The biggest problem facing schools, according to ETS's 2007 public opinion poll - Standards, Accountability and Flexibility: Americans Speak on No Child Left Behind Reauthorization - is a lack of parental involvement. "Teachers (61% select it as one of their top two problems), administrators (53%), the public (39%), and even parents themselves (38%) say the lack of parental involvement is the central challenge to our nation's schools."

There is a lot of wonderful discussion going on throughout the country about reforming our schools, and a lot of good is going to come of it. However, Lt. Governor Denn believes parent involvement has not been a significant part of the dialogue and parental involvement is something he does not hear enough about.

Therefore, Lt. Governor Denn has made encouraging and celebrating parental involvement a priority issue. He is taking this issue to the legislature by proposing a bill that will encourage and track the level of parental involvement in Delaware public schools. He also has created a new award, the Excellence in Parental Involvement Award , to turn up the volume on this important issue... [more]

Parental Involvement Tips

The following tips are offered by the National Education Association:

Students' homes and classrooms are the focal points of their learning experiences from kindergarten through high school. Parents who work with teachers and students are critical partners in helping their child achieve success.

Parents set the example and the tone for their child's approach to education. When parents are engaged, interested and supportive in their child's learning, the child is more likely to succeed.

Bridging the divide between what is learned in the classroom to how it is relevant in day-to-day life is a critical role for parents. It brings meaning to their child's learning... [more]

Delaware's Parental Involvement Award

As part of a broader effort to expand parental involvement in Delaware's public schools, Lieutenant Governor Matt Denn created a new Excellence in Parental Involvement award that will be given to two public schools each year at the Delaware State Chamber of Commerce's Superstars in Education event in May. The Excellence in Parental Involvement award will be given to schools that have successfully expanded parental involvement through innovative programs. Schools that win the award will be recognized at the annual Superstars program, receive a banner for their schools, and have their programs publicized throughout the state so that other schools can emulate their successes.

10 Truths About Parent Involvement From the National PTA

  1. All parents have hopes and goals for their children.

  2. Parents differ in their abilities and/or resources to help their children reach those goals.

  3. The parent is the central contributor to a child's education.

  4. Parent involvement must be seen as a legitimate element of education and deserves equal emphasis with elements such as school improvement and evaluation.

  5. Parent involvement is an ongoing process, not a series of events.

  6. Parent involvement requires a shared vision, policy, and framework for planning programs and practices that are connected to student learning.

  7. Many barriers to parent involvement are found within school practices, attitudes, and assumptions.

  8. Successful parent involvement programs help families guide their children's learning from preschool through high school.

  9. Families from diverse backgrounds have their own set of norms and experiences that often influence their relationship with schools.

  10. Parents are more likely to become involved when:

    • They understand that they should be involved.
    • They feel capable of making a contribution.
    • They feel invited by the school and their children.

Research on Parental Involvement

The National Middle School Association synthesized research on the effects of parent involvement on youth. Their findings are below and are also found on their website:

What is parent involvement?
Parent involvement is important to the educational success of a young adolescent and yet generally declines when a child enters the middle grades (Epstein, 2005; Jackson & Andrews, 2004; Jackson & Davis, 2000; NMSA, 2003). Parent involvement is defined as having an awareness of and involvement in schoolwork, understanding of the interaction between parenting skills and student success in schooling, and a commitment to consistent communication with educators about student progress. The term "parents" refers to biological parents, adoptive and stepparents, and primary caregivers (e.g., grandmother, aunt, brother).

What is the research on parent involvement?
The research on parent involvement in the education of young adolescents addresses parents' activities in support of learning at home, in school, and in the community. Joyce Epstein, a leading researcher in the field of parent involvement, identified and studied multiple measures of parent involvement in the middle grades (Epstein, 1995; Epstein, Sanders, Simon, Salinas, Jansorn, & Van Voorhis, 2002)... [more]