Communities Across the Country Aim to Improve Parent Involvement in the Education System
Encouraging parents to take a more active role in their child’s education has been a longstanding goal of all educational institutions, and recently parents across the country have stepped up, as well. According to the Seattle Times, a local community group called Community and Parents for Public Schools is launching a pilot program to put parents in schools to tutor students in math, reading and writing. The group recently received a grant for $64,000 to help them recruit and train volunteers to work in the local public school systems.
The pilot program is based on a successful model that was launched in the Logan Square neighborhood of Chicago in the mid-1990s. Since its inception, more than five dozen schools throughout Illinois have adopted the program that trains parents to assist students with their schoolwork during school hours. Many of these parent volunteers have even gone on to earn teaching degrees.
A few members of Seattle’s new educational program spent this past Monday in Chicago, learning how to train parent volunteers. Later this fall, Dearborn Park International School will receive the first 10 parent volunteers provided by the pilot program.
Other areas of the country are making efforts to improve parent involvement in education, as well. Arizona Governor Jan Brewer announced on Wednesday that a new and improved version of the Arizona Ready Education Report Card was poised to be launched. This online report card allows the public to view the progress of different levels of education in the state, giving parents an idea of areas that are improving and those that are lagging.
Moving educational tools online is an important method for reaching out to parents about their child’s education, as the Internet becomes the go-to place for answers. At the same time, school administrators need to ensure that these webpages are user-friendly, so that parents feel comfortable using them. As more people turn to the Internet for information, it has become increasingly important to make information readily available (a majority of people won’t even go further than the first page of a search engine), and this is especially true for parents of school-aged children who may be less familiar with navigating online resources — or who may have limited time to do extensive research. Still, the efforts by Arizona to make educational progress in the state more transparent to parents shows great progress.
Educators in Arizona’s La Paz County are also making strides in getting parents involved with their children’s education. Schools in the community here have put forth great efforts to help parents help their children. One elementary school even sends teachers to students’ homes before the start of the school year to foster relationships between teachers and families, and to provide parents with information on school resources. The goal? Showing children that both their parents and teachers care about their education and that both are viable support systems throughout the child’s education experience.
The more parents involve themselves in their children’s education, the more likely these children are to succeed. Programs like those in Chicago, Seattle and Arizona are important steps for improving parent involvement across the country.