Handbook of Parenting - Vol. 5

By Marc H. Bornstein | Go to book overview

16
Family, School, and Community
Partnerships
Joyce L. Epstein
Mavis G. Sanders
Johns Hopkins University

INTRODUCTION

Families, schools, and communities play important roles in socializing and educating children. In this chapter, we review the literature on the connections in these contexts that support students' learning and we consider how parents, educators, and community members separately and jointly influence the education and development of children. Two purposes of this work are to encourage researchers who study families and parenting to pay more attention to schools during the years that children are students, and to encourage researchers who study schools and children's learning to examine the influence of families and communities in children's education and development. It is important to recognize that schools and teachers critically influence families, and that families influence educators every year that children attend school. Another purpose is to illustrate how research and development may help schools and families create broader and deeper support for student learning. It is important for educators, policy leaders, counselors, community leaders, and other professionals who work with families and children to understand the inevitable connections of home, school, and community, and to maximize the positive results of those connections for students.

The chapter begins with a short summary of the history of relations between home and school in American education. There has been an interesting evolution from very high control by families and communities of children's education and schools to strict separation of family and school responsibilities for formal education, and to new partnerships based on shared responsibilities of educators, families, and community members for children's learning and development.

The second section summarizes some of the major theories of family–school–community relations and how the theories have changed over time. Theories of separate, nested, and overlapping influences of families and schools have guided research and practice. The different perspectives are reflected in various practical models that define the roles and responsibilities of parents, teachers, and members of the community. Historic fluctuations in practices and the progression of distinct

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