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Parental Engagement Around the World

#Unconference Keynote Presentation

Melissa Bilash

on 23 April 2013

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Transcript of Parental Engagement Around the World

Kingdom School audits: Ofsted's 2011 "Schools and Parents" Inspectors visited 47 schools to evaluate the partnership between parents and schools, as well as consulted parent organizations and other data
Schools varied in size, location, socio-economic status BEST PRACTICE:
Clear, straightforward complaints procedures used to improve services and better understand parent views LESSON LEARNED:
Schools' evaluation of the impact of their work with parents was poor. Ofsted in response suggested conducting audits of parents' views, emphasizing using easy methods of canvassing opinions to ensure maximum parental response. Ghana Parent Empowerment:
Building Social Capitol In 1995, Ghanaian government introduced "Free Compulsory Universal Basic Education" (FCUBE), but few children participated and the ones that did had little parental support, according to heads of school.

The Hope International School, in the Weija community:
Started by parents in one of their two bedrooms in their 700-square-foot home
From 12 students to over 50, seeking funding for permanent building BEST PRACTICE: Schools building social capital.

Social capital: connections within and between social networks; helps commit people to one another and builds the fabric of a community
Give people opportunities to join groups, participate in developing associations, contribute to community building activities LESSON LEARNED:

PTA meetings provide forum for teachers and parents to openly exchange ideas about student performance as well as other matters that affect the community as a whole.

Examine societal norms that might be standing in the way of parents and schools working together. Australia Goal: figure out how to engage "invisible" parents who have difficulty engaging on their own for various personal reasons.

Lessons at home (teaching respect, instilling discipline, modeling positive behaviors, inspiring learning) contribute highly to student achievement and success.

But, traditional parent volunteers are also critical to fund-raising, engagement in school governance, and classroom support LESSON LEARNED:
Expand the traditional role of parent volunteer to blend both of these types of parental involvement, to include fully engaged parents who influence both student success and the effectiveness of their entire school community. West Bengal, India LESSONS LEARNED:

Parents' participation in monitoring and governance of schools is key to improving delivery of primary education.
At all educational institutions (SSKs and primary schools): Need representative parent-teacher committees with members from all sections of society, having legal powers to make renewal of school appropriations conditional on their approval
In the hands of local communities, freed from bureaucratic and political interference Parental Engagement Enforced with Legal Powers Study on delivery of primary education in West Bengal, 2003 examined primary schools and Sishu Siksha Kendras (SSKs)
SSK: government effort to bring education to underprivileged communities; more informal; for ages 5-9; have had relative success, higher attendance rates than primary schools, with higher female student attendance
Study found that children of underprivileged families were often discriminated against in the primary schools, much less so in SSKs

Although sahayikas (teachers at SSKs) were paid considerably less than primary school teachers, they were found to perform better due to two reasons:
Accountability to local community, which included parents
"Relative success of the SSKs is to a considerable extent due to parents' involvement in monitoring and governances," whereas at primary schools, parents are often excluded from the monitoring system
Minimal difference in terms of class between the sahayikas and underprivileged children (resulting in more sympathy towards their students)--resulting in better attendance
Example: when a child is absent from school, in the SSKs studied, sahayikas sought an explanation from parents 95% of the time, whereas primary schoolteachers did so 55% of the time Parent Involvement at Home and at School Chile School Choice:
Parents as Consumers Three educational approaches:
parents as consumers & clients--"school choice," and the prevailing model
parents as citizens, exercising citizenry rights
parents as active, empowered agents of change in otherwise authoritarian schools LESSON LEARNED?

Schools with best social status (private and private-funded) still hardest to get into, leading to continued educational segregation Emphasis on "school choice" results in the image that this is the most important role a parent can play--as a result, not many other opportunities for parental involvement Parent associations face lack of real inclusion and participation at institutional level South Africa Valuing Parents' Dreams BEST PRACTICE:

Using "Tellin' Stories" from Teaching for Change, parents and teachers gathered together at school to create a quilt, with each family creating a square about their hopes for their child.

During these sessions parents were also informed about school resources, what their child was doing in class, how to support their learning.

Shared information while building role for parents in school. From Eileen Kugler's blog Knapp Elementary School
Lansdale, PA Saving FACE: Family and Community Engagement BEST PRACTICE:

Thoughtful, two-way communication systems, both hi-tech and low-tech: from email, blog, Twitter, a wiki, apps, and live audio/video feeds of Home and School meetings, to a welcoming lobby and hard copies of translated documents, based on family need Parental Engagement Around the World Global Lessons and Stories Melissa Bilash South Korea Government Systems Supporting Parents Parents are invited to visit schools to see how education policies are implemented and to comment on implementation.

Field monitors to check on implementation of the government’s education policies and report their findings to the government's Ministry of Education, Science, and Technology (MEST).

Municipal/provincial education offices and parent-support centers in each region run programs for parents on education policies and other parenting support.
The National Parent Support Center (NPSC), established in 2010, among its duties shares best practices of parent involvement in schools and establishes a network of parent-support centers.
Finland Doing Things Differently BEST PRACTICE

In the context of highly successful Finnish schools--parents trust learning to occur in school, and are less involved rather than more.

Out of school time with parents is spent doing after-school activities, community events,
and trips.
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