Parent involvement can make a difference in a child’s education. Most of the teachers believe that their students would perform better in school if their parents were more involved in their child’s education, while some parents say children of uninvolved parents sometimes “fall through the cracks” in schools (Johnson & Duffett, 2003).
The conflict can come, though, on how to create that involvement, and whether all involved feel the particular activities are worthwhile. Do all the PTA meetings and volunteering actually generate increases in student achievement?
So actually, how are parents involved in schools?
While virtually all schools promote parent involvement, Joyce Epstein (2001), came up with an “Epstein’s typology model” and divided school parent involvement programs into six broad categories:
- Parenting, in which schools help families with their parenting skills by providing information on children’s developmental stages and offering advice on learning-friendly home environments;
- Communicating, or working to educate families about their child’s progress and school services and providing opportunities for parents to communicate with the school;
- Volunteering, which ranges from offering opportunities for parents to visit their child’s school to finding ways to recruit and train them to work in the school or classroom;
- Learning at home, in which schools and educators share ideas to promote at-home learning through high expectations and strategies so parents can monitor and help with homework.
- Decision-making, in which schools include families as partners in school organizations, advisory panels, and similar committees.
- Community collaboration, a two-way outreach strategy in which community or business groups are involved in education and schools encourage family participation in the community.
Parental involvement in their child’s education now matters the most because it’s in decline. In 2016, a research showed parents’ declined belief in effectiveness of parent-teacher communication. Parents now prefer digital methods of communication, and they avoid attending parent-teacher conferences or school activities. While online communication can help families stay informed, students are missing out when parents don’t offer their time and support. Effective parent involvement comes when a true partnership exists between schools and families. Creating that partnership is what works for student achievement.