The family is a key element in every person's life; they have the greatest impact on a child's socialization (Macionis 70). Socialization is a learned behavior that remains with a person his entire life. Family influences nearly every aspect of children's life, including their education. Increasing evidence indicates that "schools are not solely responsible for promoting our young people's academic success; rather, families must be engaged in helping youths develop the knowledge and skills they need to function in tomorrow's workplace" (Israel 43). Therefore, the question is not whether parents influence education, but rather how and to what extent they do. A variety of explanations exist, including the size of the family, the parenting techniques, and the family's economic status.
Why do some parents become involved in their children's elementary and secondary education? Three major constructs are believed to be central to parents' basic involvement decisions.
First, a parents' role construction defines parents' beliefs about what they are supposed to do in their children's education and appears to establish the basic range of activities that parents construe as important, necessary, and permissible for their own actions with and on behalf of children. Second, parents' sense of efficacy for helping their children succeed in school focuses on the extent to which parents believe that through their involvement they can exert positive influence on their children's educational outcomes. Third, general invitations, demands, and opportunities for involvement refer to parents' perceptions that the child and school want them to be involved. However, even well-designed school programs inviting involvement will meet with only limited success if they do not address issues of parental role construction and parental sense of efficacy for helping children succeed in school.
One theory suggests that the chief reason why a student's...