Parent Involvement in Urban Charter Schools: New Strategies for Increasing ParticipationReport as inadecuate

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School Community Journal, v21 n1 p71-94 2011

Decades of research point to the benefits of parent involvement in education. However, research has also shown that White, middle-class parents are disproportionately involved. Charter schools, as schools of choice, have been assumed to have fewer involvement barriers for minority and low-income parents, but a 2007 survey of charter leaders found that parent involvement remains a significant challenge. This qualitative study utilizes Epstein's model of family involvement to examine parent involvement programs at twelve charter schools across six U.S. states. Findings suggest that parent involvement activities in the study sample of urban charter schools fit Epstein's typology fairly well. However, the strategies used to implement these activities and to attract hard-to-reach parents are fairly innovative: Study schools offered wrap-around services, incentives, and contracts to enhance and ensure participation; utilized technology for advertising parent volunteer opportunities; and involved parents in the decision-making and governance of the school. Overall, these strategies were linked with increasing parents' self-efficacy and comfort level in participating in their children's education. (Contains 1 endnote and 3 tables.)

Descriptors: Charter Schools, Middle Class, Self Efficacy, Parent Participation, Family Involvement, Parent School Relationship, Qualitative Research, Innovation, Incentives, Advertising, Information Technology, Educational Strategies, Participative Decision Making

Academic Development Institute. 121 North Kickapoo Street, Lincoln, IL 62656. Tel: 217-732-6462; Fax: 217-732-3696; Web site:

Author: Smith, Joanna; Wohlstetter, Priscilla; Kuzin, Chuan Ally; De Pedro, Kris


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