SCHOOL AND FAMILY, A PARTNERSHIP OR A MERE APPROXIMATION? – A COMPARED ANALYSIS OF POLITICS, STRATEGIES, PRACTICES AND RESULTS
This Project will begin with an international comparative analysis between countries selected because of their different schools systems autonomy level, a general tendency in all European countries since the 90’s (Eurydice, 2007). And also because of the different PISA scholar results obtained by those countries, within the different autonomy level groups. It is our purpose to analyze the educational politics that aim more school and family interaction and more parent involvement of the selected countries and find possible influences of their educational organization and of their socioeconomic history, since every education system was influenced by their country’s history, politics and even by the country’s geography (Archer, 1979, Durkheim, 2007). We will compare and find the similarities and the differences between Portugal, Finland, Denmark, Hungry, The Netherlands, England, Bulgaria, France and Italy, in an innovative comparative study of the educational politics that intent to promote school family interaction and parent involvement. We have to be aware that on one side, the national education politics are implemented according to the “globalization of education” (through European Union for example) which may influence the national thoughts and speeches; and on the other side, that the differences between countries make it imperative that“(…) schools must do different things in different societies” (Coleman, 1990). After this macro analysis we advance to a meso analysis during which we will try to understand the way Portuguese schools appropriate those educational national politics and how they built their own strategy to interact with the students’ families. Our study wouldn’t be complete without the micro analysis of the practices of teachers within their classrooms and with their own students, since those professionals have an enormous autonomy degree – how do teachers apply the national politics and school strategies directed to the increase of school and family interaction and of parent involvement in the field? In this meso and micro analysis we also aim to see if different schools directors and teachers of different municipalities and of different schools with different students and families with several socioeconomic backgrounds apply similar strategies or not and also to find out if those differences have an impact on the scholar performance of students. The objective is to observe the interactions among the educational actors to search the changes that they are promoting within the educational system in terms of the school and family interaction and parent involvement, in a sociological analysis of the influence of politics (Lascoume & Le Galés, 2010). It is our purpose to built an index of school and family interaction and parent involvement – since the interaction between the family and student in home through conversations about personal and scholar life and by helping in school work or by developing activities that promote learning abilities until the interaction with the school through organizational, pedagogical activities or by being part of scholar management councils and by participating in school and community partnerships (Epstein, 2009), seeking to position Portugal in that index and to position the strategies and practices of different schools and municipalities and their impact in scholar performance.