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Somali Families and Parent Involvement in Schools.

Nderu, Evangeline.

Since the early 1990s, Minnesota has been one of the most popular destinations for Somali immigrants and refugees. The influx of Somali immigrants to Minnesota has and will continue to have a direct impact on the state's school system because the majority of immigrants are either school-aged children or young adults of childbearing age. This article presents the results of a study conducted in the Twin Cities area that attempted to understand the perceptions Somali parents had about their children's schooling and their own roles in their children's education. The purpose of the study was to determine whether differing perceptions among teachers and Somali parents about Somali parent involvement are rooted in cultural differences.
The author concludes that many recent Somali immigrants do not fully understand the English language or educational norms in the United States, and that cultural differences can easily create misunderstandings about the degree of parental support exhibited by Somali parents. The article offers recommendations for both parents and schools to bridge cultural differences, including using existing infrastructure in the Somali community to help parents become more actively involved, conducting workshops for parents to disseminate information and help reduce misperceptions, providing informal settings for parents and teachers to meet to discuss children's progress, and recognizing and utilizing parents' skills by involving parents in decisions regarding students' education.

CURA Reporter
Publication date: 
Minneapolis: Center for Urban and Regional Affairs (CURA), University of Minnesota.
Supported through a New Initiative grant from the Center for Urban and Regional Affairs, University of Minnesota.
35 (2): 6-10.
Online availability
Download from CURA: 
CURA call number: 
Reporter 35 (2)

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