Monday, December 2, 2019

Reading the Research: Parental Involvement in Education

Welcome back to Reading the Research, where I trawl the Internet to find noteworthy research on autism and related subjects, then discuss it in brief with bits from my own life, research, and observations.

I'm a little wiped out from the Thanksgiving trip, and there'll probably be a Legwork and Life this week due to Major Life Event, so bear with this short RtR.  

Today's article highlights the importance of parents in school achievement.  

This study was done in a school system that's a bit different from the US system.  In the US, you automatically go to the public elementary school, middle school/junior high, and high school for the area you live in.  Your parents can opt to pay for a private school at any of those stages, but your taxes still go to funding the public schools even if you do that.  Some schools in the US are more prestigious than others, or offer education with a religious bent, so some parents prefer this over the public option.

In Croatia, where this study was done, elementary school covers up to high school age, and there are two types of high school (secondary school): the kind that prepares you to go on to college/university, and the kind that prepares you to go right to work after finishing.  Germany has a similar system, but it's four-tiered in terms of secondary school options, with only the highest letting you advance to college.  

All this to say: it's a different system, but there's a measurable impact in school success and achievement, and it's parents.  Parental support, not fanciness of school, class size, or even GPA, was the predictor of the child's desire to advance to higher levels of education.  I thought that was kind of an interesting takeaway, in a world where people puff and preen about this college and that private high school. 

Going to college isn't for everyone, especially now that (in the US) it costs you a mortgage-level commitment you'll pay back for the rest of your life.  But cultivating a love of learning is good for everyone, regardless of their eventual academic achievement.  We learn something new every day, and the world changes around us a little bit every day.  Keeping up with that is so much harder if you don't want to accept or engage with it.  

(Pst! If you like seeing the latest autism-relevant research, visit my Twitter, which has links and brief comments on studies that were interesting, but didn't get a whole Reading the Research article about them.)

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