Things have changed dramatically. March 2020 was a turning point for so many of us. It was a confusing, frightening time that challenged our way of looking at our lives, including our children’s education.
Before the pandemic started, educators and children had a direct relationship that rarely involved the parents’ input. It was a one-dimensional practice that in turn produced massive educational inequity and encouraged systemic racism.
If there is one positive thing that the COVID-19 outbreak has brought, it is definitely the increase in family engagement. Parents all across the country have had the rare opportunity to observe their children’s ways of learning, behaving, and interacting with their teachers and peers.
In this article, we’ll talk about the importance of parental engagement and how the pandemic has managed to bridge the gap between home and school. Continue to read as we’ll uncover the meaning of this unprecedented change!
Turning Families Into Valued Partners
The partnerships between families and schools have always been built upon faulty foundations. Before the pandemic, families that struggled with marginalization based on their race, social status, financial situation, language, and immigration status also struggled with how efficiently they were involved in family engagement initiatives.
It’s a distressing fact that these families have had to deal with for the longest time. Schools have to treat children’s families as equals when it comes to the educational process.
Parents should always have a final say when it comes to their children’s education. They should be celebrated and valued by educators, regardless of whether they’re part of a dominant or a non-dominant family. This is the only way in which we can achieve the conjoining of home and school, as well as taking steps towards the elimination of discrimination.
By turning families into valued partners, schools all over the country will make way for a future where systemic racism will be significantly diminished in its overwhelming intensity. We currently have the power to close the large gap between home and school. We have the extraordinary opportunity to get involved in our children’s educational journeys. It all starts with redesigning education as we know it today.
Unveiling the Importance of Family Engagement
According to research, parental involvement at home has double the impact on student test scores than the parent’s level of education or socioeconomic status. This is relevant because it shows that parents are more than capable of motivating their young ones to achieve better results at school. Basically, the success of students is directly impacted by how prioritized family engagement is.
It’s safe to say that both COVID-19 and systemic racism are two pandemics that have to be dealt with carefully. Intentional change is what we believe to be the most important approach in this day and age. Remote learning has caused all of us to witness just how crucial and underrated parental engagement really is.
The main question used to be “Why is family engagement so important?”. Now, the narrative has changed to “How come we never acknowledged the importance of family engagement?”. Schools and their educators are starting to see this partnership through a new lens.
Marginalized families are slowly claiming back their power and showing schools just how pivotal it can be to embrace cultural differences. Family engagement activities are not inferior to the learning process ━ in fact, they’re an important component of it.
Defining the Future of Family Engagement
According to the report Embracing a New Normal: Toward a More Liberatory Approach to Family Engagement by the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the race-based caste system in the United States has severely affected the way in which families engage with their youth’s educators.
It’s important to dismantle the ongoing reign of this caste system bit by bit until we reach equity-based parental engagement in schools. The pandemic has brought things to a point of no return, where parents have seen first-hand the way in which their children are being educated.
It’s time to encourage them by providing an empowering and affirming environment where they can fully express themselves. Solidifying the parent-educator relationship is oftentimes a hard thing to do, especially when the parent rarely shows up for meetings or feels like they’re not being seen and heard.
It’s the school’s duty to start valuing the families and their cultures. Their children will not only see this as a motivating factor but they will also perform better academically. Future first-generation college students will benefit from this greatly. The confidence built during their K-12 years will give them the drive to succeed during their college years. This is a win-win outcome for all involved. So, why not implement family engagement activities as soon as possible?
All in All…
The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed an undeniable truth ━ the schooling system needs family engagement more than ever. It has always needed it but this time, the urge to implement this strategy is especially great.
We, at The Village Method, take great pride in providing Black youth and their families with the appropriate tools that will propel them into their desired colleges and careers. Together, we can achieve educational equity by supporting nonprofit community-based organizations. We offer our youth not just a regular after-school program, but a culturally responsive experience that will help them become the confident, self-aware adults of tomorrow.
Find out more about The Village Method today and help us by spreading the word! We’re all in this together as we fight for educational solidarity and creating a united community beyond the walls of the school!