Investigating Critical & Contemporary Issues in Education/Parental Involvement

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Lauren Weathers

Professor Timothy Goodale

EDUC 2110

09 July 2011

Parental Involvement

Kyoikumama is a Japanese word that can only be translated as “A mother who relentlessly pushes her children toward academic achievement.” While some would argue that parental involvement in the academic success of their child is becoming scarcer in the United States, multiple reports show that many schools have transitioned to a more community oriented outlook. Often, parents are concerned with the education of their child, but are not sure how they can get involved. Unfortunately, political PTA meetings and School Board sessions call for permanently shutting the open door policy schools have adopted; however, parent are increasingly proving their positive impact on the school system as a whole. Through active participation in school-decision making, extra-curricular activities, and their child’s homework, children are not only experiencing increasing academic success, but learning to be better members of society as a whole. Their time and dedication to their child’s success make parents the perfect go-to in giving children quality education.

Parents are passionate about their children, particularly their children’s education. Therefore, many parents find it easy to become involved in decision making at their child’s school. The National Household Education Survey found that seventy-nine percent of parents reported attending a general meeting at their child’s school, and seventy-three percent said they have attended a scheduled meeting with teachers (National Institute for Literacy). Also, the 1997 National Portrait Survey revealed that about ninety-eight percent of schools presented opportunities for parents to participate in making decisions within the school (National Institute for Literacy). Obviously, parents have ample opportunity and will to help their student education improve. A survey was conducted in 1991 “Found that the single variable most positively connected to all literacy skills was formal involvement in parent-school activities such as PTA participation . . . (San Diego County Office of Education)” In fact, many social scientists are arguing that when parents participate in making decisions at schools, children see the importance of the direction of the community displayed through the passions of their parents. Parental involvement in this form is instrumental to the success of students both in and out of the classroom and in society as a whole.

In 1999, a survey was taken by the National Institute for Literacy that revealed that ninety-nine percent of schools Kindergarten through Eighth grade offered volunteer opportunities to parents. These results show that schools are providing multiple opportunities for parents to become more involved in the school system through coaching positions, assisting in clubs, chaperoning class trips, and occasionally assisting in the classroom. Ninety-nine percent of schools appear to understand the advantages of having unique contributions that only parents are able to provide. The same survey found that ninety-two percent of parents with children in grades Kindergarten through Twelfth have acted as a volunteer or served on a committee at their child’s school. Clearly, parents are excited by the chance to participate actively in their child’s school system. Moms and Dads seem to be curious about the classroom and enjoy connecting with their child in educational environments and amongst their child’s friends. Also, according to four separate studies, “Student achievement improves when parents become involved in their children’s education at school and in the community (San Diego County Office of Education).” Lawrence Steinberg performed a study of 12,000 students that produced the conclusion, “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.” These statistics prove that parents’ taking an active role in the extra-curricular activities of school systems teaches children the importance of school and of making a positive impact on the community.

Probably the most effective role that a parent can take in their child’s education is in helping with homework and providing a constructive learning environment at home. When students see their parents make an effort to put things like homework first, they are encouraged to do what is necessary, even though it is not always fun. According to a survey of Kindergartners conducted by the National Institute of Literacy in 1998, forty-six percent of parents read to their children every day, which increases the intellectual development of a child tremendously. Apparently, “Students who talked about reading with family and friends, however frequently, had higher average scores than students who never or hardly ever talked about reading (National Institute of Literacy).” Therefore, the involvement of parents, even without the school’s encouragement, is instrumental in raising each child’s potential. Also in addition to the voluntary help parents are providing, many schools are implementing new curriculum that include lesson plans and homework that require the direct attention of parents. Margaret Morrissey, a member of Parents Out Loud, agrees with many skeptics of the new curriculum, saying, “Every responsible parent already does the things [suggested] and those that don’t will never do them in a million years (Ross 1).” While many school boards are meeting resistance, research is proving that parental involvement at home is a productive way to reinforce the lessons that teachers taught in the classroom. For example, the NAEP 2000 found that students who simply discussed their studies at home at least once a month scored at the proficiency level on the National Reading Assessment in comparison to students who never or hardly ever discussed them (National Institute of Literacy). If those are the results of students merely discussing their studies, can one imagine the impact of homework that demands the involvement of both the child and the parent? In fact, many school systems are encouraging what Herbert Walberg called the “curriculum of the home,” which asks parents to create a routine for their children with realistic goals, model behavior, and monitored activities outside of school (San Diego County Office of Education). Unfortunately, most schools are entering a phase in which teachers only require the parent’s signature on homework; however, the increase in this seemingly minute act, improves grades dramatically. Hundreds of studies prove the correlation between a positive parent who is active in their child’s homework and students who grow up to be productive members of society.

