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Family's Role Said Ignored In Reform

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Family involvement in schools has been all but ignored in education-reform legislation in recent years, according to a new report by the Home and School Institute.

The report, called "The Forgotten Factor In School Success--The Family," outlines policy options for legislators and educators.

The author, Dorothy Rich, president of the Home and School Institute, writes: "Providing support for education without providing ways to involve families is a partial cure. It's like taking half a penicillin dose to cure an illness. It may start to work, but it won't be able to do the complete job."

Ms. Rich said there were 600 bills relating to children and youth in state legislatures last year, but few included measures to promote family involvement in education.

According to the report, two factors have contributed to the absence of family-related provisions in school-reform legislation: The public is not aware of the research that points to the positive effects of family participation in education, and policymakers fear potential conflicts between the rights of government, parents, and schools.

The report suggests that policy8makers and parents' groups launch information campaigns stressing the benefits of family involvement in schools. It also recommends that schools train teachers in methods of encouraging such involvement.

The report also cites activities developed by the Home and School Institute for parents to use with their children at home. According to the report, these home activities do not repeat what children learn in school, but are designed to instill a positive attitude about education.

Copies of "The Forgotten Factor in School Success--The Family" are available for $5 from the Home and School Institute, 1201 16th St., N.W., Washington, D.C. 20036.--er

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