The purpose of the current study is to investigate why parent-school partnerships have failed after ten years of reform implementation. Grounded in Kingdon's multiple streams model for policy formulation (Kingdon, 1995), the hypothesis of this study is that parents and teachers' apathetic attitudes towards partnership may reflect their positions on policy priorities they did not participate in defining. Kingdon's model highlighted issues of political consensus between parents and teachers around school reform and how they accounted for weak parent-school partnerships. Mohr and Spekman (1994) framework for successful partners, and Bolman and Deal (2003) four-framework model of human organizations highlighted the behavioral and organizational barriers to partnerships in Morocco's public middle schools.
The quantitative phase of the study consisted of a survey that measured (1) the extent to which parents and teachers demonstrated consensus on middle school problems and their corresponding solutions; and (2) the degree to which consensus accounted for partnerships. In the qualitative phase, interviews were conducted to highlight structural, cultural, human resource, and political impediments to parent-school partnership.
Findings suggest that parents' and teachers' agreements on general reform principles did not trickle down to working partnerships at the school level. Further analysis highlighted issues of trust, commitment, coordination, communication quality, and conflict resolution strategies characterizing parents' and teachers' perceptions of each other. Qualitative findings unearthed structural, cultural, human resources, and political barriers to parent-school partnership. Major structural impediments included lack of institutional funding, vague regulatory framework, deficient accountability, excessive centralization, and high opportunity cost of parents' participation. Cultural expectations pigeonholed parents in the roles of disciplinarians, laborers, and school slush funds. Lack of strategies for human resources was manifested in the absence of teachers from partnership trainings. Politically, the primacy of self-interest typified a fragmented political reality characterized by teachers and parent representatives who were too divided to have any significant impact on decision making.
This study demonstrated that desultory partnerships were nested in structural, cultural, human resources, and political weaknesses. Unless these underlying weaknesses are addressed, continuing to blame parents and teachers for a problem they are not empowered to solve does little to build stronger parent-school partnerships in Morocco's public schools.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. May 2012. Major: Educational Policy and Administration. Advisors: Dr. David. W. Chapman,Dr. Deanne. L. Magnusson. 1 computer file (PDF); xiv, 191 pages, appendices A-F.
Decentralizing school governance: a policy analysis of partnership between parents and public Middle Schools in Morocco..
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