In the past, the extent of a parent’s involvement in their child’s education has been a simple, “How was school?” with the short, curt answer, “Fine.” Thankfully, school systems are moving away from this hands-off position, and moving closer to schools in which parental involvement is as important as the lesson plans. Statistics and studies are proving that students turn into high-achieving, constructive citizens when their parents step to the plate and become active participants in their education both at home and at school. Schools are developing guidelines that are similar to the six steps that the Michigan Department of Education set forth: Parenting, Communicating, Volunteering, Learning at Home, Decision Making, and Collaborating with the community (Michigan Department of Education). Based on the research provided in this essay, it appears that all of these steps are not only effective, but simply irreplaceable when it comes to building successful students.

Works Cited "Parent Involvement." San Diego County Office of Education: SDCOE. San Diego County Office of Education, 1997. Web. 2011. <>.

"Parental Involvement in Learning: Statistics |" | An Education & Child Development Site for Parents | Parenting & Educational Resource. National Institute for Literacy. Web. 2011. <>.

Perkins, Daniel F., Barton J. Christner, Phillip E. Hoy, Paul Webster, and Lesia Mock. AFTER-SCHOOL PROGRAMS PARENT INVOLVEMENT PLAN. Rep. CYFAR, 2004. Web. <>.

Ross, Tim. "Help with Homework Part of the Curriculum - Telegraph." - Telegraph Online, Daily Telegraph and Sunday Telegraph - Telegraph. 20 May 2011. Web. 06 July 2011. <>.

"What Research Says About Parental Involvement In Children's Education." In Relation to Academic Achievement (Mar. 2002). Michigan Department of Education, Mar. 2002. Web. 2011. <>.

QUIZ QUESTION:Parents are passionate about their children, particularly their children’s education. Therefore, many parents find it easy to become involved in what at their child's school? A) Decision making B) Parties C) PTO meetings D) Field Day

Chapter 5: Parental Involvement

Avery Crawford: Brunswick

The No Child Left Behind Act section 1118, Title I is the only section devoted solely to parental involvement, and if implemented effectively, provides the core elements that incorporate many of the other parental involvement provisions of NCLB (No Child Left Behind). The law defines parental involvement as, “the participation of parents in regular, two-way, and meaningful communication involving student academic learning and other school activities including assisting their child’s learning, being actively involved in their child’s education at school, serving as full partners in their child’s educations and being included, as appropriate, in decision-making and on advisory committees to assist in the education of their child (NCLB Action Briefs).

It is very important for the parents of students to be involved in their school related activities. In various studies students with involved parents scored higher on test, were more motivated and were able to focus more in the classroom. In most cases it is almost essential for students to have support from home in order to do their best in the classroom. If the students are only getting support from the school and then going home to no motivation they will be less likely to succeed at their highest achievement. In a summary of selected research compiled by John H. Wherry, Ed.D, President at The Parent Institute in Virginia he found that students with involved parents were more likely to earn higher grades and test scores, pass their classes, attend school regularly, have better social skills, show good behavior, adapt well to school, and graduate and go on to further their educations. He also found that in schools where teachers reported high levels of outreach to parents, test scores grew at a rate 40 percent higher than in schools where reported low levels of outreach to parents. There are many ways for teachers to incorporate parents into the classroom. Giving children homework assignments requiring parents to listen to them read or taking a timed practice test are just a few ways for the teachers to get parents involved at home. When schools work together with families to support learning, children tend to succeed not just in school, but throughout life. A child’s achievement in school is not actually based on income or social status it is in fact based on the family’s ability to create a home environment that encourages learning, express high expectations for their children’s achievement and future careers and to become involved in their children’s educations at school and in the community (Wherry).

