Schools need good teachers — and better parents, writes New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman. “Parents more focused on their children’s education can also make a huge difference in a student’s achievement,” he writes.
The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has data to back up common sense. Students whose parents often read books with them during their first year of primary school earned much higher test scores at age 15.
(Andres) Schleicher explained to me that “just asking your child how was their school day and showing genuine interest in the learning that they are doing can have the same impact as hours of private tutoring. It is something every parent can do, no matter what their education level or social background.”
Reading, telling stories and talking with children raise scores more than just playing, the study found.
Not all parental involvement affects academic performance to the same degree, agrees a study by the National School Boards Association’s Center for Public Education.
“Monitoring homework; making sure children get to school; rewarding their efforts and talking up the idea of going to college. These parent actions are linked to better attendance, grades, test scores, and preparation for college,” (Patte) Barth wrote. “The study found that getting parents involved with their children’s learning at home is a more powerful driver of achievement than parents attending P.T.A. and school board meetings, volunteering in classrooms, participating in fund-raising, and showing up at back-to-school nights.”
OK, we already knew this. What we don’t know — and should be trying to figure out — is how to help poorly educated parents support their children’s learning at home and in school.