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When it Comes to Parent Involvement, Income Matters

Getting Parents Involved in Education

Anyone who’s ever worked in schools knows that parents involved in education are key to student success.

Educators also have seen first-hand the strong relationship between family income levels and the ability of parents to engage with their child’s school.

How to Increase Parent Involvement in Low Income Schools

Low-income families who support themselves on hourly wages with few options for paid time off often have no choice but to miss out on school events. And parents who work irregular shifts often don’t have the chance to engage with their children or their teachers about school work.

We’ve heard stories—and we have the evidence. Anecdotally speaking. But do the numbers bear this out?

How Does Income Affect Education?

Absolutely, says Sarah D. Sparks in an Education Week video report exploring the connection between income and parent engagement. Education Week polled low-income (those who make under $30,000 per year) and high-income (those who make more than $75,000 per year) parents to find out how engaged they were in their kids’ schools.

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Here’s a few key takeaways from the research:

  • When considering how to increase parent involvement in low-income schools, keep in mind that while only a quarter of low-income parents said they volunteer at their children’s schools, nearly half of high-income parents said they did.
  • High-income parents attended nearly double the amount of school meetings per year as low-income parents did.
  • 18 percent of parents said they moved so their child could attend a specific school, but around 50 percent of those parents made more than $75,000 per year.

For more on the connection between how income affects education and parent engagement, check out the full video report below:

Education Week’s research is clear: Engagement matters and having parents involved in education is vital — but many disadvantaged families are unable to fully participate in their students’ education. Now, more than ever, school districts need to meet low-income families where they are — whether it’s through alternative meeting hours, home visits, or the use of new technology and social media tools, to strengthen the connection between home and school.

When brainstorming and analyzing to find solutions to how to increase parent involvement in low-income schools and learning how income affects education, there are many factors, including the types of children’s programming that are implemented within school districts and allowing for parent and family perspective feedback on the educational programming, that should be weighed. If you’re part of a school district that seeks to empower parents and families in their children’s educational journey, the K12 Insight’s Engage Survey platform may be the tool you need to experience greater insights and growth.