Academic journal article School Community Journal

An Urban School District's Parent Involvement: A Study of Teachers' and Administrators' Beliefs and Practices

Academic journal article School Community Journal

An Urban School District's Parent Involvement: A Study of Teachers' and Administrators' Beliefs and Practices

Article excerpt

Abstract

This quantitative study examines the practices and beliefs of administrators and teachers regarding parent involvement in an urban school district following the first year of the implementation of an action plan based on six national standards for parent involvement (National PTA, 1997). The theoretical framework is based upon Bandura's social cognitive theory of self-efficacy. Administrators and teachers from an urban school district were surveyed. The instrument used for this study was adapted from "The Parent Involvement Inventory" published by the Illinois State Board of Education (1994). A two-tailed t-test was conducted and findings indicate some statistically significant differences between many beliefs and practices. The results of this study show a mismatch between teachers' and administrators' beliefs and practices about parent involvement. Although teachers and administrators have strong beliefs about parent involvement and its importance in strengthening student achievement, what they practice in their schools and classrooms is not congruent with these beliefs.

Key Words: parental involvement, self-efficacy, teacher efficacy, urban education, teachers, administrators, beliefs, practices, urban school districts, family engagement, families, parents

Introduction and Purpose of the Study

The recent legislation of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) that reauthorized the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) has put parent involvement at the forefront of national policy. The law requires school districts who receive federal funds to inform parents how they can be involved in their children's schools and requires school districts to disseminate an annual district report card to parents. This has prompted many school districts across the country to re-examine current parent involvement policies and programs to ensure they are in compliance in order to continue to obtain federal education funding through programs such as Title I. Parent involvement policies and programs are not new to most school districts. What has changed is the educational environment, which is asking public school districts to be more accountable for student achievement. This change brings challenges for many school districts who struggle to meet adequate yearly progress (AYP) because of low achievement scores or low attendance rates. "Just as no child should be left behind, so, too no parent should be left behind in the American educational enterprise" (Lapp & Flood, 2004, p. 70); therefore, school districts must realize the importance that families play in children's school success and take responsibility for bridging the home and school environments.

Families have a profound impact on children's cognitive, social, and emotional development (Benson & Martin, 2003; Patrikakou, Weissberg, Redding, & Walberg, 2005). Students' development and academic progress are affected by the beliefs and practices of the teachers and administrators within the school district. School leaders have a strong impact on the priority placed on parent involvement within their schools and in the overall community (Protheroe, Shellard, & Turner, 2003). In addition, teachers must realize that they are not only working with children, but also with their students' families (Kirschenbaum, 2001). Although family involvement at the elementary level is more prevalent, recent research has focused on the lack of family involvement at the middle and high school levels (Hiatt-Michael, 2001). Schools must consistently encourage parents to become involved in their children's learning at all grade levels. Respectful relationships and supportive links between schools, families, and communities are imperative to successful partnerships (Christenson, Godber, & Anderson, 2005).

This study examines the practices and beliefs of administrators and teachers regarding family involvement in an urban school district following the first year of the implementation of an action plan to improve parent involvement based on six national standards for parent involvement (National PTA, 1997). …

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