Since parent involvement relates positively to student achievement, parents are encouraged to participate in their children's education in both the home and in the school. At home parents are asked to read with their child, provide a calm place for homework, supervise assignments, monitor television and internet use, and promote regular school attendance. Schools request that parents attend teacher conferences, "open houses" as well as academic, art, drama, and athletic events. Parents are invited to volunteer in classrooms, serve on advisory committees, and support fund raising for special projects (Davies). With all of this being said why do some parents still not participate? Just because parents are guardians are not involved doesn’t necessarily mean they are disinterested, Davies list a number of reasons why parents do not become active in school life: too little time, work related issues, lack of child care or transportation, language barriers, cultural isolation, feeling overwhelmed or unwelcome, or simply just not know how they can contribute. Some actions schools can take to increasing parental involvement could be training the staff to be positive during conferences, phone calls and other parental interaction. When educators are considerate and sensitive to a parent's ethnic, cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds, communication and cooperation can occur. Parents need to hear that their involvement will increase their child's academic performance. Providing information in a parent handbook is also a great way to get parents involved in the handbook you could include a clear list of rules, procedures, and specific ways parents can be involved in the school. As a teacher you could be more flexible on your meeting times to give each parent an opportunity to take part in what is going on. Also, having parent conferences frequently throughout the year to provide the parent with information of what is going on with their child and way that they can help.

There are numerous programs set up to allow parents/guardians to become more active in their child’s school. The most common program is the PTA ( Parent Teacher Association). The PTA was designed to provide support, information, and resources to families focused on the health and education of children. The organization was founded in 1897 in Washington DC as the National Congress of Mothers by Alice McLellan Birney and Phoebe Apperson Hearst. Overall this entire program was created to better the lives of children. The PTA also works in cooperation with many national education, health, safety, and child advocacy groups and federal agencies, the national PTA organization collaborates on projects that benefit children and that bring valuable resources to its members (PTA).

Teachers definitely play one major role in the achievement and capability of students but they cannot be the sole motivator in a child’s school career. Parental involvement has proven itself over and over again. Children that have help with school at home and that are pushed to achieve excellent in their school work from their parents or guardians have better grades, attitudes, attendance and overall better achievements in school that those of children with no parental involvement. So, with support from teachers and parents working together a child will be able to excel to their full potential throughout their academic career.

Works Cited ACRN( American’s Career Resource Network.) Parental Involvement. 1999. ASPE. School Involvement and Civic Engagement. Bass, Marsha. Parental involvement in child's education has positive effect on achievement and behavior. 2003. Davies, Leah. Increasing Parent Involvement in School. NCLB. Action Briefs. PTA (Parent Teacher Association.) About PTA. 2009 Wherry, John H. Selected Parent Involvement Research. 2003

Chapter 5 Selected Work

December 2005

Parental Involvement and Student Achievement: A Meta-Analysis William H. Jeynes


Although much research has focused on the importance of parental involvement in children's education, conducting meta-analyses to determine the overall impact of parental involvement on the student population remains only a recent enterprise. This fact largely contributes to the limited body of knowledge regarding which aspects of parental involvement help student education and just what components of this involvement are most important (Christian, Morrison, & Bryant, 1998; Epstein, 2001; Henderson & Mapp, 2002). A meta-analysis statistically combines all the relevant existing studies on a given subject in order to determine the aggregated results of the research. The reasonably large amount of available research on parental involvement suggests that this research area has developed to a point at which a meta-analysis would be beneficial; it would yield some answers to questions that the individual studies by themselves are too narrowly focused to address.

Research Methods

I conducted a meta-analysis to determine the overall effects of parental involvement on K–12 students' academic achievement and to determine the extent to which certain expressions of parental involvement are beneficial to children.

