chapter  11
32 Pages

The Community

Engaging with Families and Neighborhoods
ByJeannie Oakes, Martin Lipton, Lauren Anderson, Jamy Stillman

This chapter looks at several parent and community involvement strategies and examines whether and how these strategies share power in addition to sharing responsibility. It considers two dominant complaints about parents: parents neglect their responsibility to participate and support their children's schools and parents are disruptive and overly involved in schools. Dozens of studies attest to the positive impact of parent involvement on children's school achievements and outcomes. Schools and teachers often create barriers to parent involvement. There is a tradition for schools to construct bridges between the cultures of schools and those of the diverse communities they serve. In some cases, outside groups or schools themselves engage in organizing parents for broad-based social and educational change within and beyond the school itself. All four traditions—engaging parents as helpers, engaging parents as clients, bridging cultures, and community organizing—have a role in promoting both learning and social justice.