Family-School Links: How Do They Affect Educational Outcomes?

Family-School Links: How Do They Affect Educational Outcomes?

Family-School Links: How Do They Affect Educational Outcomes?

Family-School Links: How Do They Affect Educational Outcomes?

Synopsis

Based on the presentations and discussions from a national symposium on family-school links held at the Pennsylvania State University, this volume brings together psychologists, sociologists, educators, and policymakers studying the bidirectional effects between schools and families. This topic -- the links between families and schools, and how these affect children's educational achievement -- encompasses a host of questions, each of key social and educational significance.

• How far does parental involvement in schools affect children's experiences and achievement at school?

• What explains the great differences between schools, families, and communities in the extent of such involvement?

• Are these differences a matter of school practices, or do they reflect much broader social and cultural divisions?

• What is the nature of the impact schools have on children and their families?

• How can family-school-partnerships be fostered in a way that helps children?

The chapter authors consider these questions and related issues, present different perspectives, highlight various aspects of the issues, and suggest widely differing answers. This volume's goal is to provide the reader with current information on what is known about family-school-community links, and to provoke new ways of thinking about these links and their implications for children's education and well-being.

Excerpt

The topic of the links between families and schools and how these affect children's educational achievement encompasses a host of questions, each of key social and educational significance. How far does parental involvement in schools affect children's experiences and achievement at school? What explains the great differences between schools, families, and communities in the extent of such involvement? Are these differences a matter of school practices, or do they reflect much broader social and cultural divisions? What is the nature of the impact of schools on children and their families? And, most importantly, how can familyschool partnerships be fostered in a way that helps children?

The chapters in this book address these questions and related issues. The authors take very different perspectives, highlight different aspects of the issues, and suggest widely differing answers to the questions. The chapters are based on the presentations and discussions from a national symposium on family-school links held at the Pennsylvania State University October 31-November 1, 1994, as the second in a series of annual symposia focused on family issues. The symposium was organized around four overarching questions; for each of these four themes, there was a lead paper, followed by three discussants' papers. These themes form the four sections of the book, and they are followed by a final overview chapter.

In the first section of the book, the chapters focus on how families and schools can work together to promote children's education and school success. In the lead chapter, Eccles and Harold review the evidence on the extent and the sequelae of parental involvement, and present findings from two important large scale studies, conducted in Chicago and in Maryland. Their data show that parents and teachers can play a critical role if they work together, but note that although . . .

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