Social and Cultural Foundations of American Education/Relationships/Disconnect

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Where is the school/community disconnect?
The way schools care about children is reflected in the way schools care about the children's families. If educators view children simply as students, they are likely to see the family as separate from the school. That is, the family is expected to do its job and leave the education of children to the schools. If educators view students as children, they are likely to see both the family and the community as partners with the school in children's education and development.

—Joyce L. Epstein

Schools, teachers, parents and communities all need to work together for a child to be successful with their education. Parents are the foundation for a child’s success because all of their basic skills for learning are learned at home. When children are of school bearing age it is the responsibility of the teachers to teach them the standards of learning, but the learning does not stop there. Parents should be involved in a child’s education just as much as the teachers are. If parents need help with their children the community should provided after school programs and other activities to keep the children active. Schools, teachers, parents and the community all need each others support to in order for the system to work as a whole.

School Relationships[edit]

Our school's philosophy is that you never can communicate too much," Kathleen Cave told Education World. "We send home grade-level newsletters of upcoming events. We publish a monthly school-wide calendar. A principal's newsletter and a PTA newsletter also go out every month.

—Quote found in article written by Linda Starr

Teachers are responsible for maintaining a professional environment where students are comfortable. Their main responsibilities are to plan and execute lessons to their classroom while considering all individual needs. Within the teacher’s weekly lesson plans they should administer way of testing the students and keep record of the progress of each student individually. By keeping record and being observant of each student the teachers should know when to contact and talk to the parents to let them know that the child may need some extra assistance. Teachers should not wait until they notice that a child is struggling, teachers need to build a relationship with the parent so that they feel comfortable with approaching them with any questions they may have. Communication is said to be a key factor with maintaining a relationship between the parent and the teacher (Starr). Communication will help each student individually to satisfy each of their needs.

Communication should be used for positive reinforcement also. When a student has done well on an assignment or there has been improvement with a child’s grade the teacher should contact home to touch base with the parents. Some sort of communication should be set up between the teacher and parent whether it is email or by phone (Starr). Parents are there to pick up where the teacher has left off; they are there to strengthen their child’s education, and continue to reinforce their values while at home (Jordan). With no source of communication a parent will not know where and how to help their child. If the teachers follow up with all their responsibilities there should be no unanswered questions.

Parent Relationships[edit]

Numerous studies show that, regardless of the economic, ethnic, or cultural background of the family, parent involvement in a child’s education is a major factor in determining the child’s success in school. Meaningful parent involvement also contributes to other positive outcomes, such as better school attendance, improved homework completion rates, decreased violence and substance abuse, and higher graduation rates.


Parents must work together with school and communities to insure the education of their children. Parents play a big part in preparing their children to enter school grounds. Parents are student’s first teachers; they attempt to teach them right from wrong and how to communicate. A parent’s “involvement” with a student’s education is a very board and general statement. Parents are needed for homework help, parent-teacher conferences, and support for other activities that student may be involved in (Cotton). Parents need to be involved in their child’s life as a whole, not just when it is convenient for them. There are very simple ways for a parent to become involved with their child’s education. Most schools have a PTA, which is the National Parent Teacher Association. The PTA is an organization for teachers and other parents to communicate and decide on what opportunities and activities are best for students, while also providing simple skills for parents on how to get involved with their child’s education (PTA). The PTA makes a parent teacher relationship very easy to maintain. When parents feel the need to approach a teacher with a concern or a question they should approach them with an optimistic manner (Starr). Parents need to take into consideration that the teacher has other students too, not just their child. Parents should keep a positive attitude about their child’s education to create and maintain and successful parent/teacher relationship. These relationships between parents and teacher will set a foundation to the relationship that both will have with the community.

Community Relationships[edit]

The ability to think straight, some knowledge of the past, some vision of the future, some urge to fit that service into the well-being of the community--these are the most vital things that education must try to produce.

—Virginia Crocheron Gildersleeve (1877-1965)

The community plays an important role in a family’s involvement in schools. Communities should provide support for students, parents and teachers. Communities consist of a group of people that are different ages, ethnicities, educational backgrounds and income that share a common interest to better their environment. Partnerships between the school, parents, and community “can improve school programs and school climate, provide family services and support, increase parents' skills and leadership, connect families with others in the school and in the community, and help teachers with their work (Epstein).” Communities consist of many places where children can go for after school activities. A community is a place where students can experience actual life experiences. Parents depend on communities to provide extra curricular activities where a student can play sports or join clubs. Most of these activities are run by volunteers or employed workers of the community center. After school tutoring can also be found at some communities centers, all ways to better improve a student education. A mixture of programs creates opportunities for students to better their education, and learn about themselves and better their self-esteem (Jordan).

Communities also can provide programs and workshops for parents to learn and understand skills so that they know how to approach their children with school work, while also attempting to build the relationship between them. Some states are going as far as providing extra money if the relationship between communities and schools/parents are attempted to be built (Epstien). The opportunities are available; people need to take advantage of them to see results.


It is known that a connection between teachers, parents and the community is needed for a child to be successful with their education. Teachers must work with parents and the both must work with the community to ensure that students are being taken care of. The community must give back to schools and to the parents so that the cycle will continue to work and provide ample outcomes of success with students. Communication between all three is needed for things to be understood and expressed. No communication is creating a disconnection of the relationships that are there to be built and help children succeed in life.

Multiple Choice Questions[edit]

Click to reveal the answer.

What is a key factor to maintain a relationship between parents and teachers?
A. Newsletters
B. Communication
C. Assemblies
D. Phone calls

B. Communication

What does PTA stand for?
A. Parent Teacher Association
B. Parent Teacher Assessment
C. Partnerships Towards Achievement
D. Providing Teachers across America

A. Parent Teacher Association

Communities can provide what services for students?
A. After-school activities
B. Free babysitting
C. Answers for tests
D. Another place to go besides school

A. After-school activities

Who provides family services and support?
A. Schools
B. Libraries
C. Community
D. Hospitals

C. Community

In what ways can teachers keep record of the progress of each student individually?
A. Send letters home to parents.
B. Administer way of testing.
C. Ask the student to tell them if they understand.
D. Nothing.

B. Administer way of testing.

Essay Question[edit]

Click to reveal a sample response.

What are the services that are providing by communities to limit the disconnection that may occur?

Communities are there to provide support and services to parents and school. They offer after school programs for students to join. They also may provide after school tutoring. Actual life experiences happen while children are in there community which can help them grow. Communities also can provide programs and workshops for parents to learn and understand skills so that they know how to approach their children with school work. Communities help children build their self-esteem with different activities. Communities also provide sports and clubs that children can join. These sport teams and club provide a foundation for kids to socialize and have fun.