A great deal of research exists about the significance of parents in schools and why it matters. Research strongly demonstrates that there is a direct link between parental involvement and student achievement. Education Week states that multiple studies have demonstrated that “students with involved parents” get much better grades, higher test scores, and are more likely to go to college.
Parent involvement can include attending school functions; responding to school obligations, such as parent-teacher conferences; helping their child improve their school work; providing encouragement; arranging study time and space; monitoring homework; etc. Additionally, parents can serve as an advocate at their child’s school by volunteering in the classroom or at school activities.
According to a study by Maria Estela Zarate, Ph.D., for The Tomas Rivera Policy Institute, academic involvement was understood to encompass activities and interactions associated with educational enrichment, homework help, and academic performance. Hispanic students oftentimes are in a socioeconomic status that puts them at an educational disadvantage and/or a social capital disadvantage, when compared with their more fortunate peers. Despite this barrier, Latino parents do support education in the following ways:
- Placing high value on education
- Monitoring their child
- Encouraging and motivating their child
- Emphasizing importance of education as a way out of manual labor
- Excusing their child of chores and telling siblings to keep quiet
- Expressing their pride in their child’s academic success
Parent engagement is critical to student achievement and academic success. An organization that encourages parents to be involved in their children’s schools and education is The Latino Family Literacy Project. The organization offers literacy programs that guide parents in setting up regular family reading time, which helps parents become more involved with their children’s learning. The Project helps parents understand the importance of parent engagement in the education of their children and how their engagement reduces absenteeism, improves behavior, and promotes higher grades.