Testing the Waters: Facilitating Parents' Participation in Their Children's Education

By Mawjee, Fatema; Grieshop, James I. | School Community Journal, Spring 2002 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Testing the Waters: Facilitating Parents' Participation in Their Children's Education

Mawjee, Fatema, Grieshop, James I., School Community Journal


Parent participation in the schooling and education of children is an essential ingredient for achieving academic success. This paper, using a model proposed in 1995, reports on a pilot, hands-on study aimed at facilitating increased parent involvement in a multi-ethnic elementary school in California. The participatory research process included two interventions designed to increase parents' involvement and surveys and interviews of the teaching staff and a selection of parents. Research was conducted in the three languages common to the school: English, Spanish, and Urdu. It is argued that to achieve success and excellence in such work the perspectives of parents and teachers must be considered, and the development of appropriate and acceptable participation strategies, as challenging as this may be, must be undertaken. Finally, the factors of language and culture in various forms must also be considered.


Typically, the family is viewed as critical to the development and education of all children (see Bronfenbrenner, 1986). The family is not only the institution in which children have their earliest education (Cremin, 1991), but also the institution in which they develop their educative styles (Leichter, 1973). Moreover, the family tends to be the most important mediating agency for all other educative institutions, including the schools. If schools are to be their most effective as measured by academic achievement and excellence, then the connections of schools to families must be addressed. However, increasing parent (or family) participation in schools, like achieving excellence, is neither easy nor guaranteed.

In the past two decades this issue of parent participation and academic outcomes has rightfully garnered increased attention. The issue has been the subject for debate, research, policy, and a goal of practice. Common to the debates, research, policy, and practice is the belief that parents' involvement benefits their children's achievement in the schools (Eccles & Harold, 1993; Epstein, 1992; Izzo, Weissberg, Kasprow, & Fendrich, 1999). In general, the view is that the quality of the connections between parents and schools influences children's and adolescent's school achievements and that "good" parent-school links have positive benefits for everyone involved. Earlier, Schorr (1988) argued that the most meaningful efforts to improve schooling (and outcomes) should be based on the view that children are parts of families, and families are parts of communities. Thus, families and communities have to be connected to the schools for children to achieve the outcomes expected of them. In a more recent study based on the National Education Longitudinal Survey, it was found that both structural and process attributes of family (and community) social capital were key factors affecting high school students' achievement (Israel, Beaulie, & Hartless, 2001). That is, family related structural factors, such as family size, number of siblings, etc., and family process factors, including the quality of the parent's involvement in their child's learning, enhanced achievement. Recently Park (2001) found that parental involvement had both direct and indirect effects on achievement of students of different ethnic backgrounds. In other cases, arguments are presented as practical strategies for enhancing parent involvement (Davis, 1995; U.S. Department of Education, 1994).

In this debate, others challenge the basic assertion, claiming that academic outcomes are not a direct effect of parent's involvement. For example, Griffith (1996) tested the belief that the climate of schools impacts parent involvement and the very success of the schools. He goes on to argue that concepts integral to the understanding of parent involvement are the expectations of parents, teachers, and administrators for the level of inclusion of parents and the desired effects of such involvement (Griffith, 1996).

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this article

Cited article

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Testing the Waters: Facilitating Parents' Participation in Their Children's Education


Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?