Parental Involvement is Great, Even Better if the Parents Choose the School

Yesterday’s Denver Post featured an interesting story on a successful program at Denver’s Abraham Lincoln High School and its feeder schools to engage parents:

The collaboration is focused on aligning academics and empowering parents — providing them with training, taking them to visit colleges, encouraging them to volunteer and getting them to attend parent-teacher conferences.

Not long ago, it was typical for only 100 parents to attend parent-teacher conferences at the high school. This year, an estimated 1,500 parents showed up.

Wow, that’s a huge improvement! No doubt parental involvement is an important contributing factor to student success. That includes the research-based findings that show students fare better when their parents actively choose the school their children attend. And even better if they make a well-informed choice. That’s one of the main reasons my Education Policy Center friends have created and maintain the very valuable School Choice for Kids website.

So yeah, my first instinct would be to hesitate at my mom and dad showing up at every parent-teacher conference. (Kind of like my hesitation at having to eat broccoli and other green vegetables for dinner.) But on the other hand, odds are that kind of interaction is only going to benefit my academic success in the long run. When parents choose a school, especially if they choose wisely, their involvement means that much more.