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Families, Educators, and Communities as Educational Advocates: Cross National Perspectives
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IRN Start Date: May 1, 2015

This international research network aims to build on and expand traditional understandings of school-family-community partnerships by identifying different kinds of communities that engage and advocate for educational change in ways and for purposes not always recognized in the extant literature. In this international research network we aim to take a critical look at the research regarding culturally responsive school-community partnerships that challenge the status quo and work to improve democratic decision-making, support public education, strengthen neighborhoods, and advocate for diverse participation in educational arenas. The review of the research will be intentionally focused on the intersections within and across national contexts, as there has been little cross-national research in the field of school-community engagement. Together this work aims to complicate traditional views of parent-school-community relationships by examining how different constituencies develop alliances, experience tensions, and navigate the political relationships that occur when advocating for educational change.

While each of these research focus areas—parent and family engagement, community organizing, and teacher activism —has been pursued individually, there has been little investigation that examines how educational advocacy groups interact, particularly across national contexts. Over a three-year period we will convene the international research network virtually through WERA sponsored videoconferencing tools and organize three annual working conferences. The aim is to produce a state of the art research report and edited volume on family, educational, and community advocacy in cross national and international contexts. 



Lauri Johnson

University of Nottingham, United Kingdom


List of Participants

  1. Dr. Lauri Johnson
  2. Dr. Sue Winton

  3. Dr. Howard Stevenson




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Flynn, G. V. (2011). Increasing parental involvement in our schools: The need to overcome obstacles, promote critical behaviors, and provide teacher training. Journal of College Teaching & Learning, 4(2), 23 – 30.


Fogel, S. J., & Cook, J. R. (2006). Considerations on the scholarship of engagement as an area of specialization for faculty. Journal of Social Work Education, 42(3), 595-606.


Georgis, R., Gokiert, R. J., Ford, D. M., & Ali, M. (2014). Creating inclusive parent engagement practices: Lessons learned from a school community collaborative supporting newcomer refugee families. Multicultural Education, 21(3), 23-27.


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McDonald, L. E. (2013). In their own words: U.S. think tank “experts” and the framing of education policy debates. Journal for Critical Education Policy Studies (JCEPS), 11(3), 28 pages.


McDonald, L. (2014). Think tanks and the media: How the conservative movement gained entry into the education policy arena. Educational Policy, 28(6), 845-880.


McLaughlin, M. W., Scott, W. R., Deschenes, S., Hopkins, D., & Newman, A. (2009). Between movement and establishment: Organizations advocating for youth. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.


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Orr, M., & Rogers, J. (2011). Unequal schools, unequal voice: The need for public engagement for public education. In M. Orr & J. Roger (Eds.), Public engagement for public education (pp. 1-24). Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.


Pharis, T., Bass, R. V., & Pate, J. L. (2005). School council member perceptions and actual practice of school councils in rural schools. Rural Educator, 26(2), 33-38.


Pushor, D., & Murphy, B. (2010). Schools as protectorates: Stories two Mi'kmaq mothers tell. Canadian Journal of Educational Administration and Policy.  Retrieved from


Raptis, H. (2012). Ending the reign of the Fraser Institute's school rankings. Canadian Journal of Education/Revue canadienne de l'éducation, 35(1), 187-201.


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Scott, J. (2009). The politics of venture philanthropy in charter school policy and advocacy. Educational Policy, 23(1), 106-136.


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Young, L., & Everitt, J. (2004). Advocacy groups. Vancouver, BC: University of British Columbia Press.


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