Most parents believe the more they are involved in their children's education, the better they will do in school. Keith Robinson says not only is that not the case, but sometimes the more suffocating parents become, the worse their children perform.
Robinson is the co-author of a new study
which shows that helping kids choose their high-school courses, assisting them with homework, observing them in class, and speaking with administrators about their children's behavior not only does not improve student achievement, but hinders motivation in some cases.
"The message that parents have been hearing for years has been that any and everything you do can and will help your child do well academically," Robinson told "The Steve Malzberg Show" Thursday on Newsmax TV.
"What this hints at is we need to, as a nation, start to get more concerned with looking at how to make parents more effective in what they are doing, rather than just telling them to do more of something."
They measured the frequency of 63 measures of parental involvement in families of different demographics over the course of three decades and found that when engagement did benefit students, the types of behavior that benefited students varied by ethnicity.
Robinson said the results suggest that policy-makers and educators need to take a more nuanced approach to how they think about parental involvement.
"In most of these 63 measures that we looked at, just doing more of something did not have any measurable impact on how well children did going forward," he said.
But that doesn't mean he thinks parents shouldn't be involved. Robinson said he recommends talking to children about the importance of education and instilling that belief in them early on so that students internalize it and become self-directed.
"Parents are critical for how well their children do academically. The problem is that as a country we have not figured out the ways in which they matter," he said. "It's not so much about how often they're doing it, but that there are large variations in how parents are actually helping with homework. And we need to find ways to make parents better at not only helping with homework but in all the other ways we measured."
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