Read aloud Comparative studies from the USA show that parents' free choice of school is an important factor for successful and happy schooling for their offspring. Phillip Vassallo, educational theorist and author of numerous pedagogical writings, made two reasons for this result in his investigations. The free choice of a particular school involves parents in the education of their children and makes them active partners of the schools. In this position, parents feel taken seriously and are much more willing to participate in the work of schools, even after elementary school. The active participation motivates the children and the close contact between parents and school reveals problems at an early stage.

Similar to Germany, children are also assigned to a specific school in the USA, depending on the place of residence of the family. In his investigations, Vassallo therefore relied on various school experiments in which parents, for example, with the help of scholarships or other support measures could choose their own children's school. The freedom that was gained could be used by the parents to find schools that they thought would be best for their children. Decisive factors in addition to the academic reputation of the schools were the selection of pedagogical methods and the social climate. The parents were actively involved in the training from the very beginning, and they watched closely to see if the choice they made benefited their children. Surveys showed that especially families with learning-disabled children benefited from this approach. But even parents of children who did not need special needs care showed above average satisfaction with the schools and the learning outcomes of their children.

Vassallo concludes, therefore, that a more diverse school landscape and a freer choice of school are the best ways to promote active parental involvement in school life, while too much governmental guidelines and bureaucratic hurdles are more likely to deter parents. The choice makes parents from the beginning to partners of the schools and thus also to learning partners of their own children during the whole school time.

Marion Herzog and American Schoolboard Journal



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