An interesting article from The Atlantic this week regarding “a ground-breaking study” on parent involvement.  The title will certainly grab attention: “Don’t Help Your Kids With Their Homework”.  The subtitle elaborates a bit more, “And other insights from a ground- breaking study of how parents impact children’s academic achievement.”

It is a good read and I appreciate the questions it raises about what we may assume and pursue in regards to parent involvement in education.  I have examined similar points in past blog posts regarding definitions, intents and purposes of parent involvement/engagement.  I found the last paragraph particularly interesting:

All in all, these findings should relieve anxious parents struggling to make time to volunteer at the PTA bake sale. But valuing parental involvement via test scores alone misses one of the ways in which parents most impact schools. Pesky parents are often effective, especially in public schools, at securing better textbooks, new playgrounds, and all the “extras” that make an educational community come to life, like art, music, theater, and after-school clubs. This kind of parental engagement may not directly affect test scores, but it can make school a more positive place for all kids, regardless of what their parents do or don’t do at home. Getting involved in your children’s schools is not just a way to give them a leg up—it could also be good citizenship.

I wish I had written that part myself.  If parent involvement is only looked at in the light of raising test scores or student achievement levels of a district, what is missed out on?  While I don’t think that parents ( i.e. their funds) should be solely relied on to secure the “extras” or that they should only be involved to give their own child the “leg up”, I do believe their time and presence (when/how they can spare it) can contribute to a positive place for all kids, as well as model good citizenship, caring, and community values.  Have measurement and false assumptions got us off track?

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