Minimal Parental Involvement

Causes Underlying Minimal Parent Involvement in the Education of Their Children

by David J. Dwyer and Jeffrey B. Hecht
This paper reports the results of an investigation into the status of
parent involvement programs, asking the critical question of why so
many different—yet apparently successful—programs exist. We begin
by examining several of the rationales given in the literature for schools
to engage in parent involvement programs.  Many programs mention not
only the results of their particular efforts, but also the orientations of the
professionals in the schools towards their students’ parents.  A synthesis
of this literature has led us to the development of a taxonomy of potential
reasons for parent low- to non-involvement in public education.  It will be
our contention that schools need to develop a better understanding of the
needs and situations (both social and economic) of their students’ parents
before developing programs to increase their education participation. It is
through such an increased understanding that we believe parent involvement
programs can become more focused. It is also our contention that, from
recent experiences in three Chicago-area high schools, communications
between the school and parents is the key to undertaking any parent
involvement improvement program. These schools all demonstrated that
parent involvement increases begin with the school reaching out to and
talking with parents on a more frequent and effective basis.

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