The Missing Link Between Poverty and Academic Achievement: Parental Support

The OECD’s PISA IN FOCUS 2011/5 (June) publication offers yet more evidence that there is no evidence that poverty has the impact on education achievement that some would have us believe.

We normally take what the OECD has to say about education with a pinch of salt given its overriding aim to ‘liberalise’ economies around the world.

However, this publication is too revealing to ignore, although we think they miss the key underlying factor: parental support.

For one thing, the OECD study is further demonstration that the disadvantaged still succeed at school.

The OECD also believe that their data shows that it is school attendance and what is known as resilience, underscored by confidence and motivation, that is all-important.

As they ask: “Are socio-economically disadvantaged students condemned to perpetuate an intergenerational cycle of poor academic achievement, poor job prospects and poverty? Not if they attend schools that provide them with more regular classes.”

They state that PISA 2006 and 2009 showed that disadvantaged kids can and do better than their peers. And they do across all OECD countries.

A cycle of disadvantage is not inevitable“, they proclaim.

Another story from this week described the positive effect good parenting can have on reducing alcohol consumption among young people.

In education, the same would be true. Without supportive parents, kids won’t learn. But the OECD with its liberal individualist agenda negelects to mention this in this report.

Apparently, school kids can do it for themselves as long as they are resilient and made to attend school.

But who should be ensuring they attend? Any good teacher will tell you, if the parents are good, the kids invariably are too. UK government research demonstrates the positive effect of parental involvement, also.

Famously, the poet Philip Larkin wrote about the harm that parenting can cause in ‘This Be The Verse’.

‘They f&*k you up, your mum and dad.
They may not mean to, but they do.
They fill you with the faults they had
And add some extra, just for you.’

The need for positive parental involvement? Common sense, really.

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