‘Parent Engagement’ Questions Create Buzz

By Michele Molnar — April 20, 2012 1 min read
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Today, there seems to be a groundswell of agreement about the need for parents to be engaged in their students’ academic achievement, and in their schools. Yet, how to promote meaningful engagement is an issue that still confounds many administrators, teachers, educational policymakers and legislators.

That point is made abundantly clear by Education Week writer Sean Cavanaugh in his recent article, “Parental Engagement Proves No Easy Goal.”

Even the U.S. Department of Education agrees, telling Education Week in a statement: “The approach to family engagement has been fragmented and nonstrategic, often constituting ‘random acts of family involvement,’” pointing to the need for “a comprehensive plan for bringing families to the table.”

This whole issue has generated quite a buzz in the Education Week community. To read some interesting discussions about the state of parent engagement, check out our “Teaching Ahead: A Roundtable,” an interactive project between Education Week and the Center for Teaching Quality. We asked the question: “Is parent involvement the missing link in school reform?” to a panel of standout teachers, who form a virtual roundtable. Here’s how they responded:

Building Proactive Parent-Teacher Relationships by Jose Vilson

Finding Common Ground with Parents
by Cheryl Suliteanu

How Schools Can Foster Family Engagement with Lori Nazareno

Listening to Parents’ Priorities by Bill Ivey

Just What Do We Mean by ‘Parent Involvement’ by David Ruenzel

‘Back to the Future’ for Parent Engagement by Larry Ferlazzo

Parent Involvement: Not Optional by Ilana Gaaron

Beyond the roundtable, Classroom Q&A with Larry Ferlazzo, an Education Week Teacher blogger, answered a reader’s question, “How do we make parents ... listen to the teachers?” by getting responses from a broad cross-section of parent engagement leaders, including the National PTA President and the executive director of the Parent/Teacher Home Visit Project. The result was a three-part series demonstrating a lively conversation on the subject:

Part One: Ways to Build Trust Between Parents & Teachers

Part Two: A Conversation about Building Trust Between Parents & Teachers

Part Three: The Difference between Parent “Involvement” & Parent “Engagement”

Want to weigh in yourself? Post your comments on our K-12 Parents & the Community blog.

A version of this news article first appeared in the K-12 Parents and the Public blog.