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ERIC Number: ED464724
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2002-Apr-4
Pages: 20
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
Having Their Say: Parents Describe How and Why They Are Involved in Their Children's Education.
Mapp, Karen L.
This study sought to identify factors that lead to successful educational partnerships between school staff and families. Parents of students in a Boston, Massachusetts K-5 school were interviewed about how and why they were involved in their children's education and what they believed were the factors that influenced their participation. Given that the "hard to reach" label is often bestowed on parents from urban, lower socioeconomic communities, the study was conducted at an urban school with a reputation of having a strong family partnership initiative and with parents who qualified for free or reduced priced lunch for their children. The stories told by the 18 parents interviewed strongly support the research stating that the majority of parents, regardless of race, ethnicity, or socioeconomic status are intensely interested in their children's education. Parents understood clearly that their involvement helped their children's educational development. Parents were involved in their children's education in ways not recognized by school staff with a narrow vision of what constitutes legitimate participation, capturing a wide range of activities taking place both at home and at school. Social factors emanating from the parents' own experiences and history influence their participation. A most important finding was that school factors, specifically those that are relational in nature, have a major impact on parents' involvement. When school staff engage in caring and trustful relationships with parents that recognize parents as partners, parents are more willing to be involved. Parents described a process whereby such relationships are formed: the school community welcomes parents into the school, honors their participation, and connects with parents through a focus on the children and their learning. The findings pose implications for practice, dispelling the myth that parents of different ethnic or socioeconomic backgrounds do not care, and suggesting that school personnel recognize various forms of family involvement and understand the school's role in cultivating family engagement. (Contains 40 references.) (HTH)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A