Student achievment: It's the parents, stupid | Arkansas Blog

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Student achievment: It's the parents, stupid

Posted By on Sun, Nov 20, 2011 at 7:31 AM

READ TO YOUR KIDS: It matters.
  • READ TO YOUR KIDS: It matters.
Tom Friedman's column in the New York Times caught my eye this morning. It's discussion of the PISA test, used internationally to measure achievement of 15-year-olds, a test on which American students lag behind places such as Singapore, Finland and Shanghai.

“Fifteen-year-old students whose parents often read books with them during their first year of primary school show markedly higher scores in PISA 2009 than students whose parents read with them infrequently or not at all. The performance advantage among students whose parents read to them in their early school years is evident regardless of the family’s socioeconomic background. Parents’ engagement with their 15-year-olds is strongly associated with better performance in PISA.”

... The kind of parental involvement matters, as well. “For example,” the PISA study noted, “on average, the score point difference in reading that is associated with parental involvement is largest when parents read a book with their child, when they talk about things they have done during the day, and when they tell stories to their children.” The score point difference is smallest when parental involvement takes the form of simply playing with their children.

Friedman mentions another study that found the same result for the National School Boards Association.

“Monitoring homework; making sure children get to school; rewarding their efforts and talking up the idea of going to college. These parent actions are linked to better attendance, grades, test scores, and preparation for college,”

Huh. What a bunch of academic idiots. They haven't gotten the word from Waltonville that education is almost exclusively about promoting charter schools and busting up teacher unions. (To be fair, the best charter operators recognize the inherent advantage of involved parents. KIPP, to name one charter organization, requires parental commitment in contracts with students it enrolls.) Conventional public schools, unfortunately for their standardized test results, don't have the power to eject students whose parents don't get involved. But the schools' "failure" is said to be the fault of the teachers, not the built-in home court disadvantage.

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