ERIC Number: ED434749
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1998-Feb
Changing Families Changing Schools.
The decline in civility, social responsibility, and institutional affiliation challenges the nature of schooling. Child development in the 1990s family is under pressure from changes that deny children the three basic essentials (nurture, structure, and latitude) for psychological health, effective learning, and civility, and that require children to adapt and sacrifice while favoring adult well-being. In addition to family changes, the school is challenged by: (1) a call for expanded academic curriculum; (2) an improved understanding of student learning; (3) an abdication of child-rearing tasks by family and other social institutions; (4) diminished student readiness and civility, and accelerating parental demands and criticism; and (5) faculty resistance to and resentment of changing status with parents. Schools' typical responses to these changes are: (1) case-by-case--try to restore proper respect as an incident occurs; (2) get them help--offer help for individual violations; or (3) train them--seek to improve behavior and communication through social and emotional learning. Results of these approaches since the 1980s are mixed and suggest that a change in perspective is needed. Rather than "How can the school overcome problems," schools need to ask, "How might the school reduce problems and prevent some of them?" as a means of strategically restructuring relationships with families. To widen consensus within the faculty, school staff need to clarify the purpose and conduct of school and parents, focus on strengths rather than deficiencies, and commit to a few central values. Once this commitment has been made, schools need to introduce the consensus to students and parents by using an array of forums and by continuing initiatives that renew information. In the current climate, challenges can be met only by moderating demands or increasing supports. (DLH)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: This article previously appeared in a slightly different form as an article in the serial "Independent School"; Winter 1998.