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Parent Involvement Matters

parent involvement matters

Those devoted to education – and those who keep up with the education blogosphere – know that the two most important factors in determining student success are teacher quality and parent/family support. As this post’s title reminds us all, Parent Involvement Matters.

And those who are long-term readers of this site know how I feel about the role of non-educators in the education debate.

Most parents aren’t certified educators and most don’t even work in the public sector, let alone schools. But too often schools forget a few things about parents:

1. They are veterans of childhood and schooling;
2. They can contribute intellectual and experiential diversity to advance public schools;
3. They oversee the day-to-day operations of developing their own children into adults.

In short, they’ve done it, they’ve got a lot to offer and they’ve got a horse in the race.

Unfortunately, the root of most school-community problems is poor communication with parents. Schools simply have to do a better job communicating with parents, engaging them in the decision-making processes of districts and providing forums in which parents and community members can discuss school-related issues.

I was pleased to be introduced to ParentInvolvementMatters.org, a newly-released website that is committed to:

Recognizing the strong link between meaningful family involvement and children’s success in school and in life, we are advocates for building collaborative parent-school communities that promote networking, communication, and problem-solving.

They’ve collected some excellent Parent Involvement Resources ranging from materials to facilitate parent communication in your district to research on the role of parent involvement in education.

And if you’d like to advance Parent Involvement in Schools, they invite you to:

Browse their website at www.parentinvolvementmatters.org, sign up for their mailing list and stay tuned – they’re continuing to grow and they’re improving communication between districts and communities.

6 Responses to “Parent Involvement Matters”

  1. nyceducator says:

    Well of course it matters. Parents are the first teachers, the most enduring and profound influences, and it’s preposterous to think that seeing me, in a group of 34, for 45 minutes a day for 5 months can remotely compare.

    I actively solicit parental involvement, and it’s really a cornerstone of everything I do, particularly classroom control. Every one of my kids knows whatever they do in my class will follow them home, and they tend to act out in classes where their parents won’t get involved.

    No learning can take place without classroom control, and without parental involvement, coerced though it may be, there’s no chance whatsoever, no matter how enthusiastic you may be or how revolutionary your teaching techniques are.

    And that’s just scraping the surface of parental involvement, which is clearly the no. 1 predictor of student success (or failure).

  2. Matthew says:

    NYCeducator,

    I think that teachers do a far better job at working with and communicating with parents, out of both a genuine desire to solicit their involvement and also out of necessity.

    The area where schools can improve most – and desperately need to – is communication between administration/boards and the community. I’m constantly surprised [though I really shouldn't be at all] at the attitude district/school leadership often has toward parents. Not only is it disappointing and rude, but it’s terribly suboptimal in terms of getting things done – a school leader who doesn’t take advantage of the incredible talent and energy in his community is allowing a rich resource to go to waste.

    I’d like to see ParentInvolvementMatters.org expand – and I’d also like to see them branch out to include those of us who aren’t parents.

  3. Wahoo! Finally someone is putting 2 and 2 together and realizing that parents DO matter. I’m the odd horse in that I’m a “semi-retired” teacher (read: stay-at-home-mom) and a parent, so I do understand the underworkings of schools a lot better than the “normal” parent does.

    Still, a LOT needs to be addressed about getting more parents involved. In the charter school that my boys attend, parent/teacher conferences are well attended, but not much parent volunteering occurs. There are so many issues that need to be challenged about parental involvement as well (i.e. the parent is NOT the enemy, nor is the teacher. We should all have the same common goal in mind- helping our children succeed in life).

    Thanks for finding this website, Matt. I’ll have to check it out. :-)

    ~Michelle
    beartwinsmom.wordpress.com

  4. Mini says:

    I agree, parent involvement is really the cornerstone to a child’s success in school. I find it interesting how in elementary school parent involvement is so strongly encouraged, but once kids move on to middle school, it seems that kids and parents are brainwashed to believe that parents shouldn’t be there anymore. What a mistake! Adolescence is the time when parents need to stay involved and not back-off — Schools make it seem like it’s time to give their kids space –

    PTO opportunities turn into fundraising and that’s it. Our school system is a K-4, 5-6, 7-8 and 9-12. Fortunately the principal at our 7-8 school wanted to change this mentality. First, we created a “Planning Team” consisting of parents, teachers and staff. Then we tackled issues honestly. One big issue was the lack of volunteer opportunities for parents in the school – with foresight, the Principal encouraged the development of an extensive volunteer program. Three years later, back with my youngest child, I am happy to say that it exists actively and parents, despite groans from their kids, are back in the classrooms helping out and involved in other meaningful work. Parents can offer lots of resources, and it’s great for adolescents to see that their parents care.

  5. Matthew says:

    In NY, we’ve got laws on the books that mandate “shared decision-making” in Districts. It’s a great way for school leaders to get the most out of their community and involve parents in a more productive way than many of the traditional volunteer opportunities.

    Unfortunately, this is both underutilized and terribly muddy – few schools have a clear plan for how to bring in community members.

    But, as Mini described, a school has to want community input.

  6. Gary says:

    Michelle isn’t the only odd horse here. As a former teacher as well but of the ED kids, parents are underutilized and often looked at as the enemy far too often. This from an ED teacher’s standpoint too.

    In the Emotionally Disturbed kids section, plenty of the parents are shall we say not of high quality. But there are a number of parents of ED children that are genuine. When you communicate with them openly with clear non-education babble, they are very receptive to following up on the home end.

    I must say though I can differentiate quite easily as I’m unfortunately related to a set of not so high quality parents of a young one.

    A further challenge which depends on the school, state, and staff is objectionable material that sidelines parents and picks the fights over curriculum. That is my pet peeve though. I’m not a fan of teaching children information that cannot be verified as factually accurate. My local school district is well aware of that. :D

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  1. Mathematics Education Blog » Blog Archive » Parent Involvement Matters - [...] Bookworm: [...]
  2. Why, yes parental involvement DOES matter « The Beartwinsmom’s Den - [...] list, and take some time to check out the resources the organization has to offer. You can also ...

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