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Status of Education in Rural America
NCES 2007-040
June 2007

1.12. Parent participation in school-related activities


In 2003, greater percentages of rural students had parents who attended a school event or served as a volunteer or on a committee than did students in cities, while a smaller percentage of rural students than suburban students had parents who attended a general school meeting.

In 2003, the National Household Education Survey (NHES) asked parents of elementary and secondary public and private school students about their participation in four school-related activities since the beginning of the school year: attending a general school meeting, attending a scheduled meeting with their child's teacher, attending a school event, and serving as a volunteer or on a committee. In all locales, over 80 percent of students had parents who reported that they attended a general meeting, and most students (between 65 and 78 percent in all locales) had parents who reported that they attended a scheduled meeting with a teacher and attended a school event (table 1.12 and figure 1.12). The least commonly reported activity (under 50 percent in all locales) was serving as a volunteer or on a committee.

In all locales, higher percentages of students in kindergarten through 5th grade had parents who reported participating in each type of school-related activity than did students in 6th through 12th grades, with one exception. No significant difference was found between the percentage of students in kindergarten through 5th grade and the percentage of students in 6th through 12th grades in towns whose parents reported attending a school event.

A higher percentage of students in rural areas had parents who reported serving as a volunteer or on a committee (42 percent) than did students in cities (38 percent) (table 1.12 and figure 1.12). A higher percentage of rural students also had parents who reported attending a school event (74 percent) than did students in cities (65 percent). No measurable differences were detected between rural areas and suburbs and towns in the percentages of students whose parents participated in these two activities. The percentage of rural students with parents who reported attending a general school meeting (86 percent) was less than the percentage of suburban students with parents who reported doing so (90 percent), but was not measurably different than the percentage of students in towns and cities with parents who reported doing so. No measurable differences were found between the percentages of students in each locale with parents who reported attending a scheduled meeting with a teacher.

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