To the Editor:
The “study” reported in “Parents Show Strong Interest in School Involvement” (Oct. 29, 2008) is so methodologically flawed its conclusions are not supported. This is so clearly the case it would lead one to suspect that the “researchers”—Civic Enterprises and Peter D. Hart Research Associates, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation—might have had political or social preconceptions, rather than a researcher’s proper disinterest and objectivity.
The data and conclusions:
• Rely on parent reports of their perceptions in classifying schools as low- or high-performing, in gauging the effort of schools to provide opportunity and encouragement for parent involvement, and in representing parents’ desire for and actual extent of involvement.
• Assume parent perceptions reflect objective reality as to each of those issues.
• Assume that the parents reported their actual perceptions, rather than coloring them to express satisfaction when students were successful and/or project blame when students were unsuccessful.
• Ignore all the many intervening uncontrolled variables affecting student success and parent involvement, other than the schools’ reported efforts to provide for parent involvement.
Can’t we as a profession be more discerning as to the quality of what we disseminate?
A version of this article appeared in the December 03, 2008 edition of Education Week as Parent-Involvement Study Is ‘Methodologically Flawed’