The Importance of Context: Vietnamese, Somali, and Iranian Refugee Mothers Discuss Their Resettled Lives and Involvement in Their Children's Education

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Parental involvement in schools is regarded as critical to student success in Australia, Canada, and the USA, the world’s top refugee resettlement countries. Refugees can be disadvantaged when they are unfamiliar with the practices and when their own cultural beliefs conflict with expectations in their new communities, or when they are consumed by other pressing needs. As part of an evaluation of a nonprofit US refugee agency’s liaison program, three groups of refugee mothers from different world regions spoke about their lives and connections with their children’s schools. Focus groups revealed satisfaction with many aspects of their children’s schools as well as contrasts between the groups’ needs and experiences. Differences indicate the need for the education community and other service providers to be aware of international backgrounds that bring refugees to the countries of resettlement and cultural differences that create diverse concerns of these groups.

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Compare: A Journal of Comparative and International Education, v. 41, no. 1, p. 75-90.