Parental involvement in the education of children on St. Maarten; Evaluation of the projects Active Parenting and Parent Teacher Associations/Foundations.
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Parental involvement proves to be an important predictor for academic achievement, student attendance and child development in general. The program Active Parenting (AP) and Parent Teacher Associations (PTA’s) or Parent Teacher Foundations (PTF’s) are implemented by the Division for Educational Innovations (DEI) to foster parental involvement in the education of children on St. Maarten. However, little is known about the impact of these projects within various forms of parental involvement. Therefore this study analyzed by means of the ecological system theory of Bronfenbrenner in which ways these projects influenced various forms of parental involvement. Analyses within the micro level included parenting skills and parental home-based involvement, analyses within the exo level included parental school-based involvement and bonding social capital, analyses within the meso level included bridging social capital and finally, analyses within the macro level included the pedagogic civil society. This study made use of both quantitative as qualitative methods. Results of this study confirm the expectation that AP promotes parental involvement within the micro level of the child in a greater extent than parental involvement within the exo level. However, in contradiction with the expectations, this research found no differences concerning the effects of PTA’s/PTF’s within the various ecological levels. Perhaps, due to a small sample size, the found differences were not tested as significant. Further research with larger sample size could examine this. Furthermore, no effects were found concerning the influences of AP and PTA’s/PTF’s on the macro level of the child. Perhaps AP and PTA's/PTF’s could only contribute to parental involvement within the macro level of the child when parental involvement is optimal within the preceding ecological levels. Further research can confirm this hypothesis. Finally, various bottlenecks were found concerning AP, PTA’s/PTF’s and parental involvement in general. These bottlenecks and the exploratory part of this study have led to a number of recommendations for stakeholders to foster parental involvement on St. Maarten.