For years, researchers like Dr. Joyce Epstein have advocated for increased parent involvement in schools as an obvious and important factor in increasing student achievement. Ask any teacher or administrator and they will agree. Parents are the first teacher students have, and quite often, the most important. There are numerous factors involved in why parents do or do not involve themselves in schools: ethnicity, employment status, education, family structure, etc. Of course, it is clear from research that increased parental involvement has a clear and positive impact on reading, mathematics, behavior, attendance and a significant drop in grade retention.
Researchers have identified some key roles of parental involvement: parent focused, school focused, and partnership focused. Parent focused involvement can be identified as parents having the primary responsibility of the education of their children. This can be problematic if there is a non-traditional parent structure such as a single parent, a grandparent/relative as caregiver, etc. However, parents generally agree that this is an important part of student development and is not to be taken lightly. Teachers and other education professionals see this role as empowering parents by giving them teaching roles (as if parents don’t already have this power but many may not be aware of how powerful a voice they can be in their children’s educations.