News Digest, October 2008
Parents with students in low-performing high
schools say their schools don't give them the tools and
information they need to be more effective in helping their
students succeed, a new report from Civic Enterprises finds.
Funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the report, One
Dream, Two Realities: Perspectives of Parents on America's High
Schools (44 pages, PDF), presents findings from a survey of
parents of high school students in urban, suburban, and rural
communities from diverse backgrounds and income levels.
According to the report, only 15 percent of parents with
students at low-performing schools feel that their school does a
good job challenging students, compared with 58 percent of
parents with students in high-performing schools.
The report also found that 47 percent of parents with students
in low-performing schools said their schools were doing a good
job in encouraging parents to be involved, compared to 85
percent of parents with students in high-performing schools,
while 25 percent said their school informed them about academic
and disciplinary problems, compared to 53 percent in
high-performing schools. The majority of all parents — 80
percent with students in low-performing schools and 85 percent
with students in high-performing schools — said they believe
parents should be involved as advocates for their children when
it comes to picking courses and teachers.
A follow-up to a 2006 study that found lack of parental
involvement to be a key factor in kids dropping out of high
school, the new report recommends that school officials meet
with parents before high school to clarify what constitutes
success in school; that schools do more to recruit parent
volunteers to serve as liaisons between the school and other
parents; and that schools partner with community organizations
to offer parent involvement classes.
"This report disproves the prevailing myth that low-income
parents are not interested in their children's academic
success," said John Bridgeland, president and CEO of Civic
Enterprises and co-author of the report. "The opposite is true.
Parents, especially those with students trapped in low-income or
low-performing schools, desperately want to be involved and want
their students to succeed. What parents need is an access point
— a way into schools — so they can become partners in helping
students learn and achieve."
“Report Reveals High Parent Frustration With America's High
Schools.” Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Press Release
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