Building family partnerships and learning communities (discussion question 8)

There are obviously many ways to encourage the participation of parents in the school life of their children; the USA has many community partnership and family involvement programs nowadays in place to intensify the participation of parents in the school life and development of their children. However, one has to know that the Canadian system of education is parent-inclusive in nature. In Canada, it has always been traditional for parents to be closely related to the daily educational activities of their children.

However, there are still many issues in which parental involvement only starts to emerge. For example, the policymaking process has always been regarded as the privilege of staff and school principals; all decisions relating to educational changes were made by the authorities at the nationwide or province-wide level. Thus, even parents constantly striving to participate in the school development of their child could not have equal access to the policymaking processes, though they are actually the ones who understand the weaknesses and pitfalls of the educational system from the inside.

Indeed, it is hard for a single council to influence the decisions that will have a certain effect on all other schools in the district or even the whole country. Thus, there was a need for a new parental organization that would become a large-scale, authoritative institution gaining a reliable position in the educational field. One of such organizations is a Manitoba Association of Parent Councils; it is a good example of parental effort in the field of policymaking. Being a large, unified, and branched organization acting throughout the Manitoba province, the Association is granted the right to define the future fate of the educational system, to dispute some reactive reforms, and to offer certain proactive, innovative activities to improve the educational system in Canada. Such organizations empower parents, and give them a chance to influence not only their child’s development, but also the academic progress of thousands of young Canadians. Thus, such incentives have to be promoted in other states and countries for the sake of letting parents become representative decision-makers in the educational system of their country.

References: Duma, D. (1998). Is parent involvement on School Councils working? Education Canada, 38(3), p. 14.