Equity Issues in Parental and Community Involvement in Schools: What Teacher Educators Need to Know

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Baquedano-Lopez, Patricia; Alexander, Rebecca Anne; Hernandez, Sera J.
Review of Research in Education
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01-14-2015 2:55 PM
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In this chapter, we examine the literature on parental involvement highlighting the equity issues that it raises in educational practice. Like so many educators and researchers, we are concerned with approaches to parental involvement that construct restricted roles for parents in the education of their children. These approaches often miss the multiple ways nondominant parents participate in their children's education because they do not correspond to normative understandings of parental involvement in schools (Barton, Drake, Perez, St. Louis, & George, 2004). Moreover, these framings restrict the ways in which parents from nondominant backgrounds can be productive social actors who can shape and influence schools and other social institutions. A great deal of general educational policy on parent involvement draws on Epstein's (1992, 1995) theory and typologies where a set of overlapping spheres of influence locate the student among three major contextsthe family, the school, and the communitywhich operate optimally when their goals, missions, and responsibilities overlap. Epstein's (1992) Six Types of Involvement framework provides a variety of practices of partnership, including the following strategies for involvement: assisting with parenting, communicating with parents, organizing volunteering activities for parents, involving parents in learning at home activities (such as homework), including parents in decision making, and collaborating with community. This perspective, however, can foster individualistic and school-centric approaches (see Warren, Hong, Rubin, & Uy, 2009). We argue that this is even more problematic when school goals are largely based on White and middle-class values and expectations. Others question the model's inattention to power relations between educational stakeholders, which often position parents as passive or complacent, and call for an expansion of the notion of involvement (S. Auerbach, 2007; Barton et al., 2004; Fine, 1993; Galindo & Medina, 2009). We argue that although conceptually useful, these typologies still reflect a |
Preservice Teacher Preparation
Federal Policy
Family and Community Involvement