If you grew up middle class do you see similarities between your Mother/Father and Mrs. Marshall? If you are a
middle class parent do you see similarities between yourself and Mrs. Marshall? What about differences? This
will be mentioned throughout our discussions of this book but do you think the author dismissed race too
much? Are there stark differences between a Black middle class family and a White middle class family? What
differences did you notice between the Williams family in Chapter 6 and The Marshall Family? Is there anything
that Mrs. Marshall said that gave you pause when it came to how she might perceive her racial identity in
everyday life? Given what we have learned so far about parenting do you think concerted cultivation is the
ideal parenting strategy? What positive things can children learn from concerted cultivation? Are there any
negative things children might learn? What did you think of Mrs. Marshall’s interaction with the gymnastics
coaches and owner? What positive or negative things might this have taught her children?
Did you think there was more going on in the Handlon house than simply an overzealous Middle-Class mom
that obsessed about her daughter’s homework? This is where generalizations about families gets interesting
when there is an x factor like the suspicion that Melanie has a learning disability or some other kind of disability
not diagnosed yet. Discuss the dynamic between Mrs. Handlon and the school system. Theorize about the
school’s opinion of Mrs. Handlon and her handling of her daughter Melanie. Talk about why activating capital
does not always yield profits (page 195).
On page 198 the author posits that teachers wish that parents would engage in forms of concerted cultivation.
Think about this for a moment. We know from this book and other research that this is the preferred and typical
method of parenting for middle-class families. What might the consequences be when these teachers have to
deal with poor families? Discuss the fear that poor families have of DCS (CPS) involvement in their families.
Why do you suspect there appears to be less squabbling between siblings in more poor families? Compares
the McAllisters (Black) to the Driver family (White). Were there any differences that you noticed even though
they were both poor families? Discuss the importance of extended family in the lives of poor families. What are
some hurdles for poor families in navigating the medical system, the school system, the nurse’s office at school
that Middle-Class families don’t seem to struggle with?
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