There has been a great deal of research done on the value of fathers’ involvement with their children, but nowhere is fathers involvement more significant than in a child’s education. According to a study conducted by the National Center for Educational Statistics (1996 National Household Education Survey), fathers can be a positive force in their children’s education, and when they do get involved, their children are more likely to get mostly A’s in school.
Vice President Gore said, “Fathers matter a great deal when it comes to helping their children succeed in school and this study should encourage millions of American fathers to step up to the plate and make a difference in their children’s education.
“The study also shows that fathers in two parent families are less likely than mothers to be very involved in their children’s schools. “This study tells me that if America’s dads got as involved as America’s moms in their children’s education, America’s children would be studying harder and getting a lot more A’s,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Richard W. Riley. “Dads make a powerful difference in defining expectations and challenging children to do their best.”
According to Gene Bedley, former E1 Camino Real principal and co-founder of Dads In Action, “There is a definite correlation between dad involvement at school and a kid’s success in the classroom.” Hogan Hilling, who co-founded the father’s group Dads In Action, in Irvine, offers several suggestions to help dads become more involved:
– First, approach your employer and explain your intentions about getting involved in your child’s education. This can reduce any conflicts or complications later on.
– Second, introduce yourself to the school principal, your child’ s teacher and Parent Teachers Association (PTA) board members. Let them know you’ll be involved.
– Attend PTA meetings whenever possible so you can stay up-to-date on current projects. (If your work schedule affords you the time, apply for a position as a PTA board member).
– Pick and volunteer to work on a project, or offer to help with school events such as plays, carnivals, socials, field trips, etc.
– Attend as many school and classroom functions as possible.
– Have lunch with your child at school.
According to the study, mothers and fathers are more likely to be highly involved in their children’s schools if the schools welcome parental involvement and make it easy for parents to be involved. Find out if your child’s school encourages involvement.
If so, join, if not, help change their policy. At the very least be involved at home. Encourage schoolwork, show an interest in their progress, participate in homework, help with studying. Ask how they are doing or what they did each day. Listen to their answers. Do not accept “nothing” as an answer. They spent at least six hours at that building, if they did nothing, then something is wrong there!
What it all boils down to is simple: if it’s important to the parents, it will become important to the children, and they will try harder. And, if the teachers know it’s important to the parents, and that they will be getting support for their efforts at home, they will work harder with those students.
Do the math . . . at least thirteen of your child’s first eighteen years (kindergarten to high school / K-12th grades) are devoted to school. If you are not involved in their schooling, you are not involved in their childhood.
– Gene Bedley