Study Says: Parenting Is the Most Important Factor in Your Child’s Education

The education debate has been raging for decades: Are the parents the problem? Is it the teachers, the administrators, the budget cuts, or are kids just lazy?

One study suggests that when it comes to academic achievement, how kids are parented plays the biggest role.

To get the results, researchers at North Carolina State University surveyed over 10,000 12th graders across the country, along with their parents, teachers, and school administrators.

More: The Key to ‘How Children Succeed’: Hint...It’s Not Standardized Tests

Dr. Toby Parcel, a professor of sociology and one of the authors of the study says, "We found that family social capital was more important than school social capital—which is not to say that school social capital was unimportant. The ties between parents and children around academic issues were more important for children's achievement."

Family social capital refers to the connection between parents and children. Factors that come into play include trust, open lines of communication about school, and whether or not parents check their child's homework or attend school meetings. School social capital is based on teacher morale, whether teachers can adequately address the needs of individual students, and whether schools provide a positive learning environment.

Dr. Parcel hopes the study will help parents understand that "they matter." She says, if parents value the importance of education and transmit their values to children—by going to school meetings and events, checking homework and through discussions at home about school—it will make an impact.

Every time these things happen, Dr. Parcel says, it communicates to your children that you care about education and how well they do in school.

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Jenny is the Education Editor at TakePart. She has been writing for TakePart since 2009 and previously worked in film and television development. She has taught English in Vietnam and tutors homeless children in Los Angeles. Email Jenny | @jennyinglee |