From 2012 to 2015, $20,570 was awarded by the Ontario Ministry of Education in Parents Reaching Out Grants. The place of linguistically, culturally and racially marginalized families in publicly funded schools is part of ongoing discussion and debate in Canada and elsewhere. One view holds that these families should be encouraged and given the resources to align themselves with the practices of their children's schools, assuming that successful participation in schools rests on families being able to meet school expectations. The other view is that the expectation for change has shifted from families to schools, suggesting that schools should not exert normative pressures on marginalized families but evolve in relation to their curricular and pedagogical needs.
This research project takes the position that either of these two approaches situates one party's interests in opposition to the other. For this reason, the proposed research opens the practices of schools and the expectations of families to simultaneous change. To do so, it develops a program of school-based, community-referenced research conducted by collaborative teams comprising linguistically, culturally and racially marginalized parents/caregivers, classroom teachers, university-based researchers, school board-based researchers, and school administrators. Primary targets for investigation – curriculum, literacy, health and safety, immigration and acculturation – will be further refined by the collaborative research teams and informed by priority issues for their respective school communities. The project has recently moved the research on-line by developing and building momentum for a multilingual, online discussion forum for parents and teachers. This project represents collaboration with the Toronto District School Board and the York Region District School Board.