Teachers are the dominant influence in a child’s education.

Posted on July 26, 2016

Yes, teachers are important and good teachers often have a significant and long lasting impact on a child, leaving their special indelible mark on their life. However, even a great teacher is dependent on others who also contribute to a child’s academic success. A helpful metaphor is a three-legged stool, of which one leg is the teacher – or more broadly, a quality educational system.

The second leg of the stool is parental support. This includes active involvement with the educational system through parent-teacher conferences, plus support and accountability for homework assignments, attendance, and behavior. In addition, parents set expectations, act as role models for learning, and establish values in the home.
The third leg of the school is community engagement. This may include educational out-of-school programs, libraries, and nonprofit institutions to support at-risk students and their families.

In summary, research shows that other variables have at least as much importance in determining a child’s academic achievement than anything that takes place within the walls of a school.


Berliner, D.C. (2012) Effects of inequality and poverty vs. teacher and schooling on America’s youth. Teachers College Record, 116(1).

Research Spotlight on Parental Involvement in Education (link no longer available)