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The Importance of Trust Between Schools and Families

Editor's Note: Today's guest post comes from Dr. Matthew Lynch~ an assistant professor of education.

Another important factor that can help schools promote parental involvement and sharing responsibility for the performance of their children are trusting relationships between teachers and parents. A healthy and congenial school environment~ with an enabling and flexible structure~ can help develop trust between them.

Student achievement can also increase trust between teachers and parents~ and help the administration improve the culture of parental involvement. In general~ parents who are supported by regular interactive meetings with teachers often show greater trust levels in teacher-parent relationships. Schools can create an environment favorable for the development of teacher-parent relationships by sharing the responsibility of improving learning processes and the academic performance of children.

The goal of enhancing parental involvement can be achieved by creating teacher-parent collaborative decision-making activities that will also enhance the trust level between these two active groups. However~ the administration school often ignores the requirement of teacher-parent collaborative decision-making activities. Many schools that claim to support collaborative decision-making patterns hold complete decision-making authority in their own hands~ which can reduce the positive influence of collaborative decision-making patterns.

Effective collaboration is characterized by decision making opportunities by both teachers and parents at the school and classroom levels. The collaborative process can be instructional~ including teachers and parents; or it can be structural~ requiring agreement among administrators~ teachers~ and parents. Education reformers have found that it is not very difficult to implement instructional collaborative decision-making processes. Structural or managerial decision-making processes are much more difficult to implement~ as parents have minimal influence over managerial decisions.

Parental involvement in schools and the education system can be increased through properly formulated bureaucratic policies that avoid any obstructions to parent-teacher collaboration~ and strengthen trust levels within teacher and parent groups. The structural administration of schools can also help in promoting teacher-parent collaboration~ supporting the goal of improving childrens performance and educational skills by allowing parents some influence over school and classroom decisions.

Dr. Matthew Lynch is an Assistant Professor of Education at Widener University. Dr. Lynch is the author of three forthcoming books; Its Time for Change: School Reform for the Next Decade (Rowman & Littlefield 2011)~ A Guide to Effective School Leadership Theories (Routledge 2012)~ and The Call to Teach: An Introduction to Teaching (Pearson 2013). To read more of his work~ please visit his blog at

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