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Parental involvement in education

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Two sociologists from University of Texas and Duke University have done a study to see if the assertion that parent involvement in their child's education is helpful and key to bridging the gap in socioeconomic and racial grades and test scores. Both of the recent education program's by George W. Bush and Barack Obama, No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top respectively, have included in their funding policy that a key component to improve both grades and test scores is parental involvement. Another of President Bush's thoughts about education was to make sure that American student's had a good grasp of both Asian language and culture, especially after the events of 911, which was compared to the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Franklin Roosevelt challenged household's during WW II, to have a global map, so that when he gave his radio talks, people would know where the troops were being deployed and for what reason. The average citizenry of the time took that advise seriously, and purchased millions of maps of the world to educate themselves about Asia. Bush's focus on education of language and culture was targeted more on South Asia, but nonetheless, people by and large did start to learn more about the culture and language of the Far and Middle East whereas before people were relatively ignorant of that knowledge. Both Bush and Obama have said that becoming more familiar with other cultures and languages is key to both doing business and keeping the peace, since over two-thirds of the world population reside in Asia.

Oddly enough, the findings of the two sociologists, Keith Robinson and Angel L. Harris, after conducting their extensive study over three decades (1980s to the 2000), found that parental involvement can hinder rather than help in their child's success and achievement. The case for parental involvement is not one-size-fits-all, but rather which behavior parents were engaging in, the specific academic outcomes to be examined, the grade level of the child, the racial and ethnic background of the family and its socioeconomic standing.

Although the federal government issues mandates on the implementation of programs that increase parental involvement, schools should move away from the blanket message that they need to be more involved, and help parents find specific, creative ways to communicate the value of schooling, tailored to the child's age.

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