The MySchoolWorx Community Blog

3 Reasons Why Parents Don’t Get Involved in their Child’s Education

We all agree, student performance would improve if parents were more actively involved in their education. For every helicopter parent, it seems there are three who don’t participate in typical parental activities and responsibilities regarding their child’s schooling.

If the value of parental involvement seems like just commons sense, it’s good to know that research backs it up. According to a study performed by the Harvard Family Research Project, there is direct correlation of higher student achievement with parent involvement.

A 2002 SEDL study titled A New Wave of Evidence, determined that students with involved parents are more likely to attend school regularly, earn higher grades and test scores, enroll in higher-level programs, be promoted, pass their classes, earn credits, have better socials kills and graduate and go on to postsecondary schools.

And those are just two of the many reports available that cite similar conclusions.

Since the evidence is abundant and clear –and clearly not new — are today’s parents purposely ignoring it or is there something else at work, keeping them from being the learning champions their kids need?

In my 30 plus years as an educator, I’ve heard most of the typical reasons. Yes, there are some who think the job of educating their offspring is strictly the school’s responsibility. My experience, however,  has been that many more parents are genuinely interested in their child’s education, but are simply too busy to provide the kind of support and guidance needed at home, and involvement in school activities to make that critical difference.

It might be easy to chalk all this up to the result of a self-centered society that increasingly focuses on acquiring the latest in consumer goods, and self-entertainment, to the detriment of all else. The words selfish and lazy might be used to describe that trends and certainly there are parents out there whose priorities are so fixed on that influence.  “Parents just don’t have heir priorities straight”, I’ve heard many educators (and parents themselves) say. 

I think there is more to this, though. In particular, three things appear to me to have had great influence on the amount of time parents have to give these days. Those things are family structure, economic pressures and lagging use of technology.

Family Structure

The number of children living in single parent homes has more than doubled in the past 50 years.  Today, more than one third of children in the U.S. – 36% – live in single parent homes.  Thai’s one parent to do it all – work, feed, clothe and parent their children one day to day basis.

Economic Pressures

Add the second factor—a struggling economy where even parent with advanced degrees are working multiple part time jobs just to put food on the table and you can see that today’s parents aren’t just too busy – many of them are overwhelmed.

Lagging Use of Technology

The third factor is the lag in applying new technologies to for the benefit of parental engagement in education.  What are we doing to advance the cause of overwhelmed parents who truly want – and need – to be more connected to their child’s school and education process?

Recently, I spoke to a frazzled young mother of 4 whose grade-schooler brings home a paper folder with her assignments each day – well, most every day that is. “Sometimes things just get lost,” she said with a sigh. “And then it’s bedtime and he vaguely recalls he had an assignment due –that we can’t find and he will get an incomplete on.”  Any parents out there nodding their heads?

This has been a big part of our inspiration at Digital Geek for our MySchoolWorx software, which connects parents to schools through their smartphones, tablets and home computers, so they can view their kid’s assignments, grades and activities, so they can support and encourage their kids. Whether that be making sure the homework gets done, or tracking their grades real-time – any time of the day.

Sure, some parents may not have a computer or Internet service at home. But the numbers are rowing and that gap is narrowing, especially with initiatives such as the rural broadband initiative.  Using the premise that not every parent can afford an internet connected computer at home is a cop out to not employ technology, and partly what has caused the lag and put these overwhelmed parents behind the eight ball   when it comes to supporting their kids’ education.  This is not “new news” – smartphones are now not just affordable, they are ubiquitous, and are present in nearly every economic segment of our population. 91% of Americans have a cell phone, 89% are wireless Internet users (smartphones, iPad/tablets and readers) and 81% have traditional Internet connections.

So we said, let’s get on with it – let’s get this great service out there to teacher and administrators, parents and students, and that’s what we’re doing with MySchoolWorx, every day.  This is no antiquated legacy program with costly servers to install and clunky navigation.  This is affordable, point-and-click, cloud-based technology that is as simple as any app on your smartphone to use—and always as accessible. Technology doesn’t solve all problems, but I have to tell you, the feedback and response to MySchoolWorx has been nothing short of amazing – and so rewarding.

To learn more about how MySchoolWorx helps parents and schools help students succeed, call us at 1-866-990-2493, or sign up for the next webinar at the top of this page.

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