Report Aims To Improve Minority Parental Engagement In Children’s Schools – MALDEF & NEA

A Summary of “Minority Parent and Community Engagement:  Best Practices and Policy Recommendations for Closing the Gaps in Student Achievement”

The lack of parent engagement is often blamed for our failing schools.  The fact is that parental engagement is but one dimension of the issue.   In order for schools to succeed, it takes a concerted effort involving our school boards, city councils, community based organizations, the business community, institutions of higher education, labor unions, etc.

The Minority Parent and Community Engagement report confirms what many of us have argued.   It’s not enough to have a parental involvement component in the school – parental involvement efforts need to be done in good faith by all parties with the expressed goal of increasing trust, communication and understanding among the “school community”.   The report provides a section on best practices for engaging minority parents.

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Here are the findings of the report.

COMMON BARRIERS HINDERING PARENT ENGAGEMENT

A.  Lack of relationship building between parents and school officials.

B.  Lack of trust in school officials discourages parent participation.

C. Parents’ and school officials’ beliefs and assumptions of each other engender fear and mistrust.

D. Lack of Cultural Competency creates unwelcoming environments for ethnic minority students.

E.  Lack of understanding of the roles and responsibilities of the local school board and school districts.

F.  Lack of funding and coordination of resources to provide services to parents.

G.  Failing to prioritize parent engagement.

H.  Failing to adjust to the role of parent involvement in the 21st century.

The report also gives recommendations on how to overcome barriers to parent participation (see full report).

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POLICY RECOMMENDATIONS TO IMPROVE ETHNIC MINORITY PARENT AND COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT

A.  Increase accountability for the implementation of parent engagement plans and policies.

B.  Increase professional development for school staff on parent engagement.

C.  Increase funding for parent involvement/engagement in schools.

D.  Standardize parent engagement through a Parent Engagement Act or other legislation.

E.  Support the expansion of community schools.

F.  Address linguistic diversity.

G.  Other:

• Encourage policies to provide funding to states and school districts to develop and launch a multimedia campaign to raise awareness of the importance, impact and power of parent involvement in supporting student achievement.

• Encourage policies to provide funding to states and school districts to create a youth development program that includes issues of race, ethnicity, and individual pride and incorporates multi-generations that are useful in celebrating ethnic youths’ parents.

• Encourage policies that are designed to recruit, mentor, train and retain Native teachers in their home communities to help with the scarcity of Native teachers for the classroom by adding funds to Title VII of ESEA.

CLICK HERE for “NEA & MALDEF Report”

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posted by:  Dr. Alfonso Alvarez, Commander of American GI Forum

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About Alfonso Alvarez Ed.D.