Journal Article: Family Education and Community Power: new structures for new visions in the educational village


FAMILIES -- Study & teaching, EDUCATION -- United States, UNITED States


Breitborde, Mary-Lou; Swiniarski, Louise Boyle






Noting that differences and inequality of education exist in the United States of America, this paper presents two model educational programs that address the iniquities in American public education. The first model is a collaborative effort of a public school in an urban northeast community, the Robert L. Ford Elementary School of Lynn, Massachusetts, USA and a public supported college of higher education, Salem State College, Salem, Massachusetts, USA, whose joint venture is known as The Partnership for the Educational Village Project. The second model utilizes technology to outreach families and child care providers through a televised distance learning project that was nationally presented by its producer, Mass Interactions, and a US Department of Education Star School Grant. The Ford School's principal (head teacher) forged the partnership with the college to create a 'full service school' that provides multiple avenues of support to the school's children, their families, and community. The distance learning programs, entitled 'Taking the First Steps: Parents as Teachers' and 'Building Bridges for Excellence in the Early Grades: Home/School Partnership', were conceived as two live and interactive television series that promoted literacy development in preschool and primary school-aged children in their homes. Both educational models recognize the paramount role families and communities play in the education of children. To compensate and overcome the plight of poverty and disenfranchisement, educational endeavors need to respect the parental role, offer new structures for engaging the family and community in the education of their youth, and provide options as a foundation for sound schooling practices. The two educational models in this paper face these challenges of contemporary society. The paper illustrates how the models define and exemplify initiatives that attempt to transform society to accept social responsibility for educating the whole 'village'. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]
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