From time to time, Education World updates and reposts an archived article that we think might be of interest to administrators. We hope you find this recently updated article to be of valueJust in time for Father's Day! A recent study reveals that a father's participation in in-school activities and events can have a significant impact on his children's educational success. Read about the implications of that study and learn some things you can do to make every day Fathers' Day at your school.
Fathers' Involvement in Their Children's Schools reveals that children whose fathers participate in classroom activities and school meetings and events receive higher grades, enjoy school more, and are more likely to participate in extracurricular activities than children whose fathers don't participate -- regardless of the level of maternal participation.
"This study provides hard evidence about the powerful and positive influence that parents can have as full and equal partners when they make the commitment to help their children get a good education," Vice President Gore said. "Fathers matter a great deal when it comes to helping their children succeed in school and this study should encourage millions of American fathers to step up to the plate and make a difference in their children's education."
The study is based on data from the 1996 National Household Education Survey (1996 NHES). In that survey, interviews were conducted with resident (in the home) and non-resident parents of nearly 17,000 students in kindergarten through grade 12. Middle- and high-school aged children of those parents were also interviewed. Following the interviews, an evaluation was made on the degree of both maternal and paternal involvement in their children's schools. Mothers and fathers were said to be uninvolved, moderately involved, or highly involved according to how many of four specific school-based activity categories each participated in. The four categories were general school meetings, parent-teacher conferences, special school events, and school volunteerism.
FATHERS MAKE A DIFFERENCE, RESEARCHERS CONCLUDE
After comparing parental involvement with student achievement and behavior, the researchers concluded that:
KIDS NEED FATHERS TOO!
The results of the survey indicated that both resident and non-resident fathers who were involved with their children's schools provided significant educational advantages not realized when only mothers participated in school activities. According to the report, fathers appear to fill a different role in their children's lives and consequently in their education. Fathers, they say, play more with their children than mothers do and they play with them differently. Fathers tend to be more tactile and physical, and they appear to foster the development of analytical skills, particularly in their sons. In addition, children appear to rely more on their fathers for factual information and often believe that fathers and mothers have different family goals. Fathers, children say, think it's important that they learn and do well in school. Mothers want them to "feel special and important."
"Plausible hypotheses that stem from this research," the survey's authors say, "are that maternal involvement is beneficial for the social and emotional adjustment of children to school, particularly young children, but that paternal involvement may be most important for academic achievement."
The survey revealed some additional findings that have particular significance for educators. The researchers found that:
Goal 8 of the National Education Goals states that "By the year 2000, every school will promote partnerships that will increase parental involvement and participation in promoting the social, emotional, and academic growth of children." In view of the findings presented in this study, it is apparent that educators must make specific efforts to significantly increase paternal involvement in school events and activities. And they must continue and intensify those efforts in the upper grades.
WHERE DO WE START?
A Father Times article -- It's Elementary: Uniting Schools, Children, and Fathers -- offers teachers and administrators a variety of concrete ideas for involving fathers in their children's schools.
The author recommends that administrators:
He suggests that elementary school teachers might:
He says middle- and high-school teachers can:
In addition, teachers and administrators around the country have developed their own ways of promoting paternal involvement.
DO WE DARE?
It is apparent that children benefit from increased parental involvement in their schools. Teachers and administrators, however, are sometimes leery of encouraging that involvement, fearing that significant parental presence in school might be disruptive for students, lead to unwarranted criticism of individual teaching styles and methods, or result in uninformed interference with established policies and programs. This study found, however, that parents who are highly involved in school activities have a better relationship with their child's teacher and a more positive opinion of their child's school than parents who are less involved. In fact, everyone benefits.
Article by Linda Starr
Copyright © 2006 Education World
Parent Involvement page.
ADDITIONAL INTERNET RESOURCES
The Social Context of Education
This publication discusses the effects of divorce, poverty, parental education, race, ethnicity, and native language on student achievement.
National Study Links Fathers' Involvement to Children Getting A's in School
A press release from the Department of Education.
How Involved Are Fathers in Their Children's Schools?
A brief from the National Center for Education Statistics.
Students Do Better When Their Fathers Are Involved at School
A brief from the National Center for Education Statistics.
The Central Office Must Take the Lead
Includes suggestions on how administrators can help schools promote parental involvement.
RESOURCES FOR DADS
The National Center for Fathering
Conducts and reports on research about fathers and fathering. Click "Practical Tips and Hot Topics" for relevant articles.
The About.com Guide to Fatherhood
Provides links to articles for and about fathers.