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Perspectives that bind: Reshaping partnerships in education

Abstract

School closures during the height of the pandemic marked a time when students and families across socioeconomic and racial/ethnic backgrounds acutely experienced the limitations of our current educational system. That synergy should be a call to make lasting change, reshaping inequities into quality education for all. Partnerships between schools, families, and expanded learning providers are a powerful tool that we have in this endeavor. Fundamental barriers to strong partnerships are deficit thinking and power struggles that are embedded in our systems. In this paper, I examine how each of these phenomena hinder the development of thriving partnerships between schools, families, and expanded learning partners and delineate the shifts in thinking that could engender transformational partnership models. These shifts include sharing power through intentionally designed roles, adopting strength-based language and practices, and building informal and formal ways to connect. This paper closes by describing opportunities for systemic change afforded by new funding intended to help educational systems recover from the pandemic.

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