How to strike a healthy balance between parents and teachers

Collaboration, common goals are the path to positive relationships between a child’s parents and teachers

“Teachers know what is best for their kids because they are with them every day,” tweeted U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona May 19. Therefore, he reasoned, “We must trust teachers.”

The flood of angry replies suggests a much different sentiment among parents frustrated with the public school system.

There is growing divisiveness and distrust among schools and parents. Striking a healthy parent-teacher balance can improve a child’s educational experience. While parents know their kids best, teachers are integral to the learning process. A strong parent-teacher partnership contributes to a child’s success in school.


Healthy parent-teacher relationships build trust, create a sense of teamwork and help ensure the child’s unique needs are met. And the earlier this relationship is established, the better the learning experience can be for the child. Consistent communication between educators and parents is key.

Teachers and parents can work together to share insights that enhance a child’s learning and development. How much a school encourages parental engagement often affects a family’s decision to select a particular school.

The value of parent-teacher partnerships is especially important to schools subject to market competition. The National Association of Independent Schools emphasizes the importance of engaging and collaborating with parents to improve student outcomes. Rising grades and positive relationships help schools retain current families and attract new ones.

Parents are increasingly interested in individualized learning, according to a recent Populace study. They prefer schools that tailor learning to their children’s unique needs. Parents can help teachers identify these needs, and most want to do more of it. Recent polling also found that 64% of people surveyed think parents should have a greater voice in their child’s educational experience.

How can schools optimize the parent-teacher relationship and strike a balance that supports a child’s success?

The answer lies in first acknowledging the common goal of parents and teachers to educate the child.

Cardona’s tweet fell short on this front. The combined efforts of parents and teachers to build mutual trust and teamwork goes a long way to maximizing student success.

Molly Macek is director of the Education Policy Initiative at the Mackinac Center. Email her at

Michigan Capitol Confidential is the news source produced by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Michigan Capitol Confidential reports with a free-market news perspective.