86% of the general public believes that support from parents is the most important way to improve our schools and increase student learning.
Lack of parental involvement is one of the biggest problems facing public schools. Decades of research show that when parents are involved students have:
Higher grades, test scores, and graduation rates
Better school attendance
Increased motivation, better self-esteem
Lower rates of suspension
Decreased use of drugs and alcohol
Fewer instances of violent behavior
Family participation in education was twice as predictive of students’ academic success as family socioeconomic status. Some of the more intensive programs had effects that were 10 times greater than other factors.
The more intensely parents are involved, the more beneficial the achievement effects.
The more parents participate in schooling, in a sustained way, at every level — in advocacy, decision-making and oversight roles, as fund-raisers and boosters, as volunteers and para-professionals, and as home teachers — the better for student achievement.
Parent Expectations and Student Achievement
The most consistent predictors of children’s academic achievement and social adjustment are parent expectations of the child’s academic attainment and satisfaction with their child’s education at school.
Parents of high-achieving students set higher standards for their children’s educational activities than parents of low-achieving students.
Major Factors of Parent Involvement
Three major factors of parental involvement in the education of their children:
1. Parents’ beliefs about what is important, necessary and permissible for them to do with and on behalf of their children;
2. The extent to which parents believe that they can have a positive influence on their children’s education; and
3. Parents’ perceptions that their children and school want them to be involved.
Types of Parent Involvement
Although most parents do not know how to help their children with their education, with guidance and support, they may become increasingly involved in home learning activities and find themselves with opportunities to teach, to be models for and to guide their children.
When schools encourage children to practice reading at home with parents, the children make significant gains in reading achievement compared to those who only practice at school.
Parents, who read to their children, have books available, take trips, guide TV watching, and provide stimulating experiences contribute to student achievement.
School and District Leadership
The strongest and most consistent predictors of parent involvement at school and at home are the specific school programs and teacher practices that encourage parent involvement at school and guide parents in how to help their children at home. School initiated activities to help parents change the home environment can have a strong influence on children’s school performance.
Parents need specific information on how to help and what to do.
Obstacles That May Occur
School activities to develop and maintain partnerships with families decline with each grade level, and drop dramatically at the transition to middle grades.
Most students at all levels – elementary, middle, and high school – want their families to be more knowledgeable partners about schooling and are willing to take active roles in assisting communications between home and school. When parents come to school regularly, it reinforces the view in the child’s mind that school and home are connected and that school is an integral part of the whole family’s life.
Type of Parent Involvement
Families whose children are doing well in school exhibit the following characteristics:
- Establish a daily family routine. Examples: Providing time and a quiet place to study, assigning responsibility for household chores, being firm about bedtime and having dinner together. School attendance is important, being at school and on time for school.
- Monitor out-of-school activities. Examples: Setting limits on TV watching, video games, checking up on children when parents are not home, arranging for after-school activities and supervised care.
- Model the value of learning, self-discipline, and hard work. Examples: Communicating through questioning and conversation, demonstrating that achievement comes from working hard.
- Express high but realistic expectations for achievement. Examples: Setting goals and standards that are appropriate for children’s age and maturity, recognizing and encouraging special talents, informing friends and family about successes.
- Encourage children’s development/ progress in school. Examples: Maintaining a warm and supportive home, showing interest in children’s progress at school, helping with homework, discussing the value of a good education and possible career options, staying in touch with teachers and school staff.
- Encourage reading, writing, and discussions among family members. Examples: Reading, listening to children read and talking about what is being read.