ERIC Number: ED419031
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1998-May
Reference Count: N/A
Parent Engagement as a School Reform Strategy. ERIC/CUE Digest Number 135.
Giles, Hollyce C.
A growing number of urban school reform initiatives seeking to transform failing schools engage significant numbers of parents. Many such initiatives have succeeded in improving student academic achievement and transforming the culture of schools. This digest describes common characteristics of such projects. While the best among these projects is James Comer's School Development Program, another example is highlighted, the Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF), a national organization that operates locally in many communities around the country with notable success in many low-performing schools. The IAF is a network of broad-based multi-ethnic interfaith organizations in poor and moderate-income communities. The most successful reform initiatives are collaborations between parents and schools. The following characteristics have been seen as vital to school reform success: (1) viewing the school and community as an ecology; (2) building relationships based on common concerns; (3) acknowledging the role of power in school-community relationships; (4) fostering the collaborative leadership of principals; (5) developing and training parents and educators as leaders; and (6) monitoring and evaluating progress. It is important to recognize the impact of the local educational bureaucracy on a reform initiative. The mixed results of the plethora of reform initiatives implemented over the past several years suggest that urban schools alone cannot solve their societal problems nor address the obstacles often presented by educational bureaucracies. However, reform processes such as those implemented by the IAF, have had significant positive impacts on schools. Initiatives that mobilize community resources and institutions, engage parents and educators, and use power effectively offer the best possibility for addressing the serious problems faced by schools and communities. (Contains 19 references.) (SLD)
Descriptors: Academic Achievement, Community Involvement, Educational Change, Elementary Secondary Education, Inner City, Instructional Leadership, Parent Participation, Partnerships in Education, School Culture, Urban Schools
ERIC Clearinghouse on Urban Education, Institute for Urban and Minority Education, Teachers College, Box 40, Columbia University, New York, NY 10027; toll-free phone: 800-601-4868 (free).
Publication Type: ERIC Publications; ERIC Digests in Full Text
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Office of Educational Research and Improvement (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: ERIC Clearinghouse on Urban Education, New York, NY.