You go to parent-teacher conferences and attend school events, but are you truly engaged in your child’s education? If you answered yes, you would be among the 20% of parents who feel this deep emotional attachment and loyalty as recorded in a recent Gallup Poll on Parental Engagement: Crucial Element of Successful Schools. The poll, which included more than 3,300 adults with at least one child in public school, distinguished between parental involvement, which includes activities such as reading to your child, participating in school events, and showing interest in your child’s goals, and parental engagement, which is characterized as a rational loyalty and emotional attachment to your child’s school. Parental engagement was measured by the parents’ feelings of pride about that particular school, happiness that the school was a great “fit” for their child, and satisfaction that the school followed through with the promises that it made.
One in five parents were found to be fully engaged with their child’s school, while 57% percent were deemed “indifferent” — these parents were emotionally and rationally neutral. 23% were actively disengaged from their child’s school and exhibited signs that they would prefer to send their child to another school or would voice their discontent if staying at the present school was the only option. In order to cultivate parents as active and engaged ambassadors of the school (and potentially boost school success in the process), Gallup suggests that schools promote “strong school leadership, high academic standards, a positive school culture, personalized education for their child and opportunities to contribute to the school’s success.”