Effectively Involving Parents in Schools
Parents are the first teachers of the students in our future classrooms. From the student’s birth until they enroll in a school program, the job to educate them is up to their parents. Once a child has started school, the job of the parent is not finished in regards to their child’s education; the role is just changing. No longer are parents solely responsible for their child’s education. Instead, parents now have a new partner, teachers. As future teachers, it will be part of our job to facilitate this relationship further and to encourage parents to be involved in not only what happens outside the classroom, but what is happening inside the classroom as well.
I chose this topic because as a future teacher I value the role parents should play in their child’s education. According to the Michigan Department of Education (2001), school age children spend seventy percent of their waking hours including weekends and holidays, outside of the school setting. It is not only up to the teacher to educate the child, but it is integral that parents have an active role as well.
What Studies Show
Studies show that engaging parents as co-educators in the education of their children has lead to many positive results. These studies have also yielded reasons as to why or why not a parent chooses to become involved and in what capacity.
In their paper, Parent Involvement: The Critical Link, the Oregon State Department of Education (1990) wrote that involving parents in education lead to students feeling more valued, competent, effectual and created a family environment in which achievement was stimulated and encouraged. The Michigan Department of Education (2001) showed through decades of research that when parents are involved in the educational process students receive higher grades, test scores, and graduation rates. Better attendance was seen at school along with lower rates of suspension. There were fewer instances of violent behavior and a decreased use of alcohol and drugs. According to Patricia Clark-Brown (1989), when parents were active participants in the educational process, their child’s self esteem was enhanced. Parent-child relationships were improved and this involvement helped the parents to develop a positive attitude towards school by giving them a better understanding of the educational processes.
Parents choose whether or not to become involved in their child’s education for a variety of reasons. Hoover-Dempsey and Sandler (1995) suggest that parents become involved due to an understanding that the parental role extends to participation in their child’s education, a positive efficacy for helping their child succeed in school, and the perceived opportunities or demands for involvement. Hoover-Dempsey and Sandler also argue that other variables such as employment, time, energy, and other family responsibilities do not predict whether or not a parent will become involved,...