Parental Involvement in an Emerging Democracy: The Case of Croatia
AbstractParental involvement in schools in an emerging democracy has gained significant attention among school administrators, educators, parents, local governments, and the international development community; yet, empirical data on this subject remains sparse. This study aims to examine the patterns of parental involvement in schools in Croatian communities. Using mixed-methods, the sample size consists of 294 elementary school parents, two focus groups (parents and teachers), and nine interviews with national and international stakeholders. The study found that, apart from the educational outcomes for children, parental involvement also may be an important platform through which parents can practice democratic behaviors and engage in community-building initiatives. Through school-related activities, parents learn to interact with a government institution, voice their interests, participate in decision-making, leverage and use power, and cooperate with each other and the community. Findings from this study can have implications for social work practice and social development assistance by recognizing how engaging parents in school-based activities can become a platform for community participation and democratic behavior.
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