Closing the achievement gap with family-school partnerships
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The achievement gap is an important problem with serious consequences for the United States’ economy. A long history of oppression has contributed to a substantial gap in achievement between students of minority status or low socioeconomic status and their white or higher income peers. Large scale efforts to address this problem have been unsuccessful in substantially reducing the problem. As parent involvement has been linked to student achievement, capitalizing on strong family-school partnerships offers a valuable opportunity to target student achievement. Low-income and minority parents face many barriers to parent involvement. If schools embrace a more inclusive view of parent involvement and collaborate with parents to reduce these barriers, however, successful family-school partnerships may be formed. Themes for creating such partnerships include recognizing that parents care about their children’s education and want them to succeed, treating parents as equal partners in the educational process, and using innovative techniques to solve problems.