International organizations, governments, and community leaders encourage universal participation in education, but education is increasingly transnational, encompassing standardization in the structure and content of schooling. Progress in expanding access to schooling has been uneven, and “silent exclusion”—children enrolled, but learning little—is common. This article explores parents’ perspectives and roles in their children’s participation in education in rural Ghana. Data were collected through focused ethnographic methods. Findings show that participating parents are aware of the importance attributed to formal basic education; however, socioeconomic realities dictate that they engage their children in a form of education that will lead to skills acquisition and contribution to the family economic unit. This demands engaging children in work at an early age, resulting in irregular attendance in basic education. In rural Ghana, parents allow children selective participation in school.