The article identifies several different dimensions of the relationship between parents and school. As far as the legal dimension is concemed - i.e. the definition of the relationship in existing legislative and programme documents, the author concludes that the partnership of parents with school is not ideally formulated in Czech Law and that a better solution appears only in the visions of the White Paper. As concems the dimension of the parents’ relationship to the school as it is expressed in the concrete conditions of schools and in the perception of school directors and parents themselves, we can characterise the parents’ position as that of clients of the school. It is this role that is attributed to parents most often, with the partnership role coming a long way behind. If we put on one side the foreign theoretical concepts with which we have compared the reality of Czech schools and keep to the results of factor analysis, the most usual position of parents in relation to the school emerges as that of “parents as educational clients”, the definition given in three quarters of cases. As concerns the question of the pushing through of parents’ interests in schools, parents emerge as a relatively satisfied group with a tendency to be active only at the moment when they feel their interests in some way threatened. An individual approach to tackling problems is more usual than “collective action”. It seems that parents, at least for the moment and in most cases, do not make enough use of their possibilities and rights vis-a-vis the school and that schools have no great interest in pointing this out to them. As relates to the openness of schools in relation to parents and the public, which is another theme of this article, we can say that at the general level such openness - mainly towards parents - is seen as desirable and beneficial. The arguments in favour are usually educational and teachers from different schools essentially agree on them. The real behaviour of people in many schools does not, however, correspond to this positive vision. From the side of the schools we find a range of arguments “against”, from lack of money and time to the behaviour of people in a village or town. The last two themes, i.e. the school as a place of lifelong learning and the school as a place supporting the good functioning of the school, are mainly regarded by people from the schools as rather unrealistic, prospects for which there is not enough energy and resources left, nor enough conviction of that there is any point in th em .. Altogether we can describe the climate of opinion in the background of the dimension of openness (or closedness) of Czech schools, including the question of the relationship with parents and the public, as a conflict between ideal and reality. This conflict should not necessarily be seen as something negative, however. We believe that it is a natural part of the penetration of new trends into the life of what still tend to be conservative Czech schools.