Ways forward: towards a learning society
On the other hand, Halsey detected signs of greater success in American measures to counteract educational disadvantage by changing the kind of relationship between schools and communities. The report considered the alternative strategy of deploying resources to make an impact on ‘the child’s experience in the home’ rather than concentrating them in the formal education system. The Nashville pre-
school project and the Bloomingdale family programme prioritised parental involvement and were said to have led to ‘measurable changes in parental behaviour and attitudes towards education, and even produce[d] IQ gains amongst parents as well’ (ibid.). Those sceptical about the integrity of this concept of general intelligence perhaps may take this to mean that parents appeared to benefit in educational terms from participation in their children’s education. Other experiments included ‘free schools’ that, according to the report, had demonstrated how members of minority groups could run schools effectively, and ‘schools without walls’ that utilised resources available in the community like libraries, museums and research institutes. But the overall British strategy recommended by Halsey was one that would encourage parents to join in the educational process. ‘To foster the partnership between home and school it is necessary to move in both directions-to take education into the home and to bring parents into the school’; and a key proposal was the appointment of ‘educational home visitors’ on the analogy of the health visitors familiar in the National Health Service (ibid., p. 191).