Lack of Parent Involvement in School

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Lack of Parent Involvement in School

Dear Editor,

A parent’s involvement in child’s education can make a great difference in their academic achievement and behavior. The parents play a role that supplement and reinforces what their children have learnt in school. Parents involvement can support and facilitate school programs that assist in improving the lives of the children. It has come to my attention that despite the high rate of involvement of the parents in school in the community, it is only passive rather than active. For instance, parent’s attend the scheduled parent meetings just for formality or attend other school events that may not have a significant impact on their children. As much as their physical presence is importance, the parents need to be actively involved in the education of their children to ensure a positive impact. There is lack of active parent involvement in children education in the community due to personal and institutional factors that negatively impact the academic and behavioral performance of school-going children and this can be solved by adopting best practices for parent involvement in schools. 

The large number of parents attending school meeting or teacher-parent conferences is not a manifestation of parent involvement in their children education. There is more to the parent’s involvement than financial support and meeting attendance. Some of the areas that the parents have failed include parenting, communicating, learning at home, and collaborating in decision-making with the schools which are some of the active parent involvement activities. The parents’ meetings and events are regarded as the most common parent involvement programs but they should be looked at as an initial stage or preliminary stage to the other parent involvement programs such as assisting children in their homework. The purpose of most of these meetings is to discuss the performance of the children, the vision of the school, any relevant intentions of the schools, and how the parent can get involved in their child education. Surprisingly, a small percentage of the parents take the next step of fully implementing the issues discussed in the parents’ meetings.  The lack of follow through by both the educators and the parents makes these meetings passive. 

There are a number of reasons why the parents are not actively involved in their children’s education in the community. The tutors do not have enough time to engage the parents in the educational progress of their children and how they can be assisted to improve their performance. Most of these tutors think and feel that engaging the parents is an added task that is not included in the job description. Some of these teachers believe that the parents cannot be of much help due to their poor educational background or lack of teaching skills. Cultural differences act as a barrier of communication between the teachers and the parents due to the difference in communication styles and also racial bias. Most of the parents have limited time to be involved directly in their children’s education such as assisting them with their homework due to work related commitments. There is also a perceived conflict between the parents and the teachers where they question each other’s authority and decision over the children which creates a participation gap. Most parents find it more difficult getting involved in teenagers’ education in the high school level as they seek independence. Lastly, some parents do not get involved as they think they will not make a significant impact in their children’s education as the teachers are the experts trained to do so. 

There are serious risks due to lack of parent involvement in their children education which are either academic or behavioral. Parents who are not involved in their children’s education risk their overall academic performance. Minors, unlike adults, need support and some push to get thing done. The parents have the mandate of tracking the academic scores of their children and ensuring they are on track. The pressure of academic achievement is not enough coming from the school only. The parents have a greater capability of using the reward-and-punishment system to instill academic discipline in their children. Children whose parents are less involved in their education run the risk of missing promotion to the next class. Tracking of a child performance assist in planning on the best measures that the parent can initiate with the teachers to ensure they do not fail in the end of term examinations. 

The behavior of children is negatively impacted where parents are not involved in schools. The absenteeism rate is expected to be high as their parents do not exert authority in ensuring the children attend school. Children can exploit their parents’ laxity on their attendance. The social skills of children are at risk as parent involvement is associated with positive social skills. Children whose parents are not involved in their education are likely to be less cooperative with the school authority. 

The solution to the low active involvement of the parents in their children education in the community is adoption of best practices. The schools in the community need to initiate outreach programs especially to the low performing children by visiting their homes and having a face-to-face conversation with their parents. Taking the concern to their doorstep increases the involvement of the parents rather than requiring them always to attend school meetings. Literacy programs need to be initiated where the tutors send literacy activities that require the participation of the parent and students. Such activities are considered incomplete without the input of the parents and this increases the need for involvement. There needs to be workshops to increase the skills of parents on both teaching and parenting their children. These workshops empower the parents to guide their children in their academic life and increases their confidence in acting as complementary tutors to the teachers. The decisions on school development and programs should not only be made by the board but require the active involvement of all the parents. There should be an effective home-to-school and school-to-home communication addressing the issues affecting the students. Lastly, the schools in the community should leverage on technology, such as interactive portals, for those parents who are away to get involved in their children education.

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