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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Teachers report less parental support at low-performing schools



Teachers and staff members at Pinellas County ’s six lowest-performing elementary schools report low levels of parental involvement and support, lack of respect from students, and behavior problems among students.

Survey results from Fairmount Park , Melrose , Lakewood , High Point , Campbell Park and Woodlawn elementary suggest that teachers generally felt confident about district and school leadership and their own abilities. But they didn’t think that parents were involved in children’s learning or supportive.

At Melrose Elementary, for instance, only 20 percent of survey respondents said they agreed that parental support for the school was strong. Only 17.9 percent felt that parents were “actively involved in student learning,” according to the latest climate survey results. At Lakewood the numbers were even lower; 10.9 percent agreed that parental support was strong, while 5.5 percent said that parents were actively involved.

For all but Woodlawn Elementary, the numbers were similarly low when respondents were asked how well students behaved and whether they respected each other and adults. (Woodlawn bucked that trend, with a majority of respondents saying that students were well behaved and respectful.)

The responses are interesting because numerous studies have shown that students benefit when their parents are involved in their education. Their attendance is higher, their test scores are better, and they have fewer behavior problems. (Within a school, the single biggest predictor for student achievement is the teacher. But school-age children spend the majority of their time with their parents.)  

Parental involvement can be lower in low-income schools – parents might be working two jobs to make ends meet and not have time to volunteer in a classroom. But keep in mind that parental involvement doesn’t necessarily mean attending PTA meetings or participating in a bake sale. Parents have been shown to have a positive effect on student achievement by emphasizing the importance of education, reading to and with their children, and encouraging children in their schoolwork. 




[Last modified: Thursday, March 28, 2013 11:25am]


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