Document Type


Publication Date

August 2002


In: Education and Urban Society, 34 (4): 477-492 published by Sage Publications.


This article examines the recently introduced phenomenon of parental report cards,taking a preliminary look at some of the reasons,both real and perceived, behind the concept. Increased parental involvement in the education of children is as universally applauded as apple pie and motherhood. Educators and parent-teacher organizations have, for years, encouraged greater involvement on the part of parents—encouragement that in the past seldom ventured beyond simple and generic letters from a principal or superintendent or, in some instances, a more personalized letter from a teacher. Parents have long been urged, but have never actually been required, to participate in their children’s education. Although the time has not yet come for compulsory parental education and/or actual report cards assessing the amount of commitment parents show toward their children’s education, symbolic report cards have begun to appear, in which parents are asked to assess their own performance as parents.