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<p><strong>Principal Investigator(s):</strong></p> <p><strong>Emily Knaphus</strong><br> University of Washington<br> Email: <a href="mailto:eknaphus@u.washington.edu">eknaphus@u.washington.edu</a><br> Home page: <a href="https://soc.washington.edu/people/emily-knaphus" rel="nofollow">https://soc.washington.edu/people/emily-knaphus</a></p> <p><strong>Sample size</strong>: 206<br> <strong>Field period:</strong> 06/03/2016-08/31/2016</p> <p><strong>Abstract</strong>:</p> <p>This TESS study was part of a larger dissertation project examining the stigma of parental incarceration and its impact on educational experience. Prior research on educational disparities indicates that both psychological effects of stigma and teachers’ judgements can adversely impact academic outcomes. Scholars have also shown a correlation between school discipline and academic achievement. In this dissertation, the stigma of parental incarceration was explored along two dimensions – the experience of, and response to, stigmatization from the perspective of children who have experienced parental incarceration, and stigma from the perspective of teachers responding to classroom misbehavior. As illustrated through the accounts of children of incarcerated parents, the experience and the effects of stigmatization vary greatly between individuals and across contexts. One theme appearing frequently in these accounts and throughout the literature on parental incarceration is the impression that children of incarcerated parents are viewed as more prone to delinquency than their peers, due to the associative stigma of parental incarceration. This theme was further examined through a factorial survey of teachers conducted by TESS, which reveals that teachers are more inclined to attribute the misbehavior of children with incarcerated parents to internal characteristics, living in a rough neighborhood, and chaos at home. While theory suggests that these attributions could contribute to differential treatment for children of incarcerated parents, my findings do not suggest that teachers’ disciplinary decisions are affected by parental incarceration.</p> <p><strong>Research Questions:</strong></p> <p>The literature suggests three hypotheses regarding the impact of parental incarceration on teachers' response to classroom misbehavior. 1) Teachers will be more likely to attribute problem behavior among children of incarcerated parents to internal rather than environmental characteristics due to stereotypical assumptions that “the apple doesn’t fall from the tree” (the transference of a parent’s stigma to their children). 2) These attributions will contribute to harsher punishment for children of incarcerated parents than their peers. 3) The effect of parental incarceration on teacher responses to problem behavior will be particularly pronounced for black males displaying stereotype-congruent behavior.</p> <p><strong>Experimental Manipulations:</strong></p> <p>The 5 vignettes presented to each respondent (all teachers) were structured as follows, with each element of the vignette randomly assigned. The manipulations for each element are listed below.</p> <p>&lt;name&gt; doesn’t have an IEP, and has never had any major behavior issues in your classroom. &lt;father’s absence=""&gt;. &lt;behavior&gt;.&lt;/behavior&gt;&lt;/father’s&gt;&lt;/name&gt;</p> <p><strong>Vignette Manipulations:</strong></p> <p>Name:<br> The name was based on a randomly assigned gender (male or female) and race/ethnicity (black, Latino, white) combination. The names for each gender and race/ethnicity combination are as follows:</p> <p>Black male: &lt;jamal&gt;<br> White male: &lt;tanner&gt;<br> Latino male: &lt;jorge&gt;<br> Black female: &lt;tynisha&gt;<br> White female: &lt;molly&gt;<br> Latina female: &lt;alejandra&gt;&lt;/alejandra&gt;&lt;/molly&gt;&lt;/tynisha&gt;&lt;/jorge&gt;&lt;/tanner&gt;&lt;/jamal&gt;</p> <p>Father’s Absence:<br> &lt;at [her="" and="" conference,="" dad="" discuss="" glad="" have="" his]="" last="" mom="" opportunity="" parent="" teacher="" the="" this="" to="" were="" with="" you=""&gt;<br> &lt;you [her="" and="" at="" class="" dad="" had="" hard="" his]="" home="" in="" last="" mom="" previous="" prison="" remember="" since="" sister="" telling="" that="" the="" their="" things="" to="" went="" were="" year="" year,="" you="" your=""&gt;<br> &lt;you [her="" a="" accident="" ago="" car="" couple="" father="" his]="" in="" killed="" learned="" of="" recently="" that,="" was="" years=""&gt;<br> &lt;[She/He] often talks about [her/his] dad, who is in the military and stationed overseas&gt;&lt;/you&gt;&lt;/you&gt;&lt;/at&gt;</p> <p>Behavior:<br> Manipulations for K-6th grade teachers<br> &lt;while [name]="" a="" aggressively="" and="" another="" are="" at="" giving="" half="" in="" it="" lesson,="" pencil="" see="" snap="" student="" throw="" you=""&gt;<br> &lt;you [name]="" a="" activity.="" and="" another="" are="" backward="" is="" new="" other="" see="" shaken="" shove="" student="" stumbles="" the="" they="" to="" transitioning="" up="" visibly="" while=""&gt;<br> &lt;[Name] has been having a hard time focusing on [her/his] work today, and flat-out refuses to complete a task you have assigned&gt;<br> &lt;while [name]="" a="" and="" another="" art="" class="" desk="" is="" knock="" look="" off="" on="" projects,="" sculpture="" see="" student’s="" the="" their="" up="" working="" you=""&gt;&lt;/while&gt;&lt;/you&gt;&lt;/while&gt;</p> <p>Manipulations for 7-12th grade teachers<br> &lt;while [name]="" a="" aggressively="" and="" another="" are="" at="" giving="" half="" in="" it="" lesson,="" pencil="" see="" snap="" student="" throw="" you=""&gt;<br> &lt;you [name]="" a="" activity.