The Color of School Reform: Race, Politics, and the Challenge of Urban Education

By Jeffrey R. Henig; Richard C. Hula et al. | Go to book overview

CHAPTER FIVE
Parental and Community Participation
in Education Reform

The evidence is clear that parental encouragement, activities, and interest at home and participation in schools and classrooms affect children's achievements, attitudes, and aspirations, even after student ability and family socioeconomic status are taken into account. Students gain in personal and academic development if their families emphasize schooling, let the children know they do, and do so continually over the school years. (Joyce L. Epstein)

Parental guidance continues to be a critical and decisive factor in the education of children, and I suppose it goes without saying there's a perception on the part of many people that given the extent of family disorganization in the black community that the community is without that center of education. (Detroit school administrator)

ONE OF the most consistent and seemingly uncontroversial findings in the education literature concerns the importance of parent involvement for children's learning and schools' success.1 Parents, teachers, principals, and public offials readily subscribe to the premise that partnerships between parents and schools make a potent combination. This view has encouraged various reform efforts at the local level, including policies to improve communication from the schools to homes, to encourage teachers to make home visits, and to institute school-based decision-making teams comprising principals, teachers, parents, and community representatives. The federal government, too, has signed on to the parent involvement movement; the eighth National Education Goal, indicates that “by the year 2000, every school will

____________________
1
E.g., James Coleman et al., Equality of Educational Opportunity (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1966); Joyce L. Epstein, “Parent Involvement: What the Research Says to Administrators,º Education and Urban Society 19:2 (1987): 119–36; S. S. Purkey and M. Smith, “Effective Schools: A Review,” Elementary School Journal 83 (1983): 427–52.

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