Let’s Not Underestimate the Power of Parent Involvement

Conventional wisdom tells us that parental involvement is always positive. We, as parents, are our children’s first and last line of defense.

That’s why I’m baffled to see research that goes against this wisdom. I get the sense that educators expect me to relinquish my role to them and wash my hands of all educational matters. Most of them seem to expect parents to not have a voice in decisions that affect their children’s education. They seem to be bewildered and unprepared for parents who believe in having a presence at schools and want to be actively engaged.

I wonder what has led to this possibly harmful ideology within the educational system? I wonder if districts and new charter schools promote working with parents as a valued asset or as a problematic chore? Maybe the emergence of trendy studies, inflammatory articles, and undermining books have an affect on how educators and society view this issue. In an article titled Parental Involvement Is Overrated, two professors claim through analyzing numerous longitudinal surveys of American parents, most forms of parental involvement don’t affect academic achievement and in some cases, they actually hinder it. My mouth dropped and my heart sunk when I saw the headline.

Did the authors even consider the damage this headline would cause? Do they know how hard it is to get parents out in support of their kids? Are they aware that positive affirmation far outweighs the sensationalized depiction of a very important topic to me? After doing some research, I discovered the authors have experienced much fanfare from this article including guest appearances on popular shows. They have sparked additional articles written about their study and the emergence of a book centered around the same topic of parent involvement. I wonder who does a study like this help? Are they using this for financial gain? These days, it appears everyone is making money off of underprivileged kids through educational exploits.

I wonder is anyone genuinely asking or inviting parents to the table? I know the answer and we most likely won’t be, but I have no problem crashing the party. It seems to me that the best practice would be a dedicated and enthusiastic approach to parental involvement. A partnership between the two most important entities in children’s lives, teachers and parents, has “win” written all over it. Let us hope as parents that the schools are in agreement because as vigilant protectors of our children we should demand nothing less.

Any questions?

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