In fall 2006 the Public Broadcasting System (PBS) shared results from a Roper Public Opinion Poll looking at the pressures parents face in raising the next generation of kids. According to the survey, 91% of parents feel that parents are preparing children for success in school at very young ages and nearly 70% of parents agreed that if their child does not know how to use media technologies they will fall behind in school. Additionally, low income families face unique challenges to help prepare their children for success in life, according to a Roper Public Affairs & Media survey of 1,001 parents with children ages 2-11.
Four out of five parents agreed that their child's media usage will help them succeed in school. Nearly 93% agreed that media allows a child to learn new and fascinating things, and over half agreed that their child's media use is just as beneficial as an extracurricular activity. While 95% of parents feel responsible for continuing their child's learning at home, 57% feel it is the school's responsibility to prepare children to use new technologies.
Lower income households (earning less than $30,000 annually) do not feel as prepared to help their child succeed in school as middle ($30-$75k) and high income households (earning $75,000 or more annually)--citing issues around lack of parents' skills with new technologies, language or cultural heritage obstacles in communicating with their child's school, and difficulty finding advice specific to their child's stage of development.
These families were more concerned about their children's lack of role models, who promote social values, a sense of security and safety, and ways to cope with the pressures of academic success and activities, as compared to higher income families. They are also more concerned that their children will not finish high school.
Henderson, A. T. and K. L. Mapp (2002). A New Wave of Evidence: The Impact of School, Family, and Community Connections on Student Achievement. Annual Synthesis, 2002, National Center for Family & Community Connections with Schools, Southwest Educational Development Laboratory, 211 East Seventh Street, Austin, TX 78701-3281. Tel: 800-476-6861 (Toll Free); Fax: 512-476-2286; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Web site: http://www.sedl.org/connections/.
Noting that the evidence of families influence on their childrens school achievement is consistent, positive, and convincing, this report examines research on parent and community involvement and its impact on student achievement. Following an introduction, the first section of the report describes the methods used for selecting the studies; describes what the studies cover; provides a table showing the studies by topic area, by age and grade level, and by design type; and discusses limitations of the studies. The second section of the report synthesizes the studies' findings. This section also provides some pertinent definitions; lists recommendations to help educators put findings to practical use; and presents research findings related to three areas: (1) impact of parent and community involvement on student achievement; (2) effective strategies to connect schools, families, and community; and (3) parent and community organizing efforts to improve schools. The third section provides summaries of the 51 studies, conducted between 1993 and 2002, described in this report. The report finds that there is strong and steadily growing evidence that families can improve their childrens academic performance in school and have a major impact on attendance and behavior. Children at risk of failure or poor performance can profit from the extra support that engaged families and communities provide. All students, but especially those in middle and high school, would benefit if schools supported parents in helping children at home and in guiding their educational career. The report's appendix provides a short history of the research in this field over the past 30 years. (Contains 96 references.) (KB)
Kerr, G. (2005). Stimulating Parent Involvement to Stimulate Student Success. The Quest for Communities that Work: Sustaining Student Improvement, An International Syposium for Education and Community Leaders, Richmond Hill, Ontario, Canada.
Kleiner, K. D., R. Akers, et al. (2002). "Parent and Physician Attitudes Regarding Electronic Communication in Pediatric Practices." Pediatrics 109(5): 740-744.
Objective. To determine 1) the electronic mail (e-mail) capabilities of families, general pediatricians (GPs), and subspecialty pediatricians (SPs) from an integrated pediatric health care delivery system and 2) the knowledge base and attitudes of these groups regarding the potential issues involved in using e-mail for physician-patient communication. Methods. Parents were interviewed in the offices of participating practices using a standardized survey tool. Pediatricians and staff were interviewed using a separate instrument. The data were entered into a database for analysis. Results. A total of 325 parents and 37 physicians were interviewed. Fifty-seven percent of the 161 parents who were interviewed at the GP offices and 66% of the 164 families that were interviewed at SP offices had access to e-mail. Parents aged 31 to 40 years were significantly more likely to have access to e-mail than parents of other age groups. Access to e-mail increased with family income and parental education. Most (74%) parents who were interviewed expressed interest in using e-mail to contact their child's physician/physician's office for several purposes, including getting information or test results, scheduling appointments, and/or discussing a particular symptom. Although both groups of parents expressed concerns about confidentiality, parents at the GP offices were significantly more concerned (medianGP = 95 vs medianSP = 70). Seventy-four percent of GPs and 100% of SPs had access to e-mail; however, 79% did not want to use e-mail for physician-patient communication, citing concerns about confidentiality and the time demands that patient e-mail might engender. Conclusions. The majority of parents and pediatricians at both general and subspecialty pediatric offices are capable of communicating electronically. Parents and pediatricians are aware of the issues surrounding e-mail use for patient communication. Most parents express an interest in using e-mail for patient-physician communications, whereas most physicians are opposed to this practice.
McCarrick, K., X. Li, et al. (2007). "Parental Involvement in Young Children's Computer Use and Cognitive Development." NHSA Dialog: A Research-to-Practice Journal for the Early Intervention Field 10(2): 67-82.
Increasingly, young children are using computers; however, the role of the parent in facilitating this type of learning is not yet clear. This study investigates the relationship between parental involvement in computer use and cognitive development in their children. Parents of Head Start children who owned a computer (n = 136) reported on the frequency and type of involvement with their children while at the computer. Children of parents who reported active involvement with them on the computer had higher scores on cognitive measures than children with nonactive parental involvement. Additionally, a linear relationship was found between the number of active interactions and many of the subscales. Children of parents reporting all 4 types of active interactions scored higher on subscales of cognitive assessment (verbal, quantitative, general cognitive, and memory) than children with less parental involvement. This study shows that active parental involvement in young children's computer use is related to children's cognitive development. These results are discussed within a Vygotskian framework of socially mediated learning.
McEwan, E. K. (2005). How to Deal with Parents Who Are Angry, Troubled, Afraid, or Just Plain Crazy. Thousand Oaks, California, Corbin Press.
McEwan combines research about what drives parents today with a how-to guide for school administrators in dealing with parents. The parents are today are less respectful of authority, more educated about education, angrier than ever, cynical and distrustful, activists, stresses, and worried and fearful. The causes are deemed to be four-fold: 1. the world is a stressful place, 2. educators do things that upset parents, 3. educators and education fail to meet parents’ expectations, and 4. parents have personal problems. McEwan concludes with presenting a Healthy Checklist for schools, more than fifty proactive ideas for principals, and ten proposed goals for principals in creating healthy relationships with parents.