A Cord of Three Strands

A Cord of Three Strands A New Approach to Parent Engagement in Schools

Soo Hong, foreword by Jean Anyon
paper, 264 Pages
Pub. Date: March 2011
ISBN-13: 978-1-934742-54-9
Price: $33.00

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Pub. Date: March 2011
ISBN-13: 978-1-61250-418-6

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How can low-income, non-English-speaking parents become advocates, leaders, and role models in their children’s schools? A Cord of Three Strands offers a close study of the Logan Square Neighborhood Association, a grassroots organization on the northwest side of Chicago, whose work on parent engagement has drawn national attention.


In this wonderful book, Soo Hong expertly navigates the tricky terrain between home and school. Instead of dwelling on dysfunction, she cuts to the core: the need to build trusting relationships and equalize the distribution of power. This is hard, painstaking work, and she illuminates it with authentic and insightful detail. This book will advance our understanding about why family engagement must be a core strategy for school improvement. — Anne T. Henderson, senior consultant, Community Organizing and Engagement, Annenberg Institute for School Reform

Soo Hong’s A Cord of Three Strands is a fine ethnography of the power of education organizing in the Logan Square Neighborhood Association. It reminds us of the urgent need to find new ways to cultivate the tacit and often underutilized resources of parents and community members in our urban areas. This inspiring account shows how schools can be transformed and pupil achievement raised when we blend our finest professional development with the excitement of grassroots participatory democracy. — Dennis Shirley, professor, Lynch School of Education, Boston College

Soo Hong has given us a rich, nuanced, and beautifully written account of one of the most important community organizing efforts to improve public schools in this country. A Cord of Three Strands shows how immigrant parents can become leaders in their schools and communities. Hong analyzes in great depth and careful detail the deep collaborations that the Logan Square Neighborhood Association has forged with Chicago schools to help make them more responsive to Latino immigrant families, so that they become centers for broader community building and revitalization. This compelling account of relationship building and leadership development offers vital lessons for educators and all Americans who care about the education of immigrant children and the future of our public schools. — Mark R. Warren, associate professor of education, Harvard Graduate School of Education

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About the Author

Soo Hong is assistant professor of education at Wellesley College. She studies the role of community organizing in school reform and the relationships between families, schools, and communities more broadly. A former elementary and middle school teacher, Hong is interested in the ways that research can be applied to the everyday questions and dilemmas of schools and communities.