="" and="" another="" are="" backward="" is="" new="" other="" see="" shaken="" shove="" student="" stumbles="" the="" they="" to="" transitioning="" up="" visibly="" while=""&gt;<br> &lt;[Name] has been having a hard time focusing on [her/his] work today, and flat-out refuses to complete a task you have assigned&gt;<br> &lt;while [her="" [name]="" activity="" are="" cell="" class,="" desk="" explaining="" his]="" instructions="" is="" notice="" phone="" playing="" that="" the="" to="" under="" with="" you=""&gt;&lt;/while&gt;&lt;/you&gt;&lt;/while&gt;</p> <p><strong>Outcome Variables:</strong></p> <p>Teachers were asked how likely (on a 5-point scale) they are to respond to the behavior in the following ways: - Keep the student in during recess (K-6) or lunchtime (7-12) - Send the student to a break room or out to the hall - Refer the student to the principal's office - Ignore the behavior - Call the police or school resource officer</p> <p>Teachers were also asked how likely (on a 5-point scale) it is that the following factors might be a cause of the problem behavior described in the vignette: - Student is a troublemaker - Rough neighborhood - Lack of self-control - Large class size - Chaos in the home environment - Low intelligence</p> <p><strong>Summary of Findings:</strong></p> <p>In responding to vignettes describing a student’s misbehavior in the classroom, teachers were more likely to attribute the behavior to internal characteristics (lack of self-control, being a troublemaker, and low intelligence), chaos at home, or rough neighborhood context if the student depicted had a father in prison. This indicates that parental incarceration has an impact on the implicit assumptions teachers make about a students’ behavior, providing empirical support for prior claims made in the literature that children experience courtesy stigma as a result of their parent’s incarceration.</p> <p>Findings regarding the association between parental incarceration and the application of classroom discipline are less clear. In the models predicting teachers’ propensity to use exclusionary/punitive discipline strategies (removing student from the classroom, referral to the principal’s office, and calling the police/SRO), teacher’s attribution of the misbehavior to internal characteristics had a strong effect. Teachers reported a higher likelihood of sending the student out of the classroom, to the principal, or calling the police/SRO if they perceived a behavior as originating from internal student characteristics (lack of self-control, low-intelligence, and being a troublemaker). The attribution of misbehavior to chaos at home also contributed to a higher propensity to send the student out into the hall/break room and to the principal’s office. While parental incarceration was shown to affect behavioral attributions made by teachers, this analysis did not reveal a direct or indirect association between parental incarceration and the application of discipline. In addition to models revealing an effect of behavioral attribution on disciplinary response, models were estimated that included only parental incarceration and not behavioral attributions – these models also failed to produce significant effects of parental incarceration on discipline.</p> <p>Additional models including interactions between race and behavior were also estimated to test the final hypothesis, that the effect of parental incarceration on teacher responses to problem behavior will be particularly pronounced for black males displaying stereotype-congruent behavior. No interaction effects were detected in these analyses. A further examination of the effect of parental incarceration by race, gender, and behavior type was conducted by re-running the best-performing model for each disciplinary response with the inclusion of student name (and exclusion of race, where applicable) and behavior type. Again, there are not any discernible differences between children with and without incarcerated fathers. Patterns in disciplinary response based on race and gender (signaled by name) also tend to be relatively uniform. The largest apparent variation (though not statistically significant) is in teacher’s likelihood of sending students out of the classroom if they knock a sculpture off a peer’s desk – under this condition, teachers were most inclined to send Jamal, Alejandra, and Jorge into the hall/break room. Teachers also reported a higher likelihood of sending Tynisha out of the classroom for using her cell phone.</p> <p>In sum, these analyses did not provide support for the hypotheses that parental incarceration impacts classroom discipline, or that the effect of parental incarceration on discipline is strongest for black boys displaying stereotype-congruent behavior. However, there is support for the hypothesis that teacher perceptions of the cause of classroom misbehavior are affected by parental incarceration. These findings paint a complex picture of the role that teacher bias might play in the educational experience of children of incarcerated parents. While parental incarceration is not shown to affect discipline, educational research shows that teacher perceptions can play a big role in shaping the educational trajectory of students. It could be that the perceptions of children of incarcerated parents revealed here are associated more directly with academic expectations and school tracking than with disciplinary decisions. It is also likely that the current analyses are missing an additional mediating variable with countervailing effects. For instance, the lowered expectations of behavior for children of incarcerated parents revealed by Wildeman et al. (2017) or the pity associated with parental incarceration revealed in my qualitative findings could decrease teachers’ propensity to utilize exclusionary or punitive discipline, offsetting the effect of parental incarceration on discipline mediated by behavioral attribution.</p> <p><strong>Findings from this project:</strong></p> <p>Knaphus-Soran, Emily. 2017. "Stigma and the Educational Experience of Children of Incarcerated Parents." Ph.D. Dissertation. Department of Sociology, University of Washington</p>
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