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UKERA Occasional Paper


University of Kentucky Institute on Education Reform


The 1990 Kentucky Education Reform Act (KERA) provided, among other measures, a new governance body for schools called "School Councils." These school-based, decision-making councils are composed of parents and teachers and headed by principals. This paper presents findings of a study that explored the effects of KERA's provision for school councils on parent involvement. Data were gathered from a survey of a nonrandom sample of 1991-92 pilot school councils (n=66). Most school councils reported that they used only two or three ways to notify parents of meetings, and only one or two methods to apprise parents of school decisions. Some schools, however, used innovative ways to encourage parent participation in the decision-making process: building parents' confidence; establishing a community-relations committee; developing a key-communicators' network; initiating an "information hotline"; providing orientation and training; posting information in local businesses; and using a telephone chain or tree. Frustrations for councils included parents' level of attendance at meetings and their tendency to focus on individual issues.


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