Increasing Students' Social Capital through Community Involvement in Rural and Regional Education
Keywords:community, rural education, school completion, social capital, students
School and community interaction is an important topic in education, as evidence suggests that communities that value their local schools engender more positive long-term outcomes and a strengthening of the social capital for the students from those schools. Although school and community interaction has been explored from the school's perspective, less research has occurred from the perspective of the key stakeholders and leaders of a community, particularly in rural, regional, and disadvantaged areas. The context for this exploration is the Australian state of Tasmania, and the research findings may have implications for policy makers, school leaders, and teachers both nationally and internationally. Eighty-six community leaders and community members from rural, regional, and disadvantaged areas of the state responded to a survey, which included indicating the level and type of involvement they and their organisations had with local schools. The evidence from their comments suggests that community, business, and social leaders can play an important role in building social capital and as advocates for their local schools, as well as being a source of information, advice, and service to schools. In particular, this paper provides a foundation for future research with community members on their involvement in schooling and the impact of this involvement on students' social capital.
Ainley, J., Malley, J., & Lamb, S. (1997). Thematic review of the transition from initial education to working life: Background report. Canberra: Commonwealth of Australia.
Allen, J. M., Wright, S., Cranston, N., Hay, I., Watson, J., & Beswick, K. (in press). Raising levels of school student engagement and retention in rural, regional and disadvantaged areas: Is it a lost cause? International Journal of Inclusive Education.
Australian Bureau of Statistics. (2008). Schools Collection Australia Cat. No. 4221.0. Canberra.
Australian Bureau of Statistics. (2014). Schools, Australia, 2013. Cat. No. 4221.0. Canberra: Commonwealth of Australia. Retrieved from http://www.ausstats.abs.gov.au/ausstats/subscriber.nsf/0/BB371F975498C9D7CA257CA00011DB22/$File/att3250h.pdf
Beacon Foundation. (2014). Review of the Tasmanian Education Act: Beacon Foundation response to the Education Act Review. Hobart: Author. Available at https://www.education.tas.gov.au/documentcentre/Documents/Education%20Act%20Review%20Consultation%20Feedback%20-%20Beacon%20Foundation.pdf
Bradley, G. (1992). Increasing student retention. Youth Studies Australia, 11(2), 37-42.
Byun, S-Y., Meece, J., Irvin, M., & Hutchins, B. (2012). The role of social capital in educational aspirations of rural youth. Rural Sociology, 77(3), 355-379.
Corbett, M. (2014). The ambivalence of community: A critical analysis of rural educationâ€™s oldest trope. Peabody Journal of Education, 89(5), 603-618.
Cranston, N., Watson, J., Allen, J. M., Wright, S., Hay, I., Beswick, K., Smith, C., Roberts, W., & Kameniar, B. (2016). Overcoming the challenges of keeping young people in education: A wicked problem with implications for leadership, policy and practice. Leading & Managing, 22(1), 10-18.
Falk, I., & Kilpatrick, S. (2000). What is social capital? A study of a rural community. Sociologia Ruralis, 1(40), 87-110.
Fendler, L. (2006). Others and the problem of community. Curriculum Inquiry, 36(3), 303-326.
Fullarton, S. (1999). Work experience and work placements in secondary school education. LSAY Research Report Number 10. Camberwell, VIC: Australian Council for Educational Research.
Gregoric, C. (2013). School-community involvement. Adelaide, SA: UNESCO-APNIEVE Australia.
Hands, C. (2008). Circles of influence: The role of school-community partnerships in the character formation and citizenship of secondary school students. The Alberta Journal of Educational Research, 54(1), 50-64.
Hay, I., Wright, S., Watson, J., Allen, J. M., Beswick, K., & Cranston, N. (2016). Parent-child connectedness for schooling and studentsâ€™ performance and aspirations: An exploratory investigation. International Journal of Educational Research, 77(2016), 50-61.
Israel, G., Beaulieu, L., & Hartless, G. (2001). The influence of family and community social capital on educational achievement. Rural Sociology, 66(1), 43-68.
Kilpatrick, S., & Abbott-Chapman J. (2002). Rural young peopleâ€™s work/study priorities and aspirations: The influence of family social capital. Australian Educational Researcher, 29(1), 43-68.
Ministerial Council on Education, Employment, Training and Youth Affairs. (2008). Melbourne declaration on educational goals for young Australians. Available at http://www.curriculum.edu.au/verve/_resources/National_Declaration_on_the_Educational_Goals_for_Young_Australians.pdf
Norrie, H., Englund, R., Stoklosa, T., & Wells, D. (2014). Survival and revival of rural and regional towns. In Proceedings of the Australian Regional Development Conference (ARDC). Nerang, QLD: ARDC.
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. (2013). Education at a glance: OECD indicators. Available at http://www.oecd.org/edu/eag.htm
Ramsay, E. & Rowan, M. (2013). Learning to change Tasmania. Hobart: University of Tasmania. Available at http://educationambassadors.org.au
Rothman, S. (2004). Staying longer at school and absenteeism: Evidence from Australian research and the Longitudinal Surveys of Australian Youth. International Education Journal, 5(1), 113-123.
Sanders, M. (2001). The role of â€œcommunityâ€ in comprehensive school, family, and community partnership programs. The Elementary School Journal, 102(1), 19-34.
Sanders, M. (2003). Community involvement in schools: From concept to practice. Education and Urban Society, 35, 161-180.
Sanders, M., & Harvey, A. (2002). Beyond the school walls: A case study of principal leadership for school-community collaboration. Teachers College Record, 104(7), 1345-1368.
Semo, R. (2011). Social capital and young people: Longitudinal Surveys of Australian Youth (LSAY) Briefing Paper 26. Adelaide: National Centre for Vocational Education Research.
Sheldon, S. (2007). Improving student attendance with school, family, and community partnerships. The Journal of Educational Research, 100(5), 267-275.
Sheldon, S., & Epstein, J. (2005). Involvement counts: Family and community partnerships and mathematics achievement. The Journal of Educational Research, 98(4), 196-207.
Sheldon, S., & Epstein, J. (2002). Improving student behavior and school discipline with family and community involvement. Education and Urban Society, 35(1), 4-26.
Stone, C., Doherty, K., Jones, C., & Ross, T. (2011). Schools and disadvantaged neighborhoods: The community development challenge. In R.F. Ferguson & W.T. Dickens (Eds.), Urban problems and community development (pp. 339-380). Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press.
Stone, W., & Hughes, J. (2002). Social capital: empirical meaning and measurement validity. Melbourne: Australian Institute of Family Studies.
Sun, Y. (1999). The contextual effects of community social capital on academic performance. Social Science Research, 28, 403-426.
Villani, C. (1999). Community culture and school climate. The School Community Journal, 9(1), 103-105.
Warren, M. (2005). Communities and schools: A new view of urban education reform. Harvard Educational Review, 75(2), 133-173.
Watson, J., Allen, J. M., Beswick, K., Cranston, N., Hay. I., Wright, S., & Kidd, L. (2013). Issues related to studentsâ€™ decisions to remain in school beyond Year 10. Youth Studies Australia, 32(2), 21-29.
Watson, J., Wright, S., Allen, J. M., Hay, I., Cranston, N., & Beswick, K. (2016a). Community involvement in rural and regional schooling and student retention. In M. Baguley (Ed.), Proceedings of the Annual Conference of the Australian Association for Research in Education, Melbourne: AARE. Retrieved from http://www.aare.edu.au/data/2016_Conference/Full_papers/299_Jane_Watson.pdf
Watson, J., Wright, S., Allen, J. M., Beswick, K., Hay, I., & Cranston, N. (2015). Listening to the community on student retention. In M. Baguley (Ed.), Proceedings of the Annual Conference of the Australian Association for Research in Education, Fremantle, WA: AARE. Retrieved from http://www.aare.edu.au/data/2015_Conference/Full_papers/262_Jane_Watson.pdf
Watson, J., Wright, S., Beswick, K., Allen, J. M., Hay, I., & Cranston, N. (2017). Community beliefs about rural and regional education and studentsâ€™ school completion. Manuscript in preparation.
Watson, J., Wright, S., Hay, I., Beswick, K., Allen, J. M., & Cranston, N. (2016b). Rural and regional studentsâ€™ perceptions of schooling and factors that influence their aspirations. Australian and International Journal of Rural Education, 26(2), 4-18.
- 24-07-2022 (2)
- 09-12-2017 (1)
How to Cite
Copyright (c) 2017 Australian and International Journal of Rural Education
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Manuscripts submitted for publication should not have been published or submitted for publication elsewhere. It is the responsibility of authors to secure release of any copyright materials included in their manuscripts, and to provide written evidence of this to the editors. If accepted and published, papers become the copyright of the Australian and International Journal of Rural Education.
Papers are accepted on the understanding that they are subject to editorial revision. The Editorial Committee cannot guarantee that all contributions will be published nor give definite dates of publication. However, contributors will be advised if their papers are not accepted or if there will be a long publication delay.