WASHINGTON, D.C. (May 5, 2010) – U.S. Representatives Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY-4) and Todd Russell Platts (R-PA-19) today introduced the Family Engagement in Education Act (H.R. 5211) which would strengthen family engagement in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act that Congressional leaders have said they would like to reauthorize this year.
National PTA®, the oldest and largest volunteer child advocacy association, has championed this bill along with leading researchers and practitioners, philanthropic groups, and policy experts in the field of family engagement. Founded in 1897, PTA continues to advocate to ensure every child is successful in school and in life. Over 40 years of research has shown that partnering with parents, regardless of their socioeconomic status or educational background, improves student achievement and graduation rates.
“Children spend over 70 percent of their waking hours outside of school," says Charles J. “Chuck” Saylors, National PTA President.
“If we are serious about closing the achievement gap, parents must be at the table. This legislation is a critical first step in ensuring a sound partnership between parents, the community, and schools to increase student success.”
The bill would provide incentives to districts and schools to implement best practices, such as parent leadership academies, placing family engagement coordinators in schools, and professional development for educators on how to partner with families.
“Since my arrival in Congress, I have worked on providing our children with the best education possible. One way to improve how our children learn is to provide parents with a greater voice in the schools, and this legislation does exactly that”, said McCarthy.
“Family engagement is a cost-effective way to turn around struggling schools and close the achievement gap. I appreciate all the work the PTA has done on this legislation. They are a respected and an extremely effective organization in bringing parents and teachers together for the betterment of our children’s education. As the Chairwoman of the Healthy Families and Communities Subcommittee, I am grateful that my ranking member, Representative Todd Russell Platts, is joining me as the lead co-sponsor of the bill and look forward to working with him to see the bill included as part of ESEA reauthorization.”
“Consistent family engagement in a child’s education can improve student achievement and enhance educational opportunities,” said Congressman Todd Platts (PA-19). “The Family Engagement in Education Act incentivizes schools and communities to work with families to enhance the education of our nation's young people.”
The Family Engagement in Education Act would also strengthen the sole federal program dedicated to parent engagement, the Parental Information and Resource Centers (PIRCs), to scale-up research-based strategies for engaging families. PIRCs currently serve over 16 million parents in all 50 states.
About National PTA
National PTA® comprises millions of families, students, teachers, administrators, and business and community leaders devoted to the educational success of children and the promotion of parent involvement in schools. PTA is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit association that prides itself on being a powerful voice for all children, a relevant resource for families and communities, and a strong advocate for public education. Membership in PTA is open to anyone who wants to be involved and make a difference for the education, health, and welfare of children and youth.