PROMOTING PARENTAL INVOLVEMENT, IMPROVING STUDENT OUTCOMES
Prepared for San Diego Dialogue
by Gina Gianzero Research Fellow
For further information, please contact San Diego Dialogue at 534-8638.
FAMILY-SCHOOL PARTNERSHIPS: Overview of the Issues
No one is more important than parents in sending the signal that reading and education matter and that school work is not a form of drudgery but a ticket to a better life . . . By giving their word to read to their children, to assist on homework, to engage the process of learning, parents can set an example for their children that is powerful and positive.
Governor Gray Davis, State of the State, January 7, 1999
The claims are powerful and unequivocal: “When schools work together with families to support learning, children tend to succeed not just in school, but throughout life” (Henderson & Berla, 1997, p.1). "The shared interests and investments of schools, families, and communities create the conditions of caring that work to ‘overdetermine’ the likelihood of student success" (Epstein, 1995, p.703). “Family practices of involvement are as or more important than family background variables in determining whether and how students progress and succeed in school" (Epstein, 1996, p.217). The cultivation of strong family-school linkages is increasingly and widely viewed as an essential component of strategies to improve students’ educational outcomes. The Goals 2000: Educate America Act, federal legislation enacted in 1994, boldly predicts that "By the year 2000, every school will promote partnerships that will increase parental involvement and participation in the social, emotional, and academic growth of children." Nevertheless, the notion that families play a crucial role in their children’s development and school success in both the home and school environments elicits a host of questions, all of which carry significant implications for the type of family-school...