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Citation:Drake, D. D. (2000). Parents and families as partners in the education process: Collaboration for the success of students in public schools. ERS Spectrum, 18(2), 34-39. EJ609580.

Drake reviews the literature on the benefits of, and barriers to, family involvement. Drake wonders why there is not more widespread implementation of family involvement programs and identifies three major reasons: professionals have not been trained to work with parents and families, educators worry whether closer relationships with families means giving up power and professional decision making, and families are not informed. Therefore, parents are unsure of themselves when it comes to getting involved at school. From this review, Drake concluded that a partnership approach shows promise for stimulating parental involvement. Teachers and administrators think of families as resources that can help them better understand students. Young children especially benefit from this approach. Student recognition programs help schools connect with families. Using voice mail as a two-way communication medium is useful. To be effective, partnerships must be viewed as essential to school organization rather than as adjunct activities or a matter of public relations. The author suggests that Epstein's (1995) framework can be applied in districts that need help forming partnerships. How to create a school-family partnership is not really discussed here, but the ideas can help schools begin to conceptualize partnerships. Superintendents may gain ideas on ways to support family partnerships financially, creation of a comprehensive plan that addresses dimensions of the partnership at each grade level, and the provision of in-service for administrators and teachers.

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