ERIC Number: ED307985
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1987-Dec
Family Diversity and School Policy.
This paper focuses on the mismatch between the diversity of American families and the structure of the schools. An examination of the history of the family reveals that the family of the past was very different from the idealized versions popularized in the media. Data concerning divorce, single-parent families, intergenerational interaction, out-of-wedlock births, teen pregnancy, and cohabitation indicate similarities and differences between the families of past and present. Several closely related and distinct myths about the American family affect social legislation and policy. Prevailing myths are those of the monolithic family form, the independent family, and parental determinism regarding child outcomes. To the extent that the schools' often inflexible structure does not correspond to the diversity of families, schools support, reinforce, and perpetuate these myths. Most schools are still organized around the myths and accomodate the mythical family. Schools can change to meet the needs of the contemporary family by becoming aware of the constraints on the various family forms, and by increasing the involvement of parents, business, and social welfare agencies in the schools. (RH)
Descriptors: Beliefs, Educational Change, Educational Policy, Elementary Secondary Education, Family Characteristics, Family School Relationship, Guidelines, High Risk Persons, Institutional Characteristics, Social Change
Education Commission of the States Distribution Center, 1860 Lincoln Street, Denver, CO 80295 (Publication No. AR-87-4, $5.00).
Publication Type: Information Analyses
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Education Commission of the States, Denver, CO.