community partnerships enable educators to help their students reach all of the important goals that have been set to increase skills in reading, math, and other subjects and to improve school
behaviors. A recent national study of teachers in the U. S. indicated that those in “collaborative schools” with high
-quality parental involvement were more satisfied with their work and were less likely to leave teaching (Markow & Pieters, 2012).
Lack of preservice education for future teachers, advanced education for future administrators, and inservice education/professional development/on-going technical assistance for practicing educators.
Explaining the challenge. Attendees at ERNAPE-Lisboa recognized that, even today
despite years of research on family and community engagement
most future teachers receive little or no preparation in college courses to understand the central role of school, family, and community partnerships in their professional work and for the success of students. Most future
administrators are not prepared to go beyond “dealing with parents” to lead
their schools in developing effective, equitable, positive, and sustainable partnership programs. The results of research in sociology, psychology, education, and other fields has not been translated or transformed for use in courses on methods of teaching for future teachers or to methods of school organization and management for future principals and administrators. Similarly, the conference attendees acknowledged that most practicing educators receive little or no professional development or on-going guidance from district, state, federal, or ministerial leaders for establishing, strengthening, and sustaining programs of family and community involvement focused on student success in school. These challenge must be solved or the vast majority of new and experienced principals and teachers, superintendents and other administrators will remain unaware of research-based approaches for engaging all families in their children
s education at home and at school. Presently, just about every school in every country conducts some activities with students
families. Often these are traditional activities (e.g., open house night; report cards sent home) or targeted activities (e.g., communicating with parents when their child has academic or behavioral problems in school). It will be necessary for colleges, universities, and school leaders to provide preservice, advanced, and inservice education that will update and advance
to conduct more organized, comprehensive, team-led, and goal-linked practices of partnerships with all families to support student success in school (Epstein, 2011; Quezada, Alexandrowicz, & Molina, 2013).
Abundance of old attitudes.
Although surveys of teachers across countries indicate that just about all practicing educators know and say that family engagement is important, they also say (a) they do not know how to create the collaborative conditions to ensure feasible and productive partnerships with all families, and (b) that most parents cannot be good partners in
their children’s education.
Explaining the challenge. The gap between
of the importance of involvement and actions to improve school, family, and community partnerships must be closed. As noted above, most teachers, principals, and guidance counselors presently contact parents when students are at risk of failing or behaving badly in school. These communications indicate that teachers
parents to be partners to help students
solve serious problems. Such contacts are important, but they do not create a welcoming school climate and planned, periodic, positive