To be, or to be more? It's an easy question to answer. We all want more for our children, for our families, for our communities and nation. The more difficult question to answer is how can we achieve it?
We all face challenges in helping our children succeed. NCFL believes that all parents—regardless of socioeconomic or educational level—can help their children succeed in school and in life. As a nation, we need to make the most of the time parents have with our children, with the 7,800 hours children spend out of school each year (compared to 900 hours in school). The family unit—no matter the composition—is the one constant across the educational spectrum.
Statistics tell us the challenge is daunting but also confirm the tremendous opportunity all parents have when we engage in education:
- America ranks 16 out of 23 for literacy, 21 out of 23 in math, and 17 out of 19 in problem solving, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.
- More than 50 percent of students at four-year post-secondary schools and more than 75 percent at two-year colleges lacked the skills to perform complex literacy tasks. In addition, almost 20 percent of students pursuing four-year degrees had only basic quantitative skills (The National Survey of America's College Students).
- The performance advantage among students whose parents read to them in their early school years is evident regardless of the family's socioeconomic background (PISA-OECD).
- Parental involvement is a more significant factor in children's academic performance than the qualities of their school (NC State University).
- A single year of parental education has a greater impact on the likelihood of a son or daughter attending a post-secondary institution than does $50,000 in parental income (Seeds of Literacy).
- Parental involvement is directly tied to student performance and has a sustained impact—15-year-old students whose parents often read books with them during their first year of primary school show markedly higher scores in Program for International Student Assessment than students whose parents read with them infrequently or not at all.
Our own research tells us that middle class parents struggle to help their children with homework as their children advance in school, worry about financing future education, and are unsure where to turn for help.
NCFL provides support and strategies to a network of entities involved in advancing education and families learning together, including educators, schools, community based organizations, and libraries. Our efforts support learners of all ages in these environments in concert with our advocates and partners.
Family engagement in education doesn't happen on its own. More than seven in 10 educators identify engaging parents and the community as challenging or very challenging for school leaders, according to the latest annual MetLife Survey of the American Teacher. NCFL supports family engagement educators in their work, bridging the gap in education that often exists between school, home, and community.
The National Education Technology Plan affirms the educational role of parents, advocating for diverse learning environments that utilize a “wider set of 'educators,' including…parents, experts, and mentors outside the classroom. It also should be used to enable 24/7 and lifelong learning." NCFL leverages today's technology to give parents access to information sources and proven strategies that provide unlimited chances to learn, with lifelong learning and continuous growth as the ultimate goal.
We help families gain the academic and life skills they need to succeed. Join with us today as we explore new ways to inspire families to learn together.