A Pedagogy of Community Building: Re-imagining Parent Involvement and Community Organizing in Popular Education Efforts
Where dominant models of urban school reform often regard immigrant communities as obstacles that must be managed or reduced, the two projects analyzed in this study (Alianza and the Project) regard the community as a powerful source of knowledge and as partners working towards educational improvement (Nygreen, 2009). This paper analyses the ways in which Latino parents involved in these projects, come together to learn about their communities and engage in a process of community building that strengthens their capacity to resist, if not overcome, dominant ideologies and institutions. Latino parents in these projects do more than simply challenge the narrative of reform that continues to position them at the margins; they establish their own spaces of learning and solidarity that enable them to crystallize their perspectives and become agents of change in their local context. We posit that community building is key to creating sustained long-term relationships that can survive and withstand the struggle towards institutional change and open doors for Latino community empowerment in schools and the broader society.