Parents' Perceptions of Teacher Outreach and Parent Involvement in Children's Education

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The present study investigated associations between parents' perceptions of various teacher outreach practices and self-reported parent involvement both at home and at school. A survey was administered to 246 parents whose children attended one of three inner-city schools in a Midwestern city. Overall, large percentages of parents reported helping their children with schoolwork at home, whereas smaller percentages reported engaging in ongoing school communication with classroom teachers. Results also indicated that, even after controlling for diverse sociodemographic variables (e.g., the educational and employment levels of both parents, child's grade, gender, and race) the strongest predictor of parent involvement was the parents' perceptions of teacher outreach. Specifically, the more parents perceived their child's teacher as valuing their contribution to their child's education, trying to keep them informed about their child's strengths and weaknesses, and providing them with specific suggestions to help their child, the higher the parents' involvement was both at home and at school. Implications for school-family partnership interventions are discussed.