What is Happening with Parental Involvement? by Darryl Kinsey

Darryl Kinsey and daughter

What is Happening with Parental Involvement?

I just completed my 21st year as a Professional School Counselor. I am not sure if it is just the schools I have been employed by but parental involvement is on the decline. The reason I say the schools I have been working in is because I have several colleagues who say that their parents are knocking down the door to get involved and are very active in their children’s education. So lately I have been pondering the question “why are some parents more involved than others”?

Public education has surely changed a lot over the years and can be very confusing, even intimidating, to a lot of parents. However, one thing I have learned over the years is that consistent parent involvement remains vital to student achievement. There is no way around that fact. Many parents use the excuse that they are either too busy or working; however, their child’s education must be a priority. Most students who have actively engaged parents typically will do better in school than those students whose parents are essentially absent when it comes to being involved in their education. When I speak of actively engaged, I mean meeting their child’s teachers during open house or at the beginning of the year, setting conferences when necessary, becoming knowledgeable about their student’s test scores (standardized or other), being aware of their student’s strengths and weaknesses based off the test scores and keeping up with their child’s grades (school systems now make it very easy to keep up with grades with all of the different technology that’s out there - grades now can come directly to the phone if that’s what is wanted. If that fails, a simple phone call or email works too).

Research continues to show that parental involvement in school improves absenteeism, shows the child that education is a priority and improves overall success. I think at the end of the day, all parents want what is best for their children; however, just wanting that isn’t going ensure success. We can’t just depend on teachers to educate children. Education begins long before a child enters into a school building. If the parents are not willing to invest the time and energy into staying abreast of what is going on with their student, in my experience, those typically are the students who do not fare positively in school - academically or otherwise. Staying involved can be a lot of work and, sometimes, inconvenient but the parent has to think of the consequences of not being there and the effects that it will have on the child.

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