About Parent Involvement in Education

by Jessica Cook

When a parent gets involved in his child's education, he positively influences his child's chances of success. Kids whose parents are involved in their education tend to perform better than their peers who have uninvolved parents. Some parents may not know how to get involved in their child's education, but once they do, they can make a big difference. Parents and school personnel need to work together to ensure positive parental involvement for every child.

Types

There are several types of parental involvement in education. Parents can become involved in their child's education through simple steps such as asking the child about her day or monitoring her homework assignments. Parents can schedule conferences with the teacher or other school leaders to keep updated about the child's progress and they can attend school functions like sporting events and award ceremonies. Another way for parents to stay involved in their child's education is to set expectations for their child. If parents want their children to be successful in school, they need to expect their children to perform at their best effort at all times.

Factors

According to the Michigan Department of Education, the level of parental involvement in education relies on three main factors. The first is the parents' understanding of what is important or appropriate in terms of their involvement at school. Some parents may believe that they need to monitor every aspect of their child's education while others may believe that their role should be less pronounced. The second factor is the parents' belief that they can have a positive impact on their child's education. Some parents think their child will perform a certain way in school regardless of their involvement, while others understand that if they involve themselves in their child's education it will positively impact their child's educational performance. The third factor is the degree to which the parent feels the child and school want parental involvement. Some parents feel their child wants them to stay away from their education or leave them alone; other parents may not feel welcome at their child's school, keeping them from being more involved in their child's education.

Impact

The Michigan Department of Education lists a variety of ways that parental involvement impacts a child's education. Citing the National Parent Teacher Association, they state that when parents are involved in a child's education, the child will achieve higher grades, better attendance, increased self-esteem and motivation, fewer disciplinary problems and have a lower chance of becoming involved with drugs and alcohol.

School Involvement

Schools must actively recruit parent involvement if they want parent involvement. School leaders can invite parents to special events, informational workshops, and even school lunches. Teachers should provide regular communciation to parents in terms of grade reports, behavior updates and class events. Teachers need to give positive and negative feedback about student grades and behavior and also offer productive options for what parents can do to be more involved.

Obstacles

According to the Michigan Department of Education, programs specifically tailored to involving parents at school tend to decline as the students get older. Schools invite parents of elementary students to regular events including classroom parties, award ceremonies and school fundraisers. These types of events decline as a child gets older, which means that the parent involvement in education also declines. Another obstacle they describe is that teachers sometimes do not believe that single parents or low-income parents have as much time as married or upper-class parents have to spend with their children. Therefore they do not make as much effort to involve the single and low-income parents.

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