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Debunking the Myth about Family Engagement

by Elisabeth Stock on

“There’s a pervasive, but false, myth that families from low-income households are less engaged in their children’s education than wealthier, white families,” said Heather Weiss during an interview about her new report on family engagement commissioned by the Carnegie Corporation.

Dr. Weiss is the Director of the Global Family Research Project at Harvard and she thinks this myth can lead schools to deprioritize family engagement, which is a mistake given that the research shows it can have a large impact on student achievement.

Knowing whether a school is prioritizing family engagement requires the ability to measure it, and at the invitation of the Carnegie Corporation, I wrote a column entitled Measuring Family Engagement, Strengthening the Learning Triangle.

I know you’ve heard me talk about Family Playlists before and how this innovation helps boost family engagement. What might surprise you is that Family Playlists also help schools and districts measure family engagement.

Instead of keeping track of attendance at school events (like parent-teacher conferences, sports functions, and fundraisers), schools and districts can measure how engaged families are in their child’s learning at home—which is the kind of family engagement that researchers say matters most.