Fathers' Involvement in Their Children’s Learning

A 1999 National Survey Commissioned by the National Center for Fathering

All fathers can play a critical role in their children’s education. Research shows that when fathers are involved, their children learn more, perform better in school, and exhibit healthier behavior. Seeking to assess the level of father involvement in a child’s education, the National Center for Fathering conducted a national random sample on October 1-3, 1999.

The survey contacted 894 men and women, and requested their responses to the questions summarized below. Fathers were asked the questions, “Do you….” Mothers were asked the questions, “Does your child’s father….” The survey used a single-stage, random digit-dial (RDD) sample technique to select each sample from all available residential telephone numbers in the contiguous United States. Up to three attempts were made on the selected telephone numbers. Interviews were conducted over a 3-day period.

Since 1990 the National Center for Fathering has sought to champion the role of effective fathering by inspiring and equipping men to be more involved in the lives of children. To accomplish its mission, the Center conducts extensive, ongoing fathering research across the nation in order to develop user-friendly materials to equip fathers.

See the press release related to this poll.
National Center for Fathering
1999 National Random Sample Poll Results
Father Involvement in Education

Percentages of dads who responded “NEVER” …

1. How often (do you/does your child’s father):*

 Every Day Once or twice a week Once or twice a month Once every 3 months Never Don’t know Refused to answer
Walk or take your child to school.
Visit your child’s classroom. 3.95.720.331.
Have lunch with your child at school.
Attend school meetings. 2.32.523.336.533.61.00.7
Attend class events.
Volunteer at your child’s school. 1.85.512.618.458.32.70.7
Read to your child. 24.622.77.83.640.20.30.7
Help your child with homework. 39.325.09.26.818.30.70.7
Praise and reward your child for good school work. 41.831.711.
Help your child in extracurricular activities like music, sports, etc.
Meet with other dads for support.
Discuss your child’s progress in school with your child’s mother. 42.130.311.
Communicate with your child’s teacher. 8.112.628.122.926.80.80.7

2. How often (do you/does your child’s father):*

  Always Sometimes NeverDon’t KnowRefused to answer
Review and sign your child’s report cards 56.719.721.41.50.7
Attend parent/teacher conferences 44.824.428.91.10.7
Attend school-based parents organization meetings 14.931.751.61.10.7

3. Please answer yes or no to the following:*

Question % Responding Yes% Responding No
Do you/does your child’s father believe your child is getting a good education? 88.012.0
Are you/is your child’s father confident that your child is safe at school?81.418.6
Do you/does your child’s father know the name of your child’s physician?78.221.8
Have you/has your child’s father discussed school safety issues with your child?74.425.6
Do you/does your child’s father know the name of your child’s teacher?73.626.4
Have you/has your child’s father helped your child complete a school project in the last six months?63.436.6
Do you/does your child’s father know the name of the school counselor?37.562.5
Percent of respondents answering no to all of the above 3.7

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