When we talk about school reform, we mostly speak of teachers and students. But what about the parents?
Research has shown that parental involvement leads to higher grades, test scores and graduation rates. Students with involved parents have better school attendance, higher self-esteem and are more motivated.
But what exactly does being involved entail? If you don’t know how to answer that, you aren’t alone. Many well-meaning parents don’t know what to do to help their kids in school. And beyond sending notes home encouraging mom and dad to “get involved,” educators aren’t exactly making this important aspect of education a priority.
But in Los Angeles, they are making strides on the parental involvement front. Almost every school in the Los Angeles Unified School District has a parent center. These centers are open for a few hours every day to provide advice, information and allow parents to keep tabs on their child’s progress. Their system isn’t perfect, but improvements are in the works.
Of course, this kind of program doesn’t come free. In Los Angeles, in order to pay for the improvements and additional outreach needed to bring the parents in, officials are looking at doing away with the parental advisory committees. This may sound like a push against parental involvement, but it will save the district hundreds of thousands of dollars and potentially have a far greater impact on overall student achievement.
I love the idea of parent centers and wonder who else is doing this. My own child’s school gives lip service to parental involvement but does very little to show parents the way. What about your child’s school? Do they actively encourage and promote parental involvement?
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