Theory and Overview
This chapter examines theories of family and school connections, discusses how data support or refute different theoretical perspectives, and presents a new theoretical model—overlapping spheres of influence—to explain and guide research on school, family, and community partnerships. It explains the organizational and interpersonal components of the theory of overlapping spheres of influence and how this perspective extends previous theoretical models. During the 1980s and 1990s, family-school relations changed again in response to increased demands from the public for better, more accountable schools. Teachers vary in their recognition and use of the overlap between family and school spheres of influence. Schools and families vary on the dimensions that are supposed to distinguish family and school treatments and attention to children. There are family-like schools and school-like families, as well as schools and families that are distinct in their approaches to education and socialization.