Social control is a second mechanism through which parentalschool involvement promotes achievement. Social control occurs whenfamilies and schools work together to build a consensus about ap-propriate behavior that can be effectively communicated to children atboth home and school (McNeal, 1999). Parents’ coming to know oneanother and agree on goals—both behavioral and academic—servesas a form of social constraint that reduces problem behaviors. Whenchildren and their peers receive similar messages about appropriatebehavior across settings and from different sources, the messagesbecome clear and salient, reducing confusion about expectations.Moreover, when families do not agree with each other or with schoolsabout appropriate behavior, the authority and effectiveness of teach-ers, parents, or other adults may be undermined. Through both socialcapital and social control, children receive messages about the im-portance of schooling, and these messages increase children’s com-petence, motivation to learn, and engagement in school (Grolnick &Slowiaczek, 1994).FAMILY AND SCHOOL CHARACTERISTICS THAT INFLUENCEPARENTAL SCHOOL INVOLVEMENTParent-school relationships do not occur in isolation, but in commu-nity and cultural contexts. One of the biggest challenges schools havetoday is the increasing diversity among students (Lichter, 1996).Demographic characteristics, such as socioeconomic status, ethnicity,and cultural background, and other parental characteristics are sys-tematically associated with parental school involvement. Overall,parents from higher socioeconomic backgrounds are more likely to beinvolved in schooling than parents of lower socioeconomic status. Ahigher education level of parents is positively associated with agreater tendency for them to advocate for their children’s placement inhonors courses and actively manage their children’s education (Baker& Stevenson, 1986). In contrast, parents from lower socioeconomicbackgrounds face many more barriers to involvement, includingnonﬂexible work schedules, lack of resources, transportation prob-lems, and stress due to residing in disadvantaged neighborhoods.Finally, because parents in lower-socioeconomic families often havefewer years of education themselves and potentially harbor morenegative experiences with schools, they often feel ill equipped toquestion the teacher or school (Lareau, 1996). It is unfortunate thatparents with children who would most benefit from parental involve-ment often find it most difficult to become and remain involved.Involvement in school sometimes varies across ethnic or culturalbackgrounds as well. Often, teachers who are different culturally fromtheir students are less likely to know the students and parents than areteachers who come from similar cultural backgrounds; culturally dif-ferent teachers are also more likely to believe that students and parentsare disinterested or uninvolved in schooling (Epstein & Dauber, 1991).