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Survey: Most Teachers Want Involved Parents But Don't Have Them

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A new survey by the for-profit University of Phoenix College of Education found that an overwhelming majority of K-12 teachers want parents engaged in their classrooms. 

While the survey of 1,000 teachers found that 97 percent of the respondents welcomed parent involvement, 76 percent of teachers say less than half of their students' parents are involved in their classrooms, according to a news release. A mere 8 percent of K-12 teachers say that between 75 percent and 100 percent of their parents are engaged in the classroom.

So it comes to no surprise that almost half of the teachers surveyed (47 percent) cited lack of parent involvement as a source of frustration, topping big class sizes and discipline issues. The focus on standardized testing (69 percent) and students' lack of respect for authority (63 percent) led the list of teacher-identified annoyances.

"Parents play integral roles in their children's educations and have the power to expand on the work of the teachers, both inside and outside of the classroom," Eve Breier, the chairwoman for the University of Phoenix College of Education, said in the release. "School websites and social media are making it easier for parents to stay engaged and for teachers to share lesson plans and classroom activities."

But how teachers define "parent involvement," could take on many variations, based on my own experience. Some teachers have an open-door policy and easily integrate parents within classroom activities when possible, while other teachers view parent involvement as making sure your child is ready to learn: fed, well-rested, polite, and most of all, has finished his or her homework. (I failed on that last point today.)

The University of Phoenix College of Education poll asked teachers about what inspired them to be teachers; the challenges they faced; and their views on parent engagement. Harris Poll conducted the online survey for the university last year.

 According to the release, the survey found that most teachers joined the profession because they want to make a difference in children's lives or because they enjoy working with children. Almost half of the respondents said a teacher was the inspiration for their career choice.

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