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Data
Point
U.S. Department of Education NCES 2021-041 June 2021
Parental Involvement in U.S. Public Schools in 2017–18

This Data Point examines parent and/or guardian involvement in various school-based engagement opportunities before the coronavirus pandemic. This information was reported by U.S. public school principals on the principal survey of the 2017–18 National Teacher and Principal Survey (NTPS). The NTPS is a sample survey of public and private K–12 schools, principals, and teachers that can be used to make comparisons between the 50 states and the District of Columbia. State representative information is also available for public schools, principals, and teachers.


In the 2017–18 NTPS, public school principals reviewed a list of nine different parent engagement opportunities. They then stated which of those activities were offered by their schools during the previous school year (2016–17).

FIGURE 1. Percentage of public school principals in schools that offered various opportunities for parent participation, by opportunity type and school level: 2017–18

FIGURE 1. Percentage of public school principals in schools that offered various opportunities for parent participation, by opportunity type and school level: 2017–18

NOTE: Data for combined schools, defined as schools which offer instruction at both the elementary and secondary levels, are excluded from this figure, but can be seen in the associated tables at https://nces.ed.gov/surveys/ntps/tables/ntps1718_20102001_a1n.asp and https://nces.ed.gov/surveys/ntps/tables/ntps1718_20102002_a1n.asp.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, National Teacher and Principal Survey (NTPS), “Public School Principal Data File,” 2017–18.

The nine parent engagement opportunities and the percentage of public school principals who said the activity was offered by their schools are:

  • open house or back-to-school nights (97 percent);
  • all regularly scheduled school wide parent-teacher conferences (92 percent);
  • involvement in governance1 (92 percent);
  • volunteer in the school as needed or on a regular basis (91 percent);
  • special subject-area events2 (90 percent);
  • involvement in school instructional issues3 (83 percent);
  • involvement in budget decisions (76 percent);
  • signing of a school-parent compact4 (73 percent); and
  • parent education workshops or courses (69 percent).

Does the number of parent engagement opportunities offered vary by school level?

The percent of principals who reported offering any of the nine parent engagement opportunities varied by event and school level.
Primary school principals reported that these nine options were available at higher rates than middle or high school principals (FIGURE 1).

FIGURE 2. Among public school principals in schools that offered each opportunity, percentage of principals who reported that 76–100 percent of students had at least one parent or guardian participating, by opportunity type and
school level: 2017–18

FIGURE 2. Among public school principals in schools that offered each opportunity, percentage of principals who
          reported that 76–100 percent of students had at least one parent or guardian participating, by opportunity type and<br />
        school level: 2017–18

* Indicates significant difference between primary schools and middle schools or primary schools and high schools at the p < .05 level.
! Interpret data with caution. The coefficient of variation (CV) for this estimate is between 30 percent and 50 percent (i.e., the standard error is at least 30 percent and less than 50 percent of the estimate).
NOTE: Detail may not sum to 100 due to rounding. Principals could indicate 76–100 percent attendance at more than one engagement opportunity. Data for combined schools are not shown here, but can be seen in the associated tables at https://nces.ed.gov/surveys/ntps/tables/ntps1718_20102001_a1n.asp and https://nces.ed.gov/surveys/ntps/tables/ntps1718_20102002_a1n.asp.
SOURCE: U.S. Department ofEducation, National Center for Education Statistics, National Teacher and Principal Survey (NTPS), “Public School Principal Data File,” 2017–18.

Does parent attendance at different engagement opportunities vary by school level?

For any of the nine activities offered by their school during the previous school year (2016–17), principals gave the percentage of students who had at least one parent present. Low parent participation meant 0–25 percent of all students had a parent present. High parent participation meant 76–100 percent of all students had a parent present.

For 7 out of the 9 options, primary school principals reported high parent participation at higher rates than did middle school principals. There were no significant differences for two events. These two events were involvement in school instructional issues and involvement in governance (FIGURE 2).

Primary school principals also reported high parent participation at higher rates in 8 out of the 9 principals. There were no significant differences for one option (involvement in budget decisions).

Endnotes

1 NTPS asks separately about summer jobs that teachers may hold. It also collects information about base salary and other sources of supplemental income. Other sources include extracurricular or additional activities within the same school system, performance-based bonuses, and other sources in the school system.
2 Special subject-area events include events such as science fairs and concerts.
3 Involvement in school instructional issues includes planning classroom learning activities and providing feedback on curriculum.
4 A school-parent compact is an agreement between school community members (e.g., parents, principals, teachers, and students) that acknowledges the shared responsibility for students learning and/or the school’s policies.

To learn more, visit: https://nces.ed.gov/surveys/ntps/. For questions about content or to view this report and supplemental tables on line, go to https://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch/pubsinfo.asp?pubid=2021041.

The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) Data Point presents information on education topics of current interest. It was authored by Julia Merlin of NCES. Estimates based on samples are subject to sampling variability, and apparent differences may not be statistically significant. All stated differences are statistically significant at the .05 level, with no adjustments for multiple comparisons. In the design, conduct, and data processing of NCES surveys, efforts are made to minimize the effects of nonsampling errors such as item nonresponse, measurement error, data processing error, or other systematic error.