We champion and speak for the inclusive, non-discriminatory and triumphalist idea that all families (especially those who are economically disadvantaged, families of color or speak a language other than English) are inherently good and worthy of being treated with respect, dignity and value.
IDRA’s goal is bigger than parent involvement in education, rather it is family leadership. This model is a vision of all families as advocates of excellent neighborhood public schools. We consider leadership the culminating set of activities in a spectrum of parent participation. In this context, leadership is:
- based on peer support and rotating responsibilities,
- ongoing invitation and support of new leadership,
- connecting parents and communities across race, ethnic and class divisions,
- focusing on collective action for the good of all children, and
- building relationships and trust that are essential to the process.
The characteristics we support in the development of leadership are in contrast to some traditional parent leadership models that emphasize individual assertiveness and charismatic advocacy. Our process does support parents in learning to work in groups, planning and carrying out activities, speaking in front of groups, and developing other personal skills and traits that develop the individual. But, our emphasis is on collective action, listening to peers, and revolving tasks and leadership roles.