The Power of Parent Engagement: Sociocultural Considerations in the Quest for Equity

Patrice Fenton, Lydia Ocasio-Stoutenburg, Beth Harry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


This article explores the difference between parental involvement, where parents' activity levels at school are primarily structured by schools, and parental engagement, where parents have a more active voice in how they take part in what goes on in schools. This difference is underscored as a means of illuminating ways of addressing the issue of racialized disproportionality in special education and acts of school discipline, particularly in urban settings. We highlight the ways schools need to transform the often microaggresively oppressive ways parents are invited into their children’s education process, as well as the way schools value the knowledge parents bring. Effective ways of activating parental engagement as a means of creating authentic community engagement are also examined. Additionally, recommendations are provided on how to prepare novice teachers to develop plans and goals alongside parents in order to help these new educators develop a pedagogical stance that authentically values the importance of one of schools’ most important stakeholders–parents.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)214-225
Number of pages12
JournalTheory Into Practice
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 3 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education


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