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Should Fathers Be Involved in School?

Q: My child’s school often sends out emails asking for moms to volunteer in the classroom or around the school. A lot of these communications talk about how important it is for mothers to be involved in their children’s education. As a father, I find this a little annoying, and I’m wondering whether you know of any evidence that dads’ involvement is important too?

A: There’s a mountain of research that shows a direct connection between parents’ involvement in their children’s education and their kids’ performance in school. In short, the more the parents are involved, the better the kids do. But in many schools (and in many families), the word “parents” really means “mom.” That’s a big mistake. There are a number of benefits that are specifically related to father involvement.

When dads are involved, their children:

Interestingly, according to University of Illinois researcher Brent A. McBride, these wonderful benefits from father involvement happen whether the dad is married, single, a step father, and adoptive father, lives with his children or not. Overall, that’s pretty convincing, don’t you think? But wait, there’s more.

When dads are involved in their children’s schools, the dads themselves:

And finally, schools benefit from father involvement too. Teacher morale is higher and they get more support from families, parents have a higher opinion of the teachers, and the schools have better reputations in community. So next time you get an email asking for moms to volunteer, send back a copy of this column. Then, grab a couple of other dads and make sure you’re first in line.


Armin Brott

A great dad himself, Armin speaks not only as a specialist in parenting, but as a parent himself. He has written several books including The Expectant Father and Fathering Your Toddler.