The meta-analysis drew from 77 studies, comprising over 300,000 students. Of the 77 studies, 36 included data only from secondary schools, 25 consisted of data only from elementary schools, and 16 possessed data for both elementary and secondary schools. Two reviewers used in this study rated the overall quality of the studies as a 2.3 on a 0.0 (lowest)–3.0 (highest) scale.

Research Findings

Below I summarize the research questions and findings from meta-analysis.

1. How does the academic achievement of students whose parents are actively involved in their education compare to that of their counterparts whose parents are not involved?

The results of the meta-analysis indicate that parental involvement is associated with higher student achievement outcomes. These findings emerged consistently whether the outcome measures were grades, standardized test scores, or a variety of other measures, including teacher ratings. This trend holds not only for parental involvement overall but for most components of parental involvement that were examined in the meta-analysis. Moreover, the pattern holds not only for the overall student population but for minority students as well. For the overall population of students, on average, the achievement scores of children with highly involved parents was higher than children with less involved parents. This academic advantage for those parents who were highly involved in their education averaged about .5– .6 of a standard deviation for overall educational outcomes, grades, and academic achievement. In other words, the academic achievement score distribution or range of scores for children whose parents were highly involved in their education was substantially higher than that of their counterparts whose parents were less involved

2. What is the particular influence of specific aspects of parental involvement?

One of the most vital aspects of this study was its examination of specific components of parental involvement to see which aspects influenced student achievement. Two of the patterns that emerged from the findings were that the facets of parental involvement that required a large investment of time, such as reading and communicating with one's child, and the more subtle aspects of parental involvement, such as parental style and expectations, had a greater impact on student educational outcomes than some of the more demonstrative aspects of parental involvement, such as having household rules, and parental attendance and participation at school functions.

3. Which aspect of parental involvement has the greatest impact on academic achievement?

The largest effect sizes emerged for parental expectations. The effect sizes for parental style and reading with one's child were smaller than for either parental expectations, but they also had very consistent influences across the studies. Parent involvement programs also influenced educational outcomes, although to a lesser degree than preexisting expressions of parental support.

4. Do the effects of parental involvement hold for racial minority children?

The results for studies examining 100% minority students and mostly minority students were also close to about .5 of a standard deviation. The effects of parental involvement tended to be larger for African American and Latino children than they were for Asian American children. However, the effect sizes were statistically significant for all three of these minority groups. The results highlight the consistency of the impact of parental involvement across racial and ethnic groups.

5. Do parental involvement programs work?

The results indicate that, on average, parental involvement programs work. As expected, the influence of these programs is not as large as the impact of parental involvement as a whole. This is because parents already enthusiastic about supporting the educational progress of their children will, on average, tend to help their children more than parents whose participation is fostered by the presence of a particular program.

Implications for Practice

Taken together the results of this study are very instructive. First, the results are fairly substantial and support the belief that parental involvement has a significant impact across various populations. Second, not only does voluntary parental involvement have an influence, but parental programs do as well. Therefore, schools should adopt strategies to enhance parental engagement in their children's schooling. Third, teachers, principals, and school counselors should familiarize themselves with the facets of parental involvement that can help the most, so that they can guide parents on what steps they can take to become more involved. These include time-intensive parental involvement activities such as reading to one's children and communicating with them, and subtle involvement activities like parental style and expectations. Given the substantial influence of parental involvement, educators should consistently encourage parents to become more involved in their children's schooling.


Christian, K.; Morrison, F. J.; & Bryant, F. B. (1998). Predicting kindergarten academic skills: Interactions among child care, maternal education, and family literacy environments. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 13(3), 501–521.

Epstein, J. (2001). School, family, and community partnerships. Boulder: Westview Press.

Henderson, A. T. & Mapp, K. L. (2002). A new wave of evidence: The impact of school, family, and community connections on student achievement. Austin, TX: Southwest Educational Development Laboratory.

William H. Jeynes Department of Teacher Education College of Education California State University at Long Beach Long Beach, CA 90840 Email: