Families & the Community Letter to the Editor

Students and Administrators Could Increase Parent Involvement by Working Together

April 19, 2016 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

To the Editor:

I write in regard to the recent article “ESSA May Offer Megaphone for Parent, Community Voice.” Too often, parental involvement is just a facade, giving the false impression of full engagement. Examples of this include parent councils that are used to “speak for” parents, or in some cases, school councils that are reserved for parents. The reality is that such councils cannot represent every parent because, like students, all parents are different. And each will have a different opinion.

One way to increase true parental involvement is to have existing parent-empowerment councils survey parents within a school on a regular basis. These surveys, however, cannot be the typical general surveys that are designed to pacify parents. These must be open and honest surveys focusing on crucial issues important to the functioning of the school as a whole.

There are several issues that are crucial to a quality parent survey: The survey must be short, with five or six questions relative to a specific issue. The survey must be preceded by sufficient information to allow parents to make quality decisions about their answers. And finally, the survey must be designed in the classroom with the full participation of students. In this way, surveys can be given to parents by their children as part of a classroom project to assure every parent has input.

Survey results could then be compiled by students in cooperation with their school’s parent-empowerment council. Then, not only would the information from the surveys be utilized, but administrators, through the parent-empowerment council, could demonstrate how the information is utilized, what decisions were made as a result of the surveys, and why those decisions were made. Of course, this is only one piece of the parent-empowerment puzzle.

When we truly empower parents, then and only then will schools become a guiding light for the community.

Eldon “Cap” Lee

Education Consultant

Burnsville, N.C

Related Tags:

A version of this article appeared in the April 20, 2016 edition of Education Week as Students and Administrators Could Increase Parent Involvement by Working Together


English-Language Learners Webinar Helping English-Learners Through Improved Parent Outreach: Strategies That Work
Communicating with families is key to helping students thrive – and that’s become even more apparent during a pandemic that’s upended student well-being and forced constant logistical changes in schools. Educators should pay particular attention
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Mathematics Webinar
Addressing Unfinished Learning in Math: Providing Tutoring at Scale
Most states as well as the federal government have landed on tutoring as a key strategy to address unfinished learning from the pandemic. Take math, for example. Studies have found that students lost more ground
Content provided by Yup Math Tutoring
Classroom Technology Webinar Building Better Blended Learning in K-12 Schools
The pandemic and the increasing use of technology in K-12 education it prompted has added renewed energy to the blended learning movement as most students are now learning in school buildings (and will likely continue

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Families & the Community Parents May Not Be as Upset With Schools About COVID Protocols as You Think, Polls Show
A new poll found that a majority of Americans think local schools have done a good job balancing health and safety with other priorities.
2 min read
Image of coronavirus and data.
Families & the Community How to Talk to Parents About COVID-19 Vaccines: 3 Tips From Scientists
The National Academies of Science has new guidance for schools on encouraging parents to get their children vaccinated.
4 min read
Image of a stethescope, teddy bear, and vaccine syringe.
Milena Khosroshvili/iStock/Getty
Families & the Community Parents: Schools Haven't Sought Our Input on How to Spend Billions in COVID Aid
In a poll, parents say they don't know how schools are spending their COVID aid, and that they haven't been consulted as required by law.
4 min read
MoneyBoatONlineGraph iSTOCK c.ToddBates
Todd Bates/iStock/Getty
Families & the Community Opinion A New Group Battling for Freedom of Thought in Education
Rick Hess speaks with the founder of a new network of teachers and parents who support freedom of thought and expression in education.
7 min read
Image shows a multi-tailed arrow hitting the bullseye of a target.
DigitalVision Vectors/Getty