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ERIC Number: EJ790096
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008
Pages: 4
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0013-1253
Parental Involvement: What Counts, Who Counts It, and Does It Help?
Flessa, Joseph
Education Canada, v48 n2 p18-21 Spr 2008
When asked to explain why so many urban schools show unsatisfactory results on academic or social measures, principals routinely and quickly turn to descriptions of parents. In other words, when seeking to explain why work within a school is so difficult or why reform initiatives have been unsuccessful, many principals point outside the school. They say that what parents are "not" doing (providing the right kinds of support at home, attending school functions designed to meet school goals) is more important than what they or their staffs "are" doing. What principals in fact know about the parents and communities they serve is an open question. That too many rely on deficit conceptions of the parents and communities they serve is a discouraging finding that has been repeatedly demonstrated by educational researchers and parent organizers across a variety of contexts and generations. To evaluate parental involvement in any way more substantial than counting fundraising balance sheets or attendance at a school council meeting means to lay bare a definition of good schooling--and good parenting. Interestingly, educators' analyses of school/community connections frequently rely more on assumptions about the community than about the school; in particular, educators' views of low income families or the families of racial, ethnic, and linguistic minorities are often derived from deficit frameworks that blame parents for low levels of engagement with their children's schools. This article asks readers to consider whether interventions at the policy level--particularly evaluation and assessment--might encourage educators to alter those deficit frameworks, to learn more about the parents and communities they serve, and to involve them more effectively in the schooling of their children. (Contains 4 notes.)
Canadian Education Association. 317 Adelaid Street West #300, Toronto, ON M5V 1P9, Canada. Tel: 416-591-6300; Fax: 416-591-5345; e-mail: publications@cea-ace-ca; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Canada