Natural Allies

Natural Allies Hope and Possibility in Teacher-Family Partnerships

Soo Hong
paper, 256 Pages
Pub. Date: October 2019
ISBN-13: 978-1-68253-424-3
Price: $33.00

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In Natural Allies, Soo Hong offers a paradigm shift in how we think about family engagement with schools. Hong challenges the conventional depiction of parents and teachers as “natural enemies,” and shows how, through teachers’ initiative and commitment, they can become natural allies instead.


This seminal work by Soo Hong makes clear that the practice of engaging with families as partners in the education of our nation’s children is an essential component of effective and proficient teaching. These captivating stories of five educators who see the authentic engagement with families as key to their success as educators should be required reading for all current and future educational practitioners. — Karen L. Mapp, senior lecturer on education and program director for the Education Policy and Management Master’s Program, Harvard Graduate School of Education

Natural Allies provides us with a detailed and thoughtful treatise on what it takes to turn parents and teachers into partners who work together in the interests of children and schools. Hong’s book avoids the vacuous platitudes that often characterize books about parents and schools. Instead, she cuts straight to the issues that frequently divide these critical stakeholders and shows how they can be broached with fairness and mutual respect. — Pedro A. Noguera, distinguished professor of education, Graduate School of Education and Information Sciences, University of California, Los Angeles

Natural Allies reminds us of the critical connections between teachers and parents that lead to opportunities for students, families, and schools. I love how Soo Hong engages us through her superb storytelling and has us all longing to bring parents into schools in very real ways. — Nancy Aardema, executive director, Logan Square Neighborhood Association

Natural Allies was a pleasure to read and is suitable for practitioners, higher education students, and family engagement researchers alike. — Christine M. McWayne and Jayanthi Mistry, Teachers College Record

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About the Author

Soo Hong is a sociologist of education whose research interests lie at the intersection of schools, families, and communities. Born in South Korea and raised in Baltimore by a rich, vibrant, loving immigrant family and community, Soo seeks to explore the narratives of young people, their families, and educators in communities that strive to dismantle racism, address social inequality, and build liberatory and transformative school communities. Her research and teaching is deeply influenced by her experiences as an elementary and middle school teacher. She is the author of A Cord of Three Strands: A New Approach to Parent Engagement in Schools (Harvard Education Press, 2011). Soo is an associate professor of education at Wellesley College.

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