- LAST REVIEWED: 28 April 2017
- LAST MODIFIED: 15 December 2011
- DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199756810-0007
- LAST REVIEWED: 28 April 2017
- LAST MODIFIED: 15 December 2011
- DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199756810-0007
Community relations refers to the environmental connections and interactions characterizing and influencing the management of local school districts and individual schools. Major topics of inquiry in the community relations literature include matters of parent involvement and parental choice; the impact of local community values, cultures, and politics upon the schools; the quality and scope of communications between communities and their schools; neighborhood and family influences upon school achievement; the comparative advantages and disadvantages of communities in their capacities to support student learning; and strategies employed by school and district personnel in using community relations effectively toward improved school achievement. A significant and ongoing policy debate accompanies the community relations field of study in public education. Amid this debate, some scholars claim that the schools can improve in quality, whatever the circumstances of their community contexts. Other scholars, however, stress that improving the capacities of communities to support learning and developing close relationships between schools and their communities are indeed necessary for quality improvement—the schools cannot do it alone. The citations included in this entry have been selected with an eye toward informing additional inquiry and the consideration of potential policy directions around this important debate.
A well-balanced introduction to the broad field of community relations begins most informatively with both “classic” and historically informative pieces of the extant literature. To gain an insight into the school-community relationship, it is advisable to go back in time to progressive-era efforts toward freeing the public schools from all “outside” (especially political) influences. Cronin 1973 and LaNoue and Smith 1973 are classic examples of this type of work. In a similar vein, a number of sociological studies of individual towns in the first half of the 20th century examined family-income factors in an unequal distribution of educational opportunities by the public schools. These include the examination of the impacts of the Jim Crow era on a Southern town in Dollard 1937; Havighurst 1962, a study of schooling in a Midwestern farm town; Hollingshead 1949, a story of the youth of the middle American Elmtown; and Peshkin 1978, an examination of the impact of an agricultural community on the local schools. Finally, important contributions to the early literature on school and community relations documented a first effort to open the schools to community involvement through the creation of “community schools” or through school district decentralization. Kaestle 1983 and Tyack 1974 offer histories of the relationships between schools and communities, and Waller 1932 warns against schools catering to the demands of the community.
Cronin, J. M. 1973. The control of urban schools. New York: Free Press.
Documents the efforts by city school districts in the early 20th century to wrest the control of the public schools from ward bosses into the hands of professional educators.
Dollard, J. 1937. Caste and class in a southern town. New Haven, CT: Yale Univ. Press.
A classic examination of the educational inequities accompanying social class and race during the height of the Jim Crow era in American history.
Havighurst, R. J. 1962. Growing up in River City. New York: Wiley.
A study of schooling, families, and adolescence in a midwestern community during the mid-20th century.
Hollingshead, A. B. 1949. Elmtown’s youth. New York: Wiley.
Examines social-class influences on the upbringing, education, and aspirations of youth in one middle American community during the immediate postwar years of the 1940s.
Kaestle, C. E. 1983. Pillars of the republic: Common schools and American society, 1780–1860. New York: Hill and Wang.
A history of community relations in the development of the “common” (public) school in America from the late 18th to the mid-19th centuries.
LaNoue, G. R., and B. L. R. Smith. 1973. The politics of decentralization. Lexington, MA: Lexington.
A thorough recounting of the effort to decentralize urban school district bureaucracies amid the community-control movement of the 1960s.
Peshkin, A. 1978. Growing up American: Schooling and the survival of community. Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press.
Examines the impact of a community’s unique agricultural culture upon the administration, curricula, classroom behaviors, and lifeways of the public schools.
Tyack, D. 1974. The one best system: A history of American urban education. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Univ. Press.
A historical review of the school-community relationship, from one-room schooling to the professionalization of governance under progressive-era reforms.
Waller, W. 1932. The sociology of teaching. New York: Wiley.
Warns teachers and administrators against compromising the professional autonomy of schools and classrooms by responding too readily to self-serving families and local interest groups.
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- Academic Achievement
- Academic Audit for Universities
- Academic Freedom and Tenure in the United States
- Action Research in Education
- Adjuncts in Higher Education in the United States
- Administrator Preparation
- Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate Courses
- African American Racial Identity and Learning
- Alternative Schools
- American Indian Education
- Art Education
- Assessing School Leader Effectiveness
- Assessment, Behavioral
- Assessment, Educational
- Assessment in Early Childhood Education
- Athletics, College
- Beginning-Teacher Induction
- Bilingual Education and Bilingualism
- Blended Learning
- Changing Professional and Academic Identities
- Character Education
- Children’s and Young Adult Literature
- Children's Beliefs about Intelligence
- Children's Rights in Early Childhood Education
- Classroom Management
- College Admissions in the United States
- Community Relations
- Comparative Education
- Computer-Based Testing
- Counseling in Schools
- Critical Race Theory
- Crossborder and Transnational Higher Education
- Culturally Responsive Leadership
- Culturally Responsive Pedagogies
- Culturally Responsive Teacher Education in the United Stat...
- Curriculum Design
- Data Collection in Educational Research
- Data-driven Decision Making in the United States
- Deaf Education
- Desegregation and Integration
- Development, Moral
- Digital Age Teacher, The
- Distance Learning
- Distributed Leadership
- Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) in Denmark
- Early Childhood Education and Development in Mexico
- Early Childhood Education in Australia
- Early Childhood Education in China
- Early Childhood Education in Europe
- Early Childhood Education in Sub-Saharan Africa
- Early Childhood Education in Sweden
- Early Childhood Education Pedagogy
- Early Childhood Education Policy
- Early Childhood Education, The Arts in
- Early Childhood Mathematics
- Early Childhood Teacher Education
- Early Childhood Teachers in Aotearoa New Zealand
- Early Years Professionalism and Professionalization Polici...
- Economics of Education
- Education For Children with Autism
- Education Leadership, Empirical Perspectives in
- Education Reform and School Change
- Educational Statistics for Longitudinal Research
- Emotional and Behavioral Disorders
- Epistemic Beliefs
- Ethics and Education
- Ethics of Teaching
- Ethnic Studies
- Family and Community Partnerships in Education
- Family Day Care
- Federal Government Programs and Issues
- Finance, Education
- Financial Aid
- Formative Assessment
- Gender and Achievement
- Gifted Education
- Global Mindedness and Global Citizenship Education
- Global University Rankings
- Governance, Education
- Grounded Theory
- Higher Education and Globalization
- Higher Education and the Developing World
- Higher Education in China
- Higher Education in the United States, Historical Evolutio...
- Higher Education, International Issues in
- Higher Education Policy
- Higher Education Research
- Higher Education Student Assessment
- History of Education in the United States
- Inclusive Education
- Indigenous Education in a Global Context
- Integrating Art across the Curriculum
- Intensive Interventions for Children and Adolescents with ...
- Intersectionality and Education
- Knowledge Development in Early Childhood
- Leadership Development, Coaching and Feedback for
- Leadership Training
- Learning Difficulties
- Learning, Lifelong
- Learning, Multimedia
- Legal Matters and Education Law
- LGBT Youth in Schools
- Linguistic Diversity
- Linguistically Inclusive Pedagogy
- Literacy Development and Language Acquisition
- Literacy, Multiple Documents
- Literature Reviews
- Mathematics Instruction and Interventions for Students wit...
- Mathematics Teacher Education
- Measurement in Education in the United States
- Meta-Analysis and Research Synthesis in Education
- Methodologies for Conducting Education Research
- Mixed Methods Research
- Multivariate Research Methodology
- Music Education
- Narrative Research in Education
- Numeracy Education
- Online Education
- Pedagogy of Teacher Education, A
- Performance Objectives and Measurement
- Performance-based Research Assessment in Higher Education
- Performance-based Research Funding
- Phenomenology in Educational Research
- Philosophy of Education
- Physical Education
- Politics of Education
- Portable Technology for Special Education
- Pre-Service Teacher Education
- Problem Solving
- Professional Development
- Professional Learning Communities
- Program Evaluation
- Programs and Services for Students with Emotional or Behav...
- Psychology Learning and Teaching
- Psychometric Issues in the Assessment of English Language ...
- Qualitative Data Analysis Techniques
- Qualitative Research Design
- Quantitative Research Designs in Educational Research
- Race and Affirmative Action in Higher Education
- Reading Education
- Refugee and New Immigrant Learners
- Researcher Development and Skills Training within the Cont...
- Response to Intervention
- Restorative Practices
- School Accreditation
- School Choice
- School Culture
- School Improvement through Inclusive Education
- School Reform
- Schools, Private and Independent
- School-Wide Positive Behavior Support
- Science Education
- Secondary to Postsecondary Transition Issues
- Self-Regulated Learning
- Self-Study of Teacher Education Practices
- Severe Disabilities
- Single Salary Schedule
- Single-sex Education
- Single-Subject Research Design
- Social Context of Education
- Social Justice
- Social Network Analysis
- Social Pedagogy
- Social Science and Education Research
- Social Studies Education
- Sociology of Education
- Statistical Assumptions
- Student Assignment Policy
- Student Engagement in Tertiary Education
- Student Participation
- Student Voice in Teacher Development
- Teacher Evaluation and Teacher Effectiveness
- Teacher Preparation
- Teacher Training and Development
- Teacher Unions and Associations
- Teaching Critical Thinking
- Technology Education in Early Childhood
- Technology, Educational
- The Regulation of Standards in Higher Education
- Theories of Educational Leadership
- Tracking and Detracking
- University Faculty Roles and Responsibilities in the Unite...
- Vocational and Technical Education
- Women's and Gender Studies