One of the ways that these problems manifest themselves is in low academic achievement. There is some concern that though the population of Hispanics and other cultural diversity groups is growing in the schools, the diversity of the teachers is not widening accordingly. Therefore challenges are growing with Anglo- American teachers having to teach and deal with multicultural learners. Tam and Heng (2005) believe that the needs of parents and their exceptional children have not been given enough consideration by educators over the years. They suggest that parents have been treated more like clients than as partners with a common goal in the learning journey. Parents have too often been seen as adversaries or antagonistic in the parent-professional partnership. It is important to value parents, especially in the intervention process.The National PTA defines parent involvement as the participation of parents in every facet of the education and development of their children from birth to adulthood. This is, however, a broad and general definition. A more specific and working definition is needed to build effective parent and school partnerships for multicultural and multilingual families and families with special needs children. Parents as partners include teaching and learning, recognition of parents as legitimate participants in school governance, fostering the sense of community, and supporting the development of parenting skills. (Salas et al, (2005). These authors focused on Mexican American families in their study of how special education teachers can create parent partnerships. They believe that Mexican American parents have been underrepresented in school-related decision-making and other traditional school activities. Part of the reason for this, they suggest, is that special education teachers do not have a deep understanding of the values and traditions of the Hispanic families. They state that historically, the fact that thee parents may not share mainstream values, traditions, and customs has often been perceived by special education teachers as part of the problem and not as valuable new sources of information.
Mexican Parental Involvement in Education