning skills as the students are more likely to enjoy reading. Research studies does not only signal the improvement of children’s academic performance but also improves their perceptions of personal self management and competence (American children and youth, 2005).

Literature Review

The prevailing socio –economic conditions in America have greatly impacted on the desire for increased revenue to the family for instance dual incomes for families. According to the Ontario Women’s Directorate 9, such families now account for 78 percent in composition (Levitt et al, 1993). Socially, it was the obligation of the woman to take care of the children and attending to other domestic obligations. Of late women have embarked on a passive campaign to make them be felt not only as child bearers but also as individuals who can actively supplement the sense of achievement beyond their homes (Alexander et al, 1993).

Additionally, Levitt et al, (1993), notes that salary earners, including parents mostly are absent from their home in most of the time. There are situations where a parent is working or over 100 hours in a day. When these modifications are taken into considerations, there is some reasonable doubt that the negative effects far much outweigh the positive effects experienced by the children of such parents. Although due to their perceive hard work such parents command respect as they demonstrates characters of industriousness, self reliance, responsibility, intelligence and self maturity, they fail to guide their children on crucial matters of life such ass academic hence a potential academic performance drop in the children (Levitt et al, 1993).

Research studies have proven that the parent involvement in the child’s academics is fundamental for the fostering of student development and better learning skills. Jody & Alison, (2005) suggests that, the most precise predictor of the achievement of the student is neither the social status nor the income but the level at which the family of the student is capable of: creating a home based environment that fosters learning, express ambitious but realistic expectations for their children academic achievement and effectively their future careers and thus becoming effectively concerned with the education of the child both at the community and school (Jody & Alison, 2005).

One form of parental involvement with their children academics and which they are denied by increased work schedule is participation in Parents Teachers Association functions and conferences. This deprives them the active involvement in the decision making concerning the education welfare services that their children receive from their teachers. To incorporate such absconding parents, the schools mostly organize flexible events aimed at assuring the parent’s attendance (Bailey, 2006).

Parents in the USA have of late been adopting a rather different approach to working and in most cases they are adopting a non- weekday schedule, non- standard shifts as well as extended evening shift (Bailey, 2006). This trend is mostly affecting the low income parents who are mostly expected to work for more non- standard time durations and schedules in order to earn that extra dollar. However, Edelbrock & Achenbach, (1984) asserts that little research work has been carried out to determine the possible effects and consequences of extended parenting working durations sometimes on average of 100 hours in a week, on the academic performance of school age children. In the USA for example National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (NLSY) collected data to establish the impact of parental evening working on the academic performance and home environment of about 1133 school children, 5 to 10 years of age. The Home Observation Measurement of the Environment (HOME) measure developed from this study has been crucial in determining the nature of children’s developmental, health and school academic outcomes (Jody & Alison, 2005).

Edelbrock & Achenbach, (1984) proposes that the average time spent on working by parents simply substitutes for the time duration that those parents used to spend on less important and needless activities which other people can perform or are not necessary. This of course raises the question of the validity of calculating the total number of hours that a mother spends with the children. (Jody & Alison, 2005) found out that while employed mother spent minimal time with their children, that actual time when they are at home was likely to be spent on direct contact with the children, in most case was it was 5 percent of their time. Mothers for instance who spend entire time at home rarely had a directed interaction period with their children, and in fact their average direct time was still 5 percent! Working mothers as well spend their little time at home paying attention with their children on tasks such as reading to them, playing or just having a mutual interaction (Jody & Alison, 2005; Edelbrock & Achenbach, 1984).

Having one or both parents working those extra and odd hours had a significant negative impact on the home environment both for families living with absolute poverty or those living in relative wealth. The extent of impact; according to the research about 11 percent drop was experienced in HOME scores when a consideration was made on mothers who worked in the late evenings and also an 8 percent drop in cases where the fathers worked in the evenings, was of the same order of extent as living in poverty (Jody & Alison, 2005). As the western nations and the US assume a twenty four hour economic system, there has been a growing demand of increased working hours for the already existing employees.  Without changes in the industrial and public policies, many parents have no choice; all they have to do is to agree with the extended daily working durations. This is in no regard of the quality of substitute care quality expected of them by their children; also it does not matter whether they feel that the net benefits of the increased working schedule far outweigh the associated costs. Although the policies that offer the parents an avenue to see their children after evening job are crucial to all families, they seem to be more significant to the parents lining with their children in poverty (Edelbrock & Achenbach, 1984).

These kinds of families often have little or no choice in the existing working conditions and the meager resources available for accessing quality substitute care when the working conditions drive them far away from their children especially in the early evening hours when they are supposed to assist the children in their academics. In 2006, a study carried out by the National Center for Social Research (NatCen) on 600 family setups and involving over 11,000 individuals revealed that up to of 8 to10 only half of the mothers (both single or married) worked for a typical working duration that was defined as between 8 A.M to 7 P.M on weekdays and any other time during the weekends. From the studies it was revealed that 42 percent of the parents worked in at least one of the days in the weekend. The average working mothers either in marriage or single, they spends on average only six hours in a week with their children and in that case only during mealtimes where also a non- working mother but with a working husband spends on average 12 hours (Edelbrock & Achenbach, 1984). However, the situation is far much worse for workings who literary spend at most five hours with their children.

Children from dual-career families refer to families which either parties or spouses are employed in highly mobile jobs, and thus both psychologically committed. Investigations that accepted refined parameters of the influences of family tend to show that they are more correlated with the academic performance than are further global measures of the background of families. For instance according to Jody & Alison, (2005) concludes that the cultural background or family social position need not decide the academic achievement of the child at school. He proposed that the children academic success is rather determined by what the parents do at home, and not necessarily the family background children that is important. Senechal, (2006) indicated that in connection to the students academic outcomes, the probable limitations associated with poverty can be overcome by parents who offer supportive, stimulating, and language experiences to their children.

It is therefore crucial to determine the nature of the interconnection between family characteristic backgrounds and more refined influences of the family. In coming up with the human development model (Edelbrock & Achenbach, 1984) proposed that the efficacy of the influences of family in the in academic performance is dependent to a greater extent on the background of the child. He observed that the child-parent interactions are the forces that determine the child’s effective performance. Additionally, (Levitt et al, 1993) noted that academic success can also be attained in situations where the resources of the family can be accessed to optimize on the interaction between the expected outcome and influences of the family. Therefore, the relationship between the expected academic excellence and the family influences should take into account the expanding or potentially constraining opportunities offered by the family background of the children. In the analysis of the interactions between academic achievement and families is important to consider the structures of the family for instance the influences of sibling and single family structures (Senechal, 2006).

Single Parent Family Structures

Past research studies on the relationship between the school academic outcome and dynamic family structures tend to reveal that children from single parent families mostly show lower school academic outcome performance as compared to those from two- parent families. They attributed this to the susceptibility of these children to peer pressure to engage in rogue and defiant behavior, increased high school drop out rates as well as the high social and psychological challenges. Although the above difference is very minimal, several theories have been put across to elaborate further this claim of variations (Bailey, 2006).

One of the claims put across is the no-impact perspective shows that the interaction between the dynamic family structures and the academic outcome performance of the student can be point out to the combination of family background factors such as ethnicity or race of the family as the education level of the parents (Bailey, 2006). The research outcome has however been criticized on the basis that it does bring out the distinction among the different single parent types  for instance those that result from never-married people, disruption of marriage (separation or divorce) or death of one partner. The studies also did not consider the child’s timing of the disruption of the parent’s marriage, the time duration of the marriage disruption, and whether the single parent is a mother, father or even guardian (Harada, 2005).

Basing on the Economic Deprivation theory the economic hardship in single parent families in most cases compel older adolescents to labor for long as they take care of their younger siblings thus marginalizing their school academic performance (Bailey, 2006). In a Family Socialization Perspective, it shows how the absence of one parent is probably connected with the decrease in the involvement of the parent, which in turn leads to low and poor academic performance outcomes. The situation is more serious on boys when there is absence of the father leading to negative socialization impacts.  From the research studies, the differences in the academic performance of single parent children and those from two parent families can be associated to the dynamism in the economic situations families and to the changes of the child- parent interactions in the varying family structures (Bailey, 2006).

Sibling Structure

Over the time there has been ancient interest with the establishment of the relationship between siblings’ variables, for instance the number of children a family has and order of child birth within the family with the academic performance outcome of the children (Bailey, 2006). Mostly these children variations have minor but significant connections with the children outcomes. Several theoretical approaches have been put forward to try and explain these interactions, for instance the confluence model and resource dilution hypotheses.

Resource Dilution Hypotheses

This perspective supports that the above indicated variables of the siblings are connected to the quantity and quality of the child-parent relationship with the families, and in thus cases the variations in the resources of parent are connected with the children differences in the academic outcome. Therefore, the higher the number of children in a family or in the later stage of birth position order, the higher the chances of them shares the limited family resources (Jody & Alison, 2005).

Confluences Perspective

This model suggests that the academic performance of children is influenced by the number of children within a family set up, the birth spacing between consecutive children for instance and the increase in the order of the birth was associated with reduced academic output (Harada, 2005).

Due to the recent increase in the number of Americans working in non standard durations and schedules, social scientists have began the attempts of trying to understand the implications of the same through the wide-range of consequences connected to the arrangement. Bailey, (2006) asserts that when compared to those parents working on the convectional traditional schedules, parents working in the nonstandard schedule struggle to organize appropriate child acre, often they experience strained marital and parent-child relationships, such children exhibit poor health outcomes (Bailey, 2006).

Such kind of modern life shows that parents have become more busy than they have ever been thus in actual sense spending minimal time with they used to thirty years ago. (Future Foundation), Studies have also shown that parents are likely to sacrifice their time on partners rather than their children. Children are therefore losing out the crucial time of leading with their parents. A study carried on 8 working fathers revealed that more that 50 percent of mothers are compelled to work beyond the usual time of 8 Am to 7 pm during the week days (Jody & Alison, 2005).

Results from a research carried out parental effects on children academic performance revealed that parents working for nonstandard hours were detrimental to the child’s mental development. To bridge the extended gap between the parents and the students, parents have resorted to the services offered by the child care (Senechal, 2006).

Methodology

The research will be conducted as an experimental project. For a research to qualify to be experimental it needs to have two distinct elements that put it aside from other research types. Experimental research is often done on the basis of a casual relationship or hypotheses and for this experimental research the hypotheses is: Parents who work more than 100 hours per week will have negative impacts on 6-12-year-old children’s academic performance. This stated proposes that under certain cause, a certain effect is expected to happen. The researcher has arranged the experiment in such a way that parental working period is the independent variable and the children academic performance the dependent variable.

The sample (N= 40) will consists of 40 students (20 boys; 20 girls) at the fifth grade. Participating students will be randomly selected from the classes as long as they meet the primary condition of the research proposal: parents should be working for extended duration of time mostly over 100 hours per week. Written consent will be obtained from parents of each of the child participating as well as from the schools administrative authority.

A contributory phenomenon increases the certainty that a particular condition will take place. In some cases such condition can alter or skew the research outcome. One contributive factor is the probability of a given class having an effective teacher than in other classes as well as in other previous years. Another significant factor that could alter in a positive way the outcome is the increased maturity of the students making them more independent from their parents. This may lead to them adopting stronger studying habits and more observation of details in their day to day learning. In such cases the contingent factor would be the children desire and willingness to achieve better academic grades.

It is now the duty of the researcher to observe the variables that could come up in the proposed experiment. In this form of experimental research the independent variable i.e. the parents working hours signify the experimental variable or the cause of the cause and effect interaction that has been recognized with the hypotheses and thus represents the variable that the researcher will vary. A control group will be used to compare any detected change in the experimental group. The experiment will therefore involve one experimental group involves students drawn from the fifth grade and control group: the same group’s performance when they were in the fourth grade.

The results will need first to pass the test of validity: internal validity and external validity. Internal validity refers to the preliminary outside element that may generate similar results as suggested on the stated hypotheses. There are a number of factors and element which can be a menace to the internal legality of the results for instance, the statistical regression; this refers to the dramatic and striking changes in the results resulting from unexplainable reasons and causes. For example the results of the students being researched on could be earned in fraudulent manner thus failing to symbolize the true mark of their academic abilities (Jody & Alison, 2005).

External validity refers to the capability to make the research findings and outcomes to be beneficial and thus applicable to the real world scenario. If the research outcome is correct and accurate and can be extrapolated to other situations the research is assumed to have passed the test of external validity. For this type of experiment, the demand and need for carrying out the test to both the teachers and students for a given environment may desensitize the students to testing (Jody & Alison, 2005).

Data Collection

Data collection plan will be based on the single group “pretest-posttest pre experimental design”. The details generated by this design will be represented by the commonly used diagram.  O1XO2

This type of design will provide pretest information that and applies the utilization of a control experimental group. The X will correspond to the experimental group, established in this research proposal as the working hours of the parent per week. The O will symbolize the measurement of the dependent variable effect, which in this research represents the increase actual academic performance of the children in the period under study. Thus form of design is very much applicable in the social and education research where common traits and characteristics of experimental group and control group are to be identified.

For this experiment, the children will be chosen with the aim of coming up with at least forty parents who will be willing to disclose their private information and thus actively participate in the research experiment. The parents will be expected to give correct information of the nature of the work they do, average time schedule in terms of hours per week and the individual hours per day both in the weekdays and weekends.

As usual the test will be provided and administered by the teacher to ensure no potential variation crops it. Each test will be scored after being reviewed by the instructional facilitator and counselor of the school who is also mandated with the management of results from the tests done.  The results will be later reviewed and assessed by the administration before being disseminated throughout the school to all teachers and the students and teachers involved. The researcher will at first seek the permission from the parent before disclosing any private information as this is forbidden by the Federal law. The tests of each student who participated will be eventually compared with the results of the earlier tests.

Population Sample

The students will be randomly chosen from the fifth grade class in the local urban elementary school. The sample will include students from any race, male or female and of the age range between 6-12-year-old. This same sample testing will be repeated on the same sample after nine weeks to reduce errors.

Assumptions

In every research, the researcher always a number of assumptions based on the stated hypotheses. The basic assumption is that the researcher will find a suitable school and cooperative students and parents. But the key fundamental assumption is that there will be no intervening variables that will have adverse effects on the performance of the selected student’s sample.

Data Analysis

Preliminary data analyses will be performed to ascertain the extent of reliability across the students tested, this will be to ensure that the measures characteristics do not voluntarily contravene the already stated statistical test assumptions in the hypotheses. Additional analyses will encompass the influence of primary foci factors such as marital status and parental actual number of hours per week. The expected data will be measured and recorded through a statistical analysis. From this, the researcher will major on the applied statistics, to find the evident correlation between the data collected and the stated hypotheses. One of the major method to be used for establishing the correlation is the determination of the degree of strength through which the facts arrived at could have emerged out of plain chance, or if the probability of them being influenced by either pure chance or some factor.

From the same, the different categories of findings will be established. The determined categories will be used to gauge the measure of performance of the students who participated in the test. The derived information will then be coded to so that from there the meaning will be transferred to the data either through pictorial representation such as graphs, table, chart and the frequency in the data will be derived. The data will also enable the determination of the central tendency: median, mean, range and mode. From the same research the dispersion as well as variability of the performance of the students will be calculated. Through this analysis it will now possible for the possible relationship between the independent and dependent variables stated in the hypotheses will be either denied or established.

Limitations

In order to carry out the research, the researcher will be forced to obtain certain vital personal information concerning the parent’s occupation. Although, the parents, teachers and the students will be reassured of confidentiality and that the participants names well be removed from the list prior to data entry, many parents will not be willing to participate despite the confidentiality reassurances.

Conclusion

The proposed research study will make substantial contribution both in the support processes as well as theoretical understanding on the impact of excessive working hours on the children academic performance, thus offering crucial information to educational and social planners, parents and all the stakeholders in the education sector in coping with the unprecedented dropping performance. When parents are out for most of the time, their children encounter difficult in their lives and this can only be manifested through the academic performance. These children may have limited ability to open up and communicate their concern, access the already deprived support from their parents, as well as prejudice and discrimination that they did not experience earlier along in their child life. Their parents are also struggling with the range of stressors that emanate from the excess working hours and thus fail to offer the necessary close monitoring of the academic performance and other issues relating to education.

The proposed research study is hoped to offer an understanding of how children at the age of between 6 and 11 years respond academically and psychologically to various aspects of their parental ecology. Most importantly, it will provide guidelines for identifying students of the same age bracket who are at a risk of losing their academic focus and achievement, including, school drop out, low achievement and emotional distress.

References

Alexander, K. L., Entwistle, D. R., & Dauber, S. L. (1993). First-grade classroom behavior: It’s short and long-term consequences for school performance. Child Development, 64, 801-814.

Bailey, Lora Battle.(2006). Interactive homework: A tool for fostering parent–child interactions and improving learning outcomes for at-risk young children. Early Childhood Education Journal. 34(2): 155-167.

Edelbrock, C. & Achenbach, T. M. (1984). The teacher version of the child behavior profile: I. Boys aged 6-11. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 52, 207-217

Faucette, Eileen (2000). “Are you missing the most important ingredient? A recipe for increasing student achievement.” MultiMedia Schools 7, no. 6 Nov-Dec: 56.

Fisher, C. B., Jackson, J. F., & Villarruel, F. A. (1998). The study of African American and Latin American children and youth. In W. Damon (Series Editor) & R. M. Lerner (Vol. Ed.), Handbook of child psychology: Vol. 1. Theoretical models of human development (pp.1145-1207).

Harada, Violet H. (2005). Working smarter: Being strategic about assessment and accountability.  Teacher Librarian. 33(1).

Levitt, M. J., Guacci-Franco, N., & Levitt, J. L. (1993). Convoys of social support in childhood and early adolescence: Structure and function. Developmental Psychology, 29, 811-818.

Jody Heymann; Alison Earle, (2005). The impact of parental working conditions on school-age children: the case of evening work., Retrieved 17 Dec, 2009 from <http://www.informaworld.com/smpp/content~content=a713658938&db=all>

Mathews, Virginia. (1997). Kids couldn’t wait then either, but sometimes they had to.  American Libraries. June/July: 76-80.

Senechal, Monique. (2006). Testing the home literacy model: Parent involvement in kindergarten is differentially related to grade 4 reading comprehension, fluency, spelling, and reading for pleasure. Scientific Studies of Reading. 10(1):59-87.

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