"Include me out!" — Samuel Goldwyn.
The current emphasis on "parent involvement" started when study after study confirmed that the strongest predictor of a child's performance on standardized tests is the income level of the parents.
To me, the obvious conclusion is that the schools have no effect on student achievement, which means that most of what they do is a waste of time. This is why we need true school reform (beginning with the curriculum!), not corporate reform.
Of course, this isn't the conclusion that educrats came to. "Hey, the kids of middle-class parents do better academically. We should try to make all parents behave like those middle-class parents!" This is why we have homework in elementary school. It's not even about the kids — it's about "parent involvement". The fantasy is that assigning homework will result in educational family time, with Mom and kids sitting around the kitchen table, all doing their approved work — Mom balancing the checkbook, and Daughter writing her rainbow spelling words (just listen to Janine Bempechat!).
Those of us who are already middle-class parents are rightly insulted by these attempts to strong-arm us into doing what we were already doing, and probably more effectively than the school's way. For parents in poverty, they may be actually unable to carry out the school's directives. Maybe the parents can't read the instructions because they are illiterate, or don't speak English. Maybe they're too frazzled by working a poorly-paid job that takes two hours of bus time to return home from. Maybe the kinds of problems they face in their daily lives make the rainbow spelling words look like a cruel joke.
Schools should solve their own problems instead of trying to control parents.