Empowering Parents in the Special Education Process By Dr. Marquis Grant
This issue of NASET’s Classroom Management Series was written by Dr. Marquis Grant. In the article, Dr. Grant addresses the fact that advocacy for children is very important. Parents are a child’s first and best advocates, bringing special knowledge and expertise to the academic environment, which should be encouraged and respected (Oregon Council for Developmental Disabilities, 2005). Yet, when it comes to the nuances of education, parents often perceive themselves to be outsiders when it comes to their child’s academics. Research supports Family and parent engagement as being paramount in the academic success of students (Johns, 2013). In fact, data shows that 86% of the general public believes that school improvement depends heavily on support from parents. Lack of parental involvement is the biggest problem facing public schools (Michigan Department of Education, 2001). As a child matriculates through his educational careers, parent support declines considerably from each year to the next; by the time a student reaches high school, parent involvement is typically non-existent. But if parents have a central role in influencing their children's progress in school, research has shown that schools in turn have an important part to play in determining levels of parent involvement (Michigan Department of Education, 2001). Recent research indicates that family resistance to school involvement can be reversed. (McDermott and Rothenberg, 2000).
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