Parent Involvement in Education in Terms of Their Socio-Economic Status

Saadet KURU CETIN* and Pelin TASKIN**
*Assist. Prof. Dr., Mugla Sitki Kocman University, Graduate School of Educational Sciences, Department of Educational Sciences 48000 Kotekli Campus / Mugla
**Assist. Prof. Dr., Ankara University, Faculty of Education Sciences, Department of Educational Management, 06590 Cebeci, Ankara

Problem Statement: Increasing the quality of education and educating well-qualified students is one of the most important objectives of formal education. Informal resources are as important as formal resources in improving this efficiency and productivity. In this respect, it can be said that family is the most important informal structure affecting the education of the child. In order to evaluate the involvement of family in education, various ways of categorizing have been implemented. One of these systems provides six categories in parental involvement, which are parenting, communicating, volunteering, learning at home, decision making and collaborating with the community. Whilst the meaning and significance of parental involvement is the starting point of this study, determining the level of involvement of the families in the educational activities at schools in terms of their socio-economic status is the main purpose of this study. Considering the fact that research on parental involvement in schools in terms of the socio-economic status of parents is scarce, the present study may serve as an important data source for researchers and policy makers in regard to comparing the effects of this involvement.
Purpose of the Study: The purpose of this study is to examine the viewpoints of administrators, teachers and parents on involvement of the families in the process of education in terms of socio-economic status in public and private primary and secondary schools.
Method: Interview and document analysis methods, which are both qualitative research methods, were used in the study. The study group was 11 teachers, four administrators working at public and private primary and secondary schools in Mugla and six parents. The data were collected through semi-structured interview methods. In addition, the documents related to the involvement of parents to education were analysed—school newspapers, the announcements, news and the activities section of the schools’ Web pages. In analysing the data collected in this study, the NVivo8 package program and the descriptive analysis technique were used. The findings are presented with a descriptive analysis method.
Findings: The results of the study indicate that parents from different socio-economic backgrounds do not have very different ideas about the process of involvement in the process of education. However, because school-family interaction in public schools and the trainings on parenting are not very systematic even if socio-economic status is high, the interaction is not at a desired level. The reasons parents communicate with the schools were found to be to evaluate student’s academic success and personal development. Both in public and private schools, involvement of parents in the decisions was in the form of asking parents their ideas. It was found that parents having a good socio-economic status were more willing and active in the procedure of participating in the process of education.
Conclusion and Recommendations: In order to increase parent involvement in education, the guidance services at schools should be used more functionally. For example, needs analysis towards determining the needs of the parents and the students in their school life should be made, and based on the results of the analysis, programmes to support parent involvement in education should be prepared.

Keywords: Family-school relationships, academic achievement, low-income, socio-economic rank.