Supporting Decision Making and Advocacy

Supporting Decision Making and Advocacy

The tools and resources in this module support programs that are committed to shared decision making and advocacy. Empowering families to help solve problems, discuss program effectiveness, prioritize spending, spending priorities, and develop policies, sends a powerful message about collaboration, equity and access.

The findings presented by Henderson and Mapp have shown that schools with parents who are involved in decision making and advocacy have higher levels of student achievement and public support. Effective partnerships develop when each partner is respected and empowered to fully participate in the decision-making process.

Key Findings

Research ShowsResearch Shows

Decision Making and Advocacy with families is evident when educators “Prepare parents to actively participate in school decision making and develop their leadership skills in governance and advocacy.” (Epstein, 2002).

The research of the Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence emphasizes that parents must be equal partners in education (Henderson, Jacob, Kernan-Schloss, Raimondo, 2004) and set high expectations for effective school leaders who embrace parents as equal partners in the ways listed:

  • Sharing Power by opening up the decision making process so that all families have a voice
  • Communicating Expectations by being clear about teacher expectations for parents and parent expectations for teachers
  • Opening Doors by being available to meet with families and for them to observe classrooms
  • Offering and Participating in Training with Parents on standards, curriculum, assessment and school performance
  • Answering the Hard Questions by sharing the school’s improvement plan with families and community members
  • Recognizing and Working with Parent-Led Organizations by involving a variety of groups, not just the “official” school parent group
  • Giving Parents Information About How the School System Works by sharing data and school improvement plans