Excellent Analysis Of Genuine Parent Engagement From National Ed Policy Center

In December, I wrote a post critical of an American Enterprise Institute report on parent “organizing” (see New Report: “Organizing Parents for Education Reform”).

The National Education Policy Center has issued a much more thorough critique and analysis of the report, and it’s well worth reading.

You might also be interested in The Best Examples Of Parent Engagement Through Community Organizing.

“How Districts Can Lay the Groundwork for Lasting Family Engagement”

How Districts Can Lay the Groundwork for Lasting Family Engagement is a new report from SEDL, which generally puts out some decent resources.

Here’s how it describes its report:

Family engagement in a student’s education can lead to improved student academic achievement, attendance, and behavior. Yet many districts and schools still struggle to form strong partnerships with the families they serve. Having a supportive district-level infrastructure is key to the success and sustainability of family engagement initiatives. This issue of SEDL Insights outlines district supports that can lay the foundation for high-impact family engagement.

“Reaching Immigrant Children By Helping Their Parents”

Over the weekend, I reported on a free webinar that the Migration Policy Institute was putting on today about their new report on connecting with immigrant parents.

Today, both NPR and Ed Week published pieces detailing the report. I don’t think readers will find anything extraordinarily new in them, but you can never have too many people pointing out the needs of immigrant parents.

Not Very Useful Report On Community Schools Released

Education Week reports on a paper just released from UCLA’s UCLA Center for Mental Health in Schools that’s fairly critical of how many community schools operate.

I’ve got to say that I was less-than-impressed by the report.

I certainly have been critical (see The Best Resources For Learning About Community Schools) of a number of community schools’ efforts, particularly what is often a lack of parent engagement (many tend to look at families as “clients” instead of “partners”), but the report doesn’t even mention that problem.

Despite that criticism, though, I’m convinced that pretty much any kind of “Community School” that offers additional services is an asset, but it doesn’t appear that the report’s authors necessarily agree. I’ve got to wonder how many, if any, community schools the authors actually visited. Their critiques tend to be a bit polemic rather than practically useful.

It does say a Community Schools effort should be schools-led, which is good, but I don’t think there’s much of a question about that point, anyway.

I’m very open to hearing other opinions, including ones that suggest I’m being too harsh in my assessment.

Department of Education Releases New Parent and Community Engagement Framework

Today, the Department of Education released what they call a new “Parent and Community Engagement Framework.”

To tell you the truth, I’m not really sure what that means, but it can’t hurt for them to place a more public emphasis on parent engagement.

You can read about it at the Department’s blog post; get a good overview of it at Education Week; and actually access it here.

Of the documents they’re sharing, I think most people will find the Partners In Education report the most useful. It shares some good case studies.

People should keep in mind what Karen Mapp, one of the primary authors of the document (and one of the people I most respect in the parent engagement field) says as related in this tweet:

“Research Findings From Learning at Home: Families’ Educational Media Use in America”

Q & A With Lori Takeuchi: Research Findings From Learning at Home: Families’ Educational Media Use in America is from the Harvard Family Research Project.

Here’s the part most useful to educators:

How can practitioners support families in selecting and using educational media?

We know that teacher endorsements are one of the main ways that parents get recommendations for educational media. However, among parents of children who are in a preschool or school setting, just 40% say their children’s teachers “often” or “sometimes” assign, recommend, or suggest media for use at home. This means that there is a real opportunity for practitioners, teachers, and others who work with families and children to provide parents with more information about age-appropriate TV shows, games, apps, and websites that have true educational value. Practitioners can also tell parents about organizations like Common Sense Media and the Children’s Technology Review, which provide ratings for many media titles. And, importantly, practitioners can help remind parents that educational-media use should be a limited part of a wide range of activities that support children’s learning and development. Based on our survey results, this type of guidance has the potential to be especially helpful for low-income, Hispanic-Latino, and less highly educated parents.

Not Very Interesting Parent Involvement Survey From U.S. Dept. Of Ed — Except for One Result

Thanks to Joe Mazza, I just learned about the new Parent and Family Involvement in Education, from the National Household Education Surveys Program of 2012 report from The U.S. Department of Education.

I might have missed something, but I didn’t find it very interesting or useful.

Except for one result:

One percent of students in grades 6 through 12 had parents who said that they did not expect their child to complete high school

Statistic vary, but many observers believe the number of students who do not graduate from high school is close to 33%.

Does that mean that this report is not worth “the paper it’s printed on,” or does it mean that many parents are in denial, or does it mean that schools are doing a very poor job of communication with families, or is it combination of all these factors? Or is something else going on?

What do you think?

Parents & The Common Core Standards

I’m no big fan of the Common Core Standards, but they are a reality for most of us.

If teachers are ever in situations where they have to explain them to parents, or if there are parents who want to understand more about them, here are a couple of relatively useful resources:

5 Things Every Parent Needs to Know About The Common Core is from The American Enterprise Institute.

The PTA has a series of booklets in English and in Spanish. Go here and scroll down to “The Parents’ Guide To Student Success.”

Other suggestions?

Interesting Research On Parents With Chronically Absent Children

Attendance Works, an organization emphasizing school attendance, has just published a “new toolkit” called Bringing Attendance Home: Engaging Parents in Preventing Chronic Absence.

It’s a good piece of work, though most of the ideas in it aren’t anything new. However, one thing did stick out, and that was some recent research done with parents of chronically absent children. It’s in the report, and you can also read about it in a blog post of theirs titled What Parents Really Think About School Attendance.

I’m adding it to “The Best Research Available On Parent Engagement.”

“Community Schools: Aligning Local Resources”

I’ve published quite a few posts both praising and critiquing community schools. In fact, creating a “The Best…” list on the topic is on my “to do” list.

“Community Schools: Aligning Local Resources” is a brand-new report that has come out, and is described by Public Education NewsBlast this way:

A new brief from the Partnership for Community Schools describes how local government agencies can partner with schools to align existing resources, how these partnerships can be truly effective, and how to pay for them. Through a coordinated delivery system, a community school offers more effective programs and services than any partner could offer on its own. The brief profiles five efforts in California that illustrate the critical role of coordination and intentional collaboration between partners.

Hmmmmmm…..After 4 Years & $5 Million, Foundation Now Thinks Working With Teachers Is An “Emerging Strategy” For Parent Engagement

The James Irvine Foundation has just published a report on the first four years of a $5 million parent involvement grantmaking program in California’s Central Valley.

Though it seems like some good work has come out of it, I do find it interesting that their report now describing working teachers as an “emerging strategy” for greater parent involvement.

I just wonder if, just maybe, it might have been a good idea to start with that premise….

You might also be interested in The Best Resources For Learning About The Role Of Private Foundations In Education Policy.