Super Parents: The True Heroes of the Education System!


Plea to Parents: Get educationally involved with your children!

In the search to find what hinders students' success in America's education system, many people are focused on problems such as the quality of teachers, schools, curriculum, and infrastructure; however, I full heartedly believe that the most important problem in the system is the lack of parental involvement in a child's educational career.

Skeptics assert that emphasizing the importance of parental involvement is arbitrary. They believe key solutions are found elsewhere aside from parental involvement. Some even believe that increasing parental involvement worsens the education system. (Lusardi 2012) states, "If education is left to the parents, we are accepting that we have an unequal society." They believe the use of parental involvement creates an inequality gap of advantage based on the parents' educational experience. The emphasis on involvement doesn't cover up the shortcomings of the school system and leaves little incentive to improve it. The qualification of parents arises as another conflict. Many parents are too afraid to get involved with their children due to their lack of academic knowledge. This pressure makes parents fearful of inaccurately instructing their children. Numerous parents claim to lack time and money for proper involvement. It seems that there are too many obstacles to overcome to make parental involvment effective, thus making it futile. Right?

Wrong.

Everyone needs to understand that these obstacles are worth overcoming and parental involvement serves to be the most effective solution to the problems of America's education system.

Behold the true heroes.

Parents are the heroes of the education system, albeit the heroes that don't receive the recognition they deserve. They work "backstage," making all things possible for the stars, the children, to shine. They serve to establish a primary foundation of support and guidance for chidren's success in education. The school can't carefully supervise and build proper rapport with students but the parents defintely can!

What my childhood consisted of...

Workbooks...workbooks...workbooks

Now these weren't the specific workbooks I used as a child, but they all start to look the same after having done so many. Now why did I do so many? Because, my parents said so. I grew up in an average school district in Wyoming. The quality of education was subpar and my parents decided to take matters into their own hands and thus, gave me a shiny new workbook every. single. week. I absolutely dreaded completing these workbooks, but I had to admit that my mind was being filled to the brim with knowledge. My vocabulary expanded and even the littlest things, such as knowing what a synonym and antonym is, I learned 2 years before I was taught it in school.

My parents also were genuinely concerned with how I was doing in school. Every day after school my parents would ask me if I didn't understand my homework or had difficulty understanding the things I learned. I often lied and said, "No, everythings fine." because I knew that the moment I said I was struggling, my parents would take away my daily distractions (such as videogames and cable television) and then teach me for countless mindnumbing hours. But the amazing thing that they had was persistance. They kept on asking showing daily their genuine concern about my progress in school. Upon seeing this, I started to become more obedient to the requests of my parents in appreciation of how much they cared. I have to give my upmost graditute to my parents, who always provided a reaching hand to grab onto during my times of academic struggle.

My life consisting of this constant presence of parental involvemnt in my educational life left me with a passion in emphasizing the importance of parental involvement.

Here are several reasons why parents should get involved with their children:

  • Children spend 70% of their time outside of school. There is no better opportunity to get involved with the children!
  • There are many types of ways to get involved, and not all require a large sum of money or time.
  • Studies show that students desire involvement with their family.
  • Parents who are involved raise children of confidence and high achievement.
  • Parents will learn about what their children are learning.
  • Involvement builds support, something children greatly need.
  • Involvement strengthens parent-child relationships, creating rapport and understanding between each other.
  • Even a little bit of involvment can show tremendously benefical results.

    For extended research (compiled by the Michigan Department of Education) on the postive results of parental involvement, click here.

      Here are common concerns about parental involvement
    1. I don't have the means to become involved! I don't have the time, money, or knowledge to be involved with my children!
    2. Parental involvement will give schools no incentive to improve because we're doing all the work!
    3. My children are not receptive towards my involvement!

    Do not worry! Be reassured that these concerns are in fact, not problems , but misconceptions .

    Addressing the first concern, social status and class doesn't have to be a factor in getting involved. Parents often think that the options of involvement available to them will cost them an arm and leg. Things such as private school and tutors are expensive, demanding, and helpful; however, they're not necessary. There are several methods available to every parent!

    Here are a few of methods from the many

  • Simply asking children what they learned at school that day. Having children reiterate what they learned will help them retain and reflect on the day's lessons. Even spending as little as 10 minutes daily with children is sufficient enough for an effective impact.
  • Purchasing affordable educational supplements such as workbooks or flashcards for children. Do not underestimate the power of outside knowledge. This method is especially useful to the parent who doesn't have the academic knowledge to help their child as the supplementary material explains itself.
  • Frequent conversation with children as well as asking challenging questions. Rothstein conducted a study and found that there is a vast difference between middle-class and welfare-class parents in the amount of conversation they have with their children as well as the difficulty of questions asked to the children. Ultimately, the middle-class parents, who had more conversation with their children and asked challenging questions, raised children far more prepared for school and communication than those under the welfare-class. Rothstein's study can be found if you click here.

    From all of these methods, one should realize that becoming involved doesn't require any large sum of time, money, or knowledge, rather, requires a bit of effort in intiating any of the forms of involvement.

    For the second concern, parental involvement can actually improve schools! A form of involvment that parents tend to forego is the getting involved with the actual school itself. Parental involvement in school can create a higher standard for the school. Parents will understand how the school works and identify what flaws are present. They should have great concern about the quality of education their children are recieving from the school. Being involved, parents can volunteer for supervising extra curriculars or even some classes. They can also donate money or books to the school. This is a hands on solution to help children as well as the education system as a whole. It is important to note, that parents don't become too controlling in the school. The last thing children want to do is have their parents breathe down their neck. Quality involvement requires a healthy balance and parents must let the school still do it's job.

    Lastly, another glaring problem is the lack of receptiveness from the children. As I had mentioned in my testimony earlier, I was often reluctant to accept my parents' involvement as I knew what "consequences" would come if I had said I was struggling. I reccomend that the parents stay persistant and positvely assertive in their support; however, it's vital for parents to find a correct balance of involvement. Too many times have I come across other classmates of mine, fed up with the level of involvement they have with their parents. Parents must provide guidance, but not pure control. The involvement has to be mutual and both parties must be willing to establish a plan. It's good news to hear that a survey conducted by the Child Trends Data Bank found that a large majority of students desired more involvement with their family. Us children do want involvement, but for the stubborn ones, the parents must consistantly offer their help and soon enough, they will recieve.

    Remember, mutual agreement and wanting of involvement between parents and children must be achieved for it to be effective.

    To take away from all of this, I reiterate my plea to parents: Please get involved with your children! Parents play such a huge role in our current educational system today and involvement is crucial towards building up a generation of proficient and intelligent students. There are countless methods of involvement at parents' disposal and even the smallest little gesture of involvement can make a great difference. This involvement is a lot on the parents' plate and it will not be easy; however, be the best superheroes you can be, saving the education system, one child at a time.

    You can contact me via email. if you have any questions or concerns!

    All the sources used for this website:

    Bridget, W. Williams, J. Ullman, A. (2002). Parental Involvement in Education BMRB Social Research, Research Report No 332, Retrieved from: http://dera.ioe.ac.uk/4669/1/RR332.pdf

    Cattanach, J. (March 1, 2013). Support parents to improve student learning, Source: Phi Delta Kappan, Retrieved from: http://web.b.ebscohost.com/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?sid=44fff6c4-de15-4572-80ee- df38179095ef%40sessionmgr114&vid=6&hid=125

    Child Trends Data Bank. (September 2013). Parent Involvement in Schools, Retrieved from: http://www.childtrends.org/?indicators=parental-involvement-in-schools

    Frederik, G. Grumm, M. Hein, S. Fingerle, M.. (January 1, 2014). Improving Parental Competencies: Subjectively Perceived Usefulness of a Parent Training Matters, Journal of Child & Family Studies, Retrieved from: http://download.springer.com/pdf/567/art%253A10.1007%252Fs10826-012-9682-1.pdf?auth66=1394009366_f29ac9cc320f1c8168ca5b2907c9b3c2&ext=.pdf

    Michigan Department of Education. (2002). What Research Says about Parent Involvement in Childrenís Education in Relation to Academic Achievement, Retrieved from: http://www.michigan.gov/documents/Final_Parent_Involvement_Fact_Sheet_14732_.pdf

    Rothstein, R. (2009, Summer). Equalizing opportunity: Dramatic differences in childrenís home life and health mean that schools canít do it alone. American Educator, 4-7, 45-46