Debates about educational equity often overlook or disregard the voices of the families and communities most impacted by educational disparities. During an April 16 session at the American Educational Research Association's annual meeting, Professor Ann Ishimaru of the University of Washington's College of Education discussed an ongoing UW project that aims to change this reality by tapping the knowledge and experience of parents.
Ishimaru's presentation "'Self-Interest Rightly Understood': Interest Convergence and Collective Agency Across Families, Communities, and Educators" drew on an ongoing project with a metropolitan Seattle school district to create a parent education curriculum.
"We often have well-intended efforts in the realm of family engagement, but if parents and families feel they're just being talked to or they aren't being allowed to talk, that can deter parent participate and exacerbate inequities," Ishimaru said.
A UW team of faculty and graduate students are working with parents and educators in the Kent School District to design and implement its Parent Academy for Student Achievement, which helps parents learn how to best advocate for their child and create educational partnerships with teachers and staff.
Key to effort, Ishimaru said, is having parents drive the process.
"We want to move from educational equity being something we do to or for people to something we do with people," Ishimaru said. "The process of educational equity is just as important as the inputs and outputs."
Hear Ishimaru talk more about her research following her AERA presentation:
Ishimaru presented her paper as part of the AERA panel "A Re-envisioned Interest Convergence: Toward a Strategic Racial Equity Framework."
Learn more about the College of Education's Equitable Parent-School Collaboration Research Project.
Dustin Wunderlich, Director for Marketing and Communications