Parental participation in Milwaukee Public Schools appears weak

Alan Borsuk:

Twenty-three percent?
Does it surprise you to hear that is the percentage of Milwaukee Public Schools children who had adults in their lives attend parent-teacher conferences last spring?
Or that the figure for a year earlier was 47%, meaning the percentage dropped by half in one year?
I’ve often heard anecdotes from teachers or principals about how low involvement is in parent-teacher conferences. Five parents show up for conferences involving a class of 27 kids. Numbers like that. There are individual MPS schools where participation is high, but that underscores how low the figure is at many other schools.
Parent-teacher conference attendance is sometimes overemphasized. There are other things parents can and should do that are much more important. But conferences can be seen as a measure of parent involvement. I had never seen specific numbers for MPS as a whole until now. The School Board was given a report on parent involvement this month, including numbers produced by stepped-up efforts in MPS to monitor this.