Friday, September 12, 2008

Parents' Critical Role in Student Achievement

By Bill Jackson, President, GreatSchools,

Parents have two critical roles to play in increasing student achievement.

First, parents are a child’s first and foremost teachers. Parents, and only parents, can set the stage for their children’s success by providing unconditional love, establishing rules, and expressing high expectations. They are in the best position to model the personal qualities and learning habits they want their children to develop. And they have the power to help their children paint an attractive picture of their future and plan ahead to make it happen.

Second, parents have an enormous influence on the quality of schools. They decide what is “good enough” for their children and their community. They have the power to go into their schools and demand that they serve their community’s children well. Equipped with accurate and easily understandable information about their children’s and school’s achievement, they are well positioned to exert pressure and provide support for schools to improve.

Given these facts, I see two great opportunities to draw parents more deeply into the campaign to improve student achievement: First, let’s leverage technology and media to inspire and train parents to be more involved and more effective in supporting their children’s education. Second, let’s make school performance measures simpler and more compelling.

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