Children are the Future; Get Involved
One of two outcomes will occur for every child in the United States: graduating or not graduating from high school. This outcome dictates each student’s future in areas including finances, occupation, medical insurance, criminal history, and health. Factors contributing to the level of success each student experiences in school ranges from the level of their motivation to conflicts at home, pregnancy or behavioral issues. These and other contributing factors can be countered by increasing the amount of support students receive from parents and other caring adults. Research has found that, overall, parental involvement and support from other caring adults increases the chances of students graduating from high school.
Historically, parents were extremely involved in their children’s education. Back before one-class schools, a child’s education was in the hands of their parents (Anguiano, 2004). Parental involvement began to decrease during the mid-1800s when cities began to see urban and industrial developments, creating a separation between families and schools (Anguiano, 2004). Although over the course of decades the gap between schools and families has increased, the need for parental involvement continues to be constant. According to McCormick and Ozuna (2012), decades of research demonstrate a positive correlation between the level of parental involvement and student achievement. Epstein and Dauber (1991) as cited in Barnard (2004), suggested during the early 1990s that there was a positive relationship between the level of effort exerted by teachers and administrators to involve parents in school events with the actual level of parental involvement.
In response to the increasing gap between families and the school, groups similar to and including the Parent Teacher Association (PTA) were born (Anguiano, 2004). Involvement in the PTA is a great way for parents to be involved in their student’s education. These parents volunteer in the schools allowing them to be a part of school events, build relationships with teachers and administrators, and learn how to navigate the school system. Between 1930 and 2004, the PTA membership increased from 1 million to 6.5 million members (Anguiano, 2004). A study conducted in the late 1980s by Slaughter, Lindsey, and Kuehne (1989) suggests the amount of self-esteem a parent possesses influences the level of involvement they have in their student’s education (Barnard, 2004). The study showed that more confident parents participated in more school activities than parents with lower self-esteem (Barnard, 2004). Unfortunately, not all parents are free during the school day to be a part of these organizations.
The age at which students can legally drop out of school also greatly affects whether or not students succeed in school. During the early 1900s, the minimum age at which students could drop out was increased (Messacar & Oreopoulos, 2013). This...