From The 74: 5 Ways of Engaging Parents in Their Kids’ Education

Oct 23 2018

Continuing the conversation, The 74 covers our new report by highlighting 5 ways of engaging parents in their kids' education.

The following article was originally posted on The 74 on October 23, 2018.

In the 1990s, parents in a Central East Austin, Texas, school didn’t know that their children, who came home with As and Bs on their report cards, were actually scoring in the bottom quartile on state tests. But when an organization meant to connect families and schools started sharing student performance data, these families, who were primarily from low-income households, led the effort to turn their school around in student performance, teacher turnover, and attendance.

There’s a pervasive, but false, myth that families from low-income households are less engaged in their children’s education than wealthier, white families, said Heather Weiss, director of the Global Family Research Project and author of a new report on family engagement for the Carnegie Corporation of New York. This erroneous belief can lead schools not to try to engage families, which is a lost opportunity, as research shows family engagement can increase student achievement and boost graduation rates — especially for children in low-income households.

Family engagement efforts in schools vary widely across the country, Weiss said, ranging from mobile communication to home visits by teachers. The report focuses on five research-backed areas: attendance, data sharing, academic and social development, digital media, and transitions between grades.

“It’s very clear that family engagement is a shared responsibility,” Weiss said. “Families have a responsibility to engage, and us — meaning the institutions, community organizations, and others — have the responsibility to create the conditions that enable them to engage...

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