Schools must attempt to involve and engage all parents, regardless of socioeconomic status, place of residence, or their contributions to school-related activities.
It has been said that "it's where you live that counts," when it comes to the quality of the relationship parents and children have with schools. Too often, parents believe that if you come from an under-resourced school in an impoverished neighborhood, the school neglects you. Meanwhile, many people feel that "rich parents in rich schools" get all the "goods." This may be a misperception.
It is very often the case that families that are struggling to meet the basic needs of their children are more likely to use the school as a kind of community center. They are more likely to be in the building, providing and receiving support, and connecting with teachers and other parents in a safe, familiar environment. For them, the school is rather like a fortress that offers them and their children sustenance and protection from a sometimes hostile environment.
Principals and teachers of some schools complain that parents may only get involved when they are disappointed with teachers or policies of the school. In these schools, the challenge is to convert parent from complainers and critics into contributors and complimentors. Parents need to ask themselves which category they belong to, remembering that when school/home relationships are positive, kids like school more, behave better, and learn better. In healthy schools, there is a comfortable and productive collaboration between teachers and parents, regardless of their socioeconomic status or where they live. Parents who are only able to give a little are valued as much as those who are "big donors" of time or services.
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