Journal of Education Policy vol:21 issue:5 pages:567-597
This paper explores the relationship between parents and schools. Over the last 30 years the importance attached to parents’ views on education has increased significantly throughout the Western world. Policy-makers encourage parental participation and involvement through the creation of councils in which parents have a say. In Flanders in Belgium in 2004 a new participation law was passed. We study the impact of this law on the micro political relations between parents, school heads and teachers. We conducted in-depth interviews with teachers, parents, school heads and members of the organizing body in four primary schools and observed parents’ gatherings. Starting
from the partnership–conflict opposition, we focus on the functioning of the parents’ associations and the way parents’ associations, school heads and teachers are dealing with this new law. We found that the parent–school relationship differs greatly from school to school. While the socioeconomic middle class predominates in the four parents’ associations, the results show that parental
empowerment is enhanced only in those schools with mainly socio-economically weak families.