Refugee families' engagement with the public school system: The integration journey of the Iraqi refugees
The unprecedented, increased, number of people who qualify as refugees all over the world, and the continuous arrival of refugees to the United States entails the need for studying these unique populations whom are facing many challenges when acculturating into the host culture. This study employed a mixed-method approach to unveil the experiences of Iraqi refugees with the public school systems. It gave voice to marginalized families who are facing multiple linguistic, cultural, and power-relation challenges regardless their tragic experience with violence and leaving everything they possess behind. The findings of this study illustrate how schools are in a dire need to understand the cultural differences and the unique circumstances of refugee families to better reach out and assist them in supporting their children. The outcome of this study calls for a necessary shift in the paradigm of parental involvement- as an approach that failed bicultural and minority families- to the approach of family engagement where families are treated as not only full citizens but as people who should be treated with dignity regardless their linguistic and cultural differences. The recommendations of this study are data-informed strategies can be implemented by teachers, administrators, and policymakers to, effectively, engage refugee families for the purpose of supporting the refugee students in home, community, and schools. These recommendations meant to incorporate diversity as a sources of strength in the society.