Parents in relation to schools, perspectives on power and participation

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Block, Valerie P. J.
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'Parents in Relations to Schools: Perspectives on Power and Participation' examines what motivates and what inhibits parents from participating on school parent councils. Thirty parents in three Winnipeg inner city elementary schools were interviewed with the intention of illuminating the parental point of view. Literature on parent involvement In schools is reviewed along with relevant literature on power differentials. The resulting analysis outlines parental perspectives on participation and uncovers thought-provoking reasons why parents do and do not participate. This thesis concludes with a list of practical recommendations intended to assist parent groups and school administrators to encourage increased parent involvement in their school. Among these recommendations, the five most important were as follows: (1) Clarify the purpose and the goals of the parent council so that parents can evaluate whether their efforts are having a beneficial effect. (2) Keep parents better informed about their parent council. (3) Increase awareness among participating parents of ways in which they can include and encourage other parents to become involved and learn constructive ways to deal with conflict when it occurs. (4) Provide good quality children's activities and child care. (5) Examine the format of parent council meetings. Shorten the meetings and reduce the time devoted to school business. (Abstract shortened by UMI.)