What kind of parent involvement helps?

In the largest-ever study of its kind, researchers at Duke and UT Austin found that parental involvement in their kids’ educations, such as meeting with teachers and helping kids with homework, not only fails to improve academic performance for their kids, but also can even hinder it.

But the study, which a 2014 issue of The Atlantic profiles here, did reveal that parental involvement can be very effective when helping to make the schools better for all students in attendance, like working to secure new textbooks, better facilities, and programs like art, music, and theater.

Immersing ourselves in our kids’ academic lives is both ineffective and unhealthy (welcome news for busy, working, and overscheduled parents). But if you do have the time and inclination to do more, work to improve the school, the conditions, and learning for everyone. It’s not just more generous—it’s also the most effective way to help your own kids.