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Involved Parents = Better School Performance

 

Q. Why are educators so concerned about getting parents involved in school? Are they just trying to get parents to do more of the work of education, and trying to make their own jobs easier?

 

Yes, and that's good. The research is clear: everyone's better off when parents accept the responsibility for shepherding their child through the maze that is K-12 education. Certainly, that includes teachers, who by definition deserve a smaller share of the load than parents bear . . . but more importantly, it's good for the students when parents are involved and engaged with them in their schooling. After all, one of the most rewarding things about parenting is seeing your child succeed. What's not to like about that?

 

Involved parents don't have to be an expert on education, but they can, and do, put their best effort into monitoring homework, attending school functions and conferences, volunteering, understanding school policies and procedures, and helping the student set goals and plan for the next level of education in order to get where he or she wants to go.

 

The research shows that students with involved parents are more likely to:

 

n       Earn higher grades and test scores, and enroll in higher-level programs

 

n       Pass their classes

 

n       Attend school regularly

 

n       Have better social skills, show improved behavior and adapt well to school

 

n       Graduate and go on to post-secondary education

So smart educators WILL get parents involved. And that's a good thing all the way around.

 

This is why the national Parent-Teacher Association has a strong policy on building parental involvement: www.pta.org/ia_pta_positions_1116959239593.html

 

Also see the substantial online library of articles on fostering better parental involvement from the national Parent-Teacher Organization, http://www.ptotoday.com/magParent.html

 

The National Coalition for Parental Involvement in Education is a wealth of information on programs that work, including the benefits that occur when the larger community is involved and engaged in a school. See:

http://www.ncpie.org/WhatsHappening/researchJanuary2006.html

According to a research synthesis of more than 50 studies on parental involvement by the Southwest Educational Development Laboratory, there are specific ways that schools in general and teachers in particular can foster parental engagement in school activities. See:

http://www.sedl.org/pubs/catalog/items/fam33.html

 

Homework: For parents who want to make their school-based parent group the best it can be, enjoy these "75 Tips for a Great Year" from the Parent-Teacher Organization parent-coaching website, http://www.ptotoday.com/articles/article.php?article=0807tipsforyear.html Also, two resources especially for educators who wish to build better parental involvement are from Dr. Steve Constantino, www.familyfriendlyschools.com, and the Family Involvement Network of Educators, www.finenetwork.org

 

By Susan Darst Williams www.ShowandTellforParents.com Parental Involvement 01 2008

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