For the most part what we agree upon is that parent involvement has value as it relates to the education of children. What we don’t agree upon is the definition of parent involvement, how to measure its impact, and how to concretely connect it to student achievement. These are not new or understudied issues as there are many scholars who have studied them and attempted to bring clarity.
One of the more widely recognized models comes from researcher Joyce Epstein. Dr. Epstein’s work is one of many models in which she categorized and defined six types of parent involvement: parenting, communicating, volunteering, learning at home, decision making, and collaborating with the community.
Parenting includes feeding, clothing, provision of housing, and health care. These commonplace acts of parenting can be easily overlooked and discounted. One of the first actions that we as educators can take is in being concrete and consistent regarding our definition of parent involvement. We must ensure that we are not inadvertently estranging ourselves from parents by labeling misunderstood actions as uninvolved, or taking for granted the enormous value of the parenting role.