Essay Education: Parent and Achievement Gap

Submitted By duyha27
Words: 2201
Pages: 9

Parental Involvement and the Achievement Gap Schools are under increasing pressure due to limited resources and increasing needs of children and the demands of No Child Left Behind. Unfortunately, the achievement gap between white and minority students has not closed despite the focus of the No Child Left Behind law. Thus, there’s an achievement gap in America that’s not good for the future of this country, some kids can read at grade level, and some can’t. And that’s unsatisfactory” (Tough, 2006). This disparity in academic performance between groups of students is often attributed to socioeconomic factors such as cultural environment, family background, and parents’ attitudes. Thus, “changes in parenting practices might do more to reduce the black-white test score gap” (p.22, Phillips, 1998). Without a doubt, schools cannot do the big job of closing the achievement gap and prepare our new generation for the future alone. Schools need to cooperate with parents to increase parental involvement. It is important to take advantage of the resource of those most interested in children--the parents. Indeed, family factors have a great impact on group-level differences in educational outcomes; especially the achievement gaps. “The most important way that parents influence their child’s achievement, however, is through the general atmosphere of the home environment call their ‘style’ of parenting” (p.102, Steinberg, 1996). Therefore, parenting styles and attitudes are among the factors that affect the achievement gap. It is very important that effective parental involvement be recognized by helping parents understand the barriers and how to overcome them. Only then can the parents increase the quality of parental involvement to close the achievement gap. Unfortunately, there are many problems concerned with effective parental involvement such as: parents' lack of knowledge and education, parents’ belief that education is not important, their feelings of unwelcomeness at school, cultural differences, or just simply because of the lack of time. We, the schools and teachers have to help parents realize their roles in education by identifying the problems and finding the solutions to increase parents’ involvement.
Lack of Knowledge and Skills Parents who are involved with their children’s education are building the foundations for a better educated child. Unfortunately, not all parents have the knowledge and skills to become effectively involve in their child's education. Parents may have intentions to raise their children to become successful beings but their actions contradict their intentions. "Many parents have the right goals for their children, but they simply do not know what works and what doesn't, or they have incorrect or misinformed ideals about what works" (p. 103, Steinberg, 1996). For example, some parents show that they care for the child's education by doing the homework for him or her. On the contrary, we all know that this causes the student failure and harms the child's learning opportunities. Nonetheless, many parents see their parenting styles as “not a problem” and never consider taking classes and learning parental techniques. They either blame the teachers or the students for their child’s low achievement and performance in schools. For example, a parent called me at the end of second semester and asked me the reasons why her child was failing Algebra 1. I was asked to offer before school and after school tutoring for her child. However, she was never able to get her child to school on time for the help. During after school hours, he was nowhere to be found. We have to help parents “see that effective parenting is more than just common sense; that parenting is learned, not an inborn skills” (p.104, Steinberg, 1996). Good parenting will only come if the parents do their part by learning to be more responsible and demanding.
Parents’ Value in Education Indeed, research