Correlates of Family-School Partnerships in Special Education
Burke, Meghan Maureen
Although policy and research support family-school partnerships to increase student achievement, few studies have attempted to determine which variables influence such partnerships. This study relied on a national dataset of 1,004 parents of students with disabilities. Respondents completed a 163-item, web-based questionnaire. Variables were divided into three categories: child, parent, and school. Results revealed four parent and school characteristics that significantly relate to family-school partnerships. Stronger family-school partnerships related to: increased satisfaction with services, frequent parent-school communication, and parents who were more extroverted. Increased parental special education advocacy and knowledge activities related negatively to family-school partnerships, with parents of older students more likely to show increased knowledge and advocacy activities. This study has important implications for researchers, practitioners, and policymakers. Future researchers should longitudinally examine family-school partnerships. Practitioners should focus on increasing communication between the school and the family; policymakers should consider these results in relation to future reauthorizations of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).