For generations, educators have told parents they need to help kids with their homework and be more involved on a daily basis. Parents seldom question whether it's really worth the effort. Now, new research indicates that it's not. Professors at Duke and the University of Texas have combed through almost three decades of surveys, tracking 63 measures of parental participation in their children's lives. They've found not only that there's no proof of academic dividends — there can even be backfire — regardless of race, class or level of education. Dana Goldstein covers education for The Atlantic magazine.