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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

Parental Involvement Reaps Big Benefits

The National PTA shares findings about the benefits of involving parents in education.
By Edutopia
Edutopia Team
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Parent involvement isn't a luxury -- it's an integral component of student achievement and school reform. Decades of research studies on the effect of meaningful parent involvement programs in schools have found that

  • when parents are involved, students achieve more, regardless of socioeconomic status, ethnic/racial background, or the parents' education level.
  • when parents are involved, students exhibit more positive attitudes and behavior.
  • to have long-lasting gains for students, parent involvement activities must be well planned, inclusive, and comprehensive.
  • children from diverse cultural backgrounds tend to do better when parents and professionals collaborate to bridge the gap between the culture at home and the learning institution.
  • schools that work well with families have better teacher morale and higher ratings of teachers by parents.
  • school programs that involve parents outperform identical programs without parent and family involvement.
  • effective programs are led by a team of administrators, educators, and parents and have access to financial resources.
  • when they are treated as partners and given relevant information by people with whom they are comfortable, parents put into practice the involvement strategies they already know are effective but have been hesitant to contribute.
  • collaboration with families is an essential component of a reform strategy, but it is not a substitute for high-quality education programs or comprehensive school improvement.

Research findings courtesy of the National PTA. Go to the National PTA's Web site for more information about parent involvement

Comments (15)Sign in or register to postSubscribe to comments via RSS

Kimsan's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

I had a hard time geting parents to volunteer because the ones that were interested had a hard time with their fingers print process. Others also worked to support their family. Some worked so many hours that they don't have time to help their child with homework. A few could not do Kindergarten homework. I knew that they tried and their child's homework were wrong. I would appreciate if you have any suggestions.

Laura's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

As a teacher of 7th grade students, I can tell you that parental involvement is not a luxury, it is a rare treasure! In these fast-paced days of two-income households, soccer games, and single-parent families it is very difficult to cultivate any sort of real and sustained partnership with parents.

In the county where I teach, faculty have wracked their brains to come up with an idea that will attract parents to our PTO Meetings. Typically teachers outnumber parents at these gatherings 3-1. This year each grade level will be responsible for presenting some type of program on a designated PTO night. The conventional wisdom is that we just might get the parents to attend if their student is directly involved in the program. The success of this idea is yet to be determined.

With regard to individual student achievement, I have seen a direct correlation with parental involvement in completion of homework and other written assignments. Those children whose parents frequently call, email, check and sign planners, and attend parent conferences almost always score higher on tests.

In these days of state-mandated testing whose results place teachers under a microscope, it is almost a shame that there is no standard to track and grade parents and the attention they pay to their children's education.

Sederia's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

I do believe that parental involvement is essential in a childs educational success. I am always thankful for the few dedicated parents that I have.

Parental involvement always seems to be lacking in low performing schools and low income neighborhoods. Some of this is because children are raised by one parent usually their mother. These women are often very young and didn't finish high school. Most of the time they only come to school when their kids have been suspended or are in some type of trouble.


Memphis, TN

Eliza Hetherington's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

I have a very hard time getting my parents involved. I teach in a low income, high- crime area and it is nearly impossible for me to get parents to attend PTA meetings, conferences, send in supplies, send in field trip money, return phone calls or notes, etc. It is extremely frustrating to me because I feel that my first graders are so dependent on their parents to help them be successful at this delicate age. I have tried family fun nights, positive rewards and contacts, etc but nothing seems to work. I would greatly appreciate any suggestions.

Nadia Shahin's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

There is no doubt that when parents are involved positively in their child's learning process, will the child achieve better and higher grades thank students who don't receive parental involvement. I have seen it with my students. I think that the children need to know that their parents monitor care about their school performance.
The problem is that it's very hard to get the parents to take part if they choose not to. I have worked with many parents who just gave lousy excuses as to why they couldn't help their children, and they wouldn't become convinced that their help and involvement will dramatically help their child.

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