Date Published: Nov 1, 2016
School Community Journal
Lasater, K.
Page Numbers: 

Family–school partnerships have a positive impact on both students and schools, yet they remain challenging to establish and maintain, particularly in the presence of parent–teacher conflict. The purpose of this qualitative study was to examine the experiences of parents, teachers, and students when parents and teachers disagreed about a student’s abilities; of particular importance was the perceived impact of these divergent accounts on students and the establishment of effective family–school partnerships. The goal of the study was to gain insights from these experiences that could help build effective family–school partnerships, even in the presence of conflict. This purpose was achieved through a qualitative investigation of parent, teacher, and student experiences when parent and teacher perceptions of student abilities diverged. Analysis of data collected from 10 in-depth interviews with students, parents, and teachers revealed four themes: impressionability of student attitudes, failure to resolve conflicts, challenging parents, and lack of teacher training. The themes “impressionability of student attitudes” and “failure to resolve conflicts” describe the perceived impact of discrepant parent and teacher perceptions of student abilities on students and the family–school partnership. The themes “challenging parents” and “lack of teacher training” represent two barriers to partnership development. Implications and recommendations are discussed that may help educators improve their partnership efforts.