/  By  / 

Extra: Parental Involvement Is Overrated

favicon In my Twitter feed this morning was an op-ed in the New York Times that challenges the benefits of parental involvement. Written by two sociology professors, who wrote The Broken Compass: Parental Involvement With Children’s Education, the article looks at the evidence from the past 40 years and concludes that only a few very specific parental behaviors help students.

Mark Isero‘s insight:

Apparently, the research suggests that most parental involvement does not help students in school. The most effective thing a parent can do is expect, from an early age, that the child will go to college.

Please check out the article on Iserotope Extras. If you trust the professors’ research, then it’ll make you question a lot of things, like Back to School Night and whether you should call home about missing homework.

My idea after reading this article is that if it is true that parents’ expectations of their kids to go to college is important, then schools should employ them to put together college-going curriculum, specifically field trips.

At my last school, advisers spent many hours putting those field trips together. Maybe a parent group could do that?

And one last thing: Even though parental involvement may not lead to academic achievement, that doesn’t mean cut parents out altogether. They definitely make an impact on school culture and fundraising — always. favicon


  1. Thuy

    As I read your post, I had a flashback about one back to school night at LHS that my mom finally went to during my junior year. She came home with a sticker of my name and underneath it said, “Freshman.” At the time I thought it was just a silly and hilarious mistake, not only to realize later how uninvolved my parents were at LHS simply because of their grueling long and laborious work hours. Yet that didn’t phase me, because from a very young age they had instilled in me how important education was. Therefore it was simply my duty to succeed. There were many other things I did independently without their help, like apply for college and write those entrance essays, but I never resented them for not being able to do it. It was “natural” for me to go to college, etc.

    • Mark Isero

      Thuy, thanks for your thoughts. Like yours, my parents expected me to get a good education but didn’t try to get involved with my Math homework. I think the best thing parents can do is build expectations and structures to meet them. For example, I’m still a fan of a family dinner time (wherever that’s possible) and a designated homework-doing or reading time.

Please share your brilliant insights!