Many studies have shown that the degree of parental involvement is an important determinant of students' achievement.
"Studies that look at high-achieving students of all backgrounds found that their parents encourage them, talk with them about school, help them plan for higher education, and keep them focused on learning and homework," says one such report by the National Center for Family and Community Connections with Schools.
Accentuated by the achievement demands of the federal No Child Left Behind Act, schools more than ever before are trying to enlist the help of parents in educating their children.
In early March, more than 500 parents turned up at R.O. Hawkins Junior High School when invited to eat lunch with their children. Jackson's South Elementary School hosted a chili and math night for families.
In Cape Girardeau, parent liaison programs are operating at Franklin and Jefferson elementary schools and Central Junior High School. The liaison serves as a conduit of information between educators and parents. The program is especially aimed at parents who may not feel comfortable approaching educators.
At Jefferson, 25 parents have volunteered to spend three hours during the year helping in the classroom. But only 13 parents or grandparents of third- and fourth-graders attended a meeting Jefferson held to discuss MAP tests.
Certainly more parental involvement is needed. The success of our children depends on it.