Editorial Statement

Welcome to the Fall 2014 (Volume 1, Issue 2) issue of the Journal of Family Diversity in Education (JFDE). If you are new to the JFDE, we would like you to know that this journal highlights the work of those who are attempting to shine light upon and oppose hegemonic conceptions of families, particularly in the domain of family-school-community partnerships. We seek interdisciplinary scholarship that extends the dialogue around issues of family diversity and equity in family-school-community partnerships. The journal is the peer-reviewed, international research journal of the Family Diversity Education Council and is hosted by Kent State University. 

Each issue of the Journal of Family Diversity in Education contains articles and book reviews.  On occasion, as in this issue, we include a special section, Perspectives on Practice, that highlights practice/practitioners’ perspectives.  In this Fall 2014 issue, we offer several thought-provoking articles that span a wide range of perspectives, beginning with a very personal perspective on identity as both a student and as a teacher, progressing through teachers’ and diverse parents’ perspectives on experiences of schooling and its myriad relationships, and ending by spanning policy considerations from the district level.

In the first article, From At-Risk to Advocate: One Teacher’s Journey, author Mikkaka Hardaway Overstreet uses a critical autoethnography lens to examine her own perceptions, as well as those of society, on her life as a young student, as a new teacher, and as an education scholar. The juxtapositioning of these voices paints an intimate, poignant portrait of these three perspectives.

Authors Stephanie C. Smith, Tina M. Smith-Bonahue, and Olivia R. Soutullo in the second article, My Assumptions were Wrong: Exploring Teachers' Constructions of Self and Biases towards Diverse Families, explore “how teachers can learn to value and create meaningful partnerships with parents, and conversely, why some teachers seem to neither value nor create meaningful partnerships with families.”

The third article by Meghan Kathleen Eliason, titled The Wingman Project: An Exploratory Study of School-Based Communication with Grandparents, examines how public schools can engage grandparents as important members of their school communities.

High Hopes: Learning from Five Chinese Immigrant Families about Their Challenges and Approaches in Home and School Involvement by Shu Hui Lin and Martha Jane Lash “calls attention to the challenges and strategies of the Chinese immigrant families for children’s academic success, school involvement, and home‒school connections for the Chinese immigrant family.” They share implications for teachers, schools, and families in the fourth article of this issue.         

Finally, in the fifth article, Somewhere between a Possibility and a Pipe Dream: District-level Leadership that Promotes Family Inclusion and Engagement in Education, Catherine Hands looks at “strengthening parent engagement in education, focusing on leadership strategies for reaching and supporting parents.” She presents a qualitative case study of a district’s multiple approaches for enhancing parent engagement.

In our special section, Perspectives on Practice, Gwyn M Fournier highlights how “educators often unintentionally exclude parents and families from their children’s schooling through common, taken-for-granted institutional practices, and how these practices then continue to perpetuate exclusion.” Her article, The Inclusion of Parents and Families in Schooling: Challenging the Beliefs and Assumptions that Lead to the Exclusion of Our Students’ First Teachers, will be of great interest to theoreticians and practitioners alike.

This issue also contains critical reviews of three highly relevant books:  Zelda Lopez Haro and Edward M. Olivos review The Broken Compass: Parental Involvement with Children’s Education by Keith Robinson & Angel L. Harris;  Karen L. Hadwen reviews Diversity in Family Life: Gender, Relationships and Social Change by Elisabetta Ruspini; and Spirit Dine'tah Brooks reviews School-Parent Collaborations in Indigenous Communities: Providing Services for Children with Disabilities by Iris Manor-Binyamini.

As in the previous Spring 2014 JFDE issue, we continue here to provide space for authors from different theoretical and methodological perspectives to highlight the ways in which scholarship around notions of family is expanding.  Our next issue, scheduled to be published in April 2015, is well under way with Jean Clandinin, Janice Huber, and Shawn Murphy serving as our invited Guest Editors.  Please enjoy this collection and consider submitting your own work to the journal through this website and join the conversation.

Monica Miller Marsh,                                  Tammy Turner-Vorbeck

Kent State University &                                 Purdue University &

Family Diversity Education Council              Family Diversity Education Council

Published: 2014-11-25