The role of parents and extended family in children's education is vital, said Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction John Huppenthal.

He explained that there has ben some research done on the connection between motivation and learning. "Essentially, the unmotivated brain can't learn, and parents are a key part of motivation," Huppenthal said.

Parents should be able to exemplify the traits of learning for their children; read with them, help them with homework, and know exactly what is happening in their classroom every day, as well as have a good relationship with the teachers.

"Learning is something that you do if you want to become a citizen of the United States, with full citizenship rights...and participation," Huppenthal said.

He said that, while it is impossible to put an exact figure on how much parent motivation is attributed to kids' education success, they do know that about 30 percent of Arizona students have completely disconnected from the education system by the end of 8th grade. "We know they are not getting (any support) at home..." Huppenthal said.

When parents are absent, however, then this responsibility falls on the shoulders of teachers, other family members or guardians.

American Graduate segments were produced in corporation with Tucson Values Teachers.

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