14 SES 13 A, Parent-teacher Relationships and School Choice in Urban Areas
Giving the significant contribution of parents to their children schooling, in Israel as other countries, the Ministry of Education is looking for ways to engage parents in school and to develop trusting relations with teachers. While teachers are aware of the need to maintain close contact with parents, they do not always wish to encourage the involvement of parents (Peček, Čuk & Lesar, 2008). This is due to their concern about their professional status stemming from parents' over-involvement that threaten their professional jurisdiction. Thus, there may be conflict between parents and teachers while striving to achieve collaboration.
So far, prior studies examined parent-teacher relations and parental power vis-à-vis the school in different contexts (e.g. Hornby & Lafaele, 2011), but less attention had been given to the implication of geo-social context where the school is situated (Cohen-Vogel, Goldring & Smrekar, 2010). In view of the growing importance of the geo-social space on educational processes, we are interested in examining parents-teachers relations in the periphery and the center, as two distinct geo-social context. Making allusion to Bourdieu's approach regarding school as a field (Bourdieu, 1992), we argue that parents and teachers alike attempt to set, redefine or preserve the boundaries, which can be accompanied by conflicts and struggles over power for achieving influence in the field (Swartz, 2013). Therefore, parents and teachers may activate different capital or resources to increase their impact in school, as different types of capital determine the relative social position each group possesses within a particular field. While the concept of capital has been substantially studied in the context of education and school stratification, there are relatively few studies on the types of capital educators activate at work (e.g. Spillane, Hallett & Diamond, 2003). To a great extent, these capital are context-bound and related to the school where teacher-parent relations unfold (Horvat, Weininger & Lareau, 2003).
Within this context, we address the geo-social context- periphery and center- since it can construct different social and cultural experiences (Howley et al., 2014) and affect social interaction and educational processes (Putnam, 2015). The concepts of periphery and center are complex and encompasses spatial and social dimensions (e.g. Shils,1961):
• The geographic dimension - the periphery and center are defined as demarcated geographical units, distinguished from each other by the distance from the center. In Israel, periphery tend to encompasses large countryside areas and rural localities(for the complex meanings of rural and periphery see Halfacree, 2006).
• The sociocultural dimension - the periphery is defined in terms of lower levels of economic, political, social and cultural dominance and power as compared to the center (Dercon, 2009). Periphery compared to central areas, tend to be less industrial and high-tech oriented, has limited economic options and choices, and fewer resources such as lack of lucrative occupations, higher concentrations of low socio-economic population or educational level.
Further, in a peripheral educational system there is a high concentration of low achievers and higher dropout rates compares to the center (Anderson et al., 2014). Students and parents express values that may clash with school values (Blakesley, 2012).
This study extends the research concerning geo-social differences to teachers-parents relations, by examining: (1) How do teachers and parents in the periphery and the center perceive their reciprocal relations? (2) Which resources do parents and teachers, in the periphery and the center, use in order to achieve influence over school's processes and to interact with each other?
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