From Sharon: The importance of parental involvement

Parental involvement pays off.

And in a study by Karen Smith Conway and Andrew Houtenville, that involvement adds up to about $1,000 per student. Their report, “Parental Effort, School Resources, and Student Achievement,” was published last month in the Journal of Human Resources.

The researchers found that schools would need to increase per-pupil spending more than $1,000 in order to achieve the same results gained with parent involvement. They also found that activities such as having dinnertime conversations around schoolwork proved more valuable than volunteering at school.

Parental involvement is a major focus of our work, both in trainings and in research. NCFL is currently working with the Appalachia Regional Comprehensive Center (ARCC) at Edvantia on a needs assessment for parental involvement. The assessment is looking at how state education agencies are meeting the No Child Left Behind requirements.

We are still sorting through the data, but early findings show that while most state agencies are communicating with parents and providing them with resources and services, there is a disconnect in translating the resources into activities that will help their child. This is especially true for parents of middle and high school students, who struggle with involvement in their children’s education and school life much more than parents of elementary school students.

Both the ARCC Needs Assessment and the recent parental effort study reinforce how important parental involvement is to a child’s education. Whether you are a parent or a teacher, I challenge you to make this a priority when students return to the classroom this fall.

— Sharon Darling