ERIC Number: ED395391
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1996-Apr
Parental Involvement in School: In Search for Socially Situated Understanding.
This paper presents findings of an ethnographic study that analyzed the constraining and enabling dynamics of parental involvement in schools. The study was conducted at a suburban, an urban, and a rural high school, but the paper reports only the results from the suburban and urban schools. Data were derived from interviews with a total of 98 teachers and 52 parents, document analysis, and observations. Findings indicate that the degree and nature of parental involvement differ drastically between schools and within schools. Parents may be involved in many ways, including through "silent" encouragement at home of their children's educational activities. A high level of parental involvement does not always indicate positive relationships between parents and educators; sometimes school-community relations are difficult or strained. Parent participation at each of the two schools was largely influenced by whether parents felt a sense of ownership. In addition, the level and nature of parent involvement is context-specific; parent communities differ even though they may share a similar socioeconomic and racial background. Finally, educators should differentiate between long-term and short-term goals in order to improve parent involvement. Short-term goals might include providing parent meeting space, introducing voice-mail communications, or scheduling events to fit parents' schedules. Long-term goals pertain to strengthening school-community ties, including collaborative partnerships and assessment of the school role. (Contains 62 references.) (LMI)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (New York, NY, April 8-12, 1996).