An Interview with Dr. Karen Mapp on Family Engagement

Like other areas of education innovation, there are no silver bullets when it comes to pressing questions of how best to engage parents and families, particularly in high-need schools, in order to raise student achievement. But there are informative studies as well as researchers and practitioners on the front lines of family engagement who possess insights that can point the way. With the prospect of doubling the amount of Title I funds set aside for parental and family engagement, promising policies and practices that can be pursued and brought to scale in this area of education reform are more important than ever before.

Dr. Karen Mapp, lecturer on education and director of the Education Policy and Management Program at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, has joined the Office of Parental Options and Information (POI) as a consultant to explore a number of pressing issues of both policy and practice – ones that will inform and improve not only POI’s work, but also the broader policy framework of parental and family engagement as it applies to Title I and other nationwide federal school improvement efforts.

Dr. Mapp recently sat down with POI Director Anna Hinton for a conversation about the number of issues they expect to tackle, including the need to move family engagement from an event-driven approach to a strategy that’s embraced as a critical component of whole-school reform. To read the entire interview, visit the Office of Innovation and Improvement’s (OII) homepage.

You can also receive email updates from OII by clicking here.

Doug Herbert
Office of Innovation and Improvement

1 Comment

  1. Dr. karen Mapp has done an excellent job on identifying the opportunities for improvement to a true Parental Involvement and Family Engagement in public schools. Whenever Local Education Agencies (LEAs) set their curriculum or academic goals, very few of them integrate the vital component which is Parental Involvement and Family Engagement as part of their strategies to reach those desired academic goals. Some LEAs (our LEA) might just do it to fulfill a Federal or state policy because they have not jet realized the benefits from truly implementing it. Parental Involvement and Family Engagement should be used as an indicator when it comes to evaluating students’ academic success.
    What about ensuring that there is Equity and Adequacy at each LEA? I think that there should be a Local Equity Committee (LEC) at each LEA in order to ensure that No Child Is Left Behind when it comes to have a fair distribution of resources among schools within each LEA. These LECs should be mainly formed by parents and community members. Their role should be to ensure that there is Equity and Adequacy at each school, and ensure that their is accountability at all level; teachers, administrators and school boards.
    I think we have a very good chance to make it happen with the new Education Reform.
    It is time, not just to ‘close the student achievement gap’ but also, it is time to ‘close the parent achievement gap’

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