Dorothy Rich, an educator and author who helped champion the idea that parental involvement can make a significant difference in a child’s education, died of cancer Oct. 25 in Washington. She was 77.
A former public school teacher, she founded the Washington-based Home and School Institute in the 1960s. The organization, which attracted the support of such major philanthropies as the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and the Sears-Roebuck Foundation, offered materials for parents and teachers to help students master what Ms. Rich called “MegaSkills.”
Those included such skills and attitudes as teamwork, motivation, and responsibility. Ms. Rich called on parents to build on those areas at home, as an important complement to academic work in the classroom. She explained her ideas in several books, including Helping Your Child Succeed in School and MegaSkills: Building Our Children’s Character and Achievement for School and Life.
In a letter to the editor in Education Week last year, Ms. Rich wrote about the importance of the home and school connection for education redesign efforts. “No matter how many changes are made in school, even more significant support and change need to come from the homes from which students come to school,” she wrote. “That’s what brings about real and sustained educational reform.”
Ms. Rich, who earned a doctorate in education from Catholic University, was a former member of the National Assessment Governing Board, the policy-setting panel for the National Assessment of Educational Progress.
Dorothy Kovitz Rich was born in 1932 and grew up in Monroe, Mich. She is survived by her husband, journalist Spencer Rich, and their two daughters.
A version of this article appeared in the November 04, 2009 edition of Education Week as Educator, Author Dorothy Rich Dies