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April 17, 2000

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Parents on PAC's Want Clearer Role

Most members of parent advisory councils (PACs) are reluctant fundraisers who deserve a clearer vision of their role, says education professor Dr.Yvonne Martin. After spending six months collecting data from PAC members, non-members, parents and teachers in B.C., Alberta, New Brunswick, the Northwest Territories and Otago, New Zealand, Martin found 87 per cent of PAC members are involved in fundraising and special events but that only 30 per cent really want to be. "They don't seem to have a very clear vision of what they want to do. They lack an agenda of their own," says Martin.
That perceived lack of power or influence may be why only 20 per cent of Canadian PAC members are men. "Where there is more power or control, there will be more men," says Martin, pointing out male participation is 50 per cent in New Zealand, which is considered to have a model of parent participation that works reasonably well.
Martin's work on parent participation in education is aimed at policy makers and parent groups across the country. She'll next conduct a major three year study that will include data from Ontario and Quebec.
  Media Contacts:
Dr. Yvonne Martin (education) at (250) 721-7813.

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