National education research overwhelmingly supports the finding that students do better academically and socially when parents and teachers work together and children show up on the first day of school ready to learn. Too many don’t. Most teachers and administrators consider parent and family engagement to be the “missing link,” but are often unsure how to effectively connect with parents/families/guardians.
- Fact: 65% of MO’s 4th graders are performing below grade level in reading and 61% are performing below grade level in math. 65% of MO’s 8th graders are performing below grade level in reading, and 67% are performing below grade level in math. Only 32% of US Black 4th graders are reading at grade level. (The State of America’s Children, Children’s Defense Fund, 2014)
- Fact: More than 1/3 of all children entering kindergarten are unprepared for school. Furthermore, children who start behind often remain academically behind, resulting in increased rates of remedial attention, school failure, and incarceration. (Education Yearbook 2011: The State of America’s Children, Children’s Defense Fund)
- Fact: Students from low-income homes are 90 percent more likely to be chronically absent. (The Aspen Institute, 2014 & National Bureau of Economic Research, June 2014)
- Fact: More than 1/3 of all African American and Latino students who start 9th grade will not graduate with their peers four years later, and are woefully unprepared for the demands of college and careers. Two-thirds of African American and Latino students who enroll in college need remediation. Employers overwhelmingly report that high school graduates are unprepared to do the work expected of them. (Education Trust, 2014)
- Fact: Every nine seconds a high school student drops out of school. (Children’s Defense Fund, State of America’s Children Yearbook, 2014)
St. Louis, and indeed the entire U.S., is losing tens of thousands of young people who end up graduating functionally illiterate, or dropping out, or incarcerated, or in low-paying, dead-end jobs, or engaged in illicit activities, rather than becoming productive, employable members of society. All of this is less likely to happen if they have an academically healthy start in life, enter school ready to learn which enables them to stay in school, graduate, and go to college or trade school.
Teachers and principals are desperate for parents/guardians/families to be more involved. Federal requirements under No Child Left Behind legislation call for providing school districts assistance in developing parental involvement programs to further the effort to improve the academic achievement of students in under-performing schools.