Learning Power and Building Community: Parent-Initiated Participatory Action Research as a Tool for Organizing Community
This study documents the politics and practice of parent movements for school change. Specifically, the author tells the story of a committed group of Latino and African American parents who through participatory action research (PAR) successfully organized their respective communities to address the disproportionate underachievement of students of color within their city’s public school system. Using the “learning power” framework Oakes and Rogers developed for documenting and understanding radical approaches to urban school reform, the author draws attention to the ways in which ordinary, everyday youth and adults can influence educational policy and schooling by engaging in community activism and connecting with academic research to challenge and transform their immediate worlds and the larger sociopolitical structures that shape them. Their stories illustrate the ways in which PAR can be used to name and speak to issues that affect their lives and as a way of building relationships and organizing community.
parent organizing, participatory action research, community activism, inequities, schools, Berkeley, California, Parents of Children of African Descent (PCAD), Berkeley Organizing Congregations for Action (BOCA), Coalition for Equity and Excellence in Our Schools
Citation: Social Justice Vol. 36:4 (2009): 69-83