PARENTS ARE THE KEY TO REDUCING THE ACHIEVEMENT GAP
The drive for parental involvement in shrinking the achievement gap, (De Carvalho, 2000; Smith, 2006; Hoover-Dempsey et al., 2001; & Goodall, Montgomery, 2014) found that parental involvement benefits the community, family, and child. When parents are involved, students do better in school and are more likely to complete their education. Communities with the highest levels of parental involvement have lower crime rates and have significantly more funds dedicated to positive initiatives. Jeynes (2003) explains in simple terms that parental participation is "the willingness of parents to participate in the education of their children."
Coleman (1991) examined how to improve educational outcomes for children in the face of contractions in the family unit. Coleman found that rebuilding expectations of parental involvement require school personnel to engage with parents in their home or community environment. Having an understanding of parents' and teachers' perspectives on parental involvement will help create strong partnerships. A few adjustments will make a world of difference in the lives of the students' academic careers.
Dauber and Epstein (1993) claim that teachers have a significant impact on increasing parent involvement and conclude, "The strongest and most consistent predictors of parent involvement at school and home are the specific school programs and teacher practices that encourage or guide parental involvement." The significance of teachers is supported by the research of Anderson and Minke (2007) who state, "The emergence of specific invitations from teachers as the single most influential variable on parents' involvement choices is significant because schools can influence teacher practices more so than any other variable." Epstein's (1995) research suggests that when parents participate in their children's schooling, students may experience more academic and social success.
Lasater (2016) demonstrated how important communication is for building trusting relationships with parents. Partnerships with parents and educators need to be designed to ensure opportunities for the success of our future leaders and community members. "When both parents and teachers learn to improve their partnership efforts, and students remain at the heart of all relationships, family-school partnerships can be preserved—even in the presence of